Tuesday, December 6, 2011


A Nativity example of Ginger's Scripture Scribbles

MERRY CHRISTMAS from sunny Northeastern Oregon! There’s about 3 foot of snow in the mountains, but here in the valley it is dry and cold.  We had snow before Thanksgiving, but it has since melted.  Which makes holiday travel much nicer!  Ging and I met Luke north of Bend, OR, for Thanksgiving in a yurt at Tumalo State Park.  Have microwave, will travel!  We had a great time.  In another week, Ging will drive to the Boise airport to pick up both Jed and her mother for the holidays. 
With Luke at our yurt for Thanksgiving
          Luke is spending this year on the Oregon coast in Newport.  No, he didn’t dry out during his YAV year in Tucson and require extensive rain to reconstitute (although he says it has seemed that way lately!) He has had a two year, long distance, relationship with a lovely young lady named Kady whom he met at Linfield.  She has an Americorp job in Newport, and they thought it might be nice to be in the same town for a change.  Luke is working part time at the local recreation center while volunteering with the Presbyterian youth group.  He is enjoying the coast while trying to discern the next step in his future. 
With Jed at Lake Isabelle in the Colorado Rockies
          Jed is in the process of writing his thesis for his doctorate.  He is still teaching labs and filming the moon when weather allows. He is looking to finish this summer.  Then…who knows?  A teaching job at a small liberal arts college is the goal.  Any openings for a physics prof, let him know!  He is enjoying family, friends, and volleyball in the central New Mexico area. 
          After a great deal of soul searching and prayer, Ginger resigned from her teaching job last June.  It was time to move on.  She is enjoying (too much!) her time volunteering at the library and food co-op, reading with elementary students, and working on the myriad of craft projects accumulated in the basement!  A new job will be teaching two classes at the community college this winter.  She is ever involved with the church, recently serving on the committee that found us a new pastor.  Artistically, she’s begun to publish her Scripture Scribble books!  Come March, she will be able to officially retire under the Oregon PERS system.  She’s a happy girl and now a lifetime Weight Watcher member! 
Fall hike in the Elkhorn Mts. 
          Meanwhile, Rick is almost half way through his 30th and final year of teaching.  I still enjoy the kids and colleagues, but Ging and I have fall and spring travels that we have been waiting to enjoy.  We had a great trip through the spine of Colorado last summer on our way to pick up Luke.  Many mountain passes and hikes in the thin air!  We think we would enjoy combining volunteer work and traveling.  So we are looking to get a trailer (more than our pop up!), hook it up to the truck and see some country.  Who knows?  We may be coming to an area near you in the future!  In the meantime, I keep busy with weekend hikes and snowshoe trips. 
          Have you noticed a common theme in our family?  None of us is exactly certain what the future holds!  A time of transition and change for us all, but we are healthy and excited to see where our journeys and God take us. 
Rembold family all dressed up for the
Christening banquet
The USNS Wm McLean launches!

A family highlight of the year was Ginger’s participation in the christening and launch of the USNS William McLean, a naval resupply ship named in honor of Ginger’s uncle.  The San Diego April gala included over 40 McLean family members from as far away as Connecticut and Alaska!  Jed picked up Luke in Tucson and made the drive from New Mexico.  What a reunion!  Ginger also joined her sister Margaret in August for the sea trials of the ship. 

          We think of all of you often.  We wish you peace, health, and happiness.  May God’s grace be with you as we celebrate the birth of his Son. 

Rick and Ginger

Thanks everyone for welcoming our electronic
card!  We are saving trees and pennies!  
1704 Broadway St. 
Baker City, OR 97814 

