Kayaking trips 2023

2023 Dec 23

Lake Washington, Dec 22

  • 25 mi along east side of Lake Washington

Renton to Kenmore: This completed my circumnavigation of the lake that I started in 2016. Melanie dropped me off and picked me up.

Put in at Renton. Clouds were hanging on the trees of Mercer Island, giving an effect of mysteriousness. Light rain until afternoon. Fingers quite cold.

Saw eagles, cormorants, ducks of all interesting kinds. I was surprised to see river otters (about half a dozen total), some sleek black (and curious about me), also a larger tan variety.

Broke for an early lunch at Meydenbaur Bay Park. Brought my camping stove, so I had hot chocolate to drink, however, I never actually warmed up then or later. Three people came and did a cold plunge in the lake; they were shivering by the time they left.

So many fancy houses! When I went by Bill Gate's, they were putting up a large scaffolding above most of the house (interesting!). A guard was watching and called out to me (probably because I was moving slowly). Ignoring him, I moved on.

Saw very few others on the lake. (two boats all day?) A small floatplane was practicing landings and takeoffs. It was strange to see it land, stop, and then race down the surface of the lake for a mile or more before climbing out.

It seemed like there was more house construction on the lake than before. One near Juanita had caught fire and the firemen were there putting it out.

The sky slowly cleared and the sun finally came out. Called Melanie before I got to Kenmore and we arrived there at the same time. Again, tired, but not sore. Long shower at home to warm up.

track along Lake Washington eastside

Quantum Determinism

2023 Dec 19

Determinism is the idea that because of physical laws, our world and ourselves have no choice but to be what and where we are. We might think we have the freedom to make choices, but that is just a mistake of our perceptions under determinism.

Determinism says that we are on a single train track of existence with no switches to give us options. In determinism, everything that happens is inevitable. The progress of everything that happens in our universe is determined from what came before. Strong determinism says that even the origin of our universe in its exact form was inevitable.

In classical physics everything ultimately depends on the initial physical conditions inside the singularity of the Big Bang. Those initial conditions are not set by anything from classical physics, and it supplies no theories for what set them. So, classical physics is unable to self-support strong determinism.

Usually quantum theories are thought to weaken determinism because they only provide probabilities for what happens, and never certainties. In fact for quantum events, multiple outcomes can actually exist in superposition. (See the thought experiment of Schrödinger’s Cat.) You only have certainty for an outcome after it has been observed.

However, some think that quantum physics might be even more deterministic than classical physics. First they think that probabilistic quantum behavior avoids the singularities of classical physics theories (like as in black holes and the Big Bang). Infinities are embedded in these singularities so literally anything could appear or disappear there. (Essentially, the infinities are pockets of the supernatural.)

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Cello Recital - R. Vaughan Williams

2023 Dec 17

Annually my cello teacher has set up an informal little cello recital in the lobby of a care home. This year we didn't have a pianist to accompany the cello music, so it was all cello duets. I played Fantasia on Greensleeves which is an arrangement by Ralph Vaughan Williams of two British folk tunes: 'Greensleeves' and 'Lovely Joan'.

"ye Ladye Greene Sleves" with its traditional lyrics is about some sort of troubled romance. However, there are alternate lyrics, of which the Christmas-oriented "What Child Is This?" by William Dix is the most popular.

two cellists in performance

Cello Recital - Cavatina - after a rainy day walk

2023 Nov 4

This morning there was thunder and lightning and rain! It was coming down as hard as I had seen it here. So, I did the only logical thing - I put on my kayaking dry suit and went for a walk in the woods by home!   :-D

The rain made a patter everywhere on the fallen leaves. At one spot there is a ditch which is usually dry, but today it was a vigorous stream.

standing in the woods by a stream

In about an hour the rain had stopped and we even had a bit of sunshine. Interesting weather!

In the evening I had a good cello recital. I played Cavatina by J. Raff.

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Everybody Believes in the Supernatural

2023 Sep 7

Our universe happens to exist. Most people subscribe to the Big Bang's explanation of its cosmological origin. In this, our universe began in the finite past, bursting into existence from a single point and expanding out to size.

All things naturally physical (including energy and matter), all physical laws of our universe, all space and even time itself did not exist without this singularity. Absent this singular event, nature itself did not exist. Therefore since the event was not of nature, it was by definition super-natural. In the Big Bang model the origin of the universe was supernatural.

