Archive for July, 2006

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Photos from Ohio

July 31, 2006
A photo of a coal plant on the Ohio River on July 23, 2006. And I wonder why the river tastes so bad. Photo by Nick Peyton.

A photo of a coal plant on the Ohio River on July 23, 2006. And I wonder why the river tastes so bad. Photo by Nick Peyton.

A photo Jessica, a fellow board member, knee boarding on the Ohio River on July 23, 2006. Photo by Nick Peyton.

A photo Jessica, a fellow board member, knee boarding on the Ohio River on July 23, 2006. Photo by Nick Peyton.

A photo of myself sailing the boat on the Ohio River on July 23, 2006. Photo courtesy of Nick Peyton.

A photo of myself sailing the boat on the Ohio River on July 23, 2006. Photo courtesy of Nick Peyton.

A photo of a coal plant and a nuclear plant on the Ohio River on July 23, 2006. Are you sure this river is safe to swim in? Photo by Nick Peyton.

A photo of a coal plant and a nuclear plant on the Ohio River on July 23, 2006. Are you sure this river is safe to swim in? Photo by Nick Peyton.

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Rest in Peace Mr. Ipodles, I Barely Knew You

July 21, 2006

As some of you know I am in Cincinnati, OH for a board retreat for the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students. I have never been to Ohio before and it was great crossing two states off the list. The airport is located in Northern Kentucky.

I had a direct flight from Seattle to Cincinnati and it was a quick four-hour flight. Pretty uneventful. I sat next to a woman who was traveling with her husband, son and daughter. But they were scattered nearby but different rows around the plane. The woman napped most of the flight. As she would nap, I guess she forgot that she was not napping next to her husband. She would lean against me. Lay her head close. She invaded my bubble. Quite unnerving.

When I stepped off the plane it was hot as hell. And it was humid. The humidity was so high that there was fog. That only happens when there is 100 percent humidity – a little fact I learned in my geography class. I would stand still outside and I would sweat bullets.

While we are close to Cincinnati, we are not in Cincinnati. The town is about thirty miles from Cincinnati. We are “camping” during our retreat. We are in 30-foot motor homes. I have a nice twin bed, a/c and power for my laptop. It is quite nice as campers go. The name of the town is New Richman and it is located right next to the Ohio River. This place is Anytown, USA. The town is quaint. Fireflies are as common as the rain is in Seattle. A large white gazebo is the centerpiece of the town. And the local ice creamery only takes cash but has ten flavors of ice cream and allows smoking.

It was surreal when we got to the river. We unhitched the boat from the trailer and then we went boating on the mighty Ohio. The fog remained. And it was hot. I sat in the shade but I sweat profusely. The rived is lined with barges that have run aground. They sit there rusted out like old ghost ships. The river tastes disgusting. It tastes like copper and I suspect that is from either the barges or the coal plants that line the river. After boating, we played volleyball outside. I sat my iPod Nano on a nearby table. All of a sudden, it started to thunder and lightning. A couple of drops of rain came down through the fog and landed to the ground. Then a flash of lightning lit the gray sky, followed by the loudest thunder I ever heard. It started to pour.

We ran undercover and listened to the thunder and the rain. About 15 minutes go by and one of my fellow board members runs outside to grab something. I thought to myself “Oh that is horrible, she left her cell phone out there.” But it was no cell phone, it was my iPod Nano.

A flicker of light would flash when I pressed a couple of buttons, but after that, it wouldn’t even turn on. The Ohio rain claimed one casualty that night and it happened to be my Nano. Rest in peace Mr. Ipoddles, I barely knew you.

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Eiger and the Death Hike

July 9, 2006

I cannot believe it has been ten days since I last wrote. Time flies during the summer. Since I last wrote, I have been rejected for a job that I really wanted, visited the Washington Coast, hiked around Mount Rainer, been invited to a wedding and have been told that I should attend a conference in San Diego next week and then told that I was no longer needed to attend that conference – and I thought summer was going to be easy.

I just got back from a camping trip with my friends Paul and Kelli. We were about 40 miles outside of Enumclaw, near Mount Rainer. Paul and Kelli were asked by another couple to watch their dog for the weekend. And, they said yes. So we took along a giant Bernese Mountain dog named Eiger (pronounced: eye-GAR) on our trip. After having dogs in my family my entire life, I was weary of taking on Eiger for the trip. The smell, the constant licking and poo are the main reasons I don’t like dogs.

A closeup photo of Eiger on July 9, 2006. Photo by Nick Peyton.

A closeup photo of Eiger on July 9, 2006. Photo by Nick Peyton.

Photo of Kelli and Eiger before our hike on July 9, 2006. Photo by Nick Peyton.

Photo of Kelli and Eiger before our hike on July 9, 2006. Photo by Nick Peyton.

