Posts Tagged ‘Snake River’

“If you see a whole thing – it seems that it’s always beautiful. Planets, lives … But up close a world’s all dirt and rocks. And day-to-day, life’s a hard job.” – Ursula K.Le Guin

This photo doesn’t do City of Rocks justice but it was the best one I took because of being so pressed for time. — Photo by Pat Bean

Adventures with Pepper: Day One

            I took a longer detour than I had expected yesterday when I visited City of Rocks State Park in Southern Idaho on my way to Ogden, Utah, where I’ll be staying for the next few days before the real start of my journey begins.

But I was quite pleased with the shot I got up an osprey hig up in a tree over the Snake River. — Photo by Pat Bean

The reason that it was longer is that a bridge was out, and I had to double back to continue on my journey. It also made me pressed for time because I needed to get into Ogden in time for a party and a play my friend, Kim, had planned for our evening activities.

The City of Rocks is just that. It was a landmark for early pioneers traveling the California Trail. Just as impressive as the jumble of rocks that today are a haven for rock climbers — sadly I didn’t have time to do much exploring or picture-taking – was the City of Rocks Back Country Scenic Byway that encircled the Albion Mountains. And I got to see it twice.

My lack of time was also due to the fact that I had dawdled earlier in the morning, taking Maggie for one last long walk in Lake Walcott, and then spending a bit of time beside the Snake River to watch the parade of pelicans that lazed below the Minidoka Dam. And then there was the awesome osprey that was also hanging out beside the river that stopped me for a while, too.

Book Report: Travels with Maggie has grown to 43,888 words. I got up early and wrote this morning.

Bean’s Pat:  Since my internet connection is acting like a pouting brat who won’t come out of her room today, I haven’t been able to do much blog browsing. So the only Pat the Wondering Wanderer is giving out today is one to me for getting up early and writing, even though I partied until late last night.

Well, maybe also to the crew and actors of Avenue Q, the play I saw at the Rose Wagner Theater in Salt Lake City. I had never seen a raunchy puppet show before, and my friend was afraid I would be offended. I wasn’t. I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my seat. Despite its X rating, the play had a positive upbeat message. I mean how can you get offended at naked puppets, whose bodied ended at their midriffs, having sex.

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            “To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” George Santayana

            The above quote fit my blog, but the one below made me laugh.  I couldn’t decide which one to post with my column, so I’m sharing both.

            “A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing and the lawn mower is broken.”—James Dent.

The sage brush in an area adjacent to the Lake Walcott campground is beginning to think it’s already autumn. — Photo by .Pat Bean

Summer Comes, Summer Goes

The brown-headed cowbirds that earlier thronged my bird feeders have already migrated elsewhere — Sketch by Pat Bean

            I can’t believe my summer at Lake Walcott State Park in Southern Idaho is coming to an end. But then they do say time flies when you’re having fun.This green, manicured park that sits beside the lake and the Snake River is an oasis in a dry high desert region that this year has been plagued by wildfires. While it was a hotter summer here than last, it was still heaven compared to central and south Texas weather, where I usually spend the winters. There, they not only have the heat but high humidity as well.

I have three children in those regions who frequently remind me how lucky I am not to be there.

But the house sparrows, as noted from the ones feeding beneath my bird feeder just this morning, are still sticking around. — Photo by Pat Bean

Last year when I arrived at the park, it was still winter and the trees were bare. This year, on the exact same day, May 15th, it was 90 degrees when I arrived and the trees were already full of leaves. It cooled off, however, and it was almost July before I had to start using my RV’s air conditioner daily.

Now, I’m seeing signs of fall creep into the park. Many of the park’s birds, like the colorful Bullock’s orioles and the American goldfinch are already migrating south. Most robins, as well. Instead of seeing dozens of these birds on my walks through the park, I’m now lucky to see one.

Book Report: Travels with Maggie, 41,820 re-edited words. Not much progress but I’m hoping to spend all afternoon working on the book. I decided to blog earlier today and clear my decks. A young blogger asked today what was the best writing advice his readers had ever received. I told him, it’s “Write! Write! Write!”  

The wondering wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

          Bean’s Pat: Lifescapes: The Texas Hill Country http://dld.bz/bJNbr The sounds of summer. This is a blog for nature lovers written by Susan Wittig Albert, author of the China Bayles mystery series written for herb and plant lovers. .

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“The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them but that they seize us.” – Ashley Montagu

Special Moments  

If there is anything of value that the years have taught this wondering wanderer, it’s how fleeting time is, and how important it is to be ready to catch the special moments that may never come our way again.

Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but the number of moments that take our breath away. Someone else said that first, but I don’t know who, just that it’s so very true.

The Snake River just below the Minidoka Dam in Southern Idaho. — Photo by Pat Bean

The Snake River has been responsible for taking my breath away hundreds of times, from it literally doing that when I rafted its white-water rapid sections – I’ve been in a raft that this river’s flipped and it’s flipped me out of a raft more than once – to the beauty it’s provided me every time I stand by its banks.

I saw my first magpies – we don’t have them in Texas where I grew up – playfully swooping above its waters that flowed through a farm in Glenn’s Ferry, Idaho.

Just a few of the hundreds of white pelicans that cluster on the river below the dam. — Photo by Pat Bean

And I’ve watched osprey dive into its depths in Wyoming and come up with a fish, and bald eagles flying over it in Washington, and hundreds of white pelicans fishing its waters just this summer.

It’s thankful I am to be spending the summer right next to the Snake River, the mother of Lake Walcott State Park where I’m a volunteer campground host. While I can only see the lake out my RV windows, a 10-minute walk puts me above or on the banks of this great river, which began its twisting journey through Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Washington at a hot spot in Yellowstone National Park.

