The Gadabout

Rambling travelogs from a world traveler

Friday, May 14, 2021

The Cascade Lane


The Cascade Lane
"Vision is the art of seeing things invisible."  
Jonathan Swift

Gentle Readers,

The Muse has finally moved me to post.

My friend, Patrick, whom - due to the magic of the internet - I've never met in person, lives down south of Portland Oregon. He has a blog where he recently posted a nice mental image: "I count nine vapor trails heading north, the Cascade lane."

The Cascade Lane....what a great phrase! I've cruised the Cascade Lane a number of times and made those contrails.

Normally, it being the Pacific Northwest, the ground is covered in clouds - or because I work for FedEx, it's dark. Yet for one glorious week in 2003, it was frequently clear and I got some great pictures.

The FedEx version of the Cascade Lane routes us from Oakland due north over Portland, Oregon to Seattle Washington. Here is a map. When you take off from Oakland, the noise abatement departure routes you over Oakland Bay. This is some of the most picturesque low altitude flying in the world. I apologize for the quality of these pictures..

In this picture, we've just lifted off from Oakland and you are looking directly north. Downtown Saffron Cisco is center left, the Bay Bridge, Treasure Island, and Alcatraz are also in the center. On the right is the runways from the closed Alameda Naval Air Station. If you've ever watched "Myth Busters" those runways are where they shoot many of their episodes.

The Golden Gate Bridge is under the fog north of San Francisco.

When the fog rolls into San Francisco only the tallest buildings stick up above the undercast.

This is one is from just north of San Francisco looking back south. The top of the Trans America building is just peaking out of the clouds. I think the California Center is the building just beyond that.

Further up the bay, looking back south, it looks like this:

Then you turn north and the first real landmark is Mt. Lassen,

and then Mt Shasta.

Mount Shasta begins a nearly continuous string of volcanoes caused by the subduction of the Pacific Plate under the North American Plate. You fly directly over the top of Mt Shasta.

Soon after that you pass what I think is one of the best volcanic features of the Cascade Lane: Crater Lake. It was formed by the collapse of a volcanic caldera.

Then comes the Three Sisters.

So far, these volcanoes have been smallish. (with the exception of Mt Shasta...) As you near Portland, Oregon, you begin to see the monsters. Here is Mt Jefferson and Mt Hood.

Mt Jefferson up closer:

Next you pass directly over Portland, Or.

This is a bad picture, looking east up the Columbia River. Mt Hood is just visible.

Just north of Portland, you pass abeam Mt St Helens and Mt Adams. In this picture you can see the gray area north of St Helens that is the ash lahar out-flow from the 1980 eruption.

Finally, you pass by Mt Ranier.

and land at SeaTac.

The Cascade Lane, I love it!

I remain,

Dad / Geoff

1 comment:

bastinptc said...

Wave next time, somewhere west between the Sisters and Jefferson.


Thursday, April 1, 2021

Grouse Spy Can

 “Waiting. Like it or not, it's a skill all spies have to master eventually.” ~ Ally Carter


Gentle Readers and Loved Ones,

Unless of course, you have a game cam, then you can go off and do other things and the well designed game cam waits, finger poised over the shutter button, so you don't have to.

"What in the world are you blathering about now?"

The last two days, I went out and put my game cam on a Ruffed Grouse Drumming log I know about.  Ruffed Grouse males select a nice log in the woods and get up on it and beat their wings to call to females.  It's a quite striking sound

  I got several photos to share.  

All fluffed to keep warm

I've had about enough of this camera, human.

Sunrise Drumming

Sunrise Drumming

Fluffed up for the night.

I'l be glad when this dern camera is gone.

On that happy note, I remain, 


Monday, January 4, 2021

Last Hunt


   "The real world is the part that doesn't go away when you stop believing in it." ~ Phillip Dick


Grouse season ended up here on Sunday, Jan 3.  Rowdy and I went out for a last hunt, hopeful of catching a grouse up in the warm sunshine in the trees.  We did not succeed.


