Petrified wood bits – Bear Creek: LAPC & Macro Monday

Last month, we collected petrified wood bits from Bear Creek, south of Prineville Reservoir in Oregon. The following pieces are one inch or less in size. Getting decent photographs of these tiny stones proved to be a challenge.

I set up a tabletop studio and tried a Panasonic Lumix and a Galaxy Ultra phone camera. I had to keep adjusting the spotlights outside of the studio. Each stone was given a quick spritz of water to bring out their color. After many unsuccessful attempts with both cameras, I finally got some good shots with the Panasonic.

petrified wood
Close up of wood
petrified wood
close up of rock
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Cars from the Golden Age: LAPC

The Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum in Hood River, Oregon has a large collection of cars from the “Golden Age of Transportation” – the period from the early 1920s through the 1940s. The Museum has a collection of over 130 vehicles from the 1900s to the 1960s. You can get more information on vehicles in the collection by year or manufacturer here.

Cars from the Golden Age and beyond

Artifacts from the time period are on display near many of the cars. Here’s a camping scene.

Cars from the Golden Age

Storefronts around the perimeter of the building add visual interest to the collection.

Antique autos

The color and design of the cars make them great subjects for photographs.

Colorful old cars
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Lower Crooked River drive – am & pm: LAPC & FFC

A couple days ago, we went on a Lower Crooked River drive. We were there early in the morning, attempting to avoid an incoming storm system. I remembered I had been there about a year earlier for an afternoon drive. How would the lighting differ in the photos taken on both trips?

Just south of Prineville, Oregon, the Lower Crooked River Back Country Byway winds its way along the Crooked River. The 43-mile long road meets up with Highway 20 to the south.

This post highlights the 8-mile section between Prineville Reservoir and Castle Rock. See map at the end of the post. On this drive, the curving lines of the road and river contrast with the straight lines of geological features.

A morning drive

As we drove north from the reservoir, shadows covered the east side of the road. The morning light cast a warm glow over the canyon lands.

Canyon views

Basalt columns looked pretty in full light…

Columnar basalt

But took on more character in the shadows.

columnar basalt
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Photo in thirds? Bending the rules: LAPC

When taking pictures, you might want to think about composing your photo in thirds. What?

According to the Digital Photography School, the rule of thirds “is a compositional guideline that breaks an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so you have nine pieces and four gridlines. According to the rule, by positioning key elements along the gridlines, you’ll end up with better compositions.”

While browsing my photos, I realized horizontal layers are more important to me in composition. Do my pictures always follow the rule of thirds guidelines? No, it’s okay to bend the rules.

SLR Lounge notes, “Of all the “rules” in photography, the rule of thirds is one of the easiest to successfully break.”

My photo in thirds examples (with layers)

This sandhill crane is in the upper third corner, but the differing textures and colors of the plants catch your attention. This photo has four layers.

Photo in thirds

This pronghorn is near the lower third of the picture. I could have cropped it more, but I didn’t want to cut out the misty mountains in the background. This photo has five layers.

Pronghorn at Yellowstone
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Thermophile color – Nonet poem: LAPC

Thermophile color blooms near Earth’s core
In bouquets of startling brilliance
Fertilized by extreme heat
In caldera water
Where few dare to tread
The Archaea
Find a home,
Warm and
Safe

thermophile color at Yellowstone
Close ups at Yellowstone
Artemis geyser
Thermophile color
Hot spring colors
Grand Prismatic

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Colorful Expressions

Focus on what is important: LAPC

Focus on what is important and blur the distractions.

Burrowing owl

Magnify the delicacy of Nature’s architecture.

Apple blossoms

Find subjects that stand out from the herd and capture their strength.

Focus on what is important - bison

Focus on the palette of colors used to create distant masterpieces.

View from Gray Butte

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Bokeh

Stories unfolding in the rock in Wyoming: LAPC

When I drove the highway west of Cody, Wyoming, I saw stories unfolding in rock formations along the road.

The short paved trail in the photo below takes you to a place of wonderment along the North Fork Shoshone River.

