Questions To Keep Me Awake Tonight  

Posted by Stan Harrington

It is 1:40 a.m., Alaska Standard time and I am still pondering the following questions in my thoughts.

1. Where was Tiger Woods going at 2:25 a.m. when he had his accident backing out of his driveway?

2. Why did the city of Anchorage, Alaska have the official lighting of the "Holiday Tree" and not the official lighting of the "Christmas Tree"?

3. How can a U.S. Senator read 2,072 pages of a proposed Health Bill in three days and understand it enough to cast a vote when I cannot understand two pages of the difference between Medicare Part A and Part B and still not comprehend the difference and their applications to my situation?

4. Why are Thanksgiving Dinner leftovers better than the original dinner?

5. Why did the Denver Broncos look so good by soundly defeating the New York Giants on Thursday night after loosing their previous four games?

6. Why do Senior Citizens, even those in their 80's and 90's have a monthly premium deducted from their Social Security for payment of Medicare Part B or is it Part A, refer back to question #3?

7. How did Michaele and Tareg Salahi get through the Secret Service protection and Security at President Obama's State Dinner for India Prime Minister Manmohen Singh? How did they get up to the President and shake hands with him without someone saying, "Who are these people? Why would they want to get a picture of themselves posing with Vice President Biden?
For that matter, why didn't the Vice President ask them, "Who are you people"?

8. Why did it take our Commander In Chief four months to make a decision in regards to his Generals recommendation for an increase in troop strength in Afghanistan? I thought I heard him state during the campaigning process that he supported the action in Afghanistan, it was a war we had to win, and he would rely on the recommendations from his field commanders. I guess we will find out on Tuesday.

9. Why would anyone want to convert their personal medical insurance over to a program that is adopted and managed by our government, refer back to Question #3?

10. Why did I drink that last cup of coffee at 1:00 a.m.?

Happy Thanksgiving  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Whether You Are Having Turkey For Thanksgiving Dinner

Wild Turkey's ~ November 2009


If You Choose To Cook Your Goose

Canadian Geese ~ November 2009

Save Some Room For Pumpkin Pie!

Wishing All Of You A Very Happy

You Never Know What You May Find  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Been spending several hours for the past couple of days going on photo hunts for respectable representatives of the Bull Moose. With winter coming on, time is limited as they will soon start slipping their antlers. Seeing a number of cows and calves, but the big Bull has been elusive. Did spot one yesterday, although I could tell he had horns, even with the aid of binoculars I could not judge the size.

However, the great thing about photo hunting, in an attempt to get as close as possible to the target, you often find things that you are not expecting. That was the case today when I stumbled onto this specie. Seeing this specie, let alone having it stick around long enough to get a picture is unusual. He did not seem to mind me, he let me know not to intrude any further by his hissing and growling. After clicking a few pictures of him, he was gone as fast as he had appeared.


Smarther Than A Fifth Grader  

Posted by Stan Harrington

After watching wildlife my entire life, I am convinced that they are not only smarter than a 5th grader, they are more likely smarter than any of us in the human race. When I use the term of "wildlife" I am also including the species of birds and fishes. When you consider, they can predict the weather and move from one area to another to avoid foul weather without the aid of televised weather reports or Doppler radar. The majority of our waterfowl and a wide variety of species of birds will migrate thousands of miles twice a year without the aid of a map, chart, or even a GPS. Our salmon species will go to sea as fry and return to their parent stream 2 to 6 years later, again without the aid of navigational devices. Yet, our wildlife, fish, and birds are often called stupid, "stupid is as stupid does".

On my recent trip, I saw a great example of just how smart our wildlife is. In an area that I was visiting, Deer Season had just open but only for the specie of Mule Deer. Hunters were running all over the country in their flame orange vest to keep from getting shot. During the hunting season, if you are using horses in your hunt for packing, it is best to tie "flame orange" survey tape to their manes. This is done to protect them from getting shot by some hunter who can and does mistake a horse for a deer or elk. Even the wildlife are aware that a lot of hunters in the field cannot properly identify one specie of animal from another nor their legality in regards to size of horns or sex. During my trip, since Mule Deer season was open, we found this Whitetail Buck, that made sure all hunters knew what specie of deer he was. Yet, we call them stupid!

