Wednesday, November 14, 2007

November Sunrise

The sky looked like it was on fire this morning. Similarily dramatic as the October sunrise posted last month - but a different flavor (lots of purple today).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

San Francisco

We had a great mini trip last weekend to San Francisco to see our friend Kathleen. We went to Napa for a day of wine tasting, went down to Palo Alto to see the Huskies actually win a road game, and enjoyed the spectacular weather.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Olympic National Park - Fall Colors

We had a terrific weekend trip to the Olympic Penninsula last weekend. We stayed at Jenn's parents house, fed the cat, and saw some wonderful fall scenery.

Small creek flowing into Sol Duc

The Elwha river

The beach at Salt Creek

Lake Crescent sunrise #1

Lake Crescent sunrise #2

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Here are a few more pictures from the Tetons. This is a wonderful place to visit - much can be seen. The hiking is amazing as well as the views you can get from the car from all those neat pull outs on the road.

Sunrise from the Snake River Lookout - famous for the 1942 Ansel Adams photo that can be seen here. This is roughly the same location (we were a bit further back), different time of day & year, and most importantly, 65 years of tree growth. Oh, and Mr Adams is a photography legend....

This is another famous, highly photographed location in the park. This is a barn that was built in 1919 by Mormon settlers and is on "Mormon Row."

A nice reflection of the Tetons at Schwabacher Landing - looking across a pond formed by a beaver damn. (No beavers were spotted.)

We found this cool old abandoned log cabin with an amazing view

Buffalo with a view. This was our best viewing of a buffalo. They are all over the place and even stop traffic!

Mr. Moose. He was pretty close to the road and had his own dedicated park ranger to guide traffic and provide him ample protection. Laurence had an older guy attempting to buy his camera while watching the moose. No sale.

Laurence scouting the scene for the first picture in this post the afternoon before it was taken. Yes, Jennifer did take this picture.

Jennifer enjoying herself on our alpine hike

Mount Rushmore

Badlands in South Dakota

South Dakota Prarie Dog

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Puget Sound Ferry Ride

This picture doesn't do the view of the Puget Sound from the ferry justice - but hopefully it can encourage those of you in other parts of the country to visit the Seattle area in the summer - and serve as a reminder to us locals to get out and enjoy the natural beauty in our backyard.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

We just got home from a weekend trip to Oregon. We had a chance to check out Multnomah Falls, the 2nd highest year-long waterfall in the US. Multnomah Falls is about 20 miles east of Portland, along the Columbia River.

Here's a link to a US Forest Service site with more info.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Seattle - Sailboat ride

At Starbucks today Laurence's group had a potluck (with lots of yummy food) followed by a sailboat ride in the Puget Sound. It was a beautiful day (albeit without wind). Everyone had a great time - and we enjoyed the views of the city.

Here's a picture of the Seattle skyline taken from the water.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Additional Safari Pictures

Some folks have asked for additional photos from our safari. Click any of the pictures below to be sent to more pictures on our flickr site. (or - simply click this link)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Happy 4th of July

We had a nice 4th of July dinner & fireworks with Stephie & Jason.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Tanzania Africa Safari-June 2007

Baby Lion

Jambo, Jambo

Hello in Swahili, the official language of Tanzania. We have recently returned and thought you may enjoy sharing in some of our journey and experience. Tanzania, south of Kenya on the African continent's Indian Ocean coastline, lays claim to the title Home of the Safari. The word Safari is taken from the Swahili word that means "journey."

There is no doubt that we went on an amazing journey. Tanzania offers one of the best environments in the world for an enriching wildlife experience. Its game parks are populated with many of the world's most exotic creatures, including all of the "Big Five" (Lion, Rhino, Leopard, Elephant & Cape Buffalo). As we traveled through the parks and game reserves we often found the animals right next to the road (or crossing it).

2 points if you can match the pictures to the "big 5" names!

The 15 of us in our travel group were led by a nature photographer (Andy Biggs - we can't recommend Andy & the trip enough, just amazing) and 6 Tanzanian wildlife guides. Together we traveled in 5 safafi vehicles (land rovers with pop up tops).
You can see our Safari vehicles (as a baby elephant walks between them). We are in the background taking pictures! (photo courtesy of our new friend Mike)

Our travel included time in Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Highlands, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National part. Along the journey we stayed in semi permanent camps. As you will see later in the photos, our time was very comfortable yet very close to the wildlife. Going to sleep and waking up to the sounds of animals is pretty amazing. I am not sure totally about staring into the eyes of a wildebeest out the tent, but, hey it was all a part of the experience.

