Monthly Archives: December 2016

Tiger Mountain (Poo Poo Pt)

Our usual tradition on the day after Thanksgiving is to go for a hike, mostly to work out all of the extra turkey. We couldn’t do that this year, so we decided to take the opportunity on Christmas to go for a hike, which is close enough, right?

Not that far away from our house is Tiger Mountain, which is part a small chain of mountains called the Issaquah Alps. We haven’t really had the time to explore them yet and, since today was sunny and delightful, we decided to go on a hike.

The trail we took was up to Poo Poo Point, which I learned was named after train whistle noises that are more commonly written today as Whoo-Whoo. It was a steep 7 mile round-trip hike that was a pleasure and quite pretty. There was the standard cascade forest throughout the hike that opened up to some small number of clearings at the top.

To top it all off, we got a White Christmas! At the top, there was still about 3″ of snow so we enjoyed ourselves immensely in the snow with our fellow hikers and a copious number of dogs.

Overall, the trail gets a 9.5 out of 10 – we will be hiking here again!

Tiger Mt. + Paragliding = Griffin trailhead!

Tiger Mt. + Paragliding = Griffin trail head!

The first mile of the trail has some seriously paved paths.

The first mile of the trail has some seriously paved paths.

The intermittent fog made for some really pretty hiking.

The intermittent fog made for some really pretty hiking.

Snow! I think I know what might be our next Christmas card picture.

Snow! I think I know what might be our next Christmas card picture.

The top of the trail head is a paragliding spot, which means it is open enough for a stunning vista :).

The top of the trail head is a paragliding spot, which means it is open enough for a stunning vista :).

Vashon Island

One of the nice things about the Seattle area is all of the little islands on the Puget Sound. We decided to take advantage of this before it got too cold a couple of weeks ago and took a ferry out to Vashon Island. Like all of the islands I have been to on the Sound, we were on a car ferry and it was a delightful trip as always. I like ferries and boats quite a lot as it turns out.

We didn’t take a car ourselves; we just went out walking from the ferry terminal. I think the secret key on the islands is to never walk on the main drag, but just to swerve in and out of of all of the side streets and paths and hope for something exciting to come up. On this walk, two things came up: a cider tasting and a delightful hike through the middle of the island.

The cider tasting was at Dragon’s Head Cider, and it was a delightful little place, with a farm (orchard?) dog and everything. They did mostly traditional style ciders, more or less Brittany style, and they were quite delightful. I will be going again.

The trail was the Shingle Creek Mill Trail, and it went from the water to the center of the island. It was a short three mile trail through some pleasant and quiet woods. It wan’t old growth, but a nice combination of maples and cedars the made for a homely forest.

We’ll certainly be going back to Vashon next year and hopefully enjoying some longer days out there.

An distant shot of the orchard from the forest footpath.

A distant shot of the orchard from the forest footpath.

And this is the standard trail view for shingle mill creek trail.

And this is the standard trail view for Shingle Mill Creek Trail.

Jasmine on the beach.

Jasmine on the beach.

I like the older country churches.

I like the older country churches.

And our ferry home.

And our ferry home.

Embroidery Machine

I recently got access to an embroidery machine and have been playing around with it. The designs that came with the machine were fun, but I wanted to try something different so I downloaded software to make my own embroidery designs and made a rocket. The designing itself was pretty straight forward, although the software I chose didn’t have an undo option which kept things interesting. :(

Once I had a design, I got out some scrap fabric and started trying out different settings to figure out which ones worked best for my design.

I wasn't sure which tension settings to use, so I tried a few first.

I wasn’t sure which tension settings to use, so I tried a few first.

Once I found a setting I was happy with, I tried a bigger version of the rocket. I wanted to see if the settings would scale well. And I also wanted to use the design on a t-shirt.

The full size test. It came out pretty well!

The full size test. It came out pretty well!

Finally, I embroidered the design on my t-shirt.

Who doesn't want a rocket ship t-shirt? :)

Who doesn’t want a rocket ship t-shirt? :)

Unfortunately, t-shirts are stretchy and my test fabric was not, so things came out a little differently. However, the differences were small and hard to see unless a person got very close, so I called it good and wear it anyway. Future embroideries will be neater as I get the hang of it.

Polyethylene Kayak Repair

When I was at my parents place, I went kayaking with my mom and brother. It was fun as always, but about halfway across the lake, Tyler’s kayak was seriously slowing down. When we pulled into the island to check out the kayak, it had a fairly substantial leak. Some bailing and a hard kayak back (for Tyler :) ), we got in safely but then we needed to fix the kayak.

Upon inspection, there were two large cracks right under the seat and that was indeed where the water was coming in from. The kayaks are rotomolded polyethylene, so we couldn’t use the traditional epoxy and cloth repair; we had to use molten plastics instead. It turns out that most boating stores sell polyethylene rods just for that purpose.

The crack before fixing. It doesn't look that big but it leaked a fair bit.

The crack before fixing. It doesn’t look that big, but it leaked a fair bit.

Step one is prepping the surface: drill a hole at the edge of the crack to retard future crack growth, sand down the crack to be smooth, and dry the area.

And the crack halfway through repair. I forgot to drill the holes, so it took two passes.

And the crack halfway through repair. I forgot to drill the holes, so it took two passes.

Step two is applying the polyethylene. The best tool is a large soldering iron or other non-flame heat source, but I used a butane torch and was careful to not catch the plastic on fire. You want to heat up the plastic on the crack and the plastic rod, then press the plastic rod into the crack. You want to stay just below the melting point and limit total heat input to the boat to minimize thinning of the plastic.

And post repair. It looks OK, if I used a soldering iron you wouldn't get the burn marks.

And post repair. It looks OK; if I used a soldering iron you wouldn’t get the burn marks.

Step 3 is cleaning up: if you don’t have time to clean up, you don’t have time to do the job.:) I’m trying to be better about this.

Overall, the repair worked quite well. 5 months in now and it is still functional.

Functional Kayak.

Functional kayak.

Cedar River Park

Our house backs up onto a greenspace, so we decided to wander about and see what was around. For this first go, we went to the east and made it about a half mile before we ran out of trail. So pretty, but not much distance to travel.

We then jumped over down onto another trail about a mile away called the Cedar River Trail. As it turns out, this trail is pretty but right next to a high traffic road. But it seems more like a bike trail than a walking trail.

So in summary, 2 trails down, about 50 to go in the area and we are on our way to getting to know the area.

Part 1 of the trail: the greenspace behind our house.

Part 1 of the trail: the greenspace behind our house.

Part II: Cedar river trail.

Part II: Cedar River Trail.

Part III: unnecessary pretty picture of the creek itself.

Part III: unnecessary pretty picture of the creek itself.