enjoying the weather in the north cascades

The weekend before last, Rachel and I decided to enjoy the weather a bit, by driving up to the Upper Skagit River to see the bald eagles feeding on the salmon.  We had a great time, and it turned out to be a pretty full day.

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We got an early start, and made good time until I took an ill-advised turn off onto state hwy 530 at Arlington.  Ordinarily, this is the way to go, but there was a bunch of snow and ice that slowed us down.  Eventually Rachel dropped off to sleep, and the road straightened.  The sun came up as we wound through the woods, following shallow tire tracks in the snow.

There were two or three eagles hanging out under the bridge over the Skagit River when we got there.  We walked down to the river’s edge and watched them for a while.

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I was shooting with my 70-200 f2.8 w/ VR, and a 2x multiplier.  This is great glass, but I need something more in order to get closer.  These pictures are cropped to make them look closer, and the image quality just isn’t there.  Still – it’s a big deal to watch these big birds fly around.

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Rachel got wet up to her knees hopping around near the water, so it was time to move on.  A rafting trip wasn’t going to happen with her getting colder, so we decided to head east up the highway, to look at more birds, and see some salmon.

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By now, the birds had finished feeding, and were all way up in the trees.  So we toured the Salmon Hatchery in Marblemount, took in the beautiful day, and looked through telescopes at the eagles.  Then we ate a big lunch, which included some delicious rhubarb cobbler.

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Finally, we headed over to the Bald Eagle Festival in Concrete.  This is a pretty modest affair, with some science-fair type exhibits, some stuff for sale, and an ongoing set of demonstrations.  Rachel played with some worms in a worm bin.  She likes doing that.

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We also ended up watching a Native American Flute Circle, which was pretty nice.  Rachel asked lots of questions.

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By now it was time to head out.  When I talk about this, it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s hard to convey how full the days are when you’re out with a six-year old.  They’re smart enough to move slowly, watch, listen, and take everything in. 

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