Saturday, August 27, 2011

the dangerous, the beautiful, and the snuggly

No, I don't post reasonably-sized, pithy posts at regular intervals. I erratically post hideously long photo dumps. I'm cool like that. Not.

I do apologize.

We went on a six-day roadtrip down to California, which included a lot of things (more on that later) but most notably, a gorgeous friend's wedding... and two magical wildlife safaris.

The first one was big and rangy and looked pretty much like Africa. You just drive around, while the mildly safe, less fragile animals wander around loose, and the scarier and sleepier ones lounge in cages.

This is sad. I feel like the animals would appreciate a balloon. Especially the elephants.

Mama lions are awesome.

I totally fell in love with bears. I mean, I'd never really understood the whole stuffed-teddy-bear fascination. But now I so do.

They were so snuggly and yawny in the sun.

The giraffes just meandered around, taking their sweet time. 

Hippos: an unlikely cross between a torpedo and a pillbug.

I may as well crush your hopes and dreams just like Benjamin crushed mine. Apparently hippos kill more people than sharks do. Mostly by trampling or impaling. Excuse me while I cradle this photo and weep.

A Tibetan yak. Which, I swear, is quite likely the beast responsible for the siring of our shaggy pig-dog, Bobby. 

This emu should not have been loose. I rolled the windows up in a blind panic. Rats, snakes, bats, spiders--not a problem. Emus? They are deeply, deeply terrifying to me. They all look demon-possessed. This one was pecking at Rebekah through the window. GAH.

I don't think I'd ever seen a black swan before--so pretty.

* drumroll*

Bucket list item # 13. checked off.

Bethany rocks because she is willing to wield my camera, despite her discomfort, so that she can record the parts of life where my dreams come true and I can't take pictures.

And then she rode him too. :)

He was a good camel. His head was soft and he chewed his cud meekly.

Creepy/awesome snake draped around someone.

A screech owl, which incidentally looks pretty much exactly like one of our cats. The same peevish expression.

At the gift shop, we found quite possibly the snuggliest stuffed animal of all time.

Bethany loved the baby tiger very much.

And, I got to see the Redwoods for the first time--gorgeousness.

We may or may not have been pretending to be Pooh and Piglet. 

 The sign said that this monster tree would be there for probably about a thousand years. Lots and lots of names carved into it.

Someday, I'm going back there with a man and a knife.

This. This was my wonderland.

Because I got to pet a baby tiger. (!!!)

So, so amazing.

It's in Bandon, on the southern Oregon Coast. Go there sometime in your life, if possible. It's a glorious, beautiful petting-zoo-on-steroids.

Beautiful baby leopard.

The mom leopard. :)

There were at least fifteen deer just running around in the area everyone walked (along with goats and a donkey), and I could like pet them.

I look at this and I start thinking about Bambi and then get emotional and want to watch it again and weep for Bambi's mom. And his dad.

A zebra backside for ya.

Again, the snuggly bears. This one was eating leaves. It was one of the cutest things of all time.

Bethany's favorite part: the weird wild pig thing. Today she asked "can you send that picture of the epic pig to me so I can make it my profile picture on Facebook?" Me: "absolutely not."

The pig was Bethany's soul sister, and the lemurs were mine. Way too excited, weird, and intense.

I've touched on my early obsession with tigers before. I had (and still have) many calendars and posters and blankets, but I kind of cooled off about them until we went to the circus. Going to the circus has a way of changing your life forever.

All the adoration came back, full-strong, and so seeing the ones at this place was absolutely glorious.

My only complaint was that I couldn't take them all home with me to cuddle with all day long. Life just isn't fair.

And there was the sleepy (but out-in-the-open--hallelujah) lion.

 He was sorta sleep-growling periodically, and it was hilarious.

The raccoon was naughty (common to their race) so we couldn't cuddle it, but I did stroke a 100% non-stinky skunk, which was very exciting for me.

And there was a seriously snuggly ferret.

Silver foxes = darling.

I feel like this guy would be manageable to take home. So tiny and peaceful.

It. was. awesome. And because I'm trying not to choke you with hundreds of photographs in one post (you're welcome) the rest of the trip photos will be forthcoming (you're not off-the-hook, I'm just spreading it all out to make it seem less painful).


