Monday, February 27, 2017

Sweet Home Alabama

Last four days on the road were brutal, but Team Cole arrived at their docking station at 9 PM Monday. Plenty of time to unload the most marvelous SUV called Binky and to play with my new acquisitions from the 5 northwestern states.

We hit the ground working in the barn tomorrow morning... Give me a couple of days to regroup and I'll tell you all about our Seattle adventures.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Heading Home

Winter storms have blown us way of course.
Adding more then 8 hours to our trajectory.
Farm ETA is Monday. We'll see you back here then!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Nailed It!

Star Date: 02-21-2017, Cole and I reach Washington state via a white knuckle trip over a snowy Snoqualmie Pass. 

Note to self : we're taking the long way back to Oregon on Wednesday! Our 6 hour drive featured either rain or snow, until we pull up to a trailhead at Squak Mountain State Park, Issaquah, Washington.

The sun gods smile upon us.

And I am grateful. This is the last run in our cross country odyssey.

For some insane reason, I've been sad all day.  Suffering from melancholy. 

It's not the end of our journey together, yet, I want to put it off, this quest has been too good to end.

The new teammates made the past two trips even better.

Ever faithful Garrett.

The dogs can't run off leash much. Unlike the wide open terrain of  WY, MT, ID and OR, I'd lose them in a heartbeat....

...consumed by giant ferns!

From being out in the vastness of open rangeland to feeling the embrace of all these giants.

From arid to rainforest. We run and run and run.

Meeting less then 5 people.

Passing two young women, with Spandex
 pants and expensive running shoes. 
My fat toe won't fit in my trail running shoes, so I run in my work boots. Trying not to look like a complete Goober by wearing my Spandex tights with boots, I choose jeans.

Step aside, Redneck Express coming through. 6.5 miles. The guys crash once we get back to the car.

Garrett falls asleep sitting up. 

Our rental is in the heart of Seattle. A Tudor English cottage in an enchanting garden. 

I'm guessing the owner found a stash of exquisite lead glass windows and built the place around them!

Sounds like something I'd do!  The Anglophile motif is carried well.

A bookcase of English books.

Tea anyone? This cottage is beyond adorable. 
File photo

Pete says, aren't I adorable enough for supper? 

You betcha.

Celebrations in order, what an epic journey it has been. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

One To Go

Oregon bound, but first one more Idaho state park to sample.

It's a disease.  We're park addicts.  Cole finds partridge, it's made his day.
I've been in need of buckets, but have refused to set foot in any store, other than a grocery store.

Kicking and screaming, I go to Tractor Supply in Ontario, Oregon-- with back up!  I promise myself that's the last store I have to enter-- now my day is made!
Next stop: Anthony Lakes Ski Area...

...buried miles up a mountain, deep in a national forest.   Binky gets another shot at proving her winter driving skills. 

9 miles up and down on this stuff, made all of our day!

Does the boot repair hold? You betcha. What would I do without my duck tape?

Only one trail is open to dogs, a 1.3 km loop. We skijor it 8 times. Easy for me, the dogs have gotten synchronized enough to pull steadily.

Driving Miss Daisy. 
After every loop, they get to play off leash.

I live with three clowns.

" You gonna do ANY exercise today?"

Before checking into our cottage, in the valley town of Union, we go for a stroll. 

Pete has nothing to worry about, were told the dirt road is a dead end.

They neglect to tell me the end is 5 miles away.
Curiosity bug bites me. What's over the next hill?

Another hill. We're up in altitude, in snow again, so we turn back before dusk.

And before Cole chases the mule deer into the next county. I never realize how far we've gotten until we turn around to go back. Oops.

Interesting style of barbed wire fencing I've never seen before. 

Creative anchor posts!

Modern version.

Three musketeers settle in nicely to our cottage after I've covered everything with my own linens.

Now I can go explore the backyard, which is also a barnyard.

Cattle, horses, sheep, one pig, chickens and a free ranging turkey named Thomas.

He greets every car. I expect to open my door in the morning to find he's walked up the ramp to say hi.

