Hike at Packwood Lake

We took advantage of a warm Saturday during our brief stay back in the northwest to meet halfway and do a hike with Jacob and Kaitlin to Packwood Lake near Mt Rainier. The trail was heavily used but still quiet. Lots of backpackers camped around the lake – looks like a nice intro trail.

Wednesday What’s Up

What I’m Contemplating

What I’m Reading

  • I listened to Fall of Giants and Winter of the World by Ken Follett. Average books but they did keep me engaged during my commutes. Not sure if I’ll read the final book of the trilogy.
  • I read The Republic of Thieves, finishing the Gentleman Bastard series. I think the quality declined slightly with each book though enjoyed the series overall.
  • Julie and I listened to The Litigators as we started our road trip and it was quite fun.
  • I read Origin, the latest Dan Brown novel and it was better than expected.
  • Our highlight of the last month was listening to Lonesome Dove. Superb writing and characters and we can’t wait to watch the classic made-for-TV mini series.

What I’m Playing

  • Doug and I played Up Front before I left on our road trip. Fun as always; wish I owned this game.
  • My first game at GMT West was Colonial Twilight: The French-Algerian War, 1954–62. I’m about to give up on this game. Not that I think it is a bad game; I just don’t grok it yet and don’t know if I will. I want to play one time solo this week (maybe today) before I put it on the sell/trade list.
  • I tried out a new short Arnhem scenario of Holland ’44: Operation Market-Garden and think this will be the best way to play a short (5-ish hour) game. 15 turns and the 30 corps show up on turn 8 or so.
  • I taught three newbies how to play Pax Renaissance at GMT West. I’m getting better at teaching the game but can’t say I’m figuring out how to play well. This will go to Keuka Lake with me this summer again.
  • Played a four-player scenario of Advanced Squad Leader that was a lot of fun. Didn’t quite finish as we all had to break for dinner.
  • I played D-Day Dice with Mark Johnson and two others at GMT West. This is a keeper in my collection and we successfully took Utah Beach.
  • The new hotness at GMT West was Great War Commander on 2018–04–28 and this was the last game I played. It is Combat Commander: Europe tweaked for World War I. There will likely be some complaints about realism but I welcome the new scenarios and factions. Some fun artillery, tank, and air support cards as well.

Boy Scout Tree at Jedediah Smith State Park

We are back in Oregon working our way back home. The last two days had us exploring some redwood tree parks in northern California. I’m probably not the first to complain that is is hard to take a good redwood tree photo. At least this one will give you a sense of scale.

Hanging Out at GMT West

GMT Games hosts a long weekend gaming event at their warehouse in Hanford CA each spring and fall. This is my first visit and I’ve had a blast. Right now I’m watching a play of the soon-to-be released Fort Sumter, a Mark Herman design in the new “lunchtime” series.


We did a different sort of hike yesterday, and interestingly it was a lot harder on my feet than any of our prior hikes. We had a blast and successfully used the new Max Pass system and never waited more than 25 minutes. Usually less than 15. We hadn’t been since 1991 — nice to see a lot hasn’t changed but the new stuff was fun.