Welcome to my photo journal.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Scenic Southern Utah

We are enjoying our nearly two weeks here exploring the area and learning a little about it's history.
We are staying in a nice RV park in Hurricane, UT, we haven't learned how it got it's name but it's close to Zion National Park and just a few miles east of St. George.
We started out visiting the state parks that are near Hurricane looking for birds, we did see a bat out in the day time as well as a lot of coots and a few ducks.
Sand Hollow State Park

We took a drive over to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon which was a couple hours drive, we knew the lodge would not be open but the big 23 mile drive closes in Sept. but we did walk out to Bright Angel lookout, or rather Ken did I didn't quite make it.
We did see the Kaibab Squirrel at the North Rim, it's a cute little guy that resides only around the North Rim.
We  visited Bryce Canyon National Park, it was a two plus hour drive too.
We also drove up to the  Cedar Breaks National Monument where the visitor center and restrooms were closed for the winter.
After our visit to Cedar Breaks we stopped at the visitor center in Cedar City and learned about their Heritage and Livestock Festival taking place that weekend.  It sounded interesting so we took in some of the various activities, including the parade where they head sheep down the main street.
We also learned about this machine that was invented in Cedar City to make it easier to bale hay.
It seems hay needs some moisture to stay together in a bale and it is rather dry here and so as not to have to rely on the early morning dew they came up with this steam machine.
It was in the parade along with lots of old tractors, sheep wagons and horses.
We took in the tractor pull, the draft horse pull and sheep dog demonstration.
There are several places that have petroglyphs, but this is the most famous and easiest to find at the Parowan Gap.
Also we learned there are several places that have dinosaur tracks but the easiest to see and learn about them is at St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm.
In 2000 Dr. Johnson was excavating for a new housing development and they found dinosaur tracks and to preserve them they built the museum over them and they add new finds to the museum all the time.
Of course there is a lot of Mormon history, Brigham Young sent followers to the area to grow cotton and raise silk worms.  He also spent the winter here in his last years, this was his home.
The St. George's temple.
A few miles east on the way to the North Rim there is Pipe Springs National Monument which was a Mormon dairy ranch also during the polygamy days when the US government was arresting the husbands many wives found it a hiding place, if the government couldn't find the wives the husbands were safe.  I didn't get a good photo of the house but Ken found the Mather sign there (we try to find the Mather signs at all the National Parks we visit).
Pipe Springs is now on the Paiute Indian Reservation.
We also took in a photo exhibit of Dorothea Lange's at the St. George Art Museum, showing was a few of her photos she took for a 1954 article in  Life Magazine, Three Mormon Towns , the towns were Gunlock, St. George, and Toquerville.  We found it interesting with the politics of the time and how Life Magazine edited her story needless to say the folks of Toquerville were not happy with it
A look at Zion National Park as it looked today with rain clouds.
We are heading for Vegas next.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Salt Lake

We spent a week in Salt Lake visiting Ken's son and family and doing some birding.

It was a chilly week, highs in the mid 50's but the mountains were beautiful in their fall colors and snow capped peaks.  We took a couple of drives along the Alpine Loop which is in a National Forest so the restrooms were locked but some of the picnic areas were open that didn't make sense. 

We went out to Antelope Island State Park and they didn't charge the usual $10 entry fee since the National Parks were closed we thought that was nice. The Salt Lake is really low so it is hard to see the birds out on it but there were hundreds of eared grebes and some avocets we also saw the bison and antelope on the island.
We found another nice state park to visit the This Is The Place Heritage Park where historical buildings have been moved in and many of the buildings have a reenactor to tell you the story of the building and Mormon history.
Before we left Salt Lake the National Parks and Refuges reopened and we took the opportunity to visit Bear River Bird Migration Refuge the duck hunters also took advantage of the reopening to head out to the refuge.  I don't understand a refuge being open to hunters!  We did enjoy the ponds filled with
Eared Grebes, Western Grebes, Clark's Grebes and some ducks but mostly Coots.  We also saw lots of American Pipets along the road side.
On our drive out of the refuge Ken spotted this Badger, we had never seen a badger in the wild before.
We are now in a warmer part of Utah for a week, Hurricane, UT and the landscape looks awesome.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Dairy, Dories and Dirigibles

