The Hummers of Summer

No not this kind, though there was that too – a ride through the woods in a genuine surplus army rig – but that’s another story.

I’m speaking of the other kind – the hummingbirds that live in my yard and frequent my feeders daily.

I get the best pictures in the winter – when the foliage is gone and they stand out against the background. Still I managed to get a few decent shots of the birds this summer.

By the way, if you look very closely you may notice ants floating toes up in one of the feeders above. It’s quite disgusting to me though I’m not sure it deters the hummingbirds. In any case, I purchased a new feeder with an ant guard and put it up yesterday. It’s the one on the left below. The hummers are still inspecting it but hopefully will use it soon. It remains to be seen whether the ants will too.

That’s all for now.

~ Susanne

Just a Walk on the Beach: Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach

The Oregon Coast is arguably the most beautiful in the country and Cannon Beach is one of its most beautiful and popular beaches.

On our recent camping trip to Fort Stevens we made the drive south to Cannon Beach and Tolovana Park for a closeup look at 235 ft. Haystack Rock.

The weather was perfect as we walked the mile to the giant sea stack, sunny with a light breeze blowing and low hanging clouds which slowly lifted.

As we got closer to the rock we noticed the crowds increasing and wondered why. A wedding perhaps?

No. The tide pools were the attraction and children were there for a sponsored scavenger hunt. Yes, masks were encouraged and most of the explorers were responsibly distanced.

Honestly I hadn’t explored any tide pools myself in years and it was wonderful to see them.

As we wandered about I couldn’t help remind those who stuck their little fingers into the anemones, “gently now, they’re living creatures.” Just like an old person I guess.

Soon we were hungry and headed back to where we started, refreshed and ready for lunch.

All in all a wonderful day. 🙂

~ Susanne

Exploring Fort Stevens

For our one and only camping trip this year, Fort Stevens State Park had everything, including 3,700 acres of wetland, forest and dunes, and even a shipwreck! The campground is one of the largest in the Western United States with over 9 miles of paved trails connecting all areas of the park.

We crossed the Columbia River from Washington to Astoria, Oregon and set up camp;

then we unloaded our bikes and hit the trails.

Our first stop was at the Shipwreck of the Peter Iredale, a four-masted steel bark built in Maryport, England, in 1890, which ran aground in 1906. We’d come back here later for sunset.

The historic area of the park protects portions of the the Fort Stevens Military Reservation which guarded the mouth of the Columbia River from the Civil War through World War II. We visited Battery Russell where the only attack on a mainland American military site during World War II occurred on June 21, 1942.

According to History.com, “After trailing American fishing vessels to bypass minefields, the Japanese submarine I-25 made its way to the mouth of the Columbia River. It surfaced near Fort Stevens, an antiquated Army base that dated back to the Civil War. Just before midnight, I-25 used its 140-millimeter deck gun to fire 17 shells at the fort. Believing that the muzzle flashes of the fort’s guns would only serve to more clearly reveal their position, the commander of Fort Stevens ordered his men not to return fire. The plan worked, and the bombardment was almost totally unsuccessful—a nearby baseball field bore the brunt of the damage.”

There were more batteries on the Columbia River side of the park and we rode our books over to see them too.

After we’d had enough of the military, we exchanged our bikes for the truck and drove to the South Jetty.

South Jetty is one of three jetties built on the mouth of the Columbia between 1885 and 1939  to help contain the shifting sand deposits at the mouth of the river and ensure a more stable shipping channel.

After climbing the Observation Tower and watching the waves roll in, there was still enough time to head back and watch the sunset over the Peter Iredale, a perfect end to the day.

~ Susanne

Hooray For Camping!

Our first camping trip of the year. Finally.

Not that we didn’t try earlier. It seems that pandemic camping is in.

When things began to open up in late May our favorite campgrounds filled up quickly, without us. And last month, when we tried to book a site in Olympic National Park we had to settle for Plan B and stayed at Lake Quinault Lodge instead (which was even better but I digress.)

Still we had a hankering to go camping and looked once more to our favorite spots this week. No dice. So we gave up on Washington and headed south. To Fort Stevens State Park in Oregon, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific; rich in history, beaches, and bike trails.

As we began to get the camper ready, guess who showed up?

“I’m here to help,” he said. “And of course I’d like to come along. I’ll be no trouble. I promise.”

“Sorry Benji, we wish you could come but who’d look after Tiger?”

So we ignored his pleas and sad eyes and set out anyway, with our lodging, food and entertainment with us. About right – in the middle of a pandemic – don’t you think?

