Thursday, July 31, 2014

Big Cottonwood Canyon/Camp Redman Flower Parade

There are a few flowers that I typically see in bloom in Camp Redman each year.
The purple blue Monk's Hood is one of my favorites.
See the hood and up raised praying hands with flowing wide sleeves below?
Of course you do.
And isn't it easier to remember the name of flowers that come with descriptive names like Snapdragons and Indian Paintbrush?

White Wild Geranium is pretty common and becomes prettier the closer one looks at it.

Why this lovely pinkish-purple flower is called Fireweed I have not idea as it is most commonly seen blooming next to streams.
It is said to grow well in burned out areas but to my way of thinking, that is not enough to name a pink flower after the orange colors of fire.
It is a perennial, a fact that surprised me but shouldn't have as each time we go to Redman the flowers are blooming in exactly the same places.
I just learned these additional tidbits about Fireweed:
Young shoots can be cooked like asparagus, young leaves used in salads and steeped for tea. The pith of the stem can be used to flavor and thicken stews and soups. It is an important honey plant.

I haven't been inclined to try to cook with the herb.
Too pretty...I'd rather just look at it.
Don't you love the four way split spirals in the flower's center?

I have yet to discover what this flower is called.

It was blooming right next to the Monk's Hood in our camp site.

Photographing Monk's Hood using various camera settings.

The mystery flower was being worked over by a mystery bee.
I say mystery bee because it has a bright orange red bottom unlike regular golden colored honey bees or furry yellow bumble bees.

I do like a dappled background effect.

The stream actually ran in three parallel paths by our campsite.
I waded over to check them all out, pushing my way through dense vegetation to get to each streambed.
The light on this one was especially beautiful.

Ragged yellow daisy shaped blooms looked great in a scene, less charming up close.

A quartet of Wild Geraniums grew out and over the running water.
I was surprise that there were no water edge growing Shooting Stars to be seen.
But then again I wasn't looking particularly diligently.
Sometimes a meander and seeing whatever is enough for a lazy get away kind of adventure.
Today is the last day of July.
We have had rain and temperatures in the low 70s the  last two days.
Such a relief after high 90s the rest of the month!
Mid summer...wonder what the rest of summer will hold?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Calvin's first camp

Calvin was just one month old on the second day of camp, a tiny bit too little to camp out with us over night so his mom and other grandmother brought him up for dinner and campfire time.
He slept on the table in his car seat while we ate.

Once he woke up we got a new family picture taken on the picture taking log.
Trying to get everyone's expression right at the same time: Challenging!

Someday when the boys are grown up we will have to have them pose exactly like this again.

Pretty good/good enough!

I wonder if this face making will be a habit once they are older too?
I hear that behavior is true about a lot of brothers.

Calvin has had his other grandmother at his beck and call for the last couple of weeks.
She shared a few insights into Calvin that might help me when I get to watch him two days a week starting in a couple of weeks, after her visit time ends.

Bernie finally had his chance to hold and get to know Calvin.

My brown eyed baby boy grandson.
While Cal was in Bernie's hands I had my first chance to take pictures of Calvin while he was fully awake.
I feel like I hardly know him, or at least compared to how well I know his big brother.
A few hundred photos of Calvin taken over the next two years ought to fix that problem.

I snapped away, capturing his changing expressions.

He is still so tiny...Bernie's hands look huge aside Calvin's small head.

He seems to be studying Bernie's face as much as Bernie is studying Cal's face.

He has learned to smile...and stick out his tongue too.
Useful skills to have at four weeks of age.

Luke has had his daddy to himself for a couple of days; now Luke is ready for some Mommy time and Jeff is ready for some Calvin time.

Me...I am happy for any time with either of them.
So glad they live nearby and I can have time with both of them often.
Hopefully we will have plenty of camp time over the years too.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Redman: Our favorite local campground.

