A Fish Ladder, Finally!

Chris’ Grandma Lois turned 80 on July 19th, but since he was on tour with his army band, I took the train up to Seattle to represent.  I met up with Chris’ Aunt Carol, Uncle Bruce and cousin Terra before our big family lunch and they took me to the Chittenden Locks and fish ladder on Lake Washington.  I think this was actually the first time I’ve really seen a functioning fish ladder up close, which seems kind of silly to me at this point in my career.  But it was pretty cool – they had the ladder that you could walk along side of, and then you could go inside to see the fish in the ladder through a viewing window.  As it was in the middle of July, it was the height of the sockeye upstream migration, and that’s what most of these fish were.  But it was the beginning of the Chinook migration, and we saw a big old Chinook hanging out in the fish ladder too.

Here are some boats going through the Chittenden Locks into Lake Washington.


This is the upstream end of the fish ladder, looking towards Lake Washington.


Sockeye salmon, for the most part.


Hey you fish, you’d better hurry up or you’re going to have to wait until tomorrow to get to the lake!


There were also seals lurking very close to the entrance of the fish ladder,
filling up on breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The mini Gyger family reunion was a great time – I think everyone had fun at Ray’s Boathouse, and I know I had a good time chatting and drinking with Aunt Kim, Uncle Bruce and Bumper later that evening.  Here’s a link to the photos I took if you’d like to check them out!

Grandma Lois’ 80th Birthday

A Wonderful Way to Turn 90!

Last month Chris and I flew down to Paradise, California (near Chico) and met up with everyone from the Koski side of my family.  It was Gramma’s 90th birthday and I’m so happy that we got down there so that she and everyone else could meet Chris.  For those of you who are interested, here are a bunch of pictures that I’ve posted – check ’em out!

Gramma’s 90th Birthday

My first official race!

The Sunday after St. Patrick’s Day, Chris and I attended the Shamrock Run in Portland, along with 31,998 other people. It was sooooo freakin’ cold and rainy at first, but once we finally got moving it was rather nice. Chris ran the 8 K and I walked the 5 K Shamrock strut (or as I like to call it, the Shamwalk) with my friend Jennifer. Ok, admittedly, my event was un-timed and non-competitive, but I still got an official shirt and race bib, so it counts, right???

Thanksgiving time already???

Well, I guess Halloween can’t last forever. But, just in case you’re sad about the season ending (like I am), here are a few pictures for you from our Halloween party!

Our terrifying living room.
We turned our basement into a spider den! Horrific!
Even more scary, I made my first attempt at wearing false eyelashes. It didn’t go too badly! Plus, they were purple.
Here’s my costume! I was going for Mad Hatter, but I’ll also accept Mimi from the Drew Carey Show (not really) or drag queen.
Christopher was the local reed dealer. You know, because he makes and sells reeds for oboe.
We had some amazing costumes at our party, including plenty of Star Wars characters. Rachael was the Death Star, her being pregnant and all.
Paul’s costume was clever – he went to the evite site and wrote all the party-goers names on name tags. His concept: identity thief.
Those eyeball cupcakes didn’t stand a chance!
Uh oh…looks like the party is getting started…
Indeed! We even had Elvis singing karaoke in the spider den!
Hey you two – no funny business! Just kidding, carry on with the funny business.
So scary! But fun! Looking forward to another good time next year!

And I even got it on camera!

My little brother turned 36 on the 19th. I took him bowling and we even had an extra treat – galaxy style! The lanes were all lit up with black lights and flashing runner lights and cheesy music videos. Wowzers! Happy birthday, Paul – I’m glad I’m your sister and am happy that we got to spend a few hours together this weekend. Let’s do it again sometime!

Crater…Caldera…It’s all the same, right?

I’m afraid not, my friends. That being the case, I propose that “Crater” Lake be renamed “Caldera Lake”, which more accurately reflects its origins and current state. The lake, of course, was formed during a massive volcanic explosion, which caused Mt. Mazama to collapse and form the lake at the top. As you may recall from Geology 101, a crater is formed by an impact (think asteroid impacts that form craters on the moon)…which is not the case with “Crater” (psh!) Lake.

One of our first views of “Crater” Lake. Gorgeous, huh?

At any rate, I thought I’d share a few pictures that we took when Chris and I went on a little road trip a couple of weeks ago. We headed down south through Bend to Diamond Lake, which is just north of “Crater” Lake by about 20 minutes. We camped with some friends for a couple of nights there at the Forest Service campground. First of all, what a gorgeous place to camp! Second of all, we need a bigger tent. My backpacking tent is just not much fun for car-camping, especially when the people you’re camping with have trailers and palatial tents with separate rooms for their dogs, for Pete’s sake!

We found this sign at the Crooked River overlook. Dogs are so dumb.
Our campsite at Diamond Lake. Mosquitoes are dumb, too.
These are dragonfly nymph exuvium that I found on the shore of Diamond Lake. Dragonflies are definitely kewl. I am obviously a nerd.

