Category Archives: Hiking

great places for hiking

Break clear away

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“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” » John Muir

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“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.” » Theodore Roosevelt

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Hells Canyon above Brownlee Dam

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together … all things connect.” —Chief Seattle

Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth

Belly Biology: yellow wild flower surprise

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Belly Biology. I invented the phrase for workshops and daily programs that I taught at Port Townsend Marine Science Center. Basically it means to lay on your belly and see what you can see, most often laying on the dock and looking at what lives under it. Now a good DSLR’s flexible LCD screen can save me the stretch but I still came home with pitch on my jeans, really, from laying on my planet. Try it! Next best thing to laying on my back and looking at clouds!

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Butter Cup (Ranunculaceae)and Avalanche Lily (Erythronium grandiflorum) Note this Avalanche Lily supports 7 blossoms with one stem. Commonly the plant produces 1 blossom per stem. They are edible but don’t store well. Use them to top salad or cake and serve as soon as possible or eat them in the wild but only a few per patch to preserve the patch. This is the first edible wild flower to spring forth in spring, Rocky Mountains, USA.

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Surprise Shot with Olympus OM-D 5 set on close up scene, camera on ground. You don’t have to actually lay on your belly but it’s awe-fully fun if you do.

 

keeper of the keys: day 3

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My new best coffee! I get up at 6 AM to get ready to open the office at 7. It takes me a while to wake up. I brought a bag of instant powdered coconut milk for creamer. Mixed with honey in pressed coffee the flavors astound me! This one cup coffee press it’s great for a single mug.

Checking out gate keys to visitors was easy and I’m surprised most of them want to chat a while instead of rushing to their hunt. It’s a pleasant way to start the morning. I nearly filled the wood bin and then made pumpkin soup for lunch, stirring in coconut powder instead of canned coconut milk. Scrumptious with a mug of mushroom coffee! My husband rolled in with a friend and our 2 German Shepherds. The dogs stay in the van at the ranch so they can’t harass the resident wild turkeys. I made a pot of espresso flavored with coconut milk and coconut sugar and we sat  on the porch in the sun watching wild turkeys in the yard.

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I took a map and keys to 3 gates, locked the house (office inside) and we went off in search of the roads.  We entered Lake Road access gate and found this small ancient dog house nearby. Our dogs are too large to get in. There is a loading chute and corral at the entrance. We encountered a stream crossing right away (no bridge) and looking at the road ahead decided it truly was best for an ATV, not our big wide Chevy Express. Let’s hit the highway for the next access gate.

It was hard to find the Woodhead gate right across from the Woodhead campground. Duh! But the gate is behind a pond and no signs point to it. This road, too is not suitable for a van for very many miles. At least it’s not a steep drop off like Lake Road. Eventually we would have come to a peak and pine forest but I had to open the office at 4 so we turned around. I notice my office hours are the same time as the best light for photos, sunrise and sunset. I’ll be back in my 4X4 truck some other time to capture betters photos.

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Brownlee Dam, the first of 3 dams on the Snake River in Hells Canyon, is just out of view to the right of the reservoir. For this photo I turned around and now we’re looking down hill. I’m in Idaho. The land across the river is Oregon.

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See the road on the Oregon side, pretty high above the water? It’s not Lake Road but just like it. NOT taking the van on it! Looks like fun for a mountain bike. Yikes. When I was a child, not even in school yet, my family would take Grandpa’s Jeep on roads like that pulling a silver camper. What a hoot! Mom was wrong. Dad didn’t kill us all.

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We’re pretty high above the canyon but still can’t get cell phone service here. I thought the Carpathian Mountains were steep when I visited Transylvania but I’m not sure they are steeper than these. Back just in time to open the office, goodbye to my guests,  and I swapped keys for hunters who are staying the week in Hells Canyon, took some phone reservations, and checked in returned keys. I gave one chukar hunter a tour of the bear trails around the house and under the wild orchard and black walnut trees. So much scat! I don’t find any fresh walnuts on the ground. Do you suppose bears or turkeys eat them? They’re a hard nut to crack. Um . . . not for a bear. He stayed and we chatted a while about wild plums and elderberries and recipes for foraged harvests while we watched the turkeys eating grass seeds and apples. They fly up and knock the fruit to the ground and then fight over it.

