Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New shoes old shoes, red shoes brown shoes

With over 140 miles and ten months on them my old shoes are retired. I only wore these shoes when I was hiking so they were used on average less then once a week. The outside of my old shoes look good but there is a hole in the tread are they getting worn out on the inside. There is a hole in the inside liner where the backs of my heels must rub. I officially retired them by taking the green super feet insoles out and transferring them to my new shoes.

My old hiking shoes are now my around town shoes, or they will be with some hidden duct tape and shoe goo. Like I said the outsides still look good. I don't wear current hiking shoes around town because walking on pavement quickly wears out the soft rubber on hiking shoes.

These shoes had a stiff metal shank that was held in place by paper. The paper melted and the shanks fell out the first time I got the shoes wet. I did not miss the stiff shanks and the shoes were fine with my green super feet inside them to give them some structure. The soles were very thin without the metal shank, without the insoles I added these shoes would have been garbage the moment the shanks fell out. I think it is very shoddy design to use paper inside of any shoes but especially in trail running / hiking shoes.

It always seem to me that my hiking shoes wear out too soon and that is why I decided to keep track of how many miles and months these shoes lasted. I don’t think that 140 miles is excessive, I would have expected them to last longer. I bought these shoes at Big 5 and they were deeply dicounted. I think I paid less then $40.00 for them.

I splurged and bought new waterproof hiking shoes for $110. With waterproof shoes, gaiters and rain pants my feet should stay dry for the winter. I have had this brand of shoe before and I really liked the way they felt but was not happy with how quickly they started leaking. But I bought these at REI and REI has a lifetime warranty on all of their products.

If the Gortex fails in a short time and my new shoes are no longer waterproof I am going to return them. Gortex lined shoes and boots always seem to fail and start leaking in just a few months and they are very expensive. It has been over a year since I have had gortex lined shoes or boots so maybe they have improved in the last year but I doubt it.

I am still too ill with a fever to go hiking. Since I'm not manic the fever is really dragging me down. All I can do now is rest up and try to get better by the start of winter quarter. I hope I get well soon enough to get in at least one hike. I was really looking forward to doing a lot of hiking while my husband was home for winter break but I have been too sick with a fever to hike at all.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

School and flu season strikes again

I was going to hike today but I have a fever. I think I have my usual September-May sinus infection. I wish I could afford Beconase, it helps a lot but is just too expensive at $75 per bottle. In England you can buy it over the counter for $8.00 a bottle. I was all packed to go including my lunch. Maybe I will go for a drive and have a cup of coffee at later today instead. The snow is melting slowly. Hiking in melting snow with mixed rain and snow falling from the sky can be miserable and cold. With just snow it is cold enough that you don't get too wet but mixed rain and snow soaks you and chills you to the bone.

Unemployment is going up in my Mini City

Puddles of water are forming on the roads and the Purdy Cut-off road was briefly closed due to flooding from snow melt. There is a big puddle of water under my Jeep. I'm waiting for new wiper motor for my Jeep to arrive. I took the old one out and just need to pop the new one in but the snow has delayed the arrival of the motor. I don't feel like driving without wipers in this weather. With rain-x on day time driving is fine but night time driving is blinding.

We seem to be getting a rain on snow event this is bad news for the forest and the trails and the rivers. I wish I had been up on the Skok to see it happen last year maybe I should head up there now to watch it happen this year.

Update my new wiper motor came in and I installed it and it works. I'm feeling rather proud of that achievement. I wonder how much money I saved by doing it myself?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy New Solar Year

Are you ready for another wild ride around the sun? I'm not sure I can survive another ride as wild as this last one. At this time last year I was disgusted and discouraged by my experience with statistics, back stabbing friends and teachers pets at Evergreen. But a new quarter started in January and I had a good professor who taught an interesting class that was exactly as advertised. Anyway I'm going back this winter after taking Fall off due to a mania induced broken wrist. Wish me luck!

My mini city needs to build it's transportation network so please visit it.

I think I may go hiking tomorrow I'll have to do a short hike since I think pretty much no matter where I go I'll be snowshoeing. I have a 4 mile hike in mind if only my Jeep can get there. I wonder if I should subject my dog to a snowshoe hike. She will be sinking, but I guess she can always walk in my tracks while I pretend to be Good King Wenceslas.