Stories unfolding from a distance

The rock formations along the ridgetop are a village of homes with a view carved by the common folk. At one time, the richest man in town lived in a round home atop the tallest tower. He bragged about his wealth to anyone who would listen. One day, he danced with glee around and around inside the house. It fell to the ground, but he survived. From then on, he lived a humble life in a square home and he never danced again.

Stories unfolding in rock

Sheep Mountain is a distinctive landmark about 15 miles southwest of Cody.

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Driving around the bend-Sijo poem: LAPC, TTC, SWPC

Driving around the bend, visions of new worlds come into view.
Splashes of warm color, framed in cool blue, catch our attention.
Images pass by fast and vanish, remembered as a dream.

Driving around the bend near Sisters, OR
Sunset near Sisters, Oregon
Painted Hills Oregon
Approaching the Painted Hills, Oregon
Fall color McKenzie Pass
Fall color on McKenzie Pass, Oregon

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) #191- Curves

Three Things Challenge (TTC) #862- Color & fast

Sijo Wednesday Poetry Challenge (SWPC) – Blue

Gray fox basking in the sunlight: LAPC

A gray fox blissfully basking in the sunlight on a log.

Gray fox

Zooming in a little closer to see the details of her coat.

gray fox

Zooming in closer still to focus on her exquisite and intelligent face.

close up from High Desert Museum

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) #190 – Close and Closer

Fun with photos – Photo Bloopers 5: LAPC

It’s time once again for fun with photos. Welcome to Photo Bloopers 5! This is what I do with pictures that don’t quite fit in or turned out weird looking. They needed a few words to make them more interesting. Hope they entertain you!

hawk photos with FumFum
Harris’s Hawk at Dingle Falconry Experience in County Kerry, Ireland
Burning Man truck
Truck featured in Burning Man exhibit, High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon
Carousel horses
Carousel horses at Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum, Hood River, Oregon
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The Meadow – A peaceful retreat: LAPC

For more than 25 years our family camped in a place we called “The Meadow” in northeastern Washington state. Though this site didn’t have luxuries like running water or restrooms, it was a peaceful retreat.

The first three pictures show different views of The Meadow. Stands of aspen and mixed conifers border the large grass meadow. This site is at an elevation of around 4,500 feet and hosts a wide variety of wildlife including three kinds of grouse, moose, deer, bear, cougar, and probably wolves. I had a memorable experience one day when a great gray owl drifted over me on its whisper quiet wings.

The next three photos show a couple of our pets from the past and a pest. Can you see the chipmunk silhouetted on the pine tree trunk? The chipmunks and camp robber birds would steal food right off your plate if you weren’t watching. In another picture you can see our dog, Keyah, walking in front of a place we called “Big Rock.” The kids loved climbing on top of this massive boulder. The other picture shows our dog, Leto, resting in front of the campfire. This boulder was a perfect backdrop for our fires.

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Deschutes River sights to see: LAPC

Today I’m sharing Deschutes River sights to see. Since the river, located in central and northern Oregon, is 252 miles long, I’ll show just a few of its riches. At the end of this post, a map shows these locations.

Where the Deschutes begins

The first picture is of Little Lava Lake. This is a more peaceful place to kayak than the much larger Lava Lake. The spot below shows where the Deschutes River begins.

Little Lava Lake
Little Lava Lake

The next picture was taken on another kayaking trip near Harper Bridge in Sunriver. The waters are calm on this part of the river, but get much rougher when you get to Benham Falls, a class V section. I got out well ahead of the falls!

Kayaking on the Deschutes River 10Sept2016
North of Harper Bridge
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Plains Indian Museum, Wyoming: LAPC

Today I’m sharing pictures taken at the Plains Indian Museum section of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. This world-class museum has five sections focused on western history, culture, and the environment. It’s in Cody, Wyoming, a half an hour drive from the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

The theme this week for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is “low light.” Museums and galleries often have challenging lighting for taking photographs. I used my Samsung phone to take most of these photos since it does well in low light conditions. I’ll share some of my tips for taking and editing photos.

The first image shows a war lodge. Warriors made these temporary structures in wooded areas to hide their presence in enemy territory.

