Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Weylin, Michelle, and Shelly...

Michelle graduated Summa Cum Laude from Eastern Washington University. Our family reunion also honored her achievement. Congratuations Michelle!

Our Mom

I LOVE this picture with my mom and siblings. It is the first time we were all together for a picture in several years.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Grandma Alice...

Grandma Gene...


Barry, Kim, Inge, Mark, and Brad.

The cousins playing...

The group photo...

Looking at old family photographs...

We had something of a family reunion/BBQ in honor of Brad's return and Michelle's graduation. It was wonderful to see my family together again. In fact, it was the first time my siblings and I had been together in about five years.


Cool Brad driving his boat...

Whitney and Ashley on the boat...

Christopher on the boat...

I forgot to mention that my brother hauled his boat all the way back from Alabama and took us for a spin on the Spokane River. I loved it and my kids loved it even more. It's a good thing my kids have uncles with cool toys; otherwise they might never do anything fun... :)


My brother the drill sergeant can kick my butt in just about everything he does, but the other day, I got to feel what it's like to outrun him, just this once. For the sheer pleasure of my temporary victory, I stood on the top of the hill, waited, and collected a photograph for evidence... :)


Reflection of fireworks in the Spokane River.

More fireworks...

The loud explosions are my favorite...

The crowds at Riverfront Park...

The summer is passing altogether too fast. It's already the end of July, and I'm only now getting around to posting my photographs from the Fourht. You know, some weeks pass by with hardly a notice. Lately so much has happened I can hardly keep up with my blog.

During the Fourth, we sat on the concrete steps at the edge of the Spokane River and watched the fireworks across the water. What more can I say about that? We had fun.

Monday, July 21, 2008


It seems I published more photographs before I got my new camera. The new system requires more effort, and even though it produces a better quality product, I tend to use it less often. Ironic, isn't it?

Some photographs were missed that should not be forgotten, like this picture of Dakota on his birthday. My belated best blog-wishes to him.

My Brother

My brother at home.

Overlooking the Spokane River toward Little Falls.

Benjamin Lake.

The Spokane Reservation.

Saturday was a day for my brother Brad. He's been away in the military for more than 10 years and tends to come home somewhat infrequently. He's in town for the next few weeks before his next assignment in Germany.

His absences are too long, but no matter how much time he spends away, it feels like home to see him again.

This weekend, we drove on many of our old hunting trails, and remembered the times we spent with our dad. Every part of the land inspires a different memory. The rivers, lakes, hilltops, and valleys; all of them combine to make our dad live again through us.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pileated Woodpecker

Yesterday afternoon, I saw a pileated woodpecker during my daily hike. As I walked down a steep trail, I saw it foraging for something on the ground. I watched until it flew onto a nearby branch, and then followed as it hopped from tree to tree. Something about its mannerisms and appearance reminded me of a dinosaur.

Sadly, I did not have my camera. This photograph was borrowed from another source.


Sparwood, British Columbia boasts the world's largest truck, permanently parked at the side of the highway.

We saw a baby bear on the return trip from Canada. I stopped to take a picture, but didn't venture far. We never saw the mama bear, but she had to have been close.

Sunrise over Chief Mountain in southern Alberta.

Leavitt, Alberta was our home for the last weekend in June.

Head Smashed In

Dakota looking over the prairie...

The cliff at Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump

Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump is a World Heritage Site dedicated to the preservation of plains Indian cultures. Over a period of thousands of years, tribal people used this site to obtain buffalo. They employed a skillful understanding of ritual, physical strength, and animal psychology to drive herds of buffalo over the cliff. While runners drove the buffalo over the edge, others waited near the base of the cliff to quickly slaughter the animals and preserve their meat for future use.

According to legend, Head Smashed In derives its name from a young Indian man who wanted to see the buffalo up close. He hid himself inside a small cave under the edge of the cliff while his fellow tribesmen completed the drive. He watched the falling buffalo as though he were looking out from behind a waterfall. The hunt was particularly successful that day; the bodies piled high on the prairie below. When the people finished buthering the animals, they found the young man crushed beneath a dead buffalo, hence the name.

A magnificent multi-storey interpretive center marks the location of the ancient buffalo jump. The building accomodates the unique landscape and is largely hidden underground. The museum provides a fascinating history of the local tribes and their cultural practices.

