Do you know what this is?

Hi!  Do you know what this is?

I’ll give you a hint.  It’s not an eel, and I took these pictures at the viewing windows at Bonneville Dam this past weekend.  Still don’t know?

Here I am doing some guerrilla aquatic education at the public viewing windows in the dam.  And stop looking at my butt.  You can take a closer look at what I’m doing, however.
 
 
Those are Pacific lamprey!  You can learn all about Pacific lamprey by following Luna the Lamprey on Facebook, or do a google search.  Their population numbers are dwindling, and they’re an important part of the aquatic ecosystem as well as native American culture.  The Fish and Wildlife Service, and our office especially, is going lamprey-crazy right now with a lot of research and outreach efforts.  So check them out – they are a very cool fish!  And kind of cute in a way.
 
 

This is one side of Bonneville Dam – it’s a pretty incredible structure and it supplies much of the Pacific Northwest with power.  And this is apparently what a fishery biologist looks like (although it doesn’t much resemble what I look like, even when I’m at work).  Ha!

A Fish Ladder, Finally!

Chris’ Grandma Lois turned 80 on July 19th, but since he was on tour with his army band, I took the train up to Seattle to represent.  I met up with Chris’ Aunt Carol, Uncle Bruce and cousin Terra before our big family lunch and they took me to the Chittenden Locks and fish ladder on Lake Washington.  I think this was actually the first time I’ve really seen a functioning fish ladder up close, which seems kind of silly to me at this point in my career.  But it was pretty cool – they had the ladder that you could walk along side of, and then you could go inside to see the fish in the ladder through a viewing window.  As it was in the middle of July, it was the height of the sockeye upstream migration, and that’s what most of these fish were.  But it was the beginning of the Chinook migration, and we saw a big old Chinook hanging out in the fish ladder too.

Here are some boats going through the Chittenden Locks into Lake Washington.


This is the upstream end of the fish ladder, looking towards Lake Washington.


Sockeye salmon, for the most part.


Hey you fish, you’d better hurry up or you’re going to have to wait until tomorrow to get to the lake!


There were also seals lurking very close to the entrance of the fish ladder,
filling up on breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The mini Gyger family reunion was a great time – I think everyone had fun at Ray’s Boathouse, and I know I had a good time chatting and drinking with Aunt Kim, Uncle Bruce and Bumper later that evening.  Here’s a link to the photos I took if you’d like to check them out!

Grandma Lois’ 80th Birthday

Meandering around Multnomah Falls

I decided to extend my Independence Day weekend and took last Tuesday off to spend it with Chris because he has been away on tour for the past week. What to do? It was a beautiful day, so we decided to hike up Multnomah Falls in the Gorge. We hiked up to the top of the falls, then took the Wahkeena trail down past Fairy Falls, then back to the base of Multnomah.

This is basically the loop that we took, with the exception that we walked the trail that passes by Fairy Falls. In total it was about 6.2 miles.

It was a beautiful day, and we got some good exercise. We definitely took our time – I’m a bit slow on the uphill, and there were a ton of wildflowers to take pictures of. We capped off our victorious climb by stopping at McMenamin’s Edgefield Power Station Pub. Yum!

 

At the base of Multnomah Falls
Me and Chris at the top of Multnomah Falls
Weisendanger Falls, upstream from Multnomah
Lovely larkspur!
Oregon iris – see the bee in the upper right petal? She’ll be off to pollinate another plant soon!
Columbia tiger lily
Fairy Falls on the Wahkeena Trail
At the bottom of Wahkeena Falls

A Perfect Day

Hello, fair readers! Merry Christmas, and soon-to-be happy new year! Before I write about any holiday goings-on, you might recall that a couple of weeks ago I wrote a post that was labeled “The mooshiest post you’ll ever see me write”, or some such tag. Well, apologies to you, but today’s post might just supersede my previous level of mush…so be forewarned!

You’re probably wondering about what A Perfect Day includes. There are three main elements, which include but are not limited to:

1. Harry Potter
2. Getting engaged
3. An incredible Bela Fleck show

Surprising, huh? I would’ve never guessed that these three things would be the ingredients in my perfect day, but there you have them.

Last Thursday evening, Chris and I drove up to Seattle to enjoy a nice little getaway to commemorate the occasion of our first anniversary (our first date was Dec. 6, 2009). We checked in at the Hotel Monaco where Chris reserved a huge room complete with a two-person spa, which we took advantage of whilst sipping room-service ordered champagne. Fancy, huh? It was a nice way to end a day of work and driving up to the city; I highly recommend it!

On Friday, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Sazerac (banana’s foster french toast…yummy…), then walked over to the downtown mall and hopped on the Monorail. We sped off to Seattle Center and headed over to the Pacific Science Center where Harry Potter: The Exhibition is making its last U.S. stop.

Riding the Monorail to Seattle Center
The Space Needle

Since we were there on a weekday, there weren’t that many people – we were let right in, just the two of us, and sorted into Gryffindor house (surprise, surprise) right away (although the attendant said that he thought that Chris belonged in Hufflepuff and I might fit better in Ravenclaw…go figure). The exhibit was actually really cool, and well worth the money, I thought – tons of actual props and costumes that were used in all of the movies, along with an audio guide. It took us about 90 minutes to go through the whole thing, but a big Harry Potter fan could’ve easily spent half a day or longer in there…I just didn’t want to torture Chris any longer than was necessary! And actually, even though Chris is not a huge fan, he did indulge me in watching all the movies, and I think he enjoyed the exhibit as well.