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I closed the office at 5 and boiled brown farm eggs for dinner from the little Alpine store in Indian Valley. That place deserves it’s own blog post, it’s so eclectic. The sun disappears behind the mountain early so I brought in another load of firewood and put the wheel barrow back in the garage next to the tractors all the while gathering leaves with interesting shapes for water color painting tomorrow. That sound? Turkeys began flying up from the creek to roost in trees above it. I wondered if it was too dark to get photos but digital cameras are amazing at letting in light at twilight. Oh, the sound of these huge wings fluttering! It’s the sort of ruckus that stirs my imagination to write horror stories and paint scenes inspired by great beasts perching above me in the night. That was last night’s entertainment. Look what I can do when there is no distracting TV noise, none here.

And now I’ve edited photos, done some writing, relaxed with lemon-ginger India Tulsi tea, prepared sourdough to proof overnight, and washed my face. Time to do dishes and then go to upstairs to bed and listen to my audio book Far Far Away by Tom McNeal. It’s a dark fantasy, something about a ghost and the Brothers Grimm and lurking evil, in the fashion of Neil Gaiman. If it doesn’t rain much tomorrow I’ll get out and explore more of the Andrus Wildlife Management Area.

 

Forest foraging

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Forest foraging today provided spicy watercress (Nasturtium officianale) and sweet yellow avalanche lily (Erythronium grandiflorum – Pursh) to lively up my salad. Though I was seeking illusive morel mushrooms, I found other delicious and nutritious plants to harvest on my spring trek. I grazed as I hiked and brought home a small harvest to embellish tonight’s salad.

5 things to know about Nasturtium officianale

  • It’s related to mustard greens, cabbage, and arugula and tastes spicy like them.
  • It keeps well a few days submerged in water and stored in the fridge.
  • Modern science has identified more than 15 essential vitamins and minerals contained in this one herb – more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk, and more vitamin C than oranges.
  • It is known for preventing or treating cancer.
  • Vitamin K is by far the most prominent nutrient in watercress, with 312% of the daily recommended value. It forms and strengthens the bones and limits neuronal damage in the brain, which is helpful in treating Alzheimer’s disease.

5 things to know about Erythronium grandiflorum – Pursh

  • Since it often appears at the edge of receding snow banks it is often called snow lily, glacier lily, yellow avalanche-lily,  and it’s known as dogtooth violet, trout lily, and fawn lily. People who live in my community call it deer tongue but that is more often used for a different wild flower.
  • It’s related to the Lily family and it’s stamens can be white, yellow, or red. Usually all the flowers in a patch have the same color stamens.
  • You can eat the flower, seeds, and bulbs. Leaves are edible, too, but only eaten in emergencies as bulbs need the leaves to provide nutrients to sustain the plant.
  • This edible wildflower grows in western Canada and U. S., especially in the Rocky Mountains.
  • Elk and deer relish the foliage. Grizzly bears and black bears use their claws to comb through the soil unearthing the nutritious bulbs.

More posts about edible wild foods are here and here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: dinnertime

 

Edible Incredible!

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avalanche lily, sweet flowers fresh or in salad
blue violas
wild viola flowers in salad
emerging morel
emerging morel, saute in butter
dig in morel
almost through the forest floor
Trilium parasol
Morels are often found beneath trillium parasols (blossoms are gone on this one).           Don’t eat trilliums
camus
Camus roots are extremely high in protein
emerging coral
coral fungus just pushing through forest duff, saute in butter or dry and grind for soup stock

I love spring forage in the Rocky Mountains!

Weekly Photo Challenge:  dinnertime!

Miracles

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Trillium

Miracles     by Walt Whitman

Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night with any           one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and           bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the ships             with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?

 

For the Weekly Photo Challenge: Half Light

Vibrant

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Full Image

This week’s photo challenge is VIBRANT:  (adjective) full of energy and enthusiasm; quivering; pulsating; (of color) bright and striking.

