Janet Brien's photos

Sunset at Harris Beach State Park--We're Off on ou…

06 Apr 2021 48 29 79
(+5 Insets!) (Sorry this is really long...scroll down to "Today's Picture" for info about my presentation today) What a Difference a Year Makes Last year we'd just started to seriously plan our upcoming RV trip when Covid hit. We would eventually leave three months later and had a fabulous season of adventures. This year we didn't have to wait! A couple of months ago the state park reservation system changed to allow bookings six months ahead and we jumped on the opportunity. It took hours that day but we locked in nearly 3.5 months of our season! From then on, we slowly prepared and began packing a few things. Steve worked on upgrade projects as weather permitted--it gets very cold here in the winter and our shop isn't heated so he worked on days that were warmer. Steve kept last year's preparations in mind and this year he didn't hurt himself just as we were about to leave. Both of us were very careful because we learned what a total bummer it was to be trailer-ridden and unable to hike, cycle or enjoy the beautiful setting we were in. We Could Hardly Wait to Leave on our Adventure As April rounded the corner, we got increasingly excited because our first reservation would be on April 6 at a hugely popular campground we never thought we'd get into--Harris Beach State Park. Amazingly, we got a full two weeks at a perfect site for our large rig! Steve and I worked very hard all the way until the very moment we left and then it was showtime! Our live-in house guest arrived--just as excited to move in as we were to move out! He loves staying at our place and we don't blame him--the outdoor activities and beauty of this area are so nice. But traveling around in a "home on wheels" is even better! :D Topping this with a win-win situation is so perfect, isn't it?! Off and Away! I walked down to the gate, opened it up and waited for Steve to make his way through. As our rig passed by, I couldn't help but watch and think of the past fun we'd had in the last couple of years. This season we were set up for almost six months of camping, YIPPEE!! NO MORE WAITING! It was time to GO!!! I pulled the gate shut, locked it and trotted across the road to hop into our fabulous truck. Steve and I shared a face-to-face grin and high-fived. LET'S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!!! What a Wonderful Drive Driving out to the Oregon coast, we took a route that many RV and trailer owners have openly worried about online. The two-way road gets very narrow in places and at a few points there are some very tight curves combined with rocky walls which encroach on the road. To make matters even worse, there were areas where trees used to lean over the road with branches that hung low enough to be a real concern. We were happy to learn that the trees were gone and it turned out that we had no problems with the curves or the rock walls, though we did go cautiously through those spots. We enjoyed a beautiful three hour drive through redwoods, past verdant meadows and farmland, and finally we reached the gorgeous coast! All the while Steve and I chatted about our trip and Pumpkin supervised from her Lucite travel cage braced between my knees. Munching on her food and whistling joyfully, she couldn't be happier either----she adores travelling and camping too! Once we arrived at the campground, Steve had no problems backing into our site. We'd learned to make sure the sites we reserved would be easy to get into--we've had our share of stressful parking memories! Upon parking, we hopped out of our truck to congratulate each other with a big hug. Our happy Cheshire Cat smiles couldn't be bigger! Our very first site was HARRIS BEACH!!! YAHOO!!! What a way to start our 2021 camping trip! Today's Picture We arrived and set up early enough that we could walk a quick 5-minutes out to one of the nearby vistas to take sunset pictures! Can you say "drop-dead gorgeous"? WOWZERS!! You can see a silhouette of Goat Island offshore--it happens to be Oregon's largest island, though a mere 21 acres. It's been a National Wildlife Refuge since 1936 and is one of the largest nesting sites in the state, home to 11 species and over 100,000 seabirds during breeding season! Today's Insets Looking south is rugged coastline including tide pools and lots of driftwood. I couldn't stop appreciating the huge boulders around us and then Steve pointed out a plane above us complete with jet trails! I also got a picture of the evening's warm sunlight showing of the side of a pair of large boulders beyond which one can see both a small butte and a sliver of beach with drift wood at the top of the beach. The second row of pictures show a panorama I took the next morning from the shore of North Harris Beach. Finally, the butte shown in my third inset has a trail that emerges out to a jaw-dropping view... my last panorama is a view up the coast from Harris Butte. :) I hope everyone is doing well! Steve and I got our first vaccine shot yesterday, hooray!! Explored on 4/17/21; highest placement #2.

Dappled Shadows at LL Stub Stewart State Park! (+3…

03 Sep 2020 54 37 143
(+3 insets) Detroit Lake Was Not Our Cup of Tea Although we had a really nice time at Detroit Lake State Park, we weren't sad to leave. It was too loud and frenetic with too many people--including large, multi-families mixing without safeguards--we felt like campers were being very territorial and disrespectful of everyone else who was there other than them. The main road past the campground was extremely loud and busy--thank goodness our campsite wasn't one of the many that were right next to it!. The lake often had boats zooming by that were so noisy you needed to plug your ears. There were groups of people openly drinking too much, being obnoxious and yelling back and forth--we even had a huge multi-family next to our site that thought it was ok to play music very loud and spread their stuff everywhere including the edge of our campsite. We actually had to complain about them; thankfully the rangers came over to enforce pandemic policies--to our great relief they left the next day and it was hard to resist adding "Don't let the door hit you on the way out!" Granted, this place really would be perfect for water sport fans and families. It just wasn't for us. We like it quiet and intimate and want to be around like-minded folk who love nature, solitude and respect the peaceful revery of camping. Onwards to a Favorite: L.L. Stub Stewart State Park! A few hour's drive north brought us back to one of our top campgrounds, L.L. Stub Stewart. I've gone on and on about the wonders of this place. Hiking, biking, hanging out…and there's just so much more. It's a marvelous slice of heaven and we were delighted to have the opportunity to stay for nearly two weeks! Today's Picture I'm sharing an image of a common sight at L.L. Stub Stewart--mesmerizing shadows undulating over beautiful forest trails. There have been times where I couldn't progress more than a few feet before stopping yet again for another picture! :) Today's Insets My first inset shows a different trail we walked on in the park--there are literally dozens of them! My second and third insets are my last from Detroit Lake State Park--one of them is a collage showing a neon blue mud dauber wasp on creeping sage. The other shows a drying flower with others behind it in soft bokeh. There were many other pictures I wanted to process from Detroit Lake but I ran out of time and will have to revisit them down the road. Thanks So Much! I hope you are all doing well! I appreciate all of your visits so much and I hope that my pictures make you happy…please stay safe, warm and dry! Explored on 4/05/21; highest placement #1.

