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Last week the girls and I took the pop-up camper 300 miles away to the very scenic Takhlakh Lake in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The lake is at about 4300′ elevation on the NW side of Mount Adams. The nearest towns are Randle and Trout Lake and the roads to get there are not exactly what I would call good. I think it was 32 miles from Randle and that last bit, after driving 270 miles, seemed endless. Despite its remoteness, the campground stayed nearly full the five nights we were there.

For the first three days, the temperature was well into the 90’s in the afternoon and the black flies loved it. Our campsite was mostly sunny so there was no retreating to the camper in hopes of escaping the flies. It was like an oven in there. We walked often to the lake so we could cool off. Even our morning hikes were pretty warm and the insects were relentless – the worst I have seen in many years.

The area is known for lush meadows and numerous lakes and streams. This year, it’s been very dry and the meadows and trails were dusty. Our morning hikes were a struggle for Luna. At nearly 13, she doesn’t handle the heat very well and welcomes any bit of water she can find. So we had to spend our afternoons taking it easy. I was ready to leave Wednesday night but Thursday morning it was cool and misty so we stayed another day.

There is a shady one-mile trail around the lake and we walked it twice a day. It really was quite nice with lots of points to access the water. Most campers had some kind of people-powered watercraft from small fishing boats to every kind of inflatable imaginable to SUP’s to pool toys and I really wished I had one too. They said the bugs were not nearly so bad when they were on the water and I noticed a difference when I was wading in the water. I’ll know next time.

I saw a fair amount of birds in the area and a Barred Owl woke me up one night with its distinctive call. I wondered how many other campers heard it and wondered what it was.

Here is a list of birds I observed while I was there:¬†Mallard, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Ruffed Grouse, Common Nighthawk, Black Swift, Rufous Hummingbird, Spotted Sandpiper, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, Bald Eagle, Barred Owl, Belted Kingfisher, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Canada Jay, Steller’s Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Pacific Wren, American Robin, Evening Grosbeak, Dark-eyed Junco

The Methow Valley Farmers’ Market in Twisp is always a happening place! So much good fresh produce, ready to eat food and art too!

It’s the peak of summer now with hot days and hills covered in tall dry grass. Everyday we don’t have a wildfire, we are grateful. I rarely take my camera out on days like this but today I did and I found lots of beauty in the everyday scenes around here.

My husband, Ken Bevis, is a guitar-playing folk singer who writes original songs. Of course, he also has a day job working as a wildlife biologist for the state and has no intentions of quitting that day job. Whew.

He recently came out with his second CD, Great Divide. And to celebrate he had a CD Release Concert at the Merc Playhouse in Twisp. The Merc is an intimate theatre with not a lot of room for moving around. So I shot photos from near the second row and from the aisle in the top row in hopes of not disturbing the folks that came to listen.

For the CD Ken included many talented musicians and he invited all of them to play at the concert and fortunately most of them were able to be there. It took lots of planning and coordination. At no time were all of the players able to rehearse together. Fortunately they all know how to improvise and the concert was a rousing success! The Merc was sold out – there were nearly 150 people for the show! More than one person told me, that’s the best music performance of the year. One person even said it was the best ever! The accompanying musicians were Lynette Westendorf, Arnold Cleveland, John Weeks, Julie Dubois, Laura Love, Carl Bevis, Don McIvor, and Wayne Mendro.

You can find the CD’s at The Winthrop Gallery, in Winthrop, or contact me to get one directly from Ken, or order it from his website.

You can see highlights from his first CD Release Concert, Wanderer’s Moon, here.

Thursday was one of our first real summer-like days with highs in the valley over 90 and in the mountains, it was 75. Perfect hiking temperature for the two-leggeds. Luna thought it was a bit too hot for her and often sought respite in the shade. The hike is 9.4 miles round trip in bright open sunshine most of the way. I will have to consider that for hikes with Luna who will be thirteen in October. Not that I am ready to leave her behind. I am quite sure it would break her heart if I took Sky hiking and left her at home. Luna is always excited to go for an adventure and bounces with joy at the thought of going someplace in the car.

So many wildflowers. And I have so much to learn. And the geology. Oh my. Lots to see.

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