Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sewer Entertainment ...

I was a rookie at this RV stuff at one time and I'm sure people watched me and laughed.  Hahaha, a lady having to dump her black tank.  Now, I always try to help out if someone is having difficulty, or maybe doesn't even know what they are doing.  Sometimes that results in lots of thank you's ... sometimes not so much, so I've learned not to offer, just walk by .... maybe they'll ask.  He didn't.

It seemed there were two gentlemen in this rig since I saw two different trucks come and go.  I was surprised to see this guy left by himself to move the rig out.  Yes, it's very damp next to their trailer because they unhooked the sewer line from the trailer ONLY, the day before.  It's laying UNDER the rig, right up against the 4 x 4 tire block under the tire.  

Yeah, I saw this one coming too!!  He backed up his truck to hitch up and left it running, entirely blocking the roadway for over an hour (yes, I'm serious) while he jacked up the front, not with the trailer jack, but with a tiny car jack and a too short handle.  Jack it up, set wood block.  Jack it up again, take out wood block.  I'm not really sure what the problem was there, but he couldn't seem to get the jack OUT once he got the hitch down.   I quickly moved my car.  Then he tried to drive off.

The block of wood and the sewer hose (see the red by the front tire?) stopped his forward progress.  Ten minutes of trying to get the block out from under the tire, he finally decided to back up.
Free at last, he left his truck running (with the trailer now attached) STILL blocking the entire road, while he tried to figure out what to do with seven sections of sewer hose ... NOT empty by the way.  He just wasn't quite tall enough to raise it so it would dump.  After three tries, he dropped it, allowing even more water (or whatever) to roll out on the ground.  

Finally, he went to the OTHER end and picked up the last two sections to drain into the sewer.  You KNOW what happened to the middle sections, right?  Even MORE water came rushing out.  By the time he was finished, he was more than a little damp around the edges.  He then proceeded to wash each individual section under the water faucet he was previously connected to.  UGH!!!
About 95 minutes later, he finally jumped in his truck with tires WAY too low in pressure to be towing this rig, and took off.  I hope he doesn't go over any big bumps because the trailer jack remained in the almost down position, about three inches above the ground.  This is an accident waiting to happen!!
With the excitement done for the day, I worked on my solar eclipse camera lens.  Why do I need this?  Because looking into the sun through several pieces of thick glass is worse than staring at it full bore.  I previously ordered some lens material to make a filter, but none of the instructions worked for the size lens I have.  

With spit, duck tape and construction paper, I made a tube to fit over my lens.  They said to attach the material with rubber bands.  As you can tell by the wrinkled edges, that didn't work.  I'm not good at this sort of thing ... not good at all.  My only solution was to glue it on, but the only glue I could find was wood glue.  Don't ask me why I have wood glue ... I've NO idea.  Amazingly, it worked -- sort of.  Thank goodness the wrinkling won't affect the picture at all.
I went outside for a test shot.  The filter material is so dark I couldn't see anything in the viewfinder.  I'll just look for a second to know where to point the camera ... YIKES!! DON'T DO THAT!!  Even one second hurt my eyes.  I thought I better get some glasses.

Timing is everything.  Here I am in a tiny beach town ... who is going to be selling these?  Then I saw on Facebook that Stormin Norman's had some.  I raced to the store just in time to hear the salesgirl tell a lady they had none left.  PLEASE OH PLEASE!!   So the Manager went in the back to see if there was just one more box.  She came back with five pair from the Owner's personal stash.  How lucky was I??  I thanked them profusely and bought three just in case some of the kids here at the park don't have any.
Here are my test images with the jury-rigged lens I made.  Not too bad ... so hopefully I'll have some eclipse pictures when the time comes tomorrow morning.
Keep your fingers crossed there's no fog.  As of now, it supposed to be quite windy.  If not, all of this will have been in vain.  
There's been lots going on around here, including the salmon derby, the eclipse and the kite festival which starts tomorrow morning, just in time for everything to go black from the eclipse.  I won't be on the beach ... I'll be right here in front of my rig with my tripod set up for some eclipse images.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Frozen Peas Make A Good Ice Pack

Don't ask me how I know.  Okay, I'll tell you!!  It wasn't the slide-outs which seem to be the usual culprit when it comes to knocking yourself silly.