There was a reflection of a large blue screen on the right side of the image that I eliminated with my editing program, Corel PaintShop Pro 2021. I also used a vignette effect to direct viewers to the most interesting parts of this structure.

Stick tee pee in Cody museum
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Big changes at the Amphitheater: LAPC

There have been some big changes at the amphitheater in Bend, Oregon. I featured the art in and around this venue in a post in June 2020. At that time, it was called the Les Schwab Amphitheater. It was named after a local entrepreneur who developed a thriving national tire business. Now the site is the Hayden Homes Amphitheater, named after a local home builder.

This site, the largest outdoor music venue in Bend, hosts concerts as well as events like Brewfest. Live Nation, the world’s leading live entertainment company, will partner with Hayden Homes in managing events. This page lists events scheduled for 2022.

Before and after views of the big changes

Today I’ll turn my lenses toward some of the changes at this site.

The stage before was small with whimsical art on the front and back. Here’s the artwork that was on the back of the stage. I loved the raven in this mural.

Art at the Amphitheater , Bend, Oregon November 2018

The new industrial-style stage is much larger and has a big open “window” space to take in the view.

Close view of stage
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On distant trails: LAPC, WWP, & SS

I saunter along distant trails, not knowing what wonders nature will share with me.


Will falling water sing between rocky cliffs?

Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls, Oregon


Will earth show its origins in the soil?

Distant trails Painted Hills
Painted Hills, Oregon


Will wind turn wheels of history over parched plains?

Fort Rock
Fort Rock, Oregon


And when I return home from distant trails, will fireworks light the skies?

Sunrise over Bend
Bend, Oregon

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Travel has taught me

Weekend Writing Prompt – Saunter (51 words)

Sunday Stills – The power of the elements: Earth, air/wind, fire, & water

Cooper’s Hawk taking a bath: LAPC & SS

About a year ago, I watched this Cooper’s Hawk taking a bath in my backyard. She is a regular visitor but this day was special because she stayed for two hours. We get a lot of songbirds at our water feature and the hawks think of it as their all-you-can-eat-buffet and spa.

On this day, the Cooper’s Hawk taking a bath stood in the chilly water for 40 minutes before perching in a nearby snag. I’ve shown pictures of her preening and fluffing her feathers after her bath in a previous post. She is a gorgeous bird.

As you can tell by my pictures below, this Cooper’s Hawk has a lot of personality!

Coopers hawk taking a bath
Hawk bathing
Hawk bathing
Coopers hawk taking a bath
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Special somethings around the house: LAPC

This post includes photos of smaller-sized special somethings collected over the years.

Special somethings discovered

The first photo shows a radiator cap from a 1928 Pontiac. We found it buried in the forest where we used to live. The Indian brave sculpture is so detailed!

Special somethings radiator cap

The next photo shows a picture of my favorite salt & pepper shakers. This pair was found in an antique store in Snohomish, Washington. I’m not sure what year these were made, but they look like Depression-era glassware.

Depression glass S & P

Things from the earth

The next photo shows a piece of black obsidian. I found this piece at Glass Buttes, about an hour east of Bend, Oregon. This rock has radiating curves that developed as it cooled thousands of years ago.

Special somethings black obsidian
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Diaphanous strands haiku: OLWG, LAPC, WS

diaphanous strands
a colorful serape
muffles winter’s chill

Diaphanous strands of clouds

Online Writers Guild (OLWG) – #242 – A colorful serape

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) #181 – Double Dipping

Weekend Sky (WS) #51

Some of my best photos from 2021: LAPC, SS

It’s time to share special photos from the past year. Please enjoy this selection of nature, history, and art photos from Bend Branches.

Best Nature Pictures

The first photo shows a scene at the Portland Japanese Garden. We visited in October, when fall colors were at their peak.

best photos Portland Japanese Garden

This picture shows a pronghorn buck at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. My following pronghorn post includes several pictures of these icons of the West.

Grazing pronghorn buck in Yellowstone

We get spectacular sunsets and sunrises in our High Desert yard in Bend, Oregon. I wrote a two-line essence poem to go along with this image.

best photos dusk desert sky
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Peaceful scenes near Bend, Oregon: LAPC

Once again, I’m sharing images of peaceful scenes near my home in Bend, Oregon.

