A quick update from the road, instead of going to Yellowstone and the Tetons this fall like I normally do, I decided to stay more local and go to Mount Rainier National Park and Olympic National Park.

I finished my stay in Mount Rainier yesterday and had a great visit (despite the weather) and am about to head out to the Hoh Rainforest for some good ol’ forest hiking. I focused on the higher altitude trails in Rainier instead of the lowland forests since I knew I was coming here, but I’m ready for a day of trails with giant trees and little altitude change!

Once I edit the pictures there will be new galleries for hoary marmots and sooty grouse, the marmot gallery in particular should have a number of pictures. I spent a lot of time watching marmots and pikas in the talus fields with Mount Rainier as the backdrop (when the clouds didn’t cover it). I had never seen hoary marmots before and often based my hiking plans on trails with the best marmot and pika viewing opportunities.

We all have our priorities.

There will also be updates to the existing galleries for pika, black-tailed deer, Townsend’s chipmunk, and golden-mantled ground squirrel (or possibly a new Cascade golden-mantled ground squirrel gallery, I need to pin down the species ID).

Oh and a new black bear picture or two, apparently you don’t have to travel to Yellowstone to see bears …

No Blackberry Breakfast

Close-up of juvenile red-tailed hawk's face looking down

There’s an invasive species of blackberry that has spread across the Northwest and is prevalent at Ridgefield. A variety of animals will use the berries as food or the thickets as cover, but this young hawk was using it as a place to listen for breakfast, every sound from below drawing its eyes downward. It didn’t end up catching anything, at least not during our time together.

You Don’t Want To Be A Cardboard Box In Our House

Our cat Sam chewing on a cardboard box

The only furnishings in our living room are cardboard boxes for the cats to play and sleep in. Templeton and Scout both loved boxes, so I wasn’t surprised to see the newcomers enjoy them so. I was surprised to see Sam add fiber to his diet by chewing on the boxes, a behavior I assumed would go away once he was no longer teething.

I assumed wrong.