Upside Down at Nolte

Today we took advantage of a mild winter day and went for a walk at Nolte State Park where the trees reflected perfectly in Deep Lake.

So perfectly in fact I thought they looked even better upside down.

How about you?

For Becky’s SquareUp Photo Challenge.

~ Susanne

Jurassic Hawaii

I’m feeling a bit of Covid wanderlust on this cool January day so I thought I’d take you WAY back in time to Hawaii – all the way back to Jurassic Park.

You probably already know that Jurassic Park was filmed in Hawaii and most of it on Kauai, the Garden Isle.

I was fortunate to visit Kauai a few years ago and got a look at the Na Pali cliffs which were featured in the Jurassic movies. Though the best views of the cliffs are from the coast by sea or air, we got a decent look at them from the Kalalau Overlook.

The prominent waterfalls in the movie (Manawaiopuna) were only accessible by helicopter so I didn’t get to see them – I’m helicopter averse. But I did see Wailua Falls which you could easily drive to.

Jurassic Park was in production on Kauai in 1992 when the most powerful hurricane in Hawaii’s recorded history, Hurricane Iniki, hit. So the final scenes had to be moved to Oahu and they became some of the most iconic in the movie.

We toured the beautiful Ka’a’awa Valley at Kualoa Ranch last year, where a herd of dinosaurs were chased by T-Rex, and Grant and the kids took cover behind a fallen log.

Many other movies were filmed here as well going back to Mr. Roberts in 1955, and more recently Jumanji, and Kong: Skull Island. It’s a fun area and well worth a visit.

But let’s move on to Maui, where we came across this view of Keopuka Rock at the Garden of Eden, which featured in Jurassic Park.

The nearby waterfall didn’t but it’s pretty so it made it into my story anyway. 🙂

Finally, I’ll wrap up the Jurassic tour of Hawaii with the Big Island. Even though I don’t think it featured in the Jurassic movies, it certainly could have, don’t you think?

That’s enough of Jurassic Hawaii for now.

Till next time.

~ Susanne

A New Day Has Dawned

~ Susanne

Poulsbo, Port Ludlow and Hood Canal – a Trip in Glacier Blue

After returning from our getaway last week I noticed how many of my pictures were blue, blue, blue! So I thought they’d do nicely for this week’s Sunday Stills Photo Challenge, Glacier Blue.

Our destination was Port Ludlow on Puget Sound which would be our base for exploring the area. We started our trip by ferry from Edmonds to Kingston and were greeted by the Olympic Mountains.

We stopped by Poulsbo for lunch, a charming town with a Scandinavian vibe, founded by a Norwegian immigrant in the 1880’s.

After eating our takeout pizza in the car, we split up for an hour of shopping and I found some lovely things to buy to support the local economy – I do what I can.

Next we crossed the Hood Canal Bridge and headed to Port Ludlow where we stayed the next two nights. Our hotel was near the marina on Ludlow Bay and we had wonderful views of the Olympics when the clouds parted in the morning.

Yes, those were the Olympics. So I was surprised to see Mt. Baker on my morning beach walk, looking quite lovely in the morning light. At 10,778 feet, Mt. Baker is the tallest mountain in the North Cascades and third tallest in the state. With 10 glaciers it is second only to Mount Rainier which has 26, the most glaciers of any mountain in the lower 48. In fact, only Alaska has more glaciers than Washington State.

Port Ludlow was a lovely place to stay and had fabulous sunsets. But there wasn’t much to do – for that we drove to nearby Hood Canal. Our first stop was at Point Whitney where Bob fished and I wandered the oyster littered beach – the State has a shellfish lab there. But I found the best views looking up – can you believe those clouds??

We stopped by another spot on the Canal before returning to Port Ludlow for the night and saw more mountains. Surely the Olympics right?

Wrong! These are the North Cascades and even I – a born and raised Washingtonian – wasn’t sure. Too many mountains and too many coves, bays, and inlets in all directions!

I have more adventures from Hood Canal to share with you but this will do for now.

~ Susanne

Sunset in Pink

In the middle of a very rainy January we managed to find two days of good weather for an escape to Port Ludlow.

The first morning I caught a hint of pink over the Olympics at sunrise, a foretaste of what would come later that day.

For just after sunset the clouds turned brilliant pink against a darkening blue sky.

Pink is always best when paired with blue.

More to come about our trip later.

Shared with Cee’s Midweek Madness Photo Challenge.

~ Susanne

Hoist a Paw

It’s late afternoon and I’m in the kitchen making dinner. The boys hear the pantry door open and show up with eager eyes. I know why.

“Who wants a snack?” I say. “Raise your paw.”

They answer by dancing around.

I find the treats in the yellow package and dispense their allotted portion of the nuggets. Benji finishes first then helps Tiger with his. When they understand there will be no more treats they scoot outside.

