Brian's Journal - Summer 2018

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7/03/2018   Hidden Lakes Peak (photos by Darchelle)  
A rare Alder Flycatcher was discovered at Bacon Creek along highway 20 near Marblemount a couple of weeks ago. I persuaded Ed and Delia to drive me up there to look for it but we did not arrive until midafternoon and the bird was silent. I wanted to try again early in the morning when it might still be singing, and therefore identifiable, so Darchelle and I drove back up there and spent the night at the Totem Trail Motel outside of Marblemount. Clean and quiet with a friendly owner, we would happily stay there again. The flycatcher was singing when we reached Bacon Creek at 7AM. Mixed deciduous brush under a power line is not what I think of as Alder Flycatcher habitat but there it was. We heard a Sooty Grouse there too, a good omen since we hoped to be seeking its Alpine cousin along the Hidden Lakes Peak a few hours later.
Silver Fir forest
Marmot
Retreating from the snowfields
We didn't quite make it to Ptarmigan territory. The trail traverses mixed second growth forest then climbs through old growth silver fir forest before crossing an alder-choked stream gully and switchbacking up a broad steep avalanche meadow. At the top of the meadow the trail traverses above a headwall into mostly open subalpine terrain where it gains the gentle ridge that leads to the summit area. The snowfields began right where the trail left the meadow but the angle was moderate and relatively safe until we came to the only significant gully crossing of the entire route. That gully was still filled with a tongue of snow about 20 feet wide and steep enough that if we slipped, we would slide down the gully and over the 100 foot cliff of the headwall.
Scarlet Paintbrush
Yellow Violet
Thimbleberry
I would not have hesitated to cross if we'd had ice axes and been able to use them. Instead I tried to find a route up and over the top of the gully. That involves kick-stepping up about 50 feet of snow then scrambling over 10 feet of heather. Darchelle did it without difficulty but when I reached the top of the snow I discovered that I could not safely step up onto the heather without being able to hold on with my hands. Time to turn around. Descending the snow was of course more difficult than the ascent. I only made it about five steps before I slipped and fell into an uncontrolled slide. I was on my stomach sliding feet first and unable to lift my head to see where I was going, but I knew that within about 50 feet I would run into a dense patch of young Mountain Hemlock which would stop my slide. I tried to dig in with my toes but that only caused me to start swinging around so that I would have slid into the trees headfirst. By quickly spreading my legs I was able to keep my feet downhill. When my face scraped across a little patch of mountain heath I knew that I was almost to the trees so I quickly put my legs together again so as to not slide spread-eagled onto a tree trunk. A second later I crashed into the thicket of trees and stopped, rattled and a bit scraped up but unhurt.
The flowers in the avalanche meadow were just beginning to bloom so Darchelle took a few pictures on the way down.
7/06/2018   Hart's Pass (photos by Darchelle)  
Dusky Grouse hen at Sun Mountain Lodge
Dusky Grouse juvenile
Dusky Grouse hen and juvenile
Since we ran out of time to stop in Winthrop during our Wandering Washington trip we've been looking for an opportunity to get back there to chase some grouse, in particular Spruce Grouse and Ptarmigan at Hart's Pass and Dusky Grouse at Sun Mountain Lodge. This was our opportunity.
We ate supper at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery, inside because the riverside patio was full. Had we held off ordering for another five minutes, we could've eaten outside. Inside it was crowded and noisy; the food was okay and the beer not as good as I remembered. After checking in at the Abbey Creek Motel we still had a half hour till sunset so we drove up to Sun Mountain Lodge in hopes of catching a Dusky Grouse. A brisk but still warm westerly breeze was sweeping down the valley. Clouds blocked the sunset but the eastern sky was clear and bright. We walked a short loop trail west of the tennis courts. A large Accipiter flushed off a snag on the ridge, a little too slender for a goshawk. Swifts, first one then a handful, beat their way into the wind overhead - Black Swifts commuting home for the night. a couple of deer, but no grouse, were grazing around the lodge when we returned to the car at dusk. In the morning though, a hen and four sub-adult chicks were poking around in the grass by the tennis courts, clucking softly. One grouse down, two to go.