We weren’t allowed to take photos, so this was grabbed off the website. But it gives you an idea of the sets they had – pretty cool, huh?

After the Harry Potter portion of our morning, we went to the butterfly garden at the science center and ate lunch in the food court. We got to listen to a middle school band perform some holiday songs – they were really good – and Chris introduced himself to the director after the show. We hopped back on the Monorail and returned downtown, back to our hotel.

Chris and me hitchin’ a ride on a caterpillar… 

Zebra longwing

We had dinner reservations and tickets to see Bela Fleck at Jazz Alley that evening, and we decided to get all fancied up for the show. As I was getting ready, Chris asked me a couple of times if I was nearly done, and I noticed that he was repeating the same song on his iPhone. Weird, huh? When I got out of the bathroom, Chris said he had something for me, a small token of his affection for me, and he pulled out a small box with a beautiful diamond/palladium ring. It took me a minute to realize what was going on, and even then, I wasn’t sure until he said he would be the happiest man ever if I would marry him. My reply was that I would, of course, marry him…such a surprise! It turns out that the hotel was having their happy hour in the lobby so we went downstairs and got a couple of glasses of champagne, quietly celebrating our moment in the middle of a crowd of people who weren’t in on the reason for our grins. We played a couple of rounds of Guitar Hero with Bailey (on vacation from Australia with his parents), then took a cab over to Jazz Alley.

Chris picked out this ring all by himself – it’s quite gorgeous!
Our first photo together as an engaged couple :oP

Once we got to Jazz Alley, we ordered a nice bottle of wine along with dinner, which we consumed during the Bela Fleck show. He and the Flecktones played nearly their entire holiday album (Jingle all the Way), and it was a FANTASTIC show. Bela Fleck is an amazing banjo player, and along with the others (Futureman, Jeff Coffin, and Victor Wooten), the resulting music was fun, dynamic, and in some cases, unbelievable (e.g., the entire “12 days of Christmas”, with each day sung in a different key and time). They were accompanied by Alash, a group of Tuvan throat singers, and were equally amazing. Really, it was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time.

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, with Alash in the back.

A kindly older couple volunteered to drive us back to our hotel when they overheard us inquiring about calling a cab, which was a pleasant treat at the end of our night. We had to get back down to Vancouver the following morning, but it was a day in Seattle that I’m sure I will remember for a very long time. You can see more pictures of our trip by viewing the slideshow to the right, or by clicking here. I’m so lucky to have been able to share that day – a perfect day – with the man I love so much!

Want to support a great cause?

Sure you do! My friend, Rebecca, is celebrating five years of being cancer-free by climbing to the top of Mt. Adams. During the past five years she has been supported by (and in-turn supports) an organization called Casting for Recovery, which is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports breast cancer survivors through a program that combines fly-fishing, counseling, and medical information to build a focus on wellness instead of illness.

Rebecca is planning her climb this September, and the donations she receives from climb sponsors (she’s hoping to get $2000) will be given to Casting for Recovery to support other cancer survivors. Please visit Rebecca’s Hike-n-Fish blog to find out more about her climb, or click HERE to donate. Thanks!

Mt. Adams, by Rebecca Young

Hood to Coast, Finally…

I know it’s a little late, but I wanted to post these pictures of Hood to Coast. Paul, Adelaide, and I met Anne at the finish line in Seaside – she is hardcore! The best thing about the event, in my opinion, was looking at all the teams – some had costumes, others had pimped out team vans. Best team name: Bunghole Liquors. Yes, Bunghole Liquors is an actual liquor store on the east coast – go ahead and google them. A bunghole, by the way, is a hole in a barrel of alcohol – not at all what you were thinking (get your mind out of the gutter, man). Anyway, enjoy these belated pictures of the event, and of course, the cutest little badass ever!

One of the Bunghole Liquors vans…
The only bad part of the day was all the sand!


Here comes Anne and her team through the finish line…

And here come the Bunghole Liquors!

Guess How Many Green Sea Turtles I Saw?

Today was a good day, one of those warm sunny autumn days that people actually come to visit southern California for. My friend Nicole and I headed down to the marina at Chula Vista to join up with a group of sea turtle enthusiasts (which also included my friends Tamara and Kari) and kayak out into the bay in hopes of getting a glimpse at one of the elusive marine reptiles. The San Diego Natural History Museum sponsored the program, so we got to hear a local sea turtle biologist talk about the different local species of turtles and ask a few questions. And lucky for you, I took the risk of bringing my camera along with me in the kayak so that I could snap a few pictures of the turtles we would surely see.

We paddled out of the marina and headed south towards the power plant where the green turtles hang out because they like the warmer effluent water. It was just a little breezy – enough for us to keep cool but not strong enough to make paddling difficult. It was soooo relaxing bobbing around in the waves; I saw an osprey and several flocks of Brandt’s geese, along with lots of other diving sea birds and jumping fish, which I think were mullet.

So while I didn’t see any sea turtles, I still had a good time, except for getting two blisters on my hands where I was holding the paddle. But I didn’t lose my camera, or tip my kayak, or accidentally cause anyone to bail out of their boat. So all in all, I can probably call the morning a success! Here are a few pictures to enjoy – you can see more through the slideshow link to the right.