Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
Click on Mark Twain to jump to Troutbirders book review blog

Friday, February 26, 2016

Dangerous Encounter


Yellowstone is one of my most favorite places in the world. Here standing at the Roosevelt Arch north entryway, I am reminded of the words of President Teddy. As Ken Burns recent documentary show eloquently pointed out, our National Parks symbolize the very best of what we stand for as a nation. That evening, after having dinner at the restaurant, we walked back to our small cabin. There were elk scattered throughout the area, busy munching on select shrubs and grass.
 Here Mrs Elk has found a delectible shrub right in front of our cabin. This particular encounter reminded me of a much more dangerous one I had had several years earlier at the very same spot. Here is how I described it on August 7, 2008. Keep in mind the small size of the porch in front of our cabin……
It's early Thursday morning and as always I am an early riser. As I peer out the window into the slowly dissolving darkness, I am reminded of other early mornings and things that go bump in the night. We were staying in a small cabin at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park with our good friends Gary and Rosie. It was several  years ago and the first week in October. A long time fishing visitor to the Park during mid-summer, a fall trip for wildlife viewing was a new experience. My three companions were late sleepers. I, being of the early rising variety, decided that rather than stare at the ceiling for a few hours, I would sneak out, book in hand, and walk over to the hotel restaurant to get my early morning cup of coffee.

The cabin we were staying in was quite small with a bedroom, two double beds and a bathroom. There was a small compound of these cabins surrounding a grassy area. As you can see in the above picture, attached was a very small wooden porch. Book in hand I quietly opened the cabin door and took a half of a step out onto the porch and into the darkness. It was very dark. Darker than I expected..... especially when the darkness moved. Suddenly, aware that a large buffalo was standing crossways on the porch and blocking the path, I literally leaped and fell over backwards back into the cabin.
Yes, a loud profanity was uttered on my part and the lights came on, with three rather disturbed people questioning my behavior and perhaps sanity. After resolving their concerns by showing them the  visitor, still standing on the porch, order was restored. Later, Gary managed to snap a picture of the culprit, who had slowly followed a path up the hill behind the cabins. It should be noted that several park visitors are killed each year by getting to close to these placid looking bovines. I still get up early but look carefully before I step out into the darkness.  Yellowstone Park  an exciting place 24/7….:)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Winter Dreams

Government surveyors came to Ole's farm in the fall and asked if they could do some surveying. Ole agreed and Lena even served them a nice meal at noontime. The next spring, the two surveyors stopped by and told Ole, "Because you were so kind to us, we wanted to give you this bad news in person instead of by letter.
Ole replied, "What's the bad news?

The surveyors stated, "Well, after our work we discovered your farm is not in Minnesota , but is actually in Iowa !"

Ole looked at Lena and said," That's the best news I have heard in a long time. Why I just told Lena this morning, I don't think I can take another winter in Minnesota.”
Relaxing on the deck can be difficult in June in Minnesota, according to Ole.

 Ole plans on February picnics with Lena in tropical Iowa. Yah for sure. You betcha!  Ok and one more….

Sven drove past Ole's house a few years ago and saw a sign that said "Boat for sale?" I hear Sven stopped his car, backed up and drove up to Ole's house and confronted him. "Ole," Sven said. "You don't got no boat."
"I know," said Ole. "But I got a tractor and a wagon and dey's boat for sale."


Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Oregon Trail Time Travelers


On our way back home from our visit to my cousin in Portland and Vancouver Island B.C., we ran into this long distance time traveler and his wife at Hood River. They had just dropped in off the Oregon Trail for a brief respite and a pancake breakfast. Interesting couple, really.
They told me they had "jumped off" from Independence early in May. "As soon as the grass was long enough for the animals," was how Josh put it. "It was chaos," he noted mentioning the thousands of people with loaded farm wagons moving on about the same time.

