Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dworshak State Park, Idaho

In north central Idaho, the Dworshak Dam rises over 700 feet to impound a reservoir from the flow of the north fork of the Clearwater River.  The lake is nestled in a canyon and the campground sits at the edge of the lake.

This area is noted for wildlife.  Around here may be seen osprey, bald eagles, black and grizzly Bears, moose, elk, wolves, cougars, deer, and various smaller critters like beavers.  I set out to see if I could spot any wildlife, an activity at which my skills are comparable to my fishing prowess.  After wandering around, I sat and rested.  That was when I saw it...

It was too nervous at first with me nearby to come out completely.  It was an evolving process.  The head poked up, it saw me, then it retreated.  As I made no movement, it came back up.  We repeated this dance a number of times before it stayed up.

Finally comfortable enough to not duck back down, the ground squirrel stayed at the surface, butt in its hole, head up and watching me.  Looking through my lens, I noticed that its body seemed to be bouncing up and down.  I kept still and watched.  Then I figured it out - he was being bumped by another head that wanted out!

We repeated the up and down dance with the second one...

...and the third...

... and the fourth.

Well, I finally saw some wildlife!  Not a bear or a moose, but they had me chuckling...

Today the campground, full over the holiday weekend, is empty but for me and the camp host.  I chatted a bit with him.  He told me of a hike to Freeman Creek on a trail paralleling the lake edge.  Off I went.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Wallowas - Goodbye for now

The weather never did clear fully by the time I had to move on to Idaho.  I was left with this afterimage.

I plan to come back next year, with a lot more time to hang out and hike.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Wallowas - First Contact

The Wallowa Mountains are in the northeast corner of Oregon, and are my current location.  In a word, they are spectacular.

Yesterday an aerial tramway took me from the valley at about 5000 feet, to one of the smaller peaks at 8200 feet elevation.  Up there, the trails are mostly snow-covered.  The sky was very white, not great for photography, but that was ok.

I wasn't alone up there...

In places, wind had kept the trails mostly clear, revealing the rock surface underfoot.

Mostly, I just stood and looked.

Today it is raining.  If the weather clears in the next three days, I will be going back up there.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tumalo Creek and Falls

In the mountain country west of Bend, OR is Tumalo Creek.  It races out of the snowfields, hurrying to the lower lands where it jogs on its way.

Along the Creek is a trail.  It rose with the creek, bringing me into snow country in mid-May.

After a mile, the trail comes to a rock outcrop perhaps 100 feet or so above the creek.  In front of me was a two stage waterfall.

The real gem of this day, though, is Tumalo Falls, a perfectly formed fan of water.  From the trail, I could peek through the trees to see its upper part.

From a viewpoint next to the parking lot, it is delightful.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Diamond Creek Falls

Well, there has been a glorious lack of acknowledgement of my Haiku attempts in my last post.  It seems I am a better photographer than poet, and I shan't try that again.  At least I had fun with it.

On June 10 and 11, 2010, I visited Salt Creek Falls in the Cascades.  From that point, there is a trail to another falls, Diamond Creek Falls.  I looked at the info and knew that that was well beyond my ability to reach.

Yesterday I hiked there.

The trail takes one through forest, starting above Salt Creek Falls.  From there, there is a steady hill climb to a viewpoint on top of columnar basalt edging a drop of about 400 feet to the bottom of the canyon formed by Salt Creek.

From there, the trail re-enters the forest and continues to rise and fall with a net gain of about 200 feet of elevation, where patches of snow remained.

Finally, I was at Diamond Creek Falls.

After, I was sore and tired, but very, very pleased that I had been able to make that hike.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mt Jefferson Area

Lush verdant forest
Aqua water rushing by
A happy marriage.

Water rushes down
Rising again in a mist
Sunlight paints rainbows.

Skeletons of trees
Burned in a past summer blaze
Guard Mount Jefferson.

Sisters volcanoes
Standing in the rising sun
Wear cloud skirts in Spring.