Sunday, October 8, 2023

Lincoln Rock State Park

Dear Blog,

I'm sorry I have neglected you for so long. Now that my traveling days are over, at least in my RV, it seems I have fallen silent. But the world holds so much beauty and excitement just here in my beautiful valley. I will try to capture some of that!

It is now two years since I left the Missoula Montana area. While there I learned a lot about the great Missoula Flood eons ago and saw much of the evidence for it's happening. Now back in the Wenatchee Valley I saw this sign telling me about the Missoula Flood! It seems the great flood is responsible for much of what I am seeing today, 366 miles from where it began. This view is looking north up the Columbia River at the boat launch on Lake Entiat.

Hopefully you can read this sign telling about the Missoula Flood. Wenatchee is up in the top center of the circle right on the edge of the northern most part of the flood.

To see Lincoln Rock you sort of need to know how to look for it. Lincoln's profile can be seen on the edge of the large rock formation in the center of the picture. This is best angle I could find. Lincoln is looking upriver to the north. The park has a large and quite lovely area for camping right on the river for both RVs and tents. As I walked through I reminisced about my husband's and my many years working in RV parks and even talked with a couple of campers who were walking their large and fluffy German Shepard.

I am fond of looking for and photographing large and beautiful trees that I find when out walking or driving. This one struck me because it had bark around the bottom part but changed to naked branches higher up. It was a lovely rust color. So...opening up my plant identifier I discovered this tree is a sycamore! I was excited, because I haven't seen a sycamore since our time in New Mexico about 15 years ago. The leaves are much like large maple leaves. 

While I had my plant identifier open I snapped these pretty mushrooms. They have only a scientific name, Paxillaceae, and are considered dangerous to eat. Not that I had planned to snack on them! 
Finally, after my walk I sat on bench under the brilliant yellow fall branches above me and watched these folks launching their boats. At first I thought, "why does someone need a boat that big and fancy?", and then I thought "It's no different from we RVers with our big rigs!"

As I headed home I chanced upon a busy fruit stand and had to stop to see their offerings. They still had peaches! So down the road I went satisfied with my day at Lincoln Rock Park and pleased to still find my favorite orchard fruit!

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

A New Trail!

 Since I am new in the Leavenworth area I am anxious to find the local, not too strenuous trails. My boss recommended the nature trails behind the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery. I was not disappointed, but couldn't go the whole way quite yet because of snow on parts of the trail.

I needed to walk all the way through the Fish Hatchery, shown in the blue rectangle, to get to the trail, shown in red. I crossed a bridge over Icicle Creek and found myself in a beautiful, partially forested area.

The open meadow near the trail gave me this lovely view of the snow covered mountains surrounding Leavenworth. I have yet to learn the names of each peak, all part of the Cascade Range dividing eastern Washington from western Washington.

To my delight I found these sign posts along the trail. Each one had an amusing painting of a bear, the name of each one along with a brief description. This one said:
 "I could be a black bear asleep in the shade, 
with a belly full of berries in a rain forest glade." 

The sign on the left was presented as a riddle "Who Am I?" with paw prints and clues as to what animal it could be. The answer was to be given on the next sign up the trail a ways. The sign on the right revealed the animal described on the last sign. So intriguing! I guessed them all correctly and wished I could have proceeded further on through the snow to see them all. 
The little poem for the bear cubs on the sign below said:
"If I were a bear cub, I'd take naps beneath a willow
 on a blanket of tundra with a wildflower pillow."

These two wooden structures on the bank of Icicle Creek looked like the very old fishing platforms constructed by the Native Americans. They would stand on them and cast out for fish. I can't imagine that these are authentic platforms because of all the construction and rock moving done in the area, but maybe someone put them up as a reminder of how the local salmon were caught in the 'old days'.
The Hatchery is still closed right now, but as soon as it opens in the spring and one can see the salmon, I intend to take the tour. I will be doing another blog about that!

I found this beautiful stained glass mosaic on the wall of one of the buildings. It commemorates the yearly Salmon Festival in Leavenworth.  So...I am waiting for the rest of the trail to be revealed perhaps in a couple of weeks, as the snow continues to melt, so I can traverse the entire area. What fun I have to look forward to!

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Tiny Libraries and Fairy Rings

    I discovered a new trail last week and today I decided to try it again. It's only 1/2 mile long, right along Rattlesnake Creek and in the middle of a neighborhood though well hidden and private. It's called the Tom Green Trail. I so appreciate the work that has gone into the many trails around Missoula. There are trails for just about any skill level and mine has become much simplified in my old age and with my sore knees! At the beginning of the trail I discovered this tiny library stocked with several books, some dog treats, 2 jars of sidewalk chalk to go with the blackboard on the side of the library, some hand sanitizer, and a notebook and pen for recording anything the visitor might like to write. 

The Tom Green Trail is an easy walk with lots of shade, a wide trail for hikers and bicyclers.