D photographing Goat nursery
Goat nursery along Hart's Pass road
Mountaine Goat
Forest and meadow below Hart's Pass
Pine Marten
Pine Marten
We hoped to find those two at Hart's Pass but did not, though as we poked around in the forest along Slate Creek on the west side of the pass we did hear a Pine Grosbeak. We also found a Pine Marten worrying the local juncos and kinglets. We thought it was adorable; the birds apparently did not. The grouse we heard calling up there were clearly Sooty while down in the valley a few miles to the east they all appear to be Dusky. I wondered where the two populations meet, and how they are separated.
Despite a large snowbank crossing most of the road at one point, we were able to drive all the way to the gate on the road up to Slate Peak. The little parking area there affords great views down into the basin on the north side of the ridge were Ptarmigan are reported to live. Against Darchelle's wishes, I stepped out onto the snow and peered over the edge, studying the talus and snow below for about five minutes until a vigorous rainstorm swept in from the south. No Ptarmigan. We waited in the car for the storm to clear. When it did, several men on motorcycles showed up. One of them had forgotten his gloves at a previous stop and his hands were numb with cold so Darchelle gave him her hiking socks. Then we drove back down the road to the big snow bank and followed a trail over the ridge and part way down the other side, again in hopes of spotting a Ptarmigan. No such luck though when storm cleared and the sun came out, the views were glorious.
Basin northeast of Slate Peak
Clearing after storm
View towards Mazama
Monkeyflower
Silver forest along Hart's Pass road
Morning at Goat Creek Sno-Park
We had been planning to sleep at Hart's Pass but deterred by the wet ground and cold air, we drove back down the road and stayed at the Goat Creek Sno-Park instead. We had company this time; two or three parties pulled in after us but they were well-behaved. They probably thought the same of us despite our scampering over to the restroom in our underwear first thing in the morning.
7/07/2018   Cutthroat Pass (photos by Darchelle)  
Last year we hiked in to Cutthroat Lake because we didn't have time to get up to the open high country around the pass. This year we dedicated a full day to the outing and made it to the pass and beyond, though because we stopped for a comfortable breakfast in the sunny courtyard at the Mazama store first, we did not start up the trail until 11.
Cutthroat Creek near the trailhead
Forest near Cutthroat Lake
Unidentified shrub (Rhododendron?)
Although the forest is pretty lush in places in the valley, with groves of tall 300-year-old spruce trees along the trail, it thins out steadily as the trail climbs up towards the pass making for a warm hike in the mid-summer sunshine. When we reached the basin, sometime around 3PM, we left the trail and worked our way up across talus and snow to a saddle from which we could see north to the spire of Golden Horn and the Pacific Crest Trail in a long traverse across the west slope of the peak. I have been intrigued by reports of rare crystals on that mountain but I have never been there and now never will be.
Tower Mountain and Golden Horn
View Southwest over Cutthroat Pass
Cutthroat Pass
Seeking Ptarmigan, we traversed west to the ridge above Cutthroat Pass and followed it down to the trail. We encountered little snow on the descent, and that only in the first quarter mile or so below the pass. It was a long hike for me, 11 miles, 3000 feet and 8 hours. I was glad to sit down in the car again.
I kept a bird list; a lone Gray-crowned Rosy-finch flying over the saddle was my only new bird for the year, #312.
7/19/2018   ALS clinic (photos by Darchelle)  
Hanging out with Sarah last week
Considering the results
The results
We discussed a feeding tube again, and again concluded not to do it at this time. The nutritionist suggested drink supplements as an alternative which might help me gain some weight and gave us samples of two or three of them. The chocolate Boost at 350 calories tasted the best. My seated FVC was 2.87 or 61%, roughly half of what it was when I attended the clinic for the first time about four years ago.