I asked Alice how she like the Belgian waffles for breakfast. "A lot better than our usual,” she replied. "Dry bread and bacon consisted our breakfast, dinner and supper for months on end. The bacon we cooked when we could obtain wood or dry buffalo chips for fire; but when nothing but green grass could be seen, we ate our bacon without cooking."
One of the highlights for them, had been making it to Independence Rock by the fourth of July. "Being the fourth of July, we concluded to lay by and celebrate the day. The children had no fireworks, but we all joined in singing patriotic songs and shared in a picnic lunch."
I guess, time travelers being what they are, when you follow the Interstate I-80, you never know who you might run into. Many of the superhighways heading west follow portions of the pioneer trails. Interstate 80 has parts of the Oregon Trail, The Mormon Trail, The Pony Express and was the first transcontinental highway. The Time Travelers, you know somehow, that might make a good book or a movie someday. … J

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Wild Inside

Click on Mark Twain above to read the review on Troutbirder II

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Scenic Cove Near Tofino

One of the highlights of our stay on Vancouver Island was revisiting Tofino, the gateway town to Pacific Rim National Park. How things had changed. The small fishing village is now surfing, whale watching, fishing etc. Central. We had a nice clam soup dinner there but otherwise located ourself out of town at a nice lodge with an added attraction.

The lodge was on the main highway, not too far from the Park and its west ward facing beaches. Looking out the back window of our room, facing east, we saw an almost tropical sight.
Then a boadwalk path was discovered and so we followed it.
A short distance through the woods and we came to some lawn chairs, facing a quiet looking cove.
Ducks and geese and seagulls abounded with hills across the bay and mountains in the distrance. Away from the maddening crowd. Now that's my idea of a vacation spot!
So our idyllic days passed on this beautiful island. As all things do it had changed and not always for the better. More touristy and fewer open beaches with more No Trespassing signs than on our previous visits but all in all we still had a great time. Then it was time to go home just happening to stop in Yellowstone N.P. on the way. But that's another story....:)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Forest Primeval

With thanks to Nathanial Hawthorne - "This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring oceanSpeaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest."
It's early morning, cold and damp, as we walk carefully toward the distant roar of the Pacific. The forest of hemlocks is mighty and tall indeed. Strangely though, the closer we come to the beach, the trees shrink in size.

The coast is guarded by a phalanx of beached logs.
We head down the beach as another couple leads the way.
Early morning, when the tide is out, is the time to find those washed up "treasures." We wander about a bit.  But today it is not meant to be. Mrs. T begins to signal its time to head back to the car.
The fog begins to clear as the sun peeks thru the forest.

In the morning light, the density of this temperate rainforest is more obvious than ever.
As my "Evangeline" and I approach the trailhead and our car, I notice for the first time, signs proclaiming the forest to be inhabited by wolves, mountain lions and bears.
This is the forest primeval indeed!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Beachcombing on Vancouver Island


Yes, there are beautiful beaches on the Island. Some face east to the "Inland Passage." Others face west toward Japan.
Some beachcombers stride confidently across the sand. This is familiar territory to the Herring Gull.
As the waves began to come up, surfers soon appeared.

Others, the touristy types, huddle and tiptoe carefully, not quite knowing what to expect.

The tidal pools hold unusual treasures. Some like this starfish don't travel well, as when years ago our sons tried to sneak one back to Minnesota. The horrible aroma in the trunk of our car told of its demise.

Then the boys also discovered a mantra ray washed up on shore early one morning. Needless to say that remained behind .

In the same manner, one evening, Mrs. T. and I came upon a washed up squid.

I soon had the feeling though I was being watched!
Further along the swells increased in size,
beating against the rocky shore.

As the sun set in the west, we were a long way from home, at Pacific Rim National Park..... but its was worth every mile it took to get there.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Devils Brood

Meet King Henry II, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and their sons, Hal, Richard the Lion Heart, Geoffrey and John ..... the Devil's Brood.  Click on Mark Twain above for details.