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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Outdoors in the Outhouse

Didn't take long for 'Ms. Wilderness 2010' to re-aclimate to camping. I am lucky enough to be able to sleep on any surface, ok, with the sole exception of a bed of nails, so I was back in camping-out-form the v. first night.

All together, there were thirteen of us camped out in the Lost Coast wilderness. As mentioned before there was Diane, her sisters Aveeda with grandniecelet Ivy niece Anastazia with boyfriend Geoff, and sister Heidi with husband Drew. There was also Diane's cousin Eric and his wife who are like me, are both of Sacramento county. I first met Eric and his family, when he was a teen in Marin county, back in 1970. Last up, also of Sacramento were John, Noel and their yearling boy, Sage.

Anastazia and Ivy work the coals

Diane, Heidi, Drew and 5 year old Ivy

One of the cool things we discovered on the camp out was loads of coincidences. For example, Diane and I were joking about how our nicknames in High School were 'Didi' and 'No-No'. Noel said that her nickname is No-No'. Then we exchanged chit-chat and discovered we both live in Sacramento, and... don't be frightened with the bizarreness of this so-called coincidence - she was originally FROM NEW YORK! Is that Rod Sterling's shadow other there? YIPES! And it DID NOT STOP THERE!

I overheard Anastazia's beau Geoff mention Kneeland. Turns out he knows my Kneeland friends the Aggeler's and is buds with Ricky and Carolanna Aggeler - talk about your small world. That's it? Heck no! Fast buddies Ivy and Sage turn out to share more than a friendship - the wee pair also both share the middle name of Phoenix! Doesn't that just make you want to burst into flames and rise from your own ashes?

Ivy, is sharing a middle name with Sage a scary Coincidence?
Says Ivy: "I don't THINK so...!"

So 13 stalwart souls shared a wilderness campground. What did we do there? Uh... well, I can hardly remember how we spent our days, though I recall loads of bullshiting (not related to the local bull elk population - and I also recall being in daily happy anticipation of sundown, when the fire was lit to stave off any of us freezing to death. It's plenty cold in the coastal fog drip region.

Diane and Anastazia, with demon eyed, wool-hat'd Geoff in the background

Orbs bounced around the campfire

Traditional Coastal din-din: foil wrapped salmon steaks, cob corn and veggies

Now I did not yet mention that the primary purpose of the campout was to honor James Knutson, the brother of the Knutson Sisters Diane, Aveeda and Heidi. James died about a year ago, and the sisters wanted to wish him a happy send off & a viking spreading of his ashes in one of his favorite, pardon the expression - haunts.

So, one afternoon everyone, save for myself, Diane and Ivy, mostly everyone headed out on a hike to spread James' ashes. However, Diane devotedly babysat her niecelette Ivy, and I, too lazy to hike, resided in camp for the day. It was a comfy sort of afternoon, and in the course of it, 'nature called' and I, well trained woman that I am, answered. To do so, I hiked over to the lone outhouse on the far side of the meadow.

The lone outhouse, guarded by a tribune Elk. Hail Elk!

Since there were no one with eyes in the vicinity, unless you count squirrels and the Bull Elk that volunteered to guard the outhouse from peeping toms, there was no need for me to close the outhouse door. Due to a steady breeze from the nearby salty Pacific ocean, the little outhouse was filled with amazingly fresh air. Really, as outhouses go, this one was fresh, and had a lovely view, as you can see below.

Lovely view from the outhouse

Post poo, I decided to complete a loop instead of backtracking. I headed across the meadow, in the general direction of two big Bull Elk, that were lying about lazily, in a very male fashion - you know what I mean. You can see them, the twin brown spots in the center of the photo below. A large flock of gulls were walking about, leaving webbed footprints on the creek mudflat.

Across the creek Bull Elks sat idle

Click photos for better views of lazy elk

I did some wildflowering on my walk. Finding Brass Buttons, and a strange flower that I have yet to identify.

Later, after Jame's ash bearers returned to came after a sucessful hike, we sat around the campfire. I spotted a Wilson's Warbler overhead and several Stellar's Jays, that flew in and around the Alder trees. Then I spotted something strange, and on closer look I spotted a Northern Pygmy Owl - you could have knocked me over with a Pygmy Owl feather! The bird was gray phaze - while red phase is what is normally found coastally. The bird wouldn't sit still enough for a good photo so all I managed was this CRAP photo. The wee, 8 inch owl faces right, lying along a branch, hidden by leaves. You can see a row of spots along a ruffled wing, just behind the green patch of leaves in the photo's center. Below you can see a pink talon. Honestly - stare a bit, you'll see it - sorta, kinda, almost, maybe.

That's a Northern Pygmy Owl I'm tellyin' you!

Ok, scoff if you must, but that's a Northern Pygmy Owl and I'm thrilled to have had a gander at it. Shortly after I snapped this photo, it flew up into another alder, then winged away, sailing over the heads of my fellow campers - they, being non-birders did not even glimpse up to see the mini-owl sailing by. NON BIRDERS! Gads, how do they LIVE with themselves? Oh SHUT IT you insufferable, non-birder types!

Look, here's some birds you can see without squinting. These baby Barn Swallows were happily homed under the eves of the outhouse I'd mentioned earlier.

Outhouse with swallows and more swirling orbs

Here is the outhouse again, during a nocturnal visit. Note the magical white orbs of fairyland, swirling around it. The Swallow's nest is tucked under the left hand side of the roof. I must say, that was as magical a view of an outhouse I ever did see!

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