Monday, October 26, 2009

An Interesting Rest Stop (On I-15 between Idaho Falls and Pocatello, ID)

Taken: October 26, 2009

Ran into one of the nicest rest stops I have ever seen – Hell’s Half Acre..  Nice interpretive hiking trail, an easy one, and a more difficult one.  All things labeled.  Nice benches, nice picnic tables with walls to shelter from the wind.  Lots of wind.  I’ll just post the photos… they will speak for themselves.
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Windy, windy, windy.
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     Don’t like wind.

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Snow is still chasing me.  And the wind is cold.  On to UT… my Eighth State to paddle.

Monday, October 19, 2009

7th State: MT - Flathead Lake (Oct. 19, 2009)

Can’t believe I’m going to try for two paddles in two states within two days… but Montana is so close… and that lake, Flathead, looks so inviting.

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Beautiful Area… and I’m sure to return here.  There was an island off shore called Wild Horse Island.  I wanted to paddle around it.  There was one closer in nick-named “Boy Scout Island” and I only made it out to the northern tip of that island before having to turn around.  The water between the two islands was getting really rough and I only had enough time to get back to shore before dark.
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Upper land is Wild Horse Island and closer one is “boy scout” island.  Can’t think of it’s real name right now.

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The water was so clear… amazing.

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The sky was so grey.  I have to paddle all the way back to that farthest land coming out from the left and the wind is picking up.

2009_11_00_Wenatchee-zion 111 A loon?

I understand that the Indians used to take their horses out there to prevent anyone from taking them.  There are suppose to still be horses there, but I could not spot any through binoculars.  I will return when weather is more favorable and will also see if I can obtain permission to camp one night on the Wild Horse Island… so the paddle could be broken up into two segments/days.

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I feel the ice in the air… and the snow is chasing me.  I must head south.  I headed south on I90 to Missoula expecting mail there.  I waited a couple days but could wait no longer.  Had to go south with out my mail.  Nice sunset one of those nights though.

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Soon I was headed back into ID again… and explored the Driggs/Victor areas but didn’t recognize anything from when I was there on a mountaineering course in 1977.  Note the buffalo on top of that corner building.

2009_11_00_Wenatchee-zion 185 Tetons, from West side.

Crossed over into WY near the Grand Teton and took these photos.  The snow was chasing me and had caught a few people as I saw snow on their cars.  Motivated me to keep going south.

2009_11_00_Wenatchee-zion 199 The Grand.
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On, SwankieWheels… on southward.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

6th State: ID - Priest Lakes (Oct. 18, 2009)

October 18, 2009
Left Wenatchee, WA and passed through the mountains, across the amber waves of grain and finally arriving at the small little town of Waterville on top of the mesa East of the Columbia River Valley.  20091014-wenatchee-I 019
I imagined that if I were to live closer to my younger grandchildren, this might be the place for me.  Away from the pollution of the valley. Very interesting little town.  Loved the brick work on this church.
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Then leaving Eastern Washington State on Route 2 eastward through Coulee City (sure wanted to stop there and paddle).
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Then on past Spokane, then north on Rt. 2 to Newport, WA and finally I crossed into the upper panhandle of Idaho.  A guy at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival had told me about a great paddle between Upper Priest Lake and Lower Priest Lake… a throughway of 2.5 miles one way.  20091014-wenatchee-I 009
I then went north on Rt. 57 to the Lower Priest Lake.  Snow is chasing me.  I need to get my ID paddle in and head south.
There is no development along this waterway and no power boats allowed.  Pure wilderness.
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Heading out from Lower Priest Lake, aiming toward that light spot on the shoreline… then north through the throughway.
2009_10_19_MT 053 Fantastic.

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Up ahead a little ways was a loud noise, I thought (in my mind’s eye) it was a couple bear fighting in the water.  I didn’t know which way to go, retreat, rush ahead to get the shot, stand still (the current had different ideas.  Before I could sort out what to do, a moose family came walking through the tall grasses along the right shore… only about 20 foot from me.  By then I had managed to get my video camera out… and did get some good footage.  Now I just have to learn how to upload it here.

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This is the opening at the north end of the throughway… that’s Upper Priest Lake. Well, that fellow at the Port Townsend Boat Show was certainly right about this being a great paddle.  But now I only have about two hours of daylight left and want to get back to the van and get loaded up and head out.

I have felt that snow was chasing me… so I needed to get this paddle in and head south.

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2009_10_19_MT 042Took me about 30 minutes to load up and as I headed down the road, it began to rain on me, or was that sleet?

Following Rt. 200 toward Missoula along the Clark Fork River, beautiful.
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The Great Glacial Lake Missoula  ice rose four times higher than the Seattle 605ft Space Needle.  Ice was 3,500ft deep to the lake’s bedrock filling Lake Pend Oreille.  Only mountains with peaks taller than 4,500 foot would have been visible from the top of the glacier. 2009_10_19_MT 037
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Heading toward Montana now to try to get that paddle in before snow catches me.  But some funny things seen along the way:

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And not to forget the “dwellers”…

2009_10_19_MT 023  Snow is chasing me.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bellingham, WA to Wenatchee, WA

Sep. 16, 2009 – Oct. 17, 2009

Things are moving so slowly for me... and gas is so expensive... I realize now, I'm not going to make it to the East coast this year.  It would just be beyond my means to do so and then make it back to the Southwest in time for the Jan-Mar 2010 gathering.

