Summer Camp for Adults? Cash on In!

FullSizeRenderSummer is here and a few years back I read about Adult Summer Camps.  I didn’t pay much attention to the Adult Summer Camp craze because I was too busy being, you know, a parent.  Besides, I’ve done my fair share of camping, backpacking, and attending summer camps as a young Boy Scout and also as a Boy Scout troop leader.  Oh, and don’t forget my trips to various Girl Scout camps with my daughter as well.  So you can imagine, I’m not too interested in sleeping a musty old cabin eating bad food at the dining hall as an adult because we now have an Adult Summer Camp opportunities abound.

So, you see, the idea of Adult Summer Camp doesn’t really appeal to me.  However, I can see that it is a great idea because it already exists and someone is making some money.  However, I believed these “summer camps” are called business conventionsand trade shows and held in places like hotels.  Usually  you have to attend because your job requires you to.  Or you could go for pleasure and attend something like Comicon.  You know, a place where you can dress up in a costume just like you do on Halloween.  There is nothing wrong with that.  It is a hobby and hobbies are something you enjoy doing and I strongly encourage you to attend a convention if you want to.  I just don’t understand why someone wants to head out to the woods and go back to summer camp.  I’d much rather head to a hotel and enjoy the pool and spa services.

Of course, I’m a fool for not cashing in on the Adult Summer Camp craze.  I know a number of experts (aka friends) that could assist me in creating a new summer camp.  If someone wants to pay me to attend a summer camp, who am I to stop them?

What courses would I offer?  The list is endless!

  • Lawn Mowing and Lawn Care
  • Complaining & Whining
  • Photography
  • House Painting
  • Blogging
  • Cheap Vacations
  • Car Maintenance
  • How to Fail
  • Drone Flying (and Crashing!)
  • Home Beer Brewing (and its sister course Beer Drinking)
  • How to Be Depressed in Your Life without Mental Illness
  • Boating and Floating
  • Camping Basics
  • Candle Making
  • Wine Drinking
  • Scotch and Whisky Drinking

Pretty much whatever you can imagine, we could offer it as a course.  I could rent some old summer camp, set up some old army tents, get some retired school cook for my mess hall, and we would have our summer camp up and running in no time.  Daily Field trips to the local pub for inspiration would be a must.  Hands on experience (like painting my house) with a touch of reality (see my highly regarded course “How to Fail”).

I know you are dying to sign up.  For only $1499 per week, this summer camp experience can be yours.  You can send me cash anytime.  I promise to save your spot for you.

Have a great idea for a course?  Want to be a part of a winning team (or you need a job for the summer)?  Let me know!  Frankly, I need all the help I can get.

 

 

 

 

Snow…but no snow…

Lately, we have been getting some good heavy snowfalls in the mountain regions of the Puget Sound area. Today we were excited to set off for Paradise (Elevation: 5400 feet), on Mt. Rainier, for a play day in the snow. Do some snowshoeing, perhaps even build a snow cave or even an igloo.

The drive to Paradise isn’t too bad if the road is clear. You enter the Mt. Rainier National Park though the Longmire gate entrance.  However, with the recent snowfall, and then having the temperatures rise back up a bit, plus you add some rain and you have a great situation for avalanches. The park service is pretty good at keeping the road closed if it should be closed (due to dangerous conditions).  The National Park Service (NPS) also requires you to have tire chains even if you have a vehicle with all wheel drive or four wheel drive.

We were just outside of Elbe, when we decided we had better check the National Park Service’s Twitter feed and discovered that the road to Paradise from Longmire was closed. Oh well.  Drive an hour or so to discover you can’t get into Rainier National Park.  But then again, that is the nature of winter weather.

We are hoping to return to Mt. Rainier National Park over the next few weeks if possible. 

 

Halloween 2015

Yes, Halloween is tomorrow! Are you excited? Ready to get your freak on? 

No? Me either….

This year we didn’t even bother to get the Halloween decorations out. Sure, we made a quick trip to the pumpkin patch with our Girl Scout troop a few weekends ago. This is where I paid $12 for a pumpkin. Ironically, that “special pumpkin patch” pumpkin was trucked in and placed there by a farm employee; it wasn’t grown there on the spot like everyone wants to believe. So I guess we know who got “Tricked”, right? Just me and my wallet, that’s all.

