Saturday, June 13, 2009

More Wildflowers

These flowers were blooming up Provo canyon, too,
only higher up.
I am not sure what the upper flower is.
Some kind of columbine relation, perhaps.
The bottom one is definitely some kind of sweet pea.

Gloomy as overcast light can be,
I sure like its effect on flowers.

Roadside Flowers

Driving down Provo Canyon the other day,
I came across a hill full of wildflowers:

So naturally I had to get out and take a few closeups!

I love blue flax, and with the red penstemmon,
they were really stunning.
June is such a gorgeous month.

Comfort Cooking

My mother makes the world's BEST cherry pie.
You can forget about the classic apple.
It's fine, don't get me wrong,
but if Mom makes a pie,
I want cherry.
Just looking at it makes my taste buds dance!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Black Hills Beasts

Bison (commonly and erroneously known as buffalo)
are some of the most common animals seen wild in the Black Hills.
They are pretty impressive.

As we drove through Custer State Park,
we also saw a more rare sighting:
a group of bighorn sheep!

They were quite close to the road,
and I was able to get a fine view of these two reclining bighorns.

Another funny animal story of our trip
(one I don't have a photo for)
concerns the Brewers' blackbirds of northeast Wyoming.
We had stopped for a picnic lunch at a rest area,
and we were eating hard boiled eggs,
salad, apples, a few other things.
The blackbirds began to hop towards us hopefully,
so we tossed them a chunk of apple,
and a piece of lettuce.
They tried the apple, and then the lettuce,
one peck each,
and then- no kidding-
they fluffed out their feathers and squawked angrily to each other,
and then flapped away!
They probably wanted french fries.
Mom and Dad and I laughed so hard.
I wish I'd had my camera out!

More Black Hills

Our drive was sure stunning.
Green, green, green...
and the rain drops were beautiful close up:

The pine/rain smell was fabulous.
And these yellow pea flowers practically glowed in the overcast light:

Overcast days are actually really great for photographing wildflowers.

Rainy Black Hills Day

It rained today as we drove into the Black Hills.
Mt. Rushmore was just barely visible,
so we didn't stop and pay the parking fee,
but drove on.
We took an extremely windy road down to Custer State Park.
There were 3 different tunnels like this:

And the forest was full of pyramidal piles of sticks,
where trees had been thinned and cut down.
We called them "Eeyore houses"
because they look just like that.
(This photo's a bit blurred- I was shooting from the car).

Though the rain obscured the faces of George, Abe, Teddy and Tom,
it made the trees look incredibly GREEN.
Admittedly I used photoshop on the last picture,
but that only reproduces what I actually saw:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Fun and Games at Wall Drug

The destination itself!

I can't decide whether I like the pink& blue ostrich boots
or the orange & green ones best,
though I'm enthralled by the pimply leather
(you really need to enlarge the photo
to get the full effect).

Mom and Dad get friendly with an old prospector.

The whole thing is half movie set, half series of stores of tourist knicknacks.
If you want a stuffed jackalope,
or a T shirt with hot pink wild horses printed on it,
or a tacky mug,
or an overpriced Black Hills gold ring,
this is your place.
Dad got a hat,
Mom got a puzzle...
but I, the souvenir purchaser extraordinare,
got only photos this time
(I'm amazed at my restraint).

More Billboard Amusement

It's a NEW T-Rex!
I love it!!

Free ice water has always been an advertising draw
(particularly welcome during the high tourist months
of July & August),
since the store was founded in 1931.
(The date is on the billboards, too.)

Their pie is actually quite good.
I was favorably impressed by the apple
(though it isn't as good as my mom's),
but the best pie is the coconut cream merengue.
Yum, yum!

South Dakota's Most Famous Tourist Trap?

Driving through South Dakota,
you start to see these billboards dotting I-90.
Some of them are quite amusing,
and it is very entertaining to watch for them,
and see what the next one is going to say,
or how many of them there are,
which is sometimes quite close together.

Three of them!
(Ok, they aren't all for Wall Drug,
but most of the billboards out there are.)

How nice!
They like the veterans!
(There was another great one,
advertising free coffee and doughnuts for newlyweds,
but I didn't get a picture of that one.)

A real wild west tourist experience!
We drove across I-90 several times when I was a kid,
and it was always fun to look for the Wall Drug signs.
The challenge of photographing them made another great pastime
on this trip.

Rain in the Badlands

I never thought of the badlands as being so green!
The overcast light made the green really show up,
and the subdued colors glowed beautifully.
I was very lucky to find a clump of primroses
blooming on the edge of a hillock,
in the yellow hills area.

A New Look at a Classic Landmark

When we visited Devil's Tower, I had hoped for clear skies,
or dramatic clouds,
but we got flat gray overcast.
Nevertheless, there was something there that I had not seen
my last visit (in 2003)-
though I may have missed it-
and that is the prayer scarves and bundles
tied around the trees by American Indians.
There's a sign up asking people not to disturb them,
so I was careful not to move them or touch them at all,
but they made great dramatic accents to the photos...
and made me think about the monument in a rather different way.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


As we rounded a curve of the road
in Teton National Park,
I just had to pull over for this view of Mt. Moran.
I love the Tetons.
Someday I'm going to go there and stay
(instead of racing through on my way to Yellowstone).

Glimpses of Yellowstone

Mud pots at West Thumb basin...

Peaceful evening light in Hayden Valley...

The stunning Yellowstone (lower) falls...
A short trip through the park, but a lovely one.

It's June but it's not summer yet....

At Yellowstone's Lewis Lake,
it may be June,
but it's far from warm.
Near the bank there was an early promise of spring:
a branch of pussy willow.

I liked the contrast of the early budding willow
with the ice still in the lake,
but I needed to get close to the willows to get this photo.
So I rolled up my trousers,
and waded out into the lake,
about knee deep.
And very invigorating!
After I got back in the car and my feet warmed up again,
they felt terrific.
I think I see why people in northern countries
do the steam room/ cold pool plunge thing.

Creatures Resting

On our road trip,
passing through Star Valley,
we saw fields and fields of dandelions,
which one horse apparently thought
was the perfect place to rest.
Up at Yellowstone,
the relaxation continued;
lots of bison were lying peacefully
throughout Hayden Valley.

More Hummingbirds

They really show up better (on the deck)
in the morning sun.
And they sometimes will come quite close.
Mom needed to refill the feeder,
but the birds didn't want to leave their source of food.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bear Lake Upping Street



Hummingbirds are tricky to photograph,
small, fast, and relatively shy.
They are used to people gawking at them,
up on the deck at the Bear Lake house,
but the males in particular seem to know
when a CAMERA is aimed at them,
and then they fly away.
But there are a good dozen of them that haunt the place.
They are great fun to watch.