I made this photo last April at Palouse Falls, Washington near Washtucna and Pullman, and Moscow and  Lewiston in Idaho. Below I cropped the image two ways for different looks. I think I still like the full image best. What do you think?

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Cropped 1

I took out that glaring bright rock face on the right. I need to learn to dodge and burn in Creative Suite. I was just not able to bring out the texture I know is in the data.

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Cropped 2

In this crop I took off the left side to give more attention to the rainbow and the contrasts in the image.

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Palouse Falls is magnificent. This rainbow attracted me almost as much. For the close up photo I used for the challenge, I moved to another perspective, and of course zoomed in. You can see more bloggers’ vibrant photos and join the challenge here.

Winter Walk

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Walk with me on a sunny January day in the Rocky Mountains.

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Contemplate a place to meditate next to the creek. Think of spring when iris blooms over the grave on the slope. Think of summer when you sway in the hammock strung between the trees.

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Spy on unwary quail that live beneath snow and branches.

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Discover a chickadee’s pantry where it has stashed seeds from your feeder.

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Let it show you how it cracks a black sunflower seed open for lunch.

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Wonder if it was a fox or cat that left its tracks along the creek, up the hill,

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beneath the pine, across the field, over the show covered chair, under the Elderberry brush,

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across the puddle (those are my show shoe tracks next to the animal trail), between strands of barbed wire,

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into the forest.

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Breathe deeply along the creek.

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Feel like you are being watched.

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Take your time knowing a pair of Red Breasted Nut Hatches.

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Catch a bubble and float away.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Optimistic

 

 

Downy Phantom

owl fledgeling

Perched on splintered stump of silvery tree,

downy phantom

always, always watching me.

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Barred Owl feldgling, first day out of its nest. It was still there 2 hours later. Barred owls are often out in day time. I was hunting morel mushrooms, walking along with my head down, looking at the ground. I smelled a cougar and got the clue I should look up once in a while. Directly in front of me at a distance this fledgling had been watching me. I never saw the cougar, or the parent owls or the nest. Only 1 morel in the bag and that’s OK, for this day.

With great respect for baby wildlife I put my 2 German Shepherds in the van, made my photos in a little time, and left. I got pretty close but I didn’t want to scare the fledgling. Never take one home. They don’t need rescue and they are not intended to be pets. Fledglings seem pretty stupid, or extremely inexperienced. I hope it lived through the night. Great Horned Owls at my home spend months feeding and training their young in the art of hunting so I hope this one has a parent looking after it, too.

owl sweet face

Seeking Elusive Morels

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I can’t think of a more fun wild food to harvest than morel mushrooms. The spring hunt gets me into forests early and, though unproductive until the right sustained temperatures range between 40 and 65 degrees, searching for the elusive fungus is a great way to break in new hiking boots and strengthen muscles for more vigorous summer trekking. In the Payette National Forest the morels are ON now.

peek a boo

No doubt I walk past more than I find, like this one I spied playing peek-a-boo with me. Look again at the first photo and you’ll see that its companion was hiding next to it, just out of sight. These two photos are of the same finding, different perspectives. It’s all how you look at it. No, really. Sometimes turn around and look where you just came from. Just by looking back I’ve found deer and whales following me.  (Whales follow my boat, of course; they don’t visit the forest.)

emerging morel

I discovered some just pushing forth through the forest floor, showing that they can grow to full size below warming moist duff as they emerge. This one was larger than a golf ball.

dig in morel

Another much larger one was trying its darndest to force its way through the floor on its side. I helped it, of course. You can see only about a third of it in this photo.

knife for morels

According to Mother Earth News it’s not necessary to cut mushrooms off at their ground level. Pulling up the whole thing has no effect on it growing back next year because mushrooms grow by spore dispersion. I cut them off in the field so they are easier to clean when I get home and to leave a little more nourishment in nature. I carry a soft mesh shopping bag to transport my fine little friends so their spores can fall out to reproduce, assuring more gathering opportunities in the future.

bear

My family taught me to be wary of bears any time I’m in their habitats, especially when gathering mushrooms and huckleberries. This is one of two bears that crossed my acres at dusk several days ago. Neighbors found 2 more, so we had four that we know of in our little area that evening.