Colombia Coriopsis at Detroit Lake (+5 insets)

20 Aug 2020 49 26 120
(+5 insets) Moving On to Detroit Lake! The day finally arrived when Steve and I said our goodbyes to LaPine State Park and headed to our next campground stop. We were counting our lucky stars every single day on our 2-part Covid Summer Trip! How fortunate that in the middle of a world pandemic, we had a way to travel safely and still have a fabulous time! From LaPine State Park we drove two hours north and pulled into Detroit Lake State Park. This park turned out to be a very popular destination for families, party people and water sport fans and though we had a wonderful time, it was ultimately too boisterous and loud for us. My two trip reports are linked from insets 2 and 3. Today's Picture Detroit Lake Campground's rocky beach was a wonderful surprise for photography. There were lots of flowers and the brightest were the glowing yellow Colombia Coreopsis. I couldn't get enough of them! This beautiful blossom even has a tiny fly on the edge of a petal, complete with iridescent wings. Today's Insets The first inset is a narrow vertical crop that shows these flowers in several stages: drying bloom getting ready to create seeds, a bud preparing to explode into bloom, and in the background, a blossom in bokeh to reflect upon. Such fun scenes to capture. Inset 2 (Colombia Coreopsis) and 3 (Creeping Sage) are clickable and will bring you to individual trip report pages about our stay at Detroit Lake and each is loaded with many insets to enjoy. The last two insets are our trip maps to remind you where we are on our adventure, in case you've been following along. It's the second part of our Covid Summer Trip, so that map is presented first, with the first part map posted for you to see as well. Thank You! How wonderful to get so many visits from folks looking at my pictures! It's all a person could hope for but I get more. You guys are so kind for leaving such nice comments and stars too...THANK YOU SO MUCH! :) I think we all hope that our pictures will be seen by at least a few people, so I'm always so happy that I usually get a bunch of visitors who appreciate my presentations. You're the best. Please stay safe, dry and warm! Explored on 4/03/21; highest placement #3.

Gigantic Longhorn Beetle at LaPine State Park (+10…

16 Aug 2020 50 37 150
(+10 insets!) (view large for awesome detail!) Photography Immortalizes the Wonders We Witness How often do you see a picture you've captured that leaves you feeling astonished and awed by the subject? It's so amazing to have this miraculous technology at our fingertips. It used to be for just the devoted professional. Now everyone has access to the simple aim and press of a button to make a lifetime memory. It's wonderful. Better still, with that rise in technology, resulting image quality has increased exponentially so that no matter who you are, the pictures are better than ever. How incredible that a recording a lifetime of high-quality memories is available to everyone! Macro Bokeh Junkies Still Need DSLRs Even though technology has made it easy for anyone to capture awesome shots, there is a limit. If you want to take macro pictures that have stellar bokeh, you still have to step up to the big league and use a DSLR with a dedicated macro lens. I will never forget how hard I tried to force my point and shoot super zoom camera to create the type of pictures my husband was capturing with his (current at the time!) Canon 5D + 180mm macro lens. As a budding photographer, I learned what "bokeh" meant and why I simply couldn't get what I wanted out of my marvelously versatile super-zoom. It was infuriating, but I sure learned a lot! Finally I gave up and waved a white flag of surrender. It took a lot to learn how to use a DSLR--and I will always be working on my education!!--but I instantly fell head over heels in love with my Canon 5D MkII and the incredible 100mm 2.8L lens. Oh, that creamy, lovely bokeh! (I also learned that I don't like to use the 180mm lens because even though it's creates the best bokeh, it's way too heavy and requires a tripod: no thank you!) NOTE: Since I moved up to a DSLR in 2011, the quality of macros you can get from camera phones and point-and-shoots has gotten incredibly good! In fact, my new 8x superzoom Sony camera captures fantastic macros with very nice bokeh--much better than my old 30x Canon PowerShot! Phone cameras also have astonishingly good macros and really super bokeh too. The lay person won't be able to tell the difference but bokeh junkies won't be satisfied. Today's Picture I was returning to the RV one morning after creeping around with my Canon and macro lens when I looked at our RV and nearly fell over. HOLY MEN IN BLACK BATMAN, LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT BEETLE!!! Hanging out on one of our many picture-sized windows was a ginormous long-horned beetle. This is the largest beetle in the United States, growing as large as 2.6" in length! ( I found a picture of someone holding one so you can get a better understanding of just how huge these critters are. ) Though enormous, the pine-borer was well-camouflaged on the black-tinted glass and I nearly missed seeing it as I rounded our trailer that morning. It was positioned high on the glass soI had to hold my camera up and brace my elbow on the trailer so I didn't shake. Most of my pictures turned out so blurry I had to laugh. I needed to be sure I got something crisp so after a bunch of attempts I returned with my macro flash, but most of those were blown out despite the settings I fiddled with. It's hard when your subject is on a reflective surface! But in the end, I was successful. My main image was one of my first pictures, taken without a flash. Would you just look at that awesome bokeh?! All these years later and I am so madly in love with my 100mm 2.8L lens…can you blame me?! :) Today's Insets Inset 1: the first picture shows another view of this amazing beetle, taken with the macro flash. I spent some time removing the harsh reflected shadow and the result, processed in b/w, turned out well I think! Isn't the pebbly texture on its back cool?! Inset 2: this is a close-up of the male pine cone I shared a couple of days ago. The texture is just awesome! Inset 3: yet another picture of the lovely Ground Smoke flowers I saw on one of the campground loops. Even though the bush was literally right next to the current resident's trailer, I bet they never even saw this treasure! I nearly missed it myself…only the breeze and sunshine that caused the tiny flowers to glimmer and flash got my attention. Inset 4 & 5: this is a macro view of a large species of coralroot orchid that I found at LaPine (In my last presentation I shared a pair of images that showed a smaller species with a hungry wasp on it). These dried pods remind me of Chinese lanterns and glowed beautifully in the sunlight. You can also see the sticky carpet of resin balls on the stems and stalk…don't touch!! Inset 4 shows a picture of two dried stalks and the pods that dance up their length. Inset 6: the impossibly neon-yellow color of this Powdery Sunburst Lichen cannot be missed. I found it growing everywhere and though I took many pictures, experience warned me that they'd be blown-out no matter what I did. This picture has pretty good exposure but the bright areas still suffer. I needed a day with heavy cloud-cover so I'll try again in the future! Thank You! I hope all of you are having a super week. Stay safe, dry and warm and thank you so much for your visits! You know how I feel about you guys!! YOU ROCK! :) Explored on 4/01/21; highest placement #3.