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner
November 24-26

See all pictures by clicking HERE

          Rick and I left Baker City around 8 am on Thanksgiving morning – right at our intended departure!  It is cloudy and cool, but the roads shouldn’t be too bad.  In looking at the map, we have 3 passes over 5,000 feet to cross and 2 over 4,000.  Luke’s big challenge will be Tombstone at 4400’ and Santiam at 4800’.  The latter has had up to three feet of snow this past week, but it has melted quickly also. 
          We hit slush on top of Tipton and Dixie, but not the “packed snow” the internet indicated.  Truly clear sailing, and near Prairie City, when we stop at the rest area, we are greeted with sunshine which accompanies us until Prineville!  I take over driving in PC, through the John Day valley, Mitchell, over Occhoco to Bandit Springs Rest Area where we stop and switch drivers again.  At the top of Occhoco we seemed to run right into a front: the temperature dropped 10 degrees and the wind really picked up.  But the wind seemed only temporary.  The clouds did turn dark and ugly as we approached the Cascades.  Any idea of seeing the peaks was quickly squelched. 
          We arrive at Tumalo State Park a little before 1pm, check in, unpack, and touch base with Luke, who is currently in Sisters!  He arrived by 1:30!  Everyone here safe and sound! 
          We pull out the menu for our Turkey Dinner, Rick sets up the microwave on the porch bench, and we cook and reheat our meal.  Luke sets the table complete with tablecloth, decorations and candles.  It is THANKSGIVING after all!  By 2:30 we are sitting down to our fine meal! 
          After dinner and phone calls to family and Kady while Rick cleans up the dishes, we take a walk in a light rain.  It ends up longer than planned, much to Luke’s chagrain as he is still wearing what amounts to his slippers, and to mine as I didn’t have my camera with me!  We hiked to the top of a small butte above the campground where we had a great view of the Deschutes and the surrounding area.  Then we walked nearly a mile along the swollen river – it was flooding over its banks in places. 
          Back to the yurt to dry off and pull out the pies!  Luke brought an apple pie that Kady had made (it looked beautiful!) and I brought the pumpkin.  We took care of a third of each, complete with whipped cream! 
          Rest of the evening filled with good conversation and games.  Rick even played three games of bananas, prior to curling up with his book while Luke and I fought a 2/3 round of cribbage.  I won the first game, but that was the LAST game I won during the visit! 
          Friday dawned absolutely clear, cool, and sunny!  What a wonderful surprise!  I had come expecting rain off and on, and we ended up with incredible sunshine and warmer temperatures!  After breakfast (Rick ate pie, Luke pumpkin chip bread, and I finished the pumpkin cranberry bread) and a lazy pace, around 10 we headed in with the intention of finding the trail to Tumalo Falls.  Upon leaving the campground, however, we drove up to the top of a small hill and realized we could see ALL the peaks glorious with the eastern sun on them.  Our plans quickly were altered to head into town and hike to the top of Pilot Butte first! 
The three of us on top of Pilot Butte,
Three Sisters in background
          We wind through town following our gut instincts and a few signs and locate the parking area for the trail to the top of the butte.  The road is closed this time of year, so the trail is the only option!  But it is only .8 mile to the top on a well graded trail.  By the time you wind the entire circumference of the butte, you have enjoyed views in every direction!  To the Sisters and Bachelor, to Jefferson, Hood, south to Newberry Crater, and east to Powell Buttes. A nice panorama from the top with signs pointing to the various peaks.  And an easy 1.5 RT hike to start the day!
Near Tumalo Falls trailhead
          Back down and off through downtown Bend and along Drake Park on the Deschutes to find Skyliner Road to Tumalo Falls. Rick had photographed directions this morning from the signs at the solar shower, and then visited with the ranger lady at the top of the butte as to the alterations to find the road from Pilot Butte.  We easily followed her directions and within minutes were winding our way up Skyliner Road and into the snow!  The trailhead for the falls is about 10 miles west of town and is shady, so the snow was constant for over half of the way.  The last 2.5 miles to the main trailhead is on a gravel road that isn’t maintained or even open after September, so we parked and grabbed a bite to eat before taking off on the 5 mile round trip hike to Tumalo Falls – all of it on a snow packed road.  Hiking was definitely easier on the return trip as more people had packed down the snow by then! 
          Highlights of the hike were the every changing clouds in the sky!  Wispy, drifting, clouds ever changing.  We were following the creek through what was an old growth forest burned 30 years ago in a fire.  On our right was a massive rock cliff and peak, covered with new seedlings and an occasional burned out snag of a fire remnant.  The falls are 97’ in height in a straight drop off a notch in a side canyon.  They definitely had a cold feel to them today! 
Tumalo Falls
          By the time we arrive back at the car, the sky has darkened with clouds moving in.  Good time to be done for the day!  Seems to cool down some as well.  We drive back to the campground, following Mt. Washington Drive much of the way.  Rick and I test the solar showers (Luke tried it out this morning) and then some time to just relax and read, draw or fall asleep on a 5 star Sudoku puzzle (the latter two would be me!).
          Around 5 we start heating up our leftovers for dinner!  We plan out the Christmas Eve service for the church and then….it is game time!  Rick reads while Luke and I play two rounds of Quiddler, with Luke winning both by a TOTAL of 6 points!  Then two rounds of cribbage.  I didn’t get skunked, but Luke’s victories were considerable and easy! 
          In bed shortly after 10pm to read and…..goodnight!
          Saturday morning, I woke and turned on the light to read in bed for about 45 minutes.  Eventually all are up around 7:45 to clean up, eat breakfast, and pack up the cars.  By 9:40 we are ready to be on our way! 
A final picture before we leave our yurt. 
          We wave goodbye to Luke as he turned north to Sisters and we head towards Redmond.  However, we missed our turn to 97 somewhere and ended up at Eagle Crest Resort.  So we took a slightly longer route to Redmond and missed the cheap gas station!  Alas, alas! 
          Sunshine and incredible vistas all the way home!  Sprinkling of snow on the peaks, deep red ponderosas, red and golden willows, every shade of brown imaginable!  Rick drives the entire way as he is enjoying himself with a little light jazz on the CD!  Home by 2:30 to get Luke’s text that he was home safe and sound around 1:30. 
          Thanksgiving is for family and we joyfully spent the time with part of our family!  A wonderful Turkey Day in a Yurt!  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Anthony/Hoffer Scramble

