HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

Well the secret is out so why not perpetuate it? Today I turn 70 and really can’t believe it. I remember my dad turning 70 but I never thought I’d be that old.

I received two really nice birthday gifts to make my walks more fun. First of all I got a new camera from Marilyn my wonderful wife. Hopefully it will help me take even more beautiful photos of our little island town to share with all of you.

The camera in front is my old Canon and the new Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ-1000 is behind.

camera

The second gift was a surprise arrival of my sister Diane just before my walk this morning to walk with me. She drove over from Spokane and stayed at a local B&B just to surprise me and what surprise it was! This is her and I out on the wharf.

08-19-14-diane-ken

And now on to some photos from my new camera.

The sunrise and sky were just beautiful this morning and took these two photos while walking out on the wharf.

08-19-14-sunrise1

08-19-14-sunrise2

My sister spotted this shot and I thought it was pretty cool. This sign and light are one the backside of the wharf.

08-19-14-coupeville

My nickname for my sister is “SeaStar”. Well the tide was out and there were a ton of Sea Stars. Unfortunately there is some sort of disease working it’s way through and many of them are dead.

08-19-14-seastar

The seagulls just love the little Sea Star’s. It’s hard to believe but this seagull “ate the whole thing”.

08-19-14-seagull1

08-19-14-seagull2

I hope you have a great day and I’ll do the same!

On The Waterfront

Hi boys and girls, welcome to another wonderful week in Coupeville. It was a beautiful morning for a small walk along the waterfront to the Coupeville Wharf and back. I’m always amazed at what all I find in a few short blocks.

Before the sun came up this morning I spotted Jupiter and Venus close together on the horizon.

08-18-14-planets

It was a real pastel sunrise with these sailboats in the foreground.

08-18-14-sailboats

As you regular followers know I just can’t resist a sunrise photo of the Coupeville Wharf. The  tide was going out.

08-18-14-wharf

I really liked the coloring from the sun on the old wood siding of the Aqua Gifts building.

08-18-14-aqua-gifts

I spotted this “art piece” on a house I walk by almost every day. I’m not sure if it’s new or I just missed it but I really like it.

08-18-14-doctor-sign

In the same house I noticed this sailboat made from animal horns, what a clever idea.

08-18-14-sailboat

Coupeville’s Front Street was rather vacant this morning but it sure was nicely lit.

08-18-14-front-street

Out on the wharf I met a fellow photographer, he is from Nashville, Tennessee. His name is Steve Shapiro and is a professional photographer here as part of a photography class at the Pacific Northwest Art School here in town. You can check out Steve’s wonderful photos at www.steveshapirophotography.com.

08-18-14-steve

Heron are a large part of our nature scene and this one looked really nice in the morning sun.

08-18-14-heron

And finally, on the way home, this beautiful old Chris Craft was leaving Penn Cove after a night at the wharf.

08-18-14-yacht

I hope you have a wonderful week ahead and I look forward to having you along on more walks this week.

SUPER MOON AND TALL SHIPS

I hope you were somewhere that you could see the Super Moon last night, it was spectacular.

08-11-14-night moon

What’s nice is that it was still “Super” this morning.

08-11-14-morning-moon

As the moon was setting the sun was rising. No Photoshop on this one, it was spectacular!

08-11-14-sunrise

That wonderful golden morning light made for some great shots of the Tall Ships that are currently at the Coupeville Wharf. They are the Hawaiian Chieftain and the Lady Washington. I hope you enjoy these photos of the grand old ships.

08-11-14-wharf

08-11-14-tall-ship-stern

08-11-14-tall-ship-silhouette

08-11-14-tall-ships

And while I was out and about I spotted this handsome couple posing for the camera. Who knows, that might be their wedding photo ;-)

08-11-14-handsom-couple-deers

Thanks for walking with me and have a wonderful week ahead!

I’m Back

We are back from our vacation/family reunion and after our “Trip From Hell” we are really glad to be home. We had a fabulous time at the family reunion but the trip was something else. I plan on putting together a travelogue in the future for your enjoyment.

This morning’s walk was sort of short but beautiful. I had a very pleasant surprise when I got to the wharf. I met a new gentleman called Bear who was playing a Nez Perce Native American Flute. I could hear it before I actually saw him and it was a beautiful, haunting sound. He made the flute from Western Cedar. I hope you enjoy the little video clip I have for you. Click on the photo of Bear to hear him play.

bear

There, that should make your day, it sure did make mine!

The deer were out in force this morning, I counted twelve deer. I thought this family was really cute.

deer

This young White-Crowned Sparrow was just waiting for me to take it’s picture so I obliged.

white-crowned-sparrow

The flower baskets at the Coupeville Library were very pretty and I like the contrast with the “fishy” bike rack.

library

The flowers are all out at the Lavender Wind store. If you like lavender than this is the place for you.

wind-farm

With that I’ll wrap up the week. I hope you have a great weekend and will come walk with me again next week.

SMOKE JUMPING

As you know we have been camping in Eastern Washington for a week now and have been running away from the forest fires. Before we were evacuated from Twisp we had visited the Smokejumpers complex just outside of Winthrop. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to post that story.

Oh by the way we are safely ensconced at the Suncrest Resort in Moses Lake and there are no fires around!

