Posts Tagged With: photo

Very tall, very old things

On our way to the Boy Scout Tree in California’s Jedediah Smith State Park today, our camera found several other old, tall living things along the trail, including a former Scout!

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A Pleasant Hike on Humbug Mountain


It’s been awhile since we’ve given our hiking shoes a real workout, so today we put them (and ourselves) to the test along the 5 1/2 mile Humbug Mountain trail.  We hoped the promised ocean views would help distract us from the 1,748 foot climb.


The trail immediately began to rise, eventually leading us through a dense forest of amazing old-growth Douglas Fir, wildflowers and ferns.  As switchbacks led us back and forth up the mountain, Reg began to wonder just when we would see those Pacific Ocean views.  

At last we arrived at a break in the trees and were rewarded with a view north, up the Oregon Coast toward Port Orford.  We snuck several more peeks before trees grew dense and the trail took a turn, continuing up, up, up.  Surely, we thought, the view from the summit would be spectacular!

This little bench marked the end of the trail.  While I rested my feet, Reg documented our achievement with a quick photo.  Unfortunately, as the last picture shows, trees have blocked most of the views from the top.  Still, it was hard to be disappointed.  The hike was beautiful, we had made it to the top…and back down again…with plenty of energy to spare!

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Backroads Across America: Big Sky Country

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Today we wound our way out of the Black Hills of South Dakota, snuck through a corner of Wyoming and arrived in Montana – Big Sky Country.  The gently rolling hills of Montana’s eastern plains seem to stretch on forever…and so does the sky above them.

It seems like spring has been late arriving in the northern part on the United States.  Although landscapes have been green and lush, trees have continually been bare of leaves. That just made it all the more exciting to stumble upon these wildflowers blooming on the hillside behind our campground.

Montana is a new state for both of us, and we are eager to discover what adventures lie beneath this “Big Sky.”  Plenty of time for that tomorrow!

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Backroads Across America: Hunting Buffalo

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Custer State Park in South Dakota is home to a herd of approximately 1,300 buffalo. These magnificent animals can be seen roaming freely throughout the grasslands.  The best way to view them is from the safety of your vehicle while driving the 18 mile Wildlife Loop Road…which is what we did today.

Park grasslands can only support about 1,450 buffalo, so the herd is carefully managed. Every fall the annual Buffalo Roundup takes place, allowing the park to brand and vaccinate the calves, inventory the grasslands and to determine how many buffalo will be sold at auction.  The event is open to the public, and this year the roundup is scheduled for September 29…so you still have time to make your plans!

We saw a few other critters out today.  A pronghorn was oblivious to my photo attempt. A herd of wild burros begged snacks from a fellow motorist and we waited as wranglers led trail horses across the road to fresh grass.  All in all, I’d say we had a successful hunt!

 

 

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Backroads Across America: Good Times in the Badlands

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Badlands National Park appears rather suddenly among the grasslands of South Dakota.  These seemingly harsh lands are the result of millions of years of earth’s ever-changing climate.  This is a landscape of extremes.

We arrived yesterday to clear blue skies and warm temperatures, the first we’ve had in two and a half weeks.  Pulling into the first parking lot we came to, we set off on two short walks, eager to get a taste of such a foreign landscape.  Surprisingly, trail markers led us off the path to freely walk among the peaks and gullies.  We later learned that Badlands is a sort of “open range” park.  Visitors are allowed to walk anywhere as long as the environment is respected.

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Day two found us on the Castle Trail, a 10 or 12 mile (depending on which map or trail marker you believe) round trip that led us through some of the spectacular park formations and out onto the open grasslands.  We had hoped to see some of the wildlife that call the park home and were a little disappointed to only see a few deer  in the distance.  But, it was a gorgeous day and we were outside in an eerily beautiful national park…not a bad place to be!

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Backroads Across America: On the Banks of the Kanawha

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Another day of clouds and drizzle sent us to downtown Charleston to explore West Virginia’s capital city.  After a leisurely cup of coffee in a downtown coffee/bookstore, we wandered along a walkway that follows the Kanawha (Ka-naw) River, which flows through the city.

