Rockhounding Thunder Eggs at Richardson’s Rock Ranch

My daughter posing at the trailheadMy five-year-old daughter has been very interested in rocks, crystals, and minerals lately, an offshoot of her intense interest in faeries and the natural realm over which they preside. At her request, I pulled up several images from Google displaying a variety of agates, jasper, geodes and, of course, thunder eggs. This led to a short hike to a nearby creek, after which she discovered several examples of quartz and red agates polished by the stream. By the time this trip had ended, a new pebble puppy was born and my inner rockhound had been reawakened.

We happen to live in a very geologically active area and a perfect breeding ground for all sorts of beautiful minerals awaiting discovery. The Pacific Northwest is home to a family of volcanoes in the Cascade Range. Over millennia they would belch ash rich in silica on to the desert planes. This silica rich volcanic ash, known as ryolite, accumulated and eroded forming striking reddish cliffs that enhance the otherwise monotonous desert landscape. The silica, being water soluble, percolated through the porous rock, eventually settling in gas-evacuated hollow spaces of the hardened basalt. Over time this material solidified, forming the colorful agate centers of what we now call thunder eggs. With such rich geology a stone’s throw away we planned a family trip to mine some eggs and start an epic rock collection. A few rock hammer purchases later and we were on our way. [Read more…]

Our Trip to the Olympic Peninsula

Dosewallips RiverMy wife and I have been exploring the Pacific Northwest since the day we started dating. We’ve seen much of Washington and Oregon and will probably drive to Idaho and Montana this summer. This particular weekend, we spontaneously decided to explore the Olympic Peninsula and venture into the Olympic National Forest in an effort to photograph some of regions immense beauty. My friend Adam suggested we also spend some time in Port Townsend, a little artsy community on the northeastern tip of the peninsula. I spent Friday planning the trip with Google Maps and the Washington State Parks and Olympic National Forest homepages. We also bought a pair of coolers, important gear missing from our camping supplies. I grabbed my old boy scout dome tent, packed the jeep and headed west. [Read more…]

Our Honeymoon Journal

Our hotel came with a balloon and a teddy bear on the bedRather than leave for the honeymoon right away, we stayed in downtown Seattle on the first night at the Inn at Harbor Steps. The room was spacious and luxurious, complete with a teddy bear on the bed! The bathroom was also well decorated and featured a 2-person Jacuzzi jet tub. The building that housed the inn joined a few other high rises in surrounding a lush garden courtyard area. Just below our window was a bench, designed to look like a toppled Roman arch. We ordered pizza for dinner because our caterers failed to follow through with their promise to send us off with some food from the reception. That night we also jacked into the hotel wired Internet so we could update Myspace and Facebook accounts to list us each as “married” :) [Read more…]

Road Trip

It has been quite a while since my last post. The end of the quarter and wedding planning has taken all of my time. Theresa and I attended her cousin’s wedding in Ashland, spent some time at the Shakespeare festival and decided to continue on down to The People’s Liberal Socialist Republic of Democratistan (formally known as California). Our friends here planned a shower for Theresa and she plans to visit some family in the bay area as well. I’ll try to write more as soon as time allows.

Crater Lake Road Trip

Little Red Hen and I spent the weekend of the 4th in Oregon as we drove down to Medford to visit my sister and see Crater Lake. In fact, earlier in my blog I posted a picture of the lake as I flew over from 35,000 feet. After showing this picture to Theresa, we both agreed that we had to go back (we’ve both been before, but many years ago).

Crater Lake Road TripWe decided to leave on Saturday and arrived in Shady Cove (near Medford) just in time to attend my sisters church. She goes to the Red Rock Cowboy Church which originally started out as a church service at the local rodeos but eventually settled down to its current location an old barn that has been converted into a church. The service itself was enjoyable and involved a lot of country worship songs, cowboy hats and guitars. During the collection they passed around a cowboy hat for donations. We both agree that the epitome of the Red Rock parishioner was this old cowboy we spotted who sported a skoal ring, wranglers, a large Red Rock Cowboy Church belt buckle and an oxygen tube that he had to remove in order to smoke. [Read more…]