Sahalie Falls, about an hour west of Bend, rewards visitors with this picture perfect view. Moss-covered rocks frame the rainbows floating over the river.

peaceful scenes - Sahalie Falls
Sahalie Falls

The next photo shows a few of my next door neighbors. This mule deer doe often jumped the fence into our yard to take a break from her fawns. 😀

Mule deer and fawns
Mule deer doe and two fawns
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Reindeer on my tree

These reindeer on my tree are part of my reindeer collection. The great thing about a seasonal collection is that it’s only out for part of the year. It gives you something to look forward to.

Some of the ornaments, like the Fitz and Floyd one below, have value as a collectible.

Reindeer on my tree

Others, like this ceramic one, have a different kind of value. I’ve reattached the antlers more than once on this sentimental piece.

Ceramic ornament

Some, like this wooden one, are more arts and crafts than fine art.

Wooden ornament
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Knowth-Fiction & Facts: LAPC & TTC

Walking towards the burial mounds of Knowth, in County Meath, Ireland, it’s easy to imagine they must have many stories to tell. The largest mound was likely created circa 3200 BC. This is part of the World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne. I featured another passage tomb nearby in The façade of Newgrange.

Each image tells a story on its own, but I created a Tale of Knowth to go along with the photos.

Tale of Knowth

Knowth, County Meath, Ireland

“Go to the mounded land on the day fall begins.” Maimeó said to me weeks before her passing.

Once I found the 18 mounds, I didn’t know where to turn. I followed the curving trail around the largest mound. A cool gust from the north made the emerald grass covering the mound dance in the wind.

“Find the sunburst kerbstone. It will show you the way.” I remembered Maimeó’s words.

The sunburst kerbstone? I thought. Spirals, crescent, and other patterns covered the boulders encircling the mound. I wondered how I would find the right one.

I trudged around the perimeter of the mound, pulling my cloak close. Light snowfall drifted by me and settled in the characters carved into stone.

Why is it snowing on autumn’s eve? I thought to myself. I tried to keep warm by rubbing my arms and stamping my feet. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted something.

Kerbstones
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Following fall close to home: LAPC

Sometimes you experience memorable moments by following fall close to home. I’ve made a special effort to capture glimpses of the season in photographs this year near my home in Bend. Fall is my favorite season!

Autumn weather brings cloudy skies and spectacular sunrises that take your breath away.

Following fall in Bend, Oregon

Trees don their finest fashions and marvel at their reflections.

Fall foliage

Some trees try to see how many shades of autumn they can pack onto one branch.

Following fall in Bend, Oregon

And when the leaves fall, they dazzle you like an ephemeral work of art.

Fallen leaves

If you listen closely, you’ll hear the leafless trees revealing stories layer by layer until they are clothed once again.

Paper birch

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Follow your bliss

Observatory of the Past: LAPC

This observatory of the past is on McKenzie Pass near Sisters, Oregon. Dee Wright Observatory was built in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps to showcase the human and geological history of this location. The round tower sits atop a small hill.

Observatory of the past

Here’s what it looks like when you approach it from the west. It’s one of the odder roadside attractions in Oregon but one that should not be missed.

Observatory of the past

The Observatory is constructed of local lava rock. The triangular-shaped rail supports look like rock cairns.

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Fall at the Japanese Garden in Portland: LAPC & FOTD

I have been patiently waiting for fall at the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon. Every day, I visited their Fall Color Status Update website. In mid-October, the site indicated good leaf color in their plantings. Off we went!

A brilliant rainbow of colors bordered the Flat Garden. The green Circle and Gourd Islands in the sea of white gravel represent enlightenment and happiness.

fall at the Japanese Garden

This nearby path is bordered by more subtle colors.

Path in a garden

The Garden limits the number of visitors, but they crowded around this maple tree with its bright red leaves.

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After the rain in the Painted Hills: LAPC & FF

After the rain in the Painted Hills of eastern Oregon, the colors stand out in bold contrast. I live an hour and a half away from these strange geological features and patiently wait for the storms of fall to arrive.

