Tag Archive | wildlife

COVID Diaries: Day 280

Technology has not been my friend this week… At work, I spent hours yesterday troubleshooting new file share software with IT, only to have it still not work…  And this morning, I posted a travel blog about the Mount Washington Auto Road, only to discover that it posted it with the date of when I started the draft, so it doesn’t show in the reader!

At least this morning’s sunrise was stunning!  And, I looked out my window while I was working to see five deer in my yard!

If you want to read my Mount Washington post (of course you do!), click here.

Two more sleeps until Christmas and no more works!

 

 

Those Ears Though!

While looking for photos for another blog post, I stumbled upon a few photos that I had forgotten about.  They were taken from Jeff’s back porch in Siskyou County, California, the morning that I drove home after we visited Lassen National Park in July.  I was sad about having to head home, and we sat outside for a little while drinking coffee in the morning sun before I had to get on the road.  This guy has clearly been through some hard times, judging by that tear in his ear, but he was such a treat to see!  My first wild Jackrabbit photos!

Circus Trip 2018: Badlands Evening

Day 12, Friday, July 27, 2018

After my visit to Ellsworth Air Force Base, I continued on my way to Wall, South Dakota and got a space at the Sleepy Hollow campground.  It was $15 plus tax for a tent site, one of the cheapest campgrounds on my trip.  I set up my tent, took a nap and then went to Badlands National Park nearby to see if I could find any wildlife.

Tenting it in Mellow Yellow

I wasn’t planning to stay that long at Badlands, as there was a thunderstorm in the distance – and I would be spending more time there the next day. It was interesting to see the storm approaching on the horizon – that light!

I drove slowly down the Sage Rim Road, where I found Bighorn Sheep!  They are so cute! And those babies!  I loved just watching them amble by.

It was too dark for good photos, so I made my back towards camp and stumbled upon one of my favorite photos of my entire road trip.  The recent rain had soaked the road, making it shine like chrome.  The road, the sky, and my car hood made for a spectacular but unexpected subject.  I still love this photo!

Back at camp, I had left-over sausage and rice, along with a Huckleberry lager.  And I did laundry.  Because not every evening on a road trip can have over-the-top excitement…  It was a great day!

My Huckleberry Lager – this was a pretty good beer!

 

Road Trip Photo Faves: Pronghorn

I am working on posts for my road trip, but…  My mom and I got home today from a weekend getaway to Tucson, to enjoy a little time away.  We both felt like we needed a break from the not-so-fun chores lately.  We had a great time!  So anyway, I was working on a post, but I just kind of lost steam tonight.

Meanwhile, here is another of my favorite photos from my road trip.  A male Pronghorn that I saw at Fort Phil Kearny, near Sheridan, Wyoming.  He was gorgeous!

Phil-Kearny-Pronghorn

Pronghorn at Fort Phil Kearny, Sheridan, Wyoming

Circus Trip 2018: Hidden Lake Hike

Day 3, July 18, 2018

Today I was going to see Glacier National Park!  I was so excited!

I got to the park about 9 am and went to the Visitor’s Center to get my passport stamp and postcards.  Then I started driving up the Going-to-the-Sun Road.  The views were spectacular!  I ended up going all the way up to Logan Pass, stopping at some of the viewpoints along the way.  Pack your patience for parking at the Logan Pass Visitor’s Center!  Eventually, I got a space, and got out the things I needed. Backpack, picnic lunch, and my parks passport for another stamp!

I ate my lunch sitting behind the Visitor’s Center in the shade.  I talked to a couple who were on a motorcycle day trip – they looked like they were having fun!  After I ate, I started my Hidden Lake hike, which goes out from behind the Visitor’s Center.  It is a 3 mile round trip, out and back hike.  I made it about 50 feet when I came upon a Park Ranger who had the trail closed.  There was a Grizzly Bear eating camas bulbs in the meadow right behind the Visitor’s Center!  The bear didn’t seem bothered by the presence of about 50 tourists staring and him (or her), and was just peacefully rooting around in the meadow.  I was able to see his hump and back as he moved further away across the meadow – what an amazing experience!

After the bear moved on, they reopened the trail and I set out.   Pretty soon I started seeing Mountain Goats in the distance, sitting near the patches of snow.  As I continued on, there were even more!  Some of the trail was still covered in snow and ice, and I had to pick my way carefully over the ice at a few spots.  This trail is very popular, so you do have to wait at times for people to get through an icy spot.  Near the Hidden Lake viewpoint, the Mountain Goats were walking right on the trail – I had to move off of the trail to let one go by!  Thankfully he wasn’t aggressive and didn’t seem bothered by the people, but I did my best to give him space.

