Thursday, June 21, 2018


The mountains have been calling us and we have answered.  Over the last couple months we have done several trips.  Our friend Hikin' Bill did his first glissade, so we have to commemorate this event with a blog post.  I'll also put in a few photos to give an idea of how snow melt occurs over time.

Blue Lake May 7

Blue Lake June12

Bill's first glissade

Lower Lamark Lake May 8

Lower Lamark Lake May 23
Grass Lake May 8
Grass Lake June 13

Sunday, June 17, 2018


This is our second family trip in less than a month.  This time we headed to Idaho to celebrate my Mom's 80th birthday!  We also got to see nieces and their partners and my sister.

Susan, Mom, and sister Sandra.  Yes, I guess it was purple shirt day.
Happy Birthday!

It is fortunate that my Mom's birthday is close to the best bloom time for flowers.  We took her out to see the Camas Lilies at Camas Prairie Centennial MarshWildlife Management Area.  Not only were the lilies wonderful, the bird life was great as well.  Bird list here.  The highlight was a displaying American Bittern.  He put on a show, thunder pumping and showing his breeding finery as he tried to impress a female.  She was not impressed, but we certainly were.

Camas Prairie with the Centennial Mountains in the background.

A close up of Camas Lily

American Bittern

Camas Prairie

Western Meadowlark

Wilson's Phalarope

Wilson's Snipe

Yellow-headed Blackbird

We also went to Brockman's Hummingbird Feeding Station.  Bird list here.  This is a parcel of private property in the forest with many hummingbird feeders.  We spent several happy hours here watching the pugnacious little combatants.  As the feeding station is in the South Hills, home of the Cassia Crossbill, we went to look for them after our fill of hummingbirds.  We heard them with my Mom, but didn't see them until a later trip.

The hummingbird feeding station

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Bob and I did a loop hike through Wahlstrom Hollow in the South Hills.  We needed a bit of exercise and this came recommended as a good flower hike.  The mules ears were lovely and we enjoyed the hike.  Afterwards we went back for the crossbills, this time finding a couple family groups.  On our way we stopped at Shoshone Falls.  They were mighty impressive at peak run off.

Hike track link

Checker lily Fritillaria affinis?

Male Cassia Crossbill

Immature Cassia Crossbill

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A Family Visit to D.C.

We have talked about heading to D.C. for years and it finally happened.  Bob and I, and our son Bobby, headed off to see Bob's Uncle Bill and Aunt Liz. We also got to see his cousins Ruth, and Sarah and her husband Dwight and children Aaron, Hannah, and Dylan.

We also spent time seeing the sights including most of the Smithsonian Museums, the Hillwood Museum and Gardens, the Capital, the Library of Congress, The National Archives, Arlington National Cemetery, and Mt Vernon; and going to culture events including a musical The Snow Child, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the play The Crucible. We even went to the opera, the Barber of Seville, and loved it.  

First up was a walking tour of the monuments -- Jefferson, FDR, Martin Luther King Jr., Korean War, Lincoln, Vietnam, Einstein, WWII, and Washington Monument.  Then a jaunt through the American History Museum.

Bobby at the FDR Monument

Bill, Bob, and Bobby
Korea War Memorial

Susan, Bob, and Bobby
Ranger making a rubbing of a name on the Vietnam Memorial

On Mother's Day, we went to the opera.  Liz mentioned that they traditionally made a day of it with brunch and the opera, I didn't even ask the men, I just said sure we would love to go.  Hey, it was Mother's Day and I get to choose.  We all enjoyed the Barber of Seville very much and would be happy to get to go to another opera.  After the opera, we went over to Arlington National Cemetery and saw the last changing of the guard for the day.

The following day we started at the Supreme Court.

Then we headed to the Library of Congress and it was just WOW!  It was one of our favorite stops.  The building is simply incredible and the tour was fun.

And what trip to D.C. would be complete without a visit to Smoky Bear.

We did a tour of the Capital Building.  The tour was nice, our guide was quite funny, but the Library of Congress was better.

Bill and Liz at Snow Child

A brief sampling of some of our museum hopping highlights.

For some insane reason Norman Rockwell's portrait of Nixon was my favorite of all the presidential portraits.

Ivory-billed Woodpecker

From the Burning Man exhibit

WWI display of underground carvings
What trip to DC would be complete without stopping by the White House
Burning Man

Wonderful Buddha display

Liz and I headed to Hillwood Museum and Gardens, while Bob and Bobby went to the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum.  I had been before with Liz, and it is just too beautiful not to go again.  It has Faberge eggs, Russian Icons, and wonderful gardens.  We hit the gardens when they were lovely -- the peak of azaleas, rhododendrons just starting and the roses lingering.  A great way to spend a day.  Afterwards Liz and I went to Arthur Miller's Play The Crucible, a powerful play that was very well acted.

We went to Mt Vernon by boat.  Our boat day was raining, but we managed to stay mostly dry.  Afterwards we met the rest of the family for dinner and then headed to the National Symphony Orchestra.  
Mt Vernon

Bill, Ruth, Sarah, Bob, Susan, Bobby