Moose in Grand Tetons

What a beautiful boy! He was almost completely camouflaged, resting in the cool grass, enjoying a late afternoon snack. Those antlers are magnificent, aren’t they?

I could have stayed there for hours, watching him in silence, but I had to go. He didn’t seem too concerned and kept eating and eating.

Daley Ranch Hike

Only about twenty minutes away in Escondido, there’s nothing like the Daley Ranch nature preserve for an array of views on a mostly clear, sunny day.

My favorite ceanothus in blue.

This ranch house that we see today was built in 1925 as a summer cottage for the Daley family.

Visit http://daleyranch.org/ for all the facts and other interesting info about the land that was designated as a conservation mitigation bank to be preserved in perpetuity. 

Great Basin National Park

For #throwbackthursday, this is one of my most favorite places to camp and hike.

Great Basin National Park is in Nevada. At 10,000 ft., Wheeler Peak is one of the tallest peaks in the country. It’s full of bristlecone pines and turkeys and solitude and serenity.

Here’s a beautiful alpine lake:

Hiking Mount San Jacinto

There are amazing all-season hikes to the top of Mount San Jacinto near Palm Springs high above Coachella Valley.

San Jacinto Peak is 10,834 ft. and was known to Cahuilla Indians as I a kitch (or Aya Kaich), meaning “smooth cliffs”.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway hike is the less strenuous option. My son and his friend climbed all the way up and it’s not easy, but taking the tram (which is SUPER SUPER scary) is a perfect way to enjoy what John Muir referred to as “The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!”

Spectacular view.

We see beauty all around.

Palm Springs

I especially love the contrast of these stark white branches against the blue sky.

Big Sur Magic

One of my favorite places on earth, and yes, the water really is that beautiful turquoise color.

Photo by Enchanted Seashells

McWay Falls is an 80-foot-tall waterfall on the coast of Big Sur in central California that flows year-round into the Pacific Ocean from McWay Creek in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, about thirty-seven miles south of Carmel.

During high tide, it’s a tidefall, a waterfall that empties directly into the ocean.

The waterfall poured directly into the ocean until a massive fire, landslide, and highway reconstruction project near the area in 1983-84 filled the cove with enough material to form a sandy beach several dozen feet out.

The falls, creek, and canyon are named after Christopher McWay, an early settler and farmer from New York state who arrived in the area with his son Christopher Jr. around 1874.

The park itself is named after Julia Pfeiffer Burns (1868-1928), a local and legendary early pioneer and resident who impressed Helen Brown and had run a ranch in McWay canyon with her husband, John B. Burns.

#WordlessWednesday

Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park is an American national park protecting a mountainous area located east of the Salinas Valley in Central California, eighty miles southeast of San Jose.

Could the sky have been any more blue?

#WordlessWednesday

The Same Day I Saw a Bald Eagle and a Raccoon

fullsizeoutput_e33The eagle was sitting on that branch waiting for everyone to stop pointing at him so he could swoop down and take a better look at a huge dead fish that washed up on the shoreline.

My neck hurt because I couldn’t believe that I was actually in the presence of an eagle, my very first ever sighting, and I wouldn’t look away until he was gone.

Now I can cross that off my mental list….I’ve seen wolves and mountain lions and bears and of course, my favorite: coyotes.

Not all at the same time, but these are the special pearls in my necklace of life experiences, memories strung together since most of them happened so fast and were such brief encounters that I didn’t have time to take photos.

I wish I had brought my big lens in addition to my iPhone, but it’s good enough as it captured the special moment.

These are admittedly crappy photos, but it’s most definitely a Bald Eagle. I know they’re considered a nuisance in parts of Alaska, but this wasn’t a common occurrence at this location. I didn’t even try to look for an eagle feather because I’m aware that under the current language of the Eagle Feather Law, “unauthorized persons found with an eagle or its parts in their possession can be fined up to $250,000.”

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“There’s a raccoon. Look at that!”

I thought he was joking because it was the middle of the day and we were on a sandy beach so I continued to keep my head down to look for seashells.

“LOOK!”

When I finally looked up, there he was.

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He scampered up the bluff and was gone.

What an amazing day! An eagle and a raccoon.

Random.