The Hidden Lake viewpoint is spectacular!  The lake is beautiful!  There is a trail that continues on from there, but that part of the trail was closed due to bear activity the day I was there.  Honestly, it was probably the bear I had seen earlier near the Visitor’s Center!  I stood at the viewpoint for a while, taking in the scenery.  As I left the viewpoint, I was greeted by the most impressive sight; this Mountain Goat posing perfectly with the mountain in the background!  Incredible!  I saw a mama and baby goat too!  They were so cute!

On the way back, I saw a herd of Bighorn Sheep in the meadow where the Grizzly Bear had been earlier.  There were about 25 of them; all males.  Some people were getting a little too close and the sheep got spooked and ran across the trail.  Luckily no one got hurt.  It is a good reminder though – these are wild animals, they are big and unpredictable.  Don’t get too close!

I headed back down the Going to the Sun Road and stopped at a few viewpoints, including a swimming hole where people were jumping off a big rock.  It looked fun, but the water was probably freezing!

That evening I had leftover pasta and sausage for dinner.  I had worked up such an appetite from hiking that I was too hungry to heat it up!  This was such an amazing day; one of the best days hiking ever!

 

Circus Trip 2018: Idaho, Montana and Tires

Day 2, July 17, 2018

You should probably know now that some days on my road trip weren’t really all that exciting.  Some days had a lot of driving, and less sightseeing.  This was one of those days.

I woke up at 6 and even though I wanted to get a bit more sleep, I couldn’t.  I got up at 7 and got on the road just before 8.  Kim and her husband both work early, so I said my goodbyes to her adorable dogs, horses and cows, and headed out.

I got on Highway 2 and it wasn’t long before I crossed into Idaho.  The sign was on the other side of the road, and I opted not to cross over to pose with it.  I was still getting my selfie-stick legs at that point!

Welcome to Idaho!

I stopped at Albeni Falls and Dam on the Pend Orielle River (pronounced Pon-duh-rey) and checked it out.  The Albeni Falls Dam was completed in 1955; Lake Pend Orielle is one of the largest and deepest natural lakes in North America.  It is 68 miles long and 1,237 feet deep at its deepest point.  I saw an osprey nest on top of the railroad bridge there, and managed to get a decent photo!

I also stopped at a viewpoint overlooking the Moyie River and the Moyie River Hydroelectric Project, but it was less than impressive from that vantage point.  I could have gone down to the river level to catch a view of the dam, but that would have meant doubling back.  Some things just aren’t that exciting…

Moyie Dam

The Montana state line was worth a stop though!  Montana had one of the prettiest signs of the whole trip and it was easy to get to!  Of course, I had to pose with it.

Welcome to Montana!

Lunch was at a rest area a bit further into Montana, a peanut butter and honey sandwich, peas and a peach.  You will find I ate a lot of peanut butter and honey sandwiches.  No refrigeration required!

The temperature outside was still in the mid-90s, and in Libby, Montana, the tire indicator light lit up.  I stopped at a Les Schwab tire store and they checked the tires, which were all about 5 pounds over their ideal pressure at 40 PSI.  The guy explained to me that tires “bloat” in hot weather, but that they would go back down when the temperature dropped.  As I have lived all my life where it really never gets above the low 80s, this was new to me!  You keep learning new things!

My next destination was my final stop for the day – West Glacier.  I was going to spend some time in Glacier National Park!  I didn’t have a reservation, and it was high season, so when I stopped in at the Timber Wolf Resort Campground and they had one remaining site, I took it, even though it was the group campsite.  They were kind enough to not charge me extra.  All of my friends could have joined me!  It turned out to be a nice campground, even though the roads could have used a water truck (they were so dusty!) and the showers were one of only a few that you had to pay extra for (75 cents for 7 minutes).

A path at Timber Wolf Campground

Dinner was a four cheese pasta box and chicken sausage; it was my first time using my camp stove on the road!  I also had a Black Box Merlot, that came in a 500 ml tetra-pack.  I’ve never been much for wine in a box, but it came in so handy on this trip!  I didn’t have to worry about an open bottle rolling around the car and it is reclosable!

I made a meal!

Even with the high temperatures that day, it cooled off quickly after dark.  I walked down to the gazebo at the campground, where they had wifi and I did some blogging and relaxing.  By the time I was ready for bed about 10, it wasn’t too hot to sleep in the car!  I did put the screens on the car door so I could sleep with the windows open without letting all the mosquitoes in.  Those things came in handy!

Elk, WA to West Glacier, MT

Road Trip Photo Faves: Bighorn Sheep

Here is another of my favorite photos from my road trip.

I was in Zion National Park in October looking for Bighorn Sheep, and I found them!  This young one looked so at home on his slick rock perch.

