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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From New Mexico I headed north to Rt. 160 in Colorado then west to the South Fork area. There is a NFS campground there called Big Meadows Reservoir and I stayed there 5 nights. What a lovely setting and area! The campsites are on the side of a mountain, terraced up, each one had a level gravel area with more than enough room for the Casita and truck. They each have a picnic table and fire pit, too. I was surprised that while I was there of the 47 sites maybe 10 were used at any one time.
The reservoir is apparently loaded with fish (lots of day visitors and campers fishing, nice for paddling or hiking around. The runoff makes a lovely waterfall so I played around with taking images at different settings with and without the ND filter.
The second night I was there turned out to be the clearest so it was good I took advantage of it. As it was some clouds moved in but I had a chance to get a few images. It was so dark there, had to really push the settings.
Cherokee, NC, is a wonderful place to visit. One of the main entrances to the Great Smoky Mountains NP is there, as is the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Fall foliage can be spectacular, too. Recently I took part in a Casita Rally in Cherokee. It was a wonderful event, seeing old friends, meeting & making new ones. I snuck out early to capture a sunrise, was surprised to find the moon setting then, too, and got a wonderful sunset image.
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Bison licking my truck, taken through the windshield.
What would Yellowstone be without bison? And how many folks have a bison get as up close and personal as this? This one was causing a jam, had many cars stopped as it stood in the road. Finally it moved so some cars could pass by moving in front of my truck. As I sat there it moved closer and closer and then started licking the truck….. After a few licks he moved to the passenger side, gave a lick or two then moseyed off onto the grass. Needless to say I was dumbfounded and the folks in the approaching lane were cracking up, getting quite a laugh from it all. I think this was a yearling, guessing by its size.
Bison calves (red dogs) playing
The calves sleep, eat, play and follow along where their mothers go.
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is impressive in its own way.
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, looking west to the waterfall
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Feb. 1 started out rather cloudy but as it cleared up I decided that it would be a good day to visit Rainbow Springs SP. The park is loaded with azaleas and since I’d seen a few starting to bloom when driving around it seemed like a good time to visit the park. I also wanted to try out my wide angle lens a bit. It seemed like on each bush there were a few blooms out, a few that had been hit by a recent frost and many many buds ready to burst open. There are a few waterfalls there which can provide some interesting shots, too. All in all it was a good visit.