A Perfect Getaway to Sun Mountain Lodge

Earlier this month we took a trip to Sun Mountain Lodge via the scenic North Cascades Highway. The drive was wonderful providing views like this.

It was gray and rainy on the west side but as we crossed over the mountains we entered into a realm where rain is in short supply and the sun always shines.

We passed through the tiny town of Winthrop, restored to an old west theme and fun for shopping.

Then it was on to the Lodge where we spent the next couple of days off the grid – no TV and spotty cell service – surrounded by views like these – a fair tradeoff.

While Bob went fly fishing I had the day to myself to relax by the pool,

and wander the grounds taking pictures of the flowers

and the bees working them.

There were many trails to explore and I ventured onto one of them but not very far,

because of this.

I guess no travel is without its risks, right?

At night there was dinner with a view and sunsets over the mountains,

a perfect getaway.

~ Susanne

A Quick Tour of Washington’s National Parks

Did you know that Washington State has three National Parks?  They are Mt. Rainier, Olympic and North Cascades!  All are marvelous and worth many visits, especially if you live here as I do.  🙂

Lets start with Mt. Rainier National Park  – just two hours south of Seattle,  this one is closest and has everything, including the most beautiful mountain in the country!  Some may beg to differ – I can hear protests from as far away as Alaska and California.  Still, Rainier gets my vote and here’s one of my favorite pictures of the mountain at Reflection Lakes.  Notice the brave ones on thin ice pointing out the view.

Not that you will find a bad view of the mountain anywhere.

And though it’s surely the centerpiece, there’s more to the park than Mt. Rainier.  You’ll also find old-growth forest, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls.

Next up is Olympic National Park – just a few hours west of Seattle, it has the most diverse landscape of the three.  In addition to the mountain range, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls, Olympic has a rainforest and ocean beaches too!

Hurricane Ridge provides the best view of the Olympic Mountains;

Lake Crescent is my favorite lake.

And here’s a sampling of the ocean beaches, some of the wildest and most remote in the country.

Finally, there’s North Cascades National Park – a hidden gem a couple hours north of Seattle.  The rugged North Cascades are known as the American Alps, and are most accessible by hiking.  The Skagit River flows through the park supplying hydroelectric power to the City of Seattle through several dams.  We recently drove the scenic highway through the park and even on a gray and rainy day the colors were magnificent at the Gorge Trail Overlook;

Diablo Lake,

And at the Washington Pass Overlook with views of Liberty Bell.

Well, that’s enough for now.

Can you tell which National Park is my favorite?  Which one would you like to visit?

~  Susanne

Still Living the High Life – with Benji

I looked out my window and this is what I saw – the nimble one fast asleep.

Outside I went, camera in hand to take stock of the situation.

“Benji, what are you doing up there?”

“Isn’t it obvious Sue? I’m taking a nap. At least I was before you woke me up. But if it bothers you I’ll come down.”

“Sorry Benji. It’s just that it startles me to see you up so high. It’s unnatural.”

“Actually Sue, it’s very natural.  Look at the grip on these paws. It’s a cake walk.”

“Sure Benji, you do have quite a grip. But thanks for coming down anyway.”

“Don’t mention it, Sue.”

~ Susanne and Benji

Tiger – a new day

A story from Tiger from the early days of the blog. It’s still the same only now there are two demanding to go outside – I still oblige. 🙂 🙂

Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

Good Morning all. Tiger again.  The first light of day has begun to dawn through the closed blinds and I must needs go out to hunt the small ones who reside in the bush.  I hear them through the walls.  I sense them in my whiskers.

Bob is up and Sue tosses.  She is the one I must wake but though my eyes speak she doesn’t hear.  I must resort to the mew, though she does not appreciate that, I have learned.  But what can I do?  The small ones will escape and I need the chase to release the energy stored up overnight in my limbs.

“Mew,” I say quietly so only she can hear.  She stirs but does not rise.

“Mew,”  I say again a bit louder but still there is nothing.

“Meow!  Meeowww! ” I say again so she has no excuse to pretend she does not…

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Under a Weeping Willow

I rested under a weeping willow.

Its trunk was thick and twisted

its leaves swayed in the breeze

on supple branches upheld by stronger limbs above

twisted too and content to be hidden.

For A Photo a Week Challenge – Twisted.

~ Susanne

Fun With Watercolors

One of my worst memories from grade school was when we had to paint something in Art class.  Afterwards the teacher showed our work to the class one by one while asking who the artist was. After seeing what others had done I was so embarrassed when mine came along I didn’t raise my hand.

Speak or sing in front of the class?  Yes, gladly.  Admit to an inferior painting?  Um, no!

So I was delighted to find a setting on my camera called Watercolor which turns already lovely landscapes into beautiful works of art.

Here are a few photos I took recently using this setting.

The trick is remembering to turn the setting off  when you’re done or you will continue to get unexpected results as I did at sunset later that same day.

What do you think?   🙂

~ Susanne

Rambling through the Garden Rain or Shine

Summer is in full swing in the Great Northwest but you wouldn’t know it by the weather.  It seems we used up our allotment of sunshine earlier in the year and so are left with mostly gray skies and rainy days.  Still,  life continues in the garden.

First there are the dahlias.  I’ve been trying to capture their color since they started blooming but got my best picture today in the rain.

Two weeks ago I tried and the color was lost – yet I was rewarded when a visitor dropped by.

These tomatoes were just beginning to ripen a few days ago –

but now are ready to pick.

And the nasturtiums we planted in the spring? I was afraid we’d only get a crop of leaves.

But flowers finally appeared.

Here’s a shot of the whole blooming mess!  🙂

That’s all from my garden for now.

~ Susanne

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