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Charleston’s present state capitol took eight years to complete, with work beginning in 1924.  The 23-karat gold leaf dome soars 293 feet, making it the tallest of any state capitol dome in the United States.  The capitol is open to the public and the staff couldn’t have been more welcoming.  After a quick security check, we were handed a lengthy history of the capitol and urged to “make ourselves at home.”

The governor’s mansion is also located on the Capitol Complex grounds, perched on a grassy rise with a view of the river below.  Not quite as welcoming, it sat behind locked gates, so we had to be content to peer through the fence.

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Backroads Across America: BBQ, Board Games and Breakfast

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s been a whirlwind of a weekend since arriving in Charleston, West Virginia.  Chris and Gail enjoyed a mini vacation when they spent Saturday night in a cabin at our campground.  We enjoyed having them “right down the street,” if only for one night.  After a barbecued steak dinner at the cabin, followed by two highly competitive rounds of our dice game Yamslam, Reg and I headed back to our trailer to rest up for the Sunday breakfast we were hosting.

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Chris has been working at Gritt’s Midway Greenhouse for the last year, and today he gave us a tour of the company’s retail store and 20+ greenhouses.  We weren’t quite prepared for the scale and quality of this family operation.

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A kaleidoscope of colors and textures greeted us as we wandered through most of the six acres of production greenhouses.  We saw flowers, vegetable plants, house plants and potted blooming plants, all grown and nurtured to supply Gritt’s retail and wholesale operation.

 

 

 

As amazing as all of that was, the greenhouse where the tomatoes grow surprised us most of all.

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We were fascinated with the 1.5 acre hydroponic tomato operation.  These are vine ripened tomatoes and the plants produce continually except for the months of December and January.

We were tempted to sneak a couple for our dinner!

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Backroads Across America: Squeezing in Our Campground

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We’re spending the night in southern Virginia where spring is just beginning to show its colors.  Our campsite was surrounded by trees, but there was barely a leaf to be seen.  It looked quite winter-like.

A good night for what Reg calls “Comfort Food.”

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Although he rolled his eyes when I dropped this in our grocery cart the other day, we thoroughly enjoyed our Deluxe Kraft Macaroni & Cheese dinner, incredibly easy to make with the enclosed packet of squeeze cheese!

And what better way to dine on this gourmet delight than from good old fashioned TV trays!  Bon Appétit!

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Backroads Across America: Georgia offers State Park stay

 Yesterday we managed to reserve Saturday (tonight) and Sunday night in FD Roosevelt State Park in the beautiful state of Georgia.  I suspect we may have snagged the last spot available for the weekend.  After I checked us in (and realized we had lost yet another hour when crossing the border into Georgia), I was handed a yellow tag and sent in search of an empty campsite with a matching yellow, tag-free pole to stake our claim.  


What a surprise to have found this site so easily.  We quickly set up camp and sat down to enjoy the view.  Knowing we have two days here allows for some much needed R&R for Reg.  We’ve come over 3,500 miles and in another week will meet up with our son Chris and his girlfriend Gail.  After that, we’ll begin to think about the return trip.  Until then, we have much more to see!


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Backroads Across America: Historic Natchez, Mississippi

Perched on the bluffs above the Mississippi River is the historically rich town of Natchez.  The area was home to the Natchez Indians when the French arrived in 1716.   Soon after, with the arrival of English and Spanish settlers, the inevitable territorial tug-of-war began.

In 1797, the first American flag was raised and the Mississippi Territory was established.  Statehood followed in 1817.

Natchez is proud of its history and a great number homes and buildings date back to the late 1700’s and early 1800’s.  Its proximity to the Mississippi River and fertile, cotton producing land created great wealth for landowners in the early days.  However, it’s important to remember the riches came at a great cost.  Slavery allowed the landowners to become rich beyond their wildest dreams.  By 1860, Natchez had more millionaires per capita than any other U.S. City.   Life for most came to a screeching halt with the end of the Civil War.  Fortunes were lost, plantations were returned to the banks and the cotton markets never completely recovered.

By chance, we arrived in Natchez during the annual Spring Pilgrimage month when many of the historic homes are open to the public.  Above is Brandon Hall, dating back to 1856.  This dapper gentleman on the right greeted us as we began our tour, filling us in on the history of what used to be a working plantation.  The home currently operates as a bed and breakfast. 

Below is a view of the pond from the front yard.

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