Archive for April 2012

More Tulips!   2 comments

Yes, I know… not another post of tulips.  What can I say?  The month of April in my area is all about the tulips.  Therefore, another post about tulips.  I thought it was only fair that since my last post showed only tulips from Tulip Town, that this post show pictures from the other main tulip farm – RoozenGaarde.

I had a very brief moment this last week to go over to Roozengaarde to grab some pictures.  And I really do mean brief.  I dropped off my daughter for swim team practice then went to a quick appointment.  After that, I had an hour before I needed to pick up my daughter.  The rain had briefly stopped, so I figured it was now or never.  When I got there, I jumped out the car and quickly walked to the entrance to pay my $5 fee.  (Sidenote: Both Tulip Town and Roozengaarde charge an entry fee.  The nice thing about Roozengaarde, is the entry fee covers parking in at any of their other fields for the day.  Tulip Town doesn’t seem to have any other fields open to the public.)

I walk into their garden area only to realize in my haste, I forgot my tripod.  Knowing time is an issue between picking up my daughter and the threat of it starting to rain again, I decide I’ll just deal with out it.  I put my lens hood to protect not against the sun, but the miscellaneous drops of rain that are coming down and pray to the rain god it just stays like this.

I spent the next 45 minutes wandering around the garden area and the nearby fields, before dashing back to my car to pick up my daughter.  Most likely my quickest trip ever to the tulip fields.  I did manage to snag a few “decent” photos.  I hope you enjoy a few of the pictures I managed to capture.

The picture above and below were taken within the garden area.

The picture below is of the tulip heads that have been topped.

Looking out across the fields towards the Cascades.

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Local’s Night   10 comments

Yes.. two post in two days.  Crazy huh?  Well, this is more of my “normal post”.  Unlike my Ninja vs Pirate story that will just pop randomly here and there.  So.. on with my post! 🙂

Like clockwork, every April in the beautiful Skagit Valley we have the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.  We celebrate all the beautiful tulips, daffodils and iris that are grown.  People come from all over to have a chance to see the tulips, along with all the other events that happen through out the month.  Of course,with all the people visiting, comes a lot of traffic.  There are many locals who just cringe when April comes around.  And all the locals know, if you want to go out to see the tulips yourself… don’t go during the weekend!!  One of the local farms helps support that thought by having a local’s only night during a weeknight in the month of April.  It just happened to be this last Wednesday.

I made plans during the day to go with my friend David that evening, since my hubby still was battling a nasty cold.  We were a little nervous that it wasn’t going to happen due to a downpour of rain in the middle of the day.  But the skies cleared up by the time we were done with work and off to the fields we went.  We spent a solid amount of time there that evening and I was able to capture a some decent pictures.

Hope you enjoyed your quick trip through the tulips. 🙂  Have a great week.

Ninja vs Pirate   6 comments

To start this off, last week when David and I were at fair grounds, I found some rubber ducks done up as ninjas (4 different colors) and a pirate.  I just had to buy them.  I couldn’t help but think how it would be fun to photograph them in different areas “battling” each other.  I do feel I need to find a couple more pirate duckies.  To me it seems odd to have only one… I mean usually you have a whole ship full of pirates, right?  Anyways, I present to you the first of many (I hope) Ninja vs Pirate.

Lazy Eye Bailey is on a stroll through a wild tulip jungle in search of the rest of his crew mates.  He was separated from them recently due to his lazy eye being mesmerized by how far up the tulips go into the sky.  Before he realized it, they were out of sight.  He was not worried, as he knew where they were headed and he always carries his trusty compass with him.  However, little does he know, the jungle is full of ninjas.  In fact, Rinkilu Fire and Zutaka Shadow are watching from the leaves of a nearby tulip.  They silently watch until Lazy Eye Bailey’s back is to them.

Zutaka Shadow quickly jumps out of the tulip to attack.  The feathers on Lazy Eye Bailey’s back go up and he quickly turns to face what ever is behind him.  He focuses on Zutaka Shadow, but fails to see Rinkilu Fire.  He has faced off with ninjas before and feels confident he can win this battle.  He is about to draw is sword when he sees Zutaka Shadow give a signal.  It is then that Lazy Eye Bailey finally feels a hint of fear.

For it is then that he sees Rinkilu Fire as she jumps to the ground to help surround Lazy Eye Bailey.  The ninjas know they have the upper hand, as only the best of the best pirates could hope to face down two ninjas.  Lazy Eye Bailey knows this too.  While he is confident in his sword skills, he is well aware that they have more extensive training.  He puts up his wings to show he surrenders.  Zutaka Shadow pulls out his sword and points for Lazy Eye to move to a nearby fallen tulip that hangs over a ravine.

