Posts tagged: bald eagle

About as Far as We Can Go–Lubec, ME

By , October 2, 2010 8:02 am

While we were in Bar Harbor, David suggested we head up to Lubec so we could see the most Eastern point of the country.  It was only a couple of hours, so we figured “why not”.  Now, we’re really glad we went…  It ranks way up there in my list of favorite stops!

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One of our first stops was the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse. It’s called West Quoddy because there’s one that even further East (called East Quoddy).  But that one is in Canada, so West Quoddy is still the Easternmost point in the US.
Note: That’s the basis for the title of the post… it’s as far as we can go and still be in the US.  Don’t worry, we’re still going to go some more. 😉

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Fortunately for us, our campground was located directly across the street from Monica’s Chocolates… a place that kind of puts Lubec on the map and is one of the main reasons to go.  If you like chocolate, Monica’s is worth going out of the way for.  But be warned, you get what you pay for… nothing she sells is cheap, but it may well be the best chocolate we’ve ever had.  Just to give you an idea of what to expect…  when Monica makes hot chocolate, she doesn’t pour powder or syrup in a cup of hot water.  She melts chocolate in a pot! Smile (It wouldn’t surprise me if Dasy wants to do another post just for this). Winking smile

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From Lubec, you can hop across the border into Canada and visit Campobello Island.  Here we found the East Quoddy Head Lighthouse, Roosevelt’s “cottage” and lots of sea critters!  Seals, porpoises, and whales! There were quite a few finback whales, but we also spotted a humpback.  In the pictures below, the whales showing only the backs are finbacks.  The tail picture is a small humpback. We also managed to see several bald eagles while exploring the island!

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Even though the weather turned a bit “icky” for a day or two, we really liked the area and were pleasantly surprised by how much we were able to see.  If you are anywhere near the area, you should definitely make the effort to come up here!

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Unfortunately, this would almost be our last stop with Dave and Brenda. Sad smile  They had to get back home and Dasy started to get an itch to get back to Virginia.  We packed up and headed South, planning to stop one more night with them, which we’ll post about later!

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Hunting The Hunters

By , June 6, 2010 9:23 pm

Gallatin National Forest

On our last outing while in West Yellowstone, we decided to go see if we could find some bear in Gallatin National Forest.  There’s a section called The Narrows that’s on Hegben Lake that we’d been told was closed to visitors due to bear activity.  Apparently, there were some carcasses (of unspecified type and origin) that were on the beach and the bear were feeding on them.  When I’d gone on my morning outing a few days earlier, I’d gotten close to the closed area, but didn’t actually go as far as I could.  I figured that was our best shot at finding some bear.  Even if we didn’t see any bear, it would be a nice drive through the woods and would be close enough to town that we could call it quits in an hour or two if we got tired (we did).

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We ended up going north of Hegben lake to see if we could see any bear activity across the lake.  We figured that would be easiest and safest… bears can run fast, but they aren’t the quickest of swimmers. ;)  We saw nothing of bear or carcasses.  So, we headed back and took a bunch of Jeep trails towards the bear area. 

We stopped first at Horse Butte Overlook.  We saw evidence of bear (shed fur), but again there were no bear.  We did see a couple of Ranger looking people but they didn’t stop us or say anything, so we pretty much ignored them. 🙂

The view from Horse Butte was nice and we spotted a herd of bison in the distance (the picture above is taken from Horse Butte Overlook).  But, our quest for the day was BEAR!

We headed back down the butte and followed some more Jeep/forest roads towards the closed area.  The sign marking the road closure had been knocked over earlier and… um… we didn’t see it until we left.  So, we headed all the way through the closed area and all the way to the beach.  Unfortunately, I think this was another park service publicity stunt… no fanged or clawed furry critters were to be seen.  While it was little consolation to us, we did spot our first picah on the way out (sorry, no pictures, they’re skittish and FAST!). 

After that little drive, we headed back along Hegben Lake towards town, stopping at various little scenic overlooks.  At one point we had to drive through the herd of bison we’d spotted earlier from the butte.  A few of them did NOT look happy about it!  I don’t have any pictures, because I was driving and didn’t want to stop the Jeep.  I thought there was a real possibility of one of them getting unhappy enough to charge us.  They’re awesome creatures from afar, but they much more intimidating when staring at you from three feet away!

