What I Did On My Goldener Oktober Vacation

Every once in a while (probably more often what with anthropogenic climate change), a kink develops in the weather, and the Pacific Northwest ends up with unseasonably warm weather. This can be torture in the summer, when desert air ambles up to say hello and desiccate everything. This time, it meant late summer weather in the fall, which was brilliant. especially since the antics with our vacation calendar meant I’d missed the latter half of summer. Only summer didn’t end on schedule.

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Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: The Sound of Music

Eskered, who sent us a quite nice weka a while back, could use our help.

UFD #1 was taken in Fiordland National Park, South Island, New Zealand. This bird is a song bird, have a rather pathetic video of blurry forest as I frantically looked around for the bird, but the audio is great.

Somewhat blurry photo, alas. We all know what it’s like trying to snap these buggers in uncertain light with all the obstructions the camera’s trying to focus on instead, and the little barstards move the second you get focused on them, if you ever do.


Regardless of blur, we’ve this song, and a visual, and surely, someone here can work wonders with them.

I’ve three more from Eskered. I’ll be doling them out slowly as time goes by. There’s one, especially, that geologists are going to identify with. It’s definitely our kind o’ bird.

Fun Moments in the Field

Oy, am I tired – been out having fun in the field. Which ties in wonderfully with Evelyn’s Accretionary Wedge #50 theme, so that works out splendidly.

We’ve definitely had some fun moments on this field trip so far. I’ll start with one from a place that I definitely want to take Evelyn to – she’ll adore it. It’s called Clear Lake. I looked at it and immediately thought of kayaks. This is a lake that begs to be slowly explored from a few inches above the water. I shall have to purchase kayaks (no kayak rentals, alas) and then get Evelyn and Jackie out here. I’ll post pictures soon that will have all of you clamoring to come along.

Oregon’s all about basalt, and there’s plenty there. Here are some nice basalt pebbles.

Basalt pebbles at Clear Lake

Nice, aren’t they? You can see the variety of colors basalt can take on – there’s some black, and gray, and rusty orange. They’ve got a little bit of stuff growing on them, but still, they’re fine examples of the local rock.

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Mystery Flora: I Am Flower, Hear Me Roar

I think these flowers might be monkeying around. Then again, flora isn’t my forte – which is why I’m grateful to have you lot. I can traipse around in the wild (or domestic) looking for pretty plants to photograph, and then come back to my experts.

I love you guys.

There aren’t so many flowers in late September, but these were happily blooming along the Iron Goat Trail.

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Una Aventura Más

In a few hours, I shall be off to Oregon for one last adventure while summer lingers. I know some of you are experiencing horrible weather, and I’m sorry. I truly am. I’ll be rubbing your nose lightly in the fact that we’re in the 70s and dry as a bone for a few days more. But I’ll make it up to you by bringing you back some really delicious geology. I don’t even know what, yet – Lockwood and I are kind of playing it by ear.

I’m hoping to see my boys and Suzanne while I’m there, but I’m not sure where we’ll be, so it’ll be one of those call-at-the-last-minute-to-see-if-they’re-free sort of things. Here’s hoping! Then it’s back home, and possibly one last day of sweet sunshine before the rain and the cold arrive at last.

I’ve put some time off and the weather to good use. I haz things for ye. I have erratics, and flowers, and birds, and salmon, and even an insect or two. Yes, proper insects, not spiders. Although I’ve got some outstanding spider footage, which you shall have soon. I have some really lovely shots of various and sundry, one of which you may have now:

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Cryptoinsect: Wide Web

(For our first official cryptoinsect, arachnophobes may wish to leave the cantina.)

All right, some of you have been clamoring for insects. I am nothing if not (occasionally) obliging. Besides, I developed a brand-new love for insects when I got the camera with the good macro mode. Things I used to dodge with a shudder, I now stalk, crooning things like “whose-a-good-bug-then?” and “you’re-beautiful-yes-you-are” as I shove the lens in their bizarre little faces. I’m happy to report that, despite provocation, nobody has stung, bitten or otherwise maimed me yet.

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The Quest for Dave Crockett’s Car

One of my favorite survivor’s stories of all time is up at Rosetta Stones. Go meet Dave Crockett, watch the video he shot as he struggled to survive on the slopes of Mount St. Helens in the middle of the eruption, and marvel at the fact that both he and his car survived.

There’s a personal story to be told about that car. You see, as I was researching for that piece, I discovered that his car had been recovered and was displayed at 19 Mile House. “Yay!” said I when I discovered that’s where a highly-rated little restaurant called Patty’s Place is. “We can have homemade cobbler, scenery, and Dave Crockett’s car!”

Only Cujo did some sniffing round the intertoobz, and discovered it’s been moved to the Hoffstadt Bluffs Visitor Center. Not a problem. They have cobbler, too. (And, it turns out, the best homemade ranch dressing I’ve ever tasted.)

But they haven’t yet got Dave Crockett’s car displayed. It’s been stashed down by the fuel tanks for the helicopters. The folks at the center didn’t seem to think it would be a problem for us to head down for a look, but the huge signs saying “Don’t even think about it” persuaded us otherwise. We saw a Volvo, but it turned out not to be the Volvo. [Nevermind. Got me cars crossed – shall quest for the Mercury Monarch, and might have a bit more success.] Sigh.

We’ll await the day when they decide where to publicly display Crockett’s car, then make another pilgrimage. It’s worth it for the cobbler alone. Yum! Also, the views from Hoffstadt are outstanding. And you can watch helicopters take off for flights around the volcano.

We did Patty’s Place on the second day, because cobbler, and theirs is also delightful. Also, they have this logging truck parked out front. It obviously was a witness to the eruption:

Suzanne et moi standing in front of a logging truck that did not weather the eruption unscathed.

One of my research projects for this winter is to try to run down that truck’s story.

If you make the trip to Mount St. Helens, I can personally recommend the cherry cobbler from Patty’s Place. Get it to go, warm it in the microwave a bit, scoop some vanilla gelato atop it, and have a foodgasm. I think seeking out strange relics from geologic events at wayside eateries is going to become a new thing with me, because the results are delicious, even when the relic isn’t the one sought.

One of you mentioned the possibility of field trips a while back. I am not averse to this idea, so if any of you want to join me in these excursions, let me know. Bring an appetite.

Geopuzzle: One of These Three Postulations is Right Out

Those informational signs at various attractions can sometimes be more aptly described as mis-informational. This tends to frustrate the geotraveler: responses may include groans, gripes, and rolling eyes. One severely-annoyed geologist at Summer Lake, Oregon took matters (and a Sharpie) into their own hands, and engaged in a little correcting-their-fieldwork.

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