I drove out to Ledbetter yesterday morning to pick up a bear-free cache.  No, it wasn't there I got knocked silly, but I got back early enough to watch newbies try to set up tents and easy ups with at least twenty kids riding their bikes like crazy around the park.  When one ran into my car (no damage thank goodness) I figured I would do some laundry to drown out the noise.

Although I have a dryer, I don't use it much.  If I dried anything in the mechanical beast, I would never be able to get them on again.  I hang my shirts and levis all around the rig on every handle I can find that doesn't block the television.  One such handle happens to be by the entry door.

When it was time to take the dogs for a walk, I leashed them up and headed out the door, ducking around the levis and right into the television cabinet.  I've been whacked on the head a lot, but never has it been this bad.  The knot that instantly grew on my head hurt like the dickens!!

What to do??  I grabbed my trusty bag of peas and plopped it on my head.  As long as it was there, the pain was tolerable, but soon it was bed time.  I couldn't think of a way to strap it to my head, so back in the freezer it went.  An hour later I was wide awake with my brain throbbing.  Afraid to take aspirin (doesn't that thin your blood and make it bleed more?) I lay awake for two more hours.  Finally, in desperation, I took advil.

I'm happy to say that it still hurts this morning, but the big knot is gone.  The peas did the trick!!  I think I'll just lounge on the couch today while the fishermen go crazy in the salmon tournament.

The day before, I took Cooper for a walk down to the ocean.  He loves to run in the sand and water.  He doesn't exactly love the bath he gets upon our return.  Down the path we went, right over that snake!!  YIKES!!!!!  He didn't even see it!  I think it was a garter snake, blackish with white stripes the full length.  First time I've seen one on the coast.
Why didn't I take Miss Jessie?  She's not dog friendly.  She becomes a rabid barking cyclone when she sees one, making it extremely difficult to handle two at once.  
We immediately ran into this half eaten three foot long fish.  I have no idea what it was, but it looked kind of like a sturgeon.  The body was still intact and of course Cooper wanted to roll in it immediately. 
He loves the water, but I tried to keep him semi dry.  That white mucky stuff at the edge of the surf is hard to get out of his poodle hair.
He ran straight out into the waves after a bird, got hit with a big one for his size and didn't care at all. He ran circles in the sand for ten minutes before laying down exhausted.  That didn't bode well for the trip back to the rig.  I had to carry him the entire way!!  Thankfully there were no more snakes.
Lunch was a Gut Wagon in Ocean Park right around the corner from Jacks, the famous hardware store with everything you could ever need.  TuTu's Hawaiian BBQ had been on my list of dives to try.  
Boy was I glad I did!  I have to admit this picture doesn't do it justice at all.  There's a mound of beautiful white sticky rice under that teriyaki chicken and big pile of Hawaiian pulled pork, along with a side of macaroni salad and some just perfect not-too-sweet sauce.  Three meals for a measly $10.  I'll definitely be going back there!!
While up on the North end, I stopped in the town of Oysterville for a few pictures.  If I had lots of money, I'd buy the house that's for sale ... only $595,000.  It's a beauty!  If you're ever up in this neck of the woods, don't miss out on downtown Oysterville.

Friday, August 18, 2017

About Those Bears ...

Being raised on a cattle ranch, there weren't many vacations.  Cattle take a lot of work, not to mention growing hay and keeping the grass green for feed.  To supplement their intake, the cattle were driven to the southern end of Sequoia National Forest to graze the forest service lands during the summer.  That's driven, as in get on your horse and drive them the entire way.