7/21/2018   Ptarmigan already (photos by Darchelle)  
Following up recent reports by Blair and others of a Ptarmigan with chicks up on First Burroughs Mountain above Sunrise at Mount Rainier National Park, Darchelle and I drove down there today and after some searching, found them! I hadn't really expected to find them; we didn't even bring the camera with us so had to use Darchelle's cell phone for our photos.
On First Burroughs
White-tailed Ptarmigan
Ptarmigan chick
View from Sunrise Rim Trail
On Sunrise Rim Trail
Scruffy bear
Darchelle photographed some of the flowers.
Red Mountain Heath
Elephantella
Sky Pilot
White Mountain Heath
Magenta Paintbrush
7/22/2018   ALS clinic (photos by Darchelle)  
Again this year we joined Darchelle's parents and two of her sisters with their families for a week on Orcas Island. We all stayed in a big beautiful house on the side of Mount Constitution and spent our days at the lakes and on the trails of Moran State Park. We exercised traditions - supper at the park on Cascade Lake, jumping off the wooden bridge, hiking up Mount Constitution - and found some new adventures too - sorting through pebbles and riding a log with Alicia at the beach at Obstruction Pass State Park, crossing the isthmus to Indian Island at low tide, paddling and swimming out to a little island in Mountain Lake. With support from Darchelle and Alicia and a life jacket, I did that swim as well but swimming was not as much fun as I remembered.
At Cascade Lake
On the water
The jumping tree
Daniel flipping off the bridge
Obstruction Pass beach
Richard and Donna at Mountain lake
On our last full day on the island, Darchelle and Richard and I hiked from the Mountain Lake dam up over Mount Pickett and down to Twin Lakes. The hike up was hot but the descent to Twin Lakes through open Douglas Fir forest carpeted with moss was beautiful. The absence of understory is striking; I wonder if it is due to thin soils or dry summers or overbrowsing by deer, or perhaps all three.
Trail Junction
View from Mount Constitution
Mount Pickett
8/05/2018   Another Dog Dream  
The dog isn't very important in this dream but it has characters from some of my other dog dreams so I think it is related. Unfortunately I did not write the dream down right away so I have lost some of the details.
I am at a rustic summer camp, in the dining hall. John McLarty is cooking meat at some folding tables on a stage at one end of the hall. I have to leave but he assures me that there will be some left when I return.
I am at a Y in the road not far from the camp. A white pickup truck drives by and takes the left fork but I don't catch a ride in the pickup because I am going down the right fork. I walk down the road to the grounds of the camp and I need to pee but there are no bushes to go behind. I enter one of the buildings, a bunk room but there is no bathroom so I stand on the bed and get ready to pee on the wall behind it when suddenly I hear somebody coming in. I am embarrassed that I even thought of peeing inside and fortunately I do not get caught. I leave the cabin and walk a short distance over to the dining hall. A girl is standing at the foot of the steps up to the dining hall. When she sees me she says "You can pee like this" and she squats down so that her skirt forms a little tent around her. I walk past her along the side of the dining hall to look for a place to pee but people can see me from inside the dining hall so I give up trying to pee.
I enter the dining hall and am disappointed to see that there is no more meat left, only pancakes and some chili. I go up to the stage to get some food anyhow. A boisterous but friendly Golden Retriever charges in from a side door, races past the stage almost knocking some people over then disappears. John Pepper calls out from a table near the door from which I had entered and says that the chili is too hot. I am not very interested in the pancakes but maybe I might still like the chili because I know that John does not have much tolerance for spicy food.
