Sunday, August 27, 2017

August 2016: Klamath Falls, Total Eclipse, Fall Trips

It’s been a busy time with some short trips, some golf, and lots of medical concerns and tests. Now, though, it is time to get back to some writing. In this post will be commentary about a trip to Klamath Falls, Oregon, and sharing of photos from the Great American Eclipse (August 21, 2017 in case you didn’t notice the traffic jams nationwide). Finally, I’ll share photos and notes on fall trips and going back to Scotland.
At the beginning of the month, Anne and I took a several day jaunt to the Klamath Falls area to visit with my sister and her husband, Dee and Chuck Foster, and visit their children, Nathan and Jennilee, and their grandchildren, Liam and Eleanor.

View of Mt Shasta and Shastina from the Foster's home in Shastina, CA.
We managed to do some hiking and play some golf as well. Besides visiting with family we don’t get to see too often, the highlights of the trip were birds and trees. 
Curly Mt Mahogany 

On a short hike in a Klamath City park Chuck spied a Great Horned Owl in a nearby tree. 

The owl let me get quite close before giving me the evil eye as only a bird of prey can. I got several good shots and then backed respectfully away. In that park we also saw smaller birds including woodpeckers, but it was on the Running Y Resort golf course that we had our next major encounter. We flushed a golden eagle out of the brush on one hole (no photo) and watched an osprey make a unsuccessful lunge for a grey squirrel (startling, no photo). 

A couple of holes later an osprey was perched on a dead tree near the tee box. It let me get a couple of quick shots before it took flight. Despite the smoke of nearby forest fires, it was a delightful trip. As an aside, congratulation to Jennilee and Nathan for the birth of their second daughter, Audrey Elizabeth Foster (8-25-17).
Salt creek Falls was a pleasant stop on the way home.

Two and a half weeks later we, along with millions of others, watched the Great American Eclipse. Oregon was the first state in the path of totality which went clear across the country. We had plans to go to central Oregon for the show, but after hearing predictions of massive traffic jams there we decided to stay more local. We set up at Anne’s sister’s house (Charleen and Dave Hoiland) in Salem almost in the center of the path of totality—the four of us had been together for the 1979 solar eclipse (near Biggs, OR). 

We got set up on their patio with grand views east before the eclipse started. Next door (300 or so yards away) was a party organized by a local brewery—at 9:30AM not too many were going to get too rowdy even though the kegs in the barn were complementary. 

The event was different than the 1979 event—not as long or as dark—but just as awe inspiring. My pictures turned out well, but nothing can match the image in my mind of the eclipsed sun and Venus in the cold morning sky. 

We also got to experience some of the traffic jams caused by the million or so tourists who visited Oregon for the eclipse—taking back roads off back roads from Salem to Canby, a trip that normally takes 45 minutes, took two hours. We’re already thinking about the next US solar eclipse in 2024 in Texas.
Last for this post is a discussion of our fall trips, including the trip to Scotland we weren’t planning to take. Our plan most of the year has been to take a trip to the American Southwest (Moab and Santa Fe) in September instead of a second trip to Scotland. That trip is planned (see the next blog post), but something happened to our plans in the early summer. As I was researching our route from Albuqueque to Moab to Durango to Santa Fe and back to Albuquerque and the various sites along the way (rocks, rock art, churches) I got more and more uneasy—why wasn’t I planning a fall trip to Scotland? It didn’t seem natural to not be planning for Scotland. After all, we’ve been taking two trips to Scotland every year (with only a couple of exceptions) since 2001. I looked at my photos and then checked prices of air tickets—they were cheaper than they’d been in years. When Anne got home from golf that afternoon I told her we were booked on flights to Scotland in October. It will be our 30th trip to Scotland since we retired in 2000. We are now scheduled for 10 days in our Crieff home base (Merlindale B&B), two nights in lighthouse on the east coast, five days of touring to and around the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides, two days of golf at Dornoch, seven days in the Highland village of Aviemore, and three days back in the Crieff/Edinburgh area. 
Why couldn’t I stay away? First, we are going because we can. Secondly, we are going because…well just look at the photos….
Quaint seaside villages like Anstruther.

A forest path in Aberfeldy.

Colorful shed in Boat of Garten.

Pittenweem is just one of several photogenic harbors near St Andrews.

Even the smallest hamlet, like Bridge of Balgie, can host an interesting tea room.

The locals are friendly.

Castles, such as Eileen Donna, can be just around a corner.

Scotland is filled with blooming heather and mountain scenery. 

Waterfalls are plentiful in Scotland. They only use a small portion of the water for their whisky.

There's a photo to be taken everyplace you look.

Scotland has interesting stories to tell--Adrvreck Castle.

Fall Colors

Great Houses

You can stay in a Stevenson built lighthouse like the one at Buchan Ness. We will.

Maybe you can trace your family roots back to a castle like Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye. 

Plenty of birdlife.

The landscape is uber-dramatic, like at the Quairang on the Isle of Skye.

Cities like Edinburgh grab your attention.

Even the smallest of villages is attractive (Leadhills).

The people are fascinating.

NEXT: A report or two from Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico.