Monday, June 29, 2009

Smiley Mountain Hike

The weather for the weekend was looking good so I decided to climb Smiley Mountain, a peak I have long planned to visit. A little birdy told me that John Platt was also interested so we made plans and met at 4:15am to begin the drive. Other than a detour due to US-93 being closed between Richfield and Carey, we had an uneventful trip.

Since this has been a wet and cool Spring in Idaho, everything was unusally green and beautiful. The lakes were all full and the streams running high; together all of this made for a great drive. We got to the trailhead around 8:30am and were off around 8:45am. Iron Bog Creek was running high so we had to take off our shoes and wade across. Once past there, we ascended the ridge and partook in the best ridgewalk of my hiking career.

John recently attempted Denali and kept a brisk pace, which was very successful in keeping me pushing upwards. We made the summit in just over 3 hours, taking in the tremendous summit vistas. Unfortunately our time on top was cut short due to some questionable looking clouds building (which turned out to be harmless). But we were far above treeline and caution was definitely in order.

Our descent was also very enjoyable as we cruised down the ridge. On the way home, John pioneered a shortcut over Fish Creek Summit which saved an hour on our return trip. The only negative of the whole day was that I forgot my camera (only the second time I've done that). A trip report can be seen at John's web site:

Smiley Mountain Trip Report

Trip statistics: 8.25 miles, 4300', just over 6 hours

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ironside Mountain Hike

Early in the week, I made plans with Matt Durrant to climb Galena Peak in the Boulder Mountains. Rob Ronald also joined the trip. However, as the weekend approached the forecast for Idaho looked bad for the fourth straight weekend. On Friday we identified some probable good weather in Oregon and decided to head over there to hike Ironside Mountain.

After meeting at 4:30am, we headed west and were at the start of the hike just after 7:00am. I parked conservatively because I'd heard some concerning information about the road. The reality is that we probably could have driven to within a half mile of the summit instead of 5 miles away like we did. None of us were bothered by this though - I personally was happy to get the exercise!

The weather was better than we expected; partly cloudy and dry. We made great progress along the road - in fact, we were confined to the road due to private property postings all along the way. So much for taking shortcuts! We made it to the summit at 10am and had great 360° views of an unfamiliar Oregon landscape. There were a few clouds hanging around but they brought no precipitation and were seemingly just there to add some visual interest.

In summary, this was a great Spring hike - fitting for the last day of Spring. I got to meet two new hiking partners as well. Yet another fine day in the mountains!

Trip statistics: 10 miles, 3000' gain, 6 hours (including 1 hour spent on the summit)

Ironside Mountain Pictures!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Auntie Margaret and Uncle Barry got us a "seed wreath" style bird feeder for Christmas. Since this area is pretty barren and birdless during the winter we didn't put it out until April. After we put it out it seemed to attract minimal interest for a couple of weeks. Some time in May it started to get attention and within a few days it went from half eaten to gone. We didn't actually see too many birds around it so we weren't sure if birds consumed it or if it suffered some other fate. Being at work all day sometimes obscures what's really going on with the bird feeder...

Based on the apparent growing interest, two weeks ago we decided to visit the local Wild Birds Unlimited and buy a "regular" bird feeder and some seed. We put it out, filled it with seed, and saw a few birds show up. However, when we were both home from work the next day, the seed was completely eaten but very few birds were around. This also seemed rather odd but we decided to refill the bird feeder for the next day. By the time we got home the seed was again gone but there was a half-dozen of birds hanging around eating the spillage from the feeder. At this point it was pretty clear the bird feeder was a hit!

Since then, the bird count has increased and it is not uncommon to see 12-15 birds hanging around at any one time (as long as there is food, of course...). I've really been amazed at the number of birds we've seen - it is motivation to get a birding book! The red-winged blackbird is the most distinctive bird we see, but we also see wrens, pigeons, and other birds we can't properly describe.

As a side effect, we now have a thick bed of sprouts beneath the bird feeder. Another landscaping challenge!


Friday, June 19, 2009

Another Exciting Installment of "Vickery World" News

Yes, that's right folks, it's time for Katie's 2nd blog post ever! I like to keep you waiting :-)

First things first - As of Thursday, I am officially 30+1. I had a great birthday (even though I had to work!), and then Zach & I went to a great sushi place here in Boise (yes, that's right, I said the words "great sushi" and "Boise" in the same sentence!). The restaurant is called Fujiyama, and we ended up getting an assortment of sushi rolls & a couple of pieces of salmon & spicy scallop sashimi, along with an appetizer of gyoza (potstickers, I guess, would be an equivalent). All of it was very good, and we enjoyed every bite! For a restaurant serving mostly seafood-based dishes, and being in such a dry, land-locked state, this restaurant had very good quality sushi - we were pleasantly surprised! After dinner we came back to the house & I opened all my wonderful & thoughtful presents & cards from everyone - so very generous of all of you! Thank you! Don't worry, Grandma, this is not the only thank you anyone will get from me! ;-) It was a great birthday, full of lots of love & good wishes...what more could a girl ask for?!

In other news, I got a new job today! It's still with the same company (NYK Line), but it's in a different department. As of July 7th, I will officially be a Sales Support Specialist for the West Coast of the US. It's a pretty exciting move for me, since a lot of this job will be completely new, but basically I'll be one of a team of Sales Support people, working with the Sales Reps (who go out to the customers & sign/extend service contracts), and our Corporate office to make sure the service contracts are filed correctly & to take care of fixing anything that is incorrectly filed. I've spent the last 1 1/2 years working as a Revenue Analyst, which required me to work closely with interpreting & applying the shipper's service contracts, in order to add rates & charges to bills, so now I'll be working on the other side of things - actually filing & following up on the service contracts.
The team I'm joining is made up of 6 other people from different departments within our office, so it will be interesting for us all to come at this position with such varied knowledge and experience in the shipping industry. I'm really excited about the move, mostly because I was getting very frustrated with the job I have been doing, as it's gotten pretty monotonous & downright annoying! This is a very welcome change!

Zach is planning a hike tomorrow, with a couple of guys, so as long as the weather in Eastern Oregon holds up alright, he should have a pretty nice trip. I'm planning on running errands & getting some reading done. On Sunday, we'll be heading over to Gary & Bonnie's for a barbeque, to celebrate Father's Day for Gary & also my birthday. It'll be a wonderful time with great food and company!

Have a wonderful weekend!