Thursday, December 20, 2012

The End

Given that this is the last day before the destruction of the Mayan civilization, or the last day of autumn, or the end of something....yes, a new post!  And as far as I am concerned, today was just the end of a long period of nature deprivation.  We needed a day outdoors.

First stop to see some elk 
On the way to Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area, we climbed into the Coast Range, where the precipitation splashing against the windshield gradually turned into a white whisper.  By the time we reached our first stop it was snowing heavily and the parking areas were slushy, but the elk were cooperative.
With my 5x zoom

Snowy Owl Hunt
Our main goal was to see if we could find a snowy owl, as we had been seeing many reports of sightings on the South Jetty of the Columbia River.  So we continued on through the snow, which disappeared by the time we reached Astoria.  We drove into Fort Stevens, out to the spit and into Area C.  I scanned the area with my binoculars and, wow!  Is that little white dot out there a snowy owl?  It was was raining hard by this time and we all had to bail out of the car to get closer.  Sure enough, we spotted our lifer snowy owl just that easy!

Because of the hard rain, no camera equipment made it out of the car.  By the time my husband hustled back to remedy that problem, the owl had lifted from its low perch and flapped away.  But what a sight!  Our owl might have been sitting on this same perch.

Now What?
That was too easy.  So we headed over to Fort Clatsop National Memorial.  I had seen a sliver of sunlight to the west so we waited in the car to see if there would be break in the weather when we could dash into the visitors center.  Another surprise: the skies cleared!

We walked to Netul Landing in bright sunlight.

It was beautiful for nearly an hour, but it is the coast, after all, and the rain began again.

And this is what it looked like in the Coast Range on the way home:

If the world were truly coming to an end tomorrow, this is just the type of day I'd want to have as my last.

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