Here’s a picture of beautiful purple clematis blossoms up close in July of last year.
Clematis vines do well in sunny locations with moist, well-drained soil. A thick layer of mulch over their roots helps keep them cool, which they prefer. Once mature, these plants can reach a height of 10 to 20 feet. There are nearly 300 species of clematis. The distinctive blossoms of clematis come in a wide variety of colors, including white, yellow, pink, purple, blue, green, and bi-color.
You’ll see unique sights if you visit Hot Springs State Park in central Wyoming. Unlike other state parks in Wyoming, entrance to this park, located in the city of Thermopolis, is free. I’ve included a map of this day-use park at the end of this post.
History of the park
In 1897, Big Horn Hot Springs State Reserve became Wyoming’s first state park. The park, now called Hot Springs State Park, has always been famous for its therapeutic mineral hot springs.
On the iconic Monument Hill, you’ll see the words “World’s Largest Mineral Hot Springs” in large white letters.
A jewel of a truck is currently on display at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. Artist Laurel Porcari covered this 1941 Ford panel truck with a colorful mosaic of tiles. This piece is titled Voyager.
On one side you can see the iconic volcanoes that border Oregon’s High Desert.
On the other side, you’ll see a lunar landscape, with views of a planet-filled sky.
The artistry of this piece looks beautiful from any angle.
In July, I hiked the 2.6-mile South Falls Loop trail through the wilderness of Silver Falls State Park, Oregon. This route, past South Falls and Lower South Falls, is part of the Trail of Ten Falls. See the map of the trails at the end of this post.
I parked in the lot near South Falls, hiking north along the Canyon Trail and then heading south along Maple Ridge Trail. Though I’ve visited the park before, I had my dogs, and they are only allowed on a few trails. This time I was going solo.
I took the short trail to the South Falls overlook from the parking area. You get great views from above of the 177-foot-tall waterfall.
If you have limited time, take the ¼-mile trail to the South Falls overlook. If you have more time, walk the 1-mile loop trail behind the falls.
Loop trail – clockwise route
After a brief stop at the overlook, I walked to the lower trail that goes behind the falls. Cool (literally)!
Visitors can enjoy unique attractions at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and Colorado. While visiting here, I found myself constantly shifting my field of view to things above and below me. Colorful tilting rocks in vast landscapes showed geology in action. Petroglyphs and pictographs told stories of Indigenous people from long ago. An amazing collection of dinosaur fossils took me even further back in time.
The Monument also includes places to hike, fish, river raft, picnic, and camp. There’s a visitor center in Utah, and another in Colorado.
The small Visitor Center in Utah features informational exhibits and a store.
Yes, I know you’ve all been waiting to see more of my blooper photos. This is where I share pictures that don’t quite fit into any category so I try to add a little humor to them. Here are a few 2023 bloopers to entertain you. 😀
“Am I still your good girl?”
I believe I finally found the true cause of global warming.
Last week, I showed symmetrical displays of history at the Museum of the American West in Lander, Wyoming. However, history is not always balanced. A good museum shows our similarities and differences. Here are more items on display at the Museum.
At times, our differences stand out.
Though what we wear differs, from practical and utilitarian…
To ornamental and symbolic, our clothing reflects who we are.
I saw a scary carriage at Beyond the Ranch, an antique store in Redmond, Oregon. The skeletal coachman guides his skeletal horse while the occupant waves a bony hand. A frightful sight for your Halloween!
Here are some treasures of the Old West at the Museum of the American West, in Lander, Wyoming, shown in both color and black and white. Click on the arrows to see monochrome versions highlighting their symmetry.
Wheels may carry you forward, towards new horizons
I saw this creative beer bike rack in Bend at On Tap. This is one of seven “pods” where food trucks can park. Customers can enjoy a wide variety of food from the trucks and beer and other beverages on tap inside the main building.
I LOVE the Rush’s Squares pizza food truck here! My favorite is the Pesto Margherita pizza.
I saw this jailbird jay while out walking in Bend. It perched on a rock behind the heavy bars of a fence around the Hayden Homes Amphitheatre.
This is a California Scrub-jay. Here’s a closer look.
In 2016, the American Ornithological Union (AOU) split the Western Scrub-jay into two species, the California Scrub-jay, Aphelocoma californica, and Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay, Aphelocoma woodhouseii. They appear very similar. This post by Andy Birch describes and shows the characteristics of each species.