This is my fifth dog dream in the past three years. My first dog dream, more than two years ago, also featured John McLarty and a friendly but irritating Golden retriever. In my second dog dream, about a year ago, the dogs are dangerous and John Pepper shows up but John McLarty is only referenced indirectly. In a third dog dream two months after that, I killed a God, I mean dog, which was threatening to kill me. My fourth dog dream about a month later on this past New Year's Eve featured John McLarty and two dogs which were messy but otherwise harmless. Now in this dream John McLarty still plays an important role but the dog is almost an afterthought.
8/07/2018   Darchelle passed her exam  
We are not surprised but are grateful nonetheless. Her passing score is the culmination of and reward for approximately 160 hours of studying over the past two months. Now she just has to send in her score with a form and a little money and she will become a fully licensed Mental Health Therapist.
8/09/2018   Railroad Grade (photos by Darchelle)  
At breakfast in Concrete
The Railroad Grade
Meadow
Back home from Orcas Island, we did a hike with Ricardo and Alicia and Gabriel and Daniel. I chose Railroad Grade because it would get us up into the alpine zone and maybe even onto the Easton Glacier without too much work. Although we did not reach the ice we did get to a few snowbanks and the knife edge of the railroad grade was a big hit with the boys. There weren't many mosquitoes but Darchelle had a hard time with the heat so she rested on some snow while the rest of us hiked up to the climber's camp area. There on a little knoll of rock everyone gathered around and prayed for my healing before we started down again. I kept an eye out for Ptarmigan but didn't see any.
8/10/2018   Movie Star (photos by Darchelle)  
The back garden
The Sun Room Garden
Filming
I was a movie star today, or at least I had the opportunity to think I was. Several months ago my neurologist asked me if I would be interested in sharing my experience of living with a terminal illness in an upcoming documentary film. When I told him I would be willing to participate I did not anticipate that a film crew complete with director of photography, production assistant, sound recordist, gaffer, grip and makeup technician would show up and turn our dining room into a movie set. I also did not anticipate the ego high I would experience in being made up for the camera then receiving the full attention of half a dozen people while I sat in a chair and talked for over an hour in front of tens of thousands of dollars worth of camera, lighting and sound equipment. Afterward the producer, or at least someone, assured me that I had done a good job and that they really appreciated my participation. I think they even followed it up with a nice bouquet of flowers a few days later.
Some months later I had the opportunity to view the video of my full talk and I mostly felt embarrassed by my performance. I think all the attention had led me to believe that I truly was a movie star. The actual footage indicated otherwise.
Later yet, I came across this edited version which left me feeling a little better about my part in the project.
8/14/2018   Anniversary Hike  
Flowers and Mount Baker
Heliotrope Ridge
North Fork Sampler
Daniel called around half past noon today and offered a hike together. He picked me up around 1:30 PM and we drove up to Mount Baker, having decided on Heliotrope Ridge in part so that we could stop to pick up a glass straw at the little bakery in Glacier on the way. Now that Seattle has outlawed the use of disposable plastic straws, a personal glass straw has become an indispensable accessory for visits to Daniel's favorite Tiki bar. Unfortunately the bakery was out of them. We bought lunch instead.
Daniel drove the narrow but mostly paved road from the highway up to the Heliotrope Ridge trailhead in about 15 minutes. I suspect most people take twice that long. The hike was fairly quick as well, about two miles through the woods to a junction where we took the right hand trail up an open ridge to the climbers camp. Aside from breathing hard I found the ascent pretty easy though a couple of steep dirt patches were pretty intimidating on the descent. The rocky bench where the climbers camp was mostly snow-free with prominently striated ledges and beautiful flowers but steep snow and the relatively late hour kept us from climbing any higher. I reflexively looked for Ptarmigan but did not find any. We hurried down both the trail and the access road and reached the North Fork Brewery 20 minutes before they closed.
8/17/2018   Garden Update (photos by Darchelle)  
The hops vine has spanned the deck; the Meyer lemons are laden with green fruit and the dying tomato plants which Darchelle rescued from PCC and potted on the deck have revived and produced a handful of tomatoes. The Asiatic lilies have grown tall and burst into fragrant flower. Water Hyacinth and duckweed are taking over the pond.
