Saturday, August 30, 2008

Idaho Vacation 2008 - Part III

Aug 14 - 15, 2008

Steve and I went kayaking every morning while we stayed at the Lodge at Sandpoint. They have these little recreational kayaks for rent, and they were a great introduction into paddling.

We put in at their small beach and then paddled east, under the long bridge, and then over to Fry Creek. Each day we went a little farther until the last day we made it up into the creek and not just the estuary. It was a lot of fun and the water was beautiful in that sheltered area.

Sometimes the water was a bit choppy out on Lake Pond Oreille, but it wasn't too bad. Being in these sit-on-top recreational kayaks meant that we got soaked from paddling. However, we liked it well enough that when we got home we started researching kayaks and we've now purchased our own. I'll post some pics of some of our recent adventures in a couple of weeks. We just got home from a nice paddle this evening and I had Emma out with me. She took her very first swim (actually, three of them) from the kayak. I've already posted pics of her first kayak trip on her blog, and I'll post the wet dog pics later.

We explored more of the region around Lake Pond Oreille on our last full day of vacation. It's such a beautiful lake - very blue, very clean, and 1100 feet deep in some places.

It was formed during the most recent ice age, and it was really neat to see the geological information on the ice dam that form Glacial Lake Missoula.

I hadn't realize we were so close to the site of the ice dam.

Glacial Lake Missoula was much bigger than our current great lakes. When the ice dam broke, 500 cubic miles of water flooded in just about a week or so -- all the way to the Pacific ocean. There were several great floods and the result was the formation of the scablands of eastern Washington, the Columbia River Gorge, and the fertile soils of the Willamette Valley.

I grew up in this landscape and learned about the geological history when I was studying to become a botanist. Now I teach this geological history during my graduate biogeography course, and so i was really keen to go and see the site of the glacial dam that was so important to the story.

Here's a cliff that is the result of glacial shear at the site of the ice dam.

More geological information on the signs at the site. Click on the image to read the details.

The current site reveals a gorge, but you can see all the glacial valleys in the surrounding mountains.

You're looking at the site of the ice dam.

More info - click on the image for details.


The site now has a hydroelectric dam.

Darn! Last sunset from our room for this wonderful vacation.

We had to get up pretty early the next morning for the drive back to Spokane where we had an early flight home. Here's the lodge view from our parking spot.

Steve - I don't think either of us were ready to come home from vacation. It was very relaxing and a lot of fun.

Idaho Vacation 2008 - Part II

Aug 12-13, 2008.

One of the reasons we like to visit Idaho this time of year is to do some birding outside of Ohio. If there has been some rain, the Kootenai National Wildlife Reserve is a great place for birding. We saw a lot of diversity of waterfowl, raptors, and passerines there, including this Eastern Kingbird.

I didn't do a lot of photography at the reserve since we can't really get close enough to the birds for good photos. We had our spotting scope along, though, and saw a lot of great birds.

This is the evening view from our room at the Lodge at Sandpoint. It's so nice to sit out on the veranda and just take in the evening air. We spent a couple of evenings watching an orb-weaver spider repairing its web for the evening haul. Talk about relaxation time!

We were a little more energetic on Wednesday, although it took us a while to get going. We were really good about getting out on the lake to kayak in the morning, but then we goofed off for a fewhours, through lunchtime, and then went off to do some other stuff in the afternoon, including checking out Sandpoint a little more thoroughly.

On Wednesday afternoon we did a mountain walk up at Schweitzer Mountain. First thing we saw up on the mountain was a white-tailed deer. We were hoping for moose, though.

A fritillary butterfly - the hydaspe one, I think.

Castilleja (Indian Paintbrush is the common name), a parasitic plant in the family Orobanchaceae, which is one of the families I spend my time on at work.

A view of Lake Pend Orielle.

Phlox, Queen Anne's Lace and Castilleja are some of the flowers here.

More Castilleja - these wildflower "gardens" on the hillsides are spectacular.

The ragweed was covered in bees collecting pollen.

The resort village at Schweitzer Mountain as seen from above. I can imagine this place is packed in the winter for downhill skiing. We were there at the weekly twilight mountain bike race. We came back down the mountain at about the time the race was getting started.

A typical ski village sculpture.

Steve was trying to aim the hiking pole to be up the nose of the figure at the top of the hill. . .

