Anniversary, Table for Two!

Today is Chris and my second anniversary.  Yay!  Two of my happiest years ever, back to back.  I’m so fortunate to have found him, and that he willingly puts up with all my quirks and foibles.  Last weekend we got away for a couple of nights, staying at Abbey Road Farm B&B, the same place where we stayed three years ago when we were dating.  We did some wine tasting, gambling, goat frolicking…wait, what?  Yes, goat frolicking!  These little guys were only a week old when we saw them…soooo precious!  The little lambkins were super cute too, but they were a bit older, 5-6 weeks.  Here are a few picture for you to enjoy!


Celeste and her two little boys.


Baby goat kisses!


Mabel and her three kids.  We actually milked Mabel three years ago.

And I didn’t take a single picture!

Oh, Reno, how you love to take our money away.  It’s ok though, because we enjoy your biggest-little-city can-do attitude, complete with sprawling casinos and “European” gymnasiums (whatever that means).  Also, your lack of homeless people hired to shove little pictures of naked ladies at passers-by is non-Las-Vegasly refreshing, so Thank You, Reno, for that.

This year, it just happened that my birthday, Valentine’s Day and President’s Day (yes, President’s Day) fell reasonably close together to have a four-day weekend out of town.  Chris and I have stayed at the Peppermill Casino three times now, and it’s rather lovely – it’s all Italian-themed (except for their Chinese restaurant, Chi, which is Chinese-themed) and they have a fantastic spa, casino and restaurants (including Chi).  We arrived Thursday night and spent much of the weekend losing money, enjoying drinks (perhaps a little too much on Sunday night), and luxuriating in our ridiculously over-sized suite.  Well, the suite itself wasn’t over-sized, just the furniture.  But it was awesome!  Also, someone might have eaten the Famous Amos chocolate-chip cookies from the honor bar.  I’m not pointing any fingers, but that someone might have been me, or as Chris identified as the culprit, Snacky McSnackerton.

Anyway, here is a picture of the slot machine that ate all my money.  If you see it, I suggest walking in the opposite direction.  The tigers are tricksy and false…their fancy jewels flash and you hear them roar, but they just take without giving.  Damn you and your scatter bonuses, Siberian Storm!!!

Additional Reno places of interest that took our monies:  the spa (hello, facial and pedicure…I’m pleased to meet you!  Why yes, I’d also like to have one of those luxurious robes as well, thanks!), Romanza the Italian restaurant (so happy that we got in on Valentine’s night, although the lobster and shrimp and sea bass that we enjoyed might not have been so pleased), Atlantis casino (just a quick jaunt down the street and…why, I’m so happy to meet you, Sumo Kitty slot machine!  Here, take some more of my money!), and the Peppermill Poker Room (Chris can fill you in there, although I will say that the craps table was most uncraptacular.  Chris scored pretty well with the dice!).

We were having such a good time that I insisted upon staying another night in our suite instead of heading home late in the evening.  And it all worked out…the cats were even happy to see us home.  Happy birthday / Valentine’s Day / President’s Day to us all!

Want to see cruise pictures? Of course you do!

Chris and I went on a Caribbean cruise so that he could play in the Heartland Poker Tournament, and so that I could take a week off of work and spend that week in the Caribbean.  Here are a bunch of pictures for you…the captions speak for themselves, so enjoy the slide show!

Heartland Poker Caribbean Cruise

Hello, 2008 – Remember Me?

Wow – I’m FINALLY done with a scrapbook about the backpacking trip that Cecily and I took to Arizona’s Chiricahua wilderness area back in November 2008.  I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, obviously, so I’m happy that it is done!  If you’re so inclined, take a look and see what I was up to (ahem) four years ago this month!

Cecily and Marci in the Chiricahua Wilderness

Cecily and Marci in the Chiricahua Wilderness

Click HERE to view the Shutterfly Album!

Do you know what this is?

Hi!  Do you know what this is?

I’ll give you a hint.  It’s not an eel, and I took these pictures at the viewing windows at Bonneville Dam this past weekend.  Still don’t know?

Here I am doing some guerrilla aquatic education at the public viewing windows in the dam.  And stop looking at my butt.  You can take a closer look at what I’m doing, however.
 
 
Those are Pacific lamprey!  You can learn all about Pacific lamprey by following Luna the Lamprey on Facebook, or do a google search.  Their population numbers are dwindling, and they’re an important part of the aquatic ecosystem as well as native American culture.  The Fish and Wildlife Service, and our office especially, is going lamprey-crazy right now with a lot of research and outreach efforts.  So check them out – they are a very cool fish!  And kind of cute in a way.
 
 

This is one side of Bonneville Dam – it’s a pretty incredible structure and it supplies much of the Pacific Northwest with power.  And this is apparently what a fishery biologist looks like (although it doesn’t much resemble what I look like, even when I’m at work).  Ha!

Olympic Peninsula Vacation

At the beginning of August, Chris and I took a long weekend to drive around the Olympic Peninsula.  We stopped at the Hoh Rainforest and Hurricane Ridge, the Olympic Game Farm, took the ferry over to Whidbey Island and drove over Deception Pass, then landed at Tulalip Casino where we lost a bunch of cash (aside from my winnings at a slot machine called Siberian Storm, featuring lots of tigers).  It was a great break from work and it felt like an actual vacation!  Check out my photo album HERE to see some of the places we stopped.

Me and Chris in the Hoh Rain Forest, part of Olympic National Park.

Me and Chris in the Hoh Rain Forest, part of Olympic National Park.

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

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’!

Meandering around Multnomah Falls

I decided to extend my Independence Day weekend and took last Tuesday off to spend it with Chris because he has been away on tour for the past week. What to do? It was a beautiful day, so we decided to hike up Multnomah Falls in the Gorge. We hiked up to the top of the falls, then took the Wahkeena trail down past Fairy Falls, then back to the base of Multnomah.

This is basically the loop that we took, with the exception that we walked the trail that passes by Fairy Falls. In total it was about 6.2 miles.

It was a beautiful day, and we got some good exercise. We definitely took our time – I’m a bit slow on the uphill, and there were a ton of wildflowers to take pictures of. We capped off our victorious climb by stopping at McMenamin’s Edgefield Power Station Pub. Yum!

 

At the base of Multnomah Falls
Me and Chris at the top of Multnomah Falls
Weisendanger Falls, upstream from Multnomah
Lovely larkspur!
Oregon iris – see the bee in the upper right petal? She’ll be off to pollinate another plant soon!
Columbia tiger lily
Fairy Falls on the Wahkeena Trail
At the bottom of Wahkeena Falls