Secret Blue Views: Two short stories

Did you know there are secret rooms at McMenamins Old St Francis in Bend? Here are pictures of two of the blacklight rooms with their secret blue views.

You can’t get into to the rooms through a traditional door. You have to find special panels in the hallway and push them in just the right spot.

The secret blue views inspired me to write microfiction stories related to each room.

Story 1

On the night of the harvest moon, trees in a hidden forest create plump blue and red fruit. Jackrabbits venture into the forest, searching for the red fruit. They nibble on their magic and dance until the sun rises and the fruit disappears.

Story 2

I am lost in a deep blue forest. Hanging crystals appear to light the way, so I follow them, turning to the left and right. I can’t find my way. Slumping against a tree trunk, I turn my gaze towards the sky. Then I notice it—a heart of branches leading to the true path. I am found.

Bumblebee on paintbrush: SMM

Bumblebee on paintbrush, Yellowstone, June 2018

I saw this bumblebee on paintbrush at Yellowstone National Park in the late spring.

Slender paintbrush , Yellowstone National Park, June 2018

Slender paintbrush was common near the thermal features.

Sunshine’s Macro Monday (SMM)

Autumn walk in Bend: LAPC – Finding something red

An autumn walk in Bend, Oregon 8October2019

A beautiful October walk along the Mill A Loop Trail in Bend, Oregon. The rising sun’s rays highlight gold and red fall foliage. The sunlight was hitting the trees just right on this autumn walk.

An American flag flies from one of the Old Mill smokestacks. Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) renovated the 28,000-square-foot former lumber mill and opened a retail store there in 2005. They retained much of the building’s historic charm and it’s one of Bend’s iconic landmarks.

The Lens-Artist Photo Challenge (LAPC) today is Find Something Red.

Noticing the lines in a scene: LAPC

When I travel, I think about photographing what I see by noticing the lines. Your eye wants to follow where they lead you. Here a few leading lines from northern Oregon.

Noticing the lines on the way to Hood River, Oregon 10October2019
Fall foliage along Oregon Route 35
Passing by Mt Hood, Oregon 11October2019
Passing by Mt Hood
Looking west towards the Bridge of the Gods, Oregon 11October2019
Looking west towards the Bridge of the Gods
The stairway leading to Multnomah Falls, Oregon 10October2019
The stairway leading to Multnomah Falls

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Leading Lines

Spruce cones up close: SMM

Spruce cones up close

A photograph of spruce cones up close that I took in my Bend, Oregon yard.

Sunshine’s Macro Monday (SMM)

Pub Art at Silver Moon Brewing

This pub art at Silver Moon Brewing captures many of the iconic landmarks of Bend, Oregon. Artist Natalie Fletcher included Smith Rock in the background flanked by the Painted Hills on the left and Mt Bachelor on the right. The Deschutes River winds through the scene.

Can you see the source of the river? An overflowing glass of beer of course. Little Lava Lake is the “real” source and it’s a great place for kayaking.

This mural shows the Les Schwab Amphitheater on the left. It’s packed with people attending one of our many outdoor events.

Phil’s Trail is in the left forefront. It’s a favorite of mountain bikers.

You can see a red bird sculpture in a roundabout on the right. It’s known as the “Flaming Chicken.” Many of our roundabouts contain artwork. There’s another piece of roundabout art in the mural just to the left of the bridge. It’s a graceful sculpture made from old kayaks.

In the right forefront you can see the Tower Theater. This small venue has been lovingly restored. On the marquee the featured film is “The Beer Fairies.” There is a tiny fairy hidden on the right side of the mural.

This pub art at Silver Moon captures many of the things that make this place great. The beer there is good too.

Silver Moon’s sense of humor is reflected in parts of this mural and also on their website. Here’s a quote from the site:

Best pub this side of the Milky Way!

Someone, probably

Ordinary to extraordinary: Monochrome Monday

Even a little bit of snow turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. Here are some patterns in the snow I noticed on my morning walks.

Ordinary to extraordinary snow patterns in Bend, Oregon 20 January 2020
Cattails in winter snow, Bend, Oregon 13 January 2020
Ordinary to extraordinary a dusting of snow over pinecones and pine needles, Bend, Oregon January 2020
Snowfall over a brook, Bend Oregon 19 January 2019

Monochrome Monday

One acre at a time: On the Hunt for Joy Challenge

One acre at a time, Summer Lake, Oregon November 2017
Part of Summer Lake is included in the Diablo Mountain Wilderness Study Area

Last week I helped preserve a bit of the desert, one acre at a time. Sometimes it isn’t apparent how your $$$ help a cause. When you donate to conserve.org, you can see your money in action.

Mule deer doe, near Malheur NWR, Oregon April 2019
Mule deer doe

Making a difference

For only $46 per acre, you can help the Oregon Desert Land Trust purchase part of the 118,794 Diablo Mountain Wilderness Study Area in eastern Oregon. You can view a 360-degree photo of each individual acre and choose which you want to help buy.

