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Monday, August 29, 2011

Cedar River Watershed Tour, Part 2

After leaving the Masonary Dam and the loons, we drove deeper into the watershed, arriving at a covered area on the shore of Chester Morris Lake. Across the lake there's a bit of old growth forest still on the top of one of the peaks.  We could see bits of the taller trees through the fog.  Our guide told us that  a few Spotted owls nest there, as well as the rare Marbled murlet.  Those brave birds nest inland in old growth, but fly at night to the ocean where they feed.  North Bend is at least an hour to Seattle by highway...and the ocean is further yet. 

The old growth forest is on the mountain top on the far upper right...under the fog.
Our guided tour continued to the Upper Cedar Falls, and perhaps the most beautiful water I've ever seen. It leaks out of the lake and is  filtered by the glacial sand - at least that's what they think. The blue water is coming in from a creek on the left...

We could have stayed here forever...but the tour was nearly over.  As we learned how they are working with native tribes to allow access to their former hunting and gathering grounds, we kept a watch out for the ever-elusive wildlife. Not a single mammal was sighted, although deer, elk, black bear and the rare cougar have been seen by tour groups.
In my next post I'll tell you about our hike up the trail towards Rattlesnake Ridge.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cedar River Watershed Tour - the Best $10.00 Tour Ever, Part 1

 Ellen Haas picked me up early on Friday, August 5th and we headed off to North Bend and Rattlesnake Lake for the Cedar River Watershed tour.  About 70% of Seattle drinking water comes from this watershed, which is closed to access, except through the tours that Seattle Public Utilites run. 

For $10.00 ($5.00 for seniors), you can ride on a comfortable bus into the no access area and learn about the history of the watershed from a naturalist tour guide.  I liked the mix of history and the amazing chance to go into a closed area.  This is Ellen standing on the Masonary Dam, with the Masonary Pool in the background...Chester Morris Lake is further in the background. 

The dam, built in the early 1900's
Our group was small, but one of the older men had been a fire lookout from one of the nearby mountaintops in his youth.

We expected sunshine and warm temperatures, but the fog never lifted, and the wind was cool...I understand the view of the mountains is quite something to see when the sky is clear.

What we did see was beautiful...and then a pair of big birds landed off a point in the distance...not ducks or geese, I first sighting of wild loons, almost too far out to get photos!
                                 They sit so low in the water!

My Favorite Fiction Authors and Books

  • Suzanne Arruda- the Jade del Cameron mysteries: "The Mark of the Lion" "Stalking Ivory", "The Serpent's Daughter", "The Leopard's Prey" and "The Golden Cheetah"
  • Ken Goddard - "Balefire" and others
  • Stephen White - the Dr. Alan Gregory books are all great. "Kill Me" is my favorite.
  • Harlan Coben - anything he writes is great
  • Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody mysteries

My Favorite Nonfiction Authors and Books

  • "Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature" by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown- 2nd edition coming soon!
  • Gavin De Becker - "The Gift of Fear"
  • "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales- the best survival book I've ever read! Not a how-to, its more of a who does,and why.
  • Candice Millard - "The River of Doubt -Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey"
  • Anything that starts with "Peterson's Field Guide To..."
  • Tom Brown, Jr. - "The Tracker" and others
  • Mark Elbroch - "Mammal Tracks and Sign" and "Animal Skulls"