Male Lodgepole Pine Cone at LaPine State Park (+8…

15 Aug 2020 49 27 132
(+8 insets!) "Normal" Pine Cones Are Females! Imagine my surprise when I learned that pine trees have two kinds of cones: female and male! Actually, just go look in the mirror…because I am sure you're equally surprised! But stop and think: have you ever seen the curious little things scattered around on the ground under a pine tree that defy explanation? Or weird clusters of odd growths on some pine trees that you couldn't identify? Those are the male cones which are responsible for releasing pollen. We don't usually see the male cones because they are often found at the tops of the trees. However, some trees have male cones lower down. In fact, some trees are entirely covered with either male or female cones. If you'd like to know more, Wiki's Conifer Cone page is full of useful information, and NW Conifers: Lodgepole Pine talks about this species specifically. Today's Picture I was creeping around LaPine State Park and found myself admiring one of the countless pine trees there. The park has many species, mostly Ponderosa and Douglas Fir, but there are many others too--grand fir, cedar, larch and juniper to name a few. My eye was drawn to something odd on a cluster of pine needles and upon recognizing what I was looking at, a smile spread across my face. It was a male pine cone which has incredulously skewered itself on the pine needles. Shaking my head in disbelief, I stared as I brought my camera up for pictures. How in the world does this happen? Naturally it's merely statistics and I'm looking at the lucky winner of Nature's contest, "Caught on the Way Down." It's a favorite of mine and I cannot resist taking pictures of these miraculous finds. I'm not surprised that people have asked me many times, "Did you stage that shot?" It's reasonable to doubt these sights--seeing them out on my strolls, I have a hard time processing their probability too! But occur they do, and I'd never, ever "set a stage" for a "better" picture. This is Nature at her gob-smacking finest! Today's Insets Insets 1 & 2: Here and there on the pine needle-carpeted floor of the forest, the remnants of coralroot orchids could be seen. Standing as high as 8-10 inches tall, the dried stalks bristle with sticky resin that likely tastes horrible to deter opportunistic munchers. These unusual orchids can bloom from April to September depending on conditions but I believe what I'm showing is merely a dead plant, a bloom that was frozen in time and dried to show the moment. Could I be wrong? The lovely little black and white wasp I found seemed to think so, busy with hopes of nectar inside. To be honest, I didn't touch this plant so I am speculating its dried state. As it is, I'm not positive on the species either--coralroots can be very different from one another and yet are still the same species. I have not seen flowers that look just like this so I may be wrong! Let me know if you have info to clarify! Insets 3 &4: The forest around LaPine State Park is almost entirely brown or conifer-green, so when another color shows itself, you notice! First you'll see what I believe is a pair of wild gooseberries and they grow on tough shrubby bushes, determined to thrive in this dry desert environment. I also found a berry which had dried up, fallen off the bush and landed on the twig of another bush. I liked the translucence, wrinkled texture and the interesting lines of the twig branching this way and that. Inset 5: Once in a while I noticed odd burl-like growths on the branches of pine trees. I have learned that this is actually a disease called western gall rust. It can kill trees but for homeowners, these trees can be successfully treated. Inset 6: Finally, I've got a b/w image of a group of "golf-tee" fruticose lichen I found dried on a stump, waiting silently for the rain of late fall to arrive and bring it back to life. Inset 7: I added this last picture to show male cones growing on a tree. These were on our property! :) Thank You! There are few things that make me happier than knowing that a picture I took has made another person happy. What a gift it is to share my love of photography with others! Your visits, comments and stars truly make my day. It's such fun to see what you've come up with to share with us too, so thank you very much for the opportunity! I hope that everyone has been having a great week so far! Please stay safe, dry and warm! Explored on 3/30/21; highest placement #1.

Tiny Queen Carpenter Ant at LaPine State Park (+6…

16 Aug 2020 51 32 167
(+6 insets!) The Magic of Being In The Moment As creative spirits, all of us seek to slip into that special time when we are experiencing the world in a kind of magical flow. We forget about time. We forget about problems. We forget about almost everything…except for what's exactly in front of us, shown through the lens of our camera. Being in the moment is sort of like being one with the universe, I guess. You feel it right down to the bottom of your soul and when you do, all is right with your world. What I've said will sound really weird to anyone who cannot tap into their creative spirit, but to everyone else, you Get It. Makes the world go 'round for us and every one of us--be it Leonardo DaVinci or Ansel Adams, George Carlin or Leonard Nimoy…everyone knows this pinnacle of creatives and we lust for it. Aren't we lucky to be part of that special group?! Wandering in the Moment with Camera In-Hand Unfortunately, you can't just flip a switch to get into this creative place. Everything has to be just right. If you're not in the mood, if something's off, there's no way you'll get into that space. I can feel when things are clicking into place and when I do, I grab my camera and pop out of the RV… Today's Pictures I felt the smallest sensation of something crawling on me and when I looked on my arm, I was amazed to find a tiny ant with wings--it was a queen! After carefully moving it to the sandy ground I got this picture to share. Today's Insets The first is another picture of the beautiful little flowers called Ground Smoke showing bokeh flowers behind. Then you'll see a mushroom that I found on my morning walk. I'm always triggered to look at anything round but I could hardly believe what I was seeing because it was so dry--how could a mushroom possibly grow in loose, dusty soil without moisture? It was also really big--at least 5" in diameter--what a find! I can only imagine it survived on the early morning dew but still, I was stunned. The next couple of pictures show a pine tree's shadows on the side of the RV, and I stood mesmerized as the shadows moved with the breeze. There's something so zen about watching shadows, isn't there? Next is a bone-dry, age-old stump that I couldn't resist photographing…the texture, still-visible radiating age circles and lovely gnarled edges are so wonderful! And finally, the yellowing pine needles of a dying branch were really pretty to me and interesting to appreciate. Thank You! Your visits mean so much to me, and totally make my day! Thanks always for your visits, stars and wonderful comments. You guys are the best! :) Have a wonderful day and stay safe out there! Explored on 3/28/21; highest placement #1.