Our family did however, want to carve a few pumpkins (so we can at least pretend we care about Halloween).  We went ahead and purchased a few more pumpkins at the local grocery store which is a mere 2 minute drive from my house. That 2 minute drive was in comparison to the 30 minute drive I had previously done for my $12 pumpkin. And guess what?  The pumpkins at the grocery store were $4 each.  Yes, my $4 grocery store pumpkin was the same size as the $12 “farm/pumpkin patch” one.
I know, it is all about the “experience”, right?  Everyone wants to drive 30-40 minutes, walk around a muddy field, look at a bunch of dirty pumpkins, carry the dirty pumpkin, buy the pumpkin, overpay for the pumpkin, and then drive back home for another 30-40 minutes.

My daughter is actually into carving pumpkins and turning them into Jack-o-lanterns. I was pretty impressed with her ability to slice and dice up these pumpkins.

Now the pumpkins are carved and ready to be kicked in by some teenager’s shoe on Halloween tomorrow night. We strive to make it a pumpkin smashing good time!

  

Pilot Ridge Hike – 30 miles in 3 Days

This coming weekend I’m headed out on a 3 Day/30 mile Boy Scout backpacking trip outside of Darrington, WA. We will be hiking the Pilot Ridge Hike picked by one of my senior scouts (who runs cross country and is in great shape). So you can imagine, I’m a little concerned about the least fit members of our backpacking trip. I’ve nicknamed it Anthony’s Death March in his honor.

The weather conditions this coming weekend will be sun and showers on Friday, with mostly clear skies on Saturday and Sunday.   I’m not too worried about the weather. I’m more worried about the actual hiking and backpacking. The elevation gain and loss on this hike is quite a bit. The bonus of sleeping outside two nights on the hard ground is also a big draw. Hmm, nice hard ground instead of my soft bed. Gee, I can’t wait.

I’m not too worried about the backpacking part except for my backpack will be much larger than my day pack. You have to carry everything you need for three days. At least it is summer time here so I can carry less of my backup gear. I still carry all of the Ten Essentials…plus #11 Toilet Paper and #12 Duct Tape.

http://www.wta.org/hiking-info/basics/ten-essentials

I don’t have a problem hiking. In fact, I did some high elevation hiking in Colorado in July. But backpacking is a lot different than car camping. You don’t have a nice established campsite with easy access to water and flush toilets. Camping in the backcountry is you, out there in the wilderness, making sure you have enough food and water for your entire stay. You have to be prepared. You need a decent shelter, food, water, a water filter/pump, and a handy dandy Hello Kitty LED flashlight.

When I was younger, I loved to do backpacking and camping. I still enjoy being outside hiking; the backpacking part isn’t as appealing as it once was. I’m older and sleeping on the ground just isn’t that enjoyable.

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to doing a backpacking trip with my son. We have gone camping a lot as a family and on numerous Boy Scout camping trips. This will be a fun final trip before he gets his Eagle Scout rank.

Do you have any fun day hikes or backpacking trips planned?

 

What's for dinner?
What’s for dinner?

Twin Falls State Park Hike – North Bend, WA

image3
Twin Falls in North Bend….no one fell in so the hike was a success in my book!

The semester ended for our kids this past Monday so the whole school district has to let the kids off for the day. I’m not sure if my kids really go to school for a full five days in a row. What, with all the holidays, late start days, etc. my kids never seem to go to school for a full week.

Wait children….

However, we aren’t here to complain about the state of our education system. Instead we are here to chat about another great little hike here in the Seattle area. It is the Twin Falls Hike off of I-90 in the North Bend area. This is a short hike coming in at only two miles round trip.

Of all the years I have live here, I have never done this hike. With all of this great winter weather we have been having lately, I thought we should take advantage of going on an easy hike during the “off season” of hiking. (Die hard hikers would say there is never an “off season”). From what I have read about this hike, it is a fairly popular hike especially during the summer. Consider it is January and we usually have a bunch of rain, I figured this is as a good time as any to do this hike.

Luckily, I checked the trail report at wta.org and learned that there was a washout on the trail to the Twin Falls. This would stop is if we left from the traditional trailhead off of Exit 34. Good thing I check it out before we started our hike. The Wta.org website is an excellent resource for all hikes in Washington State and I highly recommend checking it out before any hike.

