In November, Michelle, the girls, and Grandma Kathy and Grandpa Dave all met up in Kauai for a week in paradise. It was a lovely time despite the record rainfall. We spent some excellent time in the water (sometimes while be rained on), visited Wimea Canyon, and went back to Tunnels Beach where I proposed to Michelle 11 years ago. In case (in the likely hood that) I don’t post a full report, here are the photos:
Ella, Maddie and I took off after cartoons and breakfast and drove east on SR14 (Washington side of the Columbia) to Beacon Rock State Park. I’d seen some cool pictures of the trail, and frankly, they didn’t do the trail justice. We got to the trailhead a little after 9am and after adding several layers (it was cool and windy), we started upwards. Ella is rather fearless on the trail and I kept having to ask her to slow down, not because I cared, but because I could sense Michelle scowling.
The trail essentially winds up a cliff, zig-zagging up the most approachable route, and occasionally doubling back over itself on a bridge. The trail is surprisingly easy, but it’s still a pretty steep climb up. It was easy enough that most of the people we saw were not “hikers,” but they all seemed to get the same enjoyment from the excellent views of the river, east to the Bonneville Dam, and west towards Washougal and Portland.
We hit the top and had a picnic. It was only 10am, but I couldn’t argue with the girls who thought it was the perfect place for some sandwiches. It was – even for simple PB&J. We played on top for about 30 minutes before winding back down. Madeline finally insisted on walking, and made it about half-way down the mountain before I sensed Michelle’s apprehension about the exposure.
I’d recommend the hike without any hesitation. So would Ella.
My wife surprised the heck out of me on Wednesday, the 22nd (my birthday) by taking me to Chicago for a Cubs game. I’ve always wanted to both see a Cubs game, and see a game in Wrigley. It was awesome. I’ll write more on the trip later. First, I have a few panoramas that I captured. We only took the point and shoot instead of the DSLR, which I only partially regret. Anyway, here are 4 small previews of the panos I shot. The pictures link to a much larger version. Slow downloads.
Field Museum in Chicago, IL. Looking south from second floor
View of the Chicago skyline from the Shedd Aquarium
View of Chicago skyline from architectural tour boat at mouth of Chicago River
Wrigley Field, Cubs vs. Giants. Third base line, Aisle 106. Cubs won.
I’ve cheated the wireless system here and was able to put some pictures on flickr. Here they are.
Last night Michelle, Ella, Grandpa, Aunt Hilary and I went out to see Zoo Lights. Although I’m sure it’s supposed to be more of a “kids thing,” us “adults” found ourselves enjoying it as well. The seasonally appropriate cold really helped the mood, as did the clear skies and 1-day shy full moon. I had fun taking photos without a flash (D90 rock!) and I think everyone just enjoyed gawking at the miles of lights. If you do consider going, try getting there right at 5, as the crowd seems to pick up from then.
Not many animals were out or visible at night with exception of the Siberian tigers (What? You call this cold?), and the elephants. We missed Samudra last time (the baby), but we were able to see him sleeping and “curled up” on the floor. “Curled up” is a bit of an exaggeration, as he’s apparently already 630 pounds.