Sunday, September 16, 2007

Camping at Greider Lake (with a superhero)

` On the last weekend of August, Superhero Lou Ryan and I went on a quest for a campsite at Greider Lake. Easy as that might seem, Greider Lake is three miles from the nearest road - uphill!
` I guess that's not terribly far, though did I mention that we were both carrying packs? Or that it was quite steep? How steep was it? So steep that there wasn't much to take a picture of except for trees, trees, rocks, some slimy, rotting mushrooms that looked like rancid aardvark diarrhea, trees, occasional views straight down a cliff, and - guess what? - more trees!
` Towards the top of the slope, however, I had a brilliant idea; why not stop and photograph the steepness? So I did:

` D'oh! The unbrilliant part of it was that I'd forgotten to turn off the flash - which can be used a maximum of five times before it drains the batteries!
` Defiantly, I took another photo without a flash (which can be done two hundred times without even using the batteries up).

` Finally, we got to the top of the ridge, where I had expected to see more of a view. I was wrong - there were still a bunch of darn trees in the way!

` Well, at least there were dozens of pleasant-looking, non-rotting mushrooms....

` Only about a minute later we were looking at the lake, along with a few campsites. In the first one there was a guy, his 'annoying dog' as he called it (because it barks a lot) and his two boys.
` We found a place to settle in - that is, one where we could scarcely hear the dog - though it wasn't at a proper campsite. Well, who cares? Who would stop us?
` Besides, look at the view! (BTW, you can click on any of my photos to see the full-size version.)

` The bestest part of all was that we had our very own Rainy-Day Platform®! (Though I can't say it was level.) Our first order of business was to change out of our hiking clothes into our 'regular clothes' before we froze from our own sweat!
` Uhhhh, let's fast-forward a bit....

` Though it had been cool and mostly hazy as we were hiking up, the sky cleared a bunch as we unpacked, though it's hard to tell from my pictures unless you look at the water.

` Speaking of water, we needed to get some, fast! So we took the water filter down to this lovely stream and pumped a good half-gallon or so.

` It tasted funny. But at least tasting funny does not equal death, right?

` Upon returning to our campsite, I was finally starting to feel chilly in the shirt I had changed into, so I wanted to take that off and put on Lou's flannel pullover. ...However, we found the two boys hanging around in our campsite!
` Seriously! Though they said it was a day picnic area, couldn't they see we were setting up camp? Well, I never! But for some reason we didn't tell them to leave, so I had to walk over towards their campsite before I could change.
` Day picnic area or not, the next thing on our mission was to find a spot to set up the tent. That was easy enough....

` ...and then we went off to get some firewood! Luckily, the lake is populated by large rodents who are all too happy to tear down a few trees in the name of building a dam. I call this photo 'Lou bending over beaver action'. *ahem*

` Keep in mind, he's the one who calls it 'beaver action'... which I was also leaning against to take this photo, whereupon he said... well, never mind!
` Soon enough, we had our fire going and our tent set up, and all we had to do was sit around and relax.

` After a while of staring out at the water, I came to notice a gray, bird-like lump, preening itself on a drowned tree.

` Okay, so it was a bird, but what kind of bird it was, I have no idea: It looks to me like a sandpiper, although I couldn't find it in my book of Pacific Northwest birds. So, I looked on the internet, and no matches there, either. Bastard internet.

` Whatever it was, it apparently stands around in or near shallow water and bobs its head up and down rhythmically (which is why its head is blurry in this one, which you can see by clicking on the photo).

` What's that all about, anyway? Does that confuse the fish or something?

` It did seem to be going after fish, or some kind of water insects....

` When it finally flew away, the sun was going down... and it was time for dinner - lasagna and vegetarian chili (which I shall never buy again, BTW)! Lou had also brought along this stuff called 'I Can't Believe it's Cheese Pizza'.
` Let me just say; the title is very apt.
` Finally, when the sky was dark, we looked up and I was shocked when I saw how bright the stars were! ...And when we looked up a minute later and they were gone. ...And then we looked up again and they were back! Sneaky stars! Most of the time, though, it was so clear we could make out the angle of the galaxy as well as tons of meteorites!

