Wednesday, September 09, 2015

NW Day Eleven: Trees, Friends, and Elephant Hugs

The alternate title for today was “Tree Huggers and Elephant Hugs”, but that just wasn’t quite flowing like I wanted it to, and I didn’t want my Portland friends to think I was calling them tree-huggers….so….

My noticeable lack of titling skills aside, here’s how our day went:

We had adjusted out travel schedule, so that we drove out of Seattle the night before, and spent the night in Portland. This allowed us to SLEEP IN, and leave the hotel around 10:45 instead of trying to leave Seattle by seven in the morning…which would have been INSANE.

So we all got to sleep in AND we didn’t have to pack up the room or pack up the van when we left the hotel, cause we were coming back to sleep there a second night. C’est tres nice. 

Our first stop, yet again, was K-mart. I swear we’ve spent half of our days stopping at k-mart or Walmart or target for some little thing we needed because we forgot it, we broke it, we didn’t know we would need it, etc. This time it was for gloves for Boybot and myself. I had work/garden gloves on the packing list, I’m sure I did. And yet, packed they were not.

Two pair of well-fitting work gloves in hand, we left K-mart and dropped the Jedi and Susan off at Washington Park in Portland. They had a day lined up that included elephants….

And what is thought to be the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan…

And they also took some penguin pictures just for me. Sweetling laid her jacket down near the glass, and one of the penguins came over and tried to get it with his beak.

Meanwhile, Boybot and I drove 50 minutes west of Portland to Tree to Tree Ariel Adventure Park. This attraction is seven or nine rope, platforms, zip lines and other obstacles up in the trees.

We got there just in time to get suited up for our reservations with the 1pm Adventure Group. (No pictures of us in our climbing gear, because I wasn’t about to try to carry my phone through the trees with me.)

After going through our short training class and learning how to clip ourselves on and off the safety wires (double lock system with two “lobster claws” so that one claw was ALWAYS clipped to a safey wire); we climbed up to our first course. 

I absolutely loved it. Boybot liked the first course we did (which was a tween course with a fear factor of one). But, when we climbed up on the adult course (fear factor two), we soon discovered that although Boybot met the height requirement for the adult course, his over head reach and his leg span was a little shorter than was comfortable for the course. So, instead of fun, the adult course became a LOT of really hard work for him, 20 feet or more off the ground, on tightwires and swinging logs. But I was really proud of how he conquered his disadvantage and pushed through to finish the course.

It also led to some pretty choice quotes…

“I question all of my life choices.” (spoken as he was starting an element)

“I’m a tree hugger now. Is that ok?” (spoken as he pulled himself up on a narrow platform and had his arms wrapped around the large pine trunk)

“After we got through all of that, *this* is what they give us?” (spoken as he came around the other side of a tree to see the new element stretching between the next two trees)

I went up on another level 2 course, and was considering the level 4 black course “for expert climbers only”, but it was by that time 4 pm, and time to leave to go pick up Sweetling and the Jedi. Boybot had gone over and spectated at the black course and told me, in no uncertain terms, that I would have gotten stuck and stranded up there. He said he saw grown men struggling with that course.  

We rendezvoused with Sweetling and the Jedi, and then headed to friends’ house for dinner. They very kindly received us, in our wet, bedraggled, sap-covered state and served us a delicious home cooked meal with marionberry pie for  dessert. Boybot and their son played video games, and Sweetling and their daughter put on a historical fashion show with her dolls and then made snowcones. It was such a nice, relaxing way to end the day.

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