Dakota posing solemnly by a pile of buffalo skulls.

One display at the museum shows an old winter count written on a large buffalo robe. Years ago, certain people were entrusted to record the tribal histories. Starting at the center and spiraling out, they drew a symbol to represent each year. The symbol served as a mental cue to remind the historian of the most important events of the year.

Standing below the cliff, we look up toward the western sky. After thousands of years of successful hunts on this location, buffalo bones are piled many meters deep under the ground. They aren't visible under the soil and grass, but their presence impresses me with the greatness of their spirit and history.


Snow in June near Cameron Lake at Waterton National Park...

When we arrived at Cameron Lake, we saw children throwing snow balls in the afternoon heat. Such a strange sight on a hot day in June! We followed the excitement and found a snow bank hiding in the shadow of the trees. Of course, we had to take a picture for evidence.


Like many forested alpine regions, Cameron Lake at Waterton is the home of the bluejay, or the Steller's Jay, as it is more correctly known. We saw them close to the beach as they foraged for scraps of leftover food, or human picnics left unattended. They are daring little creatures, as they often approach people without fear, and have been known to chase hawks and owls. Some tribal peoples regard them as a trickster character in their sacred histories. Others regard them as pests, but they are always fascinating and beautiful.


Such beautiful girls...

I'm sad to say, my blog is hopelessly outdated and out-of-sequence. So many blog-worthy things happen these days; I just can't keep up. I still haven't posted the rest of my trip to Washington DC. Not that I'm complaining; I mean, life is pretty good, and with the blessings, my blog-time dimishes.

But it's a lazy Sunday morning, and I find myself with a few moments to review some of the better moments.

A few weeks ago, my daughters participated in a dance recital at the old Spokane Opera House. They performed with dancers of all ages before an audience of several hundred people. This year, they did a hip-hop number, which is somewhat a departure from their previous interests.

I must say, I was very proud to see them on stage. Whitney is becoming quite athletic, with cartwheels and all. And McKenna was so confident. The first year they danced, McKenna looked timid and uncertain, but this year she smiled and strutted around the stage like a pro.

They are growing into young ladies, and I couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Dakota standing over Waterton Lake.
Dakota sobre Lago Waterton.

Mountains over Cameron Lake.
Montañas sobre Lago Cameron.

The Prince of Wales Hotel.
El Hotel Príncipe de Gales.

Our brief tour of southern Alberta brought us to Waterton Lakes National Park where we saw the Prince of Wales Hotel, Waterton Lake, and the snowy peaks overlooking Cameron Lake.

Nuestro tour breve del sur de Alberta nos trajo al Parque Nacional de los Lagos Waterton donde vimos el Hotel Príncipe de Gales, el Lago Waterton, y las montañas nevadas sobre el Lago Cameron.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Rockies

Dakota stands with the Canadian Rockies in the background.

The Canadian Rockies looking west.

Windmills stand on hilltops near Pincher Creek.

Entering Alberta, we traveled east until we reached the town of Pincher Creek. We then turned south and continued toward our destination. The open prairie sky stretched forever to the east, and the Canadian Rockies stood like a cut-out backdrop along the entire length of the western horizon. We stopped several times to appreciate the view and to take photographs.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Plains

Last Friday, my son and I drove more than eight hours from Spokane to southern Alberta. We followed the highway in a somewhat northward direction to Cranbrook, British Columbia, and then continued east through the Canadian Rockies. The extreme contrast of nearly vertical mountain peaks and jagged canyon-like valleys forces the highway into a twisted and torturous route, but the terrain, both harsh and beautiful, inspires wonder.

As we emerged from Crowsnest Pass onto the westernmost edge of the Great Plains, I felt a subtle change. An intangible drive compelled me to stop the car, get out, and breathe in the new scenery. I can't say I heard a physical voice, but something in the spirit of the land seemed to form words on my heart: "You made it. We've been waiting for you." The landscape was alive, and all the spirits of that place moved together; the tall grass, the rolling hills, the wide open spaces. The spirit-words continued: "Do you think you came here on your own? You arrived because we invited you..."

I touched the tops of the grass with my fingertips, and then continued our trip into Alberta.


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