Friday, April 18, 2008

Dryside Daytrip

My first trip to the areas East and South of Vantage, Washington, was with my Boy Scout troop about 1964. I have been back many times since, with various daytrip companions.

Chris & I have been wanting to make another daytrip, for a while, and today turned out to be the day. I managed to get up & get going early enough to beat rush hour, so after meeting Chris & Schmoo in North Bend, we still had quite a bit of day in front of us. We ended up using all of it.

Headed over Snoqualmie Pass to escape the rain and found sun as we approached Cle Elum. After breakfast in Ellensburg, we were soon leaving I-90 across the river from Vantage, and had our first nature stop at the side of the Columbia just after we left SR 26 on the road to Beverly.

Back in Chris's car, we wee soon heading East from Beverly on Lower Crab Creek Road. I love that country, with the dry channels dating from the ice age floods I have recently been reading about, and the Saddle Mountains towering above to the south.

One of the things I wanted to do is actually take some pictures. Do some photography. See if I would actually be likely to get out and use a new camera, or just sit on the couch and read about photography. Providing my old D450 would cooperate.

I took pictures.

The first effort was abortive, with camera problems. But I changed the battery and reformatted the memory card, and the second try got the rock with orange lichen that opens the slideshow above, found in a small nature preserve along Lower Crab Creek Road.

We continued to Othello, turned south to Mesa, a place a high school friend was from that I had never visited before today. Then north to Lind, where the long-gone Milwaukee line crossed over the Northern Pacific on a long bridge. West through Warden to O'Sullivan Dam, where we made our longest stop, took our longest walk, and I took the rest of my outing pictures.

The sildeshow includes every image I took, without modification, just as they were downloaded. Obviously there are some things that need some work, such as holding the camera level, but what struck me most is how they harken back to pictures I took with my first 35mm SLR about forty years ago.

Continuing west, we turned onto Frenchman Hill Road, enjoying the bird sightings along there to the days birding high point just west of Dodson Road. That location is considered one of the best birding locations in the state, but I first stumbled on it by accident on a daytrip with Jo way back when. We returned there a couple of times with the girls when they were young. Just about every visit has been good, with my favorites there usually being Avocets and Stilts.

No Avocets today, but twenty or so Stilts, and numerous other birds that I will let Chris list in her own blog.

Back to I-90, back across the Columbia, and soon, back across the Pass in driving snow and marginal conditions. We thought that was pretty weird, until after parting with Chris in North Bend, I returned home to find North Seattle in driving snow - enlivened by flashing lightning and pounding thunder. The last few slideshow pictures document that, ending with Violas in the snow.

Long day, but a very very good day.

1 comment:

Herman said...

fun trip :)

I liked the viola's in the snow picture

turkey vultures
red tail hawk
other raptors (uncertain ID)
california quail
redwing blackbird
yellow headed blackbird
tri colored blacbird
great-blue heron
sand hill crane
tundra swan
ruddy duck
cactus wren
white crowned sparrow
various gulls
song bird with red throat?

umm... other birds I'm forgetting