June 20, 2015 Homer, Alaska

Cottongrass
Cottongrass

Wildflowers and Wildlife

Cottongrass
Cottongrass

Driving all the back roads above the city of Homer, I run across patches of wildflowers here and there, nothing like the fields of wildflowers you may find in the west, in the lower forty-eight, but still a visual treat when you do discover them. This is a particularly dense patch of cotton grass growing alongside the road, a very neat plant I was able to get some nice shots of very early in the morning before the breeze came up.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Cottongrass
Cottongrass
Columbine
Columbine

I really haven’t come across much Columbine, just a couple of plants here and there, again nothing like in the mountainside meadows of Colorado for instance.

Jacob's Ladder
Wild Geranium

Wild Geranium is starting to appear more frequently.

Impossibly Blue
Impossibly Blue

And this is not a wildflower, but some form of perennial that caught my eye in a bed next to East End Road. I am not sure what this impossibly blue flower is as I have never seen it before, and I used to pour theough all the perennial flower catalogs back when I managed almost a half acre of perennials at my art gallery.

Impossibly Blue
Impossibly Blue
Homer Perennial Bed
Homer Perennial Bed

Gorgeous flower in a very nicely designed perennial bed.

Lupines
Lupines
Lupines
Lupines

And then there is the lupine … everywhere it seems. Unlike back in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, here there is only one color, this blue, or perhaps purple. At least I have yet to find any other color here.

Boatyard Lupine
Boatyard Lupine

As I said, lupine, everywhere.

Virginis
Virginis
Fireweed Road
Fireweed Road

What I am patiently waiting for, here in Homer, is for the fireweed to start blooming. I think it is a real shame this wonderful plant is labeled as a weed because it is just a beautiful flower that fills the fields and roadsides here above Homer.

Fireweed Farm
Fireweed Farm

Thes two images kind of illustrate that point quite well, and just happen to be images taken on the back roads above Homer some twenty two years ago on my last visit here. I have actually been able to locate the fireweed farm location and would like to get an image to show the penalties of progress. That wonderful scene is now bisected with dirt roads leading to not so scenic homes breaking up the previous expanse of fireweed, and though I’m sure a lot of the plant still survives, the beauty of that particular landscape has fallen victim to progress.

Angry Beach Eagle
Angry Beach Eagle
Takeoff
Takeoff

I enjoy watching the antics of the bald eagles on the beach every morning while I have my coffee. This guy was doing his angry eagle walk up the beach heading directly at me until my neighbor came out and slammed his door only thirty feet from the eagle and scared him off. There used to be a woman who fed the eagles here on the Homer Spit for many years so a lot of these birds probably are somewhat accustomed to approaching humans looking for handouts, though now it is illegal to feed them.

Homer Spit Breakwater Gulls
Homer Spit Breakwater Gulls
Homer Spit Breakwater Gulls
Homer Spit Breakwater Gulls

As I walked around the boat harbor very early in the AM I was startled by the number of gulls on the breakwater there.

Ring-necked Pheasant and Chicks
Ring-necked Pheasant and Chicks

And this one really suprised me, what I am quite sure has to be a Ring-necked Pheasant mom and chicks feeding along the dirt road at the end of East End Road. I had no idea these birds could survive this far north.

Ring-necked Pheasant Chick
Ring-necked Pheasant Chick
Moose and Calf
Moose and Calf
Moose Calf
Moose Calf

And finally my daily dose of moose. This mom was feeding along the edge of the road and when I stopped to watch, her calf came struggling up through the deep grass behind her. As the cow continued to move forward and browse, her calf was having a really hard time trying to keep up with her movements. At first I thought maybe the tall grass and bushes were just so thick, and tall, that perhaps that was it’s problem.

Mom and Injured Calf
Mom and Injured Calf

But when they finally crossed the road, it became quite clear that the poor little guy had somehow broken, or severely injured his left hind leg and was hobbling along on three legs.

Moose Calf
Moose Calf

Barely one in three moose calves survive their first summer, most here on the Kenai fall victim to black bears or grizzlies, although there is also a growing presence of wolves in the area. Not being able to run or keep up with a protective mom probably will mean a short life for this guy. Mother Nature is cruel.

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July 1, 2014 Olympic National Park

Wildflowers, Olympic NationalPark (digital painting)
Wildflowers, Olympic National Park (digital painting)

Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

Out early this morning for a second trip up to Hurricane Ridge. No deer this AM, but a surprisingly lot of people up here this early ( 7 AM ), guess I am not the only one wanting to avoid the holiday week crowds.

View from Hurricane Ridge
View from Hurricane Ridge

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

SunriseOnHurr

View from Hurricane Ridge
View from Hurricane Ridge
View from Hurricane Ridge
View from Hurricane Ridge
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park

Bright and sunny as I drove down the gravel construction road at the top of Hurricane Ridge and took wildflower shots.

