Native Art

A carved salmon, by North Coast Salish artist John August. I couldn't find a biography, but he's got a few other works in galleries.

A bargain at $300!


Roo is another travel bug that I picked up while hiking Rattlesnake Ridge. He had a grand view over the Snoqualmie Valley, but had an overall goal of seeking his pal Tigger.

I took him a couple of time zones east to get them closer. Roo need only drift down 664 river miles of the Upper Mississippi - between Minneapolis and St Louis - and they'll be together again.

Bureau of Mines

The Department of the Interior's Bureau of Mines is a property on the banks of the Mississippi that's been abandoned since 1995. Others have documented their explorations, and indeed there was another party touring the facility during my visit.

The Department of the Interior is trying to figure out what to do with the property.

Volcanoed Widebodies in Chicago

These three widebodies sat idle last week in ORD as European airspace remained closed due to Eyjafjallajökull's liveliness.

The KLM 747 had an older brother that crashed in the deadliest accident in aviation history, caused dominantly by pilot error.

The Air France A330's sister was lost in the Pacific for reasons that remain unclear.

The British Airways B777's sibling was written off after landing short in London, due to fuel icing problems.

Abandoned Irrigation, Thorp WA

Exploring parts of the old US Highway 10, I saw some old irrigation aqueducts near Thorp. The waterway parallels the highway for a number of miles.

Modern irrigation projects rely on canals instead of elevated pipeways.

Lock and Dam No. 2

The Army Corps of Engineers built the Mississippi's Lock and Dam No. 2 at this site just upstream of the confluence with the Saint Croix River. It implements a form of "hydrokinetic" power generation. Instead of driving turbines via the hydraulic head of the dam, turbines are simply placed inline with the river current and driven without confining the water.

The BNSF Saint Croix River Lift Bridge is visible to the center right. I only noticed that my aerial photography matched my tourism on the ground after reviewing the pictures at the end of my trip!

BNSF Saint Croix River Lift Bridge

This is BNSF's rail bridge across the Saint Croix River, just before it empties into the Mississippi. It's a solidly built lift bridge, built in 1984. It connects Minnesota to Wisconsin.

This is the view from the upstream side in Wisconsin, in the town of Prescott.

Umtanum Creek Canyon

Umtanum Creek runs off Yakima Canyon, and is accessible from the highway via a pedestrian bridge across the river. After crossing an active BNSF rail line, traffic noise disappears and the canyon is spectacular.

This picture doesn't make the area look like desert, but it was caught in the height of spring, after a rainfall, and in the deepest most overgrown part I could find. Much of the rest of the canyon is drier - with cacti, sage, and grasses.

Capitol Hill Fixie

A fantastic scavenger hunt staged for a friend's birthday led to a Friday evening romp through central Seattle.

On the list was "a fixie on Capitol Hill". We were barely across the I5 overpass when the spotting was successful.


Seemed like a good idea.


Luckily, it was a free jar, from the Rat City Rollergirls derby.

Mount Ellinor from above

I enjoy spotting hiking routes from the air. Here is a view over the Olympic Peninsula, and Lake Cushman appeared as the landmark allowing precise spotting of a hike from last summer.

This view is looking northwest. Mount Ellinor is the closest snowy peak in the foreground when looking past the curve of the lake - the Google map of the same area is helpful here.

Travelling Turtle

Travelling Turtle is a travel bug from New Zealand. His stated goal is to visit as many countries as he can. I plucked him out of a geocache, conveyed him 1400mi across the US, and placed him not too far from home. He's since been snatched up and is heading north.

Here, he's enjoying some warmed nuts and a Glenlivet on his way westwards.

Granite Mountain

I made fresh tracks up the summertime trail up Granite Mountain this weekend. With plenty of new snow, it didn't take long until I lost the trail, so soon enough I was just bounding cross-country on new snow. (Blazing or a saved GPS track log would have been very helpful, but I had neither).

I'd been advised by a Real Mountaineer that there's no shame in packing a Magic Carpet, and it sure came in handy when descending. My glissade was thrilling, but ungraceful.

Summer is Close

There are a few phases to the appearance of cherry and plum blossoms. In the Pacific Northwest, it seems to have come time for most of them to come off their trees. This is an early-blooming tree that had already shed by the end of February.

In contrast, in Washington DC they've just reached peak bloom.

Saint Anthony Falls

Saint Anthony Falls is the site of the uppermost navigational locks of the Mississippi waterway. This is the upper dam, built (and operated) by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1963.

The limestone supporting the falls steadily eroded causing the falls to recess upstream, until a permanent spillway was installed in 1871.

I'm not certain why the locks are necessary - they only give access to 12 river miles before St Cloud, and there isn't much industry in that stretch. Like most structures built with federal money, they are well engineered.