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lakes Lookout in the background
Click HERE for all pictures

     Today I made arrangements for our Bountiful Basket pickup (right in the middle of the day!) so we could take off as soon as I was done serving breakfast at the Presbytery meeting. We left Baker City at 10am and headed up to Anthony Lakes area - determined to get one more HIKE in before the snow falls.  From the valley, it appears that all our snow has melted, but closer look from the basin reveals otherwise!  While we were hiking through alot, we did find enough to leave footprints.  The sunny weather in Baker City did NOT transfer to warmth up on the mountain, however!  A COLD wind was blowing as the colds huddled around the peaks.  Occasionally the snow broke through, but Rick and I were both glad we had brought our gloves!  
     We decided to just explore and wander today - no peaks, no long hikes.  We headed up the ski run road briefly and then cut up the far run to upper Hoffer Meadows, up the north side of Hoffer Butte, and into the Rock Basin.  Did some heavy duty rock scrambling up there.  The basin is filled with such HUGE rocks!  The "wild African turkey grass" has turned virtually brown, but it still colors the hillsides with an overall reddish tinge.  The lowbush huckleberries are losing their leaves.  We did find a few purple asters still in bloom, covered up by snow in some cases.  
     On the south side of Hoffer Butte we stopped to snack (out of the wind!) and then enjoyed poking around the little tairn at the base of Lees Peak.  It was iced over with a thin coating!  In another pool, a thick slab of ice floated around.  We cut down a different drainage to drop back into the Hoffer Lakes area, which gave me a new view of the lakes than I have seen before.  I also hadn't realized how many granite slabs form the side of that mountain!  
     We dropped back down the Hoffer Lakes trail to Anthony and then back to the car.  On down the road to the big parking area by the Gorham Butte road, where we parked and then headed up the hillside to the south to look for potential Christmas trees.  We finally flagged three trees with the red cloth of my old sweatpants!  