In later years, when the Forest Service cut the contracts, we would still go to the cow camp for vacations, mostly fishing, accompanied by the occasional rattle snake encounter.  Actually MANY rattle snakes, since their den was in a huge rock pile just behind the outhouse.  Running water was the creek down the hill.  I don't remember seeing too many bear, but I got the lecture at least once a day about not wandering off or a bear will eat you.

Our meat was hung high up in a tree or placed in a deep steel-lined pit my dad dug later on.  Canned goods were kept in the one room log cabin.  We didn't SLEEP in the cabin, we slept in sleeping bags on the ground, on a big piece of canvas that wrapped back over the top.  One morning my dad showed me the footprints of the bear that had walked right next to my bed.  You never stepped foot out of camp without a gun.   That began my fear of bears and snakes.  It didn't help that I came six inches from stepping on a five foot rattler one day.

When we did get a vacation, it was always for fishing and always WAY in the back country.  One year we went to Yellowstone National Park.  My parents would drop us kids off (usually a few cousins went with us) one at a time around the huge camping area before deciding on which one to stay in.

As I stood in the site, a big crowd of people came down the road, following a HUGE grizzly.  I crawled up on the picnic table seat.  I'm probably six or seven years old.  THAT'S when I saw she had TWO CUBS with her.  I was almost frozen with fear.  Mama bears eat people when they have cubs.  My first thought was "you people are WAY too close" ... she's going to KILL you!

To my dismay, the three bears came straight for me.  I crawled up to the top of the table.  I should have stayed still, because that baby saw me and ran straight for me.  Next thing I know, he's on top of the table sniffing my arm.  I'm literally paralyzed with fear!!  Mama bear took a couple big loping steps towards me huffing all the way and I knew I was dead!!  Go away ... go AWAY!!!

Just as she got to the table (I could have reached out and touched her), the little bear jumped down and they kept going down the road, right to my cousin Patty's camping site.  While she sat on the table, the bear ravaged the tent next door for a loaf of bread.  About that time, my parents came back to pick us up.  I could hardly get down off the table.

As if that wasn't enough, my dad picked a beautiful campsite, remarking he didn't understand why no one was here ... it was the best one in the park.  We found out why later that night when the bears came down the hill to hunt for food in the campground.  We were camped in their entry and exit point.

All through the night bears would come and go.  I figured it was a pretty dangerous place to be since my dad never put his gun down.  We actually banged pots and pans to scare them off, not that they cared really.  They weren't the least bit afraid of us.  Two nights of that and we left.  The bear nightmares began and have continued all my life.  

There have been many more encounters, but that is what started it all.  I have more than a healthy respect for bears, mostly because I've never seen one that ran away from us because they were afraid of humans, even if we were on horseback.

So I'm playing a little catch up here.  Last Sunday I went back to the Astoria Market to get some pictures of the bridge with nice clouds, only to find the construction crew had wrapped the base in white plastic.  That's doesn't make for a very good image.
Luckily my favorite jams were back.  Marionberry JalapeƱo seems to be everyone's favorite and is hard to get your hands on.
You can get a full meal as you walk up and down the street, including beer and wine.  Romero's Mango Salsa was delicious!!
A little geocaching with Matilde the pelican got me nothing.  A big fat ZERO.  The thing is that some people who don't geocache might think it's dumb, taking it and throwing it away if they see you.  It's all about STEALTH.  Don't let anyone know what you are doing.  This one sits in front of a restaurant window, making it impossible for me to find.  With two people, one can distract attention, but with only one, it's pretty obvious I'm looking for something.
Back at the rig, I made Miss Terry's wonderful pizza.  How did I get the dough so round?  When I was on the trip to Maine with Barbara and Tom Westerfield, we stopped in at an amazing quarry where they get headstone material.  Way back in the corner of the gift shop Tom found core samples. About 8 inches long, an inch around and very heavy, they are perfect for rolling out pizza and pie dough.  
At any rate, I threw this together and baked it in my Breville Oven.  You can't go wrong with this recipe.  I even have enough dough left over for one more.  The longer it sits in the fridge, the better it gets!!
The RV park is full to the brim, packed in like sardines.  My neighbors started a nice big smoky fire that blew right in my open door.  I don't understand why people aren't more aware of their neighbors. I slink around in the early mornings, trying not to make a sound when I take the puppies out, but I guess that's just me.