The ninjas force Lazy Eye Bailey up on to the tulip.  It appears they don’t plan to just let them go.  In fact they plan to have walk to the end and fall into the ravine.  Similar to how him and his crew have forced ninjas to walk the plank off their ship.  He chokes down his fear.  He has never been known as a coward and he surely will not be named one now.  He squarely turns and faces his opponents, so not to give them a chance to stab him in the back.  Both Rinkilu Fire and Zutaka Shadow have their swords out now and motion him to continue his path to sure death.  He walks backwards and before he knows it, he is falling.  The last thing he remembers is ground coming up on him very fast and then every thing goes black.

Rinkilu Fire and Zutaka Shadow look down to see the pirate below them.  Even from that distance they can see his life force has not completely left him.  They quickly discuss what to do with him.  If he did not die, that must mean something.  They decide they must take him to Master Nodoshi.  He will know what is to be done.

To be continued….

Baker Lake Road   Leave a comment

On Friday, my friend David and I took the day off from work to go to the “World’s Largest Garage Sale” at our local fair grounds.  We often go out during the summer months together to hit up garage sales.  It just seemed natural we go to this one.  We didn’t find much that we had to have, but David did snap off a few pictures of items.  Very interested to see if they turn up in his blog.

Once we were finished, we figured we might as well use some of the day to go get some photos.  Only logically, right?  We stopped at his house first, so I could borrow a couple of lenses he isn’t using right now.  We were then off for our adventure (well, after getting gas).  We had a choice to go out to the tulips or head east down Hwy 20.  We decided on the later.  We had both been wanting to explore Bake Lake Road.    The name just seemed to promise something good.

Down Hwy 20 we went.  Looking for garage sale signs on the way, along with any signs of elk or eagles.  Unfortunately, we got a little too busy looking for all those other things that we completely missed the road we wanted.  And when I say we missed it, we really missed it.  We were out past Concrete before we realized we were well past where we would see the turnoff.  David went to turn around at the next road.  Instead of just doing a basic u-turn, he decided to drive down the road.  What the heck, might as well, right?

As we drove down the road, we happened across this nice little creek that was flowing down to the Skagit river.  On one side of the road it had this beautiful woodland setting as it flowed down little steps to create mini waterfalls.  The other side, the creek flows out of a culvert to drop 20 to 30 feet before continuing on its journey.  There are pillars there that are covered with moss and saplings.  It appears that once upon a time a bridge crossed over at that point.  Maybe it was an old road?

After a short time there, we jumped back into David’s van.  After driving through Concrete, heading west this time, we found Baker Lake Road.  Which had a decent sign pointing out the road.  How in the world did we miss that?!   The first thing we noticed on Baker Lake road, is that you are certainly going up in elevation.  That felt promising.  The next thing you notice, there are just an awful lot of trees and a stream following the road.  However, there was nowhere to pull off the road at the points with a clear picture.  Next we come across Grandy Lake.  It looks nice and there is a camp ground.   We keep going until we come to a sign pointing to Baker Lake Dam.  Sounds interesting, right?  So we go check it, expecting some little dam.  Well, we were wrong.  That was a pretty good size dam.  Not the Hover dam, but still impressive.   I think we both plan to go back another day to get photos.

Back to Baker Lake Road.  We keep driving down the road without really seeing Baker Lake.  The road finally gets to a point it is no longer paved.  That is where we decide to turn around.  We figure that most of the views for the lake are at the camp grounds.  And those have not opened for the season.  Oh well, just means we will have to come back another day!  As we are going back, there is a marsh type area that we make a quick stop at.  There some flower things growing that interest David.  I snap a few pictures off.  One is of a an old stump with a tree growing on top of it.  Making sure it is keeping dry.

As we continue back down the road, David actually spots a bear as it runs across the road.  I was looking out my passenger window, and completely miss it. We drive up really slow (there are NO other cars in the area), hoping to catch a glimpse.  The bear had no plans to stick around and has disappeared into the forest.  *sigh*  Maybe someday I’ll get to see a bear and take a picture of it (and not one in the zoo).  Of course, from a nice safe distance where I don’t have to worry about being eaten.  haha

Anyways.. we continue on back home.  However, not before making two more stops.  One is just a short distance from the bear sighting (we made sure to keep the car doors open to escape into in case the bear came by).  Boulder Creek is flowing there and *BAM!*  an awesome view of Mt Baker.  It was playing peek-a-boo behind some clouds.  Even with the clouds, it is majestic.

