Addendum to yesterday's post: Toby forgot about the 300+ pictures he took on his iPhone so we'll be going through almost 1,100 pictures and videos to share here & elsewhere.
After 21 hours of traveling, Toby arrived at his brother Allen's place in the early afternoon of Friday, July 15th. After a hug and a quick chat, he got horizontal and took a two hour nap before hopping on a bus to Tacoma with Allen to visit with the people he misses most, his bro's and Dad. Above is a picture of the 5 of them at this reunion. It's also here that Toby's American micro beer binge started and didn't end until he as at the airport ready to fly back to Japan over a month later.
After catching up with his bro's on Friday, Toby headed to Gig Harbor with his Dad to spend the weekend catching up, talking about the upcoming climb and possibly go for a training hike/climb. On Saturday, the weather was typical Northwest weather (rain) so Toby and his Dad went to the local YMCA and worked out before heading into Seattle to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the record 116 win 2001 Mariner season. The 2001 season was also special for Toby as he worked at Safeco Field and had a destiny like experience on October 31st when he met Maiko for the first time. Another great part of working at Safeco Field that season was Toby spending quality time with his parents who had season tickets to all the Mariner games. With Toby clocking out at game time every day (all 81 home games during the season, the playoffs AND the 2001 All Star Game), Toby was able to go hang with his Mom & Dad more often than not and they truly got caught up after Toby's many years away from home pre-2001. Therefore, it truly was a magical season and so it seemed only natural that Toby and Toby's Dad go celebrate the 10 year anniversary with The M's. Below is a picture Toby took with his iPhone of many of the players and coaches from that team giving the most important person on that team (in Toby's opinion) a big hug. Who? Check the name on the big screen in center field. ;)
On Sunday, the weather broke and Toby and his Dad were able to go on a great training hike at Granite Mountain. While the lower part of the mountain was dirt and beautiful fauna, the last few hundred vertical feet were covered with snow. This was actually a blessing for Toby's dad needed to get more practice on snow and he received some great tips from our lead guide for the upcoming Rainier climb, Gary Talcott. The pictures above and below are Gary and Toby's Dad heading up towards the fire watch tower on Granite Mountain.
Below is a picture of Toby's Dad talking with a few of the volunteer rangers inside the fire watch tower on Granite Mountain. It was great to get a glimpse of how the operations work there and the views from up there were amazing.
After descending Granite Mountain, Toby drove to Oregon to catch up with Kevin Liburdy at his cabin in Zig Zag (near Mt. Hood). You may remember Kevin from his visit to Square One in February, 2010 with Toby's nephew, Ben (click here to view the blog post where a there's a picture of Kevin and Ben). After Kevin's visit to Square One, Toby and Kevin became closer friends than before and it was a good chance for them to catch up and Toby needed to do some shopping down in Portland anyway. Above and below are pictures taken outside Kevin's mountain cabin. Needless to say, it was a very peaceful evening and morning.
And.....the beer binge continued with Kevin providing some VERY good beer at the cabin. The following morning was rough, but Toby started his new daily habit of "hair of the dog" with a Ninkasi IPA and personal pizza for brunch in Portland.
Next up: The 4 Bro's unplugged in the mountains for 2 days. An unforgettable experience and memory.