Hell's Canyon Fishing

Lazy day on the Snake River
October 14, 2011

Click HERE to view all pictures

     Rick and I got up early this morning to head down to Hell's Canyon Dam on the  Snake River.  It was my first trip down to the canyon in probably 6-8 years.  The weather forecast was for sunshine - a perfect fall outing in the planning!  
     EARLY meant we left Baker City around 5:20 am - a good decision because it put us into the canyon BEFORE the sun rose in the east.  Driving is always tough heading east in the early morning otherwise!  A huge moon lit up the western sky behind us.  We stopped briefly at Copperfield Park to use the restroom, and then the final 20 or so miles on the Idaho side of the river to the dam.  Brownlee Reservoir was absolutely calm, reflecting the hills beautifully.  
Colors add to the scenery
     We hiked about a mile down the trail, avoiding the poison ivy plants and reveling in the sun as it began to light up the cliffs high above us.  The colors are gorgeous - orange, golden, reds.  Rick gets set to fish around 8am while I find a good rock for some reading, devotions, drawing, Soduko, etc.  Eventually my body says the rock is REALLY cold and I wander around abit seeking the sunshine, which by 10:30 or so FINALLY makes its way to the river edge.  It felt soooo good!  
Rick prepares to find another hole. 
     Rick did not have a great deal of fortune in his fishing - at least not in terms of putting dinner on the table!  He did catch a couple of small bass and two catfish - all of which he returned to the water!  We did move around a few times to try some new holes.  I took pictures, drew a doodle style picture of Rick fishing, and spent some time visiting with Arron Moxon who was spending the weekend in the canyon.  
     While the fishing wasn't successful, the day certainly was.  It was beautiful, warm eventually, and a perfect way to spend a fall day!  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Gilstrap Brothers Winery Tour

Saturday, October 8, 2011  

      Back in May I ordered my first Groupon on the internet for Rick's birthday present: a wine tour and tasting for two at the Gilstrap Brothers Winery in Cove, Oregon.  I didn't know at the time that the first tasting of Gilstrap wine Rick partook was horrible.  He swore he'd never drink it again.  Couple years later Rusty encouraged him to try a glass at Crossroads and Rick thought it pretty good.  Of course, I found out all this later.  I just figured....it was a winery, it was close, it was a bargain,  and it was a good birthday present!  Wine is wine to me!
    Our Groupon expired in November, so I was starting to feel a little urgency in scheduling our visit - and we did have to schedule with an advance phone call, etc.  An enjoyable chat with one of the two owners, and we were ready to go for Saturday, the 8th of October.  We decided to combine the visit with the opportunity to also check out one of the Casita brand trailers located in La Grande. 
Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe
    So promptly at 10 am, Rick and I arrived at the rural home of Sandy and Rich Willoughby north of LaGrande along the base of Mt. Emily, their two year old Casita parked on a cement pad.  We were given a very thorough tour, which doesn't take long in a 17' trailer!  But we were able to come to some decisions based on the visit and it confirmed a change for us in which design we might be most interested in.  Casitas are well planned and structurally VERY sound in construction.  Every little space is thought out.  
    Into Island City for a quick shop at Wal-Mart and a Subway sandwich (we have to eat something BEFORE we consume wine!) and out on the Cove Highway to the winery for our noon appointment.  We find another couple from Salem area waiting with their Groupons as well!  (No, they didn't make the drive JUST for the tour - they were in the area otherwise!)
Rescue Dog label
    Gilstrap Brothers Winery is only about 8 years in the production of wine, and owner Warren concedes that the product is much better now than those first years!  He gave a little history of the winery and it's beginnings (his father planted the two acres of grapes they grow as a hobby in his retirement).  They purchase most of their grapes from other growners in the Columbia basin.  He gave the history of the Rescue Dog wine label - his brother rescued a dog in Arizona thrown off a truck and abandoned.  A portion of the proceeds of the wine sales go to a dog rescue group in the midwest.  I learned that White Merlot is not a cost effective wine to produce and because it is "unstable" they no longer make it.  :(  So sad!  The white merlot label they had was really cute with little stick figures on it!  While we were given the history, etc, Warren was pouring tastes of the 10 different wines they are currently bottling.  Only two of them were whites/blush, but I did TRY a couple of reds, including the port - that was REALLY strong even if it was on the sweeter side!    No white merlot to try.  
45 Label
    Most of the their wines are labeled with a 45 on them - indicative of the location on the wine fertile latitude of 45 degrees north - same as prime wineries in France, etc.  
    Gilstrap is a small, family run operation.  With a full wine glass in hand, we then took a tour of the wine production process.  We saw the wine barrels filled with water, ready to be emptied and filled with this year's product.  They were currently stored outside.  We saw the giant "puree" machine (ok, foot stomping time!) that separates the pulp from the vines.  The fermentation tanks hold a ton of pulp.  In the garage he showed us the machine that has a huge vinyl bladder and separates the pulp more.  Finally a filter removes any additional sediment.  
Vineyard and valley view
     Inside the main building (they are a little short on space and looking to add on) we entered the room with last year's barrels aging and the bottling machine.  Each bottle is corked with a pneumatic pressure.  With 5 people working, they can bottle and cork a 12 pack of wine in about a minute.  He invited those interested to volunteer on bottling day! Rick might talk to Rusty and go up!  (Free wine for the workers!)
In the bottling room
     The winery is located on the slopes above Cove, overlooking the Grande Ronde valley.  It is a beautiful location.  Two acres of grapes were ripe and ready in the next couple of weeks for harvest.  They are running a little behind schedule at the moment, but everywhere is late this year due to the weather!  
     We bought a couple of bottles (even with the 15% discount through Groupon, still triple what we usually pay for wine at Rite Aid!) and around 2 pm were headed home to Baker City.  We choose to travel home via Catherine Creek and Medical Springs.  It is a gorgeous fall, sunny day! 
View all winery pictures HERE
Catherine Creek Picnic Area