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That same day a rancher drove cattle across our pasture and up our creek to the range land above us.

This is probably why so many bears came down at once. Even they don’t want to camp with bovine.

two tired dogs

I take one or two German Shepherds with me when I hunt mushrooms but that doesn’t assure protection. A bear might chase your dog who will run right to you, or run away and leave you with the beast. Mom’s German Shepherd was so brave and persistent getting after a bear in her brush near her pond that it got its tail bitten off. We called her Bob after that. I wear a whistle around my neck but I’ve never had to use it in a bear encounter. If I remember, I sing or hum a little song, or recite poems so the bears hear me and they stay clear before I ever see them. Sea chanties work nicely. My friend, Nancy, bells her dog and it makes enough noise running around to let bears know they’re not alone. My girls are worn out after leaping every fallen tree they could find.

bear tree

With little training I recognize a bear wallow, though an elk had marked it overnight with scat so maybe it was an elk wallow. Uh . . . but it was awfully close to this tree where a bear had dug after insects.

Fresh bear scat

Another clue is fresh scat. VERY fresh! See how wet it is?

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And some  more scat nearby, a little older.

morels

At home, I carefully rinse the catch and then give them a 30 minute soak in heavily salted cool water to dislodge tiny critters that inhabit the fungus. Then I rinse them again, gently squeeze out the water and lay them on towels to dry a little. Mother Earth News says not to clean them and I agree they would feel firmer that way. But I disagree about their bugs and worms leaving with less encouragement.

sourdough and morels

Meantime, I tend to the sourdough sponge so I’ll have fresh bread to dip in the morel drippings later. If I’m going to eat them soon I store them in a paper bag or wrapped in paper towls in a bowl in my fridge. To preserve them for later, I dry the mushrooms by running a long thread through them with a small needle and then hanging them in a sunny window if it’s a sunny day. But it’s raining here a lot now so I filled 2 dehydraters with them and dried them in the kitchen. Fillet large morels lengthwise so they dry quicker.  Mother Earth News has a different method, still without cleaning them first. After drying them I package them in freezer bags or glass jars and put them in the freezer for a couple of weeks to kill any more enzymes that could cause trouble in storage. Then I store them in glass jars or crocks with lids. To rehydrate for use, I put them in a cereal bowl with just enough water to cover them for about 20 minutes. Mother Earth News wants to soak them for 2 hours but that seems way too long. Either way, save the liquid to use in morel sauce and gravy.

saute morels

Skip the onions and garlic. Morels are so flavorful why distract the taste with anything added? I put just enough olive oil in the bottom of a frying pan to coat it, and add a small slice of butter for flavor. No salt or pepper even. Saute on medium heat gently for only about 5 minutes. Don’t overcook or they get tough. The best of the best recipes is to fry a steak in a cast iron skillet first, then remove it and stir up the brownings. Add olive oil if needed, butter if you like. Saute the morels and then remove them from the pan. Stir up the drippings again, and then stir in flour before adding the reserved liquid (above) or some water a little at a time. Keep stirring gently to prevent lumps until you get the thickness you want. Adjust the amount of liquid as you like. Another way is to skip the flour and instead shake a small jar that has a little corn starch and liquid in it, then add it all at once to the pan and stir, stir, stir.

Trilium parasol

I’ve spent valuable hunting and gathering time creating this post so it’s back to the forest I go now. Mother Earth News has more information about morels, though I disagree with some of it. And at the end of their discussion they post more sites about the fungus.

Happy May Day!

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To celebrate May Day I searched for early Morel mushrooms. Finding none, I pulled out my little digital point and shoot camera and photographed wild flowers. People still remember the fun of making a paper basket, filling it with flowers and hanging it on someone’s door, then run like the dickens and hope they don’t find you. If found, you owe them a kiss. It’s a fun way to welcome spring.

