Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Project365: Day 242 - Streetcar Line

Day 242 - Streetcar Line by Tim Bungert
Day 242 - Streetcar Line, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.
The asphalt has completely worn away, revealing the remains of the old Des Moines Streetcar line between Downtown and Sherman Hill.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Project365: Day 240 - Juno

Day 240 - Juno by Tim Bungert
Day 240 - Juno, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

"Juno" by Debora Butterfield. Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Des Moines, Iowa.

Butterfield is one of my favorite sculptors. She has done over 1,000 of these horses, and each one is unique. She first constructs each sculpture from driftwood, branches, and logs. Once assembled, the entire piece is photographed, documented, and disassembled. Each individual piece of wood used is then replicated by bronze casting, and the piece is reassembled using the bronze casts. It is amazing how much the final bronze casts still look like real wooden branches.

Project365: Day 239 - Des Moines Skyline West

It is tough to make a photo of Des Moines' skyline from west of Downtown. Tall trees, bridges, or buildings, usually block the view. One of our friends just moved in to an apartment on the hill west of Downtown, and her balcony is above the treeline! I made this photo when we were over at her new place for her "welcome back to Des Moines" party.

Project365: Day 238 - Central Iowa Trails

A bunch of these rather good looking signs have popped up around the Des Moines area to help bikers, joggers, walkers, rollerbladers, and really anyone who can read (sorry dogs) find their way around the excellent network of recreational trails.

Project365: Day 237 - Tractor-made Ice Cream

Homemade Amish Ice Cream churned with the help of a tractor engine. This was taken at the Valley Junction Farmer's Market right before we ate a bowl full of the very smooth, delicious ice cream.

Project365: Day 236 - Mantis

Day 236 - Mantis by Tim Bungert
Day 236 - Mantis, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

This little guy (actually not so little--almost 6" long!) was hanging out on the edge of the revolving door at my office in downtown. I had never seen a praying mantis this large before!

Project365: Day 235 - Field of Flowers

Day 235 - Field of Flowers by Tim Bungert
Day 235 - Field of Flowers, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.
This is the same natural prairie area where I made the photograph "Day 101 - From the Ashes." The prairie grasses and wildflowers have once again filled the park with bright color.

Project365: Day 234 - Downtown Library

Day 234 - Downtown Library by Tim Bungert
Day 234 - Downtown Library, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.
Way back on Day 27 of this project, I promised to do a nighttime photo of the Des Moines Public Library. Here it is!

This is still one of my favorite buildings of all time. It is just as beautiful at night as it is during the daytime.

Project365: Day 233 - Stone Fountain

Day 233 - Stone Fountain by Tim Bungert
Day 233 - Stone Fountain, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

Project365: Day 232 - Hefe "R" weissen

One of my new favorites for a couple reasons:

- It is tasty.
- It is brewed locally (Millstream Brewing, Amana Colonies, Iowa)
- It has cows in sunglasses.

Project365: Day 231 - Saint Augustin

Day 231 - Saint Augustin by Tim Bungert
Day 231 - Saint Augustin, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

Saint Augustin Catholic Church, Des Moines, Iowa.

Project365: Day 230 - Blue Rain

Day 230 - Blue Rain by Tim Bungert
Day 230 - Blue Rain, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

Project365: Day 229 - Terrace Hill

Day 229 - Terrace Hill by Tim Bungert
Day 229 - Terrace Hill, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

Terrace Hill -- Residence of the Governor of Iowa.

Project365: Day 228 - Dark Roast

Day 228 - Dark Roast by Tim Bungert
Day 228 - Dark Roast, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

Projecty365: Day 227 - Mercy

Day 227 - Mercy by Tim Bungert
Day 227 - Mercy, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

Mercy West Hospital in West Des Moines, Iowa. One of my favorite newer buildings in the Des Moines area.

Project365: Day 226 - Guard

Day 226 - Guard by Tim Bungert
Day 226 - Guard, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

Project365: Day 225 - Geocaching on the High Trestle Trail

My brother (Dan) and his fiancée (Roxanne) came down to Des Moines for a weekend visit. On Saturday, I took them to ride 27 miles on the High Trestle Trail from Slater to Woodward and back. Along the way we stopped to find some geocaches, and for a few of them we had to do a little climbing.

Geocaching on the High Trestle Trail

We tried for a multi-cache that eventually brought us down the hill underneath the impressive bridge, but it appears that the cache was likely washed away in the flooding earlier this year. The view of the bridge from down below is pretty amazing though.

High Trestle from Below

Hike Up the Hill

On our way back towards Slater, we stopped for lunch at the Flat Tire Bar right along the bike trail at Madrid, Iowa--perfect location! The patio and bar were full of cyclists stopping in for a break on a perfect day to be riding.

The Flat Tire

Friday, August 26, 2011

Project365: Day 224 - Iowa Corn, Part 2

I took me until August, but I finally got to eat some delicious Iowa sweet corn this summer!