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Newport Weekend

Luke and Kady
See pictures from the weekend by clicking HERE

     Rick and I take off early Friday morning (like 5:45am early!) to head over to Newport, OR, for the weekend - delivering Luke his beloved "Tinkerbell" green Honda and recovering our Honda truck which Luke drove over three weeks ago in moving large furniture, bikes, etc. to the coast.  We opted to drive via the middle of the state, after consulting Google maps and discovering it was 30 miles shorter via Hwy 26/20 and only 30 minutes slower.  Anything to avoid the pandemonium of Portland on a Friday afternoon!  As it was, we made the drive in 8 hours 15 minutes, including stops.  It was beautiful all the way.  Rick drove to Prairie City, I drove to Bandit Springs (Ochoco Summit), Rick to Sweethome, and I took us into Newport.  The little Honda probably deserved a good chance to "blow it all out" after a year in "captivity" in the Yeoumans garage!  We were loaded with TV, TV stand, vacuum, portable BBQ and big propane tank,  trunk (filled of course!), food supplies (including sourdough starter)....we were loaded!  The little Honda isn't that big! 
Luke's hood ornament....ugh!
     As the day progressed, the weather got warmer, but thankfully we were heading to the coast and it was nice and cool upon arrival!  Somewhere around Corvallis a flock of birds flew right into the front of the car.  When we pulled into Luke's we discovered we had a new hood ornament....not of the very attractive kind!  Rick took care of it for us!  
     Kady was still at work when we arrived at the little cottage bungalow (after checking into our Travelodge motel).  Luke showed us the house (which takes about 1 minute) and shared the news of his job interview this morning at the City Recreation Center.  He thought it went well, and he will hear on Monday at noon the results.  Say a prayer!  We then left to check out some building supply options and see if a fishing boat might be unloading (Rick and I had seen a sign coming through town.)  Well, I was so excited to get the fish I forgot to take any pictures OF the fish!  A tuna boat was in the bay, and we ended up purchasing 2 fish, at about 15 pounds each.  Filleted we got approximately 16-17 pounds of tuna.  Stopped at a Dollar Tree to pick up freezer bags and went right back to the house to package and get it into the freezer.  We are happy, happy!!!  The fish supply in the freezer was lean! 
     Kady arrived home from work around 5:40 and by 6:15 we decided it was TIME TO EAT!   A good time to try out the BBQ we brought over.  I had brought chicken tenders to cook, plus potato salad (we had a surplus of taters) and a huge tossed salad, plus tomato sourdough bread.  So dinner didn't take but a second to prepare, because it was all ready except for cooking the meat!  A bottle of wine and we were fixed for the evening!  
     Rest of evening was spent discussing options for window coverings, repairs, plans for Saturday, etc.  We headed back to motel around 9, having gotten up rather early! 