But sometimes they linger hoping for more, as Benji did this week.

“C’mon Sue. You know how I love them.”

“Sorry Benji. It says right on the package only 10 pellets a day. Out you go, to run it off.”

I can’t blame him for trying. I sometimes eat more treats in a day than I should, too.

Now in case you wondered – I really did say, ‘raise your paw,’ but I didn’t invent it. The inspiration comes from my college days and a professor, an authority on Northwest Coast Indians, and an expert in their native languages.

Wearing a tweed jacket, he addressed us properly as ‘ladies and gentlemen’ with a smile in his eyes and a pipe in his hand.

“Hoist a paw,” he said, if we had any questions.

I wish I’d paid more attention to his lectures though I do remember the fragments I put to song.

‘”Queets, Quinault and Upper Chehalis are all Salishan,” reminded me that the native tribes on Washington’s coast spoke Salishan. So did the professor as I recall and we occasionally heard him speak it.

So when I ask my cats to raise a paw and they start to dance around, I remember the well spoken professor with the smiling eyes asking us to ‘hoist a paw.’

And that is all for today. 🙂

~ Susanne

Night Sky

I’ve always been intrigued by the night sky and have fond memories of sleeping outside under heaven’s canopy watching for falling stars.

In college I took an Astronomy course and the best part was our visit to the rooftop to look at the Universe through a giant telescope. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Saturn – we didn’t use the word back then but I can definitely say today it was AWESOME! A brilliant, creamy orb hanging on nothing, surrounded by magnificent rings. The clarity was what struck me the most – I guess I was expecting something like the grainy pictures I had seen in books back then.

Too bad I can’t show you pictures of that. Instead you’ll have to settle for pictures of the moon.

The first set were taken last Halloween. After putting candy out for trick or treaters – they didn’t come and we’re still eating candy – I went outside to capture the Super Moon as it rose above the trees, freeing itself from their grip.

Since this was also called a Blue Moon, I took the liberty to make it appear so.

The second set of pictures is from a lunar eclipse the year before where you can see the earth’s shadow creep over the moon’s face. Lunar eclipses are not that rare and can usually be observed once or twice a year in the Northwest, weather permitting.

A solar eclipse on the other hand is rare – when the moon passes in front of the sun, temporarily turning day into night. We got to see one in Seattle on August 21, 2017, the first visible total eclipse since 1979.

We drove to Alki Beach and watched the show with others gathered there. They shared their solar glasses with us and I cast a few looks directly at the sun as the moon inched across its face. Even with the glasses on I was nervous about it and didn’t look long.

We were not in the path of totality but were close enough to enjoy the event. As the light dimmed, a mysterious darkness fell and the temperature dropped.

I took a few pictures around 10:20 a.m., the time when the sun was 92% covered by the moon, the maximum we would have in our location.

It was a real treat and I hope to see another in my lifetime.

Inspired by Sunday Stills, photo challenge, Night.

~ Susanne

Profiles in Hummingbirds

Yesterday I showed you the majestic Bald Eagles who come from as far away as Alaska to feed on the salmon in the Skagit River. Today I show you their tiny majestic cousins – the Anna’s Hummingbirds – who come to feed year-round in my own backyard.

I love them both. 🙂

~ Susanne

A Journey to See the Bald Eagles of the Skagit River

It was fitting that we should travel north to the Skagit River yesterday to see the bald eagles that come to feed on the salmon. No rain was in the forecast and the drive itself is marvelous with views of the jagged North Cascades, also known as the American Alps.

We stopped at various viewpoints along the river, too late to see the eagles feeding but not too late to find them roosting in the trees above. (We’ll come earlier next year, we always say.)

We had to look carefully to find them; one of the first was a female all dressed in brown.

But many males were spotted too, their beautiful white heads standing out against the trees.

See the strength and determination in their eyes. Or is it anger?

A symbol of the United States of America.

~ Susanne

A Week Like No Other

We’ve had relentless, pounding rain in the Pacific Northwest all week long but this morning broke like springtime. We went to Coulon Park for a walk and paused at the end of the lake for these views. Skyscrapers from the Seattle skyline can be seen in the distance – squint to see them.

But the rest of the day was hard as news broke of the tragic events unfolding in our nation’s capital. This is not a political blog. But I sat in my office wondering how I could post anything light when so many terrible things were happening. It is something I grapple with.

As I thus pondered brilliant color streamed into my office and I ran outside to see the sunset.

As I write this, Congress has returned to the Capitol determined to continue counting the electoral votes before the night is over. Noble speeches have been given and I welcomed then.

There is no doubt as to the outcome. Biden and Harris will be certified as President and Vice President of the United States.

I only pray for some level of peace and normalcy to return to our fragile country soon.

~ Susanne

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