An Idaho Summer

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My Idaho summer is coming to a close. Summer in a home surrounded by water and mountains, what more could I ask for? I knew very little about this state before I arrived. Although I have only explored a small section of a rather large state, I now know it is a place I will return to again.

I have relished my stationary time. I was able to nest and relax. I did not feel like I needed to be on the go every minute. There were many benefits to being here. An outstanding benefit-getting to know Linda better,strengthening our friendship and enjoying her company. It was delightful.

I became part of a community, if only for a short time. It doesn’t take long in a small town for the major players to take notice of a new person. The post office in Donnelly, by the time I left, knew me by name. They also told me they would see me next summer.😁 I have enjoyed becoming part of  a community even it was temporary.

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Elsie bathing in the late Afternoon Sun

Elsie also enjoyed the larger digs. I think she was glad to be left behind to nap at will. She enjoyed having space to run. It was hard for me to have to move her again. It was me being emotional, she really hasn’t seemed to mind.

We are in Boise this week. I am, once again, house sitting for Misty the Invisible Cat. When Linda asked me if I could help them out while they are off on vacation, how could I say no? They gave me their second home without hesitation. This is what friends do for friends.

I am, temporarily,  going to become an advertisement for Idaho as I create one of my list about why Idaho is truly the “Gem State”.

  • It is called the “Gem State”, because nearly every known type of gemstone has been found in the state of Idaho. More than 72 different precious and semi-precious gemstones are mined from Idaho.
  • Idaho’s state seal is the only one in the U.S. designed by a woman. In 1890, Emma Edwards Green submitted the design for the State Seal competition sponsored by the First Legislature for the State of Idaho.
  • The drivers give wide berth to bicyclists. As a cyclist,  I noticed this again and again. It is greatly appreciated.
  • The lakes are beautiful and become warm enough in the summer to swim in. I really appreciate this, as I grew up on a lake in northern NJ and love swimming in fresh water.
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Cascade Lake

  • Outdoor activity is everywhere. Hiking? Yep. Biking? Yep. There are a lot of off the road bike paths, that are well maintained. I didn’t have to worry as much about traffic. Kayaking or Paddle Boarding? Yep.
  • Summer is full of special events. I spent one three-day weekend at the Roseberry annual Music Festival. There were three nights of great music. It was very much a family affair. Young children ran among the adults. I brought my folding chair, set it in place and wandered. The entertainment included local and nationally known bands. fullsizeoutput_80a9It was a great way to spend the weekend. The person who was in charge of parking gave me my favorite spot every night. Small towns are fun that way.
  • Wildlife abounds. I enjoyed all of it. The Sandhill Cranes called to me several times, early in the morning hours. I loved the fox that lived over near Roseberry and am happy that I got to take photos of her.

 

  • There were reminders that I was in the west. A favorite of my time here, was the day my friends and I came upon a herd of sheep, being herded by sheepdogs and people to the high country for the summer.
  • I looked forward to the drive across Cascade Lake every time I needed to go somewhere.
  • There were so many nicely graded dirt roads to venture off on.
  • Wildflowers abound. When one season is done the next one is coming into full bloom. Beautiful, just beautiful.
  • Have I mentioned the people? Everyone was welcoming. I could always find someone to aid me when I needed it. I walked into a dentist office, in McCall, and asked if I could make an appointment for a dental cleaning. No problem. They didn’t need x-rays, they didn’t contact my dentist they just got me in.
  • Water abounds. Lakes, rivers, streams, waterfalls and all were running wild and well above normal this past spring.
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    Sawtooth Mts & Stanley Lake

    I love water.

  • Idaho is home to beautiful mountain ranges. I loved the short time I spent at the edges of the Sawtooth Wilderness. It was stunning.
  • Boise is known for it’s Greenbelt. It was off-limits to me this spring (too much water) yet now I am able to get out and bike distance with little interference. It rides along the Boise River where a late summer past time appears to be floating the river in rafts and inner tubes.

I will treasure my Idaho summer for a long time to come. It has given me time to be introspective, have fun out there in the wilds and be reminded of the importance of community.

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Next stop, Oregon and the Eclipse.

 

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It’s All About Water

Payette River

I am about water. We are all about water. We are made of water. Without water we and this planet would not exist as we know it today.

I love bodies of water great and small. This spring is about water in the west. There has been an abundant supply of snow this past winter and spring runoff is happening, in the lakes, rivers and streams. I have heard several comments from the locals here in Idaho regarding the amount of water in the rivers this spring. “I have never seen the Payette River this high.” “There is usually a beach here.” “Wow!”

Since Jim’s death the ocean has been my friend. I sent his ashes into the Pacific and I have found some comfort in being close to the ocean since then. Leaving the ocean behind was hard for me and I was wondering how much I would miss it. When I discovered these wild flowing bodies of water, I find, I have not missed the ocean one bit.