At any rate, I'm thinking rather than stay in the campground and become grumpy (like it's probably too late now) I thought I might go back to Ledbetter Park and see if I can find that bear!!  NOT!!!!  I would like to get more pictures and pick up that geocache near the mosquito gauntlet.  That's how much I'd rather not be in the campground!!  If you don't hear from me tomorrow, you'll know I found the bear!!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Never Give Up .....

Never give up is my new mantra.  Although treasure hunting can be fun, it can also be frustrating.  Just outside Fort Columbia while on my way to Seaside for doggie and bird supplies, I spotted a geocache on my phone.  An easy pick just outside the entrance and on top of this concrete ordinance bunker.  During the cold war, it became the headquarters for all the high ranking officials of Washington State.
On top of the hill, I found the "tree", but the cache was "underneath a fern".  Can I tell you how many ferns there were around that tree?  Hundreds.  There were also hundreds of slugs.  Trust me, there's nothing worse than stepping on one of these 6 inch long behemoths!!  I searched and searched, getting stuck with berry vines galore and inhaling millions of fern spores as I moved them around.  Cough cough!!  This is not fun at all!!  After thirty minutes, I dejectedly stomped back down the hill.
The next one ... a HOLLY tree.  That should have been my first clue to pass it up.  But NO ... never give up ... so I followed all the little trails around SIX holly trees, getting stuck from every direction.  I got my hair entwined so bad in one bush that I had to break off the branch to get unstuck.  At long last, I FOUND IT.  

The log book was teeny tiny and stuck inside.  As I held my pen, I banged on my keys to try and dislodge it.  SUCCESS!!  Except where did my pen go?  I've got the container, but no ink cartridge!!! Well for heavens sake ... this is fast becoming NO fun at all.  Luckily I had another pen in my car to sign the log.  
On to the next one, I dodged around big delivery trucks at Home Depot, parking in a red zone next to a fire hydrant.  Using my car as camouflage, I snuck up to the light standard and grabbed the prize, only to find another log so tightly packed in that it wouldn't come out.  RATS!!  I forgot my tweezers.  In geocaching, you're supposed to carry a small bag of things like mirrors to see underneath bridges, tweezers and magnets on a stick, because sometimes people hide things weird places.

Next up, the Wildlife Refuge chock full of berry vines, mosquitos and ducks.  Are we having fun yet?
This is the Chinook River running through it.  With no signage, I turned right down a narrow gravel road to a small turnaround.  Another hidden gem.  What I didn't find was the geocache.  What I DID find are the biggest berry bushes in the country, full of ripe berries.  If you're up here and need some for jam, I can tell you exactly where to go.  
Who knew there was an airport between Ilwaco and Chinook?  You find the most interesting things driving around all the back roads that hardly show up on any map.  This is Stringtown.  The early seine fishermen found this to be an ideal spot to repair their nets during the winter months.  It was named Stringtown due to all the tarred string left on the ground from their repairs.
Here is the original site of John Edmund Pickernell's grave.  He came to Oregon in 1837 as an employee of the Hudson Bay Company and married Emaline Redhead, a native American.  He was a bar pilot for many years until the Meriwether ship wreck in 1877 when he lost his life.  
His remains have since been moved to the Ilwaco cemetery with this monument left in Stringtown.  Unfortunately, another dud ... the cache was missing.  
After gathering all the supplies I needed, I returned to get one last cache before heading home, only to find THE TRACTOR.  He was supposed to be mowing the roadsides, but chose instead to park in the small parking lot where the cache was.  I waited on the roadside, hoping he would get on with his work, but he just sat there like a good State employee.  Maybe it was lunchtime.  Fifteen minutes later I relented and left.  
To end the day on a high note, I noticed when I got home I had this lovely red mark on my arm.  OH NO!!  Probably poison ivy ... the perfect end to a not-so-perfect geocaching day.  I remember in Fort Columbia being caught up by a bush that wouldn't let go, so I ripped my arm loose.  It burned.  I scrounged for something to put on it.  

