Thursday, August 13, 2015

River Float: A Digital Story

I love both words and images, and it's nice to have a low-stakes place like this blog to play around with them. Several years ago, I had fun posting a "short graphic novel" entitled "Dead Rat." I thought I'd do something similar and create a small digital story about a float down the Spokane River that we did yesterday.

River Float
Drifting Leisurely Down the Spokane River

Every summer since we moved to Spokane, Isaac and I tube with groups of friends down a section of the Spokane River that's just a walk away from our neighborhood. After bringing cars to the takeout place, making sure we have enough life jackets to go around, inflating the tubes, and walking down from the park to the river (all of which takes much, much longer than you would expect), we finally ease into the chilly water and start off on our hour-and-a-half float through several sets of rapids, plenty of lazy bends, and lots of nature.

Looking back toward our put-in spot:

I never bring a phone or camera along because it would get soaked, but yesterday, we got to try out my parents' inflatable kayak, which they gifted to us. What a game changer! Our trip was much faster and a bit drier. We towed my dad in a tube--not bad for an old guy. ;)

Part of my paddle fell off, so dangit, I couldn't do any paddling and had to just relax in the front of the kayak with my feet up.

It was late afternoon. The sun was starting to set and the golden-y glow was lovely.

I didn't record any videos of the rapids because I was busy trying to stay inside the kayak and out of the water (and having too much fun), but I did manage to get a few clips from some smoother parts: 

(Song credits: "Nyatiti" by Andrew Bird)

Well, I guess that wasn't so much a story as it was a bunch of pictures with captions. Ah well.

The end.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Summer So Far

Wow, I can't believe it's August already! I think (fingers crossed) that we have finally said goodbye to the crazy, record-breaking 100-plus-degree weather we've had for weeks at a time and are starting to turn the corner into one of the best times of the year. It's still warm and sunny without being uncomfortably hot, work is mellow before school starts again, and fall is waiting to begin next month with pretty leaves, jeans and sweaters, pumpkin pie....

As I've mentioned before, one thing I love about Spokane is how close it is to so many beautiful places. For example, we're 4.5 hours from Glacier National Park in one direction and Seattle in the other. We're within an easy day's drive to Yellowstone, the Wallowas, the Deschutes National Forest, Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, Vancouver BC, the North Cascades National Park, the Selkirk Mountains, and the ocean (etc!). Spokane itself is fairly subtle in its beauty, but it's really the perfect hub for exploring spectacular places.

We've been fortunate to be able to do some fun things in the area this summer. Here are a few highlights from the last couple months.

Camping at Kamloops Island

Early in the summer, we camped with some friends near Kettle Falls, Washington. It was very dry, of course, so I imagine the Columbia River wasn't as pretty as it typically is, but still it was nice.


Our dear friends/family Ken and Maile came down from Alaska to visit with their new baby girl. We stayed in a little cottage with them and had a wonderful time catching up and visiting our favorite Seattle spots.

Photo credits go to Maile. :) There are more great pictures on her blog.

Lola's Visit

My friend Lola visited from Minnesota. I feel so blessed to have stayed close with a few of my high school friends, and she is one of them. During her visit, we got a group together to float the river, picked cherries up at Greenbluff, and took some very hot walks.

Nelson, BC

Isaac and I tend to spend a lot of time with people. I'm incredibly grateful for our community, but as an introvert I easily get overwhelmed and exhausted by being "on" so much of the time. Isaac treated me to a refreshing surprise getaway to Nelson during a weekend sandwiched between friend visits, a wedding, and a family reunion.

Family Reunion in Sunriver

We just got back from a week-long trip to Oregon for a family reunion. We drove first to the Wallowa Lake State Park to camp a night, then drove on to Sunriver, which is just south of Bend, to meet up with the family. What a full week! The cousins (10 of us including significant others and one kiddo) shared a house and the "old people" shared a house, and we hiked, biked, floated the river, cooked, ate, drank, talked, swam, and watched old family videos (picture me as a very uncomfortable 13-year-old doing a routine to a Backstreet Boys song). So much love!!

Near Lewiston, ID

The cousins at our last family reunion in 2000

Loooooove this shot of my mom and some of her sisters way back when

 The family now 

 The Deschutes River in Sunriver, OR

From there, I drove with my parents to Sacramento for a cousin's wedding on the other side of the family. Between Spokane, the Wallowas, Sunriver, and northern California, I could hardly get over the beauty of the drives--I'm pretty sure every road we drove on was some official scenic highway.

It has been a packed summer, but there's still time for a bit more fun!