This week was highlighted by two visits to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The first was a bit of a debacle. My hiking friend, Maja, wanted to hike a trail called North Siouxon Creek. We stupidly started out just using her phone to get to the trailhead, even though we both have maps of the forest (which we left home). What happened was that well before we entered the forest, we lost our phone signal, so had no idea where we were going, and we had not thought to enter the destination coordinates into her GPS, which of course knew nothing about the trailhead. We referred to the written instructions on the AllTrails site, which we both had in memory, but they were pathetically bad, only mentioning the first road that took us from the highway toward the mountains. There were references to yellow gates, none of which we saw.
Finally, after going a long way up Calamity Peak Road, Maja decided to take my suggestion that we try FR-5701. She maintained that couldn’t be the road, since it wasn’t mentioned in the instructions. But hardly any roads were. After a long time of driving on a very poor paved road where lots of the pavement had buckled, we could see on her GPS that the road was ending. We were just thinking of turning around when we ran into a ranger, who told us the trailhead was at the end of the road. What we didn’t know was that it was the Siouxon Trailhead, which turns out not to be the trail we were heading for. After I reconnoitered later in the week and consulted a map, I saw that we were way off, and that the North Siouxon Creek Trailhead was actually in the Siouxon Creek County Park next to the national forest.
Despite an extra hour of bumbling around in the forest, we had a great time. We got to take a beautiful hike through deep forest and along the creek, even though we cut it short because we wasted so much time getting out there. The scenery on the way there, too, was breathtaking. It was a perfect time to go. There was some fall color and hardly anyone else on the trail.
So, that was our Wednesday hike. Very nice. I hope that this Wednesday we have another nice day so that we can go back and try the trail we meant to take. However, forecast so far is for rain that day. When it’s rainy, we stick to trails we know.
On Thursday, I had a busy day, puppy play and errands in the morning, my mammogram in the afternoon (oh joy unbounded), and art class in the evening. I got stuck in traffic on the way to the hospital for my mammogram, and that’s another story. Well, actually, two. The first is about the idiots at the traffic stop. I was going down a two-lane road to the hospital in the middle of the country, and I got to a place where they had flaggers. I was the only car there on both sides to start with, but they had the Stop sign up at both ends while this idiot slowly walked out and placed cones near the dividing line on my side of the road. There was absolutely no reason why they couldn’t have let me go slowly in the other lane, but no. Instead, I had to wait several minutes while this guy walked out and placed all his cones. By that time, there were two cars on the other side of the blocked area, and would you know it? They let them go first, even though I had been stuck there for several minutes before they showed up. Frankly, it made me want to run over their stupid cones and knock them back down, it made me so mad. I was already running late.
The second story has to do with when I got there, because I came into the parking structure from another way than I usually do and mistakenly went down instead of up so sort of got stuck in the basement, where, of course, there were no free parking places. When I finally got going up, I found a place on the second floor. I did not know, however, that the second floor was the pedestrian exit from the garage, so I ended up walking down the stairs to the lower level for no reason. I was heading toward the elevator when I tripped over one of those parking curbs and fell flat on my face. Luckily, I was close enough to a car to use it to stand up, or I would still be down there. I could get to my knees okay but could not stand without support.
I have to say that they took me right in for my mammogram, so one thing that afternoon went right. They are very efficient here, unlike in Texas where I had to wait sometimes for an hour. However, as a result of this adventure, I have a purple knee.
In art class I made some more progress on my landscape. Because of the undercoat we painted, it still doesn’t look like anything. However, my sister’s turtle, which she painted using the same technique, is almost finished and it looks great. I hope I have similar results.
On Friday, a nice outing with Wayne. These are few and far between, since he doesn’t like to do anything anymore. I told him all about the nice drive we had on Wednesday, and it was in a direction we hadn’t taken yet. He likes driving expeditions sometimes. Friday was supposed to be a lovely day, although cold, so I suggested we go, and he agreed. We drove largely back up the way Maja and I had driven, except rather than take FR-5701, we drove further up Calamity Peak Road to see where it went. At the top, when we decided to turn around, it was only 46 degrees, whereas when we went down the mountain five minutes later it was 60. Chilly and windy, but beautiful. We were high on the mountain and could see down into deep canyons below. On the way back, to top off the outing, we made an un-Weight Watchery stop at the little ice cream shop in Amboy.
