November 2023December 2023 Current Home Page

12/17 - Christmas Trip to Seattle

We took a quick trip into Seattle for a bit of urban life. The ferries were their usual mess. We found out that one of the Bainbridge ferries was out only at the toll booth. We made it into town a bit late but with plenty of time to explore. We scooted up to Volunteer Park to see the Christmas display and back to our hotel in time for check in. There had been a convention going on last time, but this time the lobby was much quieter.

We did some shopping down at Pikes Place Market loading up on holiday cheeses at Delaurenti and admiring the fish and vegetables at Sosio's and Pure Food Fish respectively. There was a beautiful sunset over the sound. We had dinner at Nishino for the first time in a few years and were pleased to see that the food was as good as ever. We even had our usual corner table and really enjoyed our omakase dinner.


Mount Rainier as seen from the ferry

At the Volunteer Park Conservatory

Winter flowers

Is someone hungry?

A bit of Christmas color

Orchids

The Christmas village

The Christmas tree

More Christmas color

And some more

And yet more, with nutcrackers

The view from our room

A Christmas tree downtown

Seattle sunset

Sosio's

The Market

The market again

Downtown Seattle, under the monorail

A bit of city life

Across from Nishino

Nishino

A night view

And more night

Keywords: christmas, seattle


12/16 - Christmas 2023

We went tree shopping right after we returned from our Thanksgiving trip. B&B on route 101 east of town came through as usual. We found a great tree for the living room with its high ceiling and a smaller tree for the patio. We're a bit behind on our posting, but here's a pictorial recap of our progress.

Tsimtsum - According to the Kabbalah, that's how God made room for creating the Universe. We celebrate Christmas with our own, much smaller, version, making room for our Christmas tree.

The tree in place

Behind the scenes - setting up the tree lights

Our shaman, decorated

The whole house decorated

Outside and in

Lights test

Setting the table

Those little string lights and a ceramic strawberry service make a great centerpiece.

Smoked salmon

Further progress

The topper - Now we can put away the ladder and reassure our insurance company.

Another lights test

Keywords: christmas, shopping, thanksgiving


12/14 - Sunrise

We've had a few dramatic sunrises.

A dramatic sunrise

Keywords: atmosphere


12/14 - Bird Watching at Dungeness DIke

We did some bird watching at Dungeness Dike. We saw a few eagles, hawks, a heron and, of course, lots of ducks.

The Dungeness River

The river awash

Gray sky

Two eagles

Two eagles up close

The scene

The marshland

Autumn color

A heron

Ducks

An eagle in flight

A hawk in a tree

An eagle in a tree

Probably a hawk

That hawk again

An eagle in a tree

That eagle again

More ducks

Gray skies bring out the fading color.

Keywords: ducks, dungeness, eagle


12/12 - Elwha to Altair

With all the recent rain, we wanted to check out the Elwha River. Now that it's a naturally flowing river and has severed Olympic Hot Springs Road, it's worth keeping an eye on. We chose a lovely sunny day and set out. There was still morning mist here and there, and the river was running nicely. Even at the stretch across from the Madison Falls parking lot, It was out of its summer channel. The mules at the mule camp were long gone.

We headed on through the forest detour. We could see the river below, and we could see that the logs and snags of summer had been caught up in the increased flow. We didn't see a sign of the collapsing pavilion at the old Elwha campground.

We did see signs of snow on the hills around us, and we had a wonderful view of the river from the Altair Bridge. On our way back, there was another surprise. Something was thrashing about in one of the side creeks. We took a better look, and there was a salmon struggling upstream, well late to the party.


Morning mist

The Elwha

Forest

Along the trail

More winter forest

The Elwha below

Another bit of the river

From a lower vantage

Down by the water

A changed flow

Even the big logs had been moved

Seen along the way

Reflection

Snow covered mountain

More snow on another mountain

Morning mist

View from the Altair Bridge

More along the trail

More snowy mountain

A late season salmon

Still thrashing about in the shallows

The road in winter

Some flowing water

Keywords:


12/11 - Morse Creek West

We often follow the Olympic Discovery Trail from the parking lot near Morse Creek. We head west towards Port Angeles. The trail, an old railroad right of way, passes through the Four Seasons subdivision and down to the strait. It is open all year and not very far from where live. It's also a great trail for tracking the seasons.

The Strait of San Juan de Fuca

One of the sea ducks

The trail by the strait

A seal at sea

Another photo showing the mottled pattern and, if you look carefully, whiskers

The trail again, wet and wintry

The dike

Winter patterns

The dike again

Winter foliage

More winter patterns

A last few coin flowers

A coin flower and the ground

Rose hips

A look west at the dike

A loon

Winter color

More winter color

The last of autumn

Some fallen leaves

More fallen leaves

The railroad bridge

Morse Creek

Keywords: morse creek, port angeles, winter


12/10 - Railroad Bridge Christmas

They've been decorating Railroad Bridge in Sequim for Christmas for years now. For years, we have been wanting to see the lights there, but every year we've missed our chance. Christmas season is a busy time of year, so there was always something else to do.

