Catch up

It’s been a busy around here and we’ve neglected to post any updates, but don’t worry, I’m determined to keep this blog from disappearing into the flaky sea of abandoned internet stuffs. A lot has happened, but I will attempt to give you a brief recap of this month’s highlights.

Of course there are great mountain bike rides to talk about, but there’s been some rumors that this is turning into a mountain biking blog, so I’ll try to keep it to a minimum. The most memorable ride was the McKenzie River trail, which we rode on my birthday. We went out the night before and camped, got up early and rode most of the trail (cut out the last 7 or so boring miles). We’ve been at the McKenzie River in late May for the past two years as well, and the upper section is usually still under a lot of snow, but this spring is unusually warm and dry. We got back home in the late afternoon and had people over for pizza and birthday festivities, and wrapped up the night at the karaoke bar, where I sprained my ankle during a particularly moving performance of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs. Normally I would beat myself up for such a seemingly careless injury, but in this case I can say with confidence that it was definitely worth it.

The infamous “Blue Pool” on the McKenzie River. The water usually comes from underground, but it’s so high here that it’s coming out of the rocks above the pool.

Friends jumping over friends.

Over Memorial Day weekend we stayed at the Crater Lake Lodge, courtesy of our wonderful friends Skyler, Mary, and Sea Oh. I have to admit, my expectations were greatly exceeded. First of all, even though it now seems absurdly obvious, I never fully comprehended that Crater Lake is actually a crater. This is dumb not just because of the name, but also because it’s one of the most famous natural wonders in the country and I’ve probably seen hundreds of pictures of it. But in my head, I was picturing a normal, forested lake with shoreline, but just extra beautiful and really really deep. There is no shoreline, just sheer cliffs rising hundreds of feet around the entire lake. There’s one steep trail that drops down to the lake, where they helicopter in boats every summer for tours around the lake. It’s a national park, and besides the Grand Canyon I think it’s the only national park I’ve ever been in. What we usually do at national parks is drive up, get to the booth where we realize it costs $10 to get in, and promptly turn around. But this time, we had fancy reservations in a fancy lodge, so we coughed up the $10 and it was well worth it. I’m pretty sure we had the nicest room in the lodge, with two windows overlooking the lake. The only camping in the area is a few miles from the rim, so the lodge is the only option for staying the night in view of the lake, and besides being prohibitively expensive (that’s what good friends are for), it’s amazing and worth it. You get a historic northwest mountain lodge setting, killer views, lots of snow. Pretty great.

An ants on a log’s eye view from our room.

Rheannon looking tiny on top of some rocks.

Tromping through the snow on a sprained ankle.


More importantly, Rheannon published her first ever scientific paper in a fancy scientific journal. It will be the first of many to come, and in fact she is working on at least one other research project that will be submitted for publication this summer. I can’t give you much more detail because I am a lowly community college student/bike mechanic and not all that science savvy, and I haven’t been able to get her to post about it herself (doesn’t like to toot her own horn), but I do know that she owes at least some of her success to Branson, who apparently did most of the work:

Even more importantly, our best friend/dog-godparent/wedding planner/everything got accepted to medical school this month! I’m not the least bit surprised, because I’ve never known anyone who can willfully succeed at anything they put their mind to like Sea Oh can, but I am dang proud of her. This seems like an appropriate time to post an embarrassing picture: