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Wild sweet pea
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Wild Sweet Peas at Stub Stewart, Fires, Smoke, and More! (+9 insets!)

Wild Sweet Peas at Stub Stewart, Fires, Smoke, and More! (+9 insets!) 

(+9 insets!) (Yes, it's another long trip report including fires, smoke, and unbelievable parking situations and so much more!)

Welcome to Hell
If you've been keeping an eye on the news in the U.S., you'll know that it seems as if the entire West Coast is on fire and completely socked in with smoke. Well, Steve and I are on the West Coast and we have been experiencing the popular quote, "May you live in interesting times." Note that this is actually supposedly a Chinese curse.

I haven't been writing or taking pictures lately because we've been on the move, though finally we've found an oasis from all of the terrible things going on.

We have been watching the fire situation for weeks now. Back when we were at Detroit Lake State Park, a fire erupted some miles away and got us feeling edgy, even though there was no smoke or fire within sight. A few days later we left and went to L.L. Stub Stewart State Park. More fires were reported…and then more…and more. Still, our stay was idyllic and very far away from any reported fires.

After our wonderful stay at Stub Stewart we drove an hour or so to our next campground at Champoeg State Heritage Area in the Willamette Valley. It was another lovely park and the location of the first government on the west coast!

There are three huge fire complexes far to the east, now engulfing a staggering 450,000 acres. The complexes were large by the time we got to Champoeg, and a couple of days after we arrived the weather patterns caused historic winds in central Oregon, blowing from east to west. What this meant was that the smoke from those fires blew directly into the Willamette Valley and within the course of several hours the sky turned from cloudless blue to hazardous choking grey pea soup. At one point during the evening, Steve opened the door but quickly slammed it shut because the smoke was so thick.

However, the next morning it was clear enough for me to go on my morning walk. I was shocked at the branches and leaves strewn everywhere from the hurricane-force winds. The trails were choked with pine cones, leaves, branches and sticks and the feeling of worry was thick in the air. Off in the distance loomed the smoke…it would only be a matter of time before the campground was socked in again. We had a plan though…GET OUTA DODGE!

Running from the Smoke
The evening before, Steve and I decided to abandon the final two nights at Champoeg and flee the toxic smoke filling the valley. Luckily we found space back at L.L. Stub Stewart where we could stay before heading on to our next campground at Fort Stevens.

Stub Stewart turned out to be a wise choice. The first night and next day were very nice and mostly smoke-free. The next afternoon the smoke slowly accumulated and by the second morning it was so thick and heavy that my wake-up walk was a laughable idea. We packed and left before the hour struck 11.

Driving out to the coast and up the highway towards Astoria, we wondered if we'd ever escape the horrible smoke. It felt like the apocalypse as we drove along and I looked out on a land tinted with orange light from the sun trying to break through the pea soup.

Our Oasis at Fort Stevens…at a Very Steep Price
Pulling into the park, we noticed a wondrous change. The light was still tinted orange but the grey that we saw wasn't smoke. It was fog. The cool mist in the park helped to calm our nerves until we got to our campsite.

The parking space was plenty big for our rig, but to get into the spot turned out to the most stressful experience we've ever encountered. Despite the seemingly impossible challenge, Steve was eventually successful! It took 35 minutes of hair-raising maneuvering and both of us were at our very wit's end with shaking hands and jangling nerves. We'd learned another lesson about picking out appropriate sites, and this was something we would not repeat. Both of us were total wrecks afterwards but we managed to keep it together despite the tension. WHEW.

As it turned out, the next day we found a ticket on our truck saying it needed to move. When Steve went to the ranger's station to ask about a solution, he was offered a site that would be much more appropriate for us and easy to get into. Both of us were understandably freaked-out at the thought of dealing with another harrowing parking situation again but Steve checked out the offered site and was very confident that both leaving our current spot and parking at the bigger one would be a snap. He was right. We literally pulled out of our site without any fuss (it's backing up a trailer that can be the horrendous nightmare) and at the new campsite, Steve didn't even need me to help direct him. It was a simple driver's-side parking situation with a gentle turn and simple as can be. Our victory hug upon final parking was such an outpouring of relief and happiness!

Devastation Behind Us
As we've been travelling, the fire situation in Oregon (and California and Washington too) has blossomed beyond conceivable understanding. Remember Detroit Lake State Park that we stayed at? The campground is still there but the town of Detroit (Oregon) is just GONE. And at this point, Champoeg is just outside the area where people need to be packed up and ready to evacuate at a moment's notice.