Pacific Ocean in all it’s Glory

I love water. I love it when it is quiet and meandering. I am attracted to weather at it’s worst. I think many of us are. There is something about nature in all it’s fury that beckons me to go outside, climb the mountain, stand on the sand and witness the un-tameness of it all. Big waves? You bet. Wild surf and bad storms? Yep. I once had to crawl under a boulder on a mountain peak while lightening struck and hail was coming down, fast and furious (it was a surprise storm). At these moments, when nature is in it’s full fury I am reminded that I am a speck in this universe. It is a good reminder and humbling.

Spring is a juicy time of the year. Water abounds and is usually at it’s most prevalent. There is still snow on the mountains, more water is still to come. This year I am going rafting for six days on the Flathead River in Montana. Ah, more water. I love to put my feet in water and if it is warm enough I love swimming in it. In San Diego, the summer is boogie-boarding season. There is a quiet joy in kayaking or paddle-boarding a peaceful lake. It is fun to  meander the shore-lines and see what I can see. There is nothing better than the sound of a loon on a quiet lake.

Fields near Donnelly

Since I have arrived in Donnelly, Idaho, I have been surrounded by large bodies of water, Cascade Lake and Payette Lake. As a nature photographer I really enjoy all this water. It attracts birds and all sorts of wildlife. If I want a chance to photograph, all I have to do is put on some mosquito repellant and sit by a lake or stream and wait. Right now the open fields have quite a bit of water in them. I can stop almost anywhere and wait. If I am quiet and patient enough the animals and birds will come. My favorites this spring are grebes and sandhill cranes. They are my current favorites until something else attracts my attention.

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Greater Sandhill Crane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cascade Lake

Ponderosa State Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water attracts all of nature, People, animals, birds, bugs-the list could go on. Water is a part of my life and I am happy to have it there. I like to camp next to it. Fishing is fun. There are times that I enjoy renting a hotel room right on the beach and sit and contemplate life, as the waves gently or not so gently crash onto the sand. When evening falls and a lake is still, the sunset is awe inspiring. It quiets my spirit before sleep.

Today and every day I celebrate water in all of it’s wondrous forms.

 

Elsie’s Animals & Birds

IMG_1743Hey everyone, Elsie the cat here. I took the computer from Janet when she was taking a shower. She says we are on our way home. I’ll believe it when I see it. She keeps finding interesting things to see and do. We keep stopping. Of course she goes off and does things and I sleep under my sheepskin. I like my idea of fun.

Janet says we are in Iowa. I am not sure what that is but when I ride on the dashboard I am now seeing lots of farms. Cows are interesting. They are big and colorful.

There is still a lot of water everywhere. The lakes have gotten smaller and the rivers are a bit bigger. I like that we try to camp in places where I can feel good about going outside. Too many people and a lot of noise does not make me happy and I have to go to the sheepskin to feel safe.

I have been seeing some animals and birds that are interesting. I wish they would get a little closer but they always seem to know where the end of the leash is. Sigh.

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I have seen a lot of these birds, everywhere we have been. Janet tells me they are seagulls. I would like to get to know them better but all they do is scream and fly away. they are kind of noisy. I bet if they got too close I would go to the sheepskin.

IMG_6050 And, speaking of getting to know someone better, several days ago I saw this little guy. I am told by the all knowing one that it is a red squirrel. I would have really like to get to know him and his buddies better. They moved fast and were often just out of my range. Why do they do that? They chirped and yelled at me and I thought they would be a lot of fun to play with. Hmmm, maybe even a snack.

IMG_5930Janet tells me this is a Kildeer. I don’t know the name and I guess I really don’t care. What I like is that they were just outside my little house on wheels. They ran up and down the beach really fast. I wanted to run with them but Janet said no. Sigh. She says they were fishing. What is that I wonder and would I like it?

 

IMG_6373These little birds were covering the bushes outside our RT yesterday morning. They were everywhere. they fly really fast and even soar. I would like to try that soaring thing, it looked fun. I am told by Janet that I don’t have the equipment to do that. I would love to have been right there with them. I bet I could have jumped off the ground and caught at least one of these little buggers. Janet says no and there is the leash issue as well.

IMG_6215I have seen a lot of these. They seem to be at every lake I have been to from New Jersey to Minnesota. They are ducks. They seem like they would be fun to play with too. But when the squawk I get scared and run away. They are loud. I wonder if ducks could be my friends.

IMG_6271A few days ago we were camped on one of the really big lakes. There were trees all around my campsite. these little birds were yelling at me. Why do they yell? Janet says that they must have babies close by. Mmmm, interesting. Would I like babies? I bet I would. A snack maybe? These are chickadees, I am told.

Last night we camped near the Upper Iowa River. In the middle of the night right next to the Roadtrek I heard a loud noise. A big hoot. Janet says it was an owl. It was really close and it was kind of eerie. It was followed by a howl which Janet says was a coyote. It is wild out there at night. I am glad I am safe and snuggled up next to Janet.

We are off for new adventures today. It is raining. Janet has the awning out and it makes it nice for me. I can sit outside and not get wet. The best of all worlds.

I gotta go. She is back and I must pretend I have not been on the computer. Oh look breakfast.