And Old Fashioned Living recalls that Louisa May Alcott wrote about May Basket Day in New England in her 1880 children’s book Jack and Jill.

From Alcott’s story: “Such a twanging of bells and rapping of knockers; such a scampering of feet in the dark; such droll collisions as boys came racing round corners, or girls ran into one another’s arms as they crept up and down steps on the sly; such laughing, whistling, flying about of flowers and friendly feeling—it was almost a pity that May-day did not come oftener.”

Read the history of May Basket Day http://www.npr.org/blogs/npr-history-dept/2015/04/30/402817821/a-forgotten-tradition-may-basket-day.

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River of No Return

mule train with clouds
Applying the watercolor filter gives the old photo a painterly effect.
clouds over mountains & mule train
Adjusting shadows and highlight revealed interesting clouds and more color texture.

My step dad, Filbur  (Phil) Lakey, composed this photo in about 1949, probably with a Brownie camera while on horseback. This is his step dad, Ken Thomas. Ken was the Ranger at Krassel Guard Station near Yellow Pine, Idaho, for about 30 years and Phil often worked trail crew with him, packing into the back country with a string of mules. Common cameras in those days had a view finder on top; the photographer aimed the lens at the subject and looked down on a big square glass to frame the picture. The subject was upside down in the viewfinder. Imagine doing that on a horse on a rugged mountain trail. In those days the film was black and white so I might have the year wrong or this photo might have been retouched to color it. Look at the lower right corner where age is changing the hue and let’s believe this image was made with color film.

Today’s photo assignment for https://photo101march2015.wordpress.com/ is Landscape. Instead of shooting a new scene, I came back to this old image to see yet again what I can make of it with tools in Adobe Photoshop CS4. You can see the changes from the first adjustment below, to the one above, and finally adding a watercolor filter to get the effect in the image at top. I scanned the image from the original enlargement which had aged over the years since it was first printed from the negative. Below you see how it looked after adjusting just tone, contrast, and color in CS4. In the image above I adjusted again, this time for shadows and highlights. The most noticeable change is the sky. Clouds now appear and the sky is more interesting.

mule train not clouds show
The original adjusted for tone, contrast, and color.

The foreground is colored but the mountains in the background look like they have been made (or left) black and white. It could be snow because you can see fall hues in the foreground. Snow falls early in the high elevations. Look more closely. An enormous wildfire has swept through the wilderness and left the burned landscape colorless. With a little research I can uncover the date this photo was made.

I aspire to reproduce this image with Prisma colored pencils or acrylic paint. I know I can do more adjustments in CS4 to bring out details in the white horses and correct the hue in the lower right corner. The left side background is darkened by a cloud masking the sun. I think Phil made a pretty good photograph with the equipment he had and being on a horse. He would have been up the trail and no doubt he was also leading a string of mules or horses. I can’t make out the structure behind the last white horse but I believe it’s another horse, a dark one, with a big pack stacked on it. Mule strings could be long and often a mix of mules and horses among the pack animals.

Krassel Ranger Station is now a Forest Service Work Station in Payette National Forest, with headquarters in McCall, Idaho. The ranger’s cabin is available for temporary summer stay with the expectation the guests serve as host and docent to visitors. It’s located on the South Fork of the Salmon River, near Johnson Creek and Big Creek, and the so so small town of Yellow Pine, all part of the Salmon River in Idaho, adjacent to designated wilderness area. Once called the River of No Return Wilderness, it is now termed the Frank Church Wilderness. Here is a link for information about http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/scnf/specialplaces/?cid=stelprdb5360033 and here is a link for a DVD that features this wilderness http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/river-of-no-return-introduction/7618/. I’ve seen it on live streaming from the PBS channel. Here is a link to photos and information about the Krassel Ranger District http://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/!ut/p/c5/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gDfxMDT8MwRydLA1cj72BTQxNjAwgAykeaxRtBeY4WBv4eHmF-YT4GMHkidBvgAI601R0O8it-t4NNwG2-n0d-bqp-pH6UOYY9Zk5mMFMic1LTE5Mr9QtyQ0MjDLJMQh0VFQFx4Y7u/dl3/d3/L0lJSklna2tra0EhIS9JTmpBQU15QUJFUkNKS28hLzRGR2dzbzBWdnphOTJBZyEvN18wTzQwSTFWQUI5MEUyS1M1NkI2MDAwMDAwMC9zYS5GU005XzAzMzMyOA!!/?pname=Forest%20Service%20-%20Krassel%20Work%20Center%20-%20Krassel&recid=&counter=null.0&actid=&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&ttype=photogallery&navid=091000000000000&cid=1491&pnavid=null&ss=110412.