In our town of Medford, Oregon, parts have been burned to the ground. Phoenix and Talent, two suburbs just south of it, have been devastated, and the motorcycle shop that Steve brings our bike to for servicing is gone.

Did I Mention? Our Home is just a Few Miles from the 30k Acre Obenchain Fire
Just in cast there isn't enough to worry about, there is a raging fire near our house again. This monster is 30,000 acres and only 20% contained. We really thought our house would be burned down because the winds were pushing the flames our way but in the past few days things have improved and it looks like everything is going to be ok. We hope. Keep your fingers crossed.

Today's Pictures
I have another set from Stub Stewart I wanted to post, leading with a spectacurly colorful trio of Wild Sweet Peas. I was surprised to find them so late in the year. Most flowers are over and done but I did find some. Aren't these marvelous?!

Insets Include…
…a lovely Dome Spider under its cobweb. I thought it was really cool that this previously unphotographed spider was so easy to find here!
…a Smooth Hawkbeard blossom standing like a golden torch, its stem blurring into bokeh
…a crab spider on a pussy toe, munching on a meal it had just caught. I often don't see these spiders until I look at my pictures in post, so I was happy that I spotted this one and could make it the star!
…a rose hip that looked like a Christmas light!
…a marvelous leaf hopper that looked like a little bump on the leaf…I knew better and focused carefully to see what it was. I am delighted by the details of this tiny guy, look at its "grill"!!
…a Sierra Dome Spider in a sea of soft bokeh. The focus wasn't perfect but I couldn't toss this picture because I loved the magical appearance and the spider's interesting position.
…a sprig of perfect leaves, so colorful at the end of their lives. Now they are immortal!
…wild oat flowers peeking out from the stem. I love this sort of thing--so easy to overlook but beautiful if the time is taken to appreciate it!
…a pair of Pussy Toes flowers, showing exactly why their genus is "Antennaria"--look at those antennae-like stamens seen on the flowers. So cool!

I hope that everyone is doing well and that you have a nice rest of your weekend!

Explored on 9/13/20; highest placement #6.

Fred Fouarge, ©UdoSm, trester88, sea-herdorf and 34 other people have particularly liked this photo

32 comments - The latest ones
Kawasirius club
Formidable série avec des macros de grande qualité !
Passez un bon dimanche, Janet !
6 days ago.
uwschu club
sehr schöner Ausflug in die Natur, Janet, bei den Spinnen habe ich sofort ein kleines Unbehagen :-)).
Angenehmen Sonntag für Dich, ich geh jetzt auf Tour, bei uns ist es jetzt 7.33 Uhr.
Gruß Uwe
6 days ago.
 Pam J
Pam J club



6 days ago.
 Malik Raoulda
Malik Raoulda club
Admirables toutes ces merveilles,un vrai plaisir pour les yeux... Bon Dimanche.
6 days ago.
 Marie-claire Gallet
Marie-claire Gallet club
WOW, this is a splendid collection that you are showing us, Janet !!! FABULOUS ! Wish you a lovely Sunday !!!
6 days ago.
 Liliane LR
Liliane LR club
Bel éventail de nature !
6 days ago.
neira-Dan club
excellent sur fond noir
6 days ago.
Guydel club
Joli trio !
6 days ago. Edited 6 days ago.
Ruth club
Thank you for posting your wonderful image to:
Splendeurs De La Nature
6 days ago.
Ruth club
My thoughts are with you Janet and everyone else affected by these terrible fires raging on the west coast. We’ve seen the pictures on the news and cannot imagine what it must be like. Stay safe my friend.
6 days ago.
 William Sutherland
William Sutherland club
Stunning series! Stay well!

Admired in:
6 days ago.
 Dominique 60
Dominique 60 club
des images qui font rêver !!
6 days ago.
 Lee & Luv
Lee & Luv club
Sweet work Janet, have a nice time :-)
6 days ago.
tiabunna club
After our dreadful summer earlier this year, I can fully understand your concerns with those raging fires, Janet. All my very best wishes that it can all be controlled soon and that there is suitable weather to quench it all. A lovely set of images here, Janet.
6 days ago.
cammino club
A journey through the wonderful world of nature! The forest fires are a catastrophe for America and the whole world.
6 days ago. Edited 6 days ago.
 Keith Burton
Keith Burton club
I am so pleased to hear that you and Steve and your travelling circus are all safe and well. Glad your home seems to be safe as well............you must have been very worried and probably still are. I feel so sorry for those affected by the fires, especially those who have lost loved ones as well as their homes and belongings.