Coville's Ground-Smoke at LaPine State Park (+5 in…

16 Aug 2020 46 28 155
(+5 insets!) Oregon is Brimming with Natural Wonders to Discover Since we got our first RV in 2018, we finally had the opportunity to explore, enjoy, and appreciate the boundless beauty of Oregon. We've been along the rugged coast and beaches and nestled in deep woods. We've experienced Oregon's version of a rain forest, and we've frolicked amidst gorgeous meadows that hug riversides interspersed with small forest nuggets. Another area we've gotten to know is Oregon's "high desert" where LaPine State Park sits. Imagine a very dry area with lots of sandy, loose soil, but instead of cactus there are pine trees and hardy scrub brush. It's not so dry that rivers don't run through and the Deschutes River begins its journey here, travelling from Little Lava Lake, about 25 miles northwest of LaPine, and eventually joining Oregon's largest river, the Colombia, after a trip of 250 miles. LaPine State Park is One of Our Favorites…What About You? You would think that such a dry place wouldn't be high on our list, but it sure is. True, the plant life isn't as varied as a moister locale, but it's lovely nonetheless, and what it lacks in variety of plants, it more than makes up with all of the hiking and biking trails found here. Steve and I have such a great time here that since discovering this park, it's a "Must Go" spot every year. What about you? Do you have a special place that you simply must go to anytime you're in the area? I'd love to hear about it! After all, if we're lucky, we'll someday make it to your neck of the woods, so why not entice me with your favorite park(s)? :D Today's Main Picture Every morning when I'm at LaPine, I walk around each campground loop and then head up one of the trails to the park entrance before travelling back along the Deschutes River and finally back to our "home on wheels." One morning I was walking past a campsite and noticed a bush with tiny white flowers. A closer look revealed beautiful tiny blossoms which begged for proper macros. Later that day I returned with my beloved Canon and macro lens and managed to get a bunch of very nice shots. Isn't it wonderful when you are successful despite the fact that a breeze is trying to ruin every picture? I was delighted that within my large group of hopefuls, I got an assortment of crisp images amongst a bunch of blurry ones. This picture of "Coville's Ground Smoke" was my favorite, but I have two more to share in my next uploads for LaPine. Today's Insets LaPine is a very popular home to many species of squirrels, including one that's often mistaken as a chipmunk, the Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel. I admit being very surprised when I realized the "chipmunk" I photographed on a lava rock was actually a ground squirrel! Another common resident is both the smallest chipmunk and also the most widely spread, otherwise known as the Least Chipmunk. I got a fun picture of one working on a little pine cone which I turned into a b/w to show off the fun shadows. If you look carefully around a pine tree, you'll often see droplets of sap oozing from woodpecker holes or broken tree limbs and if the sun is in the right spot, the droplets will glow beautifully! I'm also sharing a crusty droplet of resin that's dried up but interesting to look at with lots of granulated detail. Finally, the last picture is a collage of images that shows a group of ants attacking a caterpillar to bring back to its nest. I appreciate these glimpses of nature's cycle of life, and though it's too bad for the caterpillar, it will be an important source of food for the colony and I was fascinated by this show. Thank You! I always appreciate your visits, stars and comments--my smiles warm the room! I am so happy that I can spread a bit of joy, interest and hopefully some education to your day--it's what I hope for every time I post one of my presentations. Please take care of yourselves and I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Explored on 3/26/21; highest placement #3.

Kayaker Appreciating Flock of Common Mergansers on…

13 Aug 2020 31 22 137
(+14 insets!) Volcanic Recap to Fully Appreciate Today's Images of Paulina Lake Visiting a volcanic area really requires a bit of education because it's so important to understand why it's so incredible and should deserve an awed appreciation. So the other day I explained a few volcanic terms to you including volcano (the four main types are composite, shield, cinder cone, and supervolcano) cinder cone (a tiny volcano), crater (a large, bowl-shaped cavity within most cinder cones) and caldera (a large cauldron-like depression formed when a mountain collapses after a volcanic eruption). National Geographic explains that "craters are formed by the outward explosion of rocks and other materials from a volcano. Calderas are formed by the inward collapse of a volcano. Craters are usually more circular than calderas." A Pair of Lakes in the Newberry Volcano Caldera Both craters and calderas can be so huge that you can't even see them because they can cover many miles…even the size of a small country. The Apolaki Caldera . in the Philippines is 93 miles across, and South Africa's, Vredefort Crater is over 190 miles across! The Newberry Volcano's caldara is tiny in comparison--a mere 5 miles across--but unless you are high above, you cannot see the definition of this area. The deepest depressions of the Newberry Caldera are the homes of two lakes--Paulina and East Lake. These pure water lakes are fed only by rain, snow melt and hot springs and thus, they are a gorgeous, deep blue (The most famous lake in Oregon is Crater Lake, known for its incredible blue color and pure, unsullied water fed only by snow melt and rain). Today's Pictures One day Steve and I drove 30 minutes from LaPine State Park to Paulina Lake and hiked around one side. It was an incredible day, shared by Pumpkin in her front-pack cage and all of us had a lovely adventure! The main picture shows a fellow in a kayak who was able to quietly approach a flock of fabulous-looking Common Merganser ducks. Today's Insets Although I wasn't able to get close to these birds, I did get a couple of nice group shots to share. As we walked around the edge of the lake I saw many scraggly trees bending over the water. I also got a picture of a boat owner enjoying the lake. At one point I saw a cluster of bees on a Bull Thistle and it was only later that I discovered how cool these grey-eyed bees are! Sadly, I didn’t get any great pictures of the bees' faces but this picture turned out nicely otherwise. (if you'd like to see their amazing eyes, take a look at this page: Featured Creatures: Common Long-horned Bee. ) Finally, there was a stream that actually led from the lake in a very swampy marshy area and the light and shadow against the cloud-strewn sky is just delicious! :) I am also adding the pictures I posted months ago of our walk around Paulina Lake for a more complete presentation. Some pictures show the jaw-dropping obsidian boulders, rocks and chunks we found along the trail here, one of Newberry's special features. AMAZING! I hope everyone is doing well! The rollout of vaccine continues and we are hoping to get ours sometime in the next couple of months. Please stay safe, dry and warm! And thank you very much for all of your visits, comments and stars! :) Explored on 3/25/21; highest placement #15.

