Friday, August 27, 2010

Redwoods - Ben and Carrie Approved.

Time to spend a few moments with us in the Redwoods - 
Did you remember to bring the smores?

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings
Nature's peace will flow into you
As sunshine flows into trees
The winds will blow their own
Freshness into you and the storms
Their energy while cares will
Drop off like autumn leaves.
~John Muir

 This was too classic to pass up.  
Thank you random women ....
for keeping us in focus / knowing what button to push :)

Without the right perspective this tree could be located in anyone's backyard.
This giant, known as Big Tree, towers at 301 feet and has a 21 ft diameter.

To infinity


Hard to believe it was a mere 41 years ago the original park was dedicated.  Did you know that only 4% of the country's old growth Redwoods remain today?  To fell a giant Redwood in the past of ~ 10-12 ft diameter took two to three days of work.  

Steller's Jay made a cameo

We were blown away.  
Half expected a Velociraptor to pop its sneaky head out from around an enormous tree trunk. 
                "Clever girl"


Jedediah Smith State Park.

The most impressive area of the redwoods by far .... campground / day use park complete with trails through old old old growth forest, visitor center, tallest tree on earth (379 ft- but honestly, after seeing SO many trees nearby that are over 200ft - it's hard to tell the difference), and beach along the ultra-clear Smith River.  The only river system in California that isn't dammed.  The water is deeper than it looks. 15 or more feet in places - perfect for diving in from boulders along the banks to view fish hiding out in the shadows.

We followed the coast highway back home, camped, and enjoyed quite a few stop overs at various attractions along the way.
Devils Punch Bowl was quite the sea cave...with a collapsed roof allowing an inside view.

The Newport Aquarium was an indoor/outdoor surprise.  While not as large as some aquariums we have visited, it's interpretive designs and species selection were the best we've ever seen.

Japanese Spider Crabs and Ben spent some time picking each other's brains.

Highly recommended.  Ben and Carrie approved.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

We'll bring the photos. You bring the smores.


For the next few days, we'll have a new temporary home... amongst the trees. And while its rather cramped and damp, we have come to enjoy it's earthy feel and frequent earthworm encounters.  Backward, is the most appropriate way to enter.
Don't put it past us - both of us, as kids tried to dig secret hideouts into the ground.  An hour or so digging with garden trowels and spoons, as you can imagine, left us with luxurious 1' x 4" holes in the topsoil....Just large enough to twist an ankle in after they had been forgotten about a week later.

We're actually headed to camp in the Redwoods for awhile.  Somehow, within the past six months, we never realized we were within a days drive from them!  
Plenty of picture sharing will ensue once we're back. 
We'll bring the photos, you bring the smores.

On a side note - We enjoyed the company of this seemingly toupee wearing moth the other evening as we were preparing dinner in the kitchen.  After a few oohs and ahhhs from us - he was scooped up and let outside. Any entomologists out there who can tell us this guys name?

A soon-to-be farewell sunset

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Knock your breath out cold

Only a couple nights of Spotted Owl surveying left for us.  Sadly, we will soon be leaving the great coast of Oregon and saying so-long to its....well....umm.....hmm....indescribable beauty.
BUT...not quite yet....
We're sticking around to gaze at a few last sights and try and soak up as much of the rain forest and salty coast smell into our pores and clothing as possible.
Where are we off to next? 
What critters will we work with in the near future?
Well, those are good questions.
We're not sure yet, a few things are in the mix, but don't worry- 
you'll be the first, or maybe third or fourth to know...

 Adult Barred Owl vs. juvenile fledgling complete with fluff on top of head.  Juvenile chicks often outweigh their parents during this period of life, but are quick to lose the excess weight after learning to hunt for themselves.

Northwestern Garter Snake - 
Notice the musk dripping down the finger...Not to worry,  
enjoying the little guy's company outweighs a few hours of stink any day.

Young's River Falls south of Astoria 
Coldest pool of water EVER.... knock your breath out cold.
(Judging by your expressions, you'd like to know just how cold,
after all - how cold is cold?) 
We would say it rivals the Pacific Ocean's temps right now ~ 58 °F.  
Colder than last summer's river crossing Teton Wilderness escapades.
Basking rocks for afterward, however, were conveniently scattered about.

The sun was ridiculously bright this evening- even for a sunset.  Luckily, we happened to drive by an overlook that provided us with the opportunity to see above the cloud line as well as to the ocean below.  Almost like something you'd see out of an airplane window.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

What did you do last night?  If your answer does not include gazing up at the sky - don't fret, you still have a night or two when the Perseid Meteor Shower will be close to its peak.  Grab your lawn chairs and beach towels - join us and others around the world...

Courtesy Youtube tmophoto

"Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence." - Alan Watts

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The view from here. And there.

What is it about the perspective of the landscape from a high place that is so captivating?
We actually saw porpoises this day.  Off the Oregon Coast - a rare site indeed.

Our ideal town.  
Don't be surprised if you find us here again in the future.

Even cramped on a plane next to infants, who are apparently always hungry, grabbing, producing foul odors, on the verge of dying (based on their blood curdling screams), we can't escape the sunset.... 
Thank you tiny window of sanity.


Almost all of our owl surveying takes place in areas just like this. ---We'll just leave the images of logged areas for your imagination--- However, capturing a picture without a brown patch of clear cut is difficult :( 

On a happy note, finding a Spotted Owl = no logging in that area.

Tranquility on a mountain top.


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