It is that time of year again when we skedaddle out of the heat below and drive 25 minutes into the mountains to camp in the cool higher altitude so close to home.
Our usual destination: Redman Campground up in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
We always try to get camp site #13 that sits right on Big Cottonwood Creek.
(Luke at 2 1/2 month, during his first camping trip at Redman.)
This year, at two years and three months, the inevitable happened:
Papa taught him to fly fish.

 Learning to strip the line...
Watch the tip, and keep one's eye on the fish.
(Yes there were small five inch trout in the stream that ran aside our camp site.
Bernie caught and released several down stream a bit.  Luke didn't hook anything quite yet.)

 Luke boldly touched bugs this year.
He enjoyed his breakfast time with his Daddy.
I carefully explained that when he eventually goes camping with just the guys, he should not expect to see a table cloth used.
And he probably shouldn't ask why there isn't one or suggest that there should be one.
Just guy camping usually doesn't include that sort of extra detail.
 Guys do (mostly) brush their teeth when they go camping though.
 Oh boy...the same log that was used during Luke's first camping trip picture was still there.

The same log on the first trip...
 Pretty fun to take an update photo.
 Camping means one can just walk around with a slice of bread and no one will freak out about spreading crumbs around.
 Nap time and bed time is actually fun when it happens in a tent.
No need to ask twice if he wanted to go to bed!
 He did have hiking boots but actually just wore his sneakers.
He soon learned that bare footing in pine needles results in foot owies.
He got pretty good at wearing his sneakers, and pulling them off every time he went inside a tent.
(And sometimes he was allowed to be totally at one with nature, save his sneakers.  Falling down in the gravel and pine needles while buck naked definitely had it negative aspects.)
Part of camping is taking hikes.
 Hikes: Dad hikes, two year olds ride.
And he is so cool he wears his batman sunglasses as he is carried along.
 The hike was around Silver Lake, just a few minutes up the road from the campsite.
Pretty isn't it?
 The hike begins.
 A check to see if there are any fish.
Luke was busy studying wild flowers, in this case, a stalk of Monk's Hood.
 He had acquired a rock along the way too I think.
 A hike around Silver Lake is easy and on a totally flat trail.
Leave it to the guys to decide they wanted to try a more challenging hike.
The area map was consulted.
 After some discussion concerning mileage and elevation gain, the guys decided to hike up to Twin Lake.
 The trail starts pretty smoothly but soon is very steep.
 Which way should we go?
 OK, Luke says this way.
About ten minutes into the hike I was pooped out.
It was just too steep and too hot to be appealing to me.
I waved Jeff and Luke on while Bernie stayed with me in the shade.
(I had hiked up to other area lakes a few years back; I have learned lakes at the end of a steep hike tend to be blue and have a nice view. I can look at the pictures of other lake hikes if I need to refresh my memory!)
 After about an hour Luke and Jeff came back down the trail and we resumed our walk around Silver Lake.
By then a female moose was wading around!
Oh so cool!
 Jeff and Luke shared a tent while Bernie and I had our own tent.
In the morning Luke would come over and politely knock on our tent door to be let in for morning snuggle time.
Jeff was happy to let him go wake us up so he himself could get a little extra sleep.
 Luke would slip inside and carefully pull off his shoes before climbing up on the bed with us for hugs and giggles and silliness like staring at each other nose to nose until one of us finally blinked.
Guys need to split wood for the campfire.
For now the ax work is a big boy job, hauling split log to the log pile is a suitable job for a little boy.
Bernie and I camped Thursday through Sunday; Jeff and Luke joined us Thursday through Saturday morning.
Thursday and Friday afternoon, Rachel and her mom Debra and newborn Calvin came up to join us for dinner and campfire time.
Singing around the campfire with a two year old is lots of fun!
After Jeff and Luke left on Saturday morning camp just seemed rather blah.
How many years will it be before Papa, Jeff, Luke and Calvin will be heading out for "Guys Only" camp-outs?
Too soon I am thinking.
For now I claiming Redman as "Girls go camping too" camping.
(To be continued.)