Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Shack

 Bouncing through the underbrush in our golf cart out by the Lost Lake burn pile Mr. Keith and I came upon this old, moss covered, leaning shack. I can't see one of these relics without thinking about Wm. Paul Young's book "The Shack", which I enjoyed immensely several years ago. We couldn't resist walking through the abundant scotch broom to look inside. Too bad — there was nothing in there but junk piled up to the rafters and a few curious sounds of maybe a critter making a home there. The boards were coming loose and the floor had rotted away. 

Sometimes I feel somewhat like an old shack myself. This old house isn't as strong as it once was! I feel a little mossy, and I lean a little from Mr. Arthritis, tottering around with my cane. Like the shack, though, I'm in a beautiful setting, with tall fir trees, a meadow, and blue skies. 

Unlike the shack, I am not filled with junk — well, maybe a little, with some old memories I'd just as soon forget. I'm working on tossing all that out. I'm hoping, as in Mr. Young's book, that my house is filled with the glory of God, with contentment, with gratitude for life. My fireplace is burning warmly with the love of my family and friends. My heart is full with the wonders I've experienced in my life. My windows are clear and unbroken, allowing me to view the world with optimistic and wise eyes. This old shack will not crumble, but instead be made into an eternal dwelling place for all that is good, forever!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Trip to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

 Here is a subject I haven't mentioned very much, but the timing is right. Mr. Keith was diagnosed with multiple myeloma about 10 months ago and has been having chemotherapy for that long, first in Cheyenne Wyoming and then in Olympia Washington. Myeloma is a cancer that begins in the blood plasma and then affects the blood and bones. It isn't curable but can be controlled. Keith has been able to continue working at the KOAs and now Lost Lake RV Resort for the entire time. We came to Washington from Cheyenne in order for him to have a stem cell transplant, which we thought was finally going to take place this spring. This view is out the window of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, where we were waiting for our appointment. It's Lake Union, a fresh water lake that empties out into Puget Sound. SCCA and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center facilities are located here, just off the I-5 freeway.

The Space Needle!
We had 2 days of appointments during which it was decided that Keith would not be any better off with a transplant than he would with a maintenance treatment plan, mostly because of his age. He's in pretty good shape but is past the age they like to do the transplant. He was disappointed because of the long wait and anticipation he's had, but we had prayed for God's will and guidance and we feel this is the right course. It actually makes our plans much easier. We can continue on with our job here at Lost Lake and then will be ready to keep our job commitment at the Bozeman Montana KOA for the summer. We're excited about that! There is a cancer care center there also, which is affiliated with Fred Hutchinson.

 We were blessed with a free hotel room for one night, at the SeaTac Red Lion, provided by the Cancer Society. It was the nicest hotel or motel room we've ever had, with a king size bed and all the amenities we could want! We are grateful! This was our view of the foggy Seattle skyline as we journeyed into the city for our second day of appointments. I felt fortunate to get this as we sped by on the freeway amongst all the other commuters. 

I can easily see why the freeway is so congested. Almost every single car had only one person inside! We watched very carefully to make sure we were always in the correct lane for our exit to SCCA. I would not want to drive this very often! 

Home, Sweet Home! Glad to be back where we were greeted by fellow workampers, our manager, and some friends who were eager to hear our news. We're ready to start the next phase of this life's adventure. God is good, and He will be with us the whole way, rain or shine!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Lost Lake Trails

Some special folks at Lost Lake have been working hard to restore the trails in the park. Mr. Keith and I, needing to get outside in the sunshine, decided to check them out. We got our canes (old coots) and set out. Both trails are quite steep and we thought our old legs would do better going down than going up!

Over the past couple of winters there had been branches and some small trees that had fallen across the paths. Must have been a job getting those cleared out! In this scene we are looking down on the one-way road leading up from the lake.

Mossy trees and ferns in abundance, along with decaying leaves, grace the trails. Very beautiful! Careful there — the soft dirt is a little slick.

Across the road and down a ways begins the longer trail leading to the lake. In this part of the forest there are some really big trees, not quite old growth, but maybe trees that have grown since the original logging. The biggest are the Douglas Fir and the cedars.

Here is a different view of our over 100 year old cabin, now used as a library. Strangely, there are a couple of big redwood trees right behind the cabin. They must have been brought in by the original settlers here, as they are not native. At this point on the steep trail Mr. Keith is leaning on one of those huge, old Douglas Firs, where he is enjoying the lake and its reflections.

I'm stumped! Wish I'd posed Mr. Keith here to show the size of this one! It's difficult to imagine that a strong wind could topple a tree like this. The rest of the fir is lying covered with moss just to the left.

I asked the manager of the resort if he knew which tree was the largest in the park, and he said this Douglas Fir has more board feet than any other. It's at the end of the trail near where it comes out at the lake, and is the centerpiece for this little picnic area beside the cabin. I would love to show how tall it is but that would have taken a few photos spread out! In my opinion there are other trees as big around, but this one is the tallest of all, hence more board feet. I wonder how they measure that!