Project365: Day 223 - Metering

Day 223 - Metering by Tim Bungert
Day 223 - Metering, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

Project365: Day 222 - Crab Apple

Day 222 - Crab Apple by Tim Bungert
Day 222 - Crab Apple, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

Project365: Day 221 - Pedestrian Cage

Day 221 - Pedestrian Cage by Tim Bungert
Day 221 - Pedestrian Cage, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

To keep the cars out? Or to keep the walkers in?

Project365: Day 220 - Greenery

Day 220 - Greenery by Tim Bungert
Day 220 - Greenery, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

Project365: Day 219 - Dry-docked

Day 219 - Dry-docked by Tim Bungert
Day 219 - Dry-docked, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

Project365: Day 218 - Ashawa Park

Day 218 - Ashawa Park by Tim Bungert
Day 218 - Ashawa Park, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

Project365: Day 217 - Sprinkle

Day 217 - Sprinkle by Tim Bungert
Day 217 - Sprinkle, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

Project365: Day 216 - Glow

Day 216 - Glow by Tim Bungert
Day 216 - Glow, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

Project365: Day 215 - Empty

Day 215 - Empty by Tim Bungert
Day 215 - Empty, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

Project365: Day 214 - New China

Day 214 - New China by Tim Bungert
Day 214 - New China, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

Project365: Day 213 - Date Night Basket

My brother and his fiancee wanted to make sure Brittany and I kept dating even after getting married, so they gave us a basket full of great date ideas.

Project365: Day 212 - Just Married

Day 212 - Just Married by Tim Bungert
Day 212 - Just Married, a photo by Tim Bungert on Flickr.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Project365: Day 211 - Heading Home

We left Seattle this morning to head back to Minneapolis. I did get one last opportunity to photograph Mount Rainier. The first photo was taken shortly after takeoff once we turned east.

Rainier from the Air

About 15 minutes into the flight at about 18,000 feet (almost 4,000 above Rainier's summit) we were able to see Mount Adams in the distance as well.

Rainier and Adams

Project365: Day 210 - Lake Union, Geocaching, and the Locks

Our last full day in Seattle, we ventured north of downtown to South Lake Union and the Center for Wooden Boats. The piers there are lined with beautiful handcrafted old boats, restored boats, and new boats.

Wooden Sailboat

A large variety of boats, most still in use, are on display here--hand-carved canoes, old weathered sailboats, and even a restored steam-launch boat called Puffin.



The Center for Wooden Boats also offers sailing classes on Lake Union. As we were walking through the park, a youth class was preparing to head out onto the water. The sailboats they use for teaching the youth classes are small and charming.

Practice Boats

After the Center for Wooden Boats, we walked up towards Ballard for the afternoon. As a geocacher, I couldn't go to Seattle and not pay a visit the The Lilypad--the headquarters of Groundspeak, the parent organization of geocaching.

The Lilypad

We got to meet a few of the Groundspeak "Lackeys", signed the log book for the official HQ geocache (that giant treasure chest on the floor), and had our photo taken in their photobooth and posted it on the wall. One of the coolest things to see during our visit was the TV screen on the wall above the cache. The screen displays a Google Map that jumps every 30 seconds to the last cache that was logged on It was very cool to watch it bounce all over the world as users logged caches.

From the Geocaching HQ, we walked (through a terribly romantic industrial area) up to the Chittenden Locks. The Locks are the point of access for boats traveling between Elliot Bay and Lake Union/Lake Washington. It was established and is managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. When we arrived at the Locks, we first went into the viewing room underneath the dam. From there you can see into one stage of the salmon ladder that has been created to allow chinook, sockeye, coho, and steelhead salmon to migrate upstream in order to spawn in the small creeks the feed into Lake Union and Lake Washington.


Shortly after we came up from the viewing area on to the top of the lock and dam, a tugboat and a few other larger boats began filing into the larger of the two locks.

Tug in the Locks

Chittenden Locks

Here's a time-lapse that same tugboat making the transition from Lake Union to Elliot Bay:

We hopped on a city bus back to downtown, which completed our bingo card for modes of transportation used on our trip:
- Airplane (MSP to SEA and back)
- Light Rail (airport to downtown)
- Ferry (SEA to Victoria)
- Monorail (Downtown to Seattle Center)
- Automobile (Seattle to Rainier)
- Streetcar (Downtown to South Lake Union)
- Bus (Chittenden to Downtown)
- Walking (absolutely freaking everywhere)

One more night in Seattle, then back to Minneapolis and "real life" once again.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Project365: Day 209 - Mount Rainier National Park

Day 4 of our honeymoon was another chance to get out of the city, this time to head to the wilderness. We rented a car for the day and drove out to Mount Rainier National Park. It's about a two hour drive to the Paradise/Longmire park entrance in Ashford, Washington. It took us just a little bit longer because we slowed down to share the road with bicyclists--we were at Mount Rainier on the same day as the annual RAMROD (Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day) bicycle race. The race is a 152 mile loop with over 10,000 total feet of climb on the route. It follows the National Park Highway all the way around Mount Rainier. As one volunteer told us, "The fastest riders can do it in about 8.5 hours." Averaging almost 18 mph through a windy, steep mountain road?! THAT is impressive. In Iowa on the same day, RAGBRAI riders were rolling on Day 5 from Altoona to Grinnell (57.5 miles, 3200 feet of climbing).

