Through the rain forest.

A misty, drizzly day led to a very enjoyable trek through the Olympic National Forest, walking along trails on Walker Mountain, a drive through Quilcene, a Fat Smitty’s burger in Discovery Bay, antiquing in Port Townsend, a little geocaching, climbing through 100 year old bunkers at Fort Worden State Park, and walking to the beach to see the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Point Wilson Lighthouse.

A few shots from the day…

 

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Different points of view. 

Layers of Cascades foothills with Mount Baker off in the distance, center.Mount Rainier flyby as seen through a window waaaay over on the other side of the plane.  And from my window a few minutes later.  Looking up through a glass sidewalk in Pioneer Square from the Seattle Underground

Not a sculpture.

I took a field trip today to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden Museum, down by Zilker Park.  Admission is free this summer, through the end of August, thanks to donations from Amplify Austin.   You may want to check it out as well.  Hours are Tue-Fri 10am-4pm, and Sat & Sun noon-4pm.

I’ve been there before, but it has been over 15 years.  It was a lovely morning, and I headed out before it got too hot.   Charles Umlauf was born in 1910, died in 1994, and was a prolific sculptor.  His first commissioned work was at age 12!   The sculpture garden lies on land between his former home and Barton Springs, and displays 50+ of his works scattered throughout lovely, wooded grounds.

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My favorite:

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Spirit of Flight, 1959

Ok, so, now for the best part… as I was walking through the grounds I noticed a large dark shape sitting on a branch of a tree right over the trail I just walked on.  I realized it was a bird.  A big one.  It was just sitting there, watching me, as I doubled back to try to get a picture.   It was an unexpected sight, and I love the shot.  After I got home I looked online to identify the bird… I believe it to be a barred owl.

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Sails aloft.

We ended up sleeping on the boat in our slip last night.  Lori, Marty & Sue, and Joe did the same.  Sunday morning we all hung around and visited.  In the afternoon, Monte and I went out on Marty & Sue’s boat and went for a great sail up past Windy Point and back.   The winds were sporting!  Here’s a shot from that trip.

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Danger lurks.

I love the water and being out on our boat on the lake.  We are out there nearly every week, year round.   I don’t take for granted the beautiful scenery and the freedom of feeling the sun and wind on my face.   We have fun too; lots of fun with friends.   We spent Friday through Monday on the lake this past July 4th weekend.   We were sun-baked, sore and tired when we finally got home.  But we did get home.  Sadly, on Lake Travis alone, on this one weekend of the year, there were several accidents and drownings:   a 2-year old baby girl fell off a dock near Emerald Point and drowned before her family could rescue her; a bi-plane crashed into the crowded waters off Windy Point, thankfully with no casualties; two motor boats collided one evening near Devil’s Cove, sending ten people into the water in the dark, four people to the hospital, and one driver to jail for DUI; and the body of a 50-year old man was found drowned off Graveyard Point.   The previous weekend a 9-year old girl was injured by the spinning propeller of a motor boat operated by her father as she was floating off the back of the boat near Mansfield Dam Park.   And there have been 2 or 3 other drownings on Lake Travis just in the last month.  Tragic.  Sad.   It makes you pause.  It should make you pause.  It is easy to underestimate or disregard the potential dangers of being on the water, and the responsibility all boaters have to take care for ourselves, our guests, and the other boaters whose paths we cross.

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Another serene view from Cow Creek

The lake can look serene, but can be deadly.   Put your lifejackets on your kids!   Keep yours on or at least within reach if you are in the boat, and always put one on if you get out of the boat to swim or jet-ski or kayak or SUP or ski or wave-board.  Learn the rules of the road… who has right-of-way, when.   Maintain the required 50′ minimum distance from other boats while underway.  Study the maps of the lake so you know where you are and where you are going.   Don’t drink and drive a boat.  Learn how to anchor securely and safely.  Don’t drive over the anchor rodes of boats you are approaching.  Pay attention to the wind to know how it will blow your boat relative to other boats at anchor.  Know that your boat throws a wake and be courteous to other boaters.  Learn to recognize marker buoys:  hazard buoys, no-wake buoys and channel markers.   A cove with a no-wake buoy means just that:  don’t drive your boat or jet-ski at a speed that will create any wake.   Do not operate your motor if anyone is near your boat or any lines are floating near your boat.   Watch out for floating debris in the water.   Use your running lights after sunset.  Learn how to interpret the running lights on other boats to know in what direction they are moving.   And for God’s sake, slow down.

Check out the LCRA’s safe boating advice.  Or, better yet, take a Texas Parks & Wildlife Department boater safety course.  It is actually required by law in Texas for anyone born after September 1, 1993 who is operating a jet-ski, or any boat with 15 HP or greater motor, or any sailcraft over 14 feet.

Learn how to recognize the signs of drowning.  It’s not necessarily how it is depicted in the movies.

Please be careful out there.

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Hundreds of motor boaters milling around, waiting for Lago Vista fireworks show Saturday night.

Happy place.  

We spent Friday night and Saturday morning in Cow Creek, one of the loveliest coves on Lake Travis.  In the morning we had the entire cove to ourselves.  We each took a turn kayaking around it.  The wall has water perpetually seeping out showering the lake below and there are curtains of mineral deposits and caves along its face.    It’s a beautiful thing. 

May the Fourth be with you. 

We headed up the lake yesterday (yes, a Friday!) for 2 or 3 nights to see what we could see.  We are anchored in a lovely cove this AM about 20 miles upriver from our marina.  The sun was scorching yesterday.  I like how it was illuminating our flag.  I hope you have a great 4th of July.  

Quittin’ time.

To celebrate the end of my last day of work, at 5pm last night I popped the cork on a bottle of Dom Pérignon Vintage 1993 that I received upon my promotion to the executive ranks.  (woo hoo!)    I kept putting off opening it until an appropriately auspicious occasion.

IMG_0578Well, here we are 15 years later – and this was to be the occasion.   Conventional wisdom says that good champagne shouldn’t be saved or aged.   I didn’t really know that at the time.   Over the years we have joked that this bottle of champagne, which has taken up space in our refrigerator on its side all these years, was going to be flat and vinegary when we eventually opened it.  So, i was fully expecting that.  We even had a backup bottle of bubbly on ice, just in case.  But, low and behold, there was a resounding pop when the cork came off, and no shortage of fizz and bubbles!  And it tasted good, like… a very special bottle of champagne.    :)   I take that to be a good omen on the closing of one chapter of my life, and the start of the next.

Cheers!

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I would also like to thank Teri & Jim for this absolutely stunning orchid that they sent me today.   You guys are the best!   It’s gorgeous, thank you!IMG_0576

 

 

Out on the town.

Last night we celebrated Laura’s birthday by going on a wine bar crawl downtown.  We had picked out 6 or so places ahead of time to stop in at for appies and drinks during the night.  We made it to 5 of them!  In crawl-order:  Prelog’s, Irene’s, True Food Kitchen, La Condesa & The Secret Bar at the W Hotel.  A good time was had by all.

I especially liked this overhead light fixture at La Condesa:

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Seen on a building along one leg of the crawl…. i agree:)IMG_0559 (1)