I love the many beautiful trees I see on most of my walks, mostly ponderosas and cottonwoods that have attained a good height. I saw a deer this time, and, in spite of warnings about bears in the area, I did not encounter any. I never remember to carry my bear spray anyway!

I love surprises in nature and here I saw something I've never seen before! Crossing my path and meandering off several hundred feet into the brush was this line of mushrooms, each one 4-6 inches across. I followed it quite a ways until the brush got in my way and wondered how much farther it went. When I posted my photo on Facebook I got a suggestion that it was a "fairy ring", something I've never encountered, though I've heard of it. This didn't appear to be a ring, unless the ring was really, really large. Is there such a thing as a fairy line?

From Wikipedia:

fairy ring, also known as fairy circleelf circleelf ring or pixie ring, is a naturally occurring ring or arc of mushrooms. They are found mainly in forested areas, but also appear in grasslands or rangelands. Fairy rings are detectable by sporocarps (fungal spore pods) in rings or arcs, as well as by a necrotic zone (dead grass), or a ring of dark green grass. Fungus mycelium is present in the ring or arc underneath. The rings may grow to over 10 metres (33 ft) in diameter, and they become stable over time as the fungus grows and seeks food underground.

Fairy rings are the subject of much folklore and myth worldwide—particularly in Western Europe. They are often seen as hazardous or dangerous places, and linked with witches or the Devil in folklore. Conversely, they can sometimes be linked with good fortune.

He wha tills the fairies' green

Nae luck again shall hae :

And he wha spills the fairies' ring

Betide him want and wae.

For weirdless days and weary nights

Are his till his deein' day.

But he wha gaes by the fairy ring,

Nae dule nor pine shall see,

And he wha cleans the fairy ring

An easy death shall dee.

Apparently fairy rings can be made up of a variety of different types of mushrooms. I couldn't find a name for these particular ones.

 So, after my exciting discovery, here I am on my way back out, stopping at the tiny library again. This time I selected a small book called "Me" by Katharine Hepburn, and I signed the notebook with thanks for the library and my first name and my age, just for fun. Here's to the joy of finding new trails and new learning experiences!

Monday, January 11, 2021

The Beginning: Choosing our RV

In 2004 our lives took a dramatic turn. Mr. Keith had decided to retire from his years working in homeless shelters, his latest as Director of the Hospitality House in Wenatchee, where we met. By co-incidence, or was it God-cidence, I had been making a hobby out of studying RVs and workamping, something I never thought would happen but that was fun to dream about. Upon his retirement, he said "Let's go for it!" By that time I had narrowed my web searches to 5th wheels and was looking at rigs that came with a truck to haul the 5th wheel. Strangely, the one that looked the best was located in the very town where I had attended 12 years of school, a 5 hour drive away in Mossyrock. We contacted the sellers, they said come on over, and we did. Our route took us across White Pass and the beautiful Mt. Ranier.

We met Joette and Harley and our potential new home. They had used the rig in Harley's job, which took him back and forth between the bigger Washington cities. They were ready for a change and no longer needed such a big RV.

I enjoyed the view right behind their property, Lake Mayfield. I had spent my high school years riding the bus to school and watching the clearing of land and the destruction of small towns along the Cowlitz River and the eventual filling of the lake behind the Mayfield Dam, named for the tiny town of Mayfield a few hundred yards down river, now lake.

Here it is! a 38 foot Alfa 5th wheel. It looks huge! 

Harley and Joette invited us to spend the night in the rig to get a feel for what it would be like. We loved the inside, the arrangement of kitchen cupboards, desk, everything. It was however a little daunting to think about moving from a 4 bedroom, 3 bath house with 40 years worth of stuff. Downsizing would be a major undertaking. We loved it, however. It was so fun "camping" in our first RV for that one night. We had neither one of us ever ridden or hardly been inside an RV. But we were sold!

 This is BigTruk, so named by Harley and Joette, a 1 1/2 ton F-450 Ford. We loved the personalized license plate. We went for a drive with the rig, Keith driving while Harley guided and explained everything. We were amazed, and have since found out with experience, that they had done everything right in outfitting BigTruk with after-market add ons to make the pulling and traveling the best it could be. In 16 years BigTruk has never let us down!
We returned home to get ready to sell our house, and by January 1, 2005, we were headed over the mountains with check in hand to bring our new home back to Wenatchee, where we had an RV spot, and where we would live for about 5 months until I could wrap up my piano teaching job and find our first workamping job. The adventure had begun!

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Memories of Leaving Colorado

These photos have lain idly waiting for some narration for a long time. Even though this event was in 2016 I can still remember the details. We had a winter job at the La Junta Colorado KOA 2015-2016. It was our last job together before Mr. Keith passed away in 2020 so it holds special memories. In this photo the snow is gone, it's April, and we are getting ready to leave for Montana and my summer job at the Missoula KOA as a single workamper.

A great photo of these 2 old coots, as they liked to describe themselves. Kenny lived alone in his motorhome at the KOA. He walked daily to try to stave off his COPD and to keep healthy. He had led a rugged life in southern Colorado before becoming disabled. He looks like a mountain man! Kenny had recently turned to faith in God and frequently picked Mr. Keith's brain for spiritual help and advice. They helped each other. His parting gift to us was a beautiful jeweled cross wall hanging. I have it still.

Back on the road again, heading north through Colorado and Nebraska on highway 70 and then to Rapid City where we needed to renew our driver's licenses, as South Dakota is our state of residence. I remember thinking how beautiful the prairies are in spring, though seeming desolate sometimes. I also knew this would probably be our last trip in our home on wheels as I knew Mr. Keith wouldn't be able to work any longer as he fought cancer, let alone maneuver the 5th wheel. So we enjoyed every mile. I am following behind in my little Focus (and taking pictures) as Keith hauls our house down the highway.

Of course we had to visit Bear Country USA, our very first workamping job in 2005, and where we returned in the summers of 2006 and 2008. Even though it had been 8 years since our last summer there, some of the current employees recognized us! We saw bears, bears, and more bears as well as the myriad of other animals residing there! What memories it brought back as we drove through where the big animals are and then parked to walk through Babyland, for small animals and everyone's favorite, the bear cubs.

The foxes were always some of my special critters when we worked there, and now we saw the descendants of those we'd enjoyed feeding back then.

A trip to the Black Hills is not complete without a drive through the winding, narrow roads leading to "The Eye of the Needle". The tunnels and roads here are amazing and beautiful.

Of course, Mt. Rushmore! We always enjoyed this sneak peak of President Washington.

A favorite stop of ours has always been the Buffalo, Wyoming KOA. We always thought we'd have loved to have worked there. It's early enough in the spring for the trees to still be bare.

Downtown Buffalo. I couldn't help but think of the TV show we loved "Longmire", which is supposed to take place here. It's filmed elsewhere but the town capitalizes on the fame with headquarters for fans.

Well, these are the only photos I found languishing waiting for me to describe our memories. I hope to go back to some of our thousands of photos and make some more writings about our adventures prior to 2008 when I began my blog. Mr. Keith's passing has left a huge hole in my life, but what incomparable times we had in our RVing and workamping years. I wouldn't have traded it for anything! Thank you, Mr. Keith!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Greenough Park

 There is a short one mile walk not too far from the downtown Missoula that we love to take. It runs around Rattlesnake Creek and is heavily wooded with ponderosas, cottonwoods and other kinds of trees, some very big ones. This was my choice when our Respite Volunteer came to sit with Mr. Keith for a couple of hours so that I could get out.


Are those scratches from a bear? There were several marks, some higher up, the size of a large human hand. This a huge ponderosa that leans over to the side for a long way until it straightens up near the top. We always stop here to take pictures. I'd never noticed the scratches before, unless they are new. The park is in a populated neighborhood which makes one wonder about bears being there, too!

 Here I am by the same ponderosa. Not one for taking selfies, I'm experimenting here.

 I have a friend who is always finding hearts in nature. This is for her!

The hills around Missoula are beautiful any time of year. We had a snowfall yesterday and here are the leftovers. There is a big "L" up there and also a hiking trail leading to it. It's not quite as well used as the trail to the "M" above the University. I haven't taken the "L" trail because it looks too steep. I'll leave that to the youngsters!

Friday, March 20, 2020

First Spring Walk

 I was rarin' to go on my first Spring walk today. Mr. Keith had a Hospice volunteer ready to sit with him for 2-3 hours so I could get out by myself, an unheard of treat. Our favorite thing to do is take hikes around Missoula, but his cancer has taken its toll and he can no longer do the brisk walks we formerly loved. I chose McClay Flats, one of our most favored trails. I've always loved this ponderosa. It's difficult to tell whether one tree has four trunks, or whether it is four trees vying for the same piece of ground.

 How many times have I taken this picture, I wonder? It's always beautiful in any season. The Bitterroot River is especially low this time of year.

 This is a first! I saw lots of dogs walking their owners today, but from a slight distance these "dogs" appeared to have horns! The young couple agreed to let me take their picture. The gal said they are training their pets to be pack goats. They indeed walked very nicely on their leashes.

 The buttercup is always the first Spring flower. I wasn't disappointed to spot several of these beauties nestled in the dry grass.

Last Spring we had a terrific flood in the Bitterroot Valley and beyond. You can see in the photo how high the water came and how it washed away quite a bit of ground. This lone ponderosa almost succumbed to the chilling, raging torrent and seems to still be holding on for dear life.
I am happy to once again be able to contribute to my neglected blog. I hope I have many more opportunities to share my photos and experiences.