Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ape Caves

A few months ago I had the pleasure of spending the day on Mt. Saint Helens. My sons teacher was taking the kids into the upper half of Ape Caves. If you've never been there, the upper half is the hard part. I decided I'd do some boxing in the area while I waited for them to come out.

It was a gorgeous day on the mountain! The weather was warm enough to be comfortable in shorts and a tank top. I talked Dork into joining me for the day and he too dressed for the beautiful spring weather.
We arrived at the parking lot for Ape Caves, got the kids sent off with Jay's teacher with headlamps, gloves, emergency flashlights, and lunch. Then we took a look at all of our clues trying to decide where to start. Really there's not many boxes out that direction, but I had brought two to plant while we were there. As we talked about the caves and the boxes located in or around them, I found out that Dork had never been into Ape Caves. I knew then that we had to start by touring the lower caves. I couldn't bear to have such a tragedy on my conscience. So we stopped and read the signs that reminded you that the temperature in the caves is 42 degrees year round and that jackets are a must. Hmm, no jackets, not even a sweater. Oh well. The next paragraph strongly suggested lanterns with a back up flashlight. There is NO light in the caves and if your lantern goes out, you're stuck. Well, we didn't have a lantern or a headlamp, but I did have my little emergency LED flashlight out of my car. That should be good enough shouldn't it? Heck, in an emergency we had his cell phone light and my camera flash.

Down the stairs, past the snowbank, and into the bowels of the cave. This was my second trip into Ape Caves and I have to say it still took a moment and a deep breath to step into the utter darkness of the cave. Once past the initial wall of dark it got much easier and we strolled along admiring the formations left by the lava that had formed this tube. We passed the infamous "meatball" and the "rails".
The roof narrowed down pretty dramatically. I had to duck, Dork didn't :)
We saw this on the left...

and then this on the right...

Hmmm, did I tuck a little something into that crevice on the right? Could be. There was a very jealous chimp in my backpack. One that was quite ticked off over the fact that the Apes had gotten an entire cave named after them and they'd gotten nothing. I just might have stuffed him into that little nook just to shut him up.

We reached the end of the cave, or as far as you can go standing up. I sat down in the dark and let Dork take the flashlight into the crawl space so he could check out how far it went. When he came back, I got this great picture.

It was a great day of boxing and exploring! I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Are you a crafty person that would like to make a few dollars? If so, join us at our school carnival and craft fair.

For only $10 you get a table to sell your goods at and exposure to lots of people AND you get to hang out with Maiden, Dorks Anonymous, and Happy Papaya. How could it get any better?

If you'd like to rent a table, contact Maiden :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Break Challenge Day 3

Day 3 of spring break dawned drizzly and gray, but that was not enough to distract me from my mission.

First the kids and I joined Bookworm and Miss Marple for lunch. One of the things I love about being off work is the chance to meet up with Wormy and chit chat. I don't get to see her nearly enough. Miss Marple is a new letterboxer that Wormy corrupted from work. The Ides of March gathering was her debut into the letterboxing world and she has jumped in with both feet. She is a very nice person and I look forward to seeing more of her!

After lunch we headed out to find and plant some letterboxes. I had considered going to the zoo, but changed my mind when I discovered a mystery box closer to home that I somehow missed seeing posted.

We drove right to the park and then preceeded to hunt for the landmark. Out of the corner of my eye I spied something that could have been the landmark. The only downside? It was DOWN a very steep hill. Hmmmm, could it be? Well, having heard the stories about the planter at Live and Breathe, yes it could definately be the spot. I took one more look and then sent Lady Macbeth down the hill to look. (You didn't really think *I* was going down there did you?) She searched and searched and searched, but nothing. After scrambling back up the hill, I discovered the real spot, not ten feet away on perfectly flat ground.

After that we headed for Oregon City to find two new boxes there. There's a new boxer in OC that has planted several boxes in the last month. They have been very well done. Today's hunt led us along the promenade with beautiful views of Willamette Falls and the West Linn Bridge.

By the time we'd found the second box, I was starting to feel pretty horrible. As we drove towards the park I intended to hide a box in, I was feverish and my stomach hurt. I decided that challenge or no challenge, it was time to go home.

I ended the day curled up on the couch with a blanket. So, three finds, but no plant for day three. Hopefully day 4 will allow me to plant two boxes, making up for day 3.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring Break Challenge Day 2

Day 2 of spring break was a lovely wet day in Portland.
I started the day back at work. You know how teachers are, they can't leave work at work, even during vacation. We interviewed three potential candidates for our 8th grade class. We chose a person I believe will be great, only time will tell for sure.

Then I took my niece and children to lunch someplace fun. I mean really, where else can you eat in a room filled with fairies, trees, owls, elves, nymphs, dragons, and other wonderful things. The food was great (and gluten free). They even came and read us a story while we ate. Now THAT'S service.

While I was there, I hid a letterbox. I've been wanting to hide a box there for a very long time and today was the day. The business does NOT know about this box. (Primarily because the owner wasn't there for me to ask.) If this bothers you, I apologize and you certainly do not have to go look for this one. If this does not bother you, then take your appetite and head down to Milwaukie.

Hopefully you will be seated downstairs and hopefully there won't be anyone else there. I was there on a Monday at lunch time and we were the only ones in the whole building. When the chance arrives, feel under Mother Goose for a little Sock Monkey that stowed away. He decided this place of wonder and joy was much more fun than my craft room or even riding around in my car.

He was carved by Penguin Patrol and sent to Oregon via a stamp swap on the AQ boards. Be sure to drop her an email and let her know you enjoyed it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Break Challenge

Spring Break has officially begun. This may be the best time of the year for teachers. It signals the beginning of the end. After spring break the year flies by. I believe this is due to the fact that the students are so much more capable. All of the teaching you have done for the previous 6 months has sunk in and they are ready to do great things. The sun is shining, allowing us to get outside more which helps with attitudes and illnesses. All in all, it's just a great time of the year.

For spring break this year I am sticking fairly close to home. My plan is spend each day cleaning a little, boxing a lot, and generally relaxing.

I have challenged myself to get out and find at least one new box each day and to plant at least one box each day. For my faithful blog readers, one planted box each day will be exclusively available here.

Today I went out and found a box in a local park by a new boxer. It was a very nice walk in a nice park that I'd never been to before.

I also planted a box today. Since I only planted one, it will appear only here.


Therapy Dogs Touch Lives

Find a park on the eastern side of the Willamette River that features this mural:

Once there find the off leash area. Play with the dogs. Dobby had a great time playing with the Greater Swiss Mountain dog that was there and the Newfoundland, and a bunch of other smaller dogs. When you've gotten your share of therapy from these good hearted canines. Head west. Look for a concrete trash can next to a large tree. The tree has a great root system with lots of holes in it. Inside the north side is the letterbox for your stamping pleasure.