While we didn’t get to see the Baker Lake, I was happy to see the actual mountain.  And I got two new lenses to play with!  The first photo in this blog was actually taken with a wide-angle lens, but I cropped it down.  My Flickr site has a couple of pictures I have taken with macro lens.  Thank you David!

Have a great week!

Rasar – Washington State Park   7 comments

This last week my hubby and I received our discovery pass in the mail.  The discovery pass allows you to park in any of our Washington State Parks without having to pay any fees.  It cost $30 and it is good for the full year.  To us, not a bad deal and some of that money will funnel back into the park system.

The day we received it, we headed out and went to a park we have never visited before.  Rasar State Park.  About a mile or so off Highway 20, it sits right along the Skagit River.  On our way to check out the park, we saw part of a herd of elk running along to catch up with the rest of the group.   They were meeting up to graze in a field right behind someone’s house.  I managed to get a few shots off from my camera after I had to turn the car around and come back down the highway. 🙂

After watching them for a few minutes we head off to the park.  We found as we entered the park that it is available for day use, but also camping.  Either by tent or by trailer.  Not that I’m huge on camping, but it nice to know.  Josh and I headed for the day use area.  We proudly put our discovery pass up for display and went for the trail that would lead to the river.

The trail, or really more of a path, leads from the parking down an incline that takes you to a meadow/field area.  The view of the larger foothills right before you get to the Cascades is fantastic.  We were lucky that clouds this particular evening were adding some character to the view.

From there we wandered down the path to the river.  Overall it is a short walk to get there, but it goes through a beautiful forest area with some great old trees with the moss hanging off their limbs.

At the river, there wasn’t anything spectacular about the view, but it was relaxing.  The water has a little bit of a teal/aqua blue to it.  This is usually signs of glacier feeds into the river.  We didn’t go to much further, as we wanted to get home before it was dark.  We could see the sun was starting to set of in the distance.  Just from where we were at along the river, there was a couple vantage points to watching the sun set.

So we turned around and headed back to the car.  As we talked, we both agreed that we will be returning very soon to further explore what this park has to offer.  This will hopefully be the start of a series for throughout the rest of the year in which we explore other state parks within our area.  Stay tuned!

New Exploration   2 comments

Where I work, the customer service supervisors are on a rotation for the opening shift.  This last week one of my co-workers asked if anyone wanted to take her opening shift, as she doesn’t particular care for it.  I decided to take her up on the offer.  I figured loosing a little sleep may pay off if the weather cooperated (and that is a big IF still), in that I would be off work earlier and have some time before the rest of the family came home.

Last Sunday I looked at the weather forecast and saw nothing but rain our future.  How sad.  However, I kept my hopes up and it paid off for Monday.  When I left work the clouds were hanging out, but there was no rain.  I ran home to grab my camera and changed into more appropriate shoes and clothes.  Now the decision was where to go.  I didn’t want to go to the fields, as I had gotten my fill of daffodils for the moment.  I have enough Northern State Hospital photos for now until Spring and Summer are more in swing.  Where does that leave me.  My vibe was to go east.  I always seem to travel west from my house.

So off I went, east on Highway 20.  And that’s when I decided to take the Cape Horn Road.  I knew it followed along parts of the Skagit River.  I made the turn when it came and headed down the road.  I did find a nice little spot next to the river where the trees weren’t completely blocking the view.  This picture I took there shows a beautiful fallen tree that is being reclaimed.   Part of the Skagit River floats past with a light reflection of the lowland hill that looms up on the other side of the river.

I then continued down the road to further my exploration of this new area for me.  I found a couple other spots that showed interest.  Each time I would stop and take a few pictures and then jump back into the car.  As I was going, I realized that instead of doing a “photo walk”, I was doing a “photo drive”.  However, I do hope to go back to a few spots and explore further by doing more of a photo walk.  Anyways, I was getting close to the end of this road to where it connects back to Highway 20 (It is really nice that it just loops back) when I drove by this old truck.  I literally stopped and backed up my car.

Looking at this truck, it has such great character.  I actually felt a little bad for it too.  To me it just seems to be crying out for someone to come reclaim it.  To bring it back to the beauty it once was.  It just wants to be loved.  Yes, I know it is just a truck, but I think adding “a voice” to something like this brings more life to the picture.  But maybe I’m just wrong or crazy.  More likely crazy. 🙂

I am glad I decided to explore a new area and plan to do more exploration this year to the east.  I can’t wait to see what I find and share it!   Hope you have a great week.