Amazing Views Along Lava Lands Interpretive Trail…

12 Aug 2020 65 41 196
(+5 insets) Capturing Unforgettable Sights Aren't we lucky to be photographers?! It's so wonderful to be able to look through our pictures and be transported back to the very second an image is taken. Quite often, every detail comes back--the smell, the sounds, the temperature, how we are feeling just then…it can be like a time machine, can't it? Some places we visit are indelibly imprinted on our minds because they are so incredible. This walk at Newberry National Volcanic Monument's Lava Lands Interpretive Trail was just that sort of place. It's so amazing to visit a place so entirely foreign to what's feels normal, isn't it? As we meandered on the paved trail, we stopped to read and appreciate the informative plaques along the way. The visual portrayals of this event had us staring off into the distance and picturing in our minds what this volcanic event might have been like back then. I always appreciate the perspective I get from these experiences. I think it's so important to be reminded of just how small, temporary and insignificant we all are. For me, this makes me feel even more impressed and I gain a greater understanding of our planet. Fabulous. :) Today's Pictures The main image today shows the path we walked on with the gorgeous view in both the fore- and background. What a day. What an opportunity! What luck to have a way to visit this place while a pandemic is raging over the planet?! Wow. Today's Insets I've included another handful of images to show some of the highlights of our walk and I hope you enjoy them! If you are ever able to visit, I cannot recommend this walk highly enough! I hope you're all doing well--I've been visiting your photo streams and it's making me happy to know that some restrictions are being lifted and you're able to explore again! Please stay safe!! Happy Spring!! Explored on 3/22/21; highest placement #1.

Lava Lands Interpretive Path (+7 insets!)

12 Aug 2020 30 18 127
(+5 insets) (please view large!!) Protecting our Wonderful Natural & Historical Places I don't know about you, but I've always assumed that every park out there is a zillion years old. But it's not true! New park lands are being set aside and protected all the time. In the US as an example, there have been 13 newly designated national parks since the late 1990's--they had been listed as state-level or other types of parks before that. National park status in the US means more funds and protection--which is a great thing! However, the added wear and tear due to more visitors is the double-edged sword. Land set aside as state parks, monuments and historical areas are added on a regular basis, often deeded for this purpose after a land-owner died or a dedicated group was able to purchase the property. I was surprised to learn that sometimes a park will get a downgrade in status, from national status to a state park, monument or another lesser designation. Maybe a state will want to assume control, or an area will be so sensitive to traffic of any sort that it's removed from a roster to protect it from harm---Shoshone Cavern National Monument was renamed Spirit Mountain Cave and is now only accessible with rarely-provided permits. Other times it makes better sense to join nearby areas into a larger park--General Grant National Park was added to the nearby Kings Canyon National Park, for instance. What about your country? It's fascinating to learn what's new and changed in regards to new parks and historical areas in your home country! Newberry National Volcanic Monument was carefully divided from the Deschutes National Forest in 1990 and includes 54,000 acres of land dedicated to the protection and promotion of this special area. By setting aside special spaces and promoting the areas to the public, money can also be generated to develop trails and information to educate visitors. Interpretive Lava Lands Trail What an amazing path for everyone to enjoy! Wheelchair-accessible, this trail winds and zigzags up and around piles of eon's old lava flows, interspersed with detailed signs along the way. The area was very popular and we had to deal with non-stop groups of people who often didn't wear masks. Still, the mind-boggling experience of this place was worth it. We couldn't stop taking pictures!! (If you're interested, here's a video which shows how wonderful this path is: Accessible Adventures: Deschutes National Forest ) Today's Pictures I'll have two post's worth of images to share and today's main image is a panorama which shows the path leading up into the field of lava. Mind-bending, no? We had to stop and stare or risk stumbling off the path in our delirium! :D Today's Insets I have a number of pictures that show the view as we made our way up and down the path, enjoying every spectacular moment. Could the sky be any prettier?! :D The last image shows part of the interpretive area shown through the conifer forest at the edge. I hope everyone is enjoying the emergence of spring! It's waking up around here and we're getting ready for our 2021 RV trip! So busy!! Please take care of yourselves! Explored on 3/20/21; highest placement #39.

