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Old Faithful…

On Thursday I found myself on a chauffeur driven trip just up the road to Yellowstone National Park.  My friend Karen not only did the driving, but her time here has turned her into an expert in the area.  I only wish I could remember half of what she told me as were toured the park.

Entering from the south entrance the first major area we reached was Old Faithful.  Karen says that she has a knack for just missing the eruption, but not this time.  I took my first picture as we walked from the parking lot for fear that I’d miss it altogether.  And then another, and another.  There is a boardwalk that lets you walk among the geysers and springs, and each direction you look has you gasping in amazement (not so much the altitude, that’s getting better).  As you walk you can’t help but notice the sulfur odor, as you find your self amazed at all the geysers, big ones and tiny little ones, evidence of eruptions under your feet as it the place has a life of it’s own.  Which I suppose it does.  Karen pointed out the buffalo hoof marks in the land between the geysers.  Some buffalo prefer to roam this area, eating vegetation which grows in this odd environment.  And these buffalo don’t live as long as they might, the grasses have minerals which wear their teeth more quickly than other diets would.  Just one of the many lessons of the day for me.  Rivers also rise from this area on their way to the sea.  I suppose they join other rivers and lakes on their way, but they are born here.07-10-20oldfaithful07-10-20oldfaithful207-10-20depressiongeyser07-10-20boiling07-10-20bluestarspring07-10-20geysercolors07-10-20geysercolors207-10-20moth07-10-20headwaters07-10-20allinone07-10-20purpleflower07-10-20viewagain07-10-20viewagain207-10-20moth

Our photography guru, Jeff, once pointedly commented that he always crops his pictures to further emphasize the subject of the photo.  I felt like he was talking just to me.  But some of these photos were so nice, I thought, and included the colors, the rivers, the historic Old Faithful Inn, and I couldn’t bear to crop.  Maybe that’s one of the joys of this stage of life, breaking the rules that you obsessively followed all your life.  It seems to be working for me…

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Plans…

Oh come on, don’t tell me that you haven’t fried yourself a nice piece of quiche for breakfast before.  Or ever.  Especially when your brilliant idea from the day before didn’t turn out as you’d planned.  I wanted to use up the spinach that I’d left a few days in the refrigerator, and I had potatoes I hadn’t used, so I thought they would make a dandy hash brown crusted quiche.  There may be a reason that the online recipes I saw called for frozen hash browns, perhaps they magically don’t turn brown the way potatoes usually do.  I know that mine were turning brown faster than I could grate them.  But I was committed (don’t say it) at that point so on I went, browning the hash brown crust first, and even though the bottom crust looked more soggy than crusty I went ahead and poured in the filling and baked it.  Which didn’t improve the bottom crust any, but it was edible.  Faced with trying to figure out what to do with it the next day I knew I had nothing to lose so I resorted to my little frying pan, and when I saw it was browning quickly I covered the pan, even though I imagined a volcano erupting in there, but surprisingly it was quite good.

I’ve been feeling rather scatter-brained lately  Not able to sit down and make a plan for what I might want to do this summer, even if it’s just a fantasy.  I opened the maps function of the computer and put in the farthest possible destination for myself, and now I stare at the map of the US with that blue line that would lead me there.  And there are choices, not one blue line but two, and infinitely more really.  Last year going to New England felt cozy, but looking at that map, that blue line, makes me feel like I’d be traveling naked.  Exposed.  So my mind boggles even as I try to use up the stuff in the refrigerator and tell myself to start making lists.  Making plans, and frying my quiche…

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And so it begins…

Day one at Fort DeSoto campgrounds had me finally set up by 3 PM.  This is a lovely campground but the tent/pop up area has a narrow, one-way, road, with equally narrow and abrupt turn-offs in which to back your camper.  Even with two people directing me it was quite an ordeal, and it has occurred to me that getting it out of here just might be as bad, or worse.  Guess I’ll worry about that later.1-20-20woodpecker

But I was anxious to get out for pictures so I rushed up to North Beach because I could see that the sun would be setting in that direction.  On the way I stopped for the first couple of osprey nests I saw, but I soon realized that they were everywhere, and they all were occupied by at least one adult.  They certainly didn’t have any protection from the wind up there.  And the ranger had told me that there was an eagle nest on the cell tower, you can’t miss it, he said.  It wasn’t the natural setting of the eagles I’m used to seeing so I probably won’t be staking this nest out.1-20-20osprey1-20-20eaglenest

