Tuesday, August 23, 2011

dbBrad and Benton off to hike across Washington

The Pacific Crest Trail goes some 2600 miles from Mexico to Canada and passes through one amazing place after another. I'm off to hike the Washington State Portion, or most of it!

dbBrad and Mount Baker
And I'm taking the dbDog with me. Benton and I will be hiking for 40 days and though we won't get all the way across Washington, we will hike roughly 350 miles of the trail starting near Canada and coming to within a short distance of the Columbia river.

Benton, the world's cutest Australian shepherd as a puppy at the beach.
Fran and Ed will deliver us (dbBrad and dbDog) to Rainy Pass and make the first food drop 5 days later at Trinity. Joe Green will join me on the Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass section and dbDad will join me from Chinook to White Pass. Fran and Ed will drive to southern Washington to supply food twice more before kindly offering our weary feet a ride home!

dbBrad organizes his food on a lawn in Capitol Hill for four separate food drops!
I've been hiking for 35 years in the northwest and have crossed the PCT many times, but never hiked on it, per se. Usually I cross it on the way to a specific destination with mountaineering in mind. Most of my gear is set up for survival and navigating in the high alpine, but this is different. Thru hiking isn't about the destination or the camping--it's all about the hiking. So I've been scrutinizing my gear and making some new purchases, locally!

We Love the Benton Dog!! dbBrad and dbDog prepare for departure!

Sarah at Wander on Whidbey is my Hero. Her store feels and looks great, she's knowledgeable and friendly, but most of all she's not carrying junk products. Sarah has made a conscious choice to market quality products and has set priorities on sustainable and local.

Benton (cutest Aussie hiker on the PCT) models his new pack sponsored by Wander on Whidbey
I purchased a dog pack, a new stove that's quiet and some clothing from Wander on Whidbey. I actually looked at these products at REI but knew I'd purchase them locally from Sarah, regardless of the price difference. Imagine my surprise to see her prices were better than REI's.

Sarah and Lucy at Wander on Whidbey, one of my favorite stores.
So with Help from Friends and Family, we're off. See you again around the 4th of October.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

dbBrad's property

dbBrad's new lots in Clinton WA.
I recently closed on two lots in Clinton. It's in a transitioning neighborhood. It doesn't perk. It's a swamp and it's all mine!!

Removing the for sale sign--The site had lot's of garbage scattered throughout the overgrown weeds which I'm separating into piles for recycling.

I'm excited to be working with the county on this odd piece of land that is in horrific shape. We will be restoring the wetland so it is clean healthy habitat and continues to capture, clean and store water with the added goal of creating a usable piece of land that works for all.

What looks like a wooded lot is really a swamp with unhealthy alders and willows and a 6' thicket of blackberries.

Hansons, Thank you again.

Hansons is my favorite Lumber/Hardware store.  They have good products, good prices, sharp employees and a great return policy.  And best yet, they give back to the community.  Every x-mass has a warm gift and every summer they do a BBQ, providing fun, games, food and new products for the south end of Whidbey island.
Hansons BBQ, a gift for all--Thank you Hansons (dbBrad)

This year they had such amazing hamburgers baked beans and potato salad that I have to say I over ate for the day!  But meat on the bones is a good thing in times of little work and it's much appreciated Hansons, thank you.
dbBrad after eating too much at  Hansons'  BBQ, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sisters, Part three, class 5 rock and some grade A photos

Joe caught between different phases of water, ice and vapor
dbBrad grabbing some hang time on Sisters Glacier!

Wonderfully rich vegetation which can only be found near intact old growth forests.

One of about 10 different flowers blooming in the  magnificent old growth forests between the Nooksack and the Twin Sisters, Washington.

dbBrad self portrait

'I love my Panasonic lumix'--dbBrad

The Panasonic Lumix macro is awesome--dbBrad

Jeff and Joe hanging out at base sisters rocky summit

Have I mentions how I love my Panasonic Lumix?

dbBrad looking South West off summit of South  Sister.

Baker just visible over the clouds.

Panasonic Lumix Solar charger--what a great dbBrad idea!

Company from the Western Route on South Sister.

Nature rules!

And of coarse, dbBenton, the worlds cutest Australian Shepherd dog ever!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sisters, Part two--high alpine-glacier travel

dbBrad in the dbAlpine, much preferred to dbSuburbia!

Approaching Twin Sisters, WA, at about 4k feet

View of South Sister from camp at 4300'

Architect Joe Greene Architecting!

Between the trees are cliffs, with a narrow little snow field--our route!

Joe and Jeff  contemplating the route.
A picture of a picture, with Mt. Baker in background and camp just above Jeff's shoulder!

Evidence of the slightly faster pace of dbBrad!
Mt. Baker viewed from North side of South Sister at about 5500'

Joe Greene admiring natures architecture.

Ice and Rock demonstrate architectural principles of  natural lighting, ventilation, heat transfer/storage,  and shelter .  So simple and so elegant, what I strive for in my buildings--dbBrad

Twin Sisters, part I

Part one--epic approach through huge trees, thick healthy under story and raging streams.

South Sister, North Cascades, dbSumit

Often unnoticed, the Twin Sisters sit East and slightly South of Mount Baker.  There are two peaks, the north and the South sisters separated by a jagged knife edged ridge.

Crossing Green Creek

There are several approaches to the area surronding the Sisters, but few routs to the top.  Steep Ice and Steeper rock make for a fairly techical summit.

Rugged off trail, steep, slippery and heavily vegetated.

Our route was from Mount Baker Highway to Misquito Lake road to Forest Service road 28 via an unmaintained trail heading up Green Creek.

Freeways of the Forest, large logs are often the easiest way to move through the forest--if you can get on them!
After crossing the Nooksack and hiking through some amazing old/first growth forest, we crossed Green Creek and headed up the hill.

dbBrad, Joe and Jeff next to an old growth cedar.
Steep, lots of vegitation, huge trees and giant falled trees some of which may have been a thousand years old and laying on the forest floor for several hundred years.

Out of the forest, onto the snow fields.

Some of the last truly healty land.  Beautiful and just Hell to move through!  And interesting, but even with all the snow and rain this year, very little erosion, and very few slides.

Knocking off the vertical, one step at a time.

One we got high enough, ,the forest thinned out and we moved out onto the snow fields.  Still steep and slippery, the travel went much faster without all the vegetation lashing our shins and whipping our ears and tripping up our feet!

dbBrad on slippery slopes again!

Traversing a particularly steep snow field.

North tower, Twin Sisters, North Cascades WA

Lunch Break, on the rocks!

Friction Fit db Bird Blocks

Many of my roofs have perlins.  They create a strong roof by having dimensional lumber running in two directions.  They provide structure for overhangs.  And they create a roof that looks great without the need for soffeting.

Sometimes I fully notch the perlins, but often I just set them on top the rafters as another layer.  This works great for venting allowing air flow in two directions.  However it creates a need for additional bird blocks to keep critters out of the insulation and roof cavity.

My latest solution rather than make a bunch of miniature blocks, is to make breathable bird blocks that friction fit with foam pipe insulation and nylon screen.

Just tape one edge of the screen, roll it over the correct size of pipe insulation and run your hands over it until the tape sticks.  Cut to length with a knife and stuff into place.

Super easy to install, even after the roof is done!  Great look because they disappear in the shadows.  Relatively durable because the foam is protected by the same screen as every other Bird Block.  Great solution for bird blocks between perlins 1.5"-2" thick by any length up to 6 feet.