Simple Gifts

I believe I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world; the Snoqualmie Valley. I get to see amazing things everyday. It's time to celebrate that. (You can view pictures in larger format by clicking on them)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Richmond Beach

Alan and I went to Richmond Beach. I sat and watched a heron for quite a while. I saw him catch a few fish. I watched the fish wiggling madly in his neck. How grand to sit for so long observing. Alan was either patiently waiting or watching trains, I'm not sure which.

It was a beautiful day. I splashed in the water. Eventually Alan joined me. It was great fun.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hot day at the Taylor River

Broadcasters were talking about record breaking high temperatures. I was actually up and ready to go fairly early. I wanted to get going before the heat hit. My cat decided that me leaving early was just too shocking and escaped. She was missing for several hours. By the time I found her I was hot and motivation was waining.

The call of the woods was too strong to ignore. I was very worried about my geriatric mutt with his heavy black coat. I remembered that the hike to Big Creek Falls runs close to the river most of the time. I knew we wouldn't make it to the falls, but getting out there was enough. One of the nice things about the hike is you can't hear any roads. Come to think of it, I didn't hear any planes either. Just the sound of the river, birds and bugs.

We spent quite a bit of time literally sitting in the river. We were out there for about 3 hours and we saw 3 people the entire time. The insects were horrendous. I was quite mad at myself, because I knew this was an especially bad bug year. Mostly it was deer flies and the key was to keep moving. Coal, however, need to sniff and cool off frequently. I ended up pulling my towel out of my pack and if Coal needed to stop, I'd squat down and cover as much of me as possible. It wasn't quite as bad as the year I hiked McCLellan Butte and was inhaling the numerous pests, but it was close. In spite of the heat and bugs, Coal seemed disappointed when I turned us around. He's an amazing dog.

I should be sleeping now, but it's still 71F here. That just doesn't happen much here in the Pacific Northwest. Still, I'm smiling as I write this. Perhaps I like the adversity, neither the bugs nor the heat seem to matter much when compared to the beauty and solitude.

Butterflies and Blooms

Butterflies and blooms is a wonderful exhibit at the Woodland Park Zoo.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Trip to Woodland Park Zoo

We went to the Woodland Park Zoo. As both Eliza (she made a blog entry too) and I had recently seen wolves we headed first to the northwest section of the zoo. We did see one wolf, but like it's wild kin it was elusive. I've gotten so spoiled living where I do, in general it seemed disappointing to see my familiar wildlife caged up. Of course many of the species, like the eagles, are injured wildlife or in a captive breeding program to ensure the survival of the species.

We really liked the way the emu could move it's neck. We were also hoping that emu would peck at the annoying teenager girl's toes that was pestering it. Alas, the girls toes remained safe. In the early morning the monkeys were quite loud. I think I had so much fun watching them I forgot to take pictures. The gorilla's were eating cherries. He would carefully take one out of the bag, pull the cherry of the stem and then neatly spit out the pit. He definitely was neater then I am when eating cherries.

For a dollar you could get some seed on a stick and feed the parrots. I really enjoyed this. The parakeets were the most aggressive about getting seed. The cockatiels reminded me of Buttercup, my bird when I was a teen. I let one play with my glasses.

The sloth bears were quite busy. My guess is there was honey spread out in their exhibit. They certainly were focused and showed some great balance!

Eliza really liked the African Wild Dogs. So did I, but I had seen them at the zoo once before. I think they are amazingly beautiful animals.

We were told the hippos were off exhibit, but when we got there they were swimming around and quite active! They were chewing on large sticks. The elephants (once again I forgot to take pictures) were also chewing on large sticks. It was amazing to hear the crunching sound!

I was especially enchanted by the tiger. It was just so active and almost seemed to be posing. I couldn't help but noticing all the claw marks in the ball. Tigers have so much power and grace.

One of the main things we wanted to see were the butterflies. It was cloudy and cool most of the day and we were worried they would be out. As we entered the butterfly house the sun came out. It warmed quickly and soon we were delighted with the activity. (I'll put the photos in the next post)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Olallie State Park

I wanted to find someplace peaceful for Coal and I. Trying to find a place without fireworks or lots of people on the 4th of July is not easy. I ended up at Olallie State Park. I hiked up the trail that runs beside Change Creek. Coal charged ahead, which was a relief as the fireworks and been making him literally sick with stress. The trail is short, pretty and lushly green. There are enormous boulders along the trail and I was enchanted by one that had a large flat side completely covered in moss. The trail takes you under a trestle for the John Wayne trail. I like looking up, it feels older, as if you could wait and see an old electric train pass by. Then the trail joins the John Wayne trail. There are lots of climbers and it was the only area of the day that was crowded.

We headed east and quickly left the people behind. We walked over the second trestle at Hall creek and found another side trail. I've been on it a few times and then started avoiding it because it was always so trashed. There was one area that had a lot of broken bottles. It almost looked like people were throwing them off the trestle? Other then that it was clean and full of solitude.

We ended up in the main recreation area near Weeks Falls. I don't go there much, but the cool old growth forest appealed to me. There is something about the light in old growth that I have never been able to capture in words or photos. It returns me to childhood when I really thought that ents, elves and hobbits were a possibility and I could feel the magic of the forest.

Saturday, July 01, 2006