Happy Fence Friday from Lava Butte! (+5 insets)

12 Aug 2020 51 40 165
(+5 insets!) (Please view large for an awesome sight!) Staggering 360 Views and an Important Job The Lava Butte cinder cone, a prominent feature of in Newberry National Volcanic Monument, has been designated as a fire lookout since 1931. The trail that goes around the lip of Lava Butte is an unforgettable experience and it's easy to see why this lookout is able to call in over 100 fire sightings every year. Volcano, Cinder Cone, Crater and Caldara: What's the Difference? Volcanic terms can be so confusing to me and though I knew was a cinder cone was, I didn't quite understand the difference between a crater and a caldera. Turns out I needed a bit of clarification and I thought you might find this interesting too! Volcano : there are four main types--composite, shield, cinder cone, and supervolcano. Cinder cone : the smallest type of volcano and easy to recognize as a volcano because they are compact and easy to see completely. Caldera : large cauldron-like depressions formed when a mountain collapsed after a volcanic eruption Crater : a large, bowl-shaped cavity in the ground and an obvious feature or most cinder cones. If you'd like more information about volcanic terms with pictures and videos, I highly suggest this page: Lumen Learning: Types of Volcanoes . Today's Pictures I have an early Happy Fence Friday panorama that shows the Lava Butte Lookout Tower and part of the magnificent 360-degree view from the lip of the butte. We could not get enough of the jaw-dropping vistas we made our way around the edge of Lava Butte's 160-foot deep crater. What a totally staggering and memorable experience! Today's Insets The first inset shows the ruler-straight I-5 highway which is seen in the main picture's panorama. This highway is the west coast's most important vehicular corridor and travels all the way from Mexico to Canada! It was really cool to stand and stare at this view and think about the importance of this transportation artery to our country's infrastructure. I enjoy seeing our world's "chess pieces", and the I-5 highway is one of them. My second inset shows a "lava pebble" in a pretty setting with trees and sky behind. Next was a surprise! I thought this was a darling chipmunk at first glance until I realized that it had no stripes on its face--that's not a chipmunk at all! It's a Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel! Can you say cute? :D Finally, the last two insets show two more lovely views from our trip around the top of the Lava Butte cinder cone. Spring has sprung here with our remarkable showing of "all four seasons in one day"…rain, threatening snow flurries, warm sunny afternoons, armies of clouds, crazy wind and hail…we have it all! I really hope that everyone is doing well! Please stay safe, dry and warm! Explored on 3/18/21; highest placement #9.

Amazing View on the Way Up to Lava Butte at Newber…

12 Aug 2020 32 14 134
(+5 insets!) (Please view large, it's worth it!) :) Mind-Blowing Landscapes Do you sometimes have a hard time dealing with your pictures because they show such incredible views? There are some days when the sky is so beautiful that any picture you take is incredible. There are some places that are so staggering that you could close your eyes and click the shutter release at anything and every picture would be amazing. When you have jaw-dropping skies combined with unbelievable scenery, the combination can cause a meltdown! Our visit to Newberry National Volcanic Monument was just that sort of experience. It was hard to choose which pictures to process and which to leave out, but I tried for picks which weren't too similar. I am sure you know what I'm talking about! It's been a terrible struggle but here's today's batch. Today's Main Picture The main image today shows a panoramic view from the road that leads to the top of Lava Butte. It was absolutely amazing to see this eerie, incredible sight as we made our way up the hill to the lip of the caldera and lookout tower. Happily, the road was closed to vehicular traffic--it would have been miserable to deal with bunches of tourists driving up and leaving us to deal with choking car fumes in the heat. Today's Insets The first inset has a story to go with it. As Steve and I stopped, yet again, to take in the vista on our walk up, we noticed movement on the road. Eyes goggling, we saw that it was a cyclist…heading up this steep grade (about 10%) in the glowing heat of the late morning. We stared at each other…it was Insanity! As the rider eventually passed by, huffing and puffing like a properly-cared for engine, we congratulated him on the impressive effort. At the same time we couldn't help wondering what demon possessed him to climb this steep hill. Our amazement was eclipsed later when we headed back down an hour later and saw him climbing the hill…AGAIN! He was so fit that he spoke to us as he chuffed by, saying he does this three times in a row for training, three times a week! Incredible!! He wasn't the only one either. We saw several other cyclists making their way up to the top, and others who abandoned their bikes on the way, clearly misjudging the challenge of this monstrous hill. I will say that when it comes to a challenging bike ride, this is not what I'd want to do. Long-distance works for me but crazy climbs are not my thing, and especially not in the heat. UGH!! :D Other insets show the brick-red road and hillside, a view of the lookout tower as we walked up the hill, and a crazy panorama that shows the lookout tower and the magnificent view from the lip of the caldera. Finally, a peek through the trees to see a view of the Cascade mountains in the distance. I hope everyone is doing well! Stay safe, dry and warm! :) Explored on 3/16/21; highest placement #8.

View from Lava Butte Cone at Newberry National Vol…

12 Aug 2020 32 18 127
(+7 insets!) (Please view large! :) A Quick Pitstop Home From Part 1 of our Covid Trip After returning from the first part of our "Covid Summer" RV trip, we spent a couple of weeks at home while Steve updated some things on the truck and trailer along with replenishing our supplies. We had our reservations set up for the next couple of months and were delighted to be pulling out again and heading back to a favorite campground! Part 2, Stop #1: LaPine State Park Our first stop of Part Two of our Covid Summer RV Trip was a favorite of ours--LaPine State Park! The campground is surrounded by miles of trails that are super for biking, hiking, horseback riding or just going for a stroll. They lead through the alpine desert forest and meander along the Deschutes River. Past huge Ponderosa Pines, along streams and even a waterfall! The campground has three large loops with 120 sites and yet the solitude is just a short walk away. We love this place so much! (the map for our trip is posted so you can see where we went) LaPine is Mere Moments from Newberry National Volcanic Monument! This area of Oregon has ancient geologic significances and just 15 minutes away from our campsite is the sprawling remnants of the Newberry Volcano. Seated in the vast Deschutes Forest (covering a staggering 1.8 million acres), the Newberry National Volcanic Monument is contained within just 86 square miles and is an outdoor lover's paradise! Trails for everyone, lakes for fishing and recreational sports, and of course, for anyone interested in volcanos, this place is a treasure trove! Today's Main Picture I have several posts' worth of pictures to share from this jaw-dropping place. First up is a view from the top of Lava Butte, which also shows the yawning caldera and the incredible view that shows a series of mountains in the distance. Today's Insets I have two panoramas which include the main image and shows more of the caldera along with the gorgeous view. I also have a closer view of the mountains that we couldn't get enough of. Next, as we stood gaping all around us, I noticed a toy-sized train making its way through ancient lava fields and past a lake. I've also posted a flower picture: walking back down the steep, spiraling road that leads up to the top of Lava Butte, I was totally surprised to see a cluster of bright pink Dwarf Monkeyflowers! I've never seen this type of flower away from boggy, wet environments and was totally amazed they were growing in dry lava-rich soil. Finally, another cool thing from the butte was the interpretive lava trail located far below us. Paved and accessible by wheelchair, this trail has signs posted along the way to explain the history of the volcanic events that occurred long ago. I have a picture of the area and another one which shows the trail that's highlighted in pink. Stay tuned for lots of pictures from our walk there…what a knockout spot! (I've also included two pictures of Lava Butte that I posted some time ago and the map of Part Two) Spring Forward! The time changed to Daylight Savings last night and though I'd normally be totally exhausted from losing an hour, I never set my bedroom clock back to "Fall Back" time--I don't have much adjusting to do, hooray! :) Steve, on the other hand, looks like a confused groundhog blinking in the light as he stumbles around trying to make sense of the world! :D I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe! Hooray for Spring!!! Flowers are popping out everywhere and each day brings us closer to our 2021 RV Trip! YAY! Explored on 3/14/21; highest placement #3.