8/22/2018   Claire Visits (photos by Darchelle)  
Claire and the boys
Darchelle and Judah
Me and Isaac
Claire and the boys spent a night and a day with us. We walked down to Ravenna Park then stopped by Sod Bakery for a snack on the way home. Claire prayed for me in the Sun Room, emphasizing that God has a destiny for me to fulfill and urging me to ask him what it is.
8/25/2018   A Week of Birding (photos by Darchelle)  
We drove down to the coast for the weekend for a pelagic trip and some shorebirding. The highlight on Friday was a trio of Baird's Sandpipers at Bottle Beach. They were quite tame. On the pelagic trip on Saturday we saw several juvenile Long-tailed Jaegers, my first sighting in several years. The Buller's Shearwater was also the new bird for the year. On the way back in, while we were still 20 miles offshore, a bright male Townsend's Warbler landed on the roof of the cabin. It rode with us for a few minutes then took off ahead of us. Flying low over the water, it dropped down to the several times as if trying to land on the surface. Watching it, we felt sad, knowing that it would never get back to shore.
Bottle Beach
Baird's Sandpipers
Baird's Sandpiper
Our boat
Buller's Shearwater
Townsend's Warbler
Our plan was to return home Sunday afternoon but when we received word that a Painted Redstart had just been seen at Cape flattery drove north instead. We started down the trail 8:30AM on a cool sunny Monday morning, but although we spent all morning looking for the bird, we did not find it. We assumed it had moved on. The next morning, after we had left town, the redstart was seen again down at the point and one observer noted that it had thin nasal calls similar to a Pine Siskin. Had I done my research ahead of time I would have paid more attention to the "Siskin" calls I had casually noticed while we were searching for the bird.
In the afternoon Darchelle and I hiked out to Shi Shi Beach. Muddy trail in places, wild-looking beach, few birds. The next morning we searched for a consolation prize, a Franklin's Gull at Point No Point, after a little work we found it but we were not able to get photos.
With reports of the Painted Redstart showing up every day on eBird, I prevailed upon Darchelle to drive us back out to Neah Bay on Thursday. I think the redstart was seen in the morning but we could not find it that afternoon, after a couple hours we drove back to Hobuck Beach to search for a previously reported Buff-breasted Sandpiper. I had not seen one of those since 2013, and we did not see it Thursday evening either, though we enjoyed a very fine sunset.
Early Friday morning we walked Hobuck Beach and found the Sandpiper. We spent the rest of the morning searching for the Painted Redstart but without success. It was not seen again.
9/01/2018   Back at home (photos by Darchelle)  
As we were on our way home yesterday afternoon from a second trip to Cape flattery to search for the Painted Redstart, a LeConte's Sparrow was discovered at Discovery Park. Darchelle and I drove over there this morning to look for it but neither we nor any of the other half-dozen searchers found it. Ed and Delia had gone over late yesterday afternoon, before we got home, but they had not found it either. That was disappointing for them for sure, but their failure did help us feel better about our decision not to go over there yesterday evening.
Crow and Osprey
Savannah Sparrow
Leucistic Flickr
The leucistic Northern Flicker, apparently a juvenile female, has been frequenting our feeders for a few days or maybe weeks now.
9/03/2018   Limitations  
Interesting fragment of a dream last night:
Darchelle and I are pushing a wreck of a car up a hill on a dirt road. The car is just a rusted out chassis, a pitted gray steel frame with no wheels, a dented roof and the front doors broken and falling off. We reach the top and I realize we are at a pass. Ahead of us the landscape falls away in a gentle slope down to a distant valley and everything - the road, the fields on either side, the mountain to our right - is covered with snow. When I see the snow, I realize that there is no way that we will be able to reach our destination. We have many miles to go but we are not equipped to walk through snow, and even if we were, it is too far to walk anyway. I notice a narrow sinuous ski track winding down through the snow on the road ahead, left by someone telemarking on Nordic skis, and I wonder why they skied on the road, which is barely steep enough to ski, instead of down the adjacent mountainside.
