Sunset Over the Grand Canyon

Sometimes the highlight of a good vacation is catching a beautiful sunset. And it doesn’t hurt when the landscape is as epic as the Grand Canyon. So for this week’s Sunday Stills Photo Challenge, I remembered our trip in 2017 and the sunset over the South Rim.

This was our second visit to the Grand Canyon – the first was a drive-by many years before. On this November trip we spent two nights in the park which gave us the opportunity to enjoy both sunrise and sunset.

The first morning we joined the crowds at the Mather Point Overlook to watch the sun come up.

Later that night we gathered at the same spot to watch it go down again.

But the next day we asked a ranger for his favorite place to watch the sunset and he recommended Yaki Point a short distance east. So we left the crowds behind and made the walk from East Rim Drive. The show started after 5:00 and peaked a half hour or so later.

It remains one of my favorite sunsets and a great memory of our time at the Grand Canyon. Sometimes it pays to ask.

~ Susanne

A Photoshoot with Benji and Tiger

“Hey Benji, you’re looking good there! Let’s do a photoshoot!”

“Sure Sue. What did you have in mind?”

“Well honestly I’d like to experiment a bit, play around with black and white and some different image presentations. You just sit there looking handsome and I’ll do the rest – you won’t feel a thing.”

“Sure Sue, whatever you say. “

“Thanks Benji! I appreciate your cooperation. Now how about giving me a profile?”

“Something like this, Sue?”

“Perfect Benji! You’re the best!”

“What about me, Sue? Aren’t I photo worthy?”

“Of course you are Tiger! I was just about to ask you! Stay right where you are.”

“Now let me get a close-up of your handsome face!”

“Something like this Sue?”

“Beautiful, Tiger!!”

“Thanks to both of you for your cooperation! You can go back to sleep now.”

For Cees Black and White Photo Challenge, Pets.

~ Susanne

Whimsical Iron Sculptures at Mt Rainier

Not far from the Longmire entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park you’ll pass the Recycled Spirits of Iron Sculpture Park. Don’t. Be sure and stop to wander the grounds among the whimsical sculptures, the creation of Dan Klennert. He shares his wonderful creations with everyone for free, though donations are welcomed.

We stopped by earlier this spring on our way home from Mt. Rainier where we’d gone fishing at Mineral Lake.

Afterwards we headed to Paradise, the highest visitor center in the National Park, stopping by to enjoy the waterfalls that line the road.

We made it all the way to the top and got a close-up view of the mountain.

This is one of our favorite day trips and I think you can understand why. We caught this lovely moonrise on our trip last December! It actually caused a bit of a traffic jam as everyone stopped to witness the scene.

I consider myself lucky to live in Washington State. Wouldn’t you? 🙂

~ Susanne

Finding Pink on a Weekend Road Trip

Pink is the theme of this week’s Sunday Stills Photo Challenge and I found some on our weekend getaway.

We stopped by Mt. Vernon in the Skagit Valley and I was reminded this is Tulip Country.

I love to visit the tulip fields when they’re at their peak in April and found lots of pink from previous visits in my archives.

In town I found a beautiful mural sprinkled through with pink, celebrating the contributions of immigrants to our native lands. Entitled FROM THESE WATERS, it was presented by Rachel’s heART ARt Camp, a program run in memory of Rachel Damski who escaped the holocaust as a teenager, migrated to the U.S. to start a new life, and began painting at the age of 80.

Can you find some famous immigrants in the painting?

I found even more pink the next day In Bellingham on our morning walk, I don’t know the name of the flowers forming a massive display next to the bay – do you?

And that’s enough pink for now! 🙂

~ Susanne

Some Things Never Change

This is Tiger, who despite the name, is a mellow fellow.

This is Benji – a sweet boy and lots of fun but not mellow at all – perhaps you can tell by the eyes.

One morning Tiger dropped by my office for a visit and afterwards guarded the door.

Until Benji came long.

