Blog Archives

Roaming Across America

roam: verb - To move about without purpose or plan; to wander.

Whew!

A whole month ago, I made the great journey across the country back to my home state of Maryland from Oregon. Six amazing years on the west coast have made a lasting impression upon my heart and spirit, but I sure have missed my family. It’s so great to be home for the holidays: seeing the nieces dress up for Halloween, gathering recipes for a grand Thanksgiving, and pondering Christmas crafts.

For a roaming naturalist, this was a huge, exciting adventure!

Screen shot 2013-11-07 at 6.34.13 PM

If you’ve never driven across the country, the Great West has a Great Treat – high speed limits! I was hauling a trailer, however, and was restricted to driving about 50mph the whole way to avoid burning out the engine. I just  put-put-putted my way across Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah, but driving slow gave me a great chance to enjoy the landscape.

One place that stuck out during the travel was Medicine Bow National Forest in the southeastern corner of Wyoming. Just driving by it was amazing – I can’t imagine how beautiful it must be on the inside! Well, okay, I kind of can, because there’s Google.

This pic is similar to some of the rock formations visible from the highway as you drive past the forest. (Thanks to Sylvia from Colorado Lifestyle for the amazing photo!) Those boulders are so enticing! It was hard not to pull over and check it out.

via Colorado Lifestyle blog – check it out by clicking on the pic

IMG_1471

Sunka sang songs after taking doggie sedatives to make the 7-day trip less stressful. Poor pup!

IMG_1460

My buffalo buddy kept us company too.

IMG_1467

This is pretty much how we both felt at the end of every day.

IMG_1391

Almost out of Ohio – check out those cool cacti.

I averaged about 400 miles per day, which wasn’t too bad with a neurotic dog, three snakes, and a thousand pound trailer. I feel very blessed to have been able to cross this spectacular country not just once, but twice now.

In Nebraska, I camped at a wonderful park and serenely drifted off to sleep with the sound of rain pattering on the tent – a sound that I think many campers can attest to being quite peaceful. On the other side of that, however, the camper also knows deep down that the rain could patter peacefully for a little while, or turn into a raging thunderstorm.

Well, guess what happened!

After several hours of intense thunder and lightening, a park ranger came through each campground and advised everyone to evacuate to the park’s lodge because the park was under tornado threat. That was pretty scary, but the storm passed with no tornado and we all eventually got back to sleep. What an adventure!! Now I know much more about the Midwest in autumn than I ever had…

IMG_1418

Sunka lounging at our beautiful Nebraska campsite.

IMG_1406

Discovered this lovely deceased dragonfly on our evening walk.

IMG_1470

Lovely morning fog on the Youghiogheny River.

IMG_1469

Ahhh, a beautiful sunrise to welcome me home to the East Coast!

While I will definitely miss Oregon, this is the first year in six that I will get to experience a real autumn! Woo hoo! It’s been so long. I’ve also already ordered a winter tree finder book, and a leaf book because, well, we have a lot of leaves over here that I don’t remember. Like, a lot. There’s also already a list of things I want to plant come spring because the growing season here is tremendous compared to the high desert.

Thanks for reading! :) Have you ever driven across the country? What was your experience like? I’d love to know, so put it in the comments!

Advertisements

Roaming along the coastline of Newport, Oregon

roam: verb - To move about without purpose or plan; to wander.

The Oregon Coast is one of the most magical places I’ve ever been. There’s something about the walls of mist rolling through big, black rock outcroppings, the bent pines standing up to the ocean winds, and the booming power of the waves hitting the sand that really gets me out of my head. It’s one place that I regularly escape to when living in the high desert makes me feel claustrophobic.

Read the rest of this entry

Weekend photo montage

As per usual, this holiday season has been busy busy buzzing for me – working, sewing for the Etsy shop, sewing holiday gifts in lieu of buying presents – it’s been fun, but am I tired. Sunka has been a good, patient pup through this bonanza of activity, so I treated him to a hike in one of my favorite spots along the river. After 3 miles he was ready for more, but the cold wind and warm sun insisted that I immediately go home and nap. I got out the old Hipstamatic for fun. Happy solstice!

Naked snowberries, waiting for quail.

Patterns in the ice found in a river boulder pothole.

My faithful explorer friend.

Roaming in the Painted Hills, Oregon

roam: verb - To move about without purpose or plan; to wander.

I love to roam.

I recently made the trip out to a spectacular spot in Oregon’s “high desert” region called the Painted Hills. The Painted Hills are one of three spots in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, which includes the Sheep Rock Unit loaded with fossils and an AWESOME fossil museum, complete with a glass wall where you can watch paleontologists chipping away at the remains of some million-year-old-something. *drool*

The Painted Hills were an ancient floodplain home to small, ancestral horse species and other early mammals. Erosion has wiped away the more recent layers of soil to reveal this amalgam of clay and minerals, which, true to its name, looks like it was painted with a big red brush.

Read the rest of this entry

Hiking Adventure!

Ahh, I’m feeling so relaxed from an amazing 7-mile hike I took this weekend with the pup. (No Evil Beagle this time.) Designated wilderness areas are sorely underused (although we certainly don’t want them overused) – are there any where you live?

I really would love a tracking device for my dog to see how much distance he covers in the forest. If my friend and I hiked 7 miles that day, my dog easily had to do twice that, as he has the good habit of running ahead to scout, and then running back to check on his humans.

A tired dog is a happy dog. See those ears? We call those the “trouble ears,” because he always only holds his ears like that when he’s making mischief.

Read the rest of this entry

1.5 Hours at the Beach.

Today is not the day for education, my friends.

Today is a day for sharing a story. A story from the weekend. A weekend when I decided to take my dog and my roommate’s dog to the delightful sandy shores of the Western coast. Today is not a day for natural interpretation. Today is about nature being a big fat bitch.

(Which is half the reason I love her.)

Here’s how the day went.

1. Drive many hours. Arrive at beach during monsoon.

Read the rest of this entry