Happy eve!

Olympics sunshine view

Another sunny day with glorious views of the Olympics…

Puget sound shipping

…and busy shipping activity on Puget Sound, despite it being…

Toast bubbly

New Year’s Eve! Happy happy!

Full sun

Olympics sunny

What a difference a day makes! Loving the sun all day! First appearance since arriving….

Bird in treetop

Even the birds were celebrating the glorious light….

Sunset seward

Proof the light lasted to sunset….


Stone chinese dragon

Stone Chinese dragon.

Mexican axolotl

Real Mexican dragon (really: axolotl).

Vegetative variants

Tamarack needles

There’s plain vegetation, the way it grows.


And, there’s vegetation with added decorations.

Yes: ghostly

Droplet pieris

After dawn, it was clear and lovely, and I found this droplet on a Pieris out front.

Fog here

Later…surprise!…the ground fog blanketed us. Nice to walk in, though. Ghostly, one fellow we encountered while walking called it.


Snow plastered

We were rolling along in a fine version of open skies/open road…then…airborne white stuff that was instantly clingy. Not good given the high pass ahead of us. Sure enough: to cross the pass, vehicles must have “traction tires”—wha? Not us. What to do?

Behind salt truck

We checked the obvious alternate routes via internet info (especially highway department webpages)—same traction tires problem. So, we checked a less likely choice a bit farther away…and traction tires were recommended, not required, and the temp was a bit higher. Meaning snow, but not a frozen road surface. And, as you can see, a salt truck ahead of us. Safety first!

Bridge rain

Then, we descended further, and rain. Rain! And more rain! Nonstop rain. Followed by a traffic jam, negotiated deftly by the Guru. Followed by safe arrival! In time for cocktails and dinner. Yay!

Bald eagles!

Evergreens rimed

Today the most frequent wildlife species we saw were bald eagles and magpies. Both have contrasting coloration. The eagles were all solos, except a pair circling each other (squabbling?).

Cottonwoods rimed

I have no photos of the eagles, but one was sitting on a fencepost, several were sitting in trees, and one was flying right at me upslope from below. And not far away. Stunning. I’m guessing they’re congregating in the valleys for the winter…where we drove much of the day.

Sunlight rock

We saw many rimed trees…evergreens in the first shot, and cottonwoods next. Finally, we got into some sunshine—and our world got color!

Cattle irrigationpipes

But the clouds kept getting in the way…still, the juxtaposition of Black Angus and feeding troughs/bales and irrigation pipes all on snow is a nice contrast to the shapes of the trees on the slopes above.

Sunset at elevation

The atmospheric obscurity adds to this sunset shot over the Clark Fork of the Columbia River—we have crossed the continental divide. “It’s all downhill from here,” as one sage noted in a somewhat similar situation.

I lost my sense of scale

Sunrise Iowa

Between sunrise in Iowa…

Sunset wyoming

…and sunset in Wyoming….

Sculpture garden

…we found a sculpture garden in a field, including a massive bull’s head (I assume bull(?)) and carefully propped up horse.

Dignity ChamberlainSD

And, with her back to the Missouri River at Chamberlain SD, we found “Dignity: of Earth & Sky” (by Dale Lamphere), an even more massive presence at some fifty feet in height.

Dignity star

In the late afternoon light, the star quilt pattern was magnificent viewed from behind as the sunlight came through the blue panels. Most visitors never look at the back, and when you notice the armature (is that what it is?) on the facing side, it becomes clear you are meant to also walk around the back of the figure. I think, given that today was the 24th of December, that her alternate name should be Madonna of the Missouri.

Hay in flats

Quite a different kind of sculpture: the giant round hay bales.

And I’m tired. Carry on.

Drive on

Cloud on mountain road

We started out in sunshine, but we could see a cloud bank the way we were headed. This had the makings of a day of “Drive on, and watch the light and weather conditions change!” Yup. Eventually, we climbed into the clouds.

Snowy way

At some point the splat of the raindrops changed to lack homogeneity, indicating frozen elements, which soon transitioned into actual flakes of w____ stuff. But temps well above freezing—whew!

Sunny roadway

Another hour down the road: full sunshine again.

Complicated skyline

Followed by a colorful sunset etched with industrial and artistic elements.

Night bridge

Later, a modern “peaky” bridge…. Not much light for the camera to work with…yet excellent effect, ¿no?

Feast night

Sweet table

Yummy feasts may end with a sweet assortment to tempt the mouths of all full-belly attendees. Good times! Laughs! Great company! Thanks! Yum! Yesssss!