I'm glad that the jesus thing we have to go through every year at this time is almost over. What an exhausting day it has been. Too many little pieces of plastic shit from China everywhere. Some asshole gave play doh to my 4 year old. Why did I marry an asshole? I'm sure parents had it better back in the little house on the prairie days when the kids would get one or two presents each. But then they all lived in the same room with their kids, but then they were allowed to beat them if they misbehaved... Hmmm

Ok so I've managed to get enough drugs into my system to quell the mania some but
not without a price. I was a zombie this morning, unable to do a damn thing, then I felt good for a bit, then I went manic again... sigh.. It seems like there is no happy medium. Zombie or manic, hard choice. Zombie is miserable and manic is costly. Basically life is going to suck until this episode ends.

"What we can't live with lives with us anyway. Soul melting into confusion, what does this fusion mean?" - John Trudell

Ah well at least the days are getting longer and Perihelion is approaching.

Santa Comes to Seattle

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Solstice Snow and Guatemala Snow Bears

Giant Bear (oso) near my house

My Guatemalan neighbors are building "snow bears". I've never seen this before I want to know more about it. My other neighbors are building snow people.

We got about 10 inches of snow in total on the Winter Solstice. Hooray for the first day of summer!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I guess I won't hike tomorrow

"A major winter storm is on tap this weekend. Heavy snow is expected to develop along the coast on Saturday afternoon and then spread into the interior of western Washington early Saturday evening. Heaviest snow will occur on the Kitsap peninsula... along Hood Canal... and from Olympia and Chehalis west to the central coast near Ocean Shores. 10 to 18 inches of snow is expected close to Hood Canal. Other locations within this area should get 5 to 12 inches of snow." - National Weather Service

I'm not going hiking tomorrow!

Today is now tomorrow and I think I should have gone hiking. The snow is falling pretty good now at 2:00 and I had planned to by home by 1 because I was going to leave the house at about 5am. I keep waking up at about 4am and trying to sleep until about 8:30 so the plan for today was to just get up and go at 4am. But I let my husband talk me out of it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Simpson plans downtime

Simpson plans downtime
Simpson Lumber Co. is informing customers that it will be down for an indefinite duration at its operations in Shelton, Tacoma, and Longview, Wash., beginning December 15. - 12/12/2008

So why are the frigging trains still waking me up at 6:30 every morning?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Shoes

So my hiking shoes have over 140 miles on them now. The outside of my shoes look good and the tread is still in good shape but the shoes are getting worn out on the inside. There is a hole in the inside liner where the backs of my heels must rub. This is the spot where you get heel blisters if you wear boots. I will try to repair them with duct tape. If the tape holds I can get many more miles out of these shoes. If the tape does not hold the holes in my shoes will rub against my heels and I will start to get blisters.

I would like to get a pair of water proof shoes for the winter season. I like the ones lined with gortex but they are very expensive and in my experience never stay waterproof for very long. Still there is nothing like the feeling of having warm dry feet in the rain and snow. My rainpants cause my feet to get wet since they basically funnel all the rain that hits my legs down to the tops of my shoes.

Should I splurge and get waterproof shoes for the season or should I just duct tape the ones I have and keep getting wet feet? I have to give a lawyer 1/4 of my income every month for the next 18 months plus I had to give a psychologist $400 for an exam that I will have in January and I had some Christmas shopping to do.

My outcome greatly exceeds my income this month. But I did save some money during the two months that I could not drive. Last week was the first time that I pumped gas since September. I was really shocked to put a 20 in the pump and get a full tank plus over $9.00 in change. That was with my little car. When I filled my Jeep the next day it took over $30.00 to fill it but I was told that at the worst height of the gas prices it would have cost $60 to fill it.

I am a bit of a rarity in the hiking world; my income is within 150% of the federal poverty level. Hiking seems to be a rich person's sport, you need money to own a car and you need raingear if you are going to hike year round. I just don't see any poor people out hiking. But I manage to do it on a budget. My little car gets 35MPG and I live near the mountains I an almost always hike on the trails that are closest to my home. I've had my current rain gear since 2005. When my rain pants delaminated it was covered under the lifetime warranty so Mountain Hardware sent me a new pair of rain pants. They offered to give me $70.00 or new pants, I think they wanted to just cut me a check but I took the new pants instead and if these delaminated I'll send them in too.