Others believe the universe had an infinite past, always existing with its characteristic features. This view would seem to make the issue of origin disappear, but it does not.

In our physical world real infinities are never actual because they are unable to exist. There cannot be an infinite quantity of things because there are a finite number of particles available in the universe. There cannot be an infinite number of events because then there would never be an event to start the event sequence. Infinity is only a concept we play with in our minds because infinity itself is supernatural.

However, we exist. Since an infinite past in our natural world is impossible, an infinitely old universe would be supernatural.

Therefore, the existence of the universe through either the Big Bang or an infinite past is supernatural. Of these two ideas most scientific lines of evidence point to the first, making it the preferred view. So then because of our universe, everyone believes in at least one great miracle.

Mechanistic Causes

Since everything that begins to exist has a cause, the next great question is what was the cause of the Big Bang? We already know it was not natural (of our universe), however, it might still be a mechanistic cause. A huge issue that this cause must also explain is why our universe is constructed with hyper precision to support life.

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Biking home from the mountains

2023 Aug 4

The Seattle area has a good number of rail trails. (A list.) The Iron Horse State Park trail (also called the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail) connects the Cascade mountain's Snoqualmie Pass to trails in the larger Seattle urban area. Through a combination of map exploring and on-bike exploring, I found a route that went from the pass all the way home, primarily by trails.

trail route from Hyak to Bothell

I told a friend about my plans and he said he would like to do the trip with me. So, early in the morning his wife dropped us off at the Hyak Sno-Park.

Right at the beginning the trail goes through a nifty old railroad tunnel. When you enter the tunnel it is a surprising transition because it takes you from hot to damp cold, bright to dark.

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Kayaking to Lummi Island

2023 Jul 28

I did an overnight kayak trip to Lummi Island from Larabee State Park. It started with a 4 mile crossing. Crossings like this are not trivial because of the exposure they can present to the effects of bad weather, however, the day was calm and pleasant.

Thursday's kayak track

Along Lummi I found colonies of healthy sea stars (mostly 10 inch purples) and they were dense enough that sometimes they were even on top of each other. There were more there than I had seen in years, and this was very encouraging.

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Hudson's Stay with Us

2023 Jul 2

While Bethany had been in Firefighters Academy, we took care of their dog Hudson. Bethany's academy was intense and so keeping Hudson made Andrew & Bethany's life a bit easier.

We have a significant wooded area very near our house which has a good collection of trails. I had gotten into a habit of walking Hudson there in the morning for his "constitutional". This day (earlier in the year) it was snowing and melting as it landed.

out walking Hudson in snowy rain

I have really come to appreciate the effectiveness of wool clothing for inclement weather, and this day especially showed how well it works. I was completely warm and comfortable without a rain shell (and so was Hudson).

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Bethany's Fire Academy Graduation

2023 Jun 27

Bethany has for quite a while been working toward the goal of being a firefighter. She was recently hired by the Valley Regional Fire Authority (Auburn) and has now graduated from Fire Academy. It is a significant milestone to get your badge, and Andrew pinned it on her as part of the ceremony.

Andrew having put Bethany's firefighter badge on her, with their girls

Kayaking Kachess Lake

2023 May 6

There are three finger-like lakes at the top of I-90's Snoqualmie Pass: the road directly skirts Keechelus Lake, but Kachess Lake and Cle Elum Lake are slightly inland and not visible from the road.

This makes kayaking on Kachess Lake feel very remote. There are a very few houses along the lake and most of it is undeveloped.

kayak with lake and mountains

At the north end is a vigorous waterfall directly fed by snow melt. The day was cool with clouds in the sky, but the air blown down by the waterfall was much colder, so I was glad to have my neoprene paddling gloves on. (There were still some patches of snow nearby.)

waterfall with me in drysuit in front

Problems with Standard Cosmology

2023 Feb 4

The standard Big Bang cosmological model is the Lambda Cold Dark Matter (ΛCDM) model. It apparently provides a reasonable account of observed properties of the cosmos, including (from Wikipedia):

  • the cosmic microwave background
  • the large-scale structure in the distribution of galaxies
  • the observed abundances of hydrogen, helium, and lithium
  • the accelerating expansion of the universe

I can accept some aspects of the this model, however, I have doubts this model is correct because I see some serious and (what seems to me to be) fatal problems with it.

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