Summer 2011: An Epic Saga -- The Epic, Epic Conclusion

So, now that 2012 is almost over, we figured it was time to wrap up our adventures from last year so we can catch you all up with the (sadly not as epic) things that have happened to us this year.

The final leg of our epic 2011 journey took us to sunny Issaquah (yes, it's sunny sometimes!), where we hung around Chateau McSwain and ate candy for breakfast and pretzels for every other meal. 

After a few days of lounging/binging, we headed up to Whistler, BC, where our good friend Rhonda treated us to a stay in her swanky timeshare. Once there, she also treated us to a zipline tour.

My excited face.

Or no, wait—this was my excited face. Or maybe my cold face?

Ah—there's my excited face.

Phil had to tuck his legs up so they didn't hit the ground.

Rhonda (left), ziplining pro. Angela (right), freezing her butt off.

Then, also, Rhonda took us on an ATV ride. We saw a bear!
This isn't the bear. This is Rhonda and her nephew, Braden, ready to ride their Vs over A the T.


Angela, always prepared. Helmet: R. Raincoat: R. Pink boxer shorts: R

Our final order of business before heading back to the 'Quah was an 11-mile hike to Garibaldi Lake.
Chrell mix.

There's a spectacular view somewhere behind all that fog.

 How rugged is Phil?


We made it to the lake, and Phil didn't even want to go swimming. What a waste!

I fell through the snow into one of these icy creeks and hiked all the way back down the mountain with a wet sock. My toe bled in protest.

Taken right after Phil finished wrestling a chipmunk bear. SO RUGGED. Also, there's that view I was talking about.

After our hike, we hurried back to the condo to pick up my mom and drive back to Issaquah. It's a good thing we did, too, because otherwise, who would have pushed the car down the off-ramp and into the gas station when we ran out of gas? Thanks, Mom! (Just maybe push a little faster next time, mmkay? Good try, though.)

Back at home, we gathered our things and hit the road for Utah. I took a flight back to Philadelphia to take the bar exam (spoiler alert: I passed! I'm a real lawyer!), and Philip drove the car allllllllllll the way to Philly by himself so he could start medical school on August 1st. Look; look how far he drove:

And that's it. The most epically epic road trip anyone ever went on. 

Hmm... Now the rest of my blog posts will seem really boring and not epic at all in comparison. All downhill from here. :( Still, stay tuned for upcoming posts about me being a lawyer, Philip being almost half of a doctor, and ZOMG OUR NEW PUPPY!!!!!!!11


Summer 2011: An Epic Saga -- Episode 4, in Which We Float Down a River for a Ways

Phil used to guide river trips on the Salmon and Snake rivers.  He did this every summer for seven years, and he is quite good at it.  So good that OARS, the company he guided for, allowed him to come back and row just for one trip on the Main Fork of the Salmon and bring me along as well.  

To that end, we bid adieu to the sparkling Chetco and aimed our car toward exotic Lewiston, Idaho.  We stopped for the night in White Salmon, Washington so we could rest up and reconnect with some of Phil's river friends—Amy, Dave, and Eve.

There was plenty of talk about flow rates on the Salmon above 70,000 cubic feet per second—that's quite a lot of water, I learned—to get us excited/terrified for our ride.  I had fun watching Phil slip so easily back into his river world.  With friends like the Sacquetys, it's no wonder he returned to boatland year after year.  White Salmon will definitely be a recurring pit stop in the future, for the Sacquetys' company and their amazing view.

I was not prepared for the strange reality of boatland, the base for OARS's Idaho operations.  It's a Never Never Land for tree-hugging adrenaline addicts, and it's in a permanent state of flux.  Every day, there are trips ending and beginning, packing and unpacking.  OARS attracts an incredible array of employees.  Plenty of fit college kids trying to earn summer cash, but also people into their thirties, forties, fifties, and beyond, and they hail from all over.  Everyone there has held onto a desire to turn playing outside into a career—something I think most people share until they trade it in for more "mature," "practical," or "realistic" pursuits.  I'm jealous of them, a little, but I've made my choice.  

As Phil's guest, I wasn't exactly a real client, so I helped as much as I could (read: got underfoot) during the pack-up for our trip, which was to have about thirty people on it.  That's thirty people to fit into boats and to house, feed and water for six days, and thirty people's excrement to collect and cart around (lest the riverbanks become one big pile of poo).  Packing for all of that was something to behold.  When we weren't packing, we visited a couple of Phil's other river friends, including Eric and Cassie, who very generously lent me some of their fancy gear.  I also crammed in as much study time as I could, because, sadly, I would not be able to study on our trip; believe it or not, there is no 3G in the Frank Church Wilderness.  Shucks.

If the pack-up was a frenzied blur, the put-in was a frenzied blur set to the Benny Hill theme.  All the stuff that took the dozen or so of us most of a day to put on the truck came back off in about an hour.  Here's Phil taking a well-deserved break after rigging his boat (like a boss).

