Saturday, November 22, 2008


It was that time again, time for the navigation portion of the Mazamas Intermediate Climbing School.  On Thursday there was a lecture on Map and Compass use plus a talk about using a Global Positioning System.  Then on Saturday we assembled once again at the Mazamas Mountaineering Center for practice using the map and compass.  For me it was a little more, because my participation was the final requirement in this level of Climb Leader Development for me.  With the blessing of the powers that be, the next step for me would to be lead lead three climbs as Provisional Climb Leader.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Makin' Lemonade at Mazama Lodge

The plan was to lead an Adventurous Young Mazamas weekend in Redwoods National Park.  My hope was visit for a third time and check out the Boy Scout Tree in addition to some other favorite spots.  Alas, as I monitored the weather report the past week, I knew that it was not in the cards this time.  I did not think it was worth driving six hours to be wet and cold, so I canceled the trip.

They say that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.  So four refugees from the Redwoods trip headed to the Mazama Lodge to help prepare for the winter.  I spent most of Saturday putting up the rope hand line that borders the trail from the road to the lodge.  Never again will I walk along this hand line without appreciating the effort that went into setting up it.

Sunday I was cutting and stacking wood.  As I swung the axe I was having flashbacks to that summer when our family cut 10 cords of wood.  I was also reliving my childhood as we stacked the wood that had been cut.  I also found myself pulling on a rope, guiding a dead tree as a arborist cut it down.

But is was not all work, as we paused for an Throwing Axe contest.  Who knew that a bunch of mountaineers would be throwing axes about?  During the first round all of my throws ended up in the dirt.  However I had a great second round, with all three throws hitting the target for 40 points.

This weekend had the same feeling that I get from the volunteer work parties at Camp Parsons.  Not only do you enjoy the fellowship, but you leave having invested a little bit yourself in a place that is dear to you.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Historic Day

In September 1993 my friend Eric and I were traveling in Europe.  We spent some time in Sweden with my relatives in Mora.  One day we visited my cousin's elementary school.  There we got up in front of the class and talked about life in the United States.  We even read from their English textbook with our best imitation of a New York accent.

During the question and answer portion of our presentation, the teacher asked us a question.  She asked who would the American people elect first as President, a woman or an African-American.  The question caught me off guard - to this date I do not remember how I answered that question.  Well tonight, 15 years later, I know the answer to that question.