Lupines, Olympic National Park
Lupines, Olympic National Park
Glacier lilies
Glacier lilies
Glacier lilies
Glacier lilies
Wildflowers, Olympic National Park
Wildflowers, Olympic National Park
Wildflowers, Olympic National Park
Wildflowers, Olympic National Park
Wildflowers, Olympic National Park
Wildflowers, Olympic National Park

No wildlife around at all this morning and the sun was just too bright for any great landscape shots ( now there’s a weird Northwest weather complaint, it’s just too nice today! ).

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May 1, 2014 Willets, California

California coastline
California coast

Another Day Driving the Coastal Highway

Drove up to Gualala Point Campground and then turned around, about 45-50 miles. Could be done with the RV but,

Steep slope to the shore
Steep slope to the shore

because of the numerous hairpin turns and a couple of seriously scary grades with drop-offs straight down to the rocks hundreds of feet below ( note the image above ), probably better avoiding if possible.

Log strewn beach
Log strewn beach
Surfs up
Surfs up

Very warm today, 80’s, even though on the coast above the cool Pacific, supposed to return to normal tomorrow. These warm, hazy days continue to make for difficult conditions for any decent coastal landscape images.

Watching seals
Watching seals
California hillside
California hillside
Bird Island
Bird Island
California coastline
California coastline
Rocky coast
Rocky coast
Sandy beach in Northern California
Sandy beach

The campground at Gualala was not viable for the motorhome, sites mostly too short and nestled amongst HUGE trees, possibly redwoods, very dark in there even at mid day.

California hillside
California hillside

April 30, 2014 Bodega Bay, California

A gathering on the mud flats
A gathering on the mud flats

A Road Trip to San Francisco Via the Shoreline Highway

I drove out to the sunset parking lot at first light and had the place completely to myself, and that would be because there were no shots there in the morning, all was in shadow.

A gathering on the mud flats
A gathering on the mud flats
Geese and shellfish digging
Geese and shellfish digging
Bodega Bay early morning
Bodega Bay early morning

There were folks in the tide flats digging for shellfish with their gull assistants.

Delphiniums like I have never seen before
Delphiniums like I have never seen before
Delphiniums like I have never seen before
Delphiniums like I have never seen before

Heading back through Bodega Bay to venture down Route 1 to San Francisco, I stopped by the harbor to shoot some of the purple flowers I had found last night.

Roadside callas
Roadside callas

Also drove back to the farmhouse along Valley Ford Road where I had seen the wild Calla Lilies to see if I could get some decent shots of them with the morning light, but they were mostly gone by. It is hard for me to believe these wonderful flowers grow like weeds in the roadside ditches here in Northern California.

California coastline
California coastline
Sandy beach in Northern California
Sandy beach in Northern California

From there I headed back down Tomales Road, through the little town of Tomales and picked up Route 1 south, a very windy and scenic route to San Francisco, one I would not ever want to drive in the motorhome!

Beached harbor seals
Beached harbor seals
Harbor seal
Harbor seal

Just north of Stinson Beach the road runs along the shore of a great tidal flood area where I saw probably a hundred or more sea lions hauled out and basking in the morning sun. I didn’t realize there were so many color variations ! Who knew there were redheads and blondes in the harbor seal colonies?

A hot and hazy San Francisco
A hot and hazy San Francisco

Route 1 joins Route 101 and heads to the Golden Gate Bridge, I took the last exit before the bridge and started climbing up, up, and up to the old forts looking down on the bay, the bridge, and the San Francisco skyline. Unfortunately, I was there at the wrong time of day ( shots from up there would want to be taken late in the day ) and on the wrong kind of day. Today was a record heat day for the area with temps hitting 90 degrees when the average high this time of the year would be closer to 60 degrees, leaving a nasty haze in the air making for some sad shots from this great location.

18% slope descent to the mouth of San Francisco Bay
18% slope descent to the mouth of San Francisco Bay

I proceeded over the top of this hill overlooking the bay, and down a single lane road that descended at an 18 degree pitch, steep enough to make one more than just a little nervous, as I headed for the lighthouse visible on the point far below.

A hillside of poppies
A hillside of poppies
A hillside of poppies
A hillside of poppies
Colorful hillside
Colorful hillside

On this road I could see large patches of California poppies covering the sides of some of the far off hills and eventually found one I could access for some shots.

I took the tunnel route back towards Route 101 that takes you through the harborside town of Sausalito and eventually back on to Route 101 that took me home.DelphTreeVert

Delphiniums like I have never seen before
Delphiniums like I have never seen before