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Posts Tagged ‘Idaho’

 “In this world of change, nothing which comes stays, and nothing which goes is lost.” Anne Sophie

Thousand Springs from the wrong side of the Snake River. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

I never exactly got lost yesterday, but I never got exactly where I was going. My maps didn’t help, and my 25-year-old memories were useless.

I wanted to drive the section of Highway 30, known as the Thousand Springs Byway that runs south of Interstate 84 and west of Twin Falls – and I did. But I still never got to the actual site I was trying to find.

Back in the mid-1980s, when I was regional editor at the Times-News in Twin Falls, one of my girl friends took me right up to those rivulets of crystal clear water that gush out of the sides of the steep cliff and flow into the snake river.

I climbed among the tumbled rocks between the rivulets of water, and walked a short boardwalk that had water flowing beneath it. That was the place I wanted to visit again.

Instead, I found myself on the opposite of the river with only distant views of the springs. And after spending so much time at the nearby Haggarman Fossil Beds, which I was seeing for the first time and told you about in yesterday’s blog, I was short of time to search more.

So instead of close-up views of the springs, all I got was a distant view from the wrong side of the Snake River. And so that’s all you get to see, too.

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 “Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” Seneca

Looking down on the Snake River on a landscape over which wild horses roamed 3.5 million years ago, and one settlers crossed going West just 150 years ago. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

Did you know Idaho has a state fossil? I didn’t – until today when I visited Haggarrman Fossil Beds National Monument.

It’s the Haggarman horse, which lived about 3.5 million years ago. Fossils from about 30 of the animals, which sort of looks like a hybrid between a horse and a zebra, were found near Haggarman, Idaho, back in the late 1920s.

Turning my back on the Snake River, this upward view of the monument looks to the future, and hopefully less dependency on fossil fuels. It's a beautiful view. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The area, which overlooks the Snake River near Haggarman and is about 20 miles north of Twin Falls, has also turned up an extinct species of camel that once roamed North America, as well as a mastodon, a dirk tooth cat and a bone crushing dog that lived over 3 million years ago.

The area is considered a world treasure because it contains the richest known deposits from the Pliocene epoch, the period before the ice age and the same period as the early evolution of man.

Fascinating, or so it was to me.

But the monument also has something for those who only want to go back in time about 200 years. It includes a portion of the Oregon Trail, which was first used by fur trappers, and then in the 1840s for the great western migration.

Today’s first day back on the road was short in miles, but certainly covered a lot of time. Life is good.

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“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” — Henry David Thoreau

One can walk a pathway through 15-million-year-old lava fields at Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho's Snake River Plains. -- Photo by Pat Bean

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Sunflowers are just beginning to bloom at Lake Walcott -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Properly trained, a man can be dog’s best friend.” Corey Ford

Travels With Maggie

Thought I’d interrupt my past African Safari today to visit the present, which finds me at Lake Walcott State Park in southern Idaho.

I wanted to tell you that the Canada goose kids have all grown up now, sunflowers are finally blooming, and that I had a marvelous day on the lake with a couple of starving artists (so they said, but their fancy boat said otherwise), who were staying at the park between art shows, and finally to complain about my faithful companion.

Nuff said about everything but Maggie, a black cocker spaniel who thinks I’m her servant. I rescued her from a life of abuse when she was a year old and we’ve now been together for 12 years. She went from being afraid of her shadow to becoming Queen of my world.

 

And butterflies accompany Maggie and me on our walks. -- Photo by Pat Bean

For example: This past Wednesday, I went into town to do laundry, something that has to be done every two weeks if I want to wear clean underwear. Since I’m a volunteer at the park, I’m allowed to use a small park truck for the trip. And since I don’t get into town often, I treated myself to a Swiss cheese burger with grilled onions and a chocolate mile shake.

I drank the shake and ate half the burger on the drive back to the park, saving the other half of the big sandwich for dinner. Back at my RV I transported the leftover sandwich and a few other things into my RV, then went back out to bring in my clean laundry.

By the time I got back, Maggie had climbed up on my table, took the sandwich out of a paper sack, and then out of its cardboard container and was licking her chops. Not a crumb of the sanding was left.

I yelled, but she didn’t even blink. In fact the look that she gave me said: “Do you have any more.”