"I Am NOT A Mule Deer, I Am A Whitetail Deer!"

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Home Sweet Home  

Posted by Stan Harrington

This afternoon at 1:30 p.m., we completed our road trip of six weeks. It was a great trip, so many sights that I have captured to memory but at the same time, I managed to capture 1,527 memorable images with my camera. Some images like the early morning sun gracing the tips of the Rocky Mountains, the sound of a half dozen bull Elk bugling at the same time, or a sunset over the prairie, or a band of four Rocky Mountain Big Horn rams standing side by side drinking from a clear mountain stream cannot be captured on a camera. These memorable moments are reserved as once in a lifetime opportunities. I would be remiss if I did not include the birth of our 15th grandchild (including our two great granddaughters) as being the most memorable part of our trip, Shane Rolland Harrington.

Our trip this year took us 11,524.9 miles to complete. We visited the western provinces of Canada, Yukon Territory, British Columbia, and Alberta. In our travels, we visited Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and South Dakota. We also had the opportunity to visit seven National Parks in Canada and the lower forty eight. We also visited a countless number of wildlife refuges and wildlife wilderness areas.

We did our part in contributions to the local economy along our way as well as supporting the oil industry by using 737.13 gallons of gasoline. In our travels, our most expensive gas was in Watson Lake, Yukon Territory at $4.549 per gallon (converted) with the least expensive gas found in the town of my birth, Montrose, Colorado at $2.389 a gallon. However, we did get by with one oil change and I need to get a new bulb for my left turn signal. Really do not need it, I have been a conservative all my life and have a tendency to always go right. I escaped with only only speeding ticket!

Surprisingly, leaving and returning to Alaska the largest city that we drove through was Anchorage, Alaska! Even the capital of Nebraska, the city of Lincoln is smaller than Anchorage. During our entire trip, we drove less than 200 miles on the Interstate Highway system even then it was because we had no choice as there were no side roads that would have bypassed them.

I have so many favorite places, however the Black Hills of South Dakota would rank very high on my list as favorites. The pine forests, rock formations, history, and wildlife that is found throughout this area is fantastic. Included would be Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument, and the Little Big Horn. So much to see and do, I intend to return there again and spend several days just exploring this area. Perhaps, I will see my rams once again.

Although, my principal interest in photography is taking pictures of wildlife.While driving the Alcan Highway, and noticing that the history of the highway is disappearing rapidly. The old Lodges that use to dot the highway and played a vital role in years past when you drove the highway. Today, so many of them have been closed, deserted and slowly deteriorating due to age and climate. I decided to start taking photos of them, so many of them I remember as a child when we would drive the highway in the 50's. Since then, I decided to start a second photo journal and photograph other old buildings. There has to be so much history behind each of them, the families that lived in the old homes or the old barns that were the pride of some rancher or farmer. Each one, although old and deteriorating, still has a quality of uniqueness and beauty.
During our trip, I have captured over one hundred shots of old buildings. I have also found they are easier to photograph than animals, they don't move.
"Home On The Prairie" ~ Kansas ~ Highway 99

Barn and Silo ~ Dorchester, Nebraska
(Note the round Silo is constructed of brick)
"First House"
First House after you enter Alaska from Canada

Tok Junction, Alaska  

Posted by Stan Harrington

We fueled up and departed Whitehorse, Yukon Territory under the cover of darkness but expecting good light within the following forty five minutes. From Whitehorse about twenty minutes, we saw a familiar sign warning us about wildlife on the highway. This particular sign was for elk. I have heard of the large Elk herds in the Whitehorse area, however, my many trips over the highway, I had never seen a single Elk in this area. This was a subject of discussion for a few minutes between my wife and I. Within the next three miles, we came across a small herd on both sides of the highway. Unfortunately, the lighting was not good, it was still pre-dawn but I did manage to get enough proof that Elk do exist in the Whitehorse area.

This particular herd consisted of cows and calves with a few small, spike horned bulls.