Cascade Mountain Range: South, Middle, North Siste…

Nibbled Trillium Leaves with a Seed Pod at Tugman…

22 Jul 2020 30 19 151
Family Gathering at Tugman State Park! After a thankfully brief stay at the Heceta RV Glorified Parking Lot , we returned to William Tugman State Park. Our plan to meet up with Steve's sister Deanne and her two grown kids, Reese and Kieran, was coming to fruition! We had Deanne to thank for rattling our cage back in June and alerting us that Oregon's state parks were open to camping again. In fact, as a long-time camper of over 20 years, she'd mentioned many times that we should try to do something together. It was really cool that we were finally able to make it happen. We enjoyed their company in the park with shared meals (masks and distancing as well), hikes, and Steve took Deanne's 2-person kayak out for individual rides on Eel Lake with Deanne, Reese and me. Sitting around the campfire in the evening was really nice too, though eventually it did get cold enough that we'd pack it in for the night. The End of Part One of our Covid Summer Trip The last day of our visit with Deanne and her family also meant the end of the first part of our RV trip too. We needed to get home to upgrade a number of things on the trailer and truck, with two weeks planned at home before our next reservation at LaPine State Park. Driving home that day, Steve and I chatted about the success of our trip. We loved relaxing and enjoying ourselves everywhere we went. Photography, reading, bike rides and hikes, strolling with Pumpkin--what a delight! Delicious meals, picnic lunches, and special deserts too, it was so nice. There were even boat rides and fishing! Health-wise, it started off a little bumpy--Steve hurt his knee just before we left and it took time to heal--and later I developed a very sore foot that was still bothering me as we returned home--but we managed to stay away from people and still had a fabulous time! Because of our RV, we could still travel amidst a pandemic! We were so happy!! Both of us were excited to get out on the road again, so pleased with our wonderful "home on wheels"! Today's Pictures Yet another set of pictures from William Tugman State Park, today's main image shows a tattered and munched pair of leaves from a Trillium plant. You can see the developing seeds in the golden pod which hovers over the left leaf, and if you look at the large size of this picture you'll see a tiny fly sitting on top of the pod! In fact, I didn't notice this little guy until I was processing the picture! Insets include a rainbow-hued fern leaf and a lovely, variegated clover leaf that lost one of its three parts. Then there's an amanita mushroom with its wonderful crumbly topping. Next you'll see a pair of Indian Pipe Fungus pictures that I captured with my macro lens and neglected to include in the post I made a couple of weeks back (I've added these to the display, which you can see by clicking here ). Last but not least, I have a picture of a hoverfly on a Cat's Ear flower! I hope everyone is doing well…I'm pretty nervous about another explosion of virus as people begin to drop any proper conduct with the vaccine's getting out, but let's cross our fingers! Stay safe, warm and dry! :) Explored on 3/11/21; highest placement #17.

Coastal View South of Heceta Head Lighthouse and M…

17 Jul 2020 42 25 150
(+7 insets) Learning a Lesson About Popular Destinations During Covid Steve and I figured tourist spots had plenty of visitors but we weren't prepared for the zoo of crazy idiots out there at Heceta Head Lighthouse. However, in the end it turned out fine. I got a real eye-opener for what Steve went through every time he did our errands and shopping and we got the reward of seeing this cool lighthouse and awesome coastline. We even got to see colonies of cormorants and common murres hanging out on their huge rock! Today's Picture As we drove away from the "plague zone", we made sure to pull off at the lookout which showed the lighthouse and guesthouse seated in their beautiful settings nestled along the magnificent coastline. Looking north showed the view I shared a couple of days ago, and looking south is the view I'm showing today. What a jaw-dropping scene! There's even a peek at a little lake just inland from the coast, which has a loop hike for those who are interested. Us? We were ready to get back to our home on wheels, though we did stop at the grocery store on the way back. (I decided to go into the store to see what that was like …not recommended! Scary people being rude and stupid! :D However, I wanted to know what Steve went through and came out of the store with even more respect for what he does for us every time we need supplies.) Today's Insets The first picture is another view north that shows the lighthouse and guesthouse off in the distance but this shot shows a secluded beach without anyone on it. I thought that was interesting because the beach closer to the lighthouse is just around the next outcropping and there were people everywhere! Goes to show--no matter how crowded an area may be, if you add any challenge, only the most resolute will go. In this case it was zero! The next three insets show the guesthouse, which was originally one of a pair of lighthouse keeper's quarters. Built in 1900 to house the lightkeepers, the second house was razed in the '30's when only one keeper was needed. The last keeper moved away in 1963 when the lighthouse became automated, and from 1973-95, the house became a satellite campus for nearby Lane College. The U.S. Forestry Service then decided to turn the house into a bed-and-breakfast as a way to incorporate tourism and also generate funds for the ongoing upkeep of this historical landmark. I'm also including another picture of the beautiful forested road up to the lighthouse and its pretty fencing There's an image of the pair of giant rocks jutting from the sea, and isn't it interesting that one rock was packed with birds and the other was not? Finally, while snapping away with my Sony, zoomed in as close as I could, I managed to get a fun picture of a Common Murre flying in with a fish for its hungry family! I'd like to apologize that I've fallen behind in my commenting--projects abound as we get closer to leaving on our next trip! However, I really appreciated every one of your comments and favorites! I hope all is well with everyone. Spring is showing its face around here with greenery popping up everywhere and the season's first blossoms! Please stay safe, dry and warm! Explored on 3/8/21; highest placement #2.