Finally, in desperation, I called Nurse Patty.  After slathering everything I had on it while it swelled to ever greater heights, I tried to sleep.  Nope ... not happening.  Two pills later, I must have dozed off.  In the morning it was MUCH better, thank goodness!!
In all I think I tried for ten caches, only getting happy faces on four.  It's an app on my phone ... log a find and you get a happy face.  I'm still picking leaves and stickers from my hair, not to mention my clothes.  Maybe this isn't the hobby for me after all!!  Like the coyote pictures however ... NEVER GIVE UP.  

I'm thinking I may just hang out in Ledbetter for the next couple of days.  As I drove across the Megler Bridge to Astoria, the 30 or so fishing boats had swelled to hundreds ... literally blanketing the bay.  They are also swarming the RV park!!

I asked how the fishing was and one guy said terrible ... but the big Salmon Derby is this weekend.  It might be a good idea to stay home instead!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Vanishing Bear

On the hunt for coyotes, I was hoping to miss the bears completely.  Not that I wouldn't want a picture from the safety of my Jeep, but running into one on the trail is not on my bucket list.  When I was a kid, I ran into too many, causing nightmares that continue to this day.  

As I drove out to Ledbetter State Park at the tip of the peninsula, I kept an eye out just in case.  Everything looked like a bear.  I was SURE that tree stump was moving, but when I got closer, it was just that ... a tree stump.  All of a sudden the tree down the road DID move.  I grabbed for my camera, but before I could get it up, the stump took one big leap in my direction and disappeared in the bushes.  RATS!!!  This was all I got ... a nice picture of the bushes and the vanishing bear.
As I got closer, I saw where she ran, down a trail towards the bay.  Mark that one off my list ... I'm NOT going down THAT trail!!
A little further along however, was the trail I needed to take for a geocache at the water's edge.  I contemplated this one long and hard, since the bear was less than a quarter mile away at last sight.  It was a straight shot to the water, but a gauntlet of blood sucking mosquitos!!
Slapping at my face the entire time (yes I DID use mosquito spray), I ran down the trail until my GPS told me to go left.  I stopped to listen for the bear and realized there were two graves here along with urns.  CRACK ... I heard a big stick break.  To heck with geocaching, I made a really fast run back to the Jeep where I swatted mosquitos inside on the windshield for the next ten minutes.  Good grief!!
Enough of that ... I drove up the road another mile or so to the parking lot.  Undaunted, I'm SURE I'll find those coyotes today!!  What I immediately found were elk tracks.  BIG elk tracks.  With no sight of him on the beach  (it's the males that are usually solitary, isn't it), I began to stalk the coyotes.  
There was nothing ... not even a track in the sand.  Looking out across the bay, I spotted an eagle and took quite a few shots.   Although very far away, all the birds around him were squawking like crazy, so I was sure I had identified it correctly.
OR NOT!!  When I enlarged it on my camera screen, turns out it was just a seagull.  Well double RATS!!  This isn't turning out to be a good day at all!!
That's when I heard another big CRACK.  Something was moving through the brush and trees behind me.  Here I am with no cover, no bear spray and no biscuits to throw to distract them.  I started backing up towards the trail.  I listened .... nothing.  I silently moved into a pile of dead trees at the edge of the beach and waited.  You're just hearing things Nancy.  I crawled up the bank and looked into the trees to see what I could see.
OMG ... I can hear every step as it moves through the brush.  Trying to discern if it was bear or elk, I listened more intently.  That's when it hit me.  IT'S COMING RIGHT AT ME AND IT'S BIG!!!  I retreated back down the bank walked backwards VERY fast to the end of the trail, watching to see if whatever it was came out for a picture.  I hid in these bushes for several minutes, but nothing appeared.  Well that was just a big bust!!  
That was it ... I was done.  Single elk are just as dangerous as bears, and being out here all alone is not the safest way to be.  I was hoping someone would show up in the parking lot, but I was completely alone.  The vanishing bear and elk got the best of me.  At least on the road back to town I spotted this little beauty walking the streets so it wasn't all bad!!
The thing is, I COULD wear a bear bell and make lots of noise along the trail which would probably scare them all away ... but that's why I'm there ... to get pictures!!  At least if there was one other person, we could make enough noise to scare them off ... or maybe I could run faster than them!!