The snow is the clue to the meaning of the dream. Snow represents winter, which traditionally in Western literature as well as in my dreams, represents a time of death. Darchelle and I are approaching my death, and it is a time of looking back at my life. Telemarking - downhill skiing on Nordic skis - was an activity I taught myself and did almost exclusively by myself. The ski tracks in the dream represent my involvement in the various areas of my life, including career and intimate relationships as well as recreational activities and interests. The tracks run down the road rather than down the more challenging and rewarding, but also intimidating, side of the mountain. Why did the skier choose the easier route?
Fear has too often in my life constrained me to choose what seemed an easier way. Fears of rejection and appearing inadequate discouraged me from seeking advice and help in pursuing a career in biology. Fear of failure deterred me from planning the course of my own life and instead led me to relinquish my agency to others, letting them (disguised in part as God) tell me what to believe and whom to marry. Fear of being judged as inadequate prevented me from going blue at Microsoft which cost me millions of dollars worth of stock options. That same fear later led to boredom and burnout during my career at Expedia, and limited my engagement and achievement in recreational passions such as birding as well. Ironically in view of the dream, it was only in solo physical activities such as running, and yes cross-country skiing, that my fears did not present much of an impediment to my success.
But now in my life a different limitation applies. I overcame my fears and chose to forsake belief in God, deliver myself from an unhappy marriage and pursue and marry someone whom I loved. But the vehicle is falling apart. My arms and hands, the front doors of the car, are broken. My disabilities prevent me from doing most of the activities I have loved and limit my involvement in the few - including hiking and birding, that remain. The end of my life is approaching and Darchelle and I will be able to go no farther together.
9/04/2018   Spray Park (photos by David Pendleton)  
On the trail to Knapsack Pass
High point below Fay Peak
Looking east
The area above Mowich Lake in the northeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park was always one of my favorite places to hike. I did a number of outings up through Spray Park as far as Observation Rock and once skied all the way up to the top of the Russell Glacier. When the boys got old enough, we liked to hike up Fay Peak together on Sabbath afternoons. It's a short but scenic trip with some nice glacier-gouged ledges, a pointed summit with spectacular views and a little scrambling if you take the right route. I can't do the scrambling anymore, and it turned out I couldn't make it up or around the final snowfield either so we had to forgo the peak. Instead we traversed back over to the trail and switchbacked up to Knapsack Pass, the gateway to the back route into Spray Park.
On the ridge above Spray Park
David, me and Daniel
Rainier and Spray Park before sunset
We knew we did not have time to continue across the rough boulders and talus between us and Spray Park, but we did it anyway. The view of Mount Rainier over Spray Park shortly before sunset was one of the finest I have seen, with the mountain bathed in soft pink light and the meadows glowing golden between bands of dark fir trees. We used our phones as flashlights for the last hour of the hike out. Then, in his new red Crosstrek, Daniel drove the Mowich road faster than I ever dared drive it.
In retrospect, this was my last off-trail hike. It is fitting that it was Spray Park, and fitting that Daniel and David were with me. It was a hand-off of sorts, although I don't think any of us thought so at the time.
9/05/2018   Wylie Slough (photos by David Pendleton)  
Wylie Slough (aka the Game Range)a few miles west of Conway is a combination saltwater and freshwater marsh bordering the Skagit River at its delta in Puget Sound. This time of year it hosts migrating shorebirds whose numbers and diversity vary depending on the level of the tide. It is a popular spot with birders looking for shorebirds and in season, Wylie Slough is featured in eBird reports almost daily. Birding there can be disappointing though. Even when they are numerous during migration, shorebirds have options and Wylie Slough can be almost empty. That was not the case today.
