Northern winds haiku: WHPPC

northern winds swirl, sting
snowflakes dance, drift, and alight
kisses of winter

northern winds

Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge (WHPPC) – Sting & Kiss

Purple clematis up close: MM & FOTD

Purple Clematis

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.

Macro Monday (MM)

Flower of the Day (FOTD)

Hot Springs State Park: LAPC

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.

Springs in Thermopolis

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.

Thermopolis sign

Native peoples used the hot springs for healing purposes for hundreds of years. They believed its waters would make them invincible in battle. describes the park’s history in the following excerpt:

“Chief Washakie of the Shoshone tribe, who built a personal bath house there, and Chief Sharp Nose of the Arapaho tribe sold the hot springs to the United States in 1896 with the provision that a portion should be forever reserved for the use and benefit of the public. Today nothing is left of Washakie’s bathhouse, although a small marker may be found at the site. At Thermopolis, each year in early August the presentation of the springs to the white man is re-enacted in the ‘Gift of the Waters Pageant’.”

Hot Springs Pools

The state-run bath house in the park has free admission. The water temperature at Wyoming State Bath House is maintained at 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Photo of Wyoming State Bath House courtesy of

Two nearby commercial hot spring facilities, with inside and outside pools and waterslides, charge an entrance fee. Star Plunge was built in 1900 and has hosted many famous people, including Buffalo Bill Cody, Butch Cassidy, Marlon Brando, and Robert Redford. Hellie’s Teepee Pool’s iconic copper dome is a local landmark. They offer a 272-foot-long outdoor slide and a 162-foot indoor slide.

Hot Springs State Park

You can explore the park by car or by venturing out on the 6.2 miles of trails.

Scenic sagebrush desert

Hot Springs State Park offers opportunities for fishing, boating, Volksmarch, and group picnicking. Group picnic shelters require registration and a deposit.

Smoking Waters sculpture

This small park includes several unique features.


Unusual hot springs in the park

White Sulfur Springs, at the north end of the park, may not be as impressive as other thermal features, but it was interesting to see its white-colored water.

White Sulphur Springs

The Teepee Fountain is much more impressive. This cone-shaped feature, originally built to vent steam, is right next to the Best Western hotel where we stayed. It has accumulated more layers of color since our last visit to Thermopolis.

Teepee Fountain

Hot Springs State Park Swinging Bridge

At the north end of the park, you can walk across a suspension bridge for unique views of the park’s attractions.

Swinging Bridge Hot Springs State Park

I walked by this winding hot spring-fed creek near the bridge. If you take a dog with you, as I did, make sure you have them in a harness and under good control. That water is HOT!

Meandering spring Hot Springs State Park

The original Swinging Bridge was constructed in 1916 and rebuilt in 1992. When you get to the other side, you’ll get a big surprise. Rainbow Terrace stretches along the shore of the Big Horn River. Over 8,000 gallons of water flow over the Terrace every day. The water temperature here measures 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hot Springs State Park

Hot Springs State Park Bison

Bison in the rain

The park maintains a herd of 24-27 bison. When we visited in early June, several calves grazed near the cows. Bison have inhabited the park since 1916. In the late fall and winter, they are fed daily supplements. Note, the park brochure reminds you to watch the bison only from inside your vehicle. They are wild animals who can run at speeds up to thirty-five mph.

Bison & calf

Legend Rock Petroglyphs

Thirty miles northwest of Thermopolis, you can walk alongside a low cliff covered with hundreds of petroglyphs. Hot Springs State Park personnel manage this AMAZING petroglyph site. For more about Legend Rock, see my post about this impressive site.

close view of rock art

Hot Springs State Park map

Hot Springs State Park map

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Unique

Painted turtles drawing & photos: First Friday Art

Today I’m sharing a pen and ink drawing I did of a painted turtle. I have fond memories of them as a child, when I kept painted turtles as pets.

Painted turtle

I’m also sharing a couple photos of them I took in Custer State Park in South Dakota. When we made a quick stop to walk the dogs, I was surprised to see this “island” near the road.

Turtles in the sun

When I took a closer look, I discovered the island was covered with painted turtles, taking a break in the warm sun. Cool! 🙂


Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.

First Friday Art (FFA)

Emptiness around memorable sights: LAPC

On our road trip last June, we saw several memorable sights that were notable for the emptiness around them.

We drove past miles and miles of vast landscapes with few occupants. Near Carter, Wyoming, we spotted hundreds of sheep grazing by the road.

Sheep grazing

A little bit farther down the road, we were fortunate to see sheepherders and their five dogs at work guiding this herd.

emptiness on the range

On our way to South Dakota, we took a side trip to see a unique attraction near Sundance, Wyoming.

