Friday, July 17, 2009

Things Seen on a Sunny July Morning Driving to Cascade

It’s been some time since the last Things Seen post—I believe that was in March, when things were still very wintry in the high country & rather bleak down here in the valley. The landscape is much different now: after a late start, we’re moving into the high summer, which means triple digit temperatures in the lowlands with a more pleasant clime in the mountains (there’s still snow on the peaks). It also means the beginning of the fire season; this morning was the first “official” day with a Fire Weather Watch; apparently dry thunderstorms & winds are predicted for the next couple of days.

But in the meantime, the landscape is lovely—still green, even in the valleys due to a long, wet spring; the skies are clear & blue in a way that always seems unique to the west. On Wednesday morning I made my weekly trek up to Cascade; these are some of the things I saw along the way:

  • Electric light wires turned silver along Mesa Hill in the early sun
  • Locusts with dark green leaves & a smattering of yellow leaves nestled among these & Russian olives with pale green leaves & silver leaves lining the banks along the road
  • Square hay bales stacked in a pasture
  • Two meadowlarks on a barbed wire fence silhouetted against the sun
  • A very rusty pale blue pick up with no hood or engine, & with lumber stacked around it
  • Four crows swooping over the high school football field & landing on the bleachers
  • The red Adams County dump truck
  • A bronze 70s vintage Buick parked in a hay shelter
  • A patch of sunflowers growing from the gravel along the highway
  • White clumps of serviceberry blooms growing from a rock face
  • The pine needles along the eastern side of the highway almost white in the sun
  • Wisps of fog rising off the Little Salmon River near Tamarack Mill
  • A herd of cows & calves grazing; all the cows are black; two calves have white faces
  • Salsify gone to seed in puffballs lining the highway
  • White hellebore blossoms & the hellebores’ fleshy succulent leaves & stems also lining the highway, especially on the west side
  • Log trucks traveling north
  • A small plane circling New Meadows, then coming in for a landing, descending thru the sky above Brown’s Market
  • An old pale green boat with a for sale sign near a house with glass cold frames in the front yard
  • Young aspens with slender silver trunks shading a white plastic fence—the fence has been designed to look like a whitewashed wood fence
  • Four planes, including a tanker, on the runway at the McCall Smoke Jumpers Base
  • Training equipment involving harnesses hanging from large poles at the same base; behind this equipment there’s a large plywood cut out of a smoke jumper with parachute open; the figure is attached to an old water tower
  • A large herd of cattle grazing in a pasture; there’s an orange wind sock planted in the midst of the pasture, & an old A-shaped red brown at the pasture’s southern end
  • Purple vetch growing in profusion along a cedar split barbed wire fence
  • An elk weather vane
  • More purple vetch, this time mixed with cattails, mullein, sunflowers & salsify along another fence line running east-west in Lake Fork
  • A hawk perched on a light wire
  • A melon-colored single-wide trailer home; there’s a melon colored lean-to beside it
  • Stretches of snow on the western summit of New Business Mountain
  • White & yellow bee boxes in a rocky cow pasture
  • Two ospreys standing next to their nest that’s built atop a telephone pole north of Donnelly on Highway 55
  • Another osprey standing by a second nest; this is at the outskirts of Donnelly, & again built atop a phone pole
  • Businesses in Donnelly: Buffalo Gal, world cuisine & sushi; Flight of Fancy Bakeshop; Vigilantes Restaurant & Lounge; The Trading Post liquor store sporting both a Coca-Cola & a Pepsi sign; the hat store, with white cowboy hats displayed on tree branches outside the front door
  • Horses grazing under a stand of hemlocks
  • A red-winged blackbird preening on a speed limit sign
  • A horse weathervane
  • Clouds of dust rising like smoke from a gravel pit
  • The abandoned ski trails at the bankrupt Tamarack Resort
  • The glassy slate-colored water of Cascade Reservoir (now called Lake Cascade)
  • Two young mule deer in a pasture
  • Sandstone cliffs dotted with pines on the grade before the ascent into Cascade’s valley

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  1. Buffalo Gal's world cuisine and sushi? Wow, I don't think I could eat there!
    A trucker friend of mine said that sunflowers along a road indicate that someone threw (or spit) seeds from their truck along the road a year ago. He always sees them as a sign of good luck!
    What trivia for you! You saw a lot!

  2. Jason, I'm such a visual person that I can see your trek from the things you saw. Thank you. What great seeds are here!

  3. Things sure have greened up since your last pics.

    Okay. So, do you write while you're driving, or do you have an amazing memory?

  4. Such extremes of weather are amazing between the mountains and the lowlands and I've never heard of ' dry thunderstorms' before.So many interesting sightslisted from your trip but I think I'd best of all like to drive into Donnelly to browse around the Buffalo Gal,Flight of Fancy Bakeshop; Vigilantes Restaurant & Lounge(what a name!) The Trading Post liquor store ; the hat store and finally look at the white cowboy hats displayed on the trees.Yeehaw!

  5. Hi Chris & Karen & Willow & TFE

    Chris: There's a lot to see; it's about a 75 mile trip to Cascade (one way), & you go up over 2,000 feet in elevation (then back down again). No offense to the restaurant, since I've never eaten there, but I'm a little leery og BG too.

    Karen: Thanks Karen; that's cool that you have a picture formed.

    Willow: A hand-held voice recorder! Thanks.

    TFE: It's different out here in the wild west, & Idaho is still pretty wild. It's a special place in many ways.

  6. Aha! The hand-held voice recorder. I'm glad you told us that. I was more than a little intimidated by your recall.

    Your post reminds me that, although I've been on the road for the last couple of days, and I've gone through Idaho into Montana, I have yet to see a red-winged blackbird. That's strange. I'll watch more carefully tomorrow.

  7. That's a fabulous way of describing a trip. Like a rapidly changing slide-show rather than a film and you always take in more from a slide-show because it concentrates the mind on chosen images rather than the constant fog of the passing world.


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