Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cheesecake Bliss

Emily and I went to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch.
We got 3 appetizers instead of entrees.
They were still giganormous.

Avocado rolls:

Buffalo strips
(really good!):

Corn cakes topped with salsa, avocado, sour cream, yummy sauce:

And finally, cheesecake!

The cheesecake pieces are giganormous, too,
and we couldn't finish them all.
If you look closely you may see Sophie scampering up behind the cheesecakes.
I wanted to get a picture of Emily and Sophie but Emily did not want me to blog a picture of her.
She was very cross about it.
So her hand is all you will see.
But this post is for all my sisters and brothers who have wanted to see what Cheesecake Factory food looks like.

Friday, August 22, 2008

White Rim group

I went down to the White Rim at Canyonlands again,
with my brother and kids and some friends.
This was my third trip down there.
It was hot, but we had the place nearly all to ourselves.

I had T shirts made for our group,
and they turned out really well in the photos.

This is my favorite group picture,
taken at White Crack.

Between us, Joe and I took over 900 pictures.
I'm busy sorting them and discarding all the duplicates.
I'll probably post more later on.

Meanwhile, here we are, second evening out,
at the White Crack overlook:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Glacier NP wildflowers

Apparently the wild flowers were late blooming at Glacier NP this year.
It was perfect timing for my visit!
Meadows full of various colors:

This one is called a Lewis monkeyflower, I learned:

I'm not sure what this is, but it's gorgeous:

And on the road away from the hiking meadows,
I saw several stands of fireweed:

Friday, August 15, 2008

More Mountain Goats

Completely unafraid,
Mama Goat and Baby Goat trot across a meadow,
right next to the Hidden Lake trail.

On the other side of the pines:
more goats!

C'mon, baby, you can make the jump!

Friendly goat herd grazing:

Goats at Glacier NP

When I arrived at Logan Pass in Glacier National Park,
I decided to go for a short hike up to see the Hidden Lake overlook.
And as I was hiking up past a snowfield, I looked to my right and saw...


A real, live mountain goat!

She (I think it was a she) was sitting calmly on the snowfield,
just a few yards away,
enjoying the sun, evidently.

The goats at Glacier are pretty used to tourists with cameras,
I gathered,
especially after I saw several more on the hike that crossed over the trail.
This one was not bothered by me at all,
or the growing crowd of fellow hikers coming up and saying "ooh!"
in not-very-soft tones.
She wasn't going to let it disturb her nap time!

Zooming out a bit to get the view of Mt. Clements,
under which the goat is settled:

And since she was so calm, I got one of the fellow hiker-tourist-camera folks
to take my picture as I sat on the trail "wall".
You can see how close she is!

Montana Moose

While hiking the battlefield tour with a ranger,
we were lucky enough to see a moose!
It was a cow moose, gallooping about in the river below.
She was having fun.
Moose like water, and swimming:

And as we watched, out came a calf!
So cute, but I wouldn't want to get close, with Mama on guard.
Moose can be mean.

In fact, there were two calves: twins!
We saw them splashing and playing in the river
(obscured from my camera by lots of foliage)
but you can just see their twitching ears in the shrubs,
if you look slightly to the left:

They really made my day. :)

Tipi coda: musing on history

Tipis, as I learned, are surprisingly sophisticated:
there's a lot more to them than just a bunch of sticks and canvas.
one thing seems to be missing:

There's no door flap.
I forgot to ask about it, but they MUST have had one,
for privacy,
for warmth (especially in winter).
I did learn that the winter tipi peg-down would have been different, too,
closer to the ground,
and presumably with some kind of insulation along the groundline.

Tipi part 4- finishing touches

Two more poles are needed to control the smoke vent flaps.
The smoke vent poles have a small cross shaped bar not far from the top,
so that you can carefully slide the pole into the hole/flap for the vent on each side,
and so that the canvas will rest against the crossbar,
as this park volunteer is doing here:

One on each side; here you can see how the vent flap is attached:

The pole can be moved around the side of the tipi,
so that you can cross over the vent flap to seal out rain:

And in fine weather it provides further ventilation,
especially for the fire inside.