Emptiness on the road

You’ve seen windsocks before, but have you seen one made from an airplane? This Beechcraft Twin Bonanza would have cost $200,000 to get in flying condition so the owners decided to turn it into a “whimsical windsock.”

Quaal windsock

I showed another aircraft on a pole in my recent Unique Roadside Signs post, but the Quaal plane rotates with the wind like a real windsock.

When we stopped to see Mount Rushmore in South Dakota early one morning, we were shocked to see something missing; People!

Mount Rushmore

We walked closer and had a great view of this massive monument, framed by flags.

Mount Rushmore

It was strange to experience emptiness at a site that hosts more than two million visitors a year. Lucky us!

After reviewing this post, I realized the skies are an important part of each photo. In some, the skies are clear and blue, while in others there are wisps and layers of puffy clouds.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Empty space

Weekend Sky

South Falls Loop hike in Oregon: RDP

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)!

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Dinosaur National Monument: LAPC

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.

Stegosaurus sculpture

The small Visitor Center in Utah features informational exhibits and a store.

Visitor Center
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A fall view: Pull Up a Seat

A fall view by the Bend Whitewater Park in Bend, Oregon. The path leads to two benches surrounded by fall leaves. You can also see a few realistic-looking Canada Geese sculptures in the foreground.

A fall view

Pull Up a Seat Photo Challenge

Green up close: LAPC & MM

Green up close
In triangular Vanilla Leaf leaves
And tiny Huckleberry leaves

Green up close

In splitting Gingko leaves

Gingko leaves

Green up close
In frond fans of Maidenhair Fern

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Time accelerates haiku: SS, HPC, FOL, NPC

time accelerates
color flies through restless leaves
the end of autumn

time accelerates

Sunday Stills (SS) – Leaves, Autumn or Spring; Monthly Color Challenge – Brown

Haiku Prompt Challenge (HPC) – Time & flies

Festival of Leaves (FOL) 2023

Nature Photo Challenge (NPC)- Autumn colours

Happy Hyopsodus 3 ways: First Friday Art

While visiting Wyoming, I noticed the interesting pose of this happy Hyopsodus wortmani fossil at one of our stops. To me, it looked like a dog asleep on its back.

Extinct small mammal

I thought I’d try to draw what it may have looked like based on the fossil. The first drawing is in pencil.

Happy Hyopsodus drawing

The second one is pen and ink, drawn with a dip pen with a pointed nib tip dipped in ink.

happy Hyopsodus

On the last one, I added a light wash of acrylic paint.


You may have noticed the Hyopsodus I drew is smiling. Do mammals smile?

Here’s a recent picture of one of my dogs, hogging both dog beds. You be the judge. 😉

bed hog dog

Check out the happy Hyopsodus and many other amazing fossils at Fossil Butte National Monument in Kemmerer, Wyoming.

Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.

First Friday Art (FFA)

Fine feather I found: Macro Monday

This a fine feather I found while walking in a park in Bend, Oregon. This large feather belonged to some kind of raptor.

fine feather

Macro Monday

Bend’s leaves of fall: NPC & FOL

This morning, while out walking along the Mill A Loop Trail, I noticed many of Bend’s leaves of fall.

This aspen tree was surrounded by gold and green.

Bend's leaves of fall

The towers of Deschutes Brewery and the old train station were framed by trees of red, gold, orange, and green leaves.

Deschutes Brewing & fall foliage

The red stems and leaves of red osier dogwood stand out in contrast with green shrubs growing nearby.

Bend's leaves of fall
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Whispers of autumn poem: WWP

Whispers of autumn
Blown in on
Northern winds
Cool and crisp
Leaves turn
From verdant to
Golden, orange,
Drifting gently
To Earth

Whispers of Autumn

Weekend Writing Prompt (WWP) – Whisper (24 words)

Differences in nature: LAPC

There are many differences in nature.


May be foggy and humid near ocean beaches,

differences in nature
Indian Beach, Ecola State Park, Oregon

Or sprinkled with clouds over an arid land.

Steens Mountain
Steens Mountain summit, Oregon


May pound down mountainsides in narrow waterfalls,

Tumalo Falls
Tumalo Falls, Oregon
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High Desert dahlia: FOTD

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.

High Desert dahlia

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.

Flower of the Day (FOTD)

Wyoming Dinosaur Center: LAPC

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.

Wyoming Dinosaur Center

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.

Tyrannosaurus vs Stegosaurus
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Scenes near the sea, Northern Ireland: LAPC, WWE

Scenes near the sea on a stormy winter day

A bridge of rope, swinging and swaying

Carrick-a-Rede Bridge
Carrick-a-Rede Bridge

An ancient castle, deteriorating yet persisting

scenes near the sea
Dunluce Castle

A seaside cafe, satiating and breathtaking

Roark's Kitchen
Roark’s Kitchen, Ballintoy Car Park

A shoreline sculpted by waves, ebbing and flowing

scenes near the sea
Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland February 2020

Scenes near the sea on a stormy winter day

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – On the edge

Water, Water Everywhere (WWE)

Sitka spruce at Fort Clatsop: TTL

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.