With temperatures in the 40s and a brutal wind, it was almost too much, for a Floridian at least.  And the waves crashing on the rocks were dramatic, but the tide was coming in and I began to worry that the camera would get splashed.  But it didn’t, and neither did I, and the sunset was lovely.  And I drove back to the campground never suspecting that I’d discover that when I plugged in the heater, or the charger for the computer, that the plugs weren’t going to work.  Lights yes, plugs no.  And I must have used my last gasp of propane testing that I had propane, because that heater didn’t work either.  So I’m roughing it until I figure it out, and warmer weather is coming, or so they say.1-20-20slywywithpalmtrees1-20-20sunshineskwayfeature1-20-20wavescrashing1-20-20northbeachsunset

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Portsmouth and it’s lighthouses…

Honestly?  I didn’t expect to like Portsmouth, NH quite as much as I did.  I entered from Kittery, ME, and as soon as I crossed the Memorial Bridge I saw brick sidewalks and a small parking lot from which to enjoy the harbor.  So of course I stopped for pictures.  And while it seemed at first to be more of a working harbor than something meant photo ops for people like me, there was more than one vantage point and I thought the views were lovely.Portsmouthharbor1Portsmouthharbor2Portsmouthscene2Portsmouthscene3

I had yet to find the Portsmouth Harbor Light however, and as I drove into New Castle to see it I was awed by the New England charm of the town.  The narrow streets along the water, lined with clapboard houses sitting close to the road, and painted in soft, pretty colors.  The access to the lighthouse was closed, and I knew that, but I thought I’d find another vantage point to see it, and I did.  And, of course, yet another lighthouse, Whaleback, off in the distance eough to make me struggle for a picture.  On such a lovely day it was frustrating to find that I had to turn the picture of that one into a black and white image, but it pretty much was black and white already.PHL4PortsmouthharborlightPortsmouthharborlight2distantlightfarlighthouseB&WPortsmouthpadlocks

I googled the significance of the locks on this chain link fence at the Portsmouth harbor and got an unexpected answer.  It’s been deemed the Portsmouth Love Wall, and it’s in Prescott Park.  I missed the initials written on the locks, initials of lovers who place the locks on the wall and then they may choose to throw the keys into the water.  Or they may place a lock on the wall to represent a lost loved one.  I see that this is a world wide trend, possibly beginning in Paris.  I wish I believed that placing a lock on the wall would keep a loved one with you, it would be nice.  And it just so happens that I have a padlock in the camper, just in case…

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Good morning…

Life is simple, right?  If you are on the East coast then obviously just go to the beach and enjoy the sunrise.  But it’s never that simple.  I walked out onto Pine Point Beach expecting a great view, but the sunrise was going to be so far off to my left that I realized that I should continue down the road to the Fisherman’s Co-op for the better view.  Which makes that spot my best, closest, spot for both the sunset and the sunrise.  But the hint of sunrise color that I found when I got there was about as colorful as it got.  And there weren’t many fishermen there either.  I figured there would at least be fishermen getting ready for their day.  Nope, it was just me and some gulls…coopsunrise1coopsunrise2coopsunrise3coopsunrise5coopsunrise6coopsunrise7coopsunrise8coopsunrise9IMG_7713_4_5_easyHDRcoopsunrisegull

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Nubble, Boon, and Bill…

There was a perfect view of Nubble Light.  That’s it’s nick name, it’s actually the Cape Neddick Light.  But I became intrigued with the lighthouse I saw off in the distance, and whether I’d be able to get a decent photo of it way out there.  I got to talking cameras and lenses with some fellow observers, which got me to get my 150 to 600mm lens out.  The biggest, heaviest one, that requires the biggest, heaviest tripod.  But what’s often the case with that was that at 150 I was still too close for a good picture.  I believe the above feature photo was taken with that lens.

Here you have the full effect of the scene I found as I watched and wandered the site.Nubble1NubbleonemoreNubble2The rocks, the lighthouse on the hill, with workers doing repairs.  And painters, four by the time I left.Painting

Looking left…Nubblelookleft2NubblelookleftLooking right…NubblerightsideNubblebirdscloseAnd the distant Boon Island Light, demanding my attention…Boonisland2NubbleBoatandboon

It was a lovely day, which brought me out of the sadness I’d been feeling on that day, the 5th anniversary of losing my husband.  At the gift shop I enjoyed the banter of an artist talking with the clerks and patrons of the shop.  He admitted he was 90, and a local legend.  Bill Thomson, a former professor of New England History at Salem State College in MA, and author of 26 books.  Now retired he sells prints of his paintings, and he was there that day, and wrote the name of my choice on the boat.  I returned to the shop several times before I made my decision to buy a print.  I love that it will have a history to it when I look at it, and in some way a history that includes Charley.9-3-19