We modified our starting point to the Ollalie State Park parking lot off of Exit 38. You start your hike on the Iron Horse Trail for about half a mile until you come to the spur/trail to the Twin Falls trail. The Iron Horse Trail is an old Burlington Northern railroad bed (now a service road) so the downhill grade is mild for about half a mile. The trail to Twin Falls is clearly marked (from the Iron Horse Trail) and you won’t miss it (unless your face is buried in your phone texting a friend).

After you leave the Iron Horse Trail and use the Twin Falls Trail, you will be going downhill for about 3/4 of a mile. Just remember, you will be going down and that means the way back is uphill.

Easy trail down for my hiking partners and myself. In our hiking band, we had my wife, my daughter, and another Girl Scout (and friend) with us. No one complained about the hike so that means it is a fairly easy one for 12 year old girls and 40 year old parents.

For all you math geeks, the different route brings this hike in at 2.5 miles.

Awesome detailed map of where you will be lost. The best part? You won’t have a clue of where you are at!

Overall, this hike is a good family hike and easy to do. We left the Covington area around 2 pm and we’re back to Covington by 5 pm. That included a stop at McDonalds for hot fudge sundaes (for the girls). Hey, I’m working out so I can win the Fat Ass Dads Weight Loss Challenge so I’m skipping that stuff. Well, until I get home…then I pig out and cry into my bowl of chocolate peanut ice cream….

At least Cyndi (my imaginary stalker) cares….

See those two dots? Those would be the kids I’m suppose to be in charge of.

Well, Everyone made it back from Pinnacle Peak Hike – Dr. Martin Luther King Day

While the folks back on the East Coast are battling snowstorms, we have had sunny, clear weather with temperatures into the high 50s and low 60s. The bad part about all this warm weather?   The freezing level has skyrocketed up to 10,000 feet and that translates into no snowshoeing for us in January! Yikes! Normally we wouldn’t do this lower elevation hike (at this time of year) because I would much rather get out in the snow.  It’s winter, we want to see some snow!

So last week, instead of a snowshoe hike, we hiked up Pinnacle Peak in Enumclaw. My hiking partners this billy goat trip were my 12 year old daughter and two of her friends. All three happen to be part of our Girl Scout troop and I wanted to see if this would be an age appropriate hike and skill level for them. As it turned out, they didn’t have any problems keeping up with me.

Pinnacle Peak is part of the King County Parks system. It is a short hike (2 miles round trip) and starts at 800 feet elevation and ends at 1800 feet elevation. Since the weather has been fairly nice, the trail wasn’t as muddy as it could have been this time of year. I wore my Merrill walking shoes and didn’t get them too muddy. There were a couple of slick spots but nothing that deter us from reaching the top in a timely manner. Here’s the link to the Pinnacle Peak map PDF

image1

Success at the top of Pinnacle Peak!
Success at the top of Pinnacle Peak!

One thing I neglected to do on this hike was to track the time we were on the hike. I do know that we left Kent around 2 pm and returned by 5 pm. That includes stops in Enumclaw at a chocolate shop and a stop at Kelly’s Latte Stand.

Do you have any favorite hikes you’d like to recommend?  Leave your tips and advice below!

Hello Saturday! It’s a Volunteer Day!! Bring on the rain!

Today will be a nice stormy day in the Seattle area which should make my day interesting. This morning we are doing some volunteer clean up work with the Boy Scout Troop for the church that we meet at. Gusty winds with rain and temperatures in high 40s to high 50s. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Luckily, the clean up is from 9 am to 12 noon. These are the times I honestly hate having to “set the example”. You read all the time all about leading by example. I would much rather be at home this morning, sitting by my wife’s gas fireplace, watching some college football. Or even reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Beautiful and Damned” (it is my current book).

However, this is a good opportunity to give back to the church that allows us a place to meet and stow our Boy Scout gear. For a few hours of simple help, we can show others that we appreciate their sponsorship.

Being a leader is stepping up to the plate and setting the example even though you don’t feel like it. And being a sarcastic leader makes the leadership even more fun!

At least today will give me the opportunity to yell at Scouts and make them cry. Hopefully, it pours down rain and makes it a miserable experience. We wouldn’t want them to have fun, right? Giving back should be painful, right? Oh, I hope there are some blisters on their hands too!

Sorry, if my post today isn’t worthless advice to you. Have an awesome Saturday doing whatever you like!!

IMG_4300.JPG