Monday, October 31, 2016

Mainely Murders Bookstore, Kennebunk, Maine

         Searching for tales of mystery, murder and mayhem this Halloween?  Then check out Mainely Murders bookstore in Kennebunk, Maine.

         I discovered Mainely Murders while touring Maine on a warm August day.  Open doors and an employee reading under a shade canopy enticed me to stop in.  
         "Welcome," said the employee.  "I'll describe our store to you."  

         "Outside we have garden-themed murders and culinary mysteries.  And here's a section devoted to murders involving or solved by cats and dogs.  And, in case you're wondering, the cats and dogs are NEVER the victims," she said.

          I entered the small clapboard building and Ann, the bookstore's owner, took over the narrative:

         "Here's a section devoted to murders written by Maine authors, or taking place in Maine.  We have New England murders, classic American and classic British Isles murder mysteries, Agatha Christie's works, Sherlock Holmes mysteries, European mysteries, South American murder mysteries, Medieval murders, Contemporary American mysteries, Alphabetized-by-author-not-any-particular-genre murders."

         All categorized, all organized.

        "We have over 10,000 books in our inventory," Ann said.  "But we only display about 3500.  So, if you don't see something, ask!"

         After my Mainely Murders tutorial I had to buy at least one book.  I browsed the shop for awhile and then did indeed by a book (or three).    

         What better way to spend Halloween than by curling up with a good mystery while awaiting little goblins and ghouls.

         Happy Haunting!

Here's the perfect gift for a Halloween/World Series celebration—
baseball-themed murder mysteries.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Nevada Beyond the Neon: The Bruneau and Reese Rivers

         Two rivers share the spotlight for this final post in the Nevada Beyond the Neon series.  

         The Bruneau meanders beneath phyllite cliffs in northeastern Nevada before changing character in Idaho.  The Idaho Bruneau churns through canyons carved into ancient lava flows, providing a thrilling whitewater rafting experience. The Nevada Bruneau invites trout fishermen on a leisurely stroll though placid waters.

Casting the Bruneau on a July evening.

          We prefer the Nevada experience and have camped by the river watching hawks soar the cerulean sky while frogs croaked from water’s edge.  One evening we listened from inside the tent as cowboys drove herds of cattle across the water and through our camp.

Our peaceful camp along the Bruneau—until an evening
cattle drive came through with galloping horses
and barking dogs.

Bruneau River landscape.

Campsite along another section of the Bruneau.

This small section of the Bruneau holds
good-sized trout.

          The Reese River is contained entirely within the Great Basin.  Its waters will never reach the sea and the river seems satisfied with this simple fact.  Located south of Austin in the Arc Dome Wilderness area of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, the Reese is a backpacker's and horse-packer's dream.  
         We backpacked the Cow Canyon Trail along the river and set up camp among the willows.  Broad-tailed hummingbirds buzzed our campsite, and yellow warblers called from the brush.  

Cow Canyon Trailhead.  This trail, with commanding views of the Arc Dome
Wilderness, descends and ascends along the Reese River.

Prolific wildflowers along the trail.

Setting up camp alongside the Reese River.

Fishing for trout in the Reese River.

The results of Tim's efforts: a delicious
rainbow trout fillet for dinner.

            If you’re searching for Blue Ribbon Trout streams or a whitewater adventure, you won’t find them on Nevada's Bruneau or Reese.  But what you will find are those qualities so common in Nevada’s backcountry—peace, tranquility, and a deep connection with the natural world.  

Tim gazes across the wilderness to Arc Dome's 11,300 foot Peak.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Nevada Beyond the Neon: Santa Rosa Mountain Range in the Humboldt National Forest

There's gold in them thar hills.
          Arrowleaf Balsamroot is the common name of the wildflowers shown above.  The flowers are named for the shape of their leaves and the fragrant balsam in their roots.  Fair enough.
          I can't help but imagine though, that the bands of Northern Paiute who inhabited this area years ago ascribed more inspirational names to these carpets of gold—"Fields of Sunshine" perhaps, or "Sunrise Touching the Hills".

          These first manifestations of spring ambushed our senses as we climbed Hinkey Summit Road in the Santa Rosa Range of the Humboldt National Forest in north-central Nevada.
          Our two-day trip to the Santa Rosa Range included other sensuous pleasures as well.   Driving past a spindly half-dead tree on the hillside we noticed a nest cradled in its branches.  After stopping the truck to inspect this find we spied two fuzzy heads bobbing in the nest.  And then we heard it, that tell-tale piercing scream—you've probably heard it on the soundtrack of a western movie or television show—of a Red-tailed Hawk.  Red-tail chicks!  I had never seen them in the wild and so Tim and I tentatively crept up the hill toward the tree.
         The screech we heard earlier meant that mama hawk was nearby and sure enough she flew into the nest, gave her chicks a scolding for allowing themselves to be seen, and then dive-bombed the two of us.  Warning taken.  We scrambled down the hill and away from those razor-sharp claws.  And the chicks didn't surface again.  Those youngsters listen to "Mom" when she tells them to lie low.

Red-tail Hawk family.  On our return down the mountain we saw the entire
family in the nest.  This time, using the truck as a blind,
Tim took this zoomed photo.
Mama and Papa hawk didn't pay any attention to us—so long
as we stayed by our truck.
         Singas Creek Trail presented another perspective on this mountain range.  The steep trail on the east side of the Santa Rosas climbs through wildflower-strewn alpine meadows and past mature aspens on its way to lichen-covered granite spires.  Tim and I had the trail to ourselves on this June day.
         Solitude and scenery.  Can't beat it.

Brilliantly colored lichen adorns the granite in the Santa Rosa Range.

          Our final visual treat was the town of Paradise Valley, a virtual ghost town now inhabited by 109 souls.  The town was named "Paradise" after an early settler exclaimed: "What a paradise!" upon viewing the mountains to the west.  With its abandoned buildings, rusty vehicles and towering old cottonwood trees the town these days would be better-suited as the setting for an episode of The Twilight Zone.

Paradise?  Or the scene of a horror show?  You decide.

          As with most everywhere in rural Nevada the town of Paradise Valley and the remote Santa Rosa range are accessed by one lonely dirt road.  If you choose to experience the treasures of north-central Nevada, mid-June is the perfect time to view its fields of sunshine and fledgling birds of prey.