The highlight of the trip was the hike. It is common knowledge that I really do not like hiking. I don’t get the appeal of hiking to some place, packing food and water, not having access to a bathroom and then hiking back. But Paul and Kelli were billing this hike as a short walk from our campsite. Now I like walking. I walk to work. I walk to the store. I walk to school. Walks are fine. So when they said this was more of a walk than a hike I agreed to this idea.

We left our campsite around eleven. And the trailhead was a ten-minute walk from our camp. With Eiger leading the way, we started on Trail #1184 to Nobel Knob. The trail is just over six miles round trip. The elevation gain is close to 1,100 feet. After hiking what seemed 10 miles, we reached an old wooden sign – Nobel Knob 1.5 miles away. I was shocked. It only had been 1.5 miles!? It seemed like we had been hiking forever.

The views along the trail were breathtaking. It was a glorious, clear July day. Rainer loomed to our left and the valley was filled with a thick forest cover. Deep colored flowers engulfed the fields along the hills. Orange paintbrushes and purple wildflowers provided the much needed color around the dusty trail.

Photo of Mount Rainer taken on Trail #1184 to Noble Knob on July 9, 2006. Photo by Nick Peyton.

Photo of Mount Rainer taken on Trail #1184 to Noble Knob on July 9, 2006. Photo by Nick Peyton.

While the views were stunning and the flowers were great, this was a death hike. Right before you reach the knob, there is a significant elevation gain. This led me to believe that the hike was almost over. However, at the top of this hill, you can look down to the valley below and see the trail going down and then leading into an even higher elevation gain to the knob. I was defeated. Not only was this going to be the hardest part of the hike, I was going to go over that hill again when we decided to come down from the knob. But I was determined to be on top of the knob.

Years ago, there used to be a lookout on top of the Noble Knob. What they were looking out for is unclear but you can find remnants of the lookout on top. Getting to the top of the knob requires you to hike around it like a candy cane. About halfway up to the knob, Eiger bolts for the shade of a lone pine tree. He is down and out for the count. Eiger does not want to go up there – and who can blame him. We decide to let Eiger rest in the shade, and Kelli and I went up top to the knob. The views are wonderful. Here are some photos:

Photo of Kelli and the candy cane like trail. Taken on Trail #1184 to Noble Knob on July 9, 2006. Photo by Nick Peyton.

Photo of Kelli and the candy cane like trail. Taken on Trail #1184 to Noble Knob on July 9, 2006. Photo by Nick Peyton.

Photo of Mount Rainer taken on top of Noble Knob on July 9, 2006. Photo by Nick Peyton.

Photo of Mount Rainer taken on top of Noble Knob on July 9, 2006. Photo by Nick Peyton.

 Photo of Nick Peyton and Mount Rainer on top Noble Knob on July 9, 2006. Photo courtesy of Nick Peyton.

Photo of Nick Peyton and Mount Rainer on top Noble Knob on July 9, 2006. Photo courtesy of Nick Peyton.

Photo of a US Geological Survey marker on top of Noble Knob on July 9, 2006. Photo by Nick Peyton.

Photo of a US Geological Survey marker on top of Noble Knob on July 9, 2006. Photo by Nick Peyton.

Photo of either Lost Lake or Lake George. Taken from the top of Noble Knob on July 9, 2006. Photo by Nick Peyton.

Photo of either Lost Lake or Lake George. Taken from the top of Noble Knob on July 9, 2006. Photo by Nick Peyton.

Photo of the outstanding views from Noble Knob July 9, 2006. Photo by Nick Peyton.

Photo of the outstanding views from Noble Knob July 9, 2006. Photo by Nick Peyton.

We come back down and take Eiger from Paul and we hike down to the place where there was a significant elevation gain. We find this a shady spot, take out our sandwiches and have lunch – my personal favorite part of any hike.

We rested and continued. Eiger was beat though. Throughout the hike back to camp, Eiger wanted to rest in the shade. Oftentimes he would pull me into the trees. At one point, we rested on a shady log and Eiger decided to take a nap on the trail, see the photo below.

Photo of Eiger sleeping on the trail on July 9, 2006. Photo courtesy of Nick Peyton.

Photo of Eiger sleeping on the trail on July 9, 2006. Photo courtesy of Nick Peyton.

My calves were burning, my ankle felt as it was just one misstep away from breaking, my back ached with pain and I was covered in dirt and sweat. And just when I thought, I could go no further, just when I thought I would join Eiger in the shade of a pine tree, we reached the trailhead and the hike of death was over.

Maybe one day I will get into hiking. But that day is not soon. We packed up camp the next day and headed back to Seattle. On our way back, we stopped at a small local cafĂ© and had breakfast. The next stop was Eiger’s house. And I was honestly sad to see him go. I have always said that I don’t like hiking or dogs but maybe, this is the beginning of changing my mind.