Saturday, August 10, 2013

Griswold Peak / Cougar Peak Climb

Life has been so busy lately and my hiking adventures have taken a back seat.  Dan noticed this and invited me to get out for the first time this summer.  We decided upon Griswold Peak, an "11er" near the headwaters of the Lost River.  While up there, we would visit nearby Peak 10727.

We left Boise a little bit after 6am and began the long drive to Ketchum, over Trail Creek, and up the headwaters of the North Fork of the Big Lost River.  Though the drive was long, the time flew by as Dan and I caught up on everything.  Soon we were at the Hunter Creek trailhead and moving around 10am.  We didn't follow the trail very long before we headed straight uphill toward the ridge leading to Griswold Peak.  Gaining the ridge also proceeded pretty quickly and soon we were on the ridge with great views of Griswold Peak and the surrounding area.  The ridge was an easy and enjoyable class 2 climb to the top, where we found a small cairn, a register, and a horde of flying ants.  Fortunately, we were able to stay about 20' from the summit and avoid the ants for the most part.

Since the bugs were kind of annoying and the clouds were starting to build, we didn't spend too long atop Griswold before heading over to Peak 10727.  The descent from Griswold was pretty steep, probably class 3+ but it was fun downclimbing due to the generally stable rock.  Once off the rock, it was easy slopes up to the summit of the peak.  A cairn and summit register were atop the peak, placed by Rick Baugher in 2011.  He chose the name "Coog" for the peak but we decided "Cougar Peak" sounded better.  After spending some time enjoying the summit we decided to get back to the car.  The descent was a little bit challenging because I forgot my map and we had to dead-reckon our way through the forest and back to the car.  Descending the open slopes was fun, the wooded slopes were a little less fun, and it was a little bit of a slog following the bottom of the drainage back to the trailhead.  Dan did a great job navigating as always!

The biggest event of the return trip was the Escape's "check engine" light coming on (it went off mysteriously a couple of days later).  We did stop at the Burger Grill in Ketchum for some tasty burgers before finishing the drive back to Boise!

Griswold Peak / Cougar Peak Pictures!
GPS Track
Dan's Trip Report

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Vickery Summer Camping Trip 2013

Hi everyone! Now that you've recovered from the exciting news in our last blog post, let's talk about our recent camping trip! We go on an annual long weekend camping trip with our friends Joey & Sam (and their kids, Cecelia & Mallory), who live just outside of Olympia, WA, and our friends Tracy & Dan, who live in Portland, OR.
We usually try to pick a spot that's sort of halfway, but that's not exactly easy - there's not much around the halfway point between Boise & Portland/Olympia! This year, we tried a campground at the base of Mt. Rainier - La Wis Wis Campground. Since it was a 7 hour drive for us, we decided to split the trip into two days. We left Boise on Thursday night, stopped in Hermiston, OR (the apparent watermelon capital of the universe..or maybe just the Northwest). We made the rest of the drive to the campground on Friday morning/early afternoon, arriving around 2pm.

The campground was absolutely gorgeous - lots of tall pine trees & plenty of underbrush, moss-covered logs & fun areas around our sites for the kids to explore. We had a small site & a much bigger site, so we left the bigger site to the rest of the crew & set up in the small site (which was a good thing when night time rolled around..that's some foreshadowing, people!). Our site had a beautiful little creek running behind it!

We spent most of the weekend hanging out, going for walks, checking out the area & reconnecting with our friends, since we hadn't seen them for a year. Claire had a great time playing with Cecelia (who's 4) and Mallory (who's 17 months). Cecelia brought her bike (with training wheels), and Claire was OBSESSED with it. She loved honking the horn, and figured out pretty quickly how to climb onto the bike (over the back wheel & onto the seat!)..and then wanted us to push her around everywhere! We're already looking for the perfect tricycle for her birthday, of course!

Claire (and Mom & Dad!) had a tough night the first night - she went to bed just fine, but woke up a few hours later very upset, and didn't fall back asleep until 4 am. It was rough, to say the least. Luckily she was in a great mood all day after that, took a nap & then had a fantastic night's sleep the next night (exhaustion will do that to you!). Because of that first night's mayhem & screaming/crying, I was very glad we chose the small site, across the street from our friends & not near any other sites!

On Sunday morning, we all packed up & headed out to check out the park at the immediate base of Mt Rainier. Claire slept on the 30 minute drive there, and we enjoyed the gorgeous scenery...Mt Rainier is absolutely stunning! The Visitor Center area was packed with people - lots of hikers starting their climbs, and lots of tourists checking out the sights. We spent some time checking out the area, but unfortunately had to head out, since we had a 7 hour drive to make, and knew that we'd be losing an hour with the time difference.

We drove to Richland, WA and stopped at a park so that Claire could run around and burn off some energy before we made the rest of the drive. There was a pretty cool riverboat docked at the park, complete with a big paddlewheel! We had dinner at the Atomic Ale Brew Pub. Claire had a shrimp & cheese quesadilla (and insisted on dipping it in the salsa they provided, since any kind of dip is her favorite food). We split a thin crust pizza - half Bangkok Chicken (peanut sauce, bean sprouts, chicken, green onions, mozzarella, cilantro, shredded carrots & peanuts!) and half Ham & Pineapple. Zach also got to try a couple of their beers, which he enjoyed!

We made the rest of the uneventful trip home, and Claire slept most of the way. We were happy to get home at 1am!

It was a wonderful camping trip, in an awesomely beautiful location! We both agreed that we'd love to go back there in the future.

Here are some pictures & video of the trip...enjoy!
Camping 2013 Pictures!
Claire on Cecilia's Bike Video

Monday, August 5, 2013

3 + 1 = Exciting times!

Well, for those of you who haven't heard yet, the big news around here is that our little family of 3 is becoming a family of 4, as of sometime around January 31, 2014!!

We're all very excited (well, Claire's pretty unsure about it all, but that's to be expected!), and are looking forward to meeting the new little guy or girl! Once again, we're choosing not to find out the baby's gender until the big day - it was such a fun surprise with Claire, we figured why not do it again?! I'm about 14 weeks along, and am happy to say that the first trimester was pretty much uneventful. Luckily, I haven't had any nausea or issues like that, and I really can't complain - it's SO much worse for many women! I'm sure it'll get tougher to chase after a 2 year old once the 3rd trimester rolls around, but for now it's all going pretty well.

We'll keep you updated periodically on how things are going. Now we get to try & potty-train Claire before her sibling gets here. Hah!