Luke installs curtain hooks. 
     A more leisurely rising, breakfast, and we meet at Luke & Kady's around 9, ready for a full day!  We made the rounds of building supply stores and Walmart, picking up the necessaries for a new portable mini closet, a board for the bed, window hardware, blinds, curtain materials, etc. I was excited to find the journal I've been looking for at this Wal-Mart!  Also a stop down in the Nye Beach area to pick up some clam chowder at the Chowder Bowl for lunch.  Andy Ferns had told Luke that it was the best chowder in Newport!  We tend to agree....it was VERY thick and rich and probably I don't want to even imagine the Weight Watcher point value!  
What are they??
     Back to the house to eat and then tackle the job of putting up blinds and stitching curtains together. Kady put together the wardrobe after she and I went out and picked blackberries for awhile.  I took pictures of the random flowers surrounding the house of which we are trying to figure out the identity.  Mostly the plants are blackberries!  The tree outside the front door is a holly tree, but it had us confused because the leaves at the very top were not pointy at all.  I have since read that only the bottom leaves of holly trees are pointy!  
Holly leaves on tree. 
     Since our pharmacy coverage ends on October 1, we thought we would get Luke his flu shot, especially since he might be working with kids.  He called Safeway, confirmed they were giving shots, and we drove down.  Well, we don't know WHICH Safeway he called, but it wasn't Newport.  They don't have a pharmacy department!  But the Rite-Aid next door did, Rick and I ended up getting our flu shots, plus Rick his Shingles shot.  But there was a problem with the insurance on Luke - end result no shot for Luke and I have to call OEBB on Monday morning to work it out.  
     Another stop at Radio Shack to pick up rabbit ear antennae for his TV - for a $12 investment he is able to pick up 3 stations.  Enough to make them happy!  
Luke & Kady at Green Gable
     Sunday is Kady's 23rd birthday and since Rick and I will be leaving early in the morning, we are celebrating tonight.  Kady is a great fan of the Anne of Green Gables books, and the little B&B around the corner is called the Green Gables Italian Cafe, so we try it out.  An eclectic little place - used book store, music venue, cafe, and B&B.  Kady and I have Chicken Pot Pies and Rick and Luke opt for spaghetti.  
     We walk back to the cottage just in time to open another bottle of wine and go up onto the roof to watch the sunset.  Since the house is set into the hillside, you can step right on to the roof on the back corner.  We sat and enjoyed what Luke and Kady said was the best sunset they've had since they moved to town.  Kady opened her birthday present and card.   Finally the cool night drove us inside where we talked abit longer before giving our hugs goodbye.  Rick and I will need to stop by in the morning to pick up the tuna from the freezer.  

Sunset from the rooftop. 
Up on the rooftop!
     Rick and I are up again early at 5:10 to pack up, check out, pick up ice at the open 24 hours Thriftway, and call Luke to open the front door at 5:50am.  The nearly full moon was turning bright orange as it dropped down into the ocean as we arrived at the cottage.  We loaded up the ice chest, another hug, a stop at the Shell for coffee, and by 6am we are on our way east again!  
     Within the hour and upon arrival in Corvallis, we are greeted with another stellar display of the sun....this time a sunrise!  The smoke filled skies of Oregon are rendering gorgeous skies!  We gas up and are again on our way!  Rick ends up driving clear to Sisters, I drive to John Day, and Rick on home.  We stopped briefly in Prineville at the Subway.  
Light shafts through the smoke near Suttle Lake. 
     Only big event enroute home was the smokey skies surrounding Santiam Pass area - there has been a fire near Big Lake and the wind either shifted or the fire flamed up because it was MUCH smokier coming home today.  You couldn't see Suttle Lake at all, but the light shafts through the smoke were pretty cool.  
     Home at 2:20pm safe and sound!  Quick, fast, but successful! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September Outings/Hikes

