Saturday, August 29, 2009

Skywatch #2 - Island Park - Henrys Lake

This morning I got up at 4:45 to go to Henrys Lake fishing.  It was partly cloudy and I figured the colors would be fantastic with the sunrise.  I got to the Buffalo River just as the east started to color up.  The deep blue sky with the sun reflecting off the thin clouds was a sight to behold.
Bob, Harry and Ed was already on the water and Bob in the far boat is landing a nice trout.  But the beautiful sunrise beckened me to take a few more pictures.

Here the sun is about to peek over the eastern mountains as verga (rain that does not hit the ground) forms a ray of light shooting up into the cloud.
Sawtelle Mountain stands black on the south side of the lake against the colored sky.
Even without being the first boat on the lake, the fishing was great with brook trout, hybrids and cutthroats coming regularly to my flies.  The best fly was the Light Olive Crystal with the Mity Mouse a close second.  This male 18 inch brook trout has already dawned his spawning colors.  The belly was as orange as the early morning sky.
On the way home I had to stop at Swan Lake near Last Chance to look for the Trumpeter swans, but they had gone elsewhere.
Another beautiful wild day in Idaho.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cascade Creek and Indian Lake

The southwest corner of Yellowstone Park is known as Cascade Corner with many waterfalls and cascades as the creeks drop several hundred feet in just a few miles.  This is the home of many birds and animals during the summer, but most migrate out when the heavy weather of winter sets in.
Cascade Creek runs into the park from the bordering Targhee National Forest.  Here the creek cascades over the rock in the canyon formed by the rushing waters.
Indian Lake is a small lake near the Yellowstone border just inside the Wyoming state line.  It is home to both nesting trumpeter swan and Common Loons.  One of the few area lakes where both nest.
This area is the summer home of many birds and animals but most, like this Hairy Woodpecker, migrate out of the area when the hard winter weather sets in dropping from 10 to 20 feet of snow here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Skywatch Friday #1

Recent harvesting of wheat and barley puts a lot of impurities in the air.  These impurities create beautiful sunsets in Southeastern Idaho.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


After two days of inservice meetings and the first day of school, I needed some individual space. To my flower and veggie garden I went this evening. One of my favorite fall flowers is the hollyhock and I have many colors and variations of them. One thing I love about them is the perfect star created in the middle of the flower. My favorite color is the light pink or the salmon color. Enjoy these photos from my garden.

The bees and hummingbirds are visiting them. On the one below, I love the veins that run through the petals.
Here is a very dark one - some almost are a black.

Some of the white ones have a green star while others have a deep red star.
My grandparents and parent raised hollyhocks along the creeks and they just grew "wild." A great way to grow up.
Have a great day.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Hummingbirds are invading my yard. Front yard, back yard, fruit trees, flower gardens are all favorite. They fight with each other and they attack the bumble bees on the flowers. I took these pictures from my front door as they buzzed around the flowers.

This one decided to check me out and flared it beautiful neck as it came almost face to face with me. Notice that it is sticking its tonge out of me or is it licking its chops before the planned attack.

Working the flowers for a bite to eat as they prepare for the long flight to South or Central America can be a big undertaking.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Beula Lake in Yellowstone

I spent most of the week working on the "Teaching American History" grant and getting ready for school. My meetings start next Monday and school starts on Wednesday. The Student Body Officers' assembly will be on Wednesday so we will spend part of Monday and Tuesday finalizing it.

With summer coming to an end a fellow teacher, Lucas, and his son, Pax, decided to join me for a hike and a fishing trip. We hiked into Beula Lake in Yellowstone Park for some native cutthroat fishing. Here Pax and Lucas carry their float tubes for two and a half miles in to the lake. I did not take a float tube, but my heavy camera was enough weight.
Here Pax, a ten-year old, catches a nice cutthroat. All fish were released.

He a cutthroat, named after the bright red stripes on the bottom jaw, comes in after being hooked by a Black Rug Yarn fly. They were willing fish as we caught between 80 and 100 in about three hours of fishing.
We weren't the only fishermen on the lake. A pair of Common Loons, a Blue heron and an osprey all tried harvesting fish.

Yours-truely releasing a nice cutthroat. I waded out on a sand bar to where it drops off in deep water. I caught six fish in my first six casts and it did not slow down much.
It was a great way to finish the summer even though I will have a lot more fishing days before winter sets in.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Huckleberries, Fireweed and Monkshood

School starts for me in 10 days, so work, work work to be ready. Monday I spent the day at school working on things to get ready for it and I also wrote several articles for the newspapers I write for. Tuesday and today the huckleberries were calling me. This is the first time in four years that we have had an abundance of them and I need to get enough incase we have another bad four years.
Yesterday I picked from 7 until 3 and got three gallons of them. My sister, Carmen (only one of seven that I have - that will be another blog), and her two friends joined me today. I could only pick until noon because of school work. I got two gallons while the three of them stayed most of the day and picked 7 1/2 gallons. Here Carmen starts picking before dropping her pack and extra bucket in a good patch of huckleberries.
Yesterday after my back could not take any more bending over, I did some hiking and got some photos of some flowers. These Columbia Monkshoods have a story to tell. I imagine them as horses. This first picture kept reminding me of the song that says, "Back to back, belly to belly, it really doesn't matter to me." Some of you old duffers may remember it.
These three look as if they are in a horse race and one wins by a length.
This picture reminds me of an old fat horse that the owner cannot bear to send him to a glue factory. I was amazed at the different colors in the monkshood flowers along a small marshy area high in the mountains of the Heise area.