Today will probably be a trip back to Seaside for supplies not available here.  Costco and Fred Meyers aren't too far away.  Maybe I'll do a little geocaching along the way.  Hopefully NOT on trails and in bushes.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mish Mash

I'm just picking up the loose ends today as I scratch all my new mosquito bites.  Unlike the slow flyers in Alaska that you can swipe from the air, these guys are faster than Cooper with a dog biscuit and great at hiding so they can come out at night and feast on my blood.  I have three different types of mosquito spray ... none of them are working.

First thing this morning, I went toe to toe with my CO2 alarm.  It just decided to go off.  Come on ..... there was NOTHING!!  No hair spray, no neighbor's exhaust ... and it just wouldn't shut off.  I opened every overhead vent and turned on all the fans.  I hit the reset button six times.  When I was finally about to shoot it, as my neighbors were about to do to me at 5:15 in the morning, it quit and hasn't gone off since.  I double checked the date ... it's well within it's time stamp.  Hopefully I won't have to deal with THAT again!

The very rough beach has smoothed out a little with a few high tides and lots of rain, but I've only been out with my kites twice.  There's something about that half mile walk and stinky smell when I get there.
This is just a very small portion of the dead crabs dumped on the beach.  Unfortunately, they dumped them so far up (probably due to the very high tide that night) that they have never been washed away.  The water hasn't even come close.  Not even the birds have cleaned them up ... I guess they like their crab FRESH!!
I did make one run to Pacific Bakery in Gearheart, but of course was too late in the morning to get the good stuff.  If you want good pastries, be there BEFORE 8:00 a.m.
One of the celebrations I usually go to here is Jake the Alligator Man's birthday party.  Remember this guy?  He resides at Marsh's Museum in Long Beach.  It's a free museum of sorts, full of all kinds of weird things, including antique penny and nickel machines you can actually play.
They went all out this year with the fire breathing-bagpipe-playing-unicycle rider, a new kind of skateboard made from a bicycle, along with all kinds of oddities, not unlike the museum itself.  It has become a circus of tattooed hippie children selling all kinds of crazy stuff in the park while the punk rock Alice Cooper type band screamed on ... there was no singing involved.  I did a slow drive by.
Where I DID stop was at a tiny place called Street Side Tacos.  I like little hole-in-the-wall places and that's definitely what this is, just a little out from the center of town.  
As you probably know, street tacos are tiny.  Those little tortillas you've seen in the stores lately?  Those are for these tasty morsels with delicious chicken, mango salsa and cilantro, called the Waikiki Special.  Not the Hawaiian version but the Waikiki Beach version that's down in Cape Disappointment Park.  It took me a long time to find out exactly where it was.  The State Park puts on little concerts there, with actual music and no head banging.  At any rate, these three tacos at $7 were SO yummy I'm going back for more.
At long last the first half of those awful biscuits are gone.  I didn't throw them to the bears, I choked them down one at a time with a big bottle of water.  You know when you swallow and you can feel it go all the way down?  Yup ... that's these biscuits.  They may even have killed my desire to try another recipe.  
I'm going to work on my courage quotient today and see if I can up it enough to go back on the coyote hunt.  That's prime bear and mosquito territory.  I'm not sure which one is worse!!

