Friday, July 6, 2018

Fishing in Washington by Going Through Idaho

I am exceedingly blessed to have married someone with lots of relatives and many of them enjoy fishing. What is singularly amazing is that the two brothers Wayne is most connected to live in Washington State, but to get to their homes we have to drive through Idaho first.

Wayne and I at the undisclosed beaver pond.
Yesterday we connected with brother Mick and his wife Lisa and began a trek that lasted well into the afternoon. I cannot tell you where the fishing hole is because we took such a circuitous route to it that even leaving breadcrumbs on the dusty road was ineffectual.

The light on the beaver pond at mid-day.
And what a gorgeous day! Sunny, but not too warm, a slight breeze but sadly not enough to keep all the deer flies and other biters off our skin... scratched a lot when I got home.

We left the fish with Mick who was going to smoke them.

And we almost left Peaches at the pond because her hearing has gotten so bad that she was sleeping when we started to leave and was unaware we were packing up.
Mick moved over to another edge for a better cast.
The location is a beaver pond deep in an area called "The Bear Paw" which is sort of south of Priest Lake (the gem of Idaho lakes) and near some of the rivers that either flow into it or out of it. Found it on a map yet?
Lily pads probably make nice shade for the fish.

Before we headed out on this trip, I bought myself a fishing pole and got to use it for the first time. I only caught one fish, about 8 inches, but Wayne caught at least six. Lisa caught a couple, too. Mick spent so much time putting worms and bobbers on my pole and Lisa's that he was way behind in the totals.

There was a lot of brotherly rivalry about the achievements and plenty of ribbing making it a fun day.


Along the way back, we saw some interesting mushrooms and some moose droppings. I kidded Wayne that perhaps that was as close as he was going to get to a moose this trip.
Wayne is pointing to the pile of moose droppings.

It was an interesting drive from the secret pond to the very un-secret Priest Lake, a huge body of water in the northernmost corner of Idaho, bigger than Lake Coeur D'Alene. But the filtering in the sky did not set the lake off to its best colors. Still it was impressive.

Another day we might have the chance to see it as the real jewel it is of the Northwest.
Priest Lake from the eastern side; miles and miles of waterline.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

37 Years Ago

It seems hard to believe that 37 years have rushed by. Today, 37 years ago, I gave birth to my son and surprisingly, given some of the risky experiences he's had, he's still alive and presumably surviving. At least, I think he is.

Last year, just before Christmas, I turned up at my home in Florida to begin discussions with him about selling it and getting it ready for the market. I intended to share some of the benefits with him because I thought he was taking care of the property.

What I found was a dump. I had been conned, tricked, manipulated and convinced by my son that he was truly managing it by mowing, trimming, taking care of issues - all the things one has to do to keep a home livable. But he was not doing anything.

And he was undoubtably using drugs and alcohol again, totally against our agreement, as I saw garbage strewn from the back door to the street with bottles and other trash.

The grief and anger I felt at that moment was tremendous along with the huge disappointment of discovering what a liar my son had become. It affected my relationship with my boyfriend at the time, who has had years of dealing with ex-cons, and who tried to help me understand what had been going on. But my rage got directed at him and we split up for awhile.

In time, now over six months since that day, I have come to accept that my son is troubled, and that I can no longer fix him. He is an adult who is entitled to make his own choices, which does not include getting help. Many times in the past ten years I have encouraged, cajoled, pleaded, even threatened all to no avail.

But more than that singular event, which was a turning point in my life, there are all the wonderings and wanderings that I have done since then.

As parents (or aunts, uncles or cousins) we see a child growing and have no idea what life choices will be presented or how the path will unfold. And we don't see how we may play a part in that drama  and sometimes because the life is foreshortened the stage is quickly cleared.

It has not been pleasing to see how many peers of my son have not made it to 37. Some have died from being enlisted to fight a war, some fighting wars on home turf, some from despair, some called accidents, and a few were the consequences of a high school celebration gone horribly wrong.

Ten years ago in Everett, WA during SeaFair when things
appeared to be going along better.
So to celebrate this achievement of one child surviving 37 years, I am making a donation to a local fund that provides hope for young men and women to better themselves and to realize their full potential. And I hope there is someone somewhere who is donating to a similar charity that will benefit my son, wherever he may be. And if he should read this, I want him to know that nothing stops a mother's love and prayers for his protection.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Hood River Honeymoon

I tried to include both the wedding (which was small) with the honeymoon trip in one blog but there were too many pictures to have it all make any sense. So here is part two with what I think are some good photos of an awesome part of the western countryside.

First we drove around Mt. Hood. Our final stop on that tour was to visit the Timberline Lodge, an heritage site, because of the uniqueness of the construction and the age of the building. It reminded me of Sun Valley and I think it was of the same era when using vehicles for transportation to tour was considered a huge adventure; the 1930s and 40s.

We began our day trip from White Salmon/Bingen, WA on
the Highway 35 loop, taking us around the base of the post-
volcanic 11,239 ft. Mt. Hood.


It was warm enough
in the sunshine.
The tallest mountain in Oregon, it receives about 420 inches
of snow each year. We were on our way to the Lodge
Snow runoff creates temporary lovely waterfalls along the road.
Standing outside the Timberline Lodge, an historic landmark
and at 6,000 feet offers four-season skiing, the only area in
the U.S. to do so. 


Timberline Lodge was built in 1937 as part of the Works
Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression.
A popular tourist attraction for over 80 years!