` The next morning, the sight I woke up to was... a spider whose abdomen was the size of a grape, crawling around above my head! Lou insisted on squishing it, but I managed to pick it up off the top of the tent - with a sound like Velcro because it must have been hanging on for dear life! - and put it outside.
` After several hours, the sun finally rose above the mountains so it was actually quite sunny for the first time!

` If only the sky was more visible at the same time as the mountains... but alas, it is either one or the other:

` Next time I'll try to remember my polarizing filter. Those things are cool - if you just turn one around in front of your eye, you can see reflections and refractions - in windows, water, very shiny things, and of course the sky - change shape and color like magic!

` Believe me, it was quite bright that morning - so bright, in fact, that Lou couldn't keep his eyes open long enough for me to take this photo!

` It was indeed so nice I had to take a picture of the lake from the bridge that goes across the creek....

` ...And a picture of another part of the creek!

` Did I mention that we were surrounded by blueberries? (And blueberry bird poop!)

` I had also recently been reading about how the snowberry fly intimidates jumping spiders by waving around its striped wings - which looks a bit like a jumping spider waving its legs in a threat display. Imagine my surprise when I saw one climbing around on the blueberry bush!
` Didn't get a picture of it, though, but I probably could have.

` Anyway, we eventually packed up camp and made our way down the switchbacks. This time I decided to take a couple of pictures of Lou being handsome on the trail:

` I think this is his 'mountainy' look....

` Once in the car, I also thought to stop and take a photo because where there aren't so many trees by the gravel road!

` So there you have it! The 'long lost' - or rather 'short lost' camping trip! In the future, however, I shall put up some even 'longer lost' photos (like last spring's crazy guy in a dress), since really, there's a lot of good stuff to be posted.
` I should mention that the reason for all this lateness is partly due to a) busyness and b) the fact that it takes ages to edit, upload, then display all the photos onto Blogger - never mind the whole 'typing in words' part!
` That reminds me; I had better get going because I've been doing almost nothing all day except for preparing these photos and writing this post! See how long it takes? Who has that kind of time? Let's just say; I wouldn't if I was in Snoqualmie pass chasing people around in a skirt, a cape and high heels as planned!
` Unfortunately, it's raining, and our ridiculously huge hats can't get wet. *sigh* Why does stuff keep getting in the way? Someday....

` Before I go onto doing more important stuff, I should also mention; Lou and I are planning to scare more people in the Field of Screams - I hope it's as fun as it was last year!


Gary said...

Great pics. You're a bit of a kook (in a nice way), at least that's what I get from your blog.

S E E Quine said...

` Thanks! And yes, I am a kook - and proud of it!

MONA said...

That was some camping!
The slopes do seem steep & the mushrooms are awesome! I love the pictures of the spring & the mountains! spring water can be strange tasting at times though :)

You were kind to the spider :) she must be pregnant!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Those are magnificent photographs! Seems like a great place to camp and trek. I really hope that I recover enough of my health that I may again enjoy the wilderness. Whether I do or not, I hope that you continue to do so, with my old preacher’s blessings!

S E E Quine said...

` You know, Mona, I was thinking the same thing - that spider was so huge and round it must be full of eggs!
` And because I let her free, she got the chance of making more spiders, which might later on find their way into our tent, and so the cycle continues.

` Thanks, Nick! Man, you've been having some raw luck lately! I hope you can at least get to a doctor soon enough about your leg.
` It would be a bummer if you were left unable to go hiking again!

nvisiblewmn said...

Gorgeous pictures.

I guess I've never seen aardvark feces. Not that I want to or anything. I wouldn't know it if I saw it, I'm saying.

Galtron said...

OMG! I saw one of those grey birds when I was at Greider Lake --so you're not hallucinating.

Don't know what it is, though....

angel said...

these photographs are incredible!

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