I've not been so lucky with my Seattle Sombrero, I lost my first one. It was a Christmas gift from my Dad and his wife. On my birthday I asked for a new one to replace the one I lost and they got me one. That is one expensive hat but it is very nice to have. It holds its shape well. With the sombrero my ears are not covered up like they are with my rain jackets hood. I hate wearing the hood on my rain jacket; I can not see or hear as well with it on. I really don't tolerate that well when I am feeling paranoid.

I have some big medical bills coming in but at least my insurance is back on so I'll only have to pay 20% of what the insurance approves. I don't know about going back to college winter quarter. I'm not doing well; I'm very manic and can not think to clearly most of the time. Some days I am still to manic to drive my car safely. I have a hearing with my life support providers in January and I'm sure the stress of that will keep me ill for several months.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lake Cushman Forest Service Road 24 Shady Lane

The Trail Head

Track Log

Winter Oyster Mushroom (Panellus serotinus)

Two tone moss job at the campground


These trees fell last winter

No fees today


A little waterfall drips down onto forest service road 24. My camera was acting up today.

Party rock does not look so festive today

In the winter the hike into Staircase used to start here

New Bridge over the causeway but signs still said the road was closed

Columnar basalt wannabee

Beautiful Mount Rose is sporting her winter coat


My current ultralight cookset

Hot Lunch

Cushman through the trees


Hole in the road

Who got freaked out by the weather forecasts of the white wall of death and did not go hiking today? A lot of people it seems. I had the entire trail/road to myself all day long. Pure solitude from 9am to 4 pm. All the local news
talked about last night was the weather and how it was supposed to snow and from the way they went on you would think a blizzard was in the forecast. I packed for my hike while half listening to the news. I brought two pairs of gloves instead of my usual one pair and an extra pair of dry socks. Other then that I ignored the forecast but I was hoping to see a little snow today. I'm still waiting for the blizzard to start.

The road to Staircase, forest service road 24, is closed to car traffic for the winter but it is open to foot traffic. This is the first winter in the last three that I have been able to go to staircase. I hiked to the campground via the road and the shady lane nature trail but hiked back via just the road. The road is in great shape with no sign of any recent rock fall or landslides.

This was a bit more fun then the road hike to Dosewallips because there is a great view of Lake Cushman for most of the way. I thought about doing Mount Rose today but I did not want to be up there in the snow with a bad wrist. The snow level on Mount Rose looked to be at about 2000 feet. I still can not hold a trekking pole with my right hand because my wrist makes all kinds of weird clunking noises.

I hung out at the Staircase campground for about an hour. For lunch I boiled up some brown rice with dried king Boletes and hamburger. The hot lunch really felt good in my tummy as I was hiking out in the cold.

It felt really good to be hiking today and according to my GPS my average speed while moving was 3.5 miles per hour. Now I’m home and feel like going for a quick walk around town so I won’t be sore in the morning. So I went for a quick walk but realized it is Saturday night so I made it a short walk. I think I’ll lay off the yerba mate now. I’m still manic after my hike and my walk and having trouble finding the patience to edit the pictures for this post.

I saw some chanterelles but did not pick them even though they were in good condition. I also saw some winter oyster mushrooms and did not pick them because they taste like slimy rubber. On the way out I found a fresh cigarette packet wrapper so I know a smoker walked at least a mile down the road while I was out hiking.

12.25 miles with 180 feet elevation gain.
152 miles on my hiking shoes now.

Starting Coordinates:
N 47*29.726
W 123*14.498

My barometric altimeter shows my hike starting point and ending point (my vehicle) being at very different elevations. This means the barometric pressure is changing fast so maybe a blizzard is on the way after all.

I took some pictures of moss on maples trees for all the people who find my blog by using the search term “how to remove moss from trees” or “how to remove moss from maple trees”. The answer is don’t do it! Moss is good for trees

Elk Sign

Can we be like drops of water? This comes off Mount Rose.

Stump Lake

Lake Cushman



Elevation profile from track log was really wacky today with changes in barometric pressure from the incoming storm I assume.

Profile data from the map (mileage is wrong because I did not put in enough pounts)

Lake Cushman through the trees at dusk