After recently covering indoor signs on my post about the National Neon Sign Museum, I thought I’d feature some unique roadside signs today.
A giant jackalope?
The first picture is of a unique animal of the Wild West. It’s a jackalope, part jackrabbit, part antelope. Maybe you’ve heard of them. Are they real or another legend of the West? Chainsaw carver Jarrett Dahl paid tribute to these animals in an impressive 40-foot sculpture near the iconic Wall Drug Store in Wall, South Dakota.
Completed in 2022, the jackalope is holding a sign that says, “Believe.” Though it looks like it’s just a big carving, it’s hollow inside with a stairway leading to a balcony. Inside, you’ll find carved jackalopes, murals, and 71 wood spirits, hidden within its cracks and crevices.
Devil’s Tower stories
The next sign is at the cafe and gift store by Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. You can see a bear next to the tower on the sign and the real tower in the background. In the oral stories of Native Americans, the tower formed in different ways. In several versions, a bear tries to claw its way to the peak, thereby creating its distinctive appearance.
Last Saturday, we had an Oregon Outback morning. We drove south of Silver Lake, Oregon to get a good view of the annular eclipse. Unfortunately, the clouds never cleared during the peak minutes of the eclipse. For today’s One-to-Three Photo Processing Challenge, I decided to make lemonade out of lemons.
Beautiful cloudscapes hung over the land, highlighting the Basin and Range topography. We stood in the middle of a basin surrounded by low mountains and buttes.
I used Corel PaintShopPro 2021 for different photo processing effects. In the original image I slightly increased the contrast and fill light and cropped the edges.
Oregon Outback morning photo effects
The first two show the original photograph and the same picture with a Black and White effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Black and White Film. I used the BW Heavy setting because it works well on clouds.
The next two show the original photograph and the same picture with a neon effect. For this image I went to Adjust>Hue & Saturation>Hue map>Neon glow. I liked how this effect enhances the mysticism associated with High Desert environments.
Here’s a pretty lavender-colored High Desert dahlia seen on a garden tour in Bend, Oregon last year. These popular plants prefer full sun and good drainage. Though this one was seen in July, they are treasured for blooming well into the fall months.
This was one of the many flowers in bloom we saw on the tour. I think the color of this one made it my favorite High Desert dahlia seen that day.
I saw this Sinclair Oil advertisement on the side of a building in Hudson, Wyoming. Though it has faded over the years, it’s still a great ad. I made it look even older by using a vignette effect and showing it in a frame that looks like a piece of film.
If you’re travelling to Wyoming and like dinosaurs, consider stopping at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center (WDC) in Thermopolis. In 1993, dinosaur fossils were discovered near here at the Warm Springs Ranch. Fossils discovered here and elsewhere are on display at WDC. Visitors will see fifty-eight articulated dinosaur skeletons and a wide variety of fossils.
You’ll see dinosaur skeletons large and small in the display hall. Some are real, others are recreated from casts of fossils.
Remember the Velociraptors in “Jurassic Park?” Here’s one, blending into the background.
I especially liked this one because it shows a Tyrannosaurus dinosaur attacking a Stegosaurus.
We saw this large Sitka spruce, Picea sitchensis, tree at Fort Clatsop, Oregon. This is where the Lewis and Clark expedition spent a long, wet winter in 1806. Lewis noted how this tree was commonly 27 feet in girth, with some trees reaching 36 feet around. This tree’s height averages 125-180 feet, and may reach over 250 feet. Sitka spruce can live up to 800 years.
Indigenous people used parts of spruce trees in several ways. Roots and cedar bark were woven into baskets and hats. The pitch was used as a varnish, to waterproof canoes, and chewed like gum. Various parts were used to treat diarrhea, constipation, and back aches. Sitka spruce was thought to possess “mystical powers and provided protection against evil thoughts.”
The tree’s fine-grained wood is both strong and lightweight. It is used in turbine blades, aircraft, sailboats, racing sculls, and oars. its unique qualities also make it a favorite in making musical instruments, including guitars, harps, violins, pianos, and flutes created by Native Americans.
Here’s the view as we were driving across the Columbia River into Hood River, Oregon on a recent trip. You can see Mount Hood peeking over the hills on the left side of the picture.
We happened to be there when the annual Association of Wind + Watersports Industries event was taking place. Here’s a picture of the Hood River Bridge from the Oregon side. Can you see all the windsurfers out there?