“Move over buster that’s my spot,” he said while Tiger looked to me for help.

“Tiger was here first, Benji,” I said, knowing it was futile.

Some things never change.

~ Susanne

A Northwest Hike to Barclay Lake

Last week during the heatwave we decided to escape to Barclay Lake, a hike my husband had wanted to take every time we crossed the Cascades.

We turned off Highway 2 at Baring onto a one lane road full of potholes, making for a bumpy but beautiful ride four miles to the trailhead.

The trail started at 2,200 feet and mostly followed along Barclay Creek gaining less than 500 ft. (my kind of hike.)

The forest was cool and fragrant and there were plenty of native plants to admire, including baby ferns unfurling,

There was also the sinister sounding Devil’s Club or Devil’s Walking Stick (haha) with needlelike spines on its stalk and leaves. I was intrigued to learn it’s been used medicinally for hundreds of years. No not for acupuncture. Harvested stems, leaves, stalks and berries are made into teas, tinctures, salves and ointments.

There was fungus growing everywhere too,

including the one below which looked like a hamburger.

“Look Bob! Someone left us lunch!”

We crossed Barclay Creek and made the final trek to the lake.

We soon encountered the only rough part of the trail – a small avalanche field of packed snow covered with fallen trees and dirt.

We managed easily and the payoff was great – a crystal clear alpine lake with craggy Mt. Baring rising to 6,127 ft. behind.

After lunch we headed back and stopped to cool off in Barclay Creek. We could only handle the ice cold water for a few seconds at a time but it was refreshing!

As we neared the end of the trail we enjoyed views of waterfalls high on the mountains across the valley.

Four and a half miles round trip through the forest. With mountains, creek, alpine lake, and waterfalls.

What more do you want in a hike?

~ Susanne

After the Rain

After last week’s heat wave, Juneuary returned to the Pacific Northwest bringing cold, wet, windy, winterlike weather. But after a few days of torrential rainfall, the sun reappeared yesterday along with some magnificent clouds.

The air has been washed fresh and clean, new plants have been watered in – time to return to summer! 🙂

~ Susanne

Inspired by the Heavens!

Thanks to Terri Webster Schrandt for inspiring me once again with her photo challenge. This week the theme is Celestial and it sent me to my archives to find some of my favorite pictures of the heavens!

I’ll start at the beginning with sunrise. Last December I woke to a brilliant sky and knew it was going to be a good day!

I captured the scene below on another winter’s day, when the Sun loomed heavy through the clouds. I was on my way home from the store at the time and pulled over to catch it with my phone.

Speaking of the Sun I took this picture at the end of a hot summer day when the sky was choked with smoke from wildfires far away.

Even though it’s beautiful, I’m sorry to say we’re learning to live with an orange Sun and smoky skies for several days each year.

Now let’s move on to that other orb in the sky which also glows, but not from itself – it only reflects light from the other. I get my best pictures of the moon during the winter when it rises over my backyard, peering through the trees on its way, sometimes lassoed by them,

before finally breaking through.

And there’s nothing like a lunar eclipse when the earth’s shadow blocks sunlight from reaching the moon. Unfortunately I missed the total eclipse last month. It happened in the early morning hours and though I got up a few times I couldn’t see it due to cloud cover. But I did catch one in January of 2019 from my backyard, yes during the winter at a decent hour.

I could go on and on but I better save something for later.

And it you want to be inspired and maybe participate yourself be sure and check out Terri’s Sunday Stills Challenge.

~ Susanne


Be like Tiger. 🙂

~ Susanne

In a Rose Garden

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Flowers – I thought I’d share a few of my favorites from our visit to the Rose Garden at Pt. Defiance last week.

This is the same rose garden where I discovered a photo of my grandmother when she was a child, included on the signboard near the entrance – second picture from the left.

It was taken in the early 1900’s by my great grandfather, O.T. Frasch, a Seattle postcard photographer. (That story here if you missed it.)

~ Susanne

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