Our second day in we spent the day at “Crater” Lake. While it is misnamed, it *is* beautiful. Wowzers! And there was still plenty of snow up there. We drove around the lake, stopped at the visitor’s center so that I could get my National Parks Passport stamped (heh heh), then took the hike down Cleetwood Cove trail to the lake shore. From there, we took a 2.5 hour boat tour around the lake where our guide talked about the geology, mythology, and biology of the lake. We even got to see several hundred kokanee swimming below us at one point! They aren’t native (along with the rainbow trout), but the lake hasn’t been stocked since the 1940’s. It’s America’s deepest and most pristine lake, so removing the fish would be very difficult and the Park Service has decided to just let them persist. The hike back up the trail was not all that fun, but the weather was warm and sunny so I’m not going to complain much here.

Me and Chris at “Crater” Lake. The scenery was nice, too.
Our friends James, Becky, Wicket, and Willow. Even at the end of July the road was closed because there was still a little bit of snow around!
At the bottom of Cleetwood Cove Trail; that’s our boat waiting to take us around the lake.
Our view of Wizard Island from the lake surface. The water was really calm and clear.

The next day we stopped at Lava Butte National Volcanic Monument (and got another passport stamp – cha-ching!) on our way back home. It’s just a few minutes south of Bend, and it pretty darn cool. We drove to the top of the butte and you can see its huge lava flow – almost 7000 years old and the pumice field looked as sharp and jagged as ever.

The forest ends abruptly at the lava flow’s edge; yes, that wall of dark brown rubble is all sharp pumice from the flow!
Chris, in front of Lava Butte.
The view from the top of Lava Butte. You can see the lava flow extending out (dark brown) and then the forest beyond. 7000 years later and the rocks have not eroded or been colonized by plants!

Chris had a great birthday weekend, and I decided we need to go camping more. With a new tent. And possibly a queen-sized air mattress. But first thing’s first: where to go next?

Happy birthday, my love! You are smokin’!

Act 4: The Afterglow!

Ok, I am soooo looking forward to being done with wedding blogging! So this one’s gonna be short – it’s the last installment of our 4-part series, and I’m excited about writing about more recent events. So let’s get crackin’!

Chris and I took our post-wedding vacation (I’m not too excited about the word “honeymoon” – it sounds so mushy!) on a cruise in the Western Caribbean. We went all over the place (in areas limited to the Western Caribbean)! We started in Florida, went to Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas, then hit up Aruba, Willemstad (Curacao), then sailed on over to the Panama Canal and Colon, up to Costa Rica, then back to Florida. We were gone 10 days, and one of the best things about the trip was the sun…this spring has been very rainy and gray in the Pacific Northwest region, so seeing the sun again was a welcome sight. And it was warm, too!

We really did have a fantastic time. The food was amazing, we got to dress up all fancy-like on formal nights, I learned how to play craps (1. pick up dice. 2. roll dice. 3. yay!), and we were even invited to eat dinner with the captain on our last formal night because we are just that awesome (or perhaps it was because we were the youngest couple on the ship).

You can view many pictures by clicking here: HERE. Alternatively, you may look at the Cliff Notes version below. At any rate, enjoy!

Our first day on board the Zuiderdam, in Ft. Lauderdale, after traveling all night.
Time for a drink on deck!
Our first stop was at Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. Admittedly, this is a pretty dorky picture. I was riding Peanut, and Chris was on Just for You. After our land ride, we rode our horses as they swam in the ocean.
After our horseback ride, we went parasailing. This is Chris and me, probably about 500 feet up; that’s our ship in the background. Pretty water, huh?
Our first sea day, and our first formal night. Chris wore his pimp suit, and I wore my skank shoes.
In Aruba, we went boarded a catamaran and went snorkeling, which I’ve never really done before. It exceeded my expectations, for sure!
I took way better underwater pictures than this, but this picture shows the coolest thing we saw – squid! You can see one near the bottom center of the photo – you might even be able to see an eye if you look closely. They were less than a foot long, kind of brown, and swam in schools of 3-5 squid.
We spent a day in Willemstad, Curacao. We did quite a bit of walking, which led us to a non-tourist, more local market. These boats brought recently-dispatched sea creatures to market booths just off the dock.
Another formal night on a sea day.
We got to go through the Panama Canal to Lake Gatun!
We took a side trip to Gamboa Park, where we got on small boats, tooled around Lake Gatun, and saw some monkeys. These little guys were accustomed to being fed by the guides, unfortunately. But they were super cute!
In Costa Rica, we traveled to the central region of the country for some ziplining. Behind is is the AdrenaLine, a 700 m line that traverses a valley and river.
Our last formal night. This was the black and white ball, which we went to after eating dinner with the captain at his private table with a specially prepared meal. We were pretty fortunate to have that experience!
We spent our last evening on board at the Pinnacle Grill. It was a fantastic meal – here, our server is flaming my chicken kabob. Yum!