September 29, 2011

Shelli, Candy, Ginger, and Dan on top of Lakes Lookout
Click HERE for hike pictures
     Today I returned to the top of Lakes Lookout on a glorious fall day!  Shelli Swanson was visiting from Alaska and wanted to hike up in the Elkhorns.  Candy Arledge, who would much rather ride her horse than walk, was going also so we needed to pick a relatively short, but spectacular view, destination!  The Lookout was perfect!
      Shelli drove to the ski area parking in her rental car (it had free miles she said!) and we parked right behind the Bogarts and Johnsons who were going to explore the loop around Dutch Flat Saddle and Black Lake.  As their pace was slightly faster than ours, we never saw them again!  
Fall colors in all their glory!
     The fall colors were stunning!  The "wild African turkey grass" was almost past, turning from its reddish hue to browns, but from a distance it still lent great contrast to the deep greens and a blue blue sky!  
     We arrived at the top of the peak in about an hour and a half, having hiked the entire way up the access road rather than cut cross country up the hill.  Candy preferred a trail!  Took a little cajoling right near the top when the trail got rocky!  But she made it.  Her husband Dan was already on the top by then!  
Ginger and her Inuk with Gunsight and
Van Patten in back. 
     Shelli had packed marvelous treats - whole wheat fig newtons, cheese and some yummy healthy crackers!  I took the time on the summit to build an inuk since I realized we had never constructed one at the top of Lookout.  Or did Luke and I build one when we came up on our anniversary three years ago?  Can't remember, but another was constructed!  
     Since we spent so long up on top of the peak, we opted to NOT take the alternate route back down via Hoffer Lakes.  Candy's hip was starting to bother her as well.  So back down the road, which obviously seemed longer on the return than going up!  Or so I thought!   
Look what Ginger found!
     Back down to Anthony Lakes picnic area where Shelli pulled out the rest of the food she had packed for the day!:  salmon sandwiches!  plums!  We sat at the edge of the shoreline in the sunshine and ate.  It was beautiful and only one other car in the area.  After Dan eyed a bobbing red cork in the water the whole time, I finally took off my shoes and waded out to retrieve it for him.  Sure enough, a cork and hook with an attached weight which was keeping it in place in the water.  
     A beautiful day with good friends!  

September 24, 2011
Crest trail as it heads north
to Elkhorn Peak.

Click HERE to view hike pictures
White spot in the middle is a goat!
     Ginger was off in LaGrande at the EOPW meeting and Rick had a1pm deadline to be back in town to pick up the Bountiful Basket at Brooklyn School.  So this jaunt up to Elkhorn Peak was more a test of the new Honda 4x4 on the Marble Pass Road and a goat viewing expedition.  The summit was NOT reached!  
     The road is in no better condition than the last time we traveled up in Moon's borrowed pickup truck, but driven slowly it is definitely doable!  The Honda did great.  Fall colors beginning to show, especially on the south west side of the Elkhorn Ridge.  The beauty of this trail is always the ability to snag views both to Baker Valley and Sumpter Valley on either side. 
    When it became clear Rick wasn't going to get to the top, he took time to watch mountain goats on the hillside and some good views down into Goodrich Lake.  
     Back to Baker City just in time to pick up the vegetables!  
Late blooming lupine overlooking Baker Valley from Elkhorn Ridge. 

