A Look Back at Benji and the Fair

The State Fair in Puyallup is up and running this year albeit with safety precautions in place – masks worn inside and out. We went on a rainy day last week and it was a different experience, but the same in many ways.

We bought scones with too much jam and they were still delicious –

just no waiting in line.

There were rides running and we were not on them – as usual.

We split up for a while so Bob could visit the hobbies he liked while I visited my favorite spots and took pictures with my phone.

And there were animals – including piglets – just like other years – but no cats.

Which is as it should be, as I explained to Benji when he once asked to come along.  

Benji and the Fair

“Please Sue can I come too?”

“Sorry Benji no.  The fair is for people.”

“Really Sue?  No animals allowed at all?”

“Well, not exactly – there are lots of animals there.”

“Just no cats.”

“None?” he persisted.

“Well sometimes there are cats but they’re in cages.”

“Are you making this up?” he asked.

“No really Benji.  Some cats let little girls put them in cages for all to see.”

“I wouldn’t like that Sue.”

“I know you wouldn’t Benji. And you wouldn’t like the noise either. Or the food.”

“Or people flying around.”

“Okay, okay Sue.  You had me at cats in cages.  You just go ahead and I’ll stay here and hold down the fort.”

And that is what we did.

Maybe next year.

~ Susanne

Happy Autumn Inside and Out

Cozy within and colorful without –

the autumnal equinox is officially here!

Happy autumn to you!

~ Susanne

Yellowstone in Color

What can I say about Yellowstone National Park that hasn’t been said before? That I was thrilled to make another trip – our 7th, but who’s counting? – and it was the best yet!

We were desperate to travel and a road trip to our favorite national park seemed like the perfect covid-safe vacation. And because we’d been there before we could relax and not frantically try to see everything. Which is impossible to do by the way, since the park covers roughly 3,472 square miles and is bigger than Vermont and New Hampshire combined!

Each trip has been unique and each time I took more pictures than the time before – from less than 10 on our first trip in the ’80’s to 100 times more on our last one! Don’t worry, I won’t show them all to you. Instead, I’ll just share a few in Gold and Citrine for this week’s Sunday Stills Photo Challenge. I’ll throw in some blue for contrast, just like nature does.

First are the bison along the Firehole River,

with a certain fly fisherman nearby!

Next is the Upper Geyser Basin, where I woke early one morning to see steam rising from the largest concentration of geysers in the world! I didn’t make sunrise but I did catch some of the golden hour.

I also caught Old Faithful spouting off again. It never gets old.

Now, to the northwest corner of the park where the deer and the antelope play. (And seldom is heard a discouraging word if you know what I mean.)

We’ll drive through the Golden Gate Canyon – please keep your eyes on the road –

and end up at Mammoth Hot Springs, one of the world’s best protected examples of travertine-depositing hot springs. Other worldly, don’t you think?

Finally, I’ll close with one of the highlights of our trip – Grand Prismatic Spring! On our last trip to Yellowstone we saw it at ground level from the boardwalk. It was beautiful but mysterious, shrouded in steam, all ringed in gold.

Impressive, yes, but not like the pictures I’d seen.

Even back then I noticed some folks on a hill behind the spring and wondered how they got there. (Look closely and you’ll see them in the middle below.)

This time I found out! When we checked into the Snow Lodge the clerk told us – ‘you’ve got to take the hike from the Fairy Falls Trailhead to the Grand Prismatic Springs Overlook when the sun is overhead!’

So we did! And it was the view I’d hoped for!

The trail was developed in 2018 after many people forged their own way through the woods to see it from above. Can you blame them?

The colors were fabulous – the brilliant blue caused by sunlight being scattered by mineral particles in the water – the bright orange from heat-loving bacteria!

So I’ll pass the same advice on to you – if you ever visit Yellowstone National Park, please don’t miss one of the most dramatic features in the Park – Grand Prismatic Spring – from above!

I’ll stop for now on that high note, but there’ll be more to come. 🙂

~ Susanne

Jumping into the Snake River Canyon!

No not us.

We spent the night in Twin Falls, Idaho on our way home from Yellowstone.

After dinner at Elevation 486 – a restaurant overlooking the Snake River Canyon – we went outside and got to talking with a local.

What else should we see while we were in Twin Falls? We’d already been to Shoshone Falls – they were conspicuously absent though the canyon was beautiful.

Without any hesitation she asked if we’d been to the Visitor Center at the nearby Perrine Bridge. No, we hadn’t. There we’d find the best views of the canyon, she said. AND we could watch the BASE jumpers jump off the bridge!

BASE as in Building, Antenna, Span, Earth, the dangerous sport of jumping from a fixed object with a parachute. In fact, the Perrine Bridge is the only place in the U.S. where BASE jumpers can practice their ‘sport’ legally, year-round without a permit.

So the next morning we went to the bridge and found exquisite views of the canyon.

We also saw jumpers as they made their way up to the bridge.

Some climbed over the rail, flinging their parachute into the air before jumping. (Click on pictures in the gallery to enlarge.)

Others balanced on top of the rail for the big jump.

Thankfully all landed safely on the ground.

Crazy? Yes.

Extreme and dangerous? Yes.

