Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Run State Park in Indiana

In August we camped with out children and grandchildren (some of them) at Turkey Run State Park in central Indiana.  It is a place we had never been before, though some of the others had been there, and we thoroghly enjoyed our time together and the beautiful scenery of the park.

The main feature of the park is an area of sandstone ravines that can be explored by hiking various trails.  It was hard to get good pictures, both because of the deep shadows in the ravines, and because the pictures do not really show how beautiful this area is.

We did a lot of hiking, but also went swimming and tubing in Sand Creek which runs through the park.  Even the smaller grandchildren were able to go since the water is not very deep anywhere along the creek.  Though I used a lot of sunscreen my legs were badly sunburned since it was sunny and warm that day.

The wildflowers were mostly finished but we did see a few as well as a lot of other small nature, including millipedes and the strange caterpillar shown in the pictures below.  I did not have time or opportunity to identify what we saw and have left them unidentified here, even those whose names I knew.

The area is also home to many old covered bridges - it has more than any other part of the country - and there are several of them in the park itself.  We were more interested in hiking and enjoying family, but did manage to get to one of the bridges.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Whale Watching

Towards the end of August, while our grandson was staying with us, we went whale-watching, something we had not done before, but will certainly do again.  We sailed from Anacortes and were on the water from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, a very long day, but very worthwhile.  We sailed with Mystic Sea Charters and were very pleased with the relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the trip.

The reports were that the Orcas, the most popular whales in Puget Sound had headed out to sea but that there were several humpbacks in the area, though far out in the sound.  The trip to see them was quite long, but there was plenty to see as we made our way through the San Juan Islands and out to a more open area between Vancouver Island and the Olympic Peninsula.

When we arrived at the area where the humpbacks had been reported we found not only a pair of them but a number of other boats following them and we stayed with them for about an hour, watching them dive and surface about every 10-15 minutes.  The boat's captain said that this was quite unusual - that usually it was 30 minutes or more between dives.

On the way back we saw some Minke whales but there was really nothing to photograph, nor was there much point in trying to photograph the porpoises that followed the boats through the islands.  The captain did, however, stop at Mermaid Rock to give us opportunity to see and photograph the sea lions there.  They and the cormorants made quite and impressive display.

The captain also allowed our grandson, the only child on the boat to sit in the captain's seat and drive the boat.  This was, for him, a bigger thing than seeing the whales.  One of the crew also took him down into the engine room for an engine check, after giving him a pair of ear muffs to wear down in the hold.  I am sure it was a day that he will not quickly forget - certainly it was for us.