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Apologies for Neglecting You, My Darlings. I’ll Make Up For It – With Geology! And Zombies!

I know I’ve been kind of (ha) erratic over the past few weeks. There was the trip to the Josephine, and when I got home, I was too damned restless to stay in one place. I haven’t been able to stay confined in the house long enough to get anything useful done. Let me esplain, or at least sum up, and apologize with some pretty pictures. There’s even a zombie.

I headed up Highway 2 into the Cascades the Saturday afternoon following my return. I ended up past Gold Bar, and saw lovely snowy peaks.

Some very lovely Cascade peaks with just a touch of snow and sun upon them.

Some very lovely Cascade peaks with just a touch of snow and sun upon them.

And did a desultory bit of rock hammering.

A fresh surface!

A fresh surface!

If you look to the left of the grip, you’ll see the fresh chip. This whole wall looks like featureless gray stone. Could be limestone, could be basalt, could be anything – until you whack a chip out of it and find out it’s some sort of granitic thingy. I’m pretty sure it’s Mount Stuart Batholith, probably grandiorite. This, folks, is why you absolutely must see a fresh surface.

On the way back, I saw one of the most spectacular waterfalls ever.

Incredible waterfall.

Incredible waterfall.

Look at the size of the thing!

Closeup of incredible waterfall.

Closeup of incredible waterfall.

I mean day-amn. I’ll bet someone knows what its name is, but I have no idea. I just stayed on the side of the highway for ages staring at it, and taking a few photos, and some video, and making awed noises. Then I went home. Where I promptly did nothing at all useful.

On Sunday, still restless, I headed north to Mount Vernon. Then I decided what the hell and zipped over to Anacortes. Then Rosario Beach, all by memory. Didn’t stay to take photos because the clouds were heavy, the light wasn’t good, and I have twelve billion photos already. But it was lovely. Then I went home and continued doing nothing useful.

Monday, I discovered what I expected to, that we’d shuffled our floor support around and I’d lost my slot. No big, but it meant I couldn’t stay even for a half day. Still under orders not to type. I had to get paperwork modified for that, which chewed up a good part of the day, and then I went over to Juanita Bay. The wind was blowing hard that day, churning Lake Washington into whitecaps.

Whitecaps on Lake Washington.

Whitecaps on Lake Washington.

I’ve never seen waves crash into the shore like this there.

This qualifies as a massive wave at Juanita.

This qualifies as a massive wave at Juanita.

The park itself has so many trees that all I felt was the occasional stiff gust. Still, there were bits of trees falling everywhere. But then you’d reach these islands of calm, where you could macro a flower without trouble, and the stormlight was wonderful.

Lovely flower onna tree.

Lovely flower onna tree.

And there weren’t many turtles out, as there wasn’t much sun, but the inner bits of the bay were calm enough for a few determined ones to hang about with yellow iris as their backdrop.

Turtles and iris.

Turtles and iris.

So that was very nice.

Tuesday, I got really ambitious. I can’t type, but I can drive, and I can hoof it up trails, so, why not scope out Wallace Falls as a potential place to take readers this summer? Well, I’ll tell you why not: I’m not in bad shape after all this recent gallivanting around, and the climb up nearly killed me. Granted, it was gorgeous, but there was a point along the trail where I was sitting on a tree stump with my heart beating at about nine thousand bpm, and gasping like an asthmatic fish on a dock on a hot day, and I thought I was going to pass out and roll down the hill to my death. I’d even dreamt it happening, I swear, a few months ago. So there I was, hyperventilating and having tachycardia and sweating like a very sweaty person and having the most horrifying episode of deja vu ever, and I hadn’t even made it to the Middle Falls! But I did it. I pushed on to the bitter middle, waded through the folks with power tools who were busy repairing bits of the overlook, and feasted my eyes upon the vista that was my reward for near-death.

Middle Falls of Wallace Falls. Wowsa.

Middle Falls of Wallace Falls. Wowsa.

Then I looked at the sign pointing toward the Upper Falls. “Difficulty: Hard,” it said. The trail that had just nearly claimed my life had been termed “moderate.” “Oh, fuck no,” I said. “Sod this for a game of larks. The Upper Falls can fall without my ass, because my ass is going back downhill.” Which it promptly did. I wobbled the two-plus miles back to the car, and drove home, and inhaled food and liquid, and wished bitterly that I had not done something this foolish on a day when I had physical therapy…

But it was worth it. I have tons of wonderful photos which I can use to tell you stories about the Wallace River sometime soon, and you’ll love them, especially since I’m not forcing you to hoof it up there yourownself.

Wednesday is a blur. I don’t really know what I did on Wednesday. I remember being very shocked that I wasn’t in incredible amounts of pain. I even felt good enough to go down and have my hair hacked off. I made plans with B to go to Icicle Gorge. And did stuff. I think hypoxia from Wallace Falls affected my memory, or else I was being incredibly boring, because the rest of it is lost in a haze.

Thursday, however, I remember with utmost clarity, because it was Zombie Day. Some of my coworkers were making a little video for the company, promoting one of our corporate culture thingies, and it involved zombies, and managers in camouflage. Seriously. D was running around all kitted up in tactical gear, and someone ran to a supervisor going, “There’s this dude in camo in the call center – what should we do?” Apparently, the blue pom-pom on his shoulder and the little sparkly-glitter hand-clapper dealies in the holsters hadn’t registered, even though one of them was bright purple.

My dear friend Captain TMI, otherwise known as Ken, was one of the zombies. A local theatrical make-up specialist had donated her time (no, the corporation wasn’t paying for this, they’re skinflint barstards they are), and what she did to Ken…. This is a goofy ginger dude, and she turned him into a bloody work of art.