Friends of the Lodge, a non-profit organization, has helped
to keep the Lodge fresh and vital with renovations,
restorations of fabrics, landscaping and other projects.
Rough-hewn timbers make the
Lodge a solid structure, and an
appealing tourist stop or stay.

The open concept offers guests both the cozy feature of a
fire along with impressive views inside and out.

The Lodge inside...
And the view to the outside from the Lodge's lounge.

Vista House, a great vista point on the Columbia River, OR.
As we concluded our drive around the mountain, we stopped at the Vista House, taking advantage of the sunshine and planned to drive to the various falls. However, the road to Multnomah Falls was closed off, due to the damage caused by the Eagle Creek Fire last September (2017). Over 50,000 acres of forest was burned, included bridges on trails in the area. The ground is unstable without trees and roots to hold things together, and landslides and tree falls are common now.

The historic road is narrow, curvy and now, in some places, downright hazardous because of the damage from the fire. We were not able to get up to Larch Mt. for this reason.
Standing at the Portland Women's Forum Overlook point on
the drive up the historic Columbia River Highway.
View upstream of the Columbia River from Vista House.
View looking downstream on the Columbia River
Latourelle Falls have an easy access from the parking lot.

Honeymooners at Latourelle Falls
Looking at Vista Point from Women's Overlook downstream.

In this photo of Vista House, you can see how much timber
has been burned from the Eagle Creek fire; all the brown
spots should be green and that is where the falls are.
Loved the lighting around the base of Latourelle Falls.


Another view of Latourelle Falls; bright spring colors. I am
thinking another trip in the fall would be gorgeous.

A Stellar Jay stopped by to visit us on the trail to the falls.
The next stop was Bridal Veil Falls. It was more of a hike on some pretty trails and a fair number of folks were going there. There is another falls en route, Shepherds Dell, but we decided to invest our energies in the Bridal Veil adventure.

With all the wedding planning, moving Wayne's stuff, going to his son's wedding, etc., we have not been going out and walking as much as we probably should have. While I enjoyed the hike, my back did not and I was off to see my chiropractor as soon as we returned. Now I am 'back in alignment.'

Bride and Groom at Bridal Veil Falls; wish the photographer
would have used the flash as I suggested.
The next day we had planned a trip to Portland/King City to see a dear friend of Wayne's, Ralph "Al" McFarland, and we got to meet his new partner, Jezebel. Unlike most cats, she was pretty eager to see who the new folks were and wasted no time in being coy.
Jezebel; enough said.

Al and Wayne are both widowers and they were, with their wives, couple friends. Al moved away and then was faced with a double loss of his wife and his long-term friendships. Spending the day together was sweet and lovely, like the flowers we bought and bittersweet with end of a day we all enjoyed.
Al, Wayne and Al's daughter, Gwen in front of their most
favorite garden store: Al's (not his, just the same name).

Friends are so important; we must 'water' them like our garden to keep them flourishing in our lives.

I don't think I can ever have enough blue things growing in
my garden; but here are the blue and golds of our wedding.
These were all the flowers left at the store after Wayne got
through buying...

Gwen told me this is red clover... so pretty to see on the road.
Plenty of work to be done when we return home!

After a long day of flower buying, we stopped at Shari's and
enjoyed a meal (with some memories) together.

Another day we spent doing some ancestry research for Ratcliffs in Oregon. We did find an old pioneer cemetery, after driving about a new development several times following GPS instructions: "your destination is on the right." Finally found it by contacting the veterinary store and it was behind it, hidden in the trees. Fortunately someone is taking time to keep it cleaned up but it's a little too late. Many of the graves are now "unknown."
Crossing the narrow metal bridge over to Hood River, OR.
Mt. Hood looms over the valley.
Wayne cleared the headstone and we took pictures for his
ancestry work.
We went to the Idyllwild Cemetery to locate MOSES RATCLIFF, as Wayne is very involved in ancestry. There were other Ratcliffs in the area, but no phone calls were ever returned.


Back at our campsite, the eagles were plentiful and very
'chatty' in the mornings.

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We took a tour of the Bonneville Dam and fish hatchery on our way to have lunch with friends of Wayne's from his days in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

From Wikipedia: "The dam is located 40 miles (64 km) east of Portland, Oregon, in the Columbia River Gorge. The primary functions of Bonneville Lock and Dam are electrical power generation and river navigation. The dam was built and is managed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. At the time of its construction in the 1930s it was the largest water impoundment project of its type in the nation, able to withstand flooding on an unprecedented scale.[6] Electrical power generated at Bonneville is distributed by the Bonneville Power Administration. Bonneville Lock and Dam is named for Army Capt. Benjamin Bonneville, an early explorer credited with charting much of the Oregon Trail. The Bonneville Dam Historic District was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1987."

Geese and their goslings on the Dam grounds; watch where
you step!!
The alternate (and current) route to the Multnomah Falls is best accessed near the Bonneville Dam area, so we included that as part of our trip to Cascade Locks. It is every bit as impressive as the postcards, but there is something pretty special about seeing it for real.
Multnomah Falls from top to bottom.
People were pretty helpful about taking our
picture when we asked.





Bridge of the Gods near Cascade Locks, OR is one of the
oldest bridges spanning the Columbia River.
Our last night in Hood River the mountain gave us a rosy
peek from our campsite.
After two weeks away from home, it was time to head back and see how the garden was doing, pick up Peaches (Wayne's dog) and see what it would be like to not have random days and nights just cruising along. I was looking forward to getting back to painting some of the places we'd been... until our next adventure!