 On the other hand, about halfway through the roughly mile loop we slogged, we found some really interesting tracks in the snow.

Snow makes even an inept tracker like me look good.  The first sign we found was thisI think it was a crow swooping down to dust off in the snow.  I understand that winter birds eat snow to hydrate, so that may be what you see here.


I think this next picture is obvious.  I measured the wing span and it was roughly 2-3 feet wide.  A big bird, probably a hawk or an owl, hit the snow going fast enough to leave wing and tail impressions.  The big depression in the snow roughly where talons are is where the small mammal was hit.  I don't think the raptor ever stopped flying..... 


I used Photoshop to enhance that picture to clear see the outlines.

This next picture is fun for me.  Normally, grouse 'walk' on the ground alternating steps.  When the snow is light or in the sand you can see the staggered steps.  But when the snow is this deep, evidently they hop along two feet at a time.  This grouse ran out of the woodsy cover and took off on the ATV trail.  The wing span was much smaller than the raptor.  Less than a foot wide. 


Finally, this last picture shows grouse hop steps into a hole that the bird had dug in the snow to find nuts, seeds and plant matter.   

On that happy note, I remain,


Saturday, January 2, 2021

Winter Grouse

 "If you don't think too good, don't think too much." ~ Ted Williams

 Gentle Readers and Loved Ones,

Bear with me while I pair my youth with today.  If hunting discussions, upset you, please stop reading now.

So…almost 40 years ago, while I was stationed on Okinawa, my hobby and passion was scuba diving.  I had a nice Nikonos UW camera and got some great shots. 

In between shots; however, I was shelling.  The warm waters surrounding Okinawa were home to a lot of classically beautiful sea shells.  Despite what you may think, you don’t get undamaged sea shells while walking the surf line.  You get them while the animal still lives in them and it is using it’s mantle to build and repair them.  

Shells - image gallery | marine species information ...
 Cowry with mantle.

There’s a reason I’m telling you this.  A live shell does not look it does in the store.  It’s probably covered in sand and seaweed.  The shell likes that, it’s natural camouflage.  What I’m working my way around to is the notion that you have to use “indirect sight” to find sea shells while swimming 30’ under the sea.  You have to learn the art of look at nothing and letting your sub-conscious work on the shapes.  When you get into the zone, suddenly your brain will just scream “That’s a shell!” and sure enough when you examine a shapeless lump on a rock, you see the shell.  It’s all zen n’ stuff.

Now to connect all this blather to Winter Grouse hunting. In the fall, finding the bird is almost all totally Rowdy’s responsibility.  When the birds are on the ground in their favorite fall habitat, the dog has all the advantages to finding birds.  Sound and smell are the dog’s domain.  Your goal is to keep the dog close enough so that when he flushes the bird you are ready for it.

But come winter, the birds move into warmer and higher roosts and the human eye gains an advantage.  Especially on a warmish – 25F – day like today when there is bright sunshine beaming – well, not quite “down”, call it across into the trees.  The sun is always low.

In this weather, the Grouse spend the nights burrowed in the snow, it’s warmer for them.  But during the day, they fly up high into the hard woods and the popples looking for dead frozen buds and seeds.  And they enjoy the warmth of the sunshine.

So.. you have to employ the “indirect sight” skill I learned back on “The Rock”.  You have to walk around slowly, looking up into the trees vaguely.  Not concentrating.  Letting your subconscious see the fuzzy grouse for you. 

This worked great today.  Suddenly, there he was, 30 yards away up in a popple tree, looking at me looking at him.  He jumped off the limb about the time I got the gun mounted and I managed to get out in front of him at the third shot.

Rowdy was right on him for the retrieve.  So, we bagged a third grouse this season on the next to last day of Grouse season.  Gonna try one more time tomorrow for the ender.



On that happy note, I remain,