Women put up the tipis in Nez Perce society.
In fact, women owned the tipis.
If a woman ever wanted to boot out her man,
she could put his stuff outside the tipi,
and he would know he was no longer welcome.
I picture some no-nonsense Nez Perce lady tossing out her husband's stuff,
in the pouring rain,
the night after he'd been cavorting about inappropriately.

Tipi part 3

Pegging down the tipi is pretty simple.
Put the pegs in the loops at the bottom of the tipi canvas:

But here's a cute trick.
Don't just put the pegs in the loops and drive them in.
Instead, give the canvas loops a twist to secure them, like so:

Then you can drive them into the ground at an angle
(not too deeply or it's horribly hard to remove):

Since it's summer,
you don't want the canvas all the way down to the ground all the way around.
You want to leave the canvas rolled up on two sides to allow a cross breeze close to the ground.
This will help keep the tipi cool.
(It won't do much for bugs,
but then tipis are not bug-proof in any case).

One more step to follow: fixing the smoke flaps.

Tipi part 2

To secure the canvas on the frame, you peg the tipi front together.
It's a bit like sewing cards
(with the pre-fabricated holes).
Using smoothed sections of willow twig,
you peg or pin the two sides together:

The left side of the tipi has two holes
(like a double-breasted button placket).
The right side has only one hole.
The peg goes in the left side's edge hole, then down to the right side hole,
then under the fabric to come up the left side's far hole.

This is the interim step: canvas pinned, but not yet pegged down:

Our ranger did the top holes by standing on a stepladder.
Nez Perce women did it from horseback.

How to Set up a Tipi

I had always been mildly curious as to how a tipi is set up.
I got a chance to see a demo at Big Hole National Battlefield in Montana.
Three young ladies from the park ranger volunteer service demonstrated-
with help from the audience!
It was fun.

I had always thought that setting up a tipi would be a long and laborious process.
Not necessarily, unless you are out of poles
(in which case you would cut and trim young lodge pole pines,
which would be a bit laborious.)
But the process itself isn't too difficult.

This is a small four-pole tipi.
When I say four poles, I mean that the frame core is made of four poles,
because there are additional poles that go into this.
They were set up when we got there:
the four main poles lashed together and then tethered by a rope,
to the ground in the center interior of the tipi.
(I can just hear some Nez Perce mom telling her kid,
'Hey, stop swinging on the tipi rope!')

In the upper photo, you can see that there are two additional poles for each side,
laid out on the ground
(just two per side because this is a small tipi).
They are then raised up into place:

The secondary poles merely lean on the lashed four core poles.
You don't have to bind them again.
After that, the canvas is unrolled around the poles:

And it's loosely draped over the framework, for now.

On to step two: pegging.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Fall of Wall

I just heard that Wall Arch collapsed this week down at Arches NP.
I am sad.
I liked that arch very much.
Here are few pictures from my last trip to view it:

The Challenges of Photographing Monkshood

Monkshood, or aconite, is a gorgeous flower.
Whenever I see it I am reminded of its poisonous qualities,
thanks to Ellis Peters' historical detective novel named after this plant.

At Mill Hollow, however, I was concerned with a different challenge:
Photographing it.
I managed to get several different views that I like quite well but it was a struggle.
The long stalks made the flowers bob in the slightest breeze.
And I had a hard time persuading my autofocus camera to focus on the flowers and not the background (even when I put the camera on closeup mode).
The closeup mode gave the flowers such a shallow depth of field that part of the blossom is in focus and part isn't.
Convenient as my small Nikon point and shoot is to carry around, there are times when I really long for my DSLR and adjustable focus.
Nevertheless, after some 40 attempts, I got a few keepers:

North Slope and South Slope

Up on top of the ridge, looking down at the north side (and the smaller ridges rippling through the landscape) you can see that the moisture and lesser sunlight produces shadowy evergreen forests and green plants:

The sunnier, drier south sides favor sagebrush and fewer trees:

The bluish mountain in the distance is Mt. Timpanogos.

Hiking Sites Near Mill Hollow

On our hike, we went past beaver ponds:

And through lovely meadows surrounded by aspen and evergreen,
and filled with a plant that I had known as skunk cabbage,
but is also known as false hellebore and California corn poppy:

The day was cool and the sky filled with puffy clouds:

And yes, even the climb to the ridge was worth it for the views.
Looking northeast you can see the tops of the High Uintahs in the distance.