Zombie Ken in the making.

Zombie Ken in the making.

I never knew he had such excellent cheekbones. Seriously. And I never knew he could manage sort of dramatic, somber poses. He wasn’t even trying, which is probably why it happened.

Zombie Ken being completed by Starspider.

Zombie Ken being completed by Starspider.

I love that shot – there’s actual pathos, although really all that was going on was Starspider slathering white makeup on the rest of his exposed bits.There was a whole zombie assembly line going.

And then I got to watch from the window while they milled about outside by the entrance, waiting for their scene. At one point, two employees were entering, and the whole herd of zombies chased them spontaneously, and it was hysterical. And Ken still looked great.

Zombie Ken ready for hot braaaiiinnnnssss.

Zombie Ken ready for hot braaaiiinnnnssss.

Although at some point the sun came out, and he had to shield his eyes with his arm, thus earning the nickname “Zombie Ballerina.”

Anyway, huge fun times, and I’ll see if I can get permission from the others to post their zombie mugs when I get back to work. You’ll love them. One of the women looked like Robert Smith from the Cure, and one of the guys looked like Grumpy Cat. No lie.

The next day, B and I headed across the Cascades for Icicle Gorge. The weather dude said it was supposed to be 72 and partly cloudy with a 10% chance of rain. The weather dude lied. It rained pretty much all damned day. But still, spectacular, especially the Wenatchee River. It was so full of water it was bucking and bellowing and basically the watercourse equivalent of that bull that’s killed everyone who’s ever tried to ride it.

Wenatchee River wailing on a boulder.

Wenatchee River wailing on a boulder.

We paused in Leavenworth to consider our options. Leavenworth is… interesting. It’s Bavarian themed, even the McDonald’s. We were laughing our asses off, but promptly determined that we must stay overnight there someday. Not only is it a theme town, it’s in the middle of some enormously excellent geology. Which we were getting rained out of. But it slacked off enough that we decided to risk it, and made it to Icicle Gorge, and saw some of the good bits, although we didn’t risk the entire 4-mile loop.

Icicle Gorge.

Icicle Gorge.

Oh, schist, people! I’m totally coming back there when the water’s low in late summer. Amazing. I’ve got lots of photos to show you, and you will love them.

It was still early, and we were only half an hour away from Peshastin Pinnacles, so we said oh what the hell and went. You will also love them.

Peshastin Pinnacles.

Peshastin Pinnacles.

And it was beautiful, and even sunny, and we were gallivanting around like kids, until the clouds rolled in and began pouring rain upon us. The scramble for the car took some time on those narrow switchback trails, and by the time we arrived, we were both dripping like shaggy dogs newly emerged from a river. Fortunately, we’d brought changes of clothes and towels in case of falling into creeks, so we were all right.

We stopped by my favorite bend in the Skykomish River on the way home, where B had his first experience with a rock hammer. He broke a fresh surface on some grandiorite like a pro. Neither of us could make an impression on the metamorphic rocks, though – not with my dainty little hammer.

B getting some hot rock hammer action going.

B getting some hot rock hammer action going.

I’ll have to get a sledge. Still. Lovely. I loved taking him places he’d never seen, where the scenery knocked his breath out, and showing him those places through geologists’ eyes.

And then we went home, and ate fajitas, and watched Doctor Who, and I think my life was utterly perfect that day.

After two weeks of nearly non-stop adventuring, I’m spent. I’ve spent the weekend telling myself I should Get Important Shit Done, and chastising myself for Reader Neglect, but unable to function. But that’s fine. It was worth it. Hopefully, all of these photos have made it completely worth it for you as well, my darlings.

Comments

  1. rq says

    Wow, what a review! And the last photo reminds me I have assorted pretty beach rocks I need to photograph and send you (yes, just because they’re pretty!).
    Additional notes:
    1) That first waterfall-from-a-distance got my Oh!-face (not that o-face), what a gorgeous view!
    2) When does surf season open in Juanita Bay?
    3) Technically, the weatherman didn’t lie… the 10% chance doesn’t mean it will rain for only 10% of the day, it means there’s a 10% chance that it will actually rain. Alas, it was not your lucky day, and the weather did not take the non-rainy 90% chances it had. Better luck next time! :)
    4) I still don’t understand what it is with people and zombies (even with all your enthused talk of Ken and his zombie abilities).
    5) I want to hear more about Icicle Gorge and the pinnacles. Those look beyond awesome.

  2. Trebuchet says

    Love this part of the world.

    I’ve never personally been to Icicle Canyon but my garage is about half full of rocks from there, collected by my wife and her dad when she was young.

  3. Lithified Detritus says

    Technically, the weatherman didn’t lie… the 10% chance doesn’t mean it will rain for only 10% of the day, it means there’s a 10% chance that it will actually rain. Alas, it was not your lucky day, and the weather did not take the non-rainy 90% chances it had. Better luck next time! :)

    Yes. This. It seriously irritates me that people rip on weather forecasters. Meteorology is insanely complicated, right up there with geology. Technology improvements have made weather forecasting much better than it used to be. Seven day forecasts today are at least as reliable as three day forecasts were in my youth, back in the late Pleistocene.

    I still don’t understand what it is with people and zombies (even with all your enthused talk of Ken and his zombie abilities).

    Yeah. I don’t get the whole zombie thing, or the fascination with vampires, either, for that matter.

  4. Lithified Detritus says

    Also, really nice shots. I would love to get back to the northwest to poke around some more.

  5. klumchuck says

    Bridal Veil Falls descending from Lake Serene on the north side of Mt Index. I’m currently residing in the indolent southern sunshine but many many moons ago Mt Index was a great hike. Now of course my heart rate mimics yours just thinking about it!