On the drive from Seattle to Enumclaw, we could see Rainier almost the entire time. Once we got closer to the park, however, the towering trees of the thickening forest obscured the mountain. We stopped at Kautz Creek, the first marked scenic viewpoint in the park, and were immediately reunited with an amazing view of Rainier.



Brittany made sure we got plenty of photos of the two of us throughout the day, starting right away at our first stop.

First Vista

Kautz Creek is known for being a severe flooding hazard and routinely changing its course through debris flows, sometimes violently. Previous flows have changed the entire river path, destroyed trails, and even covered the main park road in deep piles of debris. Today it looked pretty innocent and tame.

Copper Creek

We continued further into the park to the Nisqually River. The fast-flowing Nisqually River is comprised of the meltwater from the Nisqually Glacier on Mount Rainier's south face. The milky color of the water is due to "glacial flour"--sediment that was picked up by the glacier during its movement. The glacial flour is a sign that the glacier itself, and not just the snowpack on top of it, is indeed melting.

At a narrow point in the river, a rough bridge had been placed to allow hikers to cross. A split log with a handrail on one side only and the water rushing underneath, this bridge was exciting to cross. Luckily it was very stable.


Another photo of us in front of Mount Rainier after successfully crossing the rustic bridge.

River Bed

Paradise is the busiest and most crowded area of the park for a few reasons: it is easily accessible by car, it is the most developed area of the park, and it offers some of the best views of the mountain without considerable hiking effort. It gets so busy on weekends that the park offers a shuttle service from Ashford (outside the park) up to Paradise because the parking lots fill so fast. For this reason, we made a point of going to Rainier on a weekday and planned to arrive early enough to beat the crowds.

The visitor center at Paradise is relatively new (it replaced an older, smaller visitor center here), but is still a stunning example of the great architecture found in many of our National Parks. The large windows on the ground level each have large reinforced doors that close over them on the exterior to protect the building from the extremely deep snow that can fall here in the winter.

Visit Paradise

At Paradise, we had decided to hike on the Nisqually Vista Trail, one of the most popular warm-weather trails in the park. This trail is paved, relatively flat, and usually by late July is surrounded by a lush wildflower meadow. Because of above average snowfalls and below average temperatures this past year, the Nisqually Vista Trail was still snow-covered, but we walked it anyway!

South Slope of Rainier

The bamboo trail markers in the snow indicated that we were standing on anywhere from 6 to 10 feet of snow at this viewpoint. As you can see, we didn't wear jackets on the hike. Yes there was still plenty of snow, but the temperature was 75 degrees. We both got a little sunburned on the trail from the bright sun reflecting off of the snow.


We arrived back at the Paradise visitor center just as the crowds were getting crazy, and in time to head down the road ahead of them again. Just outside Paradise is the Reflection Lakes area, which is pretty self-explanatory.

Reflection Lakes

And pretty awesome. I slid down a snowbank and actually put my tripod into the shallow water at the edge of the lake for my photos there.

After Reflection Lakes, we started to go down in elevation as we entered Stevens Canyon. This elevation drop brought us below the snow line and into the wildflowers.


The Stevens Canyon Road was one of my favorite parts of the park to drive, though Brittany definitely did not care for the very long and steep drop off to her side of the car.

Stevens Canyon Road

We stopped a periodically at some overlooks and waterfalls on the next leg of the road, but our next destination was the Ohanapecosh area. Ohanapecosh is the lowest part of the park at 1900' above sea level. The area is home to natural hot springs, a large camping area, and the Grove of the Patriarchs--an isolated island full of towering douglas firs, western hemlocks, and western red cedars. Many of the trees on the island are over 1,000 years old.


The entire loop trail in the Grove of the Patriarchs was beautiful and humbling. Even the single-file suspension bridge over the Ohanapecosh River out to the island was picturesque.

Bridge to the Patriarchs

From Ohanapecosh there are two routes back towards Seattle. Doubling back the way we came into the park meant seeing the same sights in reverse and (worse) possibly having to drive in traffic with clueless tourists. Continuing in the same direction on the loop highway, around to the east and north faces of Rainier, gave us a full tour of the park. It also brought us to the Naches Tavern, a hole-in-the-wall bar and grill in Greenwood, for a tasty dinner before heading back to Seattle.