July 2012

Eagle Creek 2012

Eagle Creek with Andrew and Patrick, 12-13JULY2012
This was Patrick’s first backpack trip. I figured that at 7 years of age, he was worthy of a good hike. So, with Andrew’s help, off we went to the Columbia River Gorge and the start of the Eagle Creek trip. The trail goes up 7.5 miles before diverting into several other trails. I wasn’t sure how far Patrick would be able to go, and so picked a trail that would allow for many possibilities to stop early to 7.5 miles. We made it up to 4.5 miles. Patrick carried a pack, including his sleeping bag and pad, and clothes, so he had proportionally slightly more weight per size that either Andrew or I. That afternoon, we walked another 1.5 miles up to Tunnel Falls, and then turned back. The evening was spent in the tent without a fly, and the weather was absolutely perfect. We decided to hike back the next day, aborting a day early, but spending time at the Punchbowl.
Patrick with Andrew, fresh and ready to start
The trail was created out of dynamite for about 1/3 of the distance. The dynamite used was of the native Indian variety, and not the synthetic stuff used by modern man to destroy nature.
Patrick still fresh
The Three Musketeers
Arrival at camp, 4.5 miles later
Tunnel Falls
Eager to go home
The Punchbowl in HDR
After we returned to the car, we drove along the old Columbia River highway to Crown Point and then back to Gresham. We are a few sights.

Westside Road 10JUL2012

WestSide Road Mountain Bike adventure 10JUL2012
There is a road along the west side of Mt. Rainier within the National Park itself that has been closed to automobile traffic for many years now, because of road washouts. Actually, the washout is limited to the area across a stream as seen below. This is the first obstacle to the mountain bike adventure, as the road is limited to bicycles and hikers.

The road follows a stream up to a distance, and goes over two major ridges, so that there is much climbing to be done. The final length is a little over 14 km. Along the way are multiple trails that take off to viewpoints, but open only to hikers. It would be wonderful to be able to do a combined bike and hike trip.

Malachi – A Prophet in Times of Despair

Malachi – A Prophet in Times of Despair, by Baruch Maoz ★★★★
I had reviewed another book by Maoz about the book of Jonah, and it was excellent. This book is quite similar. Baruch Maoz offers a distinctly Jewish perspective to his discussions of the text, often of which are quite informative. Maoz covers the basic themes of Malachi, as to how the Jews possess a religiosity, but they have lost their heart for loving God. Malachi offers prudent advice on returning to God, and the promises God gives for faithfulness to Him.  Maoz has a very Reformed form of theology, and this colors his thinking all the way through the book. The essential theme is that the OT is quite relevant today. It is not made of lesser stuff than the NT. His final statement brings the entire book of Malachi together,
“As I hope you will see, the New Testament teaches the same principles as does the Old. It is not difficult to preach the Gospel in front of the Old Testament without resorting to spiritualization or any of the interpretational manipulations that are so common in modern Christian pulpits. If we will but allow the Old Testament to speak for itself, it will inexorably lead to the Gospel of Jesus, the Messiah”.
I couldn’t say it better.

Guns 101

Guns 101 by David Steier ★★★★
Now that Obama has threatened to take guns away from us, it became time to purchase a few weapons. This book does a wonderful job of addressing multiple issues of gun ownership. Why buy a gun? (Not necessarily to kill people or animals!) What type of gun or guns should one purchase? What is the meaning of all of the sizes of ammo out there? How does one care for a gun, and obtain the necessary skills to use a gun? All of these questions are answered in very simple terms and are heavily illustrated in this book. For the person purchasing their first guns, this is a great book to read before one lays down bucks on the counter. The only reservation that I have with the book is the author’s love for .357/.38 size ammo, and his preoccupation with competition shooting, most notably Cowboy Action Shooting.

Lester or Bust

My grandfather emigrated from Wittenberg, Germany to Lester, Iowa in the late 1800’s. Several years ago, I learned about a town in the state of Washington named Lester. Thus, my dream to visit the town of Lester. There were several problems with this town. First, it is now a ghost town. Secondly, access to the town is now severely restricted. The only possibility of visiting Lester was going to be via Stampede Pass on a gravel road. All other roads had been closed, since it is close to the water supply to Tacoma. Thus, we decided to go to Lester on mountain bikes.

Pete and Russ on the road to Lester, with Mt. Rainier in the background
Russ and me on the road to Lester. Still Mt. Rainier in the hintergrund
Once we were 1.5 miles from Lester, we encountered a gate across the road, absolutely forbidding bicycles from trespassing the gate, and that visits could only occur on foot. Thus, we started walking for the last mile and a half. We were not about to give up on our quest for Lester.
Riff raff on the main street, entering Lester
The town of Lester with the entire temporary population of 3
At one time, Lester used to have a population of over 250. It is now one of the few ghost towns in the state, compliments of the city of Tacoma. At one time, there was a post office, general store, public school, lumber mill, dairy, railway yard, and hotel in the town. Now, there is just us. No buildings remain. One can read about the town on wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lester,_Washington ) and the cause of the demise of the town here… ( http://home.netcom.com/~whstlpnk/stampedemp.html) (scroll down a ways).

The main road leading into Lester from Stampede Pass on the right.
The city airport is on the left.
Two of the Lester population leaving town, but reminiscing on precious memories had while in Lester.
Unique wildflowers, only found in the Lester vicinity
The ride back up to Stampede Pass was about a 2000 ft elevation gain. The Garmin record can be found here… file://localhost/Users/feucht/Downloads/activity_196151711.kml
I can’t say that I’ll ever return to Lester (Washington), but it was great while it lasted. In a month, I’ll be in Lester, Iowa. Hopefully, Alex will stop the truck in Lester, so that I can get some photos of that town. Hopefully, the other Lester is not yet a ghost town.