Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Mushroom Post

  I get really excited in the springtime because then I can take new macro shots of wildflowers. In fact, all summer long there are new flowers popping up every two weeks.  Some fade pretty quickly like this crocus below.  It is the very first wildflower you see. 

You know what is suuuuper crazy about this photo though?  Hold on to your horses because I spotted this all by itself in SEPTEMBER! When I saw it I felt like it was a sign.  A miracle of some sort, but I think this crocus was just a late bloomer.  It was a thrill for me to see anyhow.  

 Mark and I had taken a drive a to Waterton that day to see the elk bugle  when I saw that beauty of a specimen above.   I guess if I ever see the elk bugle in the spring then I will really know something spectacular is going on. 

 Ok, back to my mushroom post and the month of September. 
I have started adding the month of September to my summer months because it seems we really only have weeks to enjoy the nice weather. 
 The middle of September Lou Lou, Dixie and I thought we would hike Summit that starts at Cameron Lake. 
Mark and I hiked this a few years ago and saw a moose so I was hoping to see one again and this time I brought my nice camera just in case. 

 Just mozi-ing up the trail looking out over Cameron Lake. 

 It had snowed just a few days before so the closer we got to the top the more snow we saw.  

 Do you see the deer on the shoreline?  

 Lou Lou loves to lay down.  She really does.  
It goes back to as far as she can remember and beyond.  

 So while Lou Lou was resting with the can of bear spray next to her I thought I would just walk around and look for something to photograph and look what I found? A mushroom. Cool. 

And then another one.  Ah ha!  I found something else I could take macro shots of.  Sweet!

 Oh look, she is awake. 
It's crazy that we are wearing short sleeved shirts on a mountain top in Canada in the middle of September.

 And so all along the trail down I was seeing mushrooms all over the place.  It was crazy.  This hike is mostly tree covered so with the no sun and moisture it is the perfect environment for mushrooms to grow. 

 Lou Lou and Dixie were very patient with me.

 You have to admit though that you are pretty surprised with the variety. 

 Is this not a photograph right out of the 70's though? 
See the bug?  That is what's fun with macro shots.  I didn't even see the bug until I zoomed in on the photo after taking it. Bonus!

 Lou Lou resting after our hike.  I couldn't decide which pic to post so I did both. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Goodbye Alaska

 This cruise was more than we even dreamed it would be.  Honestly, we cannot wait to go back again!

 The Celebrity Solstice docked around 7am on Friday morning which meant our Alaskan cruise was 
over.  We did get to eat one last meal though. 

 See, you can tell by the look on Mark's face that we are not too happy about getting back to reality. 
Next time we know what and what not to bring.  One less piece of luggage for sure. 

 We just got in our car and started driving home and decided to stop in Kalispell, Montana for the night.  Why rush to get home and pull in at 10pm. No reason.  We just randomly stopped here and it was perfect.  Clean, good price and close to the lake. 

 It had snowed while we were gone and Going To The Sun road had to be shut down, but lucky for us it had opened up the day before we drove though. 

 This is kinda my new thing when Mark wants to take a picture of me. 

We were just driving home past St. Mary's and noticed people stopped on the side of the road which usually means a bear has been spotted, but when I turned around this is what I saw.  The sky was so vibrant.  Do you see St. Mary looking out towards the horizon?  It is her profile on the mountain.  She is lying on her back looking upwards. Forehead, nose and a touch of her lips and chin. 

We had a great and unexpected adventure together and it was a blast! 
Love Alaska!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Victoria, BC

Our 6th day of sailing was a "sea day" so we just occupied ourselves on board.  
Mark saw the acupuncturist out of curiosity and I got my nails done and let me tell you it was not cheap, but neither was the acupuncture. I got the gel nails and they are still looking decent after almost three weeks so I suppose it was worth it.  

There were two formal nights.  One on Saturday and the second one this sea day. 
See how cheap we are?  Mark had a great idea to take a picture of the TV screen as these were scrolling by and that's why you see lines and words. 

Now it's Thursday and we are heading for Victoria.
 Breakfasts were mighty tasty. My favorite thing was the french toast.  You spooned canned pie filling  on top and then topped it off with real whipping cream.  So easy and so good and so many calories! 

 So dreamy!  I really could get used to this cruise stuff. 

 We really could not have asked for better weather.  The forecast was for cloudy, rainy weather most of the time, but man oh man were we lucky. We only had one day like that and that day ended up with a rainbow so really we had spectacular weather. 

 This is what I do best.  Take pictures with my eyes closed. 

 And I also do this.  

 So this was a weird deal going on here.  This table is covered in charm bracelets and on sale for a really great price apparently. Just a few minutes before a lady on the mic was talking these bracelets up and making a real big deal about them.  Everybody was standing back away form the table until it was time, then you hear, "1 2 3 Go!" and everybody lunges towards this table like vultures.  It was the weirdest thing. They are only bracelets and most of these bracelets were available for purchase throughout the day with no crowds.  
 I have to admit that our next cruise I want to but one. It's the souvenir thing right? 
Mark and I did buy matching cruise windbreaker type jackets that we love.  

 Before reaching Victoria at 6pm there were shows going on.  This was a Top Chef competition like they have on TV.  The master chef of the ship was the chef host guy and then they had volunteer cruise people perform cooking skills and then there was a taste test and a winner and all that.  Mark was not too interested and fell asleep.

 Downtown Victoria.  We only had about 4 hours and so we opted for just walking around town and not do an excursion although Mark was interested in doing one.  I just didn't want to use all the time on that and not see the city, but then a city is a city in a way, right?  

Sidewalk chalk art. 

 Kinda fun huh? 

 You forget how nice an evening can be with warm weather and no wind until you are there. 
Such a treat for us! And on the ocean to boot. 

 And this right here is so sad. Our last night on the cruise.
Tomorrow we pull into Seattle. 
Highlight of Day 7- The weather would have to be a highlight and meeting up with a friend from the first day just before boarding the bus back to the ship. Her story: Michelle had been right in front of us as we went through security on our first day.  She was walking slow and seemed to be by herself. I overheard her tell someone that she really didn't want to do this cruise because she was by herself and that she should never had done it.  We happened to run into her before the ship set sailed and chatted with her.  She had been her mom's caretaker before she passed away.  Her mom had made her promise that after she had her knee surgery she would go on this cruise because she knew her daughter really wanted to go. So here she was all alone and wishing she wasn't on that ship. We talked to her for awhile and told her we would keep a look out for her during the week and she thanked us for helping her feel a little better. 
Anyway.... we ran into her at the bus stop on our last night.  She was a trooper.  She enjoyed the cruise and even got to know a couple whose husband wasn't too excited about shopping so Michelle and the wife went together and had a great time during the week. Michelle was really glad she came on the cruise, had a good time and we had a real nice visit on that bench. Mark and I really enjoyed meeting new people.  We met a couple of older ladies from Arkansas who were a hoot.  Personality plus! Met a young couple who are both chemical engineers with a small baby who want to move from Florida to Wisconsin to be closer to family for their little boy. We enjoy living here in Leavitt with so many members of the church, but there is something about mingling and getting to know people from different walks of life.  We do miss that from our time in California.  
Lowlight of Day 7- I had some money in my front right pocket of my jeans along with my little camera and decided that I had better move my cash to my back pocket because I was afraid when I pulled out my camera the money would come out.  And that's exactly what happened.  I put a street map in that same back pocket and it must have fallen out on the street corner when I pulled out the map. It was only $15 so it could have been much worse.  Hopefully it helped someone.