So will be visiting my two sons and their families in Kirkland and Wenatchee, WA… and then head East to ID and Montana and do those paddles, then south to see my brothers, Jim and Dan in Vegas, and then on to the SW gatherings.  I’ll kayak where I can.

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After visiting Dani in Bellingham, I headed to Kirkland, WA (East of Seattle) to see my son Richard, his wife Rhonda and their daughter, Tori.  We went to dinner on the Lake, great views.

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2009_09_16_to_WestSeattle 011 I used to be the “big” one! 

2009_09_16_to_WestSeattle 013 Lake Washington

2009_09_16_to_WestSeattle 026Next day, Tori and I headed over (with her driving-my first time with a grandchild driving me someplace) to West Seattle where I used to live (in one of those houses)…

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We were finding a lot of glass, but Tori wasn’t all that much into it and she didn’t feel well, so we cut the day short.

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I had looked for glass in the Port Angeles and Port Townsend, WA areas… hunting for a beach known as Glass Beach… but found very little glass, so I was feeling “glass-deprived.” 

2009_09_16_to_WestSeattle 034Held my breath while she drove us back through Seattle and through Pioneer Square, but we finally arrive safely back in Kirkland.

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My desire to collect beach glass was not satisfied so Spankie and I headed back over to West Seattle (Alki Beach) the next day… and I found a bunch of glass.

2009_09_25 035 I searched that entire stretch of beach,
five hours (and 3 mo. later, my butt still hurts).

Also put the kayak into Elliott Bay and tried to paddle around Alki Point to where I lived between Lohman Park and Lincoln Park. 

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The surf and current were pretty strong, so I had to turn around before reaching Alki Beach by kayak. 

2009_09_20_WestSeattlePaddle 018 I did land along the way… was greeted by a big fat raccoon on his on little private beach… and I found more glass.  Though short, it was a good paddle.

2009_09_25 023Went back to visit one of my old colleges, Lake Washington Technical College, in Kirkland and saw these twins there.

Leaving Kirkland, I headed up to Wenatchee to meet little Zoey and visit with her dad Chris, my other son, and wife Jenelle.

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This was our first meeting… the very first time I saw her in person.  She was doing the “stranger-danger” thing, but warmed up to me in about 30 minutes.

2009_09_29_wenatchee_wa_zoey 003She is a hoot… here she is feeding her chickens.  They lay eggs also… enough to meet all the family’s needs and she gathers the eggs.  Not bad for less then 2 years.

2009_10_01_Wenatchee 005 I gave her some of the heirlooms I’ve been toting around for years, this is my most treasured possession, a lovely music box with little treasures inside.

2009_10_05_wenatchee_cats 0052009_10_05_wenatchee_cats 004 And, just so the “dwellers” aren’t left out… saw this rig a few times around town.  Couldn’t resist taking pictures.  Overkill?  Definitely “unstealthy.”

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Columbia River, Wenatchee, WA

My visit there was lengthened as my son had to fly back east to be with his dad whom he just learned might have terminal cancer. (He did and passed on New Year’s Eve 2009.

Decided I just had to have another paddle so put in the Columbia River at Lincoln Rock State Park.

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East side of Turtle Island

Paddled all the way around Turtle Island… about four hours.  Saw a deer family very close to me as I turned a corner.

2009_10_07_columbia_kayak 016Heard a coyote very close to me, but could not see him.  Saw Magpies, heard an eagle.  Very nice paddle.

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Dancing on Picnic table (Dad holding on).

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Chris returned from his Dad’s and I finally got to spend more time with sweet little Zoey at Confluence Park on the Columbia River in Wenatchee.  Met some friends there too, the Holts from Kirkland, and we went to an agility dog show in that park and visited and tried to catch up.

2009_10_08_wenatchee 012This is a photo I took of us sitting at the top of a very tall slide.  She was afraid (so was I but don’t tell anyone) but trusted me enough to get in my lap and slide down with me.  Dad was at the bottom to catch us.  And she wanted to go again!  I mean it must have been 12-14’ tall?

It was time to move on. 

20091014-wenatchee-I 061This was looking east from near the front of their home.  I think that cloud layer was making me sick.

My allergies were bothering me from their dog and also the pollution that settles in the Wenatchee Valley.  Once out of town and up on the mesa… you could see the inversion clouds in the valley below.

20091014-wenatchee-I 053 Bye-bye, Wenatchee, see you in 2010.

All total, about five paddles in WA state, now I’m on to ID.  Oh, but the most important thing, I learned Zoey will get a sibling in March, and me, my first grandson.  Nice!

Who is Swankie?

My photo
Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.