A colorful fall still life

Multicolor corn and nicely shaped pumpkin

American Shorthair Tabby cat

Just this week a stray tom cat has been hanging around our house and neighborhood.

He likes to peer in through the screen in the back door

A cute face and a sweet little meow

This skinny American Shorthair Tabby cat appeared in the neighborhood a few days ago. He wants in the house, and wants to adopt us. He is quite vocal and hopefully he’ll find somebody that will take him in before winter sets in…

 

Wyoming’s Ten Sleep Canyon

The scenery in Wyoming is absolutely stunning. On one of our trips West we were driving in Wyoming on Highway 16 through the Big Horn Mountains. We were heading from Buffalo on our way to Yellowstone National Park. On the way we found ourselves climbing up to and descending from the Powder River Pass (elevation 9666) which was frankly at times a white knuckle affair!

Blue skies over the rocks

Massive limestone cliffs

 

 

 

 

 

We soon came to beautiful and awesome Ten Sleep Canyon. The glacially formed cliffs had nearly vertical walls that we later learned were popular for rock climbing. There were wide shoulders to the road which enabled us to stop and take in the view.

Sher enjoying the break from mountain driving. The exit from the canyon is in the “V” in the distance.

Just past Ten Sleep Canyon is the little town of Ten Sleep, Wyoming. With a population of about 250, it is at the junction of Nowood and Ten Sleep creeks. Historically it was a Native American rest stop, called that because it was 10 days travel, or “10 sleeps,” from Fort Laramie (southeast), Yellowstone Park (west-northwest), and the Indian Agency at Stillwater, Montana (northwest).

More favorite bird photos

Baltimore Oriole with Sparrow in the back

On the nectar feeder

Back and tail plumage

Sandhill Crane

Baby Sparrow(?) after rain storm

Evil eye Grackle

Turkey Vulture warming its wings

Pileated Woodpecker taking off

Pileated Woodpecker taking off

Our nation’s symbol: Bald Eagle

A family outing

Here are a few more of our favorite bird images. The Turkey Vulture and Pileated Woodpecker are on the top of the same utility pole. The waterlogged little fledgling was blown out of the nest during a storm. Parents did tend to it, don’t know the outcome. We caught the eagle on a whale watching cruise around the San Juan Islands in Washington State. And the family of ducks was enjoying a walk in the town of Chincoteague on the island of the same name, on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

 

Some favorite portraits of birds

Here’s a few photos we got of some of our feathered friends.

Young robin right out of the nest

Starling parent, bottom, feeding youngster, top

Red bellied woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker

Immature White Ibis

Female Pileated Woodpecker

Brown Pelican

We have always enjoyed birdwatching and found it exciting to see various birds as we have traveled the country. When COVID hit, stopping our travels, we also began to enjoy birding in our own backyard. We both were surprised at how many different species visited our home.

 

Squirrels show up everywhere

Seems that we run into squirrels where ever we go. And it also seems like they are always eating or looking for something to eat.

Hey! Is that corn over there?

“Mmmm…grapes are good!”

Cherry tomatoes. Yep, they are good.

Glad I remembered where I buried this nut!

Some people like to watch squirrels and like them around. Others can’t stand them. It has been said that squirrels are just rats with a great Public Relations Department. What side are you on?

Devils Tower: the first U.S. National Monument

Northeast Wyoming is home to one of the most remarkable landscape features in the United States. The towering mass of volcanic rock known as Devils Tower has long been the destination of curious travelers and is the source of several Native American legends describing the origin of the rock formation. In the fall of 2014 we made a short detour on our way from Indiana to Seattle to see this striking and beautiful gift from Earth.

One of, if not the most striking geologic feature in Wyoming

Detail image of each “column” that is about 8 feet across!

One of the legends of the origin of the tower tells the story of girls who were pursued by a huge bear. The girls prayers were answered when the Great Spirit caused the rock to raise from the ground with the girls safely on top. The bear attempted to climb the smooth sides of the rock, and his claws made the distinctive shapes we see today.

Geologists tell us that the tower was made when volcanic intrusions of lava pushed up into thick layers of sandstone, now eroded away after millions of years. The rock, an igneous basalt type, took on the shapes of columns when it cooled. Called a columnar formation, this shape is not uncommon and can be found in rocks all over the world.

The Devils Tower was the first designated US National Monument, so declared by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906. The first Caucasians saw the tower in the 1850’s. It was the site of the famous finish of the 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

New viewing deck overlooks Blue River

Craftsmen just yesterday put the finishing touches on the new viewing deck overlooking Blue River in Shelbyville, Indiana.

This nice observation deck is just across the Blue River Trail pavement at the end of the new A to Z Storybook Trail. We just published a post about that trail feature here. Shelbyville and Shelby County are in central Indiana, and are continuing to expand the popular Blue River Trail. These additions add to the enjoyment of trail users.

Remembering Yellowstone National Park

Seems so long ago, but our memories of our 2014 trip across country are still clear in our thoughts.

During our trip across country we were fortunate enough to stop for a couple of days in Yellowstone National Park. What an adventure it was for Sher and me as this was the first trip for both of us. We stayed at the only campground with hookups for RV’s. The campground was very nice, and we were warned to look out a mama bear with a couple of her cubs.

This bull bison strolled right by us on the road.

Our adventure began before we got to the campground. As we were driving on a road overlooking the Yellowstone Lake we saw traffic stopped. Thinking it might be an accident as the road was narrow with a guardrail on one side and a sheer rock cliff on the other. Well, then we saw the huge bison calmly walking down the road in the middle of the oncoming lane.

Bison in Hayden Valley

Dragon’s Mouth geothermal pool.

 

 

 

 

 

Our journey within the park took us to Hayden Valley, where we saw other bison. Here we also saw the Dragon’s Mouth and the Mud Volcano. The scenery was magnificent.

The geysers cover the walkways with steam

Geothermal hot springs pool

 

 

 

 

 

Our second day took us to West Thumb of the Yellowstone Lake. There were the famous wood boardwalks leading around the geothermal pools and geysers. Since I got my undergraduate degree in geology Sher had to put up with my going ape over the geologist’s dream that is Yellowstone. We had planned on visiting Yellowstone and the western US, but COVID came along and messed that up.