Friday, June 29, 2012

Lake McDonald Reflections

Today is Friday. One week ago today my husband Gayle and I were driving the Going to the Sun highway in Glacier National Park, which had opened just a few days before. We marveled at the indescribable beauty as we got higher and higher. This was our 4th time here, and yet it is the different lighting created by weather patterns that makes the mountains, waterfalls, and all as if you are seeing it for the first time. Friday the skies were filled with clouds of texture - a big softbox in the sky; a photographer's dream. We stopped at various places, driving the entire park except Many Glacier, but did not spend too much time for today was our "overview of the park."  

Saturday we hiked to Cracker Lake in  Many Glacier. If you've hiked to this lake you know that it is a beautiful turquoise alpine  lake surrounded on 3 sides by a cirque. You also know that it is 5.6 miles one way. We almost made it. This was quite an adventure, hiking in a misty rain the entire way (we were prepared for it) which made part of the trail oozing with mud. Couldn't avoid just walking in it and Gayle slipped and fell twice, me once.) We saw three grizzlys high on a mountain ledge and they were far enough away that we did not feel threatened. I wore my "bearbells" to alert the bears of our presence. They are three cow bells at varying lengths on a rope, and get clipped to my packback. They have a pleasant chime to them as I walk, and the other hikers that we saw would always remark about them. :) This adventure was not without it's challenges. We had a bridge to get over, with raging water from the creek, which was more like a river, inches under it, and to get to the bridge one had to climb up and over a boulder. No other way. It was harder for me than for Gayle, and much easier going back. THEN I noticed the ridges in the rock for my feet. A HUGE ice field kept us from getting to Cracker Lake. It was on a mountainside. It was raining. One slip and you could find yourself slipping w-a-y down the mountain in the rushing water. That's where I drew the line. 

Sunday I wondered what ever could top the adventures that we had experienced thus far? What special surprises would unveil themselves? Little did I know that the best was yet to come. Sunday it was hot and very sunny - so sunny the only place to be was in the shade of the forest. It was where I did not want to be. We went to Church in Columbia Falls in the morning, and ventured out  in the afternoon  to McDonald Falls where we watched a duck. It seemed he wanted desperately to get to the other side of the raging creek. He'd jump in from a rock, but couldn't swim across and eventually would get out of the water, rest a few minutes, then try it again. 

Wher'es Waldo?
 The sun was so harsh we went back to our "home," our camp at Westside Glacier KOA. The staff there are delightful. We always stay there when we visit Glacier. After a nap grilled hamburgers and ate an early dinner. We felt that there would probably be a great sunset and planned to go out in the evening when the sun lowered in the sky. Great plan. The lighting changed every few minutes - the clouds above us were moving fast. Three rangers and a few others joined us on the boat dock as we all watched the skies. A boat in the far distance was coming in to shore and provided just the right touch. What a charming couple! The skies above and the reflections below provided the best kind of scenery one could hope for and we were blessed to be in the right place at the right time. I shall never forget the experience. 

Looking back to the boat dock and Apgar Village

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Tulips of Arbor Crest

     I spent a delightful morning at Arbor Crest Wine Cellars in Spokane Valley a couple of months ago when their tulips finally bloomed again. I had waited in great anticipation for almost a year after Kathy, from Arbor Crest, told me about the annual tulip festival and the thousands of tulips they have! So I determined then that I would not miss it this year. 
     Tidy rows of blooming cherry trees were the first thing to put a smile on my face and I envisioned children singing the familiar song, "Popcorn popping on the apricot tree!" as I parked my van. 

But it was the tulips that grabbed my attention as I began my walk through the acreage. Such beautiful surroundings create almost a paradise. The only sounds were the birds as my friends from Spokane Valley Camera Club and I were invited to come before they opened to the public, and we were in such awe we went our separate ways to capture our own unique "in-camera" masterpieces.

Envision with me this place: Sits high on a bluff overlooking the Spokane Valley. Mature trees create a shaded canopy and I see many beds of flowers as well as other points of interest. 

 Just beyond the gazebo, I was surprised to find this:

Can't go forward, I circle around and find more that catches my interest: 



Arbor Crest is a summer concert venue. The Spokane Symphony will perform here on July 25th, August 1st, and August 8th at 7 p.m. The tulips won't be in bloom, but mid-summer perennials will be. 
A few images I took at last year's symphony concert at Arbor Crest:

 People bring lawn chairs or blankets, or just use the ones that Arbor Crest provides to sit and listen under the tent or anywhere under the open sky. This year table seats are available under the tent and about 23 are still available.  

Tulips are not the only reason to pay a visit to the beautiful Arbor Crest. I hope to see you this summer at my favorite outdoor concert venue with my favorite symphony. See more at Nancy Crawford Photography

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Walla Walla, Washington

Traditionally, we spend Mother's Day weekend in Kennewick, WA and visit our daughter Lisa and her family. This year was bittersweet knowing they will be moving this summer, and I relished every minute. On Saturday, we traveled to Walla Walla where the annual Balloon Stampede was in progress. This was our first trip to this quaint city and only wish we had more time to spend here. There was much more to see than we had time for. But we did enjoy eating lunch at The Olive with some Spokane photographer friends we met there, did a little shopping, and then headed to the sunny fairgrounds where we strolled through rows of antique cars

while the girls got their faces painted, and purchased drinks to cool off.

 We did not get up up to watch the 6 a.m. balloon launch, but we did see a few of them in the afternoon as they gave mini-rides to eager fliers.

 If you are ever in Walla Walla, you must visit Pioneer Park. Here we found a delightful pond with ducks,  and an aviary showcasing exotic birds.

"Mirror, Mirror in the Sea, who's the Fairest of we Three?"

 At the aviary, someone suggested to Paige that the birds liked grass, and indeed, these birds did.
This was Paige's favorite, the white peacock. I actually took these pictures through the cyclone fencing.

Back in Kennewick, as the sun was setting, we went to Highlands Grange Park. Such a magical time of day, when the sun's rays cast a warm glow on everything. 

Lisa and Oreo

Paige and Dakota
 The end of a perfect day.

Rejoice! - A New Day