Musings

Traversing the Cascades

Our eastbound mosey began today. Meet Gorge Creek Falls. About one-quarter is chopped off the bottom (the perils of a horizontal format).

I think these are Jack Mountain and Crater Mountain, part of the Cascades. I particularly enjoy the vertical snow streaks that are avalanche chutes…they show the power of MaNachur.

We drove through miles of standing fire-killed timber. These fires are some of the ones that so drastically lowered air quality in Seattle and far beyond in 2020.

Ferry adventure

The high school nephew had an open day today, because: covid. So we had an outing. We took a short ferry ride, a little longer than it took to wait to board, board, and disembark. We were told to stay in our vehicle, because: covid.

Since it was mid-day, our first stop was food. We drove by the possibilities and picked a hometown burger place. With a food truck. This is the drivers control area. Shift on the left, which I do not recall ever seeing for a left driver. Not because: covid.

After wiping our chins and downing the last fry, we drove on to Point No Point Lighthouse. It is the shortest lighthouse I remember ever seeing.

Atop a row of evergreens I suspect were planted to protect the lighthouse from the prevailing winds, we saw eagles land and watch the doin’s below from on high—not so much the tourists as the fishing.

Down on the beach, we spotted an otter moving along, then finding something to eat—clam perhaps? An eagle spotted this, too, and dived the otter; however, the otter seemed to have positioned her/himself to see if this happened, and quickly plunged into the water, saving lunch from the feathered, screaming predator-thief.

Next stop had no David Attenborough drama, instead an eroding escarpment called Foulweather Bluff. Rusty red dot lower right is nephew’s jacket, so you can tell it’s a tall bluff.

Lucky us, the tide was out. We used our identification crutch, the iNaturalist app, and found out these are aggregating anemone. With seaweed and what we thought was a tiny jellyfish.

With plenty of excitement behind us, we headed back to the ferry, and were stopped behind HTBNANA. The plate surround indicated that “it only happens twice.” We remain unsure what that refers to.

Distant views

Every once in a while you can find a spot where you can see a great distance. There are mountains beneath that lowest bank of clouds, which are obscuring their tops.

No mountains here, but more of a lake view.

No distance here at all. What a careful, artful hedge-trimming job. The notch on the far right is to the depth/line selected by the trimmer working on the neighboring lot.

IDing fun

See the horizon? Those white vertical not-egrets? They flank the Columbia River at Biggs Junction, great for parasailing and wind turbines.

Found this little gem hugging the ground, with lovely about 3cm diameter flowers. ID conclusion: Lewisia rediviva. Grateful for assistance from iNaturalist, which indicated it was a Lewisia species.

I wondered what the (free!) app would do with this, as it is just vegetation without blooms. But, I thought, it has distinctive configuration. iNaturalist suggested Lithospermum ruderale, and (after comparison to multiple pictures) I concur!

Sun, not sun, sun (thankfully)

We stopped to stretch our legs while we were motoring west on the plains and I found these wee blooms that my magic iNaturalist ID app indicated is a milk vetch, and a legume. I can SEE the latter—look at those flower shapes…so leguminous.

Continuing west, we climbed up and up after Cheyenne, and into sleet and snow-rain. Fortunately it was over 40°F, so no ice on the road to worry about.

Soon, we descended again and I found a wee sagebrush doing springtime burgeoning. A nearby sign indicated that Wyoming hosts 13 species of sagebrush. And this one is…?

Striking out

This magnolia is rather small as magnolias go, perhaps not quite four inches across…so…vente?

Looks like a lake…looks like a river…um, impounded river…still great for boaters and kayakers on a lovely Saturday afternoon.

Dusk sky hues, stripes, and graduations…such lovely eye-candy.

Today’s state count: four. PS: title has nothing to do with baseball.

Mind your vocab

This is a kousa dogwood flower; they have the pointy petals. Only they aren’t petals; if you’re wearing your precise botanic hat, they’re actually white bracts.

No idea what kind of insect is visiting that right bract.

Bract. Bract. Trying to remember that word and its meaning.

Most anything

I’m still enamored of the (free) “iNaturalist, LLC” app as a wonderful and fast identification assistant; however, its first few choices for this are bluets, and as far as I know bluets have just four petals. It is that size and in the color range…so I’ll have to take a deep dive into the alternative possiblities. I found these “gone wild” in a yard, so that’s little help at all.

We’re cool

We’re full on in foxglove season. [My fingers typed both floxglove and foxgove earlier; got it right this time.]

Our temporary resident heating and air crew finished today—usually two and sometimes three guys. Now we have new units for up- and down-stairs. It was time, as the technology we had was in the 25+ year age range. We’ll see what happens to our electric bills. Plus…yay! a $500 rebate!

Canopy tree notes

Vocabulary reminder to self: these maple winged achenes are called samaras.

Do you know the smell of fresh-cut oak wood? It’s distinctive, yes, woody, but a particular woody fragrance.