My stay at Valdez was timed with the salmon run and the first night I was there they were in the weir with the seal lions catching them. As the days went and the run got stronger the sheer number of fish was amazing. Instead of filling maybe 1/3 of the area in front of the weir they totally filled it and you could look outside it and see them.
There were also seals and sea otters in the area but none of them came into the weirs and they seemed to stay away from the sea lions. The sea gulls were everywhere, trying to grab bits of fish.
Every day started out foggy but then it burned off by around lunch time. Early one evening I headed back up the highway to see if the light would be right on Bridal Veil Falls, sure enough it was and I even saw a rainbow in the falls.
I found a good camping spot (no hookups) right across the road from the water and a very short drive to the weir. I made a few trips a day, sort of timed by the tides. High tide the sea lions would come in very close for the salmon, low tide I went further down the road to the large mud flats. That’s where the eagles hang out for the scraps.
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My last evening on the Olympic Peninsula was highlighted with a lovely rainbow over the
Port Angeles rainbow
mountains near Port Angeles. From there I headed east and finally stopped for a few days at a NFS campground about 100 miles north of Spokane. What a great find! The small campground is next to a small lake that have a delightful variety of wildlife, eagles, osprey, deer. There are signs warning of bear but I haven’t seen any.
Perseid meteor and the Milky Way
There have been a couple of clear nights so I got out to see if I could capture any of the Perseid meteors. I did and even got one wit the Milky Way.
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Bucks across the lake
Up and out at dawn to see the cranes fly out from the safe pond where they overnight, three mornings so far and each one slightly different.
Later in the day I did another drive around the loops and happened on a Mule Deer doe with a fawn. A lit
tle ways past them I noticed a couple of Javelinas in the ditch on the right side of the road. I slowed down to see if they would emerge, then stopped and got out of the truck. I stayed near the front end but watched all around. Just spotted two of the critters as they had crossed the road and went into the brush. But, the third one took its time and I managed to get a couple of good images. Charming critter, huh?
Stopped in at the Visitor Center and looked around, lots of good info there! Very nice shop, too. I’ve made a practice of collecting a pin and patch at each national park, wildlife refuge or similar place I’ve visited so I got those.
Later in the afternoon, after a brief rain I went back into the refuge and was treated to a bright bit of rainbow.
Got one image over some of the water then moved along the road and got another with some snow geese (the white line you can see) in the frame.
I was parked at the side of the road and four cranes came pretty close (the t
ruck makes a great blind if you are quiet and just stick the camera lens out the window). A beanbag thing I made years ago worked great over the edge of the window to rest the lens on.
End of the day I went back into the refuge hoping to catch a good sunset. Wonderful way to wrap up the day!
I left home the evening of the full moon so the next morning heading west on I 10 I got a photo of it above a serious cloud bank.
Fortunately it never really rained that hard and I got to see a lovely rainbow.
The second night I stopped at a Cracker Barrel in LA near the TX border and was treated to a glowing sunset. I hope that is an indication of things to come.
Heading west through Texas, angling northwest to get into NM pretty much east of where I was headed meant
taking a new-to-me route. Boy oh boy, there are oil wells north of Odessa!! From horizon to horizon in every direction. There were some cotton fields, too, with some oil rigs in them. Unfortunately one of the side effects of that many oil rigs is eau de oil.
As I got more into New Mexico I finally saw
some snowcapped mountains. The weather was very sunny and clear but starting to get nippy.
The last night before I checked into the RV park in San Antonio, NM, I stopped at Valley of Fires Nat. Recreation Area. Very good place for an overnight. The US Senior pass means 1/2 rate and they have some campsites with electric & water hookups. I opted for a dry site (no hookups) and it worked out fine. All the sites are paved and have picnic tables with shades. The area gets it name from the lava beds. These are not so much the results of a volcano but of lava coming up through cracks in the earth.Very nice paved walk around so you can get a good look at the lava. Lots of cactus, too.
It was very clear that night so I got some images of the Milky Way, too.
Checked into Riley Creek CG at the entrance to Denali on June 27, a rainy day to be sure. I’ve come to realize that sometimes late at night the clouds do break up so I kept a watch and about 9 pm I realized there were breaks in the clouds and a bit of blue sky showing. I left the trailer about 10 pm, taking the drive on the Park Road out to Savage River. It’s about 15 miles and as far into the park as you can go in a private vehicle.
I wasn’t the only one out there patrolling the roads looking for wildlife and some good sunset images. Sometime after 11 I came across 4 bull moose and one cow, grazing their way along the road side. The bulls all had impressive racks.
There are some good places to pull off on the road side, including a couple of places to see Denali and I was pleased with the limited view I got. As the night progressed the sunset became vibrant with color thanks to the clouds.
A short bit of rain passed when I was at Savage River and I hoped I might see a rainbow lit by the setting sun. At first there was a hint to the left then I watched the rain progress to the mountains and was treated to what I guess is a rather rare treat, a rainbow well after midnight. There was even a hint of a second rainbow.
As the rain and sunset both progressed I took advantage of a great setting, I hope you enjoy the images!
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