But BASE jumpers come from all over the world to jump off the Perrine Bridge.

And it’s thrilling to watch.

~ Susanne

Postcards from Yellowstone

We’ve been on an amazing road trip for the past week and I can’t resist sharing two of my favorite places in Yellowstone National Park with you!

Grand Prismatic Spring

Last time we were in Yellowstone we took a boardwalk to see the massive hot spring. It was awesome! But I remember wondering how the tiny people got to the cliff high above the springs. This time we found the secret and took the hike from the Fairy Falls Trailhead to the overlook. My oh my! You have to see it from above to get the proper perspective of its size and varied colors.

At 370 feet in diameter, over 121 ft. deep, with average temperatures of 160 degrees, it’s one of the largest hot springs in the world.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

I’ve seen it before but it doesn’t matter. I walked to the overlooks and gawked again. There are no words to describe the beauty of this magnificent canyon and falls.

I’ll have more from Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons too, but this will do for now.

Susanne

An Overdue Photoshoot with Tiger

“We need to talk, Sue.”

“Sure, Tiger. I always have time for you.”

“Do you, Sue? Sometimes I wonder. How many pictures have you posted of Benji this year?”

“Oh, I don’t know Tiger. A few I guess.”

“More than a few,” he replied.

“Okay, more than a few. You’re feeling left out. But may I remind you that your face is my avatar?”

“Your what?” he asked.

“My avatar. I use your picture instead of mine to represent me on this blog! You actually show up a lot, everywhere! See?”

“It’s small, Sue. People don’t see it.”

“Sorry, Tiger. Maybe you’re right. You’re a handsome boy and you deserve more attention. How about we do a photoshoot right now?”

“And put in on the blog, too?” he asked.

“Of course, Tiger. Now give me your best smile.”

“How’s this?” he asked.

“Not bad, Tiger. But you still look a wee bit irritated. Let’s try again.”

“Sure, Sue. How’s this? And make sure you get my two good ears in the picture.”

“Still holding a grudge against Benji, aren’t you? Honestly, Tiger you need to drop it. As far as your photo goes – well, it’s a bit too stoic. Like the sphinx or something.”

“More big words, Sue. First ‘avatar.’ Now ‘sphinx’. I’m a simple cat you know.”

“Sorry Tiger, you are indeed. How about we close with a nice head shot?”

“Okay, here you go. Now, will you put this one on the blog?”

“Absolutely Tiger. It’s perfect.”

~ Susanne and Tiger

All Dressed up at Coulon Park!

On my weekend walk at Coulon Park I found the stony walkers all dressed up for Labor Day in honor of our essential workers.

Here’s what they wore on Memorial Day in case you wondered.

The maple trees have also started changing into their fall dress – much earlier than usual – no doubt due to our extreme summer weather.

This is just a foretaste.

It won’t be long until all the green is replaced with dreamy colors of orange and peach and lemon and lime.

I hope to show you their complete transformation in a few weeks.

Happy Labor Day!

~ Susanne

Hurricane Ridge – A look at the Olympic Mountains

I’ve showed you many pictures from our various travels in Olympic National Park – the forests – the lakes and the rugged beaches – all are wonderful.

But I haven’t showed you much of Hurricane Ridge even though it’s probably the most visited place in the park. Seattle residents often bring their out of town guests here making it a long but enjoyable day trip. And for good reason – Hurricane Ridge is the best place I know to get a close-up of the Olympic Mountains.

We like to stop on our way home from excursions deeper in the park as we did a few weeks ago. Honestly, the best views are cheap – no hiking required. Just make the 17 mile drive from Port Angeles to the Visitors Center and you’re surrounded by mountains, meadows, flowers and wildlife!

Of course you can always take one of many hikes in the area. We chose a shorter one which took us on a loop through meadows and onto a ridge

overlooking the Straight of Juan de Fuca – the outlet of the Salish Sea to the Pacific Ocean, part of the international border with Canada. During normal – pre-covid – times you could easily board the ferry in Port Angeles for a fun day in the charming city of Victoria, capital of British Columbia, seen in the distance. Hoping to do that again next year!

It was an easy trail and we had more wildlife sightings and lots of wildflowers

before we were back to where we started.

My husband led the way while I lagged behind taking pictures, including this one of him.

It was a wonderful conclusion to our time in Olympic National Park.

~ Susanne

Afternoon Photoshoot with the Hummingbirds

I must have let the feeders run dry. I saw the hummers land first on one, then the other before flying away. Sorry about that boys. I ran into the house to make the sugar water and cooled it quickly in the freezer.

I washed the feeders, refilled and hung them, then hid in the shed nearby to watch. The hummers returned within minutes. Swoop. Drink. Reverse. Hover. Repeat.

And yes, that was the same little hummer, alternating between ruby red and black. Quite a costume change and I don’t know how it’s done. Isn’t it marvelous?

~ Susanne

Monday Monday with Benji

“Whatcha doin’ up there, Benji?”

“Time for my morning nap, Sue.”

“But why there, Benji? “

“Why not, Sue? I can keep an eye on things from up here. And thanks for putting the towel down for me. Makes it nice and comfortable.”

“Now could you please turn out the lights on your way out?”

“Sure Benji.”

~ Susanne and Benji

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