This year, we finally made it down to the bridge towards dusk and got to see the illumination. The sky was cloudy and getting darker. It was raining. The Dungeness River was full from the recent and ongoing rain. The lights were beautiful.






A Christmas eagle





The Dungeness River

The Dungeness River

Keywords: christmas, dungeness, sequim


12/07 - Little St. Simon's - Departure

Here are some more photos of our departure. There are a few sunrise pictures, and they are much less saturated with color than the ones taken using an iPhone in the previous post. A few birds came to say goodbye including a woodpecker and an egret. The armadillos were sleeping in presumably after a wild night at the Armadillo Factory.

Early morning with the moon

More early light

Light caught by a tree

Brilliant red

More morning glow

Saying goodbye

More morning light

Goodbye to the wild trees

More early light

The main building at the lodge

An egret by the water

Keywords: georgia


12/06 - Little St. Simons - Our Last Day

Even before we finished our packing, we went down to the river to watch the sunrise. It was a band of pink reflected on the water, a very stark, pure light. It was cold, but we savored the moment. A few hours later we were on a fast motor boat heading for the marina. There were only four of us, so we didn't bother with the larger flat boat.

We made good time to the marina, transferred our bags to our rental car and headed north on I-95 for Savannah's airport. We expected horrible traffic, but the road was relatively quiet. We arrived with time to spare. Rather than sit for hours inhaling stale air, we settled on a patio and took advantage of the airport's free wifi and did a last bit of bird watching.


Dawn

Early light

That band of pink

A bit later

An amazing sky

It was cold, but we were in no hurry to get indoors.

Again

The band of pink seen through the trees

Another view

Yet another

Our last bit of bird watching at the Savannah airport

Keywords: georgia


12/05 - Little St. Simons - A Bit of the Backbone Trail

That afternoon we took a short walk along the Backbone Trail. Actually, we took the Alternate Old House Trail to the Backbone Trail, but that's a long story. It was our last hike on the island, so we made the most of it. At some point, exhaustion set in.

A butterfly

Indian pipes

The trees

The marshes

The trail

A sandy stretch

The ground below

Keywords: georgia


12/04 - Little St. Simones - Three Pines and South Pond - Part 1

On our second day on Little St. Simons Island, we headed from the lodge south to the Three Pines Trail, and having completed the trail we took a loop around South Pond. This was different country, more forested but as flat as everywhere on the island.

Our big surprise was, having reached the end of the Three Pines Trail, we found a tree full of wood storks. They're prehistoric looking birds. Everyone uses that adjective. We first thought they were ibises.


Marshland

The trail

A row of pelicans, almost like garden ornaments

Flowers

A mushroom of some sort

Palmettos and foreat

More of the trail

A woodpecker

More along the trail

Another bird

More of the forest

More Spanish moss

More forest

A view into the marsh

More palmetto forest

Berries

Another mushroom

One stork

Two storks

Storks in a tree

The tree in context

A better photo of one of the storks

Egrets in the distance

Keywords: georgia


12/03 - Little St. Simons - Three Pines and South Pond - Part 2

On the South Pond section of our walk, there was an eagle viewing area that promised us a view of an eagle's nest. We didn't see the nest, but we did get a brief look at the eagle.

Tall trees

Wild forest

Marsh lands with a possible eagle's nest

A few dead needles

A poor photo of the eagle in flight

Another marsh view - There was lots of marsh.

Across a boardwalk

The ground below

Another bit of the trail

Reflective water

Another view

Keywords: georgia


12/02 - Little St. Simons - Sunrise

One of the positive things about getting to the east coast is jet lag that lets one see the sunrise.

Keywords: georgia


12/01 - Little St. Simons - Atlantic Beach - Part 1

In the afternoon, one of the guides drove us down to Atlantic Beach. We stopped en route to see Norm, possibly the largest alligator on the island. He is noted for eating smaller alligators among other nutritious snacks. There was some good bird watching on the path to Norm's Pond.

Then we explored the beach. We didn't go very far. We were still tired from our morning walk. The beach was broad and bright with breakers offshore. There were plovers and oystercatchers about. Most of them were pretty far away, so we relied on binoculars and a spotter scope, so we didn't get too many photos.


A hawk in a tree en route to Atlantic Beach

A fork in the road

Prickly pear cactus, almost ripe

One of many armadillos

The walkway to Norm's Pond

Seen from the walkway

Norm

A nearby duck

Another small bird

Yet another

And another

Still more

Even more - or is this the same one

Marshland

A heron

The countryside

Autumn grasses

The road goes on

By the road

The walkway to the beach

A first glimpse of the beach

In the sand

More

Keywords: georgia


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