Lilac Gardens at Manito Park

It’s been an eventful week, and I should have posted more often, but I’ve been busy and tired and uninspired to write. So I’ll give you the update on the past week, and then some.

Last Monday was our actual anniversary, and even though we celebrated the week before with a getaway to Oregon, we still wanted to make the day special. We decided to drive up to Spokane, spend some time at REI, and have a nice dinner. For the longest time, I’ve been desiring a GPS unit for the trail, in part because trail maps for Idaho are scarce to none, and in part for the pure geekery that comes with having a GPS. I’ve always wanted to accurately map my route and overlay it on computer maps such as Google Earth, keep track of trip statistics, play with geographical data, and get into geocaching. Erin decided that her anniversary gift to me would be a GPS unit, so with the rather large dividend we earned from last year’s purchases, I got a Garmin Oregon 450t. Suffice to say, for the past week, I’ve been playing with it and having some fun. It’s nice because I can now feed back more detailed trip reports when I come back from a hike.

While in Spokane, I wanted to have a nice romantic evening at one of the scenic parks. We went to the botanical gardens at Menito Park and walked around for a bit. It was a lovely evening and the gardens were in bloom. We walked through the lilac garden and then through a section of native wildflowers. Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time to walk through all of the gardens, so a return trip is in store. Spokane has surprised me with its awesomeness: a big little city… or a little big city.

This weekend, we drove out to Elk River with the intent of hiking the North Basin Trail and stopping at the giant tree. To my surprise, the road was blocked with snow, despite being at less than 3000 in elevation. The snow line was definitely higher. I just wasn’t expecting the road to be impassible that low down. So, instead we played closer to town and let the dogs swim in the river. Rusty and Shadow flew in after a stick and floated 100 feet or so through a rapid before coming out. It was cute. We also found a few geocaches near town and then finished the day with a hike to Elk River Falls. It sure is different with the river flowing at full force.

I will finish with the story of our lawn. Back in April, we bought an old riding mower from someone in Orofino. Despite the age, it was in good working condition with a new engine and everything fixed up. In May, when the lawn had dried out some, I took it for a test and mowed a couple sections of the yard. In that time, the electric starter pooped out, though that’s not a big deal; it has a manual pull start that works just fine. I was able to mow the dry parts of the yard several times, but then a few weeks ago, the lawn mower just stopped working. I was in the middle of cutting the grass when it just shut off on me and I couldn’t get it started. So, unsure what the problem was, I put it in the garage until we could get it fixed. Problem is, we can’t take it anywhere because we don’t have a truck, and we couldn’t find anyone to come out and pick it up. So we decided to just eat the loss and buy a new one.

In the mean time, the lawn has gone almost a month without having been mowed, and it’s starting to look pretty wild. After doing some research, I went into Sears today and ordered us a new lawn tractor. Then I came home and decided to experiment. I was pretty sure that the engine was fine and I was beginning to suspect something wrong with the electrical system. So I jump-started the lawn mower. To my surprise, it started right up. So I spent the afternoon mowing down the jungle that had taken over the yard. It now looks respectable and once we rake up the clippings, I can go over it with another pass which will smooth everything out. I think I can finally have people over.