Lesser (L) and Greater (R) Yellowlegs
Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
David and I drove up there in search of one particular species, a relatively rare Stilt Sandpiper, which was reported yesterday. Eventually we found one but we first had to sort through about 100 other shorebirds scattered around the marsh. The tide was high and the birds were mostly perched on logs and they were mostly Yellowlegs. They provided a good opportunity to practice distinguishing the two species, Greater and Lesser. Lesser are smaller with a straight slender bill. Greater Yellowlegs usually have a longer bill which is more stout at the base and is typically somewhat upturned. Both species of Dowitchers were also present; I know that because I heard both the "tututu" of the Short-billed and the "keek" of the Long-billed when they flushed. The bird pictured below is a Short-billed because the flanks and sides are not barred and the belly is whitish. The bill is relatively short; that is not supposed to be reliable characteristic but I find it helpful. This bird is an adult in worn summer plumage I think. If it were a juvenile, the plumage would be brighter and the tertials would show orange cross stripes. As for the Stilt Sandpiper, here is what I wrote in my eBird report: "Smaller and more gray than Short-billed Dowitcher, with similar scaly back but not as brown. Bill somewhat shorter and more downturned than the dowitcher's and relatively deep at the base. White underwing apparent in flight." So there you have it!
Greater Yellowlegs (with a short bill)
Short-billed Dowitcher (adult)
Stilt Sandpiper
9/11/2018   Discovery Park and dreaming about Depression  
South Meadow at sunset
David and I spent the afternoon together yesterday. The weather did not favor hiking in the mountains so we took a late afternoon walk in Discovery Park instead then came back to the house and hung out while Darchelle fixed us a supper of pasta and eggplant with fresh corn from Conway and sugar snap peas from Costco. On our walk in the park we wandered through the South Meadow harvesting a few sweet pea seeds from the few pods that weren't yet popped, then followed trails through the woods to the road and along the road down to the North Beach. The tide was near high and a handful of Sanderlings danced at the waters edge probing in the wet sand. One of them, each time a wave came in, stayed put and bathed for a few seconds until the water drained away again. We wondered what the Sanderlings were eating because they didn't seem to be chasing either the kelp flies or the sand fleas which were both common on the beach. BTW, the latter are not fleas but rather a species of Amphipod officially called Pale Beach Hoppers. They eat decaying kelp. I don't know what eats them.
While David and I stood still watching them, the Sanderlings worked their way closer to us up into the dry sand where they continued to probe under the surface with their bills. When we began to move again they trotted back to the waters edge, still probing.
After supper Darchelle retired to the living room to play the piano while David and I continued to hang out around the kitchen counter. Somehow we got to reminiscing about macabre highlights from years past that struck us as funny at the time, including Wheezer's funeral tour through the garden, Dead Puppies and, weirdest of all, the midnight sight of a flock of sheep strewn across the highway after a tractor-trailer truck ran into them on a pass near Mono Lake in California.
After David left we went to bed and I dreamed about being depressed.
I am in bed in a completely dark room and feeling so sad and alone that I start crying.
I need to urinate so I walk down the hallway outside my room. I am apparently in a college dorm; the hallway is dimly lit and crowded with tall young man mostly dressed in blue and gray. Feeling very out of place I walk down to one end of the hallway without finding a bathroom. As I am returning back towards my room one of the young men approaches me and says "You look lost. Can I help you?" I ask him where I could find a bathroom and he tells me that the men's room is at the other end of the hall on the right. When I get to that end of the hall there is a crowd of people standing around outside the bathrooms and I think they are women but I am not sure. I don't recall whether the men's room was supposed to be on the right or the left and the two doors are unmarked. I don't know what to do so I just stand there.
I don't generally feel much in dreams so this one made an impression on me.

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