I have a few photo albums of my family’s life at the ranger station over 30 years and those images are in black and white. Today’s post is about photography and adjusting old images but in a future post I will feature the history of the family that lived at the station and the ranger’s job, with vintage photos.

Search and rescue practice

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Ozette loves search and rescue missions. She’s not formally trained for the task but her tracking skills are incredible! Her favorite search and rescue activity is finding logs, huge branches, or even small sticks under water and bringing them ashore where she lines them up and goes back for more. It’s in her instinct tool kit, her default. I read a book about why some dogs exhibit certain behaviors, possibly in their genes from the job an ancestor performed, some where back in its lineage. I’m pretty sure if I researched I’d find this dog had an ancestor that worked at logging at a river or stream. If I could teach her to catch fish, sweet. We had been picking huckleberries at a high elevation in August 2012 near Cuprum, Idaho. To cool off, we stopped at a cold high mountain stream  near Landore in the Seven Devils Mountains over Hells Canyon.

I’m showing these photos for Photography 101, an assignment to make photos with blur and capture the moment, action shots. These show the process Ozette uses to find and retrieve sticks in a stream, caught in the moment. Here is a link to the commons where participants can share daily assignments (challenges). https://photo101march2015.wordpress.com/

Wall

Deer skull on red wall

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall. See more photos by other bloggers or learn how to participate here https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/wall/.

To see more photos of bones on my blog look at https://skybluedaze.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/solitude-together-hike/ and https://skybluedaze.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/washtucna/.

Stream stroll and scale

I saw frog eggs in our creek about 10 – 14 days ago but doubted my observation. It seemed too early, snow still on the ground. Big rains came and the creek rushed and flooded. Today I took a stream walk to see if I could find those eggs. I guess they’ve washed down stream in the runoff. But look what I found along side the stream! I used my walking poles, old ski poles, to scale the wildlife for you. I wasn’t planning to participate in this week’s photo challenge: scale https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/scale/ but it just became obvious as I walked along.

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I think I saw a toad, but it sort of looks like a frog. What do you think? Anyone know what kind of mold that is growing inside the entrance to a large rodent burrow? It’s about the size of a tennis ball. I think it’s growing on a chunk of scat. I put the small camera inside the hole to make the picture. Click on any picture in the slide show to get a closer look.

Weekly photo challenge: Warmth

I seldom participate in the WordPress weekly photo challenge but I think about it just the same. The low last night was 10 degrees F. As I write this post at about noon it’s 20 degrees outside and 92 indoors. Breeze makes the chill factor feel lower. With three levels of windows facing south, on sunny days we turn off the heat and open windows. This morning I oiled 5 pairs of boots, some to wear in snow and with my snow shoes. They rest in the warmth at the windows while snow swirls off trees outdoors. The temperature differences indoors and out struck me. In one of the photos you can see some pine needles sticking out from beneath snow. Together the pine mulch and snow insulate tulips in the container, keeping them frozen until time to bloom. Maybe I should move them away from the sunny side of the deck to help prevent thaw and freeze. I have only one photo of a wind sweeping through the area, blowing snow off trees, creating a mysterious mood. I made the shot from our deck. The wind is only apparent on the ridge.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/warmth/