Heceta Head Lighthouse (+8 insets!)

17 Jul 2020 46 25 153
(+8 insets!) From William Tugman State Park to Heceta Head RV Park We'd planned to stay at William Tugman State Park for a full 14 days if it was possible, but unfortunately, we had to leave and come back after four days. Steve's sister would be staying at Tugman the next week so we needed to find a place to stay for a couple of days. Though we looked high and low for reservations at nearby state parks, nothing was available so we gritted our teeth and booked two days at the Heceta RV Park. It was reasonable enough but private campgrounds are almost always glorified parking lots that make visitors feel like a sardine in a can. Windy, foggy and cold, the trees would whip back and forth each morning when I looked out, condensation on the branches dropping noisily onto the roof of our RV. My frigid walks were only around the packed grounds and though I did see some nice flowers in planters, I couldn't bring myself to take any pictures there. Happily, the sun came out by late morning and one day we decided to go for a drive and visit a famous lighthouse in the area. However, upon pulling into the packed parking lot we realized it may have been a mistake to visit a popular landmark… Heceta Head Lighthouse and Horrible People Even though it was July, I hadn't been around people since Covid hit--Steve had made all of the shopping trips since the virus changed everything. Climbing out of the truck and donning my mask, I was about to be in for a total shock. There was a lovely winding road that led up through coastal forest, past a historic guest house and out to the light house. This turned out to be a popular walk--too popular. Whenever we encountered people--which was often--we slipped on our masks, but to our amazement, most didn't wear them and stated their opinion by staring rudely as if we were space aliens. People often didn't observe distancing and dropped snarky comments in reply to Steve's remarks about reasonable precautions. I couldn't believe it! Steve had told me about the many situations he'd had in stores but to find the same thing out here…I was stunned! The lighthouse was really cool, and so was the guesthouse. I really enjoyed seeing flocks of cormorants and common murres covering one of the prominent rocks that rose out of the sea next to the lighthouse, and the views up and down the coast were breathtaking. Before leaving, we walked out to take a look at the beach below the lighthouse which was another pretty sight. However, by the time we got back to the truck I was totally fried by the experience of callous, unprotected people and fairly dove into the protective safety of the car. I was amazed that Steve had to deal with this every time he went out. I mean, it was one thing to imagine it. But being immersed was totally different and I sat there as we drove away, trying to get a grip on myself again. Part of me felt like such a baby because I was so freaked-out by this but on the other hand, it was the first time since Covid hit that I'd been around any strangers. I had a right to be jittery. But as I sat thinking, all of it made me feeling very reflective and uncomfortable about the average American and how they seemed to view the virus. Were most people truly that stupid? Before we left the area, we pulled over to take pictures of the lighthouse and guesthouse from afar, with the jutting coastline and beautiful beach. What a view!! Today's Pictures My main picture was the iconic view from the pullout--what a pretty sight that was! I'm also including a view of the forest on the walk up the road and another one showing the lighthouse. I have a picture that shows the beach below the lighthouse--both from the road and the beach itself. There's also an image of the bird-covered rock and a couple of close-ups to see the colonies of birds and finally, a funny-looking cormorant as it was landing. (I'm also including another trip map so you can see where we were on our trip.) I'll have one more set of pictures to share of this place, since there were just too many to share in one presentation! I hope everyone is having--or had--a very nice weekend! Stay safe and here's hoping you get your vaccine soon! Explored on 3/6/21; highest placement #2.

Backlit Beauty and More at Tugman State Park (+6 i…

14 Jul 2020 47 27 161
(+6 insets!) My Last Presentation (for this trip) From William Tugman State Park I've gotten to share so many pictures from our visit--in fact, there were too many wonderful finds to process! This lush, beautiful area was just brimming with photo opportunities and I hope that you've gotten the general idea of this pretty park. It was such a nice place to stay, relax, and enjoy forest and lake views. Happily, we will be back this year so I'll be taking brand new pictures! My favorite parks all have wonderful morning walks that take me away from other campers and allow me to enjoy the solitude of nature and a pretty trail that follows the meandering contours through forest and alongside lakes, rivers, or out to an ocean beach. I dearly love getting the chance to explore different terrain and its flora and fauna. However, I enjoy strolling through campgrounds too, glimpsing the individual campsite stories and the temporary residents. It's a unique opportunity to see people out on vacation--from a single person to multiple families--including their pets and all of the stuff they bring with them. I'm quite the recluse but fascinated by people and their behavior so I love having the chance to see folks doing their thing as I walk by and soak up the details. My Main Picture I found this backlit dandelion peering out at Eel Lake one morning and knew it would be a fun picture to share--and I was right! :) I got lucky with that lens flare in the sea of bokeh, which shows the nine shutter blades of my 100mm 2.8L macro lens! Today's Insets The first pair of pictures show a side and front view of a lemon-colored Monkey Flower, and if you look closely at the front view you'll see a tiny insect crawling along the right-side edge! The second pair of pictures features a Yellowjacket Wasp feasting on the nectar of a Queen Anne's Lace. Next is a fossil-like image that shows a leaf that was once wet and stuck to the mud. The mud then dried and people walked over this leaf, slowly breaking off bits as it disintegrated and became one with the hard clay path. I couldn't stop looking at this whenever I passed by and finally got a picture to share. I'm so glad because I think it's so cool! Finally, a parting trail picture which shows a pair of red cedar trees shading the path. I hope everyone is doing well with vaccinations on the horizon. For us, it looks like JULY unfortunately but no worries--we're staying safe and being careful! Take care and stay warm and dry! Explored on 3/3/21; highest placement #3.

5347 photos in total