Tuesday, July 28, 2015

World War 2

Ft. Stevens State Park is famous for its many summer public events with living history soldier reenactors.  We went to see their annual World War II event.  Apparently the promised American, British, German and Russian reenactors are not all part of the same club, because there was no sign of either the Russians or the Germans and no one we asked had a clue why they weren't there.  But the American and British folks were there in force. They had a fully equipped hospital tent, officer headquarters and even a small private's tent, as well as many displays of historic artifacts. Ft. Stevens itself was in use from the Civil War through World War II, and much of the fort is there to explore. There were no battle reenactments. I asked some of the reenactors why the Civil War seems to attract so much more enthusiasm, despite the fact that World War II has living veterans, much more documented history and much more available authentic memorabilia.  They seemed just as mystified, declaring this period in history to  be downright fascinating!

A glimpse inside a locked room in the mysterious Battery 245.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Gustafer Yellowgold

We love Gustafer Yellowgold!  He's the creation of Morgan Taylor, musician and animator extraordinaire.  He traveled from his home on the sun to live in the Minnesota woods with a strange assortment of friends. Taylor generally comes to Portland about once a year on a national tour to share his music and sing along with his animation.  The songs are strange, wonderful and poignant, and while they principally entertain young kids, this is one children's entertainer that is hard to outgrow.  I really love this one, which could almost be the Oregon state song:  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Devil's Peak

Devil's Peak is the site of an old firetower, no longer used for its original purpose but kept very much alive by volunteers.  You can't reserve it, but if you hike there and no one else has claimed it yet you can spend the night.  Visitors are asked to "leave it nicer than you found it" and you can see that rule has definitely been followed!  All sorts of luxuries have been shared for others to enjoy while staying there, from basics like nonperishable foods and matches, to frills like artwork, books and games.  There are a couple of old cots and a visitor's journal mentions a resident mouse.  The hike to the top is quite short, if steep.  But the road that gets you there is 9 miles of awful!  So be sure to use a high clearance vehicle if you go.  A short distance from the traihead is Kinzel Lake, where a large population of awesome carnivorous sundew plants can be found thriving on the boggy edges.  


Prince's pine.
Beargrass.
Inside the fire tower.
Inside the fire tower.
Paintbrush.
Penstemon.
Stonecrop.
Scouler's harebell.
Washington lily.
Washington lily.
Alpine buckwheat.
Tiger lily.
Red columbine.
Douglas' spiraea.
Marsh cinquefoil.
Huckleberry.
Roundleaf sundew.
King's scepter gentian.
Great burnet.
King's scepter gentian.
Roundleaf sundew buds.
Roundleaf sundew.
Roundleaf sundew.
Roundleaf sundew.
Great burnet.
Fringed grass of Parnassus.
Longhorn flower beetle visiting a tall white bog orchid.
Marsh cinquefoil.
Fringed grass of Parnassus.
Tall white bog orchid.
Tall white bog orchid.
Pussytoes.
Wild strawberry.