Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cape Blanco

Monday, September 27, 2010 - - Cape Blanco State Park, eight miles northwest of Port Orford, Oregon.

Looking South from the top of the bluff.

This is why it is called Cape Blanco. As I drove up to the park, the sky changed from a beautiful blue to white and the temperature dropped eight degrees.

Within two hours the fog completely blanketed the area...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Crater Lake Addendum

The third day at Crater lake wasn't quite as nice as the previous two days. More clouds but there was still sunshine! And lots more wind that, in some areas, was whipping up the surface of the lake.

With the back-lighting of the sunshine and the wind blowing the water, the surface mimicked ocean waves.

While in other areas of the lake, the water was calm and smooth.

A rock formation called “The Phantom Ship” which it resembles under certain lighting conditions.

One of the many little critters that roamed the overlook areas on the rim road.

The first three photos were taken on Sunday September 26, 2010 while the latter three were taken on Saturday September 25th.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Exquisite Beauty

Friday, September 24th - - Words cannot describe, nor photographs convey completely, the simplicity and incredible beauty of this place... Crater Lake National Park.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Greetings from... Oregon!

Mount Hood (as seen from “a few” miles away near Columbia Hills, Washington).

Arcadia Beach.

Manzanita Bay.

This and the following photographs were taken at Nehalem Beach State Park.

All photos were taken on September 21, 2010.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fire in the Sky

Horsethief Lake, Columbia Hills State Park, Wishram, Washington
September 20, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Wheat Fields of South-Eastern Washington

The rolling hills of south-eastern Washington, between Waitsburg and Colfax (on highways 12, 127 and 26) were fascinating. For mile after mile there is almost nothing except the wheat fields. The pictures simply don't convey the true height of those hills! The wheat had been harvested, the bales of straw had been hauled away, and the fields were being prepped for the next years crop.

As I drove further west, the weather got better!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thanks, Miriam!

Sunday, September 19th - - It was a delightful day that was spent with one of my favs – Miriam Midkiff of Ancestories :: The Stories of my Ancestors. Miriam has already written about our day but I just wanted to add that it was my pleasure to be able to spend some time with her - to get to know her a little better and to meet her son and husband. Her son, being a teenager, didn't have much to say but her husband and I had several engaging conversations while Miriam was off doing something else. The pot roast was delicious. It was very nice to have a home-cooked meal for a change!

Miriam Robbins Midkiff and Becky Wiseman. Photo taken September 19, 2010 by her husband.

Even though I knew that Miriam and I probably wouldn't get together until Sunday, I arrived in Spokane about mid-day Friday. I had decided that this would be a good opportunity to have a couple of “down” days. I had to tend to some errands – get the oil changed in the van, laundry, grocery shopping – you know, things that “normal” people do on a regular basis ;-)

I also took advantage of having electricity at the RV park to work on the photos from August on the netbook. I don't normally stay at commercial RV parks (or resorts, as this one was called) because they usually resemble parking lots. But for some reason the state of Washington closed the campgrounds in some of its State Parks in mid-September so I had no alternative. This particular RV resort was actually kind of nice. There were some trees and bushes in between each parking space, which provided some degree of privacy. A rarity in an RV park! They also had wifi available but I kept getting kicked off the network after about 15 minutes online. Luckily there was a McDonalds across the street...and their wifi worked great.

My stop-over in Spokane was a nice break in my journey. Several tasks were accomplished and I got to spend some time with a friend. Thank you, Miriam! And I look forward to our next visit, someday!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Sign of Summers End

Nature provides us with many signals that the end of summer is near. One of those signals is the fireweed - when the top buds blossom forth and the plant goes to seed.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mount Rainier :: Wow! Perfect Timing, Again!

Wednesday, September 15th - - After leaving the visitor center at Paradise late yesterday afternoon, I drove over to the southeast side of the Mount Rainier National Park and stayed at the campground at Ohanapecosh. I woke up early this morning and, in the hopes that the mountain would once again be out, decided to go to the Sunrise area on the northeast side, about an hours drive.

The campground was sheltered beneath a canopy of tall trees and it was hard to tell what the weather was really like. Leaving the campground I was disappointed to find the sky blanketed by gray clouds. But one thing I've learned about western Washington in my brief stay here is that just because the weather is lousy “here” doesn't mean it will be “there” too!

Half an hour after leaving the campground, I was ecstatic when I rounded a curve and there was Mt. Rainier! Rather gray in the early morning gloom, but there it was!

In the next 15 minutes, the mountain could be seen in several places and each vista presented a slightly different view. The road then went on the side away from Rainier and I could see that the sun would soon break through the clouds. The road twisted and turned and the going was agonizingly slow but after another 20 minutes I was at Sunrise Point.

From there on the views were absolutely stunning, especially whenever the sun decided to make an appearance.

A few minutes later, I was at the nearly empty parking lot of the Sunrise visitor center, which was closed for the season as was the Ranger Station. I strolled along one of the numerous trails, intending to walk for half an hour or so. But it was such a beautiful day and the mountain was mesmerizing. My short walk ended up being more than three hours long.

Looking north from the Sourdough Ridge Trail. (Double-click on this one to open the larger image - it's worth the extra clicks...)

Another view, looking north, from the Sourdough Ridge Trail.

The valley between Sourdough Ridge and Mt Rainier. The road is a gravel service road. There were workers out doing maintenance on some of the trails.

I walked to the other side of Burroughs Mountain (the ridge running in front of Mt Rainier). There was a trail that went up there with a view of Frozen Lake. I started up it but turned around after realizing it would take more time and energy than I could muster.

At times, the mountain seemed so close. Like I could reach out and touch it.

Why doesn't that snow fall? What is holding it up there? How deep is it?

To return to the parking lot, I took another trail, which went down into the valley. There weren't as many views of the mountain but the stillness and peacefulness were almost overwhelming.

Upon reaching the parking lot I decided to go down one more trail. A short one, less than half a mile round-trip, to Emmons Vista. Probably one of the most-photographed views of Rainier, just because it is so close to the visitors center.

Less than an hour later, you guessed it, the gray clouds had moved back in and the sun had taken its leave. And so did I.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mount Rainier :: Narada Falls

Tuesday, September 14th - - For a few miles the road through Mt. Rainier National Park follows the Paradise River. A short distance before reaching the Paradise visitors center complex, there is a little sign alongside the road announcing Narada Falls.

It is here, at Narada Falls, that the sparkling clear waters of Paradise River plunge over the edge of a cliff and drop dramatically 168 feet. The Paradise River runs clear, not milky, because it originates from snowfields, not debris-laden glaciers.

The trail to Narada Falls is only two-tenths of a mile long, but it is a 200 foot descent/ascent! It can be (and was) wet and slippery.

For some early visitors, the power of the waterfall suggested spiritual connections. They named it Narada after a powerful sage of Hindu mythology who acted as a messenger between human and divine realms. [National Park Service Sign]

It wasn't the biggest, or tallest, or widest waterfall I've ever seen. But it was one of the most beautiful and graceful.

There is a hint of a rainbow across the center of the falls.

The “drapery” of water opens and closes as it falls. It was enchanting.

Constantly changing as you watch, it is dependent upon the flow of water from above as well as the cliff face itself and the plants thriving there.