Smokey Rim

It’s hard for me to imagine that this was our first trip to the rim this year.  It’s June already, and we just haven’t found time.  Life sometimes just gets away from one.

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Unfortunately another deterrent has been that much of ‘our’ rim has been closed due to a local fire…. WAY TOO CLOSE to home.  Only 20 miles away, this one was a scary one.  It was more the area that made it difficult for firefighters.  The rim is very steep with a lot of dead and down, fallen pine needles and thick dry forest due to years of Forest Service policy of no-burning.  This particular steep area can’t be reached by fire fighters, so all they could do was hold it back and try to avert it from cresting over the ridge.

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The good news of it is, that it had top priority in the Southwest, which meant that it got all the resources they needed.  Local control was handed over to the Feds, as they brought over 1200 firefighters, helicopters, and planes to douse it out and work the fire lines.  The comforting fact was that they were clearly working it hard… we had regular meetings held locally by the Forest Service to give us status reports and answer any questions we had.   It is now, thankfully, completely under control… and smoke is dissipating.

So we thought we’d make a trip to the rim – at least the outskirts of the area that isn’t closed – to see if we could get some pix.

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The animals were out if force, seemingly enjoying the nice day just as we were.

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We couldn’t actually get close enough to the fire to see any smoke, other than that on the murky horizon.  But we enjoyed a very pleasant and relaxing day out – and wondered, what has taken us so long?

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Snow pack

Just when we thought the snow was over and Summer was coming early, we got a storm out of seemingly nowhere.  Yes, the weather forecasters said it was coming… but they are often wrong.  So we didn’t expect much… certainly not what we got.

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It came hard and fast.  It was heavy and wet, and probably dumped around 16″ in 12 hours.  It was fun to watch as it came sideways across the horizon sticking on the trees previously bare of snow.

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It left just as fast as it came, and was gone seemingly overnight.  Because it was so wet, it melted fast.

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It left quite the impression… and filled Lake Mary.

 

 

Snow Birds

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We recently had a wave of 3 snow storms which all together yielded about 2′ of snow.  The birds huddled under branches to keep out of the intense snow blasting sideways with the strong winds.  You can see more of my Snow Animals on my photo blog…. here.

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The drifts piled high where the winds swept them against trees and boulders.  But it didn’t deter the big animals from trudging through.  We saw more than one limping as a result of tripping over unseen rocks and uneven terrain.

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It amazes me the treks these animals must take on a daily basis going from hither to yon incessantly.  It’s a tough life in these mountains and woods with their treacherous inclines and rough canyons.

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Oregon Coast

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Oregon does it right.  With about 362 miles of coast land, they celebrate it at every turn.  I counted over 70 State Parks along the way… on the coast alone (no mention of inland Parks).  These parks offer Day Use & Camping (for hikers, bikers, campers, and RV’ers).  They are full of scenic trails, picnic tables, fire pits, and nature walks.  I so respect and admire their preservation of this absolute beauty and their embracing and sharing of it to their own and other communities.

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There are wooded rainforest lands, lighthouses along the way, and rock outcroppings in the sea afar.  It’s diverse, stunning, and gorgeous.

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Olympic Peninsula

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The Olympic Peninsula is in the northwestern part of Washington state.  It is home to the Olympic National Park, but the park itself weaves in and out of the Olympic Wilderness and National Forests.  Several small towns sprout up here and there between the park and the wilderness areas, Quinault, Forks, Port Angeles, Sequim.   It’s hard to know where the park begins and the wilderness ends.

You can see my post here on Olympic National Park.

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It’s a huge wooded area and beautiful drive in and out of the park and forests.  We love the eerie fog and rain forest trees.

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It’s hard to imagine the amount of rain this area must have to get to develop the lush green that is evident by the result of it, but very interesting and beautiful to see.

Pendleton Woolen Mill

When I was in grade school I hated history… it was my least favorite subject… that and geography.  Now that I am older, I find history and geography fascinating.  We tour places around the world and seek out museums and tours to heighten our knowledge, whether it’s home or abroad.  Education gives one new perspective and insight.

We recently had the opportunity to tour the Pendleton Woolen Mill in Pendleton, Oregon.  Not something I would have normally took a great deal of interest in, but given the opportunity all knowledge and education is good right?

Well, I was fascinated by the vast work and manipulation that goes into the simple task of not just making a Pendleton blanket… but the YARN, that goes into the Pendleton blanket.

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It starts from the ‘fur’ from the sheep.  It begins as coarse clumps of fur, which is picked through by large rollers with fine comb brushes to pick it apart.  This fur goes through the rollers several times before it starts to resemble cotton.

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These woolen fibers are then layers like puff pastry and kneaded through a series of rollers to press it into fine layers of strands until it can be funneled into a fine singular strand of fibrous wool, then twisted into individual strands of woolen yarn.

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The yarn it then threaded onto individual bobbins that can be loaded into looms to weave Pendleton products.

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It takes 2-1/2 sheep to make one blanket, and about 2 months of work and process.  It’s a fascinating process to watch as this dying art comes to life.  Only 5 woolen mills still exist in this country, and 2 are owned and operated by Pendleton.