On Friday while we were enjoying the cold, we got to contemplate the mystery of whatever happened to Wayne’s jacket. He has, or I guess I should say had, a nice dark blue jacket that I bought him when we first moved here because I could see that his windbreaker wasn’t warm enough. It is lightweight but heavy enough to wear until it gets really cold. However, it is nowhere to be found. My last recollection of it was that this jacket as well as two of mine were in the back seat of the car one day after it started out cold one morning and then got warmer. (I had left one of my jackets in the car the day before for the same reason.) But I took all of them out that day, and mine are here. He apparently took it off somewhere and left it. I called his doctor’s office and two restaurants that we visited, but no one claims to have it. So, either someone took it, or he left it somewhere else. I have already ordered him another jacket, so this will be the time for it to reappear somewhere in the house. But I swear, we’ve looked everywhere. I don’t know how he does this. The first time I bought him a pair of gloves, he wore them on our trip to Germany and then one week later, when they were about a month old, he left them on the bus. Who takes off their gloves on the bus and lays them on their seat instead of putting them in their pocket?
On Saturday, it wasn’t raining, but it was cloudy all weekend, so not as nice. On both days, I went out for a while and worked on planting bulbs in my orchard. It’s my wish to have the entire orchard full of daffodils, so I plant some every year, and some crocuses, too. This idea was inspired by my aunt and uncle’s house in Ohio. They had a wooded knoll next to their house, and in spring it was covered in daffodils.
Since I moved here, I have been borrowing my niece’s long drill bit to plant bulbs. It works great. You just drill a hole in the yard, plop in the bulb, and push some dirt on it. This year, however, I bought a new drill bit for myself that was designed for planting. It is wider, so makes a bigger hole (some of the bigger bulbs were difficult to plant with Katrina’s drill bit), but its design is faulty. It only goes in two inches at most, and much of the time, even with hard pushing, I could only get it down about an inch. So, I planted a few bulbs over the weekend and then borrowed my niece’s bit again. I finished planting on Monday, which was a gorgeous day. This year I planted about 16 daffodils and 35 crocuses. The crocuses and snowdrops I planted the first year are so small that last year when I went out to look for them, I didn’t see them at first. I kept wondering why my sister’s came up and mine didn’t. Last year, though, I planted larger ones. I didn’t actually know they came in sizes, and the larger ones are very nice. The smaller ones are just color dots in the lawn.
Luke has begun to be very bad about staying in the car. We have been putting him in the wayback only to have him jump back out before the door can close. (It closes very slowly, and you can’t push it closed yourself or you’ll break the mechanism.) Wayne had him tricked by putting a cookie behind his cushion in the back so that he would take a minute to get it out, but on Monday when I tried this technique, he actually jumped out rather than try to get the cookie. I had to let him ride in the front, because I couldn’t get him to stay in the car. I’m hoping that once we have him trained on the electronic collar, we can stop this kind of behavior.
Ironically, he wants to go with us, but he doesn’t want to ride in the wayback. When we have the liberty to do so, we have taken to putting him in his crate and leaving him home if he jumps out of the car, but most of the time we actually are taking him somewhere, so we can’t do this. I’m hoping that if he has to stay home enough times, he’ll get the idea. He finally got house trained when I got smart enough to put him in his crate if he had an accident.
After a long break, he seems to be turning into Destructo Dog again. Last week he got one of my bras and tore it to shreds. This week, he fished one of my gloves out of my coat pocket and ruined it before I noticed what he had. These were purple leather gloves that a friend bought me for Christmas forty years ago. I’ve worn them every year since then. But one good glove doesn’t really do me any good, so I threw them away.
And speaking of him, we played a form of tic tac toe in his class this weekend where teams competed to place their pieces on a grid if they were the first to all get their dogs to follow a series of commands. I feared that with Luke on the team, we would lose all the time, but we actually did fairly well except against a team that was blatantly cheating by not waiting for the moderator to check them before placing their piece and going on to the next set of tasks. Once she stopped them from doing that, they still cheated, because they had disks that they could throw onto the grid, whereas we had cones. We would be told at the same time that we had finished, but they would throw their disk on while we had to walk up and place ours. After that, she only let one team place their piece at a time, and then we actually beat them in every game. Still, one person on our team plainly didn’t play tic tac toe, because at the point where she only had to place our cone in the right spot to win, she put it somewhere else. We won on the next turn.
It was amazing to me that adults would actually bother to cheat during a silly game meant to show whether our dogs understood their commands. Later on, I talked to one of them, and we decided it was just the difference between how Ash, who instructed my team first, gives instructions and Dawn does. That other team had been playing a much more disorganized game with Dawn before we were switched into the room.
On a more prosaic note, I spent the time on Saturday that I wasn’t taking Luke to class or planting bulbs cleaning out my refrigerator. It’s embarrassing how long it’s been since I did that. It’s also amazing to me how little actual good food we had in there. Now I catch myself admiring how easy it is to find things in there and how nice it looks.