My last picture is that of Fireweed. I love the fireweed because they come out late in the summer and brighten up many old logging roads in the Targhee National Forest or can be found along many streams of the area.

I hope to get another five gallons of huckleberries. There are a few folks that cannot pick them anymore because of age, sickness or injuries. They need some, plus it is making my belly smaller and also keeps my girls canning.
By the way, today I shared my berry patch with a family of ruffed grouse. No pictures - just a memorable experience. Mom kept trying to keep the youn'uns away from me.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Aldous Lake

My wife went hiking in the Tetons this morning with her friends, so I decided I would go for a hike to get some material for a newspaper article. Jumping in the pickup with my camera, fishing rods, huckleberry picking equipment and enough food and drink for a week, this would classify as one of those "travels with an old fat bald man" that I sometimes write about.
Half a mile from the house I decided to head to Kilgore and hike to Aldous and Hancock Lakes. The trailhead is about an hour and 10 minutes from home.
This wild hair that I had was soon rewarded me with a wild hare. I hide behind a tree not far from the trailhead and soon he came sneeking out for some brunch. A snowshoe hare.
A couple who had lived 50 years in Rexburg, just 70 minutes away, came hiking up the trail for the second time in two days after finally discovering this hike.
"Everything was just too beautiful not to do it again," explained Fern, as we visited.
I let them pass by as I got busy taking pictures of flowers, insects and birds. Too beautiful to pass up.
As I hiked up the trail I located this Tortoiseshell butterfly hanging on pine tree. I believe it is a California Tortoiseshell.
After flushing a family of ruffed grouse, many juncos and sparrows, I made it to Aldous Lake. A family of Common Goldeneye ducks were working the weeds in the middle of the lake. A toad jumped into the water and Yellowstone cutthroats were dimpling the surface of the small shallow lake as I worked my way around the lake.
The lake was surrounded by meadows of mixed flowers as well as areas totally covered by a specie of flowers.
This group of Indian paintbrush was on next to the trail leading to Hancock Lake just another mile up the mountain. Both lakes were formed when mountain sides slid many years ago, blocking small streams and backing up the water. Slide Mountain is the landmark that can be seen from Kilgore and it forms Hancock Lake.

Just another day in the "wild" life of a man that enjoys the wildness of nature. Over 300 pictures taken, eating a few hands full of huckleberrys it was time to head home to pick raspberries, peas and squash. Oh, isn't life wonderful.
The next four days, I will be away from my blog as my wife and I are headed to St. George to hike Zion's National Park and to attend two theatre shows. We know it will be hot, but we survived it last year and probably will again this year.

Student Council training

Yesterday I spent from 8 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. with this year's Student Council at Madison High School. We had a great day planning for the opening of the school year. All were present except one who was on a cruise - family things are more important.
We did training for four hours and then we went to West Yellowstone for a "Bonding" trip to eat at Gusher's Pizza and then attended "Guys and Dolls" at the Playmill Theatre. It was all very enjoyable. Here is the group minus the vice president.

Here is Titan - the SBO president who will be very busy. I am the advisor to the group for the ninth year. I enjoy working with them - but will not do their jobs - just cancel anything that is not planned well. Titan has served on the SBO Council before as the Sophomore class president.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Huckleberrying and butterflies

On Friday and Saturday I went huckleberrying and hunting for better patches of huckleberries. I found some great patches in the Moody Creek/Heise area on Friday, but on Saturday I headed to Island Park to pick a patch of big berries I found on Wednesday.
On the way across Osbourne Bridge the sun was just rising coloring the fog and the trees appeared like ghosts in the fog. I had to stop and get a picture of the beautiful scene.

After picking two gallons of huckleberries, making five gallons for the week, I noticed a lot of butterflies amoung the flowers along the trail as I walked out. As I watched a female sulphur (pink edges of the wings) feeding on a Yarrow blossum, a male attached itself to her. After flying away they finally roosted on a pine tree where other sulphur males attempted to join the game.
There was a major migration of Fritillaries landing on the clover, goldenrod and yarrow plants along the way. This was a beautiful light colored one with darker one along the way. This was the lightest one I saw.

It was interesting to watch the the different butterflies feeding on the flowers. I noticed several times as they fed, bees and flies would actually attack them - always from behind. I was able to get several picturs of bees hitting the butterflies, sometimes knocking off part of their wings. I tried to find out, but I could not find any material why the bees would do that. Interesting insect behavior.

When I got to a patch of Fireweed, I found a host of bumblebees and Swallowtail butterflies feeding on them. All were so heavy that they would bend the flowers over so they were in the shade - not good for pictures. I got lucky and got this picture of the bumblebee just as it was lifting off the flower.
Just another wonderful day in the life of the school teacher who will start punishing students in four weeks. Wild In Idaho will have other great things to write about!!!! Stay posted.