We saw a lot of birds up there, but didn't see any moose tracks. Someone on a bike had told us that there was a bull moose on the trail we were on, but we didn't see it - darn!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Idaho Vacation 2008 - Part I

Steve and I took a vacation to Sandpoint, Idaho Aug 10-14. We stayed at the Lodge at Sandpoint and used that as a base from which we did day trips to various places. We also kayaked everyday and really enjoyed the experience.

Aug 10-11, 2008

The lodge is situated adjacent to the long bridge that spans Lake Pend Orielle. You can walk across the bridge to get to Sandpoint, or to just enjoy the breeze on the lake. We also kayaked under the bridge to get over to Fry Creek, which is great for kayaking.

The lake is deep blue and is 1100 feet deep in the middle. It's a very large lake that was formed as part of the flood of glacial lake Missoula. We actually went to the site of the ice dam the last day of our vacation and I'll post those pics later.

This is the direction we headed each morning on the water over to our favorite kayaking spot. The water could be very calm, but mostly it was a bit on the choppy side in the mornings.

The buidling on the left is the lodge. We stayed up on the top floor and had a nice view of the lake. It was very quiet and the accommodations were very luxurious and private.

Steve's taking photos of the setting sun.

The updraft off the lake was full of small insects. Cedar waxwings, swallows, and swifts were feasting on the bugs. The area between the two bridges was chock full of spider webs as well.

Sunsets each night were lovely. It was so peaceful to just sit and watch the show.

I loved the play of light off the water, too.

Yep, I like this view a lot.

Steve is a bit out of focus - but that's the best image I took with my camera.

The next afternoon we took a dessert cruise on Lake Pond Orielle, which was also listed as a eagle watching excursion.

I never did take a photo of the boat, but the owner's wife saw our binoculars and suggested that we go up to the bow so that we had a good perch for birding. To get there we had to crawl through a space below the pilot's cabin and up through a hatch to the platform. Our desserts and drinks were delivered to us up there. It was quite a nice evening, and this was the perfect spot for birding. We saw a lot of birds out on the water, including great views of the eagles.

It was also nice to see so many sail boats out on the lake in the late afternoon sun.

If we could afford it, I'd love to have a summer home on the lake. It's out of our financial range, though. Rats.

Some people are rolling in money, though. Here's a castle under construction. Jeez!

Our cruise destination was Eagle Island where there is an active Bald Eagle nest site. This is one of this year's three juveniles that survived. It takes a couple of years for the head and tail to become white.

Sunset on the lake was viewed from the boat. Lovely!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dublin Irish Festival 2008 - Sunday

3 August, 2008

Alas! All good things must come to an end, and the Dublin Irish Festival is no exception. However, the end is always fun because there is this grand finale on Sunday evening where most of the bands come up on stage and do one last hurrah.

The queue backstage is always fun - everyone standing around wondering what comes next, who's up next . . .where's the beer?

The StepCrew was the last act up on the Dublin Stage before the finale. I took the opportunity to find Dan Stacey at the CD sales table to get a photo taken with him. I had taken the Irish Academy intermediate fiddle class that Dan taught. He's a good teacher for that kind of setting. He was very patient and he taught us several tunes by ear. He also provided a CD with all the tunes so that we could work with them after the class.

More backstage scenes. That's Mary Bertke (Aisling) tuning the banjo. She's talking to Rick Nelson. Rick was one of the original members of Aisling, but he hasn't played with us for several years now.

More backstage scenes

Sue Mogan sang the nation anthems again.

Beth Patterson was this year's finale MC

More former members of Aisling in front (Randy Clepper and Charlene Adzima) with Morton O'Kelly in the background.

Beth Patterson doing what she does best - getting the crowd worked up and having fun.

The first number of the finale was the "traditional" set. We played a set of jigs and then the Richens-Timm dancers came up. That would have been lovely except they started dancing a reel to the jig we were playing. Can you imagine a train wreck that just won't quit? What a disaster!

Singers doing some of the familiar songs that audiences love to sing along to.

The finale audience is always a full house and SRO

Tannahill Weavers and the Tartan Terrors. I think Ged Foley is up there, too.

Brigid's Cross stole the finale, though. They really had the crowd going.

Some of our local bands up there having a good time.

After the finale, the bands and other festival entertainers gather together for the last party of the event. Here's Paul Baker of Brigid's Cross talking to our good friend Bob Kirby.

Steve Wolfe (Aisling) with Paul Baker (Brigid's Cross).

A bunch of folks gathering for munchies and liquid refreshments.

A table of locals. L to R: Marian Funk, Charlene Adzima, Rick Nelson, Randy Clepper.