Monday, August 14, 2017


I don't know what's up with the bears, but believe me, it's a banner year!!  In all the years I've been coming up here, I've not once seen any bear scat.  I've heard of a few sightings, but even while on trails bears have historically used (one even named Bear Trail), I've never seen anything.  This year is different.

This beauty encased in scaffolding, is the North Head Lighthouse.  I've been stalking this one for the past week (almost every day) trying to get the image I had in my head.  Last year when it was open, I climbed to the very top and got some great photos of what the lighthouse keepers saw.
In an effort to keep the lighthouse together, various methods were used to shore up her crumbling exterior.  That became the REAL problem.  The brick and mortar inside used to "breathe", with moisture escaping through the walls.  With all the paint and plaster they put on the outside, the water stayed inside, eroding the entire lighthouse.  When they finish this restoration, it's going to be even more beautiful!!

That however, is NOT the picture I was looking for.  I want to see all the gorgeous flowers that are growing atop this mountain.  Hardly a soul knows the magnificence that grows there.  Having tried the North side trail with no luck, I put on my stealth equipment and headed for the South side.  It's not  off limits ... all the trails in the park are accessible by anyone.  Finding the trail is another story.
Suddenly ... there it is!!  Three little wooden steps up a completely overgrown trail.  I turned sideways to skim through the brush, sucking up all the water into my clothes along the way.  After a good 50 yards, the trail opened up to this beautiful sight.  I FOUND IT!!!   The entire top of this mountain is covered with daisies, sweet peas and berry vines.  Watch out for that last one!
Watch out too for the sprinkler system that got me last time, and the HUGE bees swarming everywhere!!  They are all over the flowers.
A little further and the top of the lighthouse came into view.  Isn't this just fabulous?  I could stay here all day.  In spite of the people wandering around below, it's very quiet and peaceful.  
I stuck to the trail, what there was of it, wandering through the flowers taking picture after picture.  I think this is my favorite.
89 pictures later, it was time to head back to the Jeep.  There's no place to sit down here and I was soaking wet.  Seeing a second trail that looked a little easier, I followed it down the back of the hill.  
What I ran into, stopped me dead in my tracks.   BEAR SCAT AGAIN!!!  Lots and LOTS of bear scat!!  Like they had a big party up there!!  Good grief ... they're EVERYWHERE!!!  I froze, listening for all I was worth.  I know bears don't wander around during mid day, but they certainly could be sleeping in a cozy den under these big huge trees I'm right next to.

I slowly backtracked to the original trail, gathered my wits and went back the way I came.  One big blackberry vine grabbed my backpack, making a chill go up my spine.  Oh come on Nancy, it's just a big vine, not a bear.  I have a pretty healthy fear of bears from all my experiences as a kid.  In fact, if I have nightmares (about every week), it's always about bears chasing me!!  Crazy!!

At any rate, I escaped with a big sigh of relief when I hit the trail.  No one saw me enter or leave, which is a good thing, otherwise the flowers would all be trampled into the mud.  

On the way back, I took this picture of the Lighthouse Keepers Residence, trying to hold my camera over the top of the big chain link fence.  
A little further along, I saw the gate was open (didn't I feel silly), so I went inside for this picture of the duplex for the Lighthouse Assistants.  It's a bed and breakfast now ... you can stay here overnight, which I think would just be an amazing experience.  The Lighthouse Keepers daughter accidentally fell to her death and they say she and her mother roam the halls at night.  I'd rather run into them than the bears.
One day this week I'm heading back to Ledbetter State Park to hunt for coyotes ... I'm taking wasp spray this time, just in case!!