Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Diamond Lake

Several weeks ago (I know...this is late) our family and our friends the Seiferts did the 6 hour drive down to one of our favorite traditional camping spots, Diamond Lake OR. Located in the south central part of the state, Diamond is a beautiful natural lake sandwiched between two amazing mountains, Mt. Theilson and Mt. Bailey, and offers a variety of recreational activities including fishing, cycling, canoing, birding :), candy shopping, swimming and more. Our family has gone to the same campsite for many years, and we've even claimed a specific spot each time--G 19, a sprawling double-vehicle site near the lake and of course, near the restrooms.

Imagine if you would a 15 passenger van filled with 8 kids and a bunch of luggage, with 6 bikes on top, towing a U-haul trailer filled with food, stoves, mats, sleeping bags, heaters and tents, followed by a truck manned by four guys and all their stuff, with a dog and a tricycle in the bed, towing a 5 passenger boat which held a canoe and a variety of other camping items, traveling down the highway for a couple hundred miles. Pretty wild huh? That's what it takes. :)

While we were there I took a lot of photos, especially of the mountains at sunrise and sunset, but that presented some difficulties. You see, Diamond Lake is surrounded by large expanses of pine forest, so because of the position of our campsite you couldn't actually see Mt. Theilson, though it was directly behind us. Mt. Bailey was clearly visible across the lake, but any time I wanted to photograph Theilson I had to ride almost halfway around the lake (about 4-5 miles one way) to get a good view. Sunset on Theilson is just gorgeous, but getting pictures involved some misery. Let me explain. I had to wear my camera backpack, balance my new 6 lb. tripod on the handlebars of my mountain bike, and ride hard and fast (because I almost always forgot what time it was, and had to hustle not to miss sunset) through clouds--I mean clouds--of gnats in the gathering darkness, trying not to suffocate and to stay on the bike path. Of course, once I reached my chosen location it was all worth it...for a few minutes. Then I had to repeat the process except this time in the dark. If I'd had a gas mask I would have worn it, the gnats were that bad. Despite the inconveniences I got a lot of neat photos some of which I've posted below.

Sunrise, Sunset

Mt. Theilson

Mt. Bailey

Mt. Scott along the rim of Crater Lake (view from Diamond Lake)

Reading around the campfire

Daniel read a classic translation of the tale of Beowulf around the fire for several nights, that was fun.

In the Boat




Zach :)

Danny Seifert

Danny caught the biggest trout of the whole trip

At the North shore beach

A scale model of Diamond lake, complete with weed beds even!

A Brewer's Blackbird

Mr. Seifert


This isn't our dog, but another guy had his Chocolate Lab there and was having it do some pretty entertaining tricks.



Annalyn and Jessica Seifert

Danny and Mr. Seifert


The intrepid crew of the HMS Seaslug, Captain Nol Thrangbar (me :), my first mate Yrakaz (Zach's name backwards), Freida (Aimee), Bjarny (Jeremy), and Gudrid (Rebecca). Beowulf got us into a Viking mood. My name actually originated when Christopher suggested we dive off the dock to brave the waves and battle sea-sprites, but that's another story. :)

At Camp




Christopher, Katrina and Dad

By now you're probably singing, "This - is - the - post - that - never - ends! - This - is - the - post - that - never - ends! - Some - people - started - reading - it - not - knowing - what - it - was..." Alright enough of that. :) After all the post has ended...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

We did it again

Last Wednesday we once again climbed to the 8,525 foot summit of Mt. St. Helens. The first time we attempted it, (in September) we encountered freezing cold, wet and windy weather which forced us back down before we had even gone half way, but this time it was a beautiful sunny day, and clear enough to get some amazing views. 4 mountains were visible (not including the one we were standing on :) --Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson (over 100 miles away!).

My modernized Lewis and Clark pose :) with Mt. Adams in the background

This hike is not for the faint of heart, it involves rock scrambling, 40 degree inclines, and being able to comfortably stand within a few feet of the crater (otherwise you can't see inside). The worst part is, it just keeps going on and on--you top one ridge only to see that the summit is another 3 ridges away, and then when you do make it to the last climb it turns out to be an incredibly wearisome crawl up a 45 degree slope covered with ash and gravel.

But then when you reach the summit, it's all worth it. You don't get that view any other way.

Panoramas courtesy of Christopher

I gave Zach the camera for this shot, and when I came to get my camera back he kept shooting, "No, no more photos!"

We made it to the top by about 12:10 p.m., had lunch, took pictures and did some rock fishing :) That's where you sprawl as close as you dare to the rim and try to retrieve cool rocks with a leather thong on the end of a walking stick. The concept is a good one, but usually your precious stone would slowly slip out and tumble down hundreds of feet into the crater--that's a sickening feeling :)

Daniel performed the traditional ring-toss in his makeshift hobbit costume (for a moment as he held the ring suspended over the rim you could hear people shouting, "Come on! Throw it in!)

Last time he did that it was a month before the second eruption, we wondered if there was a correlation... The dome has grown a lot since the last time we saw it, so we could easily see some more activity in the next few years.

Finally we began the descent by galloping down the gravel slope kicking up all kinds of dust, then refreshed ourselves with some real mountain glacier water. Daniel was still wearing his elven cloak and one guy told him jokingly, "Have fun superman!"

None of us remembered that the hike would be that hard, but as we piled into the truck we all agreed it was well worth it.