Dear Reader,

If you’ve been missing my newsy reports and updates on Lake’s sweet toddler antics, that’s because he’s been at Camp NanaBaba since the beginning of the month. We’ve been missing his sweet self, too! So, here’s a gift from last month. We were visiting his friends Maicy Jane and Hazel in Portland, and what luck… we went out to the carnival! It was Lake’s first time at the carnival, and it was amazing! He was riding the rides, playing the arcade, and Maicy and he even won at a game booth. She sweetly deferred to him to choose a prize… a sequined dolphin! He absolutely had a blast with his friends, and his mind was blown, just a little! Enjoy the bright eyed photos! We’ll be reuniting with Lake at Newman Lake on Saturday, just a few days away. Then more cuteness awaits!

With love,

Lake and Tolle

Plant Hunting

It reminded me of Last Chance to See, a charmingly tragic adventure book by Douglas Adams whereby he searches out some of the last populations of endangered animals in their native habitat. I was on a top secret mission with my botanist friend and former Olympic National Park biological sciences technician coworker, Katie. Our optimistic goal was to confirm a population of rare plants last sighted in 1992 near where a proposed trail was being investigated. And we were optimistic. Needless to say, the trail was never built so the location remains deeply inaccessible. Two other expeditions had failed to reach the described location. The GPS mapping systems have improved considerably since then, meaning they weren’t so great back then when the satellites’ locations were being scrambled by the US government and one needed to look up the daily correction. So we had, at most, moderate confidence in the exact location, although all we had to go off of was indeed the exact pinpoint on a topographical map with coordinates.

One suspension bridge, one gigantic Douglas Fir tree, one river crossing where we debated wading across in water up to our waist but decided on crawling across logs like bears, and one endless quarter mile and very steep slope of bushwacking through Devils Club later, we found the gps spot… but not the plants. Twelve hours of plant hunting expedition for naught save friendship and memories … whew!

When we arrived at our pinpoint destination after much force of will dealing with the environs, the detailed slope aspect and micro topography were incongruous to the location. We were originally prepared to scout around, however the terrain was so difficult (3 hours to travel 1/4 mile) that we were unable to make more than a couple exploratory detours off our compass setting.

The associated species were compatible with the plant we were searching for, however in the end, while we did make it to the location of the last sighting, we were unable to confirm (or deny) that the population still exists.

We made it out safely and had a great time (in that kind of way where you’re battered and bruised and thankful to be alive) but neither of us are anxious to go back again for further hunting, such was the beastliness of this off-trail wilderness cliffside.

A perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you plant hunting Katie!

Wild Sky Wilderness

With Lake Odin vacationing it up at NanaBaba’s, Michael and I had an opportunity to do a little camping and hiking ourselves. Michael is a master at picking good, relatively unknown, hiking and camping gems. After a few hours of research he had a three part contingency plan formulated.

He lead us up the Skykomish into on a day hike into the Wild Sky Wilderness following Johnson Ridge out to Joan Lake for a 9 mile trek with jaw dropping views on either side.

We dropped down into Joan Lake for lunchtime and were treated to a live marmot show. These were some of the biggest marmots either of us had ever seen. Otherwise it was pretty quiet, just a few birds and only a few other hiking parties were encountered.

We were well situated for the day hike launch having camped at Beckler River Campground, where we scored a sweet spot right on the river bank for $18.

It did rain more than we were expecting however that did not dampen our spirits. It was great to spend the weekend out in the mountains, sharing the fresh air with the wildflowers and my sweetheart!

Hello NanaBaba!

Luisa took Lake to the airport on the Link train as her last official au pair duty. “It was really perfect,” she said. “When we got to the airport Lake saw Nana and he took off running toward her.” They made a great connection!

“The non-rev gods smiled on us,” uncle pilot Peter Jakin said of their lucky flight over to Spokane where it turned out that Lake got to sit right next to his uncle! Lake loves flying he told us. He much prefers it to driving to Spokane. What a kid!

Newman Lake beckons and as wise Baba says, “It’s one of life’s big pleasures, [having Lake here].”

Good Bye Luisa!

Luisa brought Lake from 1 and 1/2 to 3 years old. They spent 45 hours a week together for the past 18 months. Quite a lot of growth in that timeframe. Baby to toddler to “big boy”. Today he said to us. “I’m thinking of taking an ambitious walk”. What does that mean, I asked for clarification. “Walk to get ice cream.” Wow. What a guy!

We wish you all the best on your future adventures and endeavors, Luisa! From Hawaii to Washington D.C. to Charleston to Denver to sky diving in San Diego, you’ll enjoy your travel month for sure. We look forward to hearing all about it and giving you a proper send off in August. Thank you for taking such great patient care of Lake, and organizing so many play dates, trips to the zoo, kayaking, tulips and baking muffins… making every day a perfect day. I’m glad Lake spent them with you!