Autumn Color Pops at Stratigraphy Viewpoint

Funny Diva and I got very lucky on our October trip to the south side of Mount St. Helens. The autumn colors were out in force! It’s getting to the gray part of the year in the Northern hemisphere, so a little splash of color will do us good. Let’s have a look at the wonderful ways the deciduous trees and bushes enhanced our views at Stratigraphy Viewpoint.

Image shows a length of the cut bank at Stratigraphy Viewpoint. Red-leafed trees and bushes are visible amongst the evergreens at the base of the bank and on its top.

Stratigraphy Viewpoint Fall Color I

One of the more botany-oriented folks in the audience will have to tell us what’s causing all these luscious fall colors. I suspect maples of some sort, but I dunno. We didn’t get across so I could inspect leaves.

Image shows a zoomed-in version of the previous photo, showing a particularly vigorous red tree. The bank is shades of pale gray, cream, and yellow-tan.

Stratigraphy Viewpoint Fall Color II

Speaking of botany, do you see that fluffy green bush trying to get all up in our stratigraphy? The nerve of some plants!

There are more fall colors splashed about in the photo set, if you want to go explore them. I shan’t overwhelm you with slight variations upon the theme here. Instead, let us turn to a stratigraphy photo that didn’t make the cut at Rosetta Stones, but which I love. First, you have to see it complete with the maclargehuge tree topping it like a birthday candle on a cupcake:

Image shows a tall portion of the exposed bank with a very tall lodgepole pine rising far above the surrounding trees.

Neato stratigraphy I

Look at that magnificent giant surrounded by short younger trees! It must have been there watching while Mount St. Helens went all asplodey and hurtled mudflows at it. And it was strong enough to endure the whole thing. Hats off to that tree.

Now, you may want to drool all over the bank it’s growing on.

Image zooms to the bank, which is a slice through tan, gray, pale brown, and yellow layers.

Neato stratigraphy II

How gorgeous is that? If you zoom in on it, the individual layers become fairly distinct, even though we’re shooting late in the day from across the wide river channel. You can even identify many of those layers yourself! Use this photo for reference. How many did you spot?

Tell Me About Your Favorite Books!

It’s getting to be that time of year when it’s time for me to update our gargantuan book guides for the gift-giving season. So you know what this is a great opportunity for you to do? Tell me all about your favorite books! They don’t have to be new this year, although it would be outstanding to get some new releases on the list. They just have to meet the following criteria: [Read more…]

Halloween Magic Madness! Very Rare Photo In This Post!

You, my darlings, are about to see something you may never have seen before…

B was all like, “Let’s get dressed up and hand out candy to the kids!” And I thought he’d get over the get dressed up part, so I didn’t bother putting my costume together. I’m frantically trying to get the second draft of Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus done, so I haven’t been as keen for Halloween as I typically am. I bloody love this holiday, but I was going to keep it low-key.

S invited me to parties, but I was exhausted by the end of the week. Writing is hard work, yo. So B’s idea of hanging out and watching teevee in between trick-or-treaters sounded perfecto. I checked in Friday to see if he still wanted to do costumes, and he did. And I suddenly decided I not only needed a night completely off, I also needed to be something other than a pirate. I wanted to be a sorceress. [Read more…]

Drop Everything and Watch This Orangutan Bottle-Feed Tiger Cubs

Look, you deserve a break. You deserve terminal cuteness. You deserve to watch this orangutan foster baby tigers.

This is apparently a regular thing for the Myrtle Beach Safari orangutans. You can see a longer video here.

Parenting instincts transcend species boundaries. This certainly isn’t the first example, but it’s among the cutest. When that primate started feeding that cub from a bottle, I about melted in a puddle of squee.

Alas, when the cubs’ predatory instincts begin kicking in, they’ll probably have to be separated, but for now, bliss.

Here. It’s going to be a long week, I’m sure. Have some more animal adorableness. Like a cat caring for ducklings: [Read more…]

Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: Bunches of Beautiful Birbs

You’re in for a treat, my darlings! Ken Gibson has given us the keys to his birding kingdom, and I have selected several delights for your identifying pleasure. I’ve linked each photo to the maclargehuge original for ye.

First up, a birb that’s just screaming for a caption: [Read more…]

Brilliant Fall Colors at Icicle Gorge – Come Enjoy!

It’s fall! I hate this season. Yeah, I know, everybody else seems to love it, but I get all maudlin about the dying year. I hate the days getting shorter, the return of endless rain, all the deciduous trees and plants becoming skeletons, the endless pumpkin nonsense… yeah, killjoy, I know. I didn’t even like it in Arizona, when it basically meant the Peaks would be dusted with snow and it would finally drop below blast furnace temps in Phoenix. I’m just not a fall person.

But I do like the brilliant colors of the turning leaves. And I bloody adore Halloween. So there’s that.

Anyway. I’m trying to take advantage of every rare good day we get, and B and I lucked out tremendously. We hadn’t had a chance to actually go out and do anything since his new job started, but this time, he happened to have a day off on one of our few remaining spectacular days, and I was also free, so we hopped in the car and headed over the Cascades to Leavenworth. Just outside of Leavenworth, Icicle Creek plunges through a spectacular gorge cut into the Chiwaukum Schist. There’s a lovely loop trail that winds around and into the gorge, crosses two bridges, and presents a lot of interesting variety along the way. You get creek views, mountain views, forests, bogs, and all sorts of things! There’s even maclargehuge Ponderosa pines, which makes this former Flagstaff, AZ girl happy. [Read more…]

Mystery Geology Revealed!