 

And Maggie is not the least bit repentant for eating my sandwich. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I gave her dirty looks for the rest of the day. She, simply, hopped up on to my bed, and gave me unrepentant stares. I mean take a look at that face. Does it look apologetic to you?

I think she’s more cat than dog.

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Common mullein just starting to blossom -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Oh, grey hill,
Where the grazing herd
Licks the purple blossom,
Crops the spiky weed!
Oh, stony pasture,
Where the tall mullein
Stands up so sturdy
On its little seed!”
– Edna St. Vincent Millay

Travels With Maggie

Beautiful walk this morning here at Lake Walcott, where the mullein’s tall stalks are just beginning to fill with yellow blossoms.

As the weather has turned warmer – although not into the triple digits my family and friends back in Texas have been enduring – things have become to pop out. I see something new every morning when I take my walk with Maggie.

Mullein with the park and lake in the background. -- Photo by Pat Bean

This morning was especially nice, and so I decided to take a break from my African Safari to share it with you.

I’m not sure what the wildflower below is, although I think it may belong to the onion family. Perhaps one of you wildflower experts can identify it. I hope so because I really do like to know the proper names of things.

Meanwhile I’ll be back later today with more recap of Kim and my African Safari adventures.

Who can name this plant? -- Photo by Pat Bean

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A starling chick getting its first look at the world. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” — Guillaume Apollinaire.

Travels With Maggie

I seldom get in funk, but that’s what I found myself in this past week. I’m not sure it was just my computer problems either. Thankfully Mother Nature stuck around to hold my hand and point out how precious every minute of life really is.

A pair of European starlings have been nesting in the self-pay kiosk here in the campground at Lake Walcott State Park. For weeks I’ve been watching as they disappear and reappear from a hole in the back of the small structure.

Yesterday morning I was rewarded with the end result of all the starlings’ hard work. I watched as a chick emerged from the hole for a look at the outside world. It sat on the rim of the hole looking amazed, and totally unafraid of the strange new sights.

It made me recall all the birds I saw in the Galapagos Islands that hadn’t yet, and hopefully never, been given reason to fear humans. I had a Galapagos mockingbird actually land on my shoe, and a blue-footed booby that refused to move off a trail to let me pass. I was the one who had to go around.

Later, when Maggie and I took our daily circuit around the park, Mother Nature continued to share her wonders with me.

Mother Nature is generous with her gifts here at Lake Walcott State Park. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The huge willow trees that were leafless when I first arrived in May are now bursting with lush green leaves that dip down to the ground. The frosty green Russian olive trees add texture to the park’s lively green landscape, while the flowering trees give it color.

Honking geese, giggles coming off rushing rapids on the Snake River that feeds the lake, screeching killdeer, rustling tree branches and cheery robins provide the musical background.

It’s as if Mother Nature is laughing at my funk and telling me to get over it. I heeded her advice.

 

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            “If you feel the urge, don’t be afraid to go on a wild goose chase. What do you think wild geese are for anyway? – Will Rogers

This killdeer is acting more like the plover shorebird it is, than all the others I've seen here at Lake Walcott. The many others I've seen have all been in the grass away from the water. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

            My morning stroll this morning was punctuated with killdeer along every path. Although a shorebird, the killdeer is more often than not found in grassy areas, where it builds its nest and raises its chicks. Whenever trespassers enter the nesting zone the killdeer, both male and female, will attempt to lure you away.

            They do so by walking on the ground, often holding out one wing as if broken, until you are a goodly distance away from their nest or chicks. Then they’ll fly out of harm’s way.

             A pair Maggie and I came across this morning stayed barely six feet ahead of us, screeching as they hurried along to make sure they had our attention.

These young Canada geese are looking more and more like their adult parents every day. -- Photo by Pat Bean

            I once found a nest of killdeer chicks by ignoring the adults, who hopped away in different directions, by looking where they didn’t want me to look. I didn’t stick around long watching the long-legged bits of fluff, however. The parents’ wails quickly pierced my heart, and after only a couple of minutes I left the family in peace.

            I haven’t seen any killdeer chicks here at Lake Walcott yet, but I have been watching a pair of Canada geese with two chicks. They were already past the frothy yellow fuzz stage when I arrived mid-May, and are quickly taking on a more adult appearance.

This morning I found the family just off shore, where they felt safe enough to not swim away immediately. Thankfully I hadn’t forgotten my camera.

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