They are trying to purchase 880 acres that are currently in private hands. The Land Trust and Global Wildlife Conservation organizations will match funds for each donation to make the $182-per-acre purchase.

Once the purchase is complete, the public will have access to the land. The purchase ensures that the site will not be developed in the future.

Pronghorn herd at Hart Mountain, Oregon August 2019
Pronghorn herd

This bit of the desert includes interesting natural and archaeological features. The salt flats and rimrock hillsides are home to mule deer, pronghorn, greater sage grouse, and burrowing owls. Migratory birds live in the sagebrush and greasewood habitats.

The Paisley Caves contain evidence of humans that dates back to over 14,000 years ago. The nearby Fort Rock Cave and Catlow Caves contain similar artifacts.

Catlow Caves artifacts, Oregon April 2019
Catlow Cave artifacts

If you donate to this site, you can visit “your” acreage. I haven’t visited the parcels I helped purchase yet, but I can’t wait to see them in person. It will bring me great joy to see how I made a difference, one acre at a time.

Burrowing owl pair, Malheur NWR, Oregon April 2017
Burrowing owl pair

New photo challenge

There is a new weekly photo challenge called “On the Hunt for Joy Challenge” and the topic this week is “Get Outside.” I thought this would be a perfect time to feature this conservation opportunity.

On the Hunt for Joy Challenge – Go Outside

Dolphins in Flight: Monochrome Monday

This sculpture by Robert Dow Reid is called Rhapsody. It’s located in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. The artist captured their playful spirit perfectly.

Dolphins in flight, Kelowna, B.C., Canada July 1998

Monochrome Monday

Firehole Swimming Hole: LAPC

On your way to see Old Faithful, you may want to take the 2-mile long Firehole Canyon Drive to the “heated” Firehole swimming hole in the Firehole River.

You will drive past the 40-foot waterfall of Firehole Falls.

Firehole Falls in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming May 2018
Firehole Falls 2018

Just a little farther up the road, you’ll see the Firehole swimming area. The hot springs of Yellowstone National Park feed into the river and heat the chilly water to a comfortable temperature. There is another swimming area called Boiling River near the north entrance of the park.

Please read the regulations and find additional information about the Firehole and Boiling Springs swimming areas at Swim and Soak prior to your visit. Most of the park’s hot springs are extremely hot and soaking in them is prohibited. These are the only two places where swimming is allowed.

On our last few visits, we have been at Yellowstone in May and June. The Firehole has been closed to swimming because the water level was too high. It’s a nice place to take a short break when you are out exploring the park.

Firehole swimming hole, in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 2011
Firehole swimming area 2011

You can access the area by this staircase when it’s open.

Firehole swimming area stairs in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 2011
Firehole swimming hole stairway 2011

Swimming the river in the summer

When the water levels drop in the summer, you can drift the river beginning near the cliffs. Large signs warn you about the risks of swimming here so use common sense.

I took the following two pictures in July 1998. Note how the trees in these pictures show the effects of the fire of 1988. Compare them to the pictures above, taken in 2011 and 2018.

In nature, lightning causes fires that help thin overgrowth and release the seeds of certain types of pine. The photos in the beginning of this post show how a healthy forest is regrowing in Yellowstone.

Firehole swimming area in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 2011
Firehole swimming hole 1998

This is what the Firehole swimming hole typically looks like on a warm summer day. I have many fond memories of swimming here with my family over the years. It is a special spot!

Firehole swimming hole in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 1998
Firehole swimming hole 1998

Lens Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Special Spot Shots

Prostrate lupine – a tiny beauty: Friday Flowers

Prostrate lupine on Steens Mountain, Oregon 29 August 2019
Prostrate lupine

We stopped at the Kiger Gorge overlook on Steens Mountain in August and saw tiny flowers at our feet. These are prostrate lupines, Lupinus lepidus var. lobbii. I put my hand in the picture just to give you an idea of the scale.

This native plant grows in alpine habitats. The tiny blue or purple flowers measure 1/3 inch across. The plant grows to a height of 4-6 inches. Another common name for this low profile plant is “dwarf lupine.” Lupines have distinctive leaves that are almost star-like in form. The seedpods are often covered with soft “hair.”

Prostrate lupine blooms in June, July, and August. The plants I saw in late August were growing at 9,000 feet in elevation. Everything blooms later there.

Kiger Gorge Overlook, Steens Mountain, Oregon 28August2019
Kiger Gorge Overlook

This lupine ranges north to the Cascade and Olympic mountains in Washington State, south to northern California and east to western Idaho and Nevada. Prostrate lupines grow on talus slopes and in rocky pumice soils at high elevations.

Prostrate lupine is a perennial that grows in areas with heavy snowfall in the winter and short dry summers. Like other lupines, its flowers attract pollinators.

Friday Flowers