Sunday, June 12, 2016

Great blue heron dock behavior

Recently my friend Skyler Walker and I finished dinner at the Salt Hotel Pub in Ilwaco, Washington. It was a treat to visit with a friend I don't get to see more than once a year, twice if I'm lucky. It was a pleasant spring evening so we decided to walk down by the boats to see the tall ships, Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain. Instead this great blue heron captured our attention and I filmed it as we tried to figure out what it was doing on the docks.

An evening stroll and a great blue heron.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Rachel Carson said it grandly: Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.
One of the Three Sisters volcanoes of the Cascade Mountains.
East side of the Three Sisters volcanoes in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon.
The clouds were glorious that day.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

More Tetons, more Tetons

A day in the shadows of the Grand Tetons in the Wyoming. I've scene many photos of these stunning mountains, but until you see them in person, it's hard to understand their grandness.Here's a day's worth of traveling parallel to them.

Sign marks entrance
You see the Tetons long before you get to the sign.

Tetons stretch as far as eye can see
U.S 191

Grand Tetons
Stopped at a viewpoint. Where isn't there a viewpoint? You couldn't escape these mountains if you wanted to. Who would want to escape?

vast sky
I can see for miles, and miles, and miles, and miles, oh yeah.

Snake River runs through it
The gift keeps on giving.

Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons
Looking back where we came from.

Kono's potty break
Potty break; Kono takes a break from all the traveling. I photograph while he explores.

Grand Tetons

Snake River at Ox Bow Bend near the southern entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Mt. Moran stands high above the valley floor.
Grand Tetons
On the way home in the waning light in Yellowstone National Park.

Grand Tetons
Jackson Lake and Aspen trees.

Grand Tetons and Jackson Lake
Nothing equals the elation of your spirit after spending a day in the splendor of  extreme nature.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Research Vacation in Dubois

Togwotee Pass
After dropping down from the Togwotee Pass on the continental divide in the Absaroka Mountains, I drove into Dubois, Wyoming and fell in love with the place. It is the quintessential picture of a western town. Take away the paved asphalt roads; you are visually transported back in time, or in a scene from a Western movie! With names such as Whiskey Peak, Painted Hills, Wind River and the Badlands, It looked like a place where you would expect to see John Wayne crowned with a ten-gallon hat, sauntering down the wooden sidewalks.

I visited the region in order to do some research for my fiction book, I am currently writing. Because it is a period piece, set in the Great Basin of Wyoming, I want the era to remain true, even if my characters are purely fictional. I made it a research vacation. I also made time to tour the picturesque region staying in several areas of Wyoming. Dubois became my favorite and I stayed an extra day longer than I originally planned. My only regret is that I did not have more time to spend there. I definitely want to return some day and explore further.
Wyoming's big sky
The Dubois Museum proved useful, the director gave me many tips on where I could further find the material I was looking for as well as having items on hand that I could see, such as equipment and clothing of the era.

I had the pleasure of staying at the Longhorn Ranch Lodge and Resort three miles east of the town of Dubois. The cabin I stayed in had all the rustic charm, yet remained warm, cozy, clean, and quiet. It came equipped with a kitchen where I could cook meals when I wanted to stay in and write. The screened in back porch, became my writer’s paradise. This is where I sat at the table with my laptop and looked out at the Wind River that meandered through the area. Kono liked the porch too, especially when I allowed him to jump up on the benches where he could view outside. As I wrote, I looked up from time to time to view the river and the Badlands beyond.

I loved this cabin by the river.

I wrote for many hours in the screened-in back porch.
Kono, sporting his new summer haircut, enjoyed the view.
The cabin came furnished with a most comfortable bed!

I found simple pleasure in walking Kono along the river that wound through the cottonwood-tree-studded resort. My late spring visit meant the place remained almost void of campers and motor homes, and the river ran high in its banks.

The resort's cottonwood trees with the Badlands behind.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Which Way Did I Go

Originally posted: 06/20/11

Wyoming plays host to a sleeping super volcano, located in Yellowstone Park, where the earth bubbles, spits and spews, and occasionally lets out some fowl-smelling stinkers. Signs warn of the dangers; people are killed or injured every year, either messing with the local animals or stepping off the beaten path. Moreover, I paid 25 dollars for this thrill ride!

It was worth every penny spent. I went in several times, since the pass is good for more than one day. The first day, I went through the gate after following the Grand Tetons for hours and wound around in one section of Yellowstone Park. A few days later, I needed to drive from Dubois to Cody, Wyoming; fastest way to get there was go through the park. The direction signs confused me and I thought the northeast gate was the east one. When I exited the park, I saw the sign "Welcome to Montana." I took a wrong turn somewhere and my four-hour trip turned into a seven-hour one. The good thing was I traveled through incredible country; I would have missed it had I left out the east gate.

On my last day in Wyoming, I needed to travel to Missoula, Montana, my final stop on my journey. Back through Yellowstone Park was the most direct way from Cody, to get where I was going. It was also the last day of my pass to get into the park. This time I was going to pay better attention to the signs and the map of the park, so I wouldn't end up in Idaho or back in Wyoming. I traveled to the east gate and waited patiently in a long line of cars, to go into the park. When it was my turn, the park ranger looked at my pass, then looked at me and said, "Which gate did you get your pass from?"

"Um, um." I hesitated. Was this a geography test? "Where the big mountains are?" I offered him a smile. What if I gave him a wrong answer? Would he take my pass away and make me pay again? Then I remembered. I came in from the south side of the park, and I was here on the east side—the gate I was supposed to exit from a few days ago, but drove out the Northeast one by mistake. "Oh wait! I bought it at the south gate!"

He handed me back my pass and said, "That's right," waving me through. I breathed a sigh of relief; I passed the test. As I continued on my way, I was reminded by the scenery that big mountains are everywhere. “I'm high up in the Rocky Mountains, in the caldera of a super volcano! Whee!”

Geysers in Yellowstone Park

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Whatever Floats

Some days it pays to go fishing, or crabbing, or sitting on the dock, just gazing. I miss those days when I had more time to sit, ponder, and fish. I need more time to relax and enjoy life. This isn't a dress rehearsal, unless I can reincarnate. In which case, I want to come back as a pier post. I can sit all day and gaze out over the water. No one would judge me when I spend time lost in my daydreams. I will conjure up pirate ships, watch endless sunrises, and sunsets. The worst that will happen to me is a boat will bump into me or children carve their initials into my side.

I know. I will come back as a fish, deftly dodging the angler's hook. I can see it now. Playfully nudging her transparent fishing line, I tease this fisher out of her daydreams. She stirs a bit in her canvassed folding chair. After a hard whap on the string with my tail, she screams with delight, "I got one! I got one!" Swiftly yanking her pole upwards, to set the hook, she frowns. The string is limp and lifeless. 

No, I got you! Snickering as only a fish could do with a few released bubbles from my mouth; I wait until she sits down again and wanders away in thought.

Initiating the slow tease again, I know she is wary now. It won’t be easy enticing her out of her daydream and back to this line I now lovingly caress with my fin. I nibble at the colorful small toy at the end of the line, until she stands up. Now I have her full attention. I continue the tease; watching her stand motionless above the water. I nibble some more and she doesn’t move. Again, not a stir from her. I am bored! One more time, I pull the toy with my teeth. I start to laugh as I watch her body jerk; her hands bring the pole straight up. Fooled her again! 

What the? A tug on my cheek lurches me forward in the water as a sharp jolt of pain shoots up into my brain. Ugh, she got me! She got me! 

I hear her snickering, as I become air born. “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, not this time.”

Maybe I'll come back as a boat, and just float.