Sunday, November 29, 2009

blanketed in fog

Today was supposed to be a day of kayaking at Alsea Bay, but panic from upcoming exams kept us away...ARG! Instead, we decided to keep it local and check out some of the trails around the Corvallis area. We drove up to the McDonald research forest and tested out some of the routes in a hiking book I recently bought. The weather was surprisingly foggy and cold! Thick fog made for beautiful/eerie views, but were very difficult to photograph without my tripod and filter.

McDonald forest was very nice, but the trail maps and markers were horrible. We couldn't actually find the trail we had sought out, but there were plenty of others to explore. It's nice to have this area close-by for when time is limited, but I still want to get outside...

Friday, November 27, 2009

can't rain on our thanksgiving day parade!

Me and Dave at the top of Mary's Peak on Thanksgiving 'morn

This year for Thanksgiving, I decided to stay pretty low-key and just do a small dinner with Dave. We started off the rainy morning by heading up to Mary's Peak in attempt to get above the clouds and get some sun (there was also rumored to be some snow up there!). As we ascended the mountain, we found that the clouds were not ceasing their stronghold over the valley...nor were they cutting us any slack by holding back on the amount of precipitation (unfortunately in the form of rain) they were releasing. The last of our overly-ambitious thoughts of playing in the snow on a sunny day at the summit were crushed as we reached the peak and were greeted by millions of cold raindrops, wind, and very, very little snow.
view at the summit of Mary's Peak

Although it was very wet and difficult to take pictures, we walked around the summit for about an hour and then headed back to his house be begin the (unforeseen) long process of baking our Thanksgiving feast.
Dave tried to take advantage of the snow and attempted to go penguin sledding.
Me checking out the view from the top. (photo taken by Dave Newborn)

We decided to do everything homemade this year...noodles, mashed potatoes, acorn squash with brown sugar, vegan loaf (the most strenuous part), and blackberry pie with berries I picked during my Mom's visit last summer. About the loaf...apparently we didn't read the baking instructions very thoroughly because we thought it would take an hour to bake. What we didn't read was that all the ingredients had to be prepared before being mixed together and THEN baked. What we thought was going to take 1 hour ended up taking ~3 hours... It was pretty good, but there was soooo much of it left over! We're seriously going to be eating "loaf" for the next month.

After eating, we busted out the beer-making supplies and brewed up a pumpkin ale. That also took much longer than anticipated. It wasn't until 2am when we were finally able to end our eventful Thanksgiving day.

yay for homemade noodles!
Loaf--it's what's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next month! (note: this is only 1 of the 3 pans of this stuff we made)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

storm chasing

This weekend a pretty decent storm generated near Alaska hit the coast of Oregon. I couldn't resist the urge to get out there and get a glimpse of the 20+ foot waves crashing into the coast.
Me after successfully capturing a water sample

Before checking out the waves, I decided to take advantage of already being out there and did some volunteer work of collecting water quality samples for the Surfriders Foundation. One of the places that I sampled from is shown in the photo below. Apparently, the old piping in the area is in pretty bad shape and a lot of raw sewage is running straight into the ocean (yuck!).
overflow drainage at Nye Beach (taken by Dave Newborn)

Because I need to get a sample that doesn't have a lot of sand in it, I need to walk out into the water a little further than the waterline. As you can see in the photo below, I found this to not be an easy task during a storm.
me trying to out run a wall of water and sea foam

After dropping off the water samples, we headed for Depoe Bay where there is a pretty big sea wall next to the highway with some basalt rocks that would make for dramatic waves. I was really surprised just how big they truly were! Huge, choppy swells rolled in, smashed into a cave that goes under the sea wall (on which you are standing) and blew up huge spouts of water with incredible force! This aquatic volcano then rained down on all the spectators (and passing cars) and they gazed in awe at the magnificent power of the waves. This scene repeated itself every few minutes. At one point, we looked over the side right above where the spouts were coming from and as the wave rushed in the cave, you could see a puff of sea spray shoot directly up at you and about 2 seconds later a wall of water came rocketing out in a vertical direction. As soon as you saw this, you had to immediately turn around or be sprayed in the face with salt water.

looks like a great place to buy a house, right?

Another place we took some shots was Boiler Bay where only a few months earlier, our research crew did a bathymetry survey. The waves were probably even more violent here. This area is pretty rocky and even on the calm day that we surveyed the bay, pretty big waves could pop up out of nowhere as they crossed over the jagged topography.
Another front coming toward shore near Boiler Bay

churning waves at Boiler Bay

In case you're wondering, these are pretty standard wave heights for the Pacific Northwest for this time of year --which is a good thing for a girl who loves taking pictures of big waves!

Dave checking the scene at Fogarty Creek