We've enjoyed four days of sunshine here in Tillamook, OR, the early mornings were very cool in the 30's but the sun was nice to see.  This  is where the Tillamook Cheese Factory has it headquarters and visitors center.  Dairy farms have been here for years before the cheese factory and it has been here since 1909, the farmers had more milk and butter than they could use and so they hired a cheddar cheese maker and the rest is history.  The farmers found this area perfect for their dairy cows as the grass is always green, they do have to truck in some feed but otherwise the area is perfect.  There is also the Blue Heron Cheese Co they make brie cheese.
We also hit the beaches and did some beachcombing.  The beach in Pacific City is famous for it's Dory boats and charters.  These boats just run up onto the beach so watch out surfers and beachcombers.

We were seeing a couple of vintage warplanes flying around as we visited the overlooks and beaches so we stopped by the Tillamook Air Museum.  It has a fascinating history of being one of 8 dirigible hangers left in the U.S., it was used during WWII and the dirigibles kept watch for enemy submarines.  The museum has 30 vintage warplanes all in flying condition the sad part is the museum is closing in the next year and the planes are being moved to central OR.  We didn't go in to see the planes but enjoyed seeing the hanger and the planes that were sitting out.

The state parks are free and the shortest lighthouse is at Cape Meares SP, we stopped at several parks along hwy 101 to enjoy the beaches .
Photo taken at Pacific Beach.
There is a great little Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook and the city has a quilt square trail all through the town and around the country.
It's was fun looking for all the painted squares.
The strange weather that hit the Midwest this week has us thinking that maybe we should start heading east and south before a big winter storm hits the high country.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cannon Beach, OR

Our visit to Cannon Beach has been a wet one, we have gone out the six days here to visit things between rains.  Cannon Beach received the name because a cannon from a shipwreck in the 1800's was found on the beach.  Cannon Beach is considered the Carmel of Oregon, there is no fast foods or even a convenience store the only gas found in town is at our RV park but fast food and etc can be found  8 miles up the road at Seaside.  We found Seaside to be a quaint little town with a beach promenade and outlet stores, it doesn't have the pretty beach that Cannon has but the aquarium is a little gem.

This is the overlook at Ecola State Park part of Lewis and Clark National Park, the National Park is unusual as it encompasses 3state parks as well as National park areas in both Washington and Oregon.
We are just south of the mouth of the Columbia River the end of their trail where they made camp to spend the winter in 1808-9 before heading back east.  They recorded in their journal only 12 days without rain that winter.  Ecola Park is where they looked for a beached whale when they found it the Indians had cleaned it so they traded with Indians for some blubber and oil. 
Sunset at Cannon Beach

This is the Tillamook Lighthouse 1.2 miles off shore, wouldn't you like being a keeper out there, but it is no long in use since 1970's the birds have taken it over as a nesting area.

We visited the Seaside Aquarium where I enjoyed feeding the harbor seals and looking at all the sea creatures such as this fish.  It is called the Tsunami Fish as it traveled over 4,000 miles in a Japanese fishing boat that washed ashore in Long Beach, WA found on March 22, 2013, it is a Striped Beakfish.

Sorry not a very clear photo of the river otters we saw at the lagoons in Cannon Beach.  I used my little point and shoot camera a lot since I could put it in my pocket when it would start to rain.
This Steller Jay was in our RV park, our best birding is sometimes right in the RV parks here we had Juncos, Townsend Warbler, Brown Creeper, Flicker, Robins and Crows plus some fleeting looks at others we couldn't ID.
We are  heading only 40 miles south down 101, hopefully the next few days we will see more sun.