Wednesday, July 23, 2008

On the beach

Last week, we went on a real vacation. Along with my dad and Benjamin's dad,we took a hiking trip to the Olympic Peninsula - my favorite place in the whole world. Until I moved to Texas, Dad and I (and Mom until I was about 12) went backpacking there every single summer. The summer wasn't complete until I had seen deer eating seaweed and racoons trying to steal our dinner, and until I had sand in just about every possible place on my body.

Prior to the hiking part of this vacation we took a trip to REI, where we bought two (as opposed to the one that we planned to buy) new, lightweight, wonderful backpacks. I hadn't planned to get one for myself, but I was just so envious of Benjamin's and smitten with the packs that I couldn't resist. I also saw Robin Williams, although I didn't realize that was who it was until a clerk mentioned him, who was apparently in Seattle to shoot a movie. My one brush with Hollywood, and I don't even notice. Huh. Anyway, back to the backpacks. They were great - no disintigrating parts, no squeaky frames, just enough room. Hurrah! Now we just need a couple of new sleeping bags that compress to the size of a soccer ball, and we will be all set.
I also got a large hat, (as you can see) which will be great when we get to sunny, hot Arkansas. The beach, alas, was not sunny this trip. Over the years, Dad and I have developed a theory - whenever we take someone to the beach, be they friend, relative, whatever, it is never sunny. When we go on our own, it is usually sunny. This trip we were at least lucky that it didn't rain - so I guess Ben and Scott were partially accepted as family members!

We didn't see a lot of wildlife this trip - only three racoons, and one deer (in the ranger station parking lot, not on the beach). In the case of the racoons, that is probably a good sign. It means that they aren't getting as much junk food from careless hikers and aren't getting overpopulated. Probably ditto for the deer. The wildlife we did see though was great - a whole family of Bald eagles. For a long time, just seeing one eagle was a big deal - this time we saw one as soon as we got to the end of the trail to the beach, and we saw a group of juveniles and a couple of parents the next day. Wow!

Despite the lack of sun, we still had a good time. Benjamin tried his hand at environmental art (which you can see in the background of this picture). We all took a long hike back up the beach on the middle day, hopping over rocks, exploring hidden campsites. And we got to make stick biscuits - one of the foods of the gods. They are pretty basic, and you could make them over your fireplace fire, but they wouldn't be the same. As with most food on a hiking trip, it tastes better simply because it is made outside, and you are ravenous. Stick biscuits are nothing more than Bisquick on a stick, cooked over the camp fire, then filled with butter and jam, but in the open air, after a day of hiking, they are sublime. Ahh....

There was more to our vacation, including a Mariner's game (they actually managed to win!) and a wedding shower for Annie, and a trip to the University District, but it shall have to remain shrouded in mystery. We are moving on - to moving actually. We have one week left here in NY, to pack, visit places we have missed, clean the house, and generally wrap up. eeek!

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