The first image shows the view from the road to the Overlook parking area. The hills are located within the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

After the rain

Though I’ve been here several times, I’d never hiked the 1/2 mile Painted Hills Overlook Trail. The easy trail leads you past this dramatic scene. Wow!

After the rain

Here’s a closer view.

After the rain

These hills are on the south side of the trail.

Painted Hills

There are four short, easy trails and a more moderate longer trail a short distance away.

This photo shows part of the Painted Cove Trail after the rain.

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Born Again Babaylan mural: LAPC & MM

This Born Again Babaylan mural, created by Bekah Badilla, is located on the eastside of Bend, Oregon. Bekah is a Filipina/White American who was born in Alaska and now lives in Bend.

The first photo shows a close up of Babaylan.

close up of mural

The second photo shows the entire 18′ x 44′ mural in the light of dawn.

Born Again Babaylan

The artist put a lot of thought into this work. Here is an excerpt from her site describing the Born Again Babaylan mural:

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Past their prime: LAPC

Here in the High Desert, things tend to last well past their prime. Though this old truck shows signs of wear and tear, chances are it still runs.

Past their prime truck

This truck is located on rural property along Deschutes Market Road. This is one of 51 “market” roads in and around Deschutes County. These farm-to-market roads were built following passage of the Oregon Market Road Act of 1919. Prior to their construction, farmers navigated many miles of bumpy, rutted dirt roads to deliver their goods.

old truck

A label on the truck’s door reads S & M, Land & Livestock. I’m not sure if this was a local company. There were many ranching operations in Central Oregon, large and small, in the 1870-1920 pre-Industrial period.

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Splashes of Autumn – Tanka: LAPC & SSC

Splashes of autumn

Splashes of autumn
Along verdant waterways
Beside winding roads
Within ancient lava beds
The glorious frocks of fall

Splashes of autumn
Fall leaves
Fall leaves in lava rock

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Colors of Autumn

Sunday Stills Challenge (SSC) – Signs of Autumn or Spring

Oregon mountains from afar: LAPC

Today I’m featuring views of Oregon mountains from afar. We’re lucky to have wide open views of these landmarks.

The first picture shows a view of the iconic Cascade Volcanoes west of Bend, Oregon. From left to right you can see Broken Top, South Sister, Middle Sister, North Sister, Black Crater, Mount Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Black Butte, and Mount Jefferson. Visitor can drive scenic roads, hike, rock climb, bike, go boating, fish, hunt, and nature watch around these peaks. This map helps you find the activities you’re looking for.

Oregon mountains from afar

The second picture shows mountains east of Terrebonne, Oregon. The highest peak is Gray Butte, where I’ve seen lots of stunning wildflowers in the spring. At the base of the mountains, on the left side, you can find Smith Rock State Park. This park is a destination for rock climbers and hikers from around the world.

Oregon mountains from afar
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Golden Galway Stairwell: WW, LAPC, & LIC

Golden Galway stairwell

Wordless Wednesday (WW)

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC)- Looking Up/Down

Life in Colour (LIC) – Gold

Bison jump sculpture, painting, & poem: SS & LAPC

Bison sculpture

Bison jump sculpture in Cody

I saw this impressive bison jump sculpture at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. Free Fall, created by T.D. Kelsey in 2001, depicts a hunting method in use for hundreds of years. Hunters herded bison toward a steep cliff, where they fell to their death. As I’ve mentioned before, bison are dangerous and this is a safer alternative for harvesting them. At the base of this sculpture, piles of bones appear in a recreated archaeological dig.

Sculpture in Cody

T.D. Kelsey was born and raised on a ranch near Bozeman, Montana. T.D. Kelsey: Realist, Romantic, and Inspired Sculptor describes his background, including time spent as a rodeo cowboy, pre-med student, rancher, and airline pilot. With encouragement from his wife, Sidni, Kelsey eventually began working full time as an artist. His love for animals shows in this piece and other sculptures and paintings he created over the years.

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Do you wonder when you wander?: LAPC

Do you wonder when you wander
Where the path will lead?

