Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Geocaching on Sauvie Island.

I went geocaching for the first time on Sunday!  It was so much fun even though it was hot and the mosquitoes are awful!  Don't know what geocaching is?  Check out www.geocaching.com to get an idea.  Basically it's a treasure hunt with a GPS.  My friend and I used the GPS devices on our phones making things very easy..

Our first stop was the Wapato Access Greenway Trail where 4 or 5 caches were hidden.  We were poking around the parking lot trying to find the first one when I realized how sketchy we looked.  I think one guy thought we were trying to steal his bike (yikes!).   But that's the price you pay for geocaching....  We found the first cache in a metal fence thing.

The cache is that little grey box stuck to the top of the inside of the fence- it was magnetic and just big enough to hold a pencil and logbook where people write their geocaching names (mine is now Superjen).

Our second find was a peanut butter jar in a tree along the trail:

Random low-budget trinkets and a logbook.  We had stopped at the Dollar Tree beforehand to get some random crap to leave in the caches and I think I left some kind of plastic trinket here.

One of the cool things about geocaching is that while my friend was following his GPS radar to the next cache I could follow some birds!

Looks like a young Red-breasted Sapsucker!

Our third find was through some prickers and under an evergreen tree...


I can't remember what was inside this one, but I do remember watching a woodpecker work on a branch.

The next cache earned me some thorn scratches and dozens of mosquito bites..

The insides:


We found all the caches around the trail (I think 4 total) and retreated to the car to pick up some bug spray at the general store. 

Then we took a break at Kroger where Captured By Porches has set up shop offering organic beers!  After beers I picked up some fresh raspberries and Rainier cherries.. Yummy!  I whipped up a vegan chocolate raspberry mousse pie yesterday.



The next cache was on Haldeman Pond.  The hint was that it was at the top of a hill under a pile of rocks.  There was no mention of the blackberry bushes taking over the area.  We got lots of scratches but no new bug bites!


I stopped for some more bird/insect watching..

I'm guessing Olive-sided Flycatcher but not sure...


The next cache was a short walk down the road by Sturgeon Lake.  It was so hot I really just wanted to jump in the lake but I held myself back.

This was an exciting find... The dinosaur is connected to a Travel Bug... It's a little tag with an ID number that you can enter on the website to see where it's been.  Then you can move the bug to a new cache or just leave it alone.. The bugs usually have a mission though so you have to follow the mission- like heading west or south or to Minnesota or something.

Our last cache was down Oak Island Road in a tree protected by insane mosquitoes completely unaffected by bug spray.  It was brutal but we found it... and another Travel Bug!


We'll be moving both of these bugs to new caches..

I highly recommend trying geocaching if you haven't already! 



Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ridgefield NWR 07-24-10

Yes I made it up to Ridgefield yesterday morning... It was fun but I definitely didn't get the feeling that I'd missed a whole lot- except of course those coyote pups I keep seeing pictures of on Flickr!

The bunnies are still everywhere you look..


Lots of young coots and grebes around... I thought it was cute that they hung out together...
(unless of course I'm wrong and that's not a coot)

I decided to brave the Kiwa Trail despite my lack of bug spray- for some reason when I returned from Yellowstone I took it out of the car darn it!

This pretty snake was sunning itself next to the water...

I made it through the first part of the forested area with only 2 new mosquito bites... Not too bad.  Out in the meadow I took a bunch of pictures of a mystery bird in flight:

I was hoping it might be an owl but the only picture with the head is way too blurry for me to tell...


The meadow is in full bloom...

Hiding in the yellow flowers were yellowthroats...


Not hiding in the yellow were tons of swallows- lots of young ones too..

This guy looks like he has a blue cape on over his dull brown..

Back in the forested area the mosquitoes had woken up or something and began their assault.  I still stopped for a few pictures...

Note the turtle head popping out of the bottom of the photo.  Cute.


By this time I had acquired bites between all of my fingers and on my cheeks.  Then they started working through my jeans and I retreated to the car.  I'm really starting to look forward to fall.

The flowers and plants sure are pretty though...


The Savannah Sparrows just love these refuge signs...


Near the end of the route I watched a flock of ducks fly in.. Cinnamon Teals I believe.  It's been such a long time since I've seen so many ducks flying together.


I decided to drive the route a second time just in case those coyote pups decided to come out and play.

Nope, but these young ducks came out for a swim... Mallards?  I was confused because they seemed to be following a pair of Gadwalls but they're not Gadwalls.. right?

Back to the young grebes.... They're just adorable.


And across the way in the big reed-filled pond was a coot baby!  I didn't think I'd see any more so young this summer...


LOVE them.



I saw a couple more of the young coots nearby...


A loud little Song Sparrow..



So I suppose I didn't see anything very new (to me) or exciting but it was still fun to get back up there...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Yellowstone National Park (Part 3).

Yay I'm finally on my last trip post!  I'm hoping to head up to Ridgefield tomorrow to see what I've been missing the last few weeks!

Ok so our last full day at Yellowstone started off on that big hike from the last post... That evening after we'd rested a bit we decided to venture out to some places we didn't have a chance to visit yet..  We took a little dirt road along the road to Tower and found a new friend:

He did not stick around long...

We eventually reached the turn-off for the petrified tree and once again there was a black bear wandering around the valley.  For some reason I took over  a hundred pictures of it, 7 of which I kept, none of which are that great.  Haha.

Apparently I changed my settings sometime during this viewing..


A little while later down the road was another big group of people.  Luckily it was right next to a big parking area and we pulled over and parked quickly.   This was probably my favorite sighting of the trip:


A grizzly bear and two cubs!!!!


Oops... where'd the other cub go?


Here he comes!


So freakin adorable. 


Here's one last one where the park ranger began frantically yelling to everyone to get back in their cars...


Woohoo!  We continued on to the Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls.



Both were pretty awesome even though it was starting to get dark... These little guys were all over the area:


We also stopped to take a picture of this elk, even though we'd already seen tons of 'em.


That was it for that day... The next morning we got up early so we could stop at Old Faithful on our way out of the park..


It was cool.  We explored the other geysers in the area a bit too.



There was lots of pretty stuff to look at...


After Old Faithful we had lunch and headed south back towards Jackson.  We made a last stop in the Mormon Row area...

Bison were all over the area I had explored 5 or 6 days earlier... We didn't want to get TOO close but we took some photos...

This look sent me back to the safety of the car pretty quick.  The baby was so cute though...

And that's it!!!  That was my trip... It was so freakin amazing and awesome but I am so glad to be home...