Sitka spruce

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.

Thursday Tree Love (TTL)

Driving into Hood River: SS & CWWC

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.

driving into Hood River

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?

Windsurfers on the Columbia

Sunday Stills (SS) – Bridges to everywhere

Cee’s Which Way Challenge (CWWC) – Any type of bridge

Ripples of summer haiku: WHC, SS, CWWC

lamplit paths tremble
a bridge arises from green
ripples of summer

ripples of summer

Weekly Haiku Challenge (WHC) – Lamp & path

Sunday Stills (SS) – Bridges to everywhere

Cee’s Which Way Challenge (CWWC) – Any kind of bridge

White Cosmos up close: MM & FOTD

Here’s a picture of a white cosmos up close, taken a couple of days ago in Bend, Oregon. Cooler weather is on the way so it may soon disappear. They are one of my favorite flowers!

White Cosmos

Macro Monday (MM)

Flower of the Day (FOTD)

Oregon photos, 10 favorites: LAPC

When I looked through my Oregon photos, it was hard to narrow it down to only ten pictures for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge of Tell us why. These are the photos I chose, shown by category.

Oregon photos of history

Sometimes you take a picture and when you look at it later on a larger screen, you say, “Wow!”

I took this picture of an old homestead without fussing with the settings first. It almost looks like one of those old-time stereoscope images. I like this photo because it captured a glimpse of history.

Oregon photos old homestead

I took a lot of pictures of the Spruce Goose aircraft in McMinnville and described it in a recent post. When I saw the lines in this photo, I knew it would look great in black and white.

Spruce Goose

Majestic mountains

I noticed I had many portraits of majestic mountains when I browsed through my Oregon photos.

The first photo, is of Steens Mountain, in southeast Oregon. The lupine was in bloom so I focused on its purple flowers. This 50-mile long mountain is one of my favorite places in Oregon. I like taking pictures that show its powerful presence.

Purple mountain majesties Steens Mountain, Oregon
Steens Mountain, Oregon
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Edibles & more gardens High Desert Garden Tour: FF

When I went on the High Desert Garden Tour in Bend, Oregon in July 2022, I was impressed by a couple edibles & more gardens. Their yards had edible plants in the front, sides, and back.

These are gooseberries growing on a shrub in full sun. I remember a gooseberry plant at one of my childhood homes.


These radishes were in a raised bed. We grow them as well and I love their spicy taste.

edibles & more garden Radishes

Raspberries! One of my favorite fruits. Over the years, our dogs have enjoyed eating them off the vines so we have to pick them fast.

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The Three Graces: Monochrome Monday

These three sandstone formations are located in Tillamook Bay, north of Garibaldi, Oregon. Known locally as The Three Graces, they’re also called Crab Rocks. If the tides are low, they’re a great place to explore when out kayaking. Check tides before venturing there.

The Three Graces

The Oregon coast has several seastacks near the shore. These are smaller in stature, but still very photogenic.

Monochrome Monday

A Malheur view: Weekend Sky, Pull up a Seat

A Malheur view at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters in Oregon.

A Malheur view

Weekend Sky

Pull up a Seat

Red flowers & meanings: LAPC, FOTD

Florists and gardeners use red flowers to represent a wide variety of emotions and characteristics. You may associate them with love, but they have many other meanings.

Columbines are symbols of strength, wisdom, and peace. Red columbines symbolize love, intense emotions, and encouragement.

Red columbine
Western columbine, Aquilegia formosa

Hibiscus are symbols of youth, beauty, success, glory, and femininity. Red hibiscus symbolize romance and love.

Red flowers  hibiscus
Red hibiscus, Hibiscus sp.

Black-eyed Susans are symbols of justice, inspiring motivation and positive changes. They are sometimes associated with the sense of wonder of childhood.

Red blossoms Black-eyed Susan
Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia sp.

Poppies are symbols of remembrance and hope. The flowers are used to recognize members of the Armed Forces around the world. In some cultures, red poppies represent love and success.

Red Iceland poppy
Iceland poppy, Papaver nudicaule

Indian paintbrush are symbols of creativity, passion, and the pursuit of dreams. Their red and orange flowers represent fiery energy and the drive needed to achieve your goals.

Indian paintbrush
Indian paintbrush, Castilleja sp.

Red flowers stand out in both wild and cultivated landscapes.

