Tag Archives: bald eagles

July 15: An overwhelmingly enormous and gorgeous garden

Today was the day I finally got to go see Longwood. Katrina’s been posting photos of the huge estate garden originally owned and developed by Pierre DuPont back around the turn of the last century for a long, long time, and I have been drooling over same about that long. At any rate, I’ve been wanting to see Longwood for years, and it was the one thing I wanted to be sure and do while I was visiting here.

It’s a two-hour drive up across the Pennsylvania border to Longwood, and on the way we stopped at a place where Katrina knew of eagles. We saw several, and this is the best photo I got (cropped and enlarged to a faretheewell) of a baby eagle.

See the immature eagle? Although he does seem to be behaving himself.
See the immature eagle? Although he does seem to be behaving himself.

Then it was on to Longwood, where we spent the rest of the day walking around in the 90dF humidity looking at everything. We ate lunch there, and got ice cream, and stayed until almost dark. I was absolutely exhausted by the time we left (according to Teri’s phone, we walked over five miles), but it was so worth it. What a gorgeous, gorgeous place. I think I’ll let some of the almost 300 photos I took speak for themselves.

The rainbow border. It runs from blue flowers on one end to red ones on the other. It's *amazing* and long, and there were so many flowers that I don't normally see because the climate's so different.
The rainbow border. It runs from blue flowers on one end to red ones on the other. It’s *amazing* and long, and there were so many flowers that I don’t normally see because the climate’s so different.
I don't remember exactly where this little dude was, but he was adorable.
I don’t remember exactly where this little dude was, but he was adorable.
The other end of the rainbow borders.
The other end of the rainbow borders.
And one of a bed of gorgeous red cockscomb blossoms.
And one of a bed of gorgeous red cockscomb blossoms.
This little fellow is an anglewing butterfly. He was along one of the walkways.
This little fellow is an anglewing butterfly. He was along one of the walkways.
A variegated hydrangea.
A variegated hydrangea.
The Italian water garden.
The Italian water garden.
One of many, many in full bloom waterlilies in the conservatory courtyard.
One of many, many in full bloom waterlilies in the conservatory courtyard.
A lotus growing with the waterlilies. I don't think I've *ever* seen a lotus in blossom before.
A lotus growing with the waterlilies. I don’t think I’ve *ever* seen a lotus in blossom before.
One of the many, many tropical plants in The Conservatory That Ate New York. Seriously, you could have fit twenty little Tacoma Seymour conservatories in it and still have room left over.
One of the many, many tropical plants in The Conservatory That Ate New York. Seriously, you could have fit twenty little Tacoma Seymour conservatories in it and still have room left over.
A rainbow sherbet hibiscus flower in the conservatory (there were a dozen different kinds of hibiscuses there.
A rainbow sherbet hibiscus flower in the conservatory (there were a dozen different kinds of hibiscuses there).
The meadows. Which were also full of flowers.
The meadows. Which were also full of flowers.
A whole bunch of liatris in the meadows.
A whole bunch of liatris in the meadows.
This is the atrium of Mr. DuPont's house, and the biggest split-leaf philodendron I've ever seen.
This is the atrium of Mr. DuPont’s house, and the biggest split-leaf philodendron I’ve ever seen.
Purple martin houses fully occupied in the idea gardens.
Purple martin houses fully occupied in the idea gardens.
Flower beds in the idea garden.
Flower beds in the idea garden.

And on the way back to Teri’s house we drove over the Susquehanna River at sunset. It was a great ending for the day.

The Susquehanna River at sunset.
The Susquehanna River at sunset.

Two weeks ago, Day 9

And so on towards home.

From Sheridan — well, actually from Twin Bridges, the next little town down the road — there were two ways to go. One north, which I hadn’t driven before but which led to I-90, which I’ve driven at least a couple dozen times, and one southwest towards I-15, that stretch of which I’d never driven before. Even though it was about twenty miles further, guess which way I took?

And I’m glad I did. The first bit was very pretty, through sparsely populated ranch land ringed with mountains and down into the town of Dillon on I-15. I’ve only been to Dillon once before. It was the first place on my Long Trip in which I couldn’t find a place to stay (due to it being Labor Day and the annual rodeo).

From Dillon I headed north on I-15, and, less than twenty miles down the road, I happened to glance over to the right and saw a bald eagle perched on one of the posts holding up the wire fence running alongside the road. Fully mature, white head and all, he had to be two feet tall, I swear. Too bad I was going 70 mph on a freeway — I’d have tried to take a picture of him. He was amazing.

Deer Lodge Pass over the Continental Divide south of Butte (where I-15 and I-90 cross) is much more gradual and less steep than Homestake Pass due west of Butte. But because of that I think I was climbing pretty much all the way from Dillon to the pass. At any rate, once I hit I-90 I was on familiar territory and pretty much ready to head home.

I stopped for iced tea in Deer Lodge (the town, not the pass, which is about forty-five minutes from Butte (the highway signs say west, but the road runs almost due north-south at that point). I stopped for lunch and more gas in Missoula.

And I crossed over Lookout Pass into Idaho and the Pacific Time Zone about the middle of the afternoon, aiming for Spokane.

I won’t bore you with the hunt I had to make for a motel room in Spokane. Suffice to say that I think I’ve found a new reasonably-priced convenient place to stay there on my way to wherever, which is a good thing as the one I was used to using had upped its price out of reason because of Hoopfest (I’m assuming) that weekend.

Only one photo today, taken along I-90 between Missoula and Lookout Pass, probably closer to Lookout Pass. I was trying to take a photo of the rain falling ahead of me, which actually turned out to be mostly virga (that is, not hitting the ground).

Stormy weather along I-90 in western Montana.
Stormy weather along I-90 in western Montana.

And that was the penultimate day of my trip, two weeks ago today.

Skagit eagles and flying saucers over Mt. Rainier

Or, two more reasons I love where I live.

My friend L and I drove up to the Skagit River Valley on Sunday to see bald eagles, because it was something neither one of us had done before, and it sounded like fun.

The Skagit River in northwestern Washington state
The Skagit River in northwestern Washington state

The Skagit River (named after a local Indian tribe) is about an hour and a half north of Seattle and half an hour or so south of the Canadian border.  It’s well-known as a wintering spot for bald eagles, who come to feast on the salmon.  The locals make much of this on December and January weekends, providing various activities and visitor centers and volunteers out with spotting scopes to help those of us who are novices at this sort of thing.

The latter was a very good thing, because the only eagles we saw on Sunday were through the spotting scopes of volunteers.

Our first eagle
Our first eagle, across the river from a city park in the town of Rockport.
A much poorer picture of our second eagle, taken at the salmon hatchery near the village of Marblemount.

As you can tell, sometimes it’s not easy to take a photo through a spotting scope.  But without the spotting scope, it was hard to tell he was even there.

We had a nice lunch at the Washington Café in the town of Concrete, then, on the advice of one of the spotting scope volunteers, we took the long way back to I-5  by way of the towns of Darrington and Arlington in hopes of seeing more eagles, but alas, with no luck.

It rained on us most of the day, but we were expecting that, so we were prepared, and it was a fun day, even if we didn’t see as many eagles as I’d hoped.

Oh, and here’s the other reason I love western Washington.  Mt. Rainier with flying saucers (aka lenticular clouds).  I took this photo today, on my way back from running errands.  Sorry about the truck…

Mt. Rainier with the biggest flying saucer (aka a lenticular cloud) I've ever seen above it.
Mt. Rainier with the biggest flying saucer (aka a lenticular cloud) I’ve ever seen above it.