Anyway.............an outstanding series of photos as always. Great to see you are back to taking lots of macro images again. The main image is superb - the sweet peas look amazing against the black background. I especially like PiPs 1 and 6 (the spiders) and the Hawkbeard flower in the 2nd PiP. I think my overall fave has to be the Wild Oat Flowers though..!!

Take care and stay safe!
5 days ago.
 Jocelyne Villoing
Jocelyne Villoing club
La nature dans tous ses états et joliment capturée, belle série Janet.***********
Bonne nouvelle semaine.
5 days ago.
Annemarie club
Wonderful trio !
5 days ago.
 Josiane Dirickx
Josiane Dirickx club
Toujours des photos a couper le souffle ! prenez soin de vous avec tous ces incendies qui ravagent tout sur leur passage restez prudent *************************************************
5 days ago.
 Peter Castell
Peter Castell club
A lovely set of images Janet
5 days ago.
 José Manuel Polo
José Manuel Polo club
Un gran trabajo. Magnífico.
5 days ago.
 Helena Ferreira
Helena Ferreira club
Amazing close up!!
5 days ago.
 * ઇઉ *
* ઇઉ * club
A beautiful early autumn macro series, Janet.
The situation on the west coast is so sad.
I hope the best for you and all the others concerned!
Take care and stay safe!
5 days ago.
 Bob Taylor
Bob Taylor club
A lovely image. Thinking of you, hoping the fires stay away from your home.
5 days ago.
 Soeradjoen (very limited time)
Soeradjoen (very lim… club
Great series
Admired with pleasure to the group
4 days ago.
╰☆☆June☆☆╮ club
★彡 Good work. Have a lovely new week, and I hope you are keeping well 彡★
4 days ago.
RHH club
Hi Janet,
We've heard of the smoke from the family members in Washington and have read of the horrific wildfires in the news. Our family members are not even going outdoors the smoke is so bad, but at least we've had no fires nearby. Sounds like you and Steve have a lot of worry about, but I'm glad you found a relatively smoke-free place. Seems very strange to us here in N. Ireland where it's been very windy but no smoke.

We've had a marvelous time. Went to Port Stewart strand today and walked the beautiful beach there from the River Bann to the town. Had fish and chips on the beach and then our favorite ice cream in town (Pooh Bear). Yesterday went to the Glens and explored Glenarrif and Glenarm. We've done a lot of hiking/walking and have enjoyed seeing N. Ireland without a lot of tourists - the kids are in school and there are very few tourists.

We've also walked the Portrush strand, explored Glendun and Cushendun, went to Downhill Estate and Mussenden Temple there. Hope to walk to the Londonderry walls and perhaps see some of the Donegal coast. We visited many of these places years ago but are seeing them at a much more leisurely pace. My camera situation was quickly sorted. Jen ordered a couple of adapters and in the end I was without my camera for only two days. Used my phone but you know the difference.
4 days ago.
RHH club
Wonderful photos and you certainly haven't been idle. Hard to pick a favorite but either the main photo or the last inset win.
4 days ago.
sea-herdorf club
Wunderschöne Blüten erheben sich auch dem Dunkel, Janet.
Möglicherweise ein Lichtblick in diesen Tagen.
Die PIPs zeigen Deine Freude an der Natur. Herrlich.
Freundliche Grüße und eine gute Woche
3 days ago.
 Jenny McIntyre
Jenny McIntyre club
I have been watching and listening to the news avidly, every time I heard the name "Oregon" I waited with bated breath to see if it mentioned Medford. I am so pleased that as far as you know - your property is still safe. Seeing the pictures and videos of the smoke and that incredible colour really strikes fear in the heart. It must be so awful for everyone - surely the COVID19 is bad enough to contend with, plus the ongoing election - but to have this horrendous fire to manage - my heart goes out to you all. Please take care of yourselves.

The photos are great too - although I have to be careful when I see a spider!!! That little leaf hopper looks like a frog, doesn't it?
3 days ago. Edited 3 days ago.
trester88 club
Wieder eine großartige Serie, Janet!
Die Blüten sind wunderschön, aber noch interessanter sind die Insekten!
Ich hoffe, du kommst unbeschadet durch die Krisen, die Brände und Covid19. Passe gut auf dich auf!
3 days ago.
dgmphoto club
Lovely set of images. At the moment I'm happy to be in the UK rather than on the west coast of the U.S. Here we have high winds and a second wave of COVID-19 to deal with, but no wild fires. Stay safe.
2 hours ago.

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