Tree house, garden house, round house, out house, all at Lake Ozette

The tree house that sleeps four, the round house with 2 stories, the garden house, the outhouse. I love the little houses at Lake Ozette in the Olympic National Forest on the Washington state coast. My friend, Don who played bass in my husbands band in Port Angeles, arranged to be the caretaker for the only privately owned dwellings on the lake. He pays rent at $99.00 a year. The owner can never sell to anyone but the National Park. It’s a win-win for all. And I love to go there with him and the band for days at a time in late summer.

path to Lake Ozette from the tree house

I showed you in a previous post https://skybluedaze.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/edge/ part of the board walk,  about 20 feet above ground, that gets you from the tree house to the lake. In the rainy season, anytime except summer, the lake is up to the boards. Otherwise tall brush grows alongside. You can just see 2 canoes in the brush in the bottom of the photo. Here’s the tree house cabin. I stood on its porch to make the crooked path photo looking at Lake Ozette. tree house and canoestree house east side

The cute little bunny looking out the window at us was left there by Don’s niece. I love the bay windows that look out to the lake. Inside are two sets of bunk beds, a chair, a wood stove, and something sort of like a kitchen.

tree house back door

This is the back door to the tree house, the way we get in after a long trek. Standing at the lake you can see the big old Spruce that supports the cabin.

path through the forest

boardwalk to tree house

It takes about an hour to walk from the garden house, at the lake’s edge around a bay, and most of the walk is high above ground on narrow planks. Don and his brother reconstruct parts of the board walk every year, not an easy task. It’s sometimes more sensible to canoe from one house to the other. Once is rained so hard when they were sleeping in the garden house they had to canoe to their car on the dirt road.I don’t have a photo of the garden house. It’s called that because the garden grows there. Its easier to get to, being near the road and having a little lane to drive on. We have to pack our food and bedding into the tree house, balancing on the planks and snapping at my German Shepherd, named Ozette, to keep her from running an knocking into us. Sometimes she jumps off and runs beneath the boardwalk until the dense brush confuses her.

round house

From the garden house I can walk along a creek back to the bend in the road to the round house. That little house doesn’t belong to Don’s property. It’s quite imaginative, having 2 stories and only as big around as a giant ancient Red Wood tree. There is a bedroom upstairs with a double bed. Down stairs is a sweet round cabin room with a stove, chairs, table, and kitchen. I’d like to sleep here where I could hear the creek.

new out house

The round house has the best out house, the newest one in the community of little houses. Even here we use a board walk. The rain forest has so much decaying ground that it’s easy to fall through the forest floor and land knee deep or even 20 feet below where you were standing. And the ground is almost always wet, often running in small streams. Isn’t that a comforting dry porch outside the door?

If you visit the Washington coast in Olympic National Park, I hope you will drive to the Ozette trail head. You’ll pass these sweet little houses but you won’t see them from the road. At the trail head you can hike 3 miles to the beach and the site of Ozette village which was covered several times by mud slides and rebuilt in the same spot for centuries. Then you can turn around and hike back, or walk 3 miles down the beach and take a different trail back, making a nine mile hike, easy to do in a day. I’ll tell you more about that hike in another post.

I feel lucky and grateful to have a friend like Don who takes me to such interesting cabins.

Landmarks for Meditation

beach with driftwood ship wreck

Why is it?

Because:  all phenomna are like a dream, an illusion, a bubble, a shadow, like dew and lightening.

Thus should you meditate on them.

– The Diamond Sutra, translated at the Sukhavati Forest Retreat

Hazard Mountain

 Rough Country

– Dana Gioia

Give me a landscape made of obstacles,

of steep hills and jutting glacial rock,

where the low running streams are quick to flood

the grassy fields and bottom lands.

A place

no engineers can master – where the roads

must twist like tendrils up the mountainside

on narrow cliffs where boulders block the way.

Where tall black trunks of lightning-scalded pine

push through the tangled woods to make a roost

for hawks and swarming crows.

And sharp inclines

Where twisting through the thorn-thick underbrush,

scratched and exhausted, one turns suddenly

To find an unexpected waterfall,

not half a mile from the nearest road,

a spot so hard to reach that no one comes –

A hiding place, a shrine for dragonflies

and nesting jays, a sign that there is still

one piece of property that won’t be owned.