But then, I noticed a tree branch that was not quite right with the scheme of the landscape. I call this series of three shots:
"Eyes In The Fog"

Could only get a quick count as he moved between the trees and out of sight, but was at least a very respectable five pointer, perhaps a "Royal"

Hopefully the storm that is forecast for tonight will pass through Glennallen as projected. We will be on the road from Tok inbound for Las Anchorage after good light ~ earlier projected time of arrival may need to be revised slightly due to storm.

Fort Nelson, Bitish Columia  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Been to Ogallala, Nebraska ~ did not get a chance to visit much with Claire Allen as she was with Bob, but I will tell you that she is not as pretty as she once was.

I have now crossed the Powder River and well north of the Yellowstone, our new ranch that the boys have named "Hat Creek Ranch", not a prettier place have you ever seen.

I understand that from my previous posting of the picture of "Hat Creek Ranch" that there are those individuals close to me that still doubt my word. They are still assuming that "Hat Creek Ranch" is a fictional place from the mini series, "Lonesome Dove".

You have to believe, what you see and you read! Dutch can fully appreciate the moment and enjoys listening to the stories of "Lonesome Dove".

Tonight finds us well north of the Peace River at Fort Nelson. On our southward journey, we had a little problem in Fort Nelson at our motel and swore we would never stay in Fort Nelson again. However, we found a very nice motel, almost good enough to holdup in for the winter. A beautiful day of driving, little snow to start out when we left Prince George but cleared up nicely by the time we hit the Alcan at Fort Saint John. From the time we rolled out of Prince George until we pulled up in front of our motel room, we had driven exactly, to the tenth of a mile a total of 500 miles. Tomorrow morning, we will be on the road again, just before first light as tomorrow is the big day that I have been looking forward to. Between here and Whitehorse, YT is the best section of the highway to see a wide variety of wildlife. Hopefully, I have a second rendezvous with some big Stone Rams. When we hit the road,the engine will not even have time to get warm and we will surpass the 10,000 mile mark on this trip, we now set at 9,997, again to the tenth of a mile. The last couple of days has been a little disappointing on seeing wildlife but have seen some beautiful country.

Analyzing the data tonight, the number of rpm's we are generating multiplied by the number of revolutions that our wheels make; taking into consideration that they will revolve slower in heavy snow or faster on black ice; and barring any unforeseen circumstances like avalanches, road closures, or customs not allowing us to enter Alaska; it is projected that we will roll into Las Anchorage, Alaska at 1639.34 on Thursday evening.

Yes, I watched the Denver Bronco game tonight and will make no comment - but I believe!

Hope, Birish Columbia  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Hat Creek Ranch
The Powder River is to the south of us as we continue to make our way to the north. Spending the night in Hope, British Columbia tonight before we head up the Frasier River valley.
Have a great puzzle for you to figure out from this posting.
We spent the past evening in Kalispell, Montana leaving there this morning at first light which occurs at about 0730. We traveled 103 miles into Idaho and then entered Canada. Today, we drove 523.6 miles bringing our total up 9,104.5 for this trip. We crossed three mountain passes, each one requiring me to go into four wheel drive and down to low gear several times due to the snowfall. We passed through a beautiful region which happens to be the largest grape producing area in Canada for fine wines. This region also boasts of some of the finest apple, peach, apple and cherry orchards.
We arrived into Hope, BC after dark at 5:30 pm, we would still be on a pass if it was not for a trucker that led us down the mountain allowing us to follow his fresh tracks in the snow. We also picked up an extra hour driving time today by passing from Mountain to Pacific time. Total driving time, eleven (11) hours and 523.60 miles driven, yet we are only 76 miles north of the Canadian border. How did we do that?

Red Lodge, Montana  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Had a little confusion on the trip today, despite "Suzie" GPS readings and maps, we found ourselves a one hundred miles north of where we were suppose to be, however, we have crossed the Powder River. A total of 429.7 miles today although my original travel plans called for 342. We have seen Montana a couple of times today but now settled in for the night at Red Lodge, Montana. A nice, small community at the base of Beartooth Pass (10,947 feet).