  1. That was SO epic! I loved very muchly :]
    Especially the bears. And the ferret (cute baby! we have one and he's a silver mitt). And the emu thing cracked me up. And the bears. And the tigers. And the baby lion. And, oh yeah, the bears :P

    Anyway, loved this post to pieces. Thank you for sharing!! <3

  2. You don't like Emu's ? Thats actually not that odd as they are very territorial. And I have never seen a white swan being an Aussie. just to rub it in your face (I'm mean no?) we have little wallabies living in our bush and they come very close to the house. I once met a husband and wife who where caring for a baby wallabie and they also had an old wallabie. They had rescued both from road kill.

    And I want to go to this zoo. :(
    God's creation is amazing

  3. You had such a great trip to the zoo! And you took so many lovely photos, as well. I miss going to the zoo. All the animals in your pictures look wonderful! I love the bears, the giraffes, the black swans... The baby hippo in the Pinterest photo is adorable. Too bad hippos are dangerous to humans. :( The emu is kinda cute, but I'd be terrified if it tried to take a peck out of me. Congratulations for crossing out #13 off your bucket list! The camel ride must have been awesome. I want to pet a baby tiger! It is so, so adorable. Aww..."Bambi"s cute as well. In other words, I love this post!

  4. Ah! Amazing pictures! Love the wee tiger and leopard. how sweet!

  5. I'm a new reader, and I love your "long photo dump" posts. : ) The baby tiger really got to me. How adorable!

  6. Awesome pictures! :) Love the photos of the tigers, they're so majestic in their own feline way. ;)

  7. Oh my! These animals/pictures are so beautiful and amazing! I cna't wait to see more. :)

    Have a lovely day! xxxx~Kelsey

    p.s. I really really love emus!!!!

  8. Okay. I now have even more things to add to my bucket list. Thank you.

    Amazingly gorgeous pictures, by the way!!

  9. Not painful at all! Quite entertaining and I felt like I was right there. Fun times!

  10. Wow those are some awesome pictures and animals! That baby tiger and leopard were my favorites.I love tigers!And that hippo pictures was too adorable That monster tree was awesome too.And that yak.I have something for yaks too.Those bears do look awfully snugly.Sierra
    Keep Growing Beautiful♥ (Cause You Are!)

  11. Oh wow sounds like you had a great trip! I just go back from one (which included a wedding)! Fabulous pictures by the way!
    --Sara Beth

  12. I'm so envying you!!! I would L.O.V.E. to pet a tiger cub.

    I'm a little unsure about bears some guy close to us kept,lions,bear,wolves,etc....and one time the bears got,lets just say we had to stay in the house. Some lady got attacked by one of the bears,so not exactly my favorite animal. But I love that tiger cub.

  13. Please, keep the pix coming!!! I am now in love with tigers. They are amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3


  14. oh my my my! I can't begin to choose a favorite picture, although the hippo was pretty epic and that baby tiger is the adorable-est thing EVER!!! You're an amazing photographer--keep up the great pictures!

  15. My little brothers loved this. They sat here oohing and ahhing over the photos and periodically adding sound effects for the animals.

    It was cute. Almost as cute as that oh-so-cuddly-and-extremely-adorable-wish-I-had-one-as-a-house-pet baby tiger.

    Please do keep the photos coming. Yes.

  16. Those photos are so beautiful! Yes, wild animal parks are so much fun. Actually, I have been to the Bandon Park! We went a few years ago after a camping trip, and had a great time. WE got to pet a cross-eyed Opossum mama, and we thought the foxes were stinky like skunks. :)

    By the way, I think my favorite photo is the b&w one of the baby tiger. Gorgeous!

  17. This looks like so much fun! I am extremely jealous of the camel ride, and the baby animals, and the LEMUR! :)

  18. I now have to add a safari to my bucket list. SO MUCH FUN! And those bears are sooo cute!

    Awesome that we share a tiger obsession. they are such gorgeous creatures.