 

President’s Day Weekend 2018: One More Snowshoe

Our last day at Mount Rainier, Paula and I had another great breakfast at the National Park Inn, and then we got our bags packed up and put in the car.  We had time for one more snowshoe before we had to head home…

We decided to do the trail that heads up toward Cougar Campground.  This hike is more of a hill and after hiking up part of the Rampart Ridge Trail the day before, Paula felt she was ready for snowshoeing uphill.  The road to Paradise had reopened, so we could see the cars driving by on the road.  The hike winds along between the road and the river; at times you can see the river.

It is such a pretty hike in the snow!  We even saw a Woodpecker!  We went a few miles up, and then had to turn around to come back to the Inn and our car.

It was a fantastic weekend – Paula and I both had so much fun!  I always love a good combination of hiking and relaxing, and this was a perfect girl’s getaway!  We want to do it again next year!

 

Mi Vida Loca Photo Series, 9

Life has a way of catching up with you sometimes, and getting crazy busy and a bit overwhelming. So while I devote some attention to it over the next few weeks, I am going to share a few photos of the adventures over the last several months that I haven’t had a chance to post about.

Whidbey-Heron

Great Blue Heron, Whidbey Island, March 2018

Yellowstone Road Trip 2017: High Desert Museum

Day 10, Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Today was another long day of driving, so we planned to be heading out at 7.  We actually ended up getting on the road at 7:30, so we didn’t do too bad – after all, we did sort of dawdle at the hotel breakfast for awhile…

And then we drove…  For awhile… Through desert and sagebrush and lots and lots of Eastern Oregon boring…  The monotony was broken up only by a couple of restroom breaks, and a short stop for road construction in the middle of nowhere – so nowhere, I don’t even know where nowhere was…  These are big states out West people…

There isn’t much that’s exciting to say about this 5 hours of mind numbing car sitting, except there was a little incident.  The girls were bickering, so my brother did the classic, “Do you want me to pull this van over?” screeching stop on the side of the highway, releasing a huge plume of gravel dust into the air!  Then we rearranged – my sister in law in the far back with one niece, my other niece in the middle seat, and me up front.  Grounded in a 7 passenger mini van!  I had to try really hard to keep a straight face; sometimes it pays to be the aunt!

Finally, just before 1 pm, we made it to the High Desert Museum.  We had peanut butter wraps for lunch in the parking lot, and then headed inside.  This place is amazing!  My brother and his family knew that of course, since they had been there several times.  The High Desert Museum is part history museum, complete with interactive history exhibits, and part zoo/conservation center.

The High Desert Museum

I checked out the exhibits on World War II, the Native Americans during the period of assimilation in the United States, and a exhibit of really gorgeous Oregon photography! The exhibits are very well done and interactive.  They also have an outdoor area with historic buildings that you can go inside, including a homestead home, a root cellar, a barn and an old sawmill!  They have a couple of train cars as well that are being restored and aren’t on display.

 

We also saw several of the animal shows, including Desert Dwellers, featuring the Desert Tortoise, the American Badger and the Porcupine, a show featuring a Great Horned Owl (he can’t fly due to an injured wing), and a show featuring their River Otters.  They also have animals on exhibit throughout the museum, so you can see them outside of the shows as well.  They have several types of snakes and lizards, a Gila Monster, a Bobcat, and several birds of prey.

 

Note: Photo credit for the Bobcat goes to my Sister in Law.

 

Note: Photo credit for the Barn Owl, Bald Eagles and Golden Eagle goes to my Sister in Law.

After we left the Museum, we went into downtown Sisters, Oregon and had dinner at the Sisters Saloon (they have an all ages section).  I had the Bison Burger and a cider – delicious!  We all enjoyed the kids menu, because it had word searches.  I love word searches, so I enjoyed helping the kids find their words.  Sometimes it is the simple things.

Sisters Saloon

After dinner, we checked into what is known simply as the “Llama Hotel” in my family.  That’s right – the Best Western in Sisters, Oregon has a herd of llamas onsite to captivate and delight guests – my nieces and nephew love it and always ask to stay there, so we did.  Like many Best Westerns, it has a Western theme, and this one also has a nice outdoor pool and covered hot tub.  Of course, we made good use of it!

A doe and her fawn at the Llama Hotel

Perhaps strangely, I did not take any photos of the llamas at the Llama Hotel (don’t judge me!), but I did capture this mama deer nursing her still spotted fawn.

Our evening was capped off by sitting on the deck of my brother’s room, sipping on adult beverages while the kids watched TV inside.  It was fabulous.

Distance for the Day: Nampa, ID – High Desert Museum, Bend, OR – Sisters, OR (5 hours, 43 minutes; 333 miles – you gain an hour coming west with the time change)
High Desert Museum Entrance Fee: $15 per adult, $9 per child (3-12)
Best Western Ponderosa Lodge: Sisters, OR: $210 for my room (includes tax) – free breakfast!  NOTE: Bend and Sisters are incredibly expensive in the summer season!