As promised, I have the answer to our mystery geology.

RQ got the spot right: it’s Hohllay!

Image shows a large sandstone cave from inside. At the right, there is an arched opening looking out toward a jumbled pile of boulders and some trees. At the center and left, there is a large oval opening, with a narrow pillar down the middle. The ceiling overhead is marked with scrapes and grooves, and has many rounded hollows.

Hohllay (“hollow rock”) in Berdorf, Luxembourg. © Dietmar Rabich, rabich.de, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons.

Alas, twasn’t Chthulu or water that hollowed the cave and left the marks. The whole thing was made by humans: [Read more…]

Some Mystery Geology for Your Saturday!

I’ll have photos with fantastic fall colors and really delicious folds in garnet mica schist for ye soon…ish. In the meantime, here’s a bit of a photo I’ve had saved up to show ye! I’m going to present anonymous crops of it first, because I want to give you a chance to see if you can puzzle out what it is. Because it’s a fairly famous landmark, I’m only going to say it’s sandstone, it’s in a European country, and the photo these bits are from is on Wikimedia Commons, available under a Creative Commons license. Why not the whole picture? Because that would give it away instantly! I mean, all you’d have to do is Google it (don’t Google it, that takes all the fun out of the game).

Now: can you tell me what made the cave, and the marks in the ceiling? [Read more…]

Unidentified Flying Dinosaur/Mystery Flora/Cryptopod Triple-Header: Latvian Loverlies!

Back from drooling over some lovely Latvian geology? Just about got your chin dry? Well, bust out a fresh napkin, my darlings, because I have some really fine flora, cryptopods, and a UFD from RQ’s beautiful Baltic nation! She has some really excellent photographic skills. I’ve been smiling over these ever since I got them, and there’s some more that are even cuter!

First up: our UFD, posing with a young child. [Read more…]

Fantastic Fun Photo Op with Our Own Jason and Mount Rainier!

Freethought Blogs’ own Jason Thibeault happened to be in Seattle for Geek Girl Con, and while I didn’t make it to the con, I did get a couple hours with him at the end, before he had to catch his flight. Yay! And it wasn’t pouring rain. Extra yay! And Mount Rainier looked awesome despite the clouds. Super yay! Jason even managed to photograph it with my old machine from the car, which was quite a feat, considering it’s an unfamiliar camera, the lighting contrast was teh suck, and we were going 60mph.

Image shows Mount Rainier looming over I-5, with a freeway sign in front of it. Light gray clouds are piled up around and atop it.

Mount Rainier from I-5. Photo by Jason Thibeault.

I love showing off our local mountain.

If you pull yourself up the full-size version, you’ll note that the cloud at its summit hasn’t developed much. Save that tidbit for later.

I took Jason to our local Herfy’s down in Burien, which is a great place to go if you need to be near the airport, want quick food, but want it to be delicious. I am happy to report that this was a total success. And it was so awesome to finally be able to meet Jason in the flesh. I’ve been following his blog for a long, long time, and I have huge respect for him. I love his writing and his humor and his ability to document tough situations and cut through the crap. Meeting him was a little like meeting a rock star, and hearing him compliment my blog was kind of like realizing, “Oh, hey, shit, yeah, I guess I’m sort of a rock star… mebbe?” and it was also enormous good fun to be able to talk about All the Things. Well, all we could fit in two hours, anyway.

I am now determined to make it to Minnesota if he and his family can’t make it out here. Or we could always do both. I have so much great Seattle stuff I want to show them! And we didn’t get to do Pike Place Chowder, which ZOMG, everyone needs to have Pike Place Chowder at least once in a lifetime.

We got back to the airport rather earlier than we needed to, so we hung about in the cell phone waiting lot enjoying the Not Raining and the views. Views from a cell phone waiting lot at an airport, you ask? Oh, my darlings, yes. Look at this!

Image shows Mount Rainier from the parking lot. The image has the light rail in the foreground, with the lines partially blocking the view, but the mountain is still looming tall and huge. Lenticular clouds are beginning to develop at the summit. A gum tree is getting its fall red in the right foreground, and there's a red-orange tree at the bottom center.

Mount Rainier with some fall color!

And yes, that’s exactly why I’m here. See, I’ve been getting all homesick over Arizona lately, because people keep posting lovely photos from it on Facebook. But then I see this, and I’m like, “Naw, I’m home.” Oh, I want to go back to Arizona again, but only to visit. And maybe if we’re all very lucky, a bunch of us including Jason’s family will form a social justice artists’ commune and go around traveling to gorgeous places and drooling over the scenery and the food. Because, people, I know the places in Arizona that will make your tastebuds weep in gratitude, and the views that will make your eyes weep for the beauty.

(You can apply to the commune in the comments.)

We took a selfie, because of course we had to, and if you look over my shoulder, you’ll see Mount Rainier posing with us.

Image shows me posing with Jason, who is far taller than I am. He's wearing a ball cap and has a most excellent salt-n-pepper goatee.

Lessee… got one o’ my favorite bloggers on my left, favorite mountain on my right… yeah, life’s excellent!

And then, right before we left, the sunset light was hitting Mount Rainier just so, and those lenticular clouds were developing nicely, so of course I took another shot.

Image shows Mount Rainier from the same vantage point as before. The slanted light has sharpened her features, and the lenticular clouds are much more well-developed.

Mount Rainier with her cap on.

Then I took Jason to departures, saw him on his way, and drove home to a very cold kitty who made me take a nap in a blankie cave with her. Perfect day!

I cannot wait for next time.