Sea Lion Rocks. Thousands of seabirds live and nest on these protected rocks:

Each afternoon at low tide, we visited the tide pools. I fell in love with the anemones.

Haystack Rock:

See all the white spots on Haystack Rock? More seabirds:

I can still hear the birds and smell the water.

More tide pools. We were so excited when we saw our first starfish:

Little did we know:

The End. We loved it all.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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The next stop on our 2012 vacation was Critter Farm. We were so excited to see Danni, and to meet her husband Jim and all of their critters.

Their beautiful little Roxy stole our hearts with her big personality and long black eyelashes:

Danni’s gardens are stunning:

Don and I were so excited to meet Beau and Chester:

And to get our donkey fix:

No matter where you are, some things never change:

Even though she’s shy, Kai llama is a gorgeous girl who loves her goats:

Honey the chicken loves to help Danni with the chores:

All of the critters love Danni and Jim:

And they love their critters:

At Critter Farm, everyone gets along:

♥ ♥ ♥

Danni and Jim, thank you.

NEXT:

  • Cannon Beach

Multnomah Falls is about 30 minutes outside of Portland toward the end of the Columbia River Gorge.

From oregon.com:

Visiting Multnomah Falls, a 611-foot-tall roaring, awe-inspiring cascade of icy water, lets you experience the power and beauty of nature up close and with ease. From the parking area off of I-84, a 5-minute walk is all that separates you from the exhilarating spray at the base of the falls.

According to Native American lore, Multnomah Falls was created to win the heart of a young princess who wanted a hidden place to bathe. Although you can see the top portion of the falls from the highway, to view both tiers you have to walk to the viewing area located in a carved-out opening in the rock face. Tilting your head up in the narrow rocky confines of the steep cliffs, you get a mind-boggling perspective on the sheer magnitude of the falls.

For an even closer view, walk another several hundred feet up the paved trail to reach Benson Bridge, which spans the falls at the first tier’s misty base. Standing on the bridge you have a perfect view of the top tier’s full 542-foot height and a knee-wobbling vantage point over the second tier’s 69-foot drop! The bridge is named for Simon Benson, a prominent Portland businessman who owned the falls in the early part of the 1900s. Before his death, Benson gave Multnomah Falls to the City of Portland, which later transferred ownership to the USDA Forest Service.

Benson Bridge is noted by #1 in this photo:

Also from oregon.com:

From Benson Bridge, hike another mile up a very steep path to reach the top of the falls. Here you will be rewarded, weather permitting, with spectacular views of the Columbia Gorge. The trail may be closed due to hazardous conditions so make sure to check with the rangers before embarking. (Steep drop-offs and uneven or slick walking surfaces make this trail dangerous for children.)

The steep one-mile trail leading from the base of the falls to the top is loved by locals for its views, wildflowers, and comparative lack of visitors.

The top of the falls is noted by #2 in the above photo.

This is what it looked like from the top:

Beautiful.

LATER THIS WEEK:

  • Critter Farm
  • Cannon Beach

The air in Boise was thick with smoke from the Trinity Ridge Fire the day we visited the Idaho State Capitol.

About the Capitol from the Idaho Capitol Commission:

The dome of Idaho’s State Capitol rises 208 feet into the Boise skyline, a classical architectural form prominent among the city’s modern multi-story buildings and the landscape’s rolling foothills. The Renaissance Revival Capitol is Idaho’s most significant historic structure and a building that reflects the state’s political, social, and economic history.

Over 100 years since conception, the Capitol continues to function as the seat of Idaho’s state government, currently housing the executive and legislative branches and numerous state offices, which occupy much of the approximately 111,600 square feet of usable space.

Although the use of transitional architectural form is drawn from various historic epochs, the materials used in realizing the design draw upon local resources. Composed of locally quarried stone, the sandstone exterior resonates the dusty light auburn hues of Boise’s surrounding foothills, adapting the Capitol’s civic symbolism to serve the people and land of Idaho.

Facts about the Idaho Capitol Building from the Idaho Capitol Commission:

  • In 1905, the Idaho legislature passed the bill authorizing construction of the Capitol Building.
  • The architects of the Capitol Building were J.E. Tourtellotte and Charles Hummel.
  • The dome and central parts of the Capitol were built first—from 1905-1912.
  • The wings (House and Senate chambers) were constructed during 1919 and 1920.

  • Most of the superstructure is made of sandstone taken from Table Rock (near Boise).
  • Convicts from the old Idaho Penitentiary were responsible for transporting the 10-ton sandstone blocks from the quarry.
  • Four types of marble were used for the Capitol’s interior:
    • red from Georgia
    • gray from Alaska
    • green from Vermont
    • black from Italy

  • From the first floor to the eagle atop the dome, the Idaho Capitol Building rises 208 feet. 
  • The floor area of the building when completed was 201,720 square feet.
  • Over 50,000 square feet of artistically-carved marble exists in the building.

  • The original cost to construct the Capitol was $2.1 million.
  • Replacement costs today would be over $100 million with many materials considered irreplaceable.
  • Idaho’s Capitol Building is the only one in the United States heated by geothermal water. The hot water is tapped and pumped from a source 3,000 feet underground.
  • The eagle atop the dome stands 5 feet 7 inches and is made of copper. In 2005, as part of the exterior restoration, it received a new gilding of gold leaf.

LATER THIS WEEK:

  • Multnomah Falls
  • Critter Farm
  • Cannon Beach

We spent our first night of vacation in a rustic wooden cottage at Billingsley Creek Lodge and Retreat. Our cottage sat right on the edge of spring-fed Billingsley Creek.

The lodge has beautiful gardens:

A lovely koi pond:

And a couple of resident muskrats:

The next morning we were off to Malad Gorge at Thousand Springs State Park.

The Malad River crashes down stair step falls, then cuts through a beautiful 250-foot gorge on its way to the Snake River, two and a half miles downstream.

Most of the history at this park is on the geologic scale. The cracks and folds of rock along the canyon cliffs record the movements of earth, lava and water.

Our last stop before heading back to Boise was Bruneau Dunes State Park.

The park is the site of North America’s highest single-structured sand dune, which is about 470 feet high. 

Don and I both agreed that the landscape at Bruneau dunes was simply surreal. This olive tree standing in front of the dunes is my favorite photo from our time in Idaho.

This is my favorite version:

Which one do you like best?

TOMORROW:

  • The Idaho State Capitol

Don and I just got back from a week-long vacation in Idaho and Oregon. We had good weather, saw beautiful sights and spent time with great friends.

The first day we flew into Boise, rented a car and drove to Glenns Ferry, Idaho for a wine tasting and lunch at Carmela Winery.

From there, we drove to Three Island Crossing State Park. The three-island crossing is one of the most famous river crossings on the Oregon Trail. Pioneer travelers used this crossing until 1869, when Gus Glenn constructed a ferry about two miles upstream.

This river crossing offered pioneers the last chance to traverse from the increasingly barren and rugged south side of the Snake River to the more pleasant north side. 

Don was stationed at nearby Mountain Home Air Force Base for ten years before being transferred to Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque.

TOMORROW:

  • Billingsley Creek Lodge and Retreat in Hagerman
  • Malad Gorge at Thousand Springs State Park
  • Bruneau Dunes State Park