I’ll have more to share with you in the next few days but until then; nothing beats having your morning coffee next to a campfire.

~ Susanne

Fishing at Mineral Lake and Mt. Rainier

Though truth be told, I just go along for the ride, Bob does all the fishing. Mineral Lake sits in the Cascade foothills near Mt. Rainier and Bob remembers coming here way back in the last century. I told you about that already in A Fishing Trip Back in Time.

Honestly it hasn’t changed much. We launched our little boat and passed by Mineral Lake Resort – see what I mean?

As we made our way around the lake, the color changed from dark blue and purple,

to milky aquamarine, though I can’t tell you why.

As we trolled, enjoying the solitude, and feasting on our tuna sandwiches, it wasn’t long before Bob got a a bump, and began to wrestle with a trout.

I secretly hoped he would get away but Bob was able to bring him in.

The poor fish didn’t even get a last meal as the bait was a lure. I was happy when he was released back into the lake and survived the ordeal though I wonder what he told his friends about his near death experience. (“Stay away from the bright pink one! It tastes terrible!”)

After a couple hours of fishing we headed up to the Mountain.

I already shared some photos from that part of the trip in a recent post (here) but you can’t have too many pictures of Mt. Rainier, can you? I think not.

And that will do for now.

~ Susanne

Happy International Cat Day 2020!

“Well it’s been quite a year so far, huh boys? But today we’re going to put that all aside – it’s time to celebrate you! So put on your best face for International Cat Day!”

“Didn’t we celebrate that already?” asked Tiger.

“No no,” I replied. “You must be thinking of National Pet Day.”

“Okay. Whatever you say. How’s this?”

“Hmm, caught you with your eyes closed. Let’s try again. With a little more enthusiasm.”

“Sorry Sue. Here you go.”

“Beautiful Tiger! Thank you.”

“Benji?”

“How’s this for enthusiasm?” he said.

“You got it Benji!”

“You boys are the best!

Happy International Cat Day!”

~ Susanne, Tiger and Benji

Cattin’ Around in the Garden With Benji

There’s nothing like spending time in the garden with Benji.

Whether it’s watching him leap effortlessly to the top of the fence to survey his kingdom.

Or watching him hunt a green bean;

It’s a thing of beauty.

~ Susanne

At Paradise On Mt. Rainier with Hike to Myrtle Falls

For the past week or so I’ve been sharing with you the beauty of Olympic National Park, perhaps my favorite of them all. But a short visit to Paradise yesterday to see the wildflowers in bloom on Mt. Rainier left me breathless.

And how we ever missed this sweet hike to Myrtle Falls I’ll never know; an easy trail behind Paradise Inn, one mile round trip to one of the most beautiful views in the park.

I’m so happy to have this Mountain in my backyard. And happy there are still trails waiting to be discovered.

~ Susanne

Ruby Beach at Olympic National Park

Even the name is beautiful.

On our recent trip to Olympic National Park we stopped to enjoy Ruby Beach on Washington’s wild Coast. Kalaloch just south may be more famous but to me Ruby Beach is more beautiful and mysterious. We arrived and walked to the overlook, then headed down the wooded path

until thick shrubs became a canopy over our heads.

We left the tunnel and arrived at the beach, greeted by drift logs.

Morning fog hung low over the trees;

and giant rocks looked like sleeping giants.

We walked up the beach

until the fog began to lift and blue sky appeared.

Can you smell the ocean air?

After we had our fill, we headed back to the tunnel and onto the wooded trail to our next adventure.

Shared with Sunday Stills, Beautiful Beaches.

~ Susanne

A Walk to Dungeness Spit

Did you know that Sequim is home to the longest natural sand spit in the U.S. and one of the longest in the world? Neither did I! Until we stopped at Dungeness Spit on our recent trip to Olympic National Park. Better late than never!

It was a misty summer morning as we made our way through the woods.

The trail was quiet and dreamy, especially with the accent of color from flowering shrubs. I could have sat there forever and pondered the beauty of nature.

Instead we continued to the bluff where we got our first view of the Spit below,

then followed the trail down.

Dungeness Spit was created roughly 10,000 years ago when melting glaciers left thick deposits of sand and gravel along the coastline here. Extending over 5 miles into the Straight of Juan de Fuca, the New Dungeness Lighthouse (no there never was an old one) has been operating on its tip since 1857.

Perhaps someday we’ll make the hike to the lighthouse. Then again, maybe not. 😉

Either way, we’ll be back.

~ Susanne

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