Jul 25

Eagle Creek with Andrew and Patrick, 12-13JULY2012

This was Patrick’s first backpack trip. I figured that at 7 years of age, he was worthy of a good hike. So, with Andrew’s help, off we went to the Columbia River Gorge and the start of the Eagle Creek trip. The trail goes up 7.5 miles before diverting into several other trails. I wasn’t sure how far Patrick would be able to go, and so picked a trail that would allow for many possibilities to stop early to 7.5 miles. We made it up to 4.5 miles. Patrick carried a pack, including his sleeping bag and pad, and clothes, so he had proportionally slightly more weight per size that either Andrew or I. That afternoon, we walked another 1.5 miles up to Tunnel Falls, and then turned back. The evening was spent in the tent without a fly, and the weather was absolutely perfect. We decided to hike back the next day, aborting a day early, but spending time at the Punchbowl.

Patrick with Andrew, fresh and ready to start

The trail was created out of dynamite for about 1/3 of the distance. The dynamite used was of the native Indian variety, and not the synthetic stuff used by modern man to destroy nature.

Patrick still fresh

The Three Musketeers

Arrival at camp, 4.5 miles later

Tunnel Falls

Eager to go home

The Punchbowl in HDR


After we returned to the car, we drove along the old Columbia River highway to Crown Point and then back to Gresham. We are a few sights.

Crown Point


View of Columbia River Gorge from Crown Point/Vista House in HDR

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Jul 25

WestSide Road Mountain Bike adventure 10JUL2012

There is a road along the west side of Mt. Rainier within the National Park itself that has been closed to automobile traffic for many years now, because of road washouts. Actually, the washout is limited to the area across a stream as seen below. This is the first obstacle to the mountain bike adventure, as the road is limited to bicycles and hikers.

The road follows a stream up to a distance, and goes over two major ridges, so that there is much climbing to be done. The final length is a little over 14 km. Along the way are multiple trails that take off to viewpoints, but open only to hikers. It would be wonderful to be able to do a combined bike and hike trip.

Me at the Gobbler’s Knob Trail takeoff

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Jul 25

Adobe Illustrator CS6 Classroom in a Book ★

There are no authors given to this book, as it is presented as the Adobe official training workbook from Adobe Systems. Many of the Classroom in a book series are reasonably decent at giving the new user a first glimpse at the use and capabilities of whatever Adobe program is being presented. This book, in contrast, is very poor, though the scarcity of stars is not entirely the fault of the book, since Adobe Illustrator itself is a terribly buggy program that needs more work. For instance, smart guides would only intermittently work for me, with no explanation from the Adobe website as to the nature of the problem, and many others have complained on the website of this bug. This book starts with chapter 0 offering a quick tour of the capabilities of Illustrator. It was the most confusing chapter I’ve ever read, and the suggested one hour to get through the chapter took about 4-5 hours. Most of the chapters would take at least double the suggested needed time. I suppose they timed somebody entirely familiar with the program. Throughout the book, very precise details are offered, though they never build on previous chapters for shortcuts or easy ways to accomplish a task. Many times throughout the book, an important detail was omitted, or perhaps a detail was accidentally skipped 20 steps prior, and no means of correction were possible, save for starting over. The book persuaded me of the horrid inadequacies of the Illustrator program. I remember with sadness how easy it was to use Corel Draw, which is unfortunately no longer available for Mac users. My only hope at this point is to try another Illustrator instruction book, and see if it can make better sense of this crazy program.

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Jul 18

Malachi – A Prophet in Times of Despair, by Baruch Maoz ★★★★

I had reviewed another book by Maoz about the book of Jonah, and it was excellent. This book is quite similar. Baruch Maoz offers a distinctly Jewish perspective to his discussions of the text, often of which are quite informative. Maoz covers the basic themes of Malachi, as to how the Jews possess a religiosity, but they have lost their heart for loving God. Malachi offers prudent advice on returning to God, and the promises God gives for faithfulness to Him.  Maoz has a very Reformed form of theology,and this colors his thinking all the way through the book. The essential theme is that the OT is quite relevant for today. It is not made of lesser stuff than the NT. His final statement brings the entire book of Malachi together,

“As I hope you will see, the New Testament teaches the same principles as does the Old. It is not difficult to preach the Gospel front he Old Testament without resorting to spiritualization or any of the interpretational manipulations that are so common in modern Christian pulpits. If we will but allow the Old Testament to speak for itself, it will inexorably lead to the Gospel of Jesus, the Messiah”.

I couldn’t say it better.

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Jul 15

Guns 101

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Guns 101 by David Steier ★★★★

Now that Obama has threatened to take guns away from us, it became time to purchase a few weapons. This book does a wonderful job of addressing multiple issues of gun ownership. Why buy a gun? (Not necessarily to kill people or animals!) What type of gun or guns should one purchase? What is the meaning to all of the sizes of ammo out there? How does one care for a gun, and obtain the necessary skills to use a gun? All of these questions are answered in very simple terms and heavily illustrated in this book. For the person purchasing their first guns, this is a great book to read before one lays down bucks on the counter. The only reservation that I have with the book is the author’s love for .357/.38 size ammo, and his preoccupation with competition shooting, most notably Cowboy Action Shooting.

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