While in Twisp we decided to visit the birth place of smoke jumping just outside of Winthrop, called the “North Cascades Smoke Jumpers Base”, it’s where, in 1939, Francis Lufkin developed the “smokejumper’s” technique’s that are still practiced today throughout the country. In the United States there are some 400 smokejumpres spread over nine bases.

They are “undeniably the most highly trained and fastest deployable wildland firefighters available today.”

Ironically we visited the base in the midst of five forest fires around our campground and the Twisp area. There were almost no smokejumpers at the base as they were all out fighting the fires but Jason Ramos, one of the remaining firefighter’s on standby, gave us a great tour of the facility and shared many stories about the smokejumpers with us. Since then the fires have merged and become the Carlton Complex Fire burning 238,000 acres and is zero percent contained at this time.

The following pictures are from the base but sadly without nearly as much narrative as Jason provided.

We knew we had arrived when we saw the welcome sign.

07-18-14-smokejumper-base-sign

The first thing you see as you approach the buildings is the “Birthplace of Smokejumping” sign.

07-18-14-verticle-sign

Underneath it reads:

07-18-14-sign

First stop was the parachute packing building. This sign caught my eye as the bird’s wings were made from gloves.

07-18-14-glove-sign

Inside Jason explained the protective jump suit to Marilyn. What’s most interesting is that the firefighters all sew their own special clothing. The suit they wear when jumping has Kevlar in it which protects them from tree branches and such when parachuting into treed terrain.

07-18-14-jason-and-marilyn

There were long tables used for folding and packing their parachutes. Everyone packed parachutes for anybody and not just their own.

07-18-14-parachute

Here Jason is explaining everything that they “jump” with when going into a fire.

07-18-14-jason-suit

We went to the building where they prepare all the other equipment that gets dropped along with them. It’s things like chainsaws, buck saw, food, water and much more. This pallet contains everything they should need and it will all be dropped to them once they are safely on the ground. It gets dropped from around  500 feet in the air.

07-18-14-drop-pallet

Ten smokejumpers and all this gear go into their CASA C-212-CC.

07-18-14-airplane

The cockpit is very small but leaves lots of room for the troops.

07-18-14-cockpit

The seats are for the smokejumpers and the equipment goes behind the cargo net.

07-18-14-inside-plane

While walking around there were many other “assets” being deployed to fight the fires including this big helicopter with the water drop bag hanging underneath.

07-18-14-helicopter

I thought this sign sort of said it all about the smokejumpers.

07-18-14-easy-sign

We’d really like to thank Jason for such a great tour and especially thank all the men and women off the “Smokejumpers” for all they do to help protect the people and property in the path of these forest firers.

HIGHWAY 20 NORTH

Now that I have Twisp covered it’s time for us all to go for a nice walk north on Highway 20. It’s kind of unfortunate but there are no hiking trails around the campground so to get in some miles I have to walk on the highway with cars racing by at 60 MPH. Still it was a beautiful walk and I got a better look at the Methow Valley.

This is the Methow River, reflecting the smoke clouds which really caught my eye.

07-17-14-methow-river

This buck was posing quite nicely against the scrub grass.

07-17-14-deer

There was a steady stream of fire and rescue vehicles heading toward Twisp and beyond. They were from all over the state as well as from Oregon. There were also about eight large vans carrying firefighters with all their gear stowed on the roof rack. This is one of the fire vehicles.

07-17-14-firetruck

I believe this is what they were racing towards. It appears as there was a bit “flareup” on the other side of Twist.

07-17-14-blowup

Oh and did I mention that this is really different but beautiful country? Click on this panorama to see what I saw during my walk this morning.

Panorama1

Thanks for walking with me, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Be sure to come join me again tomorrow!

A DAY IN TWISP

Yesterday we spent the better part of the day in Twisp. It’s a really small, quaint, town that has two main streets. One is the highway and the other is one block over. If you ever visit Twisp be sure to visit both, there are interesting things all around.

NOTE: You can click on any of the images to make them bigger.

But first some fire news. There are three forest fires withing eight miles of us and it’s been quite smokey and even raining ash.

07-17-14-smoke

There are helicopters flying overhead most of the day with buckets full of water.

07-17-14-helicopter

This was the view from our campground at sunset last night.

07-17-14-sunset

Just to show how dramatic it was this was around 10:30 last night just after it turned dark.

07-17-14-night-sky

Now onward to Twisp.

07-17-14-welcome-to-twisp

Like I mentioned, Twisp is a two street town and this is the street that’s off the highway.

07-17-14-main-street

Here are some photos of things I found interesting while walking around town.

07-17-14-truck 07-17-14-sawtooth-dentist 07-17-14-old-building 07-17-14-little-art-library 07-17-14-iron-chair

We had lunch at the Twisp River Pub and the food was good. Their brewed beer wasn’t all that good but I had a Moose Drool from Montana and it was excellent!

0-17-14-twisp-river-pub

Although it was around 102 degrees F we made the best of it and had a good time. We visited the Community Center and learned about the history Twisp and the area. Did you ever wonder where the name “Twisp” came from? It was an Indian word for “Yellow Jacket”, who knew?

I’m going to post a second blog this morning with photos from my walk so you can join me there.