Being always prepared, I am driving a Ford F-150, with a recent oil change, four wheel drive, and four studded tires on the pavement. I feel very secure in driving any place in Alaska and the Alcan Highway with this rig. With that said, believing in the 7 P's, I checked my Doppler radar site and weather station this morning. Our destination and the gateway to Yellowstone Park was clear and expected highs in the upper 50's. Arriving in Cody it was 64 degrees. It then came it came to our attention that Yellowstone Park roads were closed for the winter. However, the most northeast entrance was open to the northwestern entrance and remains open all winter dependent on snow removal. Realizing we were not going to get in the park from Cody, WY we headed north to our present location. Our plans was to pass through Yellowstone during the early morning while all of the wildlife was out of hiding. Still cannot believe closing roads for the winter when it is +60 degrees! If I agreed with that policy, I wouldnever get back to Alaska!

Tonight after settling in, I decided to go find some back roads to take "Dutch" on a leash free play period and see if we could spot some elk or deer. Heading towards Beartooth Pass, one mile from our motel I could not help but notice a flashing yellow lighted sign. Beartooth Pass Closed! Since this is our only access, we have options ~ drive an additional 200 miles to get partial access to the park or mark it off the list of which we will choose the latter since we were in the park a month ago.

Re-route plans are now underway but I still refuse to go through Edmonton or Calgary, so we will be headed northwest across Montana.

We did drive a hundred miles of Interstate Highways today, I still hate them but between Spearfish, SD and Buffalo, WY we saw 1,000, maybe 2,000, perhaps a few more head of Antelope. The only problem, those constant nagging signs along the Interstate "No Stopping Unless It Is An Emergency". I had to pass so many good shots today but I did catch a few does at a pullout area.

Ten Sleep, Wyoming

More to this story, but best told in person. Thought this old cabin on the banks of Ten Sleep Creek deserved to have it's picture taken. I would love to know the history behind this house and those that occupied it over the years. The walls are dove tailed log and very tightly fit together. It is located on the outskirts of the community of Ten Sleep, Wyoming.

February 27, 1943

Came across this old mine west of Belfry, Montana on our way into Red Lodge. At first glance, it was just a great shot of an old mine but then I found the historical marker. They have left the old buildings in memorial of the Smith Mine Disaster. The worst mining disaster in the history of Montana. Three men escaped and the remaining seventy four lost their lives on that date. The mine was never re-opened and the remains of many of the men are still entombed.

Traveling Days Get No Better  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Although we spent a lot of time today, looking in awe at what we were experiencing, we still managed to record 336 miles. Spending the night in Spearfish, South Dakota. Clear sky and temperatures in the high fifties. Coming across the badlands of South Dakota we did get to see some antelope, deer, and prairie dog colonies. Seeing the variety of Indian Reservations in the area was quite interesting. Had hoped to stop in Harrington, South Dakota just to say we had been there and perhaps discover a little family history. Although it is listed on the map, GPS "Susie"denied any knowledge of a town by that name. However, looking on the map we knew it was very close to the border of Central and Mountain Standard time. Again, the map showed the community off the main highway just a few miles, however, we did not find any sign or access road leading to Harrington, SD. Stopping in the next town for coffee I asked the sales clerk if she knew where it was, she had never heard of it yet it was within ten miles of this community. However, she pointed out the coffee table and said one of those "old men" would know. All of them very friendly and had heard of it but never been there. Fortunately, one of them did have some information. Use to be a grocery store in Harrington run by the O'Neil family but it had been closed for ten years. Nothing there any more except the old buildings. As how the name was derived for the community. According to this man, Harrington had a small ranch there but was also caught being a horse thief. I am sure that I do not share any genes with the founder of Harrington, South Dakota.

We made our first visit to Crazy Horse Monument just south of Mount Rushmore. If you are ever in the area, it is a must see. All government funding for this project has been turned down, it is being constructed by contributions and a modest entrance fee. To see everything, plan on spending a full day as this location also houses the Indian Museum of North America. Thousands of items to review and study with hundreds of original photos of the great Chiefs that lead the various tribes.

Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear invited sculptor Korezak Paderewski to carve a statue of Crazy Horse because of his dedication to the Native Americans. Korezak started work on the mountain in 1948 and only $174.00 to his name. He passed away in 1982, still working on the mountain. Today, his wife, children,and grandchildren continue the effort. When completed, it will show Crazy Horse sitting on a horse with his hand reaching out in front of him. Only the front shoulders and head of the horse will be carved. The reason the hand it stretched out is from a quote by Crazy Horse, "My lands are where my dead is buried". It is the world's largest mountain carving. Is is 563 feet high. The head of Crazy Horse is 87.5 feet tall. The feather in his hair is 44 feet in length. His arm will have a total length of 263 feet and his hands are a size 33 feet. His arm is the level area below his head. The white outline on the rocks is the 45 foot ear and 16 foot eye of the horse. The hole in the mountain is the space between the arms of Crazy Horse and his horse.

We were very fortunate to be there on the day that they had a scheduled blast, over 25 thousand tons of rock were blown away in less than a minute.

This was our second time to visit Mount Rushmore in two years. It deserves to be visited each time you pass through this area. It is an inspirational visit each time you see the faces on the rocks or visit the great American History museum, not only how the mountain was carved but why these great Americans were chosen to grace the mountain.

The "icing on the cake" for today occurred just a few miles from Mount Rushmore. I once again was in the right place at the right time and caught a heard of Big Horn Sheep. A half dozen stayed on the cliff out of my reach, however four of the largest rams came in and I was able to shoot them without using a telephoto lens. These four big rams had buddied up, evidently something that they do prior to the rut. I have to admit, half my shots are useless, I had a little buck fever and was shooting as fast as I could before I lost them. The shots I messed up on were the four rams drinking out of a small stream. I don't care who you are, when you see four rams of this size, either hunting or with a camera, you are going to get a little "buck fever".

Come first light, we will be heading out for Wyoming. Will likely spend the night in Cody, Wyoming so we are lined up for Yellowstone National Park the following day.

On The Road Again  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Once again, we are on the open highways and byways of our great U.S. of A. following a eighteen day waiting period in Lincoln, Nebraska for the birth of our 15th Grandchild (including our two Great Grandchildren). It took a few days longer, but we finally waited him out a few days past his due date. Well worth the wait and definitely the highlight of the trip. Shane Rolland Harrington, 7 pounds 10 ounces. He carries the first name as his Uncle Shane and his middle name was the middle name of his Great Uncle Henry Rolland "Tad" Harrington. Baby, mom, and even Dad are all doing fine.
During our wait in Lincoln, we had a chance to get out and explore the area. So much history to see and learn in this area. We had several day tours out of the area, one particular day we traveled about three hundred miles, however we went from Nebraska, to Iowa, followed by Missouri, then to Kansas before returning to Nebraska. To some, that is no big deal but when you are from Alaska you need to put it in proper prospective. That same distance traveled in Alaska will not even get us to Mt. McKinley from our home.

Tonight, after driving 336 miles we are in Valentine, Nebraska just a few miles south of the South Dakota border. We took a north by northeast course today, but before this trip is over we will be cutting back to the southwest by west, before we turn to go back to our north by northwest course until we hit the eastern foothills of Washington when we will turn north and head for home. Going to be a little longer trip home than normal. Although, at this point we have now accumulated 7,323 miles on this trip. Not that many miles will be added on tomorrow as we have a full day of sightseeing. The primary sites will be the Crazy Horse Memorial and Mt. Rushmore but the Black Hills is so beautiful, we will likely take several side trips. Planning on staying in Deadwood City, SD tomorrow night. I heard that they may have a few casinos, not that I would indulge in this type of activity.

This among thousands of others in Nebraska needs to be mentioned. This is the Johnson County Courthouse in Tecumseh, Johnson County, Nebraska. It was constructed in 1895 and still being used today. Johnson County was named in Honor of Colonel Johnson. While serving in the Army, Colonel Johnson was in combat against Chief Tecumseh. Following the Indian Wars, Colonel Johnson retired. The community as well as the county was going to be named after Colonel Johnson, however, he requested out of of respect, that the community be named Tecumseh in honor of his former combative foe. Beautiful architecture using a combination of brick and stone. However, each small town you pass through in Nebraska, you are likely to see buildings of this stature, either government buildings or churches.

I have added a couple of shots to my Wildlife Album, both of which would be classified as trophy animals.

White Tail Buck

Royal ~ Bull Elk Basking In The Sun