Gifts From Friends

As I promised in my last post, I am going to share with you some 'gifts' I have received from our guests. All my readers know I take LOTS of pictures. I guess I feel that, to a point, a picture really is 'worth a thousand words.' However, if you have spent any time at the resort, you also know I spend the vast majority of my time (during season) inside. I cook. I clean. I answer the phone. Then, when I'm done, I start all over again. Thus you will understand why the photos taken by guests who are here enjoying the glories of a Centennail Valley are such gifts!

Furthermore, many of our guests are better photographers than I am - and many have much nicer camera equipment. In addition, many of these photos share aspects of life at and around Elk Lake which I enjoy but cannot capture due to schedule constraints. Thus I thought our blog readers would probably enjoy these offerings and recognize why I consider them to be more than a nice gesture but a real gift.

The Centennial Valley is beautiful. It is wild. It is pristine. It is home to many more people than animals. Thus most of these photos have wildlife as their subject.


The top picture and the first few which follow are courtesy of my favorite wildlife photographer, frequent winter (rare summer) guest, and good friend - Gary Pumplin. As you can see, Gary is a talented photographer. While many of his photos are not taken in the Centennial, they nonetheless, portray animals and birds which call the Centennial home.

Moose are year round residents in the Centennial. While they are seen most frequently in the winter, a young bull moose found his way into the yard just the other day. These guys, however, weren't in the back yard!

While less frequent than last year, bear sightings or track sightings are the norm around here. These beautiful, large predators are a thrill to see - from a distance!

Another illusive Centennial resident, badgers are not easy to spot - but they are extremely photogenic if you get lucky.

Another generous and talented photographer we were privileged to meet this year is Jerry James. While Jerry and his wife reside in California, during their week in the Centennial they proved to be more comfortable in a 'my' environment than I would be in theirs. Please remember, the images which follow are NOT public. They belong to Jerry James, San Mateo, California.

During their stay, Jerry and his wife, Sue, spent quite a bit of time pursuing the Centennial's wild inhabitants. All the pictures which follow were taken in the valley. And for those of you who wonder where the wildlife are in the middle of summer - these were all taken in the middle of summer.

On one of the last days of their stay, my hubby shared the location of our favorite 'swan viewing' spot. Jerry and Sue spent about an hour and a half enjoying the birds and capturing some wonderful shots.

While I have captured a few shots of these beautiful birds, nothing I have compares to the beauty of these. Thank you, Jerry, for sharing with us!

However, swans were not his only subject. He managed to capture a pair of pronghorns:

A beautiful young Swainson's Hawk:

A couple of young Grebes:

And a fantastic upclose of a pair of Sandhill Cranes:

Not every photo we receive is taken in the summer. Some are winter shots, like this one from Brian Holliday. This is definitely a shot you will NOT see coming from my camera. In fact, were it not for Brian's willingness to walk out to the far end of the front yard and take this photo, I'd have no proof that once in a while we get mighty busy!

With 49 snowmobiles in front of the lodge, you can imagine how many people we are trying to serve inside the lodge!

Not every photo our guests share with us involves wildlife. Not everything centers around the resort. In fact, our wisest guests (in my opinion) are those who take the opportunity to spend a night packed up into the Centennial's high country. The LaFay family (our French-Japanese friends who have spent more than one summer day in our company) took such a trip. And, in spite of less than perfect weather, they are already vowing to repeat the experience next time they visit.

This photo is courtesy of the LaFay family.

Of course not every fantastic horseback trek has been taken in the Centennials. Just saddling up and taking off from the lodge can be fun, too. This next fantastic photo of Bugs and Tina crossing The Narrows at Elk Lake is courtesy of Russ Johnston.

As you can see, we have been blessed with MANY beautiful photos and our guests have been blessed with MANY wonderful sightings and experiences here at Elk Lake. However, lest you think the wildlife sightings stop when winter comes to call, I have two more photos to share with you - one from my friend Gary whose photos I've displayed above:

And one from Len Tillum - another local, talented photographer who enjoys visiting the Centennial, but makes most of his treks in the winter.

I hope you have enjoyed this photo tour as much as I have enjoyed receiving these 'gifts' from friends. These are just a sampling of the many photos we have received over the years. If you have photos you'd like to share with us, please, send them along. If these images have sparked your interest, check out everything the Centennial Valley and Elk Lake have to offer. For now, I've got to get my camera. I see another photo opp coming up!

Lady of the Lake

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