Meanings of flowers may vary, depending on the source. For this post, I relied on information on Petal Republic.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Primary Colors LAPC

Flower of the Day FOTD

Beneath a cloudy Wyoming sky Nonet poem: WS

Beneath a cloudy Wyoming sky

Bunchgrass buffeted by the wind

Wave a welcome to pronghorn

Sage embraces the herd

Distant thunder booms

A doe trembles

Giving birth



Beneath a cloudy Wyoming sky
Pronghorn herd near Farson, Wyoming

Weekend Sky (WS)

Need to weed? Tools & tips: FF

Do you need to weed? It’s not something we want to do, but it’s something we have to do.

Some weeds are pretty, but spread aggressively. I call this one the “Root of all Evil” because it can be hard to pull and develops seed heads almost as soon as it pops out of the ground.

Need to weed
“Root of all Evil” Stork’s-bill or Crane’s Bill

About an acre of our land is planted with landscaping, fruit, or vegetable plants. We need to weed often, especially in the spring. Today I’ll share some tips and tools that may help you when you need to weed.

Need to weed tools

Need to weed seat
Bosmere N468 Kneeling Seat for the Garden

I have tried several seats while weeding, and this is my favorite. You can sit on it as a seat or flip it over and kneel on it.

Need to wead kneeler seat
Bosmere N468 Kneeling Seat for the Garden

My dogs like when I sit on it because then I’m at their level. Shelby thinks it’s the perfect opportunity to play fetch with me.

Fetching dog
“It’s time to play, right?”
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Monkey tree can’t pinch me!: TTL

“Monkey tree can’t pinch me!” I remember saying that as a kid every time we drove past one of these odd trees on the way to our grandparents’ house. We would try to be the first one to pinch our siblings before they could pinch us. Did anyone else play that game?

Monkey tree can't pinch me
Monkey puzzle tree in Silverton, Oregon

Monkey puzzle trees, Araucaria auracana, are native to Chile and Argentina but grow well in many parts of the world. In their native habitat, they grow to a height of 100-130 feet, but in gardens in North America mature at 30-40 feet.

Their common name originated in 1850 when Charles Austin, who was visiting a friend’s garden in England, remarked, “It would puzzle a monkey to climb that.” Those triangular leaves have sharp edges and tips!

Close up of tree
Close up of Monkey puzzle tree leaves, Silverton, Oregon

Thursday Tree Love

Foggy day at Boiler Bay: WWE

I took this picture of a foggy day at Boiler Bay, Oregon a couple weeks ago.

foggy day at Boiler Bay

In 1910, the J. Marhoffer schooner ran aground here. Its engine caught on fire and the fuel tanks exploded, sending debris everywhere. During extremely low tides, you can still see its boiler, for which this site is named.

Water Water Everywhere (WWE)

Waterfall washing away worries: Wordless Wednesday

South Falls waterfall washing away worries at Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

waterfall washing away worries

South Falls from behind

Wordless Wednesday

Natural frame scenes: LAPC

A glistening serpent slithers through a natural frame of duckweed and sedges

White calla lilies, surrounded by leathery green leaves, enlighten

Crimson canna lily leaves punctuate a layered landscape of greenness

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Bison & Bikes YIKES!

In early June, while driving the roads in Custer State Park, South Dakota, we saw these bison & bikes in front of us. YIKES!

It ends up we were driving through the Ride Across South Dakota (RASDak) annual event. The route for this six-day event changes every year. The part we saw had participants riding 37 miles from Hot Springs to Custer, South Dakota. Mileage of each leg of the 330-mile route varies by day.

Though a RASDak support vehicle parked nearby, I would be nervous being this close to bison with calves. In fact, visitors to Custer State Park are advised to “remain in your vehicle or stay at least 100 yards from bison, elk, and other animals.” I admired the bravery of these bike riders.

Bison & bikes

I’m sure the participants saw amazing sights along the entire route, but they were probably glad to get past this bison & bikes roadblock. What a great way to see the state!

Weekly Prompts Wednesday Challenge – Roads

Fluttering into a wild iris meadow: WWP

Fluttering into a wild iris meadow
White-faced Ibis alight
Curved bills preen and probe
Iridescent feathers catch fading light
Casting rainbows over dusty hills
Awakening dormant wildflowers
Yearning for an opportunity
To shine

fluttering into a wild iris meadow

Weekend Writing Prompt (WWP) #322- Flutter (34 words)

Missed it by a hare: LAPC & TDS

I like to walk the trails in Norris Geyser Basin when visiting Yellowstone National Park. One day, while I walked along a forested trail, I nodded at two people passing me going the opposite direction. Another person walked some distance ahead of me. All of them overlooked something alongside the trail. In fact, they missed it by a hare.

Norris Geyser Basin

Can you spot what I saw near the trail?

Missed it by a hare

Maybe everyone passing by was looking at this geyser on the other side of the trail and missed it.


I spotted a movement from a distance and stepped towards it for a closer look.

What is that? A new kind of rabbit? Maybe a pinto bunny?

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