The clients showed up, we ate and mingled and talked about safety and the like, and then we pushed off on a very swollen river under some mean-looking clouds.

We landed some minutes later, about three miles downriver, and set up camp.  We ended up staying at this first camp for three of our six days, because our wise trip leader Heather thought we should let the river calm down so the last big rapid on our trip, "Whiplash," did not dash us all against the rocks.  The three-day stretch gave us plenty of time to hike, swim, and poke around for snakes (see below).

This guy almost surprised us on the trail.  Like, a venom-coursing-through-your-veins-type surprise. 

River friends are good friends.

We eventually piled back in the boats and headed downstream.  I was sad to leave that first campsite—it was the best of the trip, and the multi-day stop meant far less packing and unpacking.  Rowing lessons cheered me up.

Smiling because, when I get hot and tired, I can give the oars back to Phil—do your job, lazy!

That's better.

The last half of the trip was rigorous. We packed and unpacked everything each day, cooked for thirty at every meal, and just spent alllllllll day on the water, which pretty well wrings you out.  I decided to ride in one of the clients' dories for a bit to see what it was like and get a chance to row.  Pretty much as soon as I left Phil alone, he managed to stand the boat up vertically on its stern in a hole in one of the rapids before crashing down, triumphantly upright.  I didn't get to see this feat myself, but I understand it was Phil's finest hour.  I also understand that, had I been in the boat, I would have no longer been in the boat.  Thanks, Phil, for sparing me from your rowing gymnastics.

The river corridor was gorgeous (sorry; too punny) beautiful.  Vast and green and quiet and largely untouched.  We saw deer, bighorn sheep, a bear, and a bald eagle.  

Exotic wildlife. 

Pretty much James Bond.

We made time at camp to relax and do some more hiking and swimming.

 There's always time for more snakes.

And there's always time for, uh, this.

WHIPLASH.  This is Phil's scared face.

The clients and crew. 

We said goodbye to the clients at the take-out and commenced the reverse of the herculean effort that got the boats into the water and full of stuff.  Back at boatland, everything was cleaned and put away, and I finally understood just how much it meant for my narcoleptic husband to drive the six hours to Seattle to see me after derigging back when we were first dating.  We slept like big, tired rocks.

Phil and I left the next morning for sunny Seattle, grooving to the soothing strains of "CORPORATIONS AND OTHER BUSINESS ENTITIES."  River > real world.

Don't miss the final installment of our epic saga, in which we play outside some more.  I promise it's more interesting than it sounds.


Summer 2011: An Epic Saga -- Episode 3, The Mighty Chetco

After California, we had had enough of sleeping indoors (in beds, even!).  So we spent a week camping on the Chetco River in Brookings with Jay and Joann et al.  This river was my second home growing up, and it came with a whole second family, even.  It had been far too long since the last time I saw them all.  Here's my Uncle Jay (he's a logger; can you tell?), building a nice little fire for us:
While Max was cutting wood for Jay, he found a big fat grub.  "Gross," I said.  "Get rid of it."  But Max had a better idea:  "Take a picture of it in my mouth." 
*click*  "hold it... hooooold it... almost got it... sorry, camera turned off; hang on... one more... hoooold it..." 

The fire was a bit hot for roasting marshmallows, but Max is what you might call a problem solver.  Or a marshmallow addict.  
Anything for a fix.

We spent most of our time bathing in the sun and the river and hanging out with whichever Petersons happened to show up on any given day.  Phil turned into a giddy little child with all the water dogs around.  He fit right in with Kash and Jayce, Ash's adorably well-behaved boys.

True to form and name, River Granny spent quite a bit of time upriver with us.  I love her.

We also caught up with Dave and Erin again and did some more pickin' and singin'.  They even fed us tacos!  They are just so best.  How best are they?  So.

Uncle David gave Phil a nice guitar to replace the temporary beater I had given him a couple birthdays ago.  See?  So best.
I love this guy.

We popped back into California a couple times to see my gramma and Eden.  We didn't do anything particularly special with them, so there aren't any pictures.  They were busy making costumes and rehearsing for a play.  But they're special, anyway.  We wandered around on the beach by Gramma's house and saw a bunch of seals and pelicans and snakes.
Fat, lazy, smelly.  And adorable.

The ocean!  I love that.

A snake!  Phil loves that.

My Aunt Sue also favored us with a concert.  She gave me one of her beautiful guitars a few years ago and inspired me to sing and play.  If I ever learn as many songs as she knows, I'll feel like I did something with my life.

Notice how I look really tan next to Max (also notice our huge biceps) but really pasty next to my mom.  

I needed more sun to dethrone my mom as the reigning queen of melanin.  Luckily, our next adventure involved prolonged exposure to the mean Idaho sun.  Did we conquer the Salmon River, or did it conquer us?  Don't miss the next episode of our summer saga, in which you will find out that we conquered it.  Obviously.