To celebrate bagging another state. I surprise the guys with steak for supper.

The one without much of an appetite is showing interest as I trim the fat and cut it into morsels. Bonus!

Little hot plate does the trick.
Over supper, I read up on the real estate in the area. If been wondering what rangeland costs.

More expensive than expected!  Irrigated land definitely worth a fortune.

In spite of the cold, I'm leaving the window cracked to hear two owls chatting.

Now I understand why the pioneers had their sights set on Oregon. I love it here.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Chillin' in the Magic Valley

Sunday's plan to ski in Sun Valley was foiled, thanks to 12" more snow predicted, the northbound road was closed. Something about avalanche mitigation.  
Okie dokie, just saved myself a four hour round trip. 
Plenty to see in the Twin Falls surrounding area called Magic Valley. First, the crew has to be motivated to finish breakfast.

We're staying in Buhl, a farming town close to a handful of parks. 

I try to go to Ritter Island Park, but potential flooding has it closed. So I make my way to higher ground.

Along the way, I can see the effects of last week's devastating flooding in the valley.  These mallards think a flooded field is a new pond.

Doofus on point!
Thanks to detours, we get to see a lot of the former family owned farmland that has become consumed by big ag conglomerates.
Totally disheartening to see dumpy farmhouses,  thin pregnant beef cows and dairy cows living in abominable conditions.

Not Happy Cows.

Their tails have even been docked. Not the same magic valley founded on pioneers principals.

The Oregon Trail passed right though the valley. From Missouri to Oregon, 2100 miles traveled by over a quarter of a million settlers. 
Started in the 1840's, reaching its peak during the 1860's.... Wouldn't you risk it all to get away from the Civil War in the East? 

Risk it all they did, for 150 days, they faced drought, cholera, hostilities from Indians and highwaymen, drowning...

Pete is most worried about the famine part-- understandably since he's fading away and all.
It's only a 6 mile hike.

Hagerman Fossil Beds has the richest deposit of fossils in the  country. Most interesting to me are the prehistoric horses that roamed the valley.

The boys, as amateur archaeologists.

The Emigrant trail that begins on a gravel surface becomes snow covered a quarter mile down.

We all get our quota of cardio for the day.

The boys aren't having as much trouble...

... especially Cole, who has no problems whatsoever. He figures as long as he can see me, he's fine. But sometimes, I can't see him. Can you see Munchkin?

A speck in the landscape.

Zooming in for you.

You need binoculars to keep up with him!
Because of his propensity to be up the trail from us, we turn around half a mile before the end. 5 miles will be enough anyway. 
The urgent care doctor this morning said he was concerned because my broken toe was so swollen. Ice it, he said. Technically, I'm following doctor's orders. My boots were soaked by mile 2, my feet are wet and frozen. I AM the best patient. 
After a two hour nap at our motel, I can feel my feet again. I tell Pete that were going out for a short little walk, I promise!

A little spin down to the Snake River.

Maybe just a little further.

What's around the next corner?

They're not running off leash because of potential hazards:

Signs of porcupines everywhere.

Wouldn't that encounter make for a fun vet bill?

Plus, there's what I believe to be highly poisonous water hemlock growing everywhere. 

Once I'm sure we found a duck free spot in the river, we play. See Pete, wasn't this worth it? 

Oooh, you didn't realize two hours was my version of short?

Enjoy the geology of the lava rocks.

I know I am!!!

Perhaps you would like to observe how the cottonwood bark mimicks it's habitat by having a bark that looks like running water? A little too fruity for you, Pete?

He is very interested in the rainbow trout that a fisherman has caught. Food is his fixation.

He picks up the pace as we near the end of our hike!

Finally, we go home, right?

Not quite...
Clear Springs Foods has a fisheries unit a mile from the trailhead. We must view the sturgeon from the underwater observation deck.

" Really, you drag me out for this?".

OK, OK, we'll go home, after we give Binky a bath. I think Pete's giving me the middle finger, I can't be sure through the suds on the windows!