There were two other interesting things we spotted though…  Osprey and eagles.  There were several osprey, but one of them flew pretty close to us and he’d just been fishing!

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I don’t know how big that fish was, but I’d have been plenty happy with the portion size if it was on my plate.  One of the bald eagles must have thought the same thing and it started chasing the osprey!  I figured the osprey would just drop the fish and run, but he was quite set on keeping his own dinner.  Much to our surprise the osprey just kept climbing (with the fish) and managed to keep several flaps ahead of the eagle.   We’re not sure of the final outcome, as they were eventually too high for us to keep track of them.  My bet is on the osprey!

After that we headed back to town.  Rob and Lara had a flight to catch the next day and Dasy was going with them, as there were some family and friends back in northern Virginia she wanted to visit. 

Oh… we never did see a bear on our trip to Yellowstone. 🙁

Note: This was about a week ago… I’m playing “catch-up”.  I’m currently in Coram, MT, just outside Glacier National Park.  The Star is all fixed and working and I’m chilling here for a week.  I’ll be in or around the park for a couple of days when the weather is decent and will be working when it rains.  Judging by the forecast, I’ll be working quite a bit. :S  But… I saw a bear today! 😛

Walking Around A Volcano

By , May 28, 2010 4:19 pm

West Yellowstone, MT and Yellowstone National Park, WY

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We arrived in West Yellowstone, Montana about a week ago and got the RV set up while waiting for friends from Virginia to join us.  The first day was a nice chance for Dasy and I to run around West Yellowstone and do some basic exploring before hitting Yellowstone itself.  To make it less confusing, let me define West Yellowstone and Yellowstone.

West Yellowstone is the town in Montana that is just outside of Yellowstone National Park.  It’s one of the closest areas you can stay in outside the park.  It’s located in Gallatin National Forest and serves as the “gateway” to the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park.  We’re staying at Wagon Wheel RV park while we’re here.

Yellowstone National Park is located mostly in Wyoming, although small parts of it are also in Montana and Idaho.  I’ll refer to Yellowstone National Park as YNP from here on.

IMG_0706West Yellowstone is a neat little frontier town.  It’s not hard to imagine someone pulling up with a wagon full of skins at a traders store.  There are even bison wandering around!

The next morning, our friends (Rob and Lara) and us headed into YNP itself.  There were a number of road closures, due both to weather and bear activity.  We were in the park a little before the prime tourist season and it was still quite cold and weather was somewhat unpredictable (most people would definitely describe it as winter).

IMG_0710We saw a number of wild animals in the park, which for some reason generally makes us happier than scenery.  One of the first we spotted was a pair of golden eagles nesting near the road.  We stopped briefly and watched from a distance and took a few pictures.  There was a 1/4 mile “quarantine” zone that people weren’t supposed to stop in, so we were still a fair distance away.

We were also lucky enough to spot a wolf, presumably looking for food, near the Gibbon River.  Unfortunately, my camera lens appears to be getting worse and I only got one shot that was anywhere close to being in focus.  I think the sand in Moab did a number on the lens and it doesn’t like to focus any more.  I’ll clean it and see how it does over the next week or so.IMG_0725

One of the notable things that happened would turn out to be a recurring theme.  Even though it wasn’t really tourist season yet, we’d have to deal with traffic jams in the park.  But, unlike most traffic jams, these were usually caused by bison. 😉

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We also were lucky enough to spot some elk when we stopped for lunch at Mammoth Hot Springs in the park.  It would turn out that the bison and elk were pretty common and were generally found all over the place, but it was nice that we spotted some on the first day in the park.

IMG_0826After lunch, we checked out the springs and then headed back out for West Yellowstone.

It’s really easy to forget that Yellowstone is the largest active volcanic system in the world.  It’s such a beautiful place and really good example of how big this country is.  But then, you find some geologic feature that’s spouting steam and smells like sulfur and it sinks in a bit…

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…we’re walking on a volcano… a really BIG one! 

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