Paradise in Bloom, Nisqually Glacier and Christine Falls!

Everybody knows that August is the best time to visit Paradise to see the wildflowers in bloom but somehow I always miss it   We usually visit early in the season, as soon as the roads are passable;  here’s what it looked like in May with nary a flower in sight.

Here’s what it looked like last week from the same spot – all thawed out and green – with nary a Mountain in sight.

Too bad.  But it was still a perfect day for a hike – more like a stroll –  on the easy, paved, Nisqually Vista Trail.

The wildflowers were abundant and colorful just as I’d hoped

and we were lucky to see a fat marmot feasting in the meadows.

We stopped at the overlooks and heard the rushing waters of the Nisqually River in the valley far below,

proceeding out from Nisqually Glacier.

And though we had great views of the Glacier,  the Mountain remained hidden from view.

Fortunately we’d seen her earlier that day while fishing at Mineral Lake. Remember that?

I can only imagine how fantastic the wildflowers look with the Mountain as the backdrop –  I will definitely return to find out.

But it had been a long day and it was time to head back – but not without one more stop – a photo op at Upper Christine Falls,

where I played with shutter speed on my camera.

Why not?

Then it was off to dinner and as we made our way back home Mt. Rainier decided to show her crown after all.

Better late than never.

~ Susanne

A Fishing Trip Back in Time at Mineral Lake

Mineral Lake is to my husband what Hood Canal is to me: a place full of childhood memories, of long summer days spent camping, fishing, and swimming. Yesterday we made the drive to Mineral, a tiny town whose claim to fame is the beautiful mountain lake stocked with trout and wonderful views of its famous neighbor, Mt. Rainier.

Bob started coming here with his parents and their friends sometime during the last century.  The parents would set up their trailers and leave them there all summer and their boys would have a grand old time. The picture below was taken at Mineral Lake back in the days of black and white. (Bob is the cute one in the middle.)

But yesterday everything was in color for our fishing trip.  Well – his fishing trip.  I was just along for the ride.  And though it was my first time in the boat, it won’t be my last.

Okay so it’s tiny.  But big enough for two and surprisingly comfortable with the little padded seats.  We carried a snack with us of the best in junk food – Cheese Puffs, Doritos and a Hershey Bar. And some beef jerky that we both decided was best saved in an emergency kit.

Bob piloted the boat – the small electric motor kept us moving – and fished for trout.  I helped navigate – on the lookout for the occasional random stump or log sticking up –   the town was once a logging camp.  But mainly I gawked at the scenery and played with my camera.

The best views came up pretty quickly as we rounded a bend and the Mountain came into view.

It never fails to take my breath away!

As we traveled around the lake the colors changed from blue to green and variations thereof according to the depth.  Nearest to shore the water became a glorious teal and sparkly.

I found other things to take pictures of too including this fellow hitchhiking.

And just for fun I used a fancy setting for this vista.

There would be no pictures of fish though.  Bob didn’t catch any – he was going to throw them back anyway.  As for me I enjoyed the ride.  The waves lapping against the boat, the occasional eagle overhead and the changing scenery.  Though next year I may get my license and show him how it’s done.  (Just kidding, dear.)

Even without fish we had a wonderful day on the lake but it wasn’t long before we were ready for a burger.  So we headed to shore and over to Scaleburgers in the nearby town of Elbe.

And the day wasn’t over yet!  We were just a few miles from the entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park so we decided to head up to Paradise to see the wildflowers in bloom.  We’re so glad we did!

Stay tuned for that story to come.  🙂

~ Susanne

More of My Favorite Trees – the Maples!

I love trees – all kinds of trees and thought I would share a few more of my favorites for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

How about those Maples?  There are so many sizes, shapes and varieties in the genus ‘Acer’ family, they hardly seem related to one another.  But then you know how families are.  🙂

I’ll start with the native Vine Maple adorning our gardens and adding bursts of color to the evergreen forests of the Pacific Northwest.

Next up is the cultured Japanese Maple –  bold and beautiful inside and out – with sturdy twisted limbs supporting colorful, lacy leaves. I found these at the Washington Arboretum.

Finally here are the giant Maple trees of the Hoh River Rainforest – completely content to be swallowed up in moss!

~ Susanne

Close-up on Crocosmia

I have a patch of Crocosmia in a neglected part of my garden that I planted for the hummingbirds. Their tiny trumpet flowers bloom faithfully every year with barely any attention by me. They deserve more appreciation so today I snipped a few blossoms to share with Sunday Stills Photo Challenge, Close-Up.

Aren’t they wonderful?

~ Susanne

Day 10 is for the Birds!

WordPress notified me yesterday that I was on a 9 day blogging streak.  I don’t normally pay much attention to their notices but since this was my longest string to date I thought I’d make it a perfect 10 with a post for the birds.

These beautiful nuthatches live in my yard in the evergreen trees.  I love to watch them walk up and down the trees hunting for insects.

They often come down for a drink and a bath in the stream or one of the birdbaths.  This one found a suitable place to drink on the picnic table where water had pooled after I’d been spraying with the hose.  Those are my dahlias in the background looking rather artsy in the sunshine.

This little wren made an appearance near the stream one day.  They’re so fast I don’t usually get a picture of them.  They live in the nearby shrubs.

Finally, I’ll close with a couple of crows.  I saw them one night when I went down the street to take a picture of the sunset.  They were still there as I was coming back and I liked their silhouette.

And that will officially end this 10 day blogging streak.

See you next week! 🙂

~ Susanne

Berry Picking with Mom

Good name for a poem –  if only I had the eloquence. Regardless, today I had the privilege of going berry picking with my mom. Privilege I say because she’s 89 years old and not everyone is so lucky.

Actually it was her idea. Or at least she reminded me that the blackberries were ripening and we should get them before the sun scorched them dry. And she remembered they were plentiful not far from my house.

So we went and found them in abundance on both sides of the road – a quiet road with no traffic along a right-of-way.

They were beautiful. In varying stages of readiness but many plump and juicy, ripe for picking.

“Look mom,” I said pointing to our bowls mostly full. “We picked the same amount.”

“I have more,” she said with a twinkle in her eye – because that’s my mom.

I took her back home and before she made it to her apartment she’d given some berries away. To the person at the front desk. To the person on the elevator.

Because again – that’s my mom.

The berries are still ripening so we’ll go back for more.

In the meantime we’ll be eating berries. Freezing berries. And making blackberry cobbler.

Lucky for both of us.

~ Susanne

Another Tale of Tiger and Benji

This morning I went outside to have my coffee by the stream and some quiet time alone.

It wasn’t long before Tiger emerged from hiding and approached me where I sat.

Although he’s not a lap cat,  I knew he wanted to jump up but didn’t have the nerve.  There were risks involved known only to him – perhaps baggage from long ago.

I spoke encouraging words and hoped he would overcome whatever held him back.  He’s a sweet old boy, timid and slow to change..

While he thus pondered, the youngster showed up with no such reserve and the message was clear – “Out of my way old timer!!”

Tiger missed his chance and he knew it and headed to the woodpile – there will be other times.

‘Oh Benji,’ I sighed, ‘did you have to run him off?’

But there was no response just contentment.

Benji has baggage too.  Of surviving the streets and a crazy cat house.  Feisty, yes, but also sweet as can be.

Rescue cats –  they’re different as night and day these two. And I love them both.

~ Susanne

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