- Just got back from a trip to Washington State & Seattle! Got to do some fantastic hiking at Mt. Rainier National Park & Olympic National Park. Also went on a whale watch out of Port Townsend, Washington through the Puget Sound & to the San Juan islands. During our time hiking & boating we encountered some curious new critters. Here are a few facts I learned:
- Marmots, (also called groundhogs or woodchucks) are the largest of the squirrel family. Marmots are kind of cute (for a rodent), and basically lie around on rocks sunning themselves & chewing vegetation all day. They make a loud, shrill whistling sound (which we did not have the pleasure of experiencing).
- Orca whales can live to be over 90 years old! There was an orca whale born in 1910 in one of the pods we saw. Orcas are also matriarchal. Adult males will stay with their mommies, aunties, sisters, & grammies their whole life. Some orca whales (like the ones in the Puget Sound) only eat fish like salmon. They do not hunt seals or sea lions.
- Banana Slugs are found in the Hoh temperate rainforest in Olympic National Park. They are bright yellow of course. Banana slugs have a large breathing hole & delicate antennae with knobby eyes at the end. ((Aside: Over a beer at the airport a woman from Portland told me that for fun kids in Oregon & Washington lick banana slugs on a dare. Apparently banana slugs have a toxic chemical on their skin that makes your tongue numb hmmm!! ))
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
The Mona Lisa
>Is she just a good-looking lady??
>Did Leonardo just have a poor trademark lawyer??
> Is she Jesus in disguise??
2. The Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911 & but later returned in 1913. (notoriety always gains attention).3. The Mona Lisa hangs in one of the most famous museums in the world (you even have to wait in line under a glass pyramid for a couple of hours to get in).
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Baxter State Park, ME- a Gem of the Northeast
Just spent Monday thru Saturday at
Day two (Wed.) was our water-sports day. Four of us went to Kidney Pond and rented canoes. We experienced a leisurely paddle around the pond, ate some lunch, & went swimming. We saw frogs, fish, and an uprooted tree with spooky, gnarly roots. Again it was a beautiful sunny day, & we had great views of the mountain peaks around. Afterwards we hung around the Kidney Pond library, did some reading & chatting.
On Thurs. we (3 of us) had an easier day. We went along the
On Friday I joined one other camper to explore the Chimney Pond Trail. We had to leave camp by 5:30 a.m. to get to the Tongue Pond Gate, & to get into the Roaring Brook parking lot. Luckily, we made it, as it was Friday & the forecast called for rain .We geared up then headed up the Chimney Pond Trail. This trail was rocky, but not too steep, & ran along the Roaring Brook. We took our time, reaching Chimney Pond before lunchtime. Chimney Pond is a serene spot situated in the
After lunch we went back down the Chimney Pond Trail and took the North Basin Trail to the left. This rocky, steep trail led up to the Blueberry Knoll, an open area with low bushes and wild blueberries (deliciously tart). On our left was a view of the
As we headed back down the Chimney Pond Trail, we took a few detours to stop and rest at the Basin Ponds. The descent made for a few sore knees & ankles. At one point we were treated to hailstones in August—for 10 minutes or so—by a passing, dark rain cloud.
When we returned to camp on Friday afternoon, we traded stories & rested. After a short rainstorm, a vibrant, double rainbow formed in the sky! The purple was so deep it looked as if it were glowing. The rainbow lasted long enough to snap more than a few pictures. See below...