From its junction here at Lake Walcott, the Snake will makes its way down to Twin Falls Gorge (where Evil Knievel attempted a motorcycle jump), then continue on through Hell’s Canyon and eventually join the Columbia River.

It takes my appreciation for all the joy its brought into my life with it.

Bean’s Pat: Sun Fire: http://tinyurl.com/bu29s98 One of those special moments that might never come your way again. Blog pick of the day from the wondering wanderer.

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 Weekly photo challenge: Down

“To trace the history of a river or a raindrop…is also to trace the history of the soul, the history of the mind descending and arising in the body. In both, we constantly seek and stumble upon divinity, which like feeding the lake, and the spring becoming a waterfall, feeds, spills, falls, and feeds itself all over again.” – – From Islands, The Universe, Home, 1991 Gretel Ehrlich

Headed DOWN the Snake -- Photo by Pat Bean

Down River

White water rafting was how I got my adrenalin rush for 20 years. These days I’m mostly content to sit by a river and watch it flow past on its way to the sea.

Or take a gently canoe ride down a flat section of river and watch the scenery float by.

I like rivers. I live to hear their music, from the tinkling,, bubbling lullaby of a small mountain stream to the the bass roar of the rivers, like the Snake and Colorado, just before you come upon a man-eating white-water rapid. 

Hey! Who stole the boat? -- Photo by Pat Bean


“THE River,” corrected the Rat.

“And you really live by the river? What a jolly life!”

“By it and with it and on it and in it,” said the Rat. “It’s brother and sister to me, and aunts, and company, and food and drink, and (naturally) washing. It’s my world, and I don’t want any other. What it hasn’t got is not worth having, and what it doesn’t know is not worth knowing. Lord! The times we’ve had together…”  –– From the Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahme


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“Chase down your passion like it’s the last bus of the night.” Terri Guillemets

My old raft's last tumble among the waves, July 2007, Snake River near Jackson, Wyoming.

Travels With Maggie

One of the great things about growing older is discovering that passion doesn’t always have to involve sex. It can be anything that gets your blood pumping, your heart racing and gives you immense pleasure.

My greatest passions these days include writing, family, friends, Maggie, travel, books, birds, learning new things and nature. I’m grateful for each and every one of them. They give both meaning and joy to my life.

When I was younger, passion had only one meaning – and it came with a lot of angst. It usually does when there’s another person involved in fulfilling your own wants and needs. And that’s especially true when you’ve made wrong choices about whom to love.

My friend, Kim, and I, sit in the raft -- filled with water as it always was after a big rapid -- one last time.

Thus it was in 1983, at the ripe old age of 44 ,that I found myself without the soul mate I always expected to have in my life – but didn’t. The five children I had with a non-soul mate had all flown the coop, and my second attempt at connecting passion with a soul mate had just ended badly.

I was totally on my own for the very first time. And then passion found me.

I was invited to raft down a stretch of the Snake River with a friend – and I fell passionately in love with white water.

Camping was always part of the rafting agenda. This photo was taken at the East Table Campground beside the Snake River in the Targhee National Forest

Within weeks I had bought my own raft, and for the next 20 years, it never missed a summer going down at least one stretch of white water, often more. There were always plenty of friends willing to help paddle.

And oh the adventures we all shared. We never tire of telling them again and again.

They all came back to me in a flash yesterday when I was sorting through my photographs. Among them was a file I hadn’t opened that my friend, Kim, had sent me of the retirement party that we gave for that old raft in 2007.

Many of those who had paddled it came for the celebration.

As I reviewed the photos that had been taken at the party, my eyes moistened. That raft was what taught me that passion had more than one meaning.

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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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 “There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots, the other is wings.” Hodding Carter.

Bald Eagle in Baytown, Texas. -- Photo by Joanne Kamo

Travels With Maggie

I spotted a bald eagle yesterday. It was just outside the park hanging around the Snake River below the Minidoka Dam in Southern Idaho.

It’s a bird that always makes my heart beat a little faster. It was sitting up on a utility pole, then flew away to the other side of the river as I passed by.

I don’t know whether it was an early migrant from Alaska, where huge numbers of eagle spend the summer, of if it was one that had stuck around the area for the entire year. There’s always a few that do.

It really didn’t matter. Either way it was a magnificent sight. It’s pure white head caught the sunlight as it flew across the water and my breath ceased for a few seconds. The bird’s brilliant white head feathers indicated it was at least four years old. Before that age, bald eagles are ratty brown all over.

Of course there wasn’t time for me to get a picture, as if I even could take a decent shot of a moving target. So I turned to Joanne Kamo’s online art gallery http://www.pbase.com/jitams to illustrate my blog. Joanne, whose bird photos are among the most awesome I’ve ever seen, has given me permission to occasionally use one of her copyrighted pictures. She didn’t fail me.

While bald eagles are beyond my photographic capabilities, even I can take a decent picture of a wild turkey, such as this one in Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Texas. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Her bald eagle photo took my breath away as quickly as did the real thing. If it doesn’t also cause you to gasp in delight, you’re as cold-hearted as a glacier and not someone I care to meet.

The sight of yesterday’s bald eagle made me grateful Ben Franklin didn’t get his way in having the wild turkey be our nation’s symbol. He thought the bald eagle was too much of a thief to represent our country.

I know he was right because I was once privileged to watch a bald eagle snatch a freshly caught fish from an osprey as it flew. The osprey was so frustrated that it chased the eagle until it came to its senses.

But the bald eagle today is also a symbol of what’s best in humankind. These birds were on the verge of becoming extinct when we Americans acted. Since the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, bald eagles have regained healthy populations.

Sightings of them in the lower 48 states are becoming more common. And so I wish you good luck in having one of them fly your way.

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