"Camping" in our tent wasn't too rough

Targaine National Park was were we spent our first few days. It covers 2600km of grassland and flood plains along with acacia and baobab trees (the one without leaves). We saw herds of elephants and a great number of baboon in this park. Our camp overlooked this great river with animals all over the place.

We continue through the lush green foothills reaching a higher altitude where temperatures are cooler. We stop for our first look at the collapsed caldera of Tanzania's "Garden of Eden," gazing down into the Crater floor below. We then went down 2000-foot descent into this magnificent wildlife haven. Here, a nearly perfect balance of predator and prey exists within the 102 square miles of the Crater floor. We saw great African wildlife: a teeming world of elephants, rhinoceros, lions, hyenas, zebra, wildebeest, jackel, chetah, and ostrich to name a few. Our days started before sunrise (remember photo safari) which was ideal for the wildlife as well. We were greated at the crater with lion cubs with their Mom, while Mom quickly jumped across the creek both cubs fell in. Mother lions are a bit more harsh than humans she didn't even worry about the cubs. We were fortnate to also have a sighting of a very rare black rhino pair. They too needed to cross the road right in front of us! Cool!

Leaving the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, we stopped in a Maasi village and were greeted with a traditional dance by the highly energized kids and told about their lives. The kids go to school in their village between the ages of 4-6. Once they are older than that they then go to primary school 20km (12+miles) away which they walk to on Monday and stay until Friday. If they are fortunate they then go to secondary school.

Maasai Jewelry

We then stopped briefly at the famed Oldupai Gorge, where some of the earliest remains of our species were unearthed by the dedicated Leakey family. Here in these desolate gullies the jawbone of Zinjanthropus Man was discovered. The Gorge Museum explains the Leakeys' methods and their remarkable finds.

We then continued on our journey into the great Serengeti, traveling deep into the wilds of Africa. The sight of giraffe, lion, ostrich, zebra and warthog were amazing.

The Serengeti's name is derived from the Maasai word Siringet, which means “endless plains.” It is a land of vast grassland plains, acacia-studded savannas, wooded hills and mountains. Contiguous with the Masai Mara park on the Kenyan side of the border, the Serengeti is home to a breathtaking array of wildlife. At any point in time, the park's vast grassland plains and savannas will be strewn with pockets of grazing zebras, giraffes, gazelles, wildebeest and topi. The acacia forests will abound with bird life and monkeys. Elephants and buffaloes will be wallowing in the swamps, and the rivers will be brimming with hippos and watched over by the storks that stand on the sandy riverbanks.

Snack time

The concentration of animals in the park reaches its peak during the annual wildebeest migration, with millions of wildebeest and their zebra friends on their endless migratory circuit to Kenya & back, following the rains and green grass. Millions of animals coalesce into a single massive herd, which we got to experience up close up and personnel. The migration was taking place around where our camp was, and for 4 nights we were entertained by these great creatures moving in large packs.

We went on a hot air balloon ride in the Serengeti. On our journey to the balloon launch site we encoutered our first leopard. The hot air balloon ride was amazing, we could see for miles and miles and the wildlife was incredibly rich!

Watching the wildlife provides ongoing entertainment with the behaviors not always predictable. We watched a cheetah with cubs vs a warthog with baby warthogs. Who would have ever know the warthog would win the showdown!

We left the Serengeti via plane. Sounds simple, but really it was another adventure. The runway was right in the midst of the migration. Our land rovers took about 4 passes to clear the wildlife out of the way. Then the plane had to make a couple more passes to clear them again! Off of the plane came the food for the next set of safari groups and on we went. Our new Canadian friends Kirsty and Tonya were dropped off in a different town as they were going to go help in the community for 2 weeks.

We said our good byes...they began with our guides in the Serengeti and continues for the next day as half of us traveled on the same flight out of Africa back to Amsterdam. We were no longer thought of as the "tree huggers" from the state of Washington. We had an incredible journey as well as several new buddies!

On our last morning in Tanzania we left the Seregenti on two small cessna planes. Our Tanzanian guides would take greater than a day driving the Land Rovers back to Arusha. Our plane took off from a grass runway in the middle of the Serengeti.

We learned on this photo safari that this is a "tourist view." It felt appropriate as our parting shot......

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