September 18, 2011
Lakes Lookout

Group picture on the summit
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     Today we lead our 14th annual Hike to Heaven for the youth and families of the Presbyterian church.  Our destination is Lakes Lookout, hiking up from the ski area parking lot, for a round trip of about 4 miles and 1500 feet in elevation gain.  Our group shrunk to nine by the time we actually left, having lost people for a variety of reasons, especially illness!  Hiking this year were Molly, Bryson, & Spencer Smith; Liz Romvedt; Greg & Christian Miles; Mike Braymen, Rick and myself.  (Plus Spicer - Molly's father's dog!)
     We follow the road up "Road Run" for a short distance and then take off up Starbottle and Avanlanche ski runs (I have never skied this part of the mountain as they aren't beginner runs!) to the top of the hill.  The last steep uphill part takes us out right at the beginning of the Lakes Lookout trail - exactly Rick's intent!  
Can you spy the cross on the mountain slope?
     We spy a few stalwart snow patches between Lees Peak and Lakes Lookout, one of them I later realize makes the sign of a cross.  That was right below our spot on the summit for our worship service.  I think God was blessing our worship!  (And particularly our singing of Pass It On with the words, "I'll shout it from the mountaintop!")
     Luke's "wild African turkey grass" is in full fall splendor, casting a reddish hue to the hillsides.  It is especially beautiful around the Hoffer Meadow area in contrast to the bright green meadow grasses. 
Bryson is first to the top!
     Not many wildflowers remaining, although we did find a few gentians in the meadow area of Hoffer - closed up because the sun hadn't blessed them yet today.  Purple asters and a few lupines, all appearing on the "past" side.  
Ginger leads worship from the summit
     Bryson is the first to ascend to the summit, arriving around 11:05 and posing in front of the pole.  We snack and then decide we had better start worship because the air was definitely cool.  People weren't going to want to stay up on top for long!  Clouds are gathering, a wind is blowing, and it feels like fall!!  (At least it isn't snowing or raining!)  
    Worship follows with the theme of "Living Signposts" - short and sweet, but always profound when offered from the top of a mountain.  As we finish worship, the air cools, the wind picks up, and we decide it is time to leave....NOW!  People are getting cold!  
     Down off the mountain with Bryson and Christian in the lead and going down the road, while the rest of us take a slower pace and retrace our ski run trail.  Back at the picnic area we find Annie and Jason McClaurey and son Jake who have built a fire, cooked a few hot dogs, and in general have our lunch ready and waiting.  Disappointed that more couldn't join us today, either on the hike or on the picnic, but we had a great time.  S'mores, hot dogs, and plenty of brownies.  Thank you God for friends and a church family and the beauty of your world!  
Hoffer Meadows and Gunsight Peak

Labor Day, September 5
In front of Van Patten Butte
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     Rick and I are off this morning for a short, low impact hike - I'm still tired from the San Diego trip and Rick enjoyed a fairly strenuous hike with Mark Bogart just two days earlier.  His knees need a break!
    We are off to explore a new road - specifically a jeep road that takes off to the north about a half mile from the Anthony Lakes cabin road.  We park right at the junction.  It appears to be a veritable highway as it departs from the Anthony Road, but soon is blocked off with HUGE boulders and a sign saying no motorized vehicles.  It is obvious that is ignored frequently as we follow ATV tracks the entire way!
Forested walk
     We were thinking we would be in a more open setting, but the jeep trail passing through a thick spruce and pine forest, dropping DOWN to a closed in meadow.  We originally had thought to climb Bear Butte, but it appears to be more inaccessible - heavy thickets, downed timber, etc.  So we just follow the road!  It is easy walking, and we can walk side by side!  
Rick confirms they are elderberries!
     Eventually we open out on a hillside that suffered a fire YEARS ago - all the trees are about 8-12' high, charred timbers, open spaces, etc.  We can see Van Patten Butte, Gorham Butte and the valley patchwork below.  The valley has a layer of smoke on the eastern side - winds are shifting from the Wallowa fires and the heavy fires over in the Cascades.  I spot a few huckleberry bushes with berries - but they are small and still red.  We did find several elderberry bushes!  
We startled a huge woodpecker!
Funny fir cones!
     Wildflowers are fading - lupine, paintbrush, gilia, asters - all in their last color.  The forest is dry - the lack of thunderstorms with rain in the past month is telling.  We did discover a deer skeleton - well backbone and pelvis, some pine cones that sparkled in the sunlight with a whitish secretion, and we spooked a huge woodpecker that yelled at us as he flew around in a circle about us before landing on a tree long enough for his portrait! 
     All in all, we hiked in about 2.25 miles and then turned around and hiked back out!  Drove up to Anthony Lakes just for a quick view and homeward!