Monday, January 28, 2008

Third Time is a Charm

This weekend was the third installment in the celebration of my birthday.  You may recall that I celebrated the actual date at the Mazama Lodge.  The following weekend my friend Len and I got together for dinner followed by Jazz music at Jimmy Mak's.  This  Sunday I drove up to The Olympic Club Pub in Centralia, WA for lunch with my parents.  I just love the massive Round Oak stove that heats up this one time card room.  And guys, if you ever stop at this place, be sure to check out the larger than life urinal.  Man, there must not have been a shortage of porcelain when they built this monster.
After returning to Portland, I joined some friends for dinner and improv comedy at the Mississippi Station in North Portland.  I certainly appreciated Roger putting this evening together.  The improv comedy was presented by the The Liberators.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saving Little Annie

One of the requirements for the Mazamas Climb Leader Development is that I am trained in Mountain First Aid.  My First Aid training expires this year, so in March I will take a re-certification course.  To complete this course I have to renew my Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training.  So today I arranged a date with Annie the Mannequin at Portland Community College.  Every CPR course that I take stirs up memories of learning and relearning CPR with my Boy Scout Troop 550 and the Camp Parsons staff.  There have been changes since those days.  No longer do they teach taking the patients pulse or performing CPR as a pair.  Also, they have simplified the process for locating the place for compressions.  Included now in the curriculum is use of Automated External Defibrillators.  When we were tested the instructor had his stopwatch out, making sure that we listened long enough for a breathing and that our compressions were not too fast or slow.  I survived all of that, in addition to the awkwardness of being the patient for the Heimlick Maneuver.   

Monday, January 21, 2008

It's a Small World...

After work a co-worker and I biked south towards downtown Portland.  Although it was cold out, the moon was nearly full and Mt. Hood was pink from the setting sun.   A great day to be out on our bikes.  My friend was  heading home and I was going to the Adventurous Young Mazamas Pub Night.  It was fun to bike along with another cyclist, both of us working as a team to make sure that intersections were clear of cars.  As we descended a steady hill I noticed how my friend took care in positioning himself  in relationship with the cars that were also going along us.

At the Bridgeport Brewpub I was delighted to meet a friend of my brother, who had just moved to Portland from Charlotte.  As I listened to him describe his exploration of various Portland neighborhoods, I could not help to think of myself when I had moved here nine years ago. 

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Getting Grounded at Home

This morning I dodged raindrops as I pounded a Grounding Rod into the ground.  I was burying this six foot rod of copper into my east flower bed for the new phone box that Qwest had installed.  Earlier I had checked with all the utilities to make sure there were not any surprises buried underneath.  Then I borrowed a sledgehammer from a neighbor.  This had all started when the phone line went dead late last month.  After the Qwest technician had fixed the problem I found out they would install a new box for free.  At that time I had two old fashioned telephone boxes and a mess of wiring.  So the new box got installed and the outside wiring got simplified.  I just needed to provide a grounding rod so the Qwest Tech can come by later and ground the box.  Mission accomplished.

Then gave my bike a much needed bath.  
Commuting by bike at this time of year makes for a very dirty bike.  Monday I drove because I had a meeting in the evening and Tuesday I thought the roads were too slick to bike.  But the rest of the week my bike had plenty of chances to attract some dirt.

I also did some yard work.  I am very excited because the daffodills that my neighbor Celeste gave me are starting to poke out of the ground. Celeste passed away last year, so these flowers will be a nice memorial of her.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Return to Mazama Lodge

I returned to Mazama Lodge on Saturday to assist with the Intermediate Climbing School (ICS) Snow Anchors field session.  I have assisted with ICS before, but this would be the first time that one of the club's Climb Leaders would be looking over my shoulder and evaluating me.  This is part of the Climb Leadership Development Program.  I knew in advance that I would be instructing on the fine points of building snow anchors such as Pickets, Deadmen, Flukes, and Bollards (oh my!),  so I had bushed up the week before.  Normally this field session is held near the Timberline Lodge, which is at 6000 feet elevation.  However, weather conditions were not favorable, so we spent Saturday two thousand feet lower at the Mazama Lodge.  This was a good call, because the morning was rainy and cold.  Groups of students would rotate through various stations.  Wearing my trusty red Marmot rain jacket, I gave introductory overviews to a couple of groups and then gave individual hands-on instruction to a number of students during each rotation.  The first time I gave an overview it felt disjointed, but with each group I felt more comfortable with my presentation.  

After eating lunch in the lodge basement, I returned outside to falling snow.  I will take snow over rain any day.  I was working with Tim Scott, who was also evaluating me.  I got some good feedback on my presentation style and encouragement to continue applying these skills on climbs.

With the conclusion of the class for the day we all retired to the lodge to relax and eat dinner.  
My birthday fell on this weekend, so I baked a German Chocolate cake for the occasion.  The cook was happy that I had brought up the cake, because she had not prepared dessert for the evening.  This was the second birthday in a row that I had celebrated at Mazama Lodge.  It certainly was a fine place to celebrate my birthday.
Day two of this snow climbing field session took place near Timberline Lodge.  The weather
 was glorious, with a clear blue sky.  The crisp white snow fields of Mt. Hood watched over us.  In the distance one could see Mt. Jefferson and (as a bonus) the Three Sisters!  Today I helped at a station where student would apply the snow anchor skills learned the day before to a multi
 pitch rappel.  To see the smiles on some of the students when they discovered that the anchors that they had built had held them was the highlight of the weekend.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Winter Weekend

I started the year by attending the Adventurous Young Mazamas Winter Weekend at Mazama Lodge, located at Government Camp, Oregon.
With the car loaded with fellow AYMers and gear, I drove up to the Lodge Friday night, arriving for dinner and various card/board games.  I was fortunate to arrive before a car accident on Highway 26, which delayed some people for a hour.  It was sobering to hear that this accident was a fatal head on collision.

Saturday morning I led eight others on a snowshoe hike.  The sky was overcast as we hiked up the trail to Mirror Lake.  As we paused at the lake we saw our goal, Tom Dick and Harry Mountain.  For awhile the trail was already broken, but as we started up the steep ridge I started to break our own trail through the powder snow.  About halfway there I let another o
f our group break the trail.  We reached the summit of Tom about two hours after departing the trailhead.  As for Dick and Harry, they are off limits to protect falcon nesting areas.   After enjoying the views of the snow covered trees in the Zigzag River Valley we sought shelter from the wind as we ate a quick lunch.  We hike and slid down the ridge back to the lake, feeling good humored from a stellar experience in a winter wonderland.

As we returned we discovered that the lodge was without power.  Since the dining room has large windows and a fireplace, this was not a problem.  We relaxed there, socializing and playing various board games.  That day I played two games of Settlers of Catan.  I also braved the snow slopes for some late night sledding.

Sunday I lead another snowshow hike, this time I opted not to drive to a trailhead and to
explore the various trails near the lodge.  We followed the Barlow Trail to Summit Meadows, blazing a trail though the powder snow.  Along the way we saw several other Mazamas from the Nordic Class that was holding a field session in the area.  For the drive home I had to put chains on the car.  It was a little challenging getting the chains on the car, but I got by with a little help from my friends.

Now I am back at home, getting set for the coming week.  You know what, I had so much fun at the Lodge, I think I'll go back next weekend...