Up to mountains,
Where scattering clouds reveal the peaks of possibility?

Mt Shuksan, Washington

Down to deserts,
Where sandstorms expose the color of earth’s soul?

Blue Basin Trail, Oregon

Over to ocean shores,
Where waves create cryptic messages in the sand?

Do you wonder? Near Dingle, Ireland

Through dense forests,
Where trees of different character stand together as one?

Do you wonder - near Republic,  WA

Do you wonder when you wander
Where the path will lead?

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Keep Walking

Portraits of creatures in different light: LAPC

In these portraits of creatures, the lighting is a major part of the scene.

In the first picture, a family of Sandhill Cranes struts across a meadow in the morning light. The lead bird, in the strongest light, keeps an eye out for predators.

portraits of creatures - sandhill cranes

In the next photo, a bull elk grazes in a grassy field. Bright fluffy clouds and dark forest trees are major parts of this shot. The elk, with its bright back fur and dark legs, blends into that environment.

Bull elk

In this photo, a northern river otter drifts through the water. Mid-day sun cuts through the water and dapples the bottom surface. A trail of bubbles emphasizes the otter’s streamlined form.

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High Desert Clouds-Clogyrnach Poem: LAPC

High desert clouds fill the dawn sky
Graceful brushstrokes conceived to fly
Drifters over earth
Interspersed cloudbursts
Dusk desert, glowing high

High Desert clouds
North of Steens Mountain
Near Malheur NWR
High Desert clouds

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Inspiration

Weekend Sky #36

Pretty as a picture in the West: LAPC

Sometimes you visit places where the landscapes are pretty as a picture. Here are a few places I’ve visited in the western states that feature picture postcard views. I tell a tiny tale about each of them.

Kiger Gorge on Steens Mountain, Oregon is full of drama. A giant serpent tunneled through here leaving scales of deep green. Wise ones believe the sweetest water can be found in shallow wells beneath these strands of greenery.

Kiger Gorge, Oregon 28August2019

Morning Glory in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming is a glorious sight. The artist who created this landscape experimented with various colors. She could not settle on using a single color and discarded her pallet here for us to find.

Pretty as a picture at Morning Glory

This grandfather tree in Arches National Park, Utah often told tales of wild places to his many grandchildren. When he passed, they honored him by preserving the bones of his existence and planting golden flowers near his roots.

Weathered tree at Arches National Park in Utah. 3May2017
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Movin’ down the road in Harney County, Oregon: LAPC

When you travel the backroads in this part of the country, it’s not uncommon to see cattle herds movin’ down the road guided by cowboys. We saw a couple cowboys on horseback moving this herd near Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Cattle in Harney County

You’ll see dust clouds long before you see the animals.

Movin' down the road

The cattle often stop in the road until they are pressured into moving. Watch for signals from the horseback riders to their dogs herding the cattle. Do your best to stay out of their way.

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Yellowstone Hot Springs-A great escape!: LAPC

On our recent visit to Yellowstone National Park, we took a side trip to Yellowstone Hot Springs. This attraction is located in Gardiner, Montana, about ten minutes north of the park.

Yellowstone Hot Springs

An interesting history

In the last 100+ years, this site has passed through many hands. In 1899, French-Canadian immigrant, Julius LaDuke, staked a mining claim here and discovered it contained hot springs. He created LaDuke Hot Springs Resort to serve miners and visitors to the area. The resort included a large plunge bath and several smaller private baths. A two-story hotel was built nearby. LaDuke entered into a short-lived purchase agreement with William F. Cogswell. This was one of many setbacks in his life.

Visitors traveled by coach to Electric, later known as Aldridge, and then had to cross the 150-foot wide river to the springs. LaDuke employed barges, then a cable ferry, then a ferryboat, and finally a swinging footbridge for his guests.

Guests rumored to have visited LaDuke Hot Springs Resort include President Theodore Roosevelt and famous frontierswoman, Calamity Jane.

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Creatures of the mist – haiku: LAPC

creatures of the mist
graze in meadowlands of steam
whisperers of warmth

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Black & white