  19. Wow!! The pictures you captured here are *A-MAZING*! Wow, wow, wow! I think picture-wise, this is my favorite post of yours! Maybe it's because everything is so unique and wild ;P
    But seriously, amazing job... These are many examples as to how good of an eye you have. Please, please make a portfolio...
    love you!

  20. Gorgeous pictures! I love big cats- I think it's hilarious that they share the exact same movements and attitudes as house cats. :)

    And the picture of the owl is my absolute favorite. They are such beautiful animals.


  21. SO awesome! You got some gorgeous pictures. I want to go there ASAP. My hopes and dreams are crushed. I wanted a hippo. =)

  22. Aw, fun! We went on a drive-through safari once. Way cool. All the pics are amazing (as always).

    So excited for your and your camel ride! You look like you were born on a camel. Ya know, I have no idea how a lady could have a baby on a camel so let's just say it looks like you've been riding one your whole life. :)

  23. I've literally gone through and read this post over and over! It was wonderful! The pics! ahh :) The cuteness of the animals! eek! and balloons....that's tragic...I love balloons...

  24. I love this!! So cute! I want to do this so bad now!!! Thanks for his :)

    ♥ Johanna

  25. "Someday, I'm going back there with a man and knife" bahaha! Looks like you guys had a fun time! your pictures are so beautiful!!

  26. Definitely taking the kids to one or another of those places!!

  27. Love it! I am already there, in my mind! Love!

  28. These pictures are amazing! wow you got real close too! or your zoom lense is amazing!

  29. i love your pictures. they make me happy. :)

  30. Those are some seriously awesome photos!!! Especially the tiger ones :)

    My family drove right by that place in Bandon but it looked too crowded so we didn't get to stop. I definitely want to though.

  31. Wow! your pictures are gorgeous, please keep them coming! :) loved the black swans and "bambi" Now i have more stuff to add to my (scary long) bucket list!

  32. I don't mind photo dumps. Just saying. They make my day.

  33. You are a wonderful photographer... I was practically drooling over some of these photos. I got to go to the Safari Park in Bandon, too. Only it was several years ago. But I remember playing with the baby tiger, petting the deer, and having goats try and eat our stroller. :)

    And I was constantly laughing while reading this post cause every once in a while you'd slip something in there like what you think the hippo is a impossible cross of. :) Thanks for the laughs... you can add witty to your description of yourself. :)


  34. Oh, wow I love all these pictures. Espeically the clover pic!

  35. These pics made my day :D As did, "Some day I'm coming back here with a man and a knife"!

  36. OK, excuse me while I gush about this post for a while...

    1. That picture of the owl?? I love it! The way the yellow background matches his eyes is gorgeous (!).

    2. I'm so glad someone else wants to snuggle with a tiger. *Sigh*

    3. The fact that you did get to pet a baby tiger?! Eeek!

    4. The baby deer is adorable!

    5. "I'm going back there with a man and a knife" :D So perfect! Heehe! (Btw, do you realize how that line would sound if someone didn't read the rest of it? Adds to the awesomeness, yes?)

    6. "Me: Absolutely not." I love your writing. You're the bestest. :)

    7. The Redwoods. I wanna go there!

    8. The end.

  37. keep the pics coming. for serious. i love <3 these posts; your photography is amazing!!

  38. Oh my goodness. This is like the most pictures I've ever seen in one post. But, girl -- just keep it coming. 'Cause your photos are too gorgeous.

  39. Such fabulous photos! Looks like so much fun!


  40. Wonderful photos, thank you for sharing your adventure. I am deathly afraid of bears! Although the stuff variety don't bother me a bit. I rode a camel when I lived in Turkey, zero on the fun meter for me, It kept reaching back and biting. Stopping by to leave a little ♥ on your blog. Sorry I've been absent lately. Hugs!

  41. Nice title. :)
    I love all the pictures! You do an amazing job, I thought most of them may as well be in magazines, they are that superb. (I was going to say "that great," but "that superb" sounded more fitting) :P

    Anyway, just so you know, I prefer these huge posts to lots of small ones.
    Keep it up!
    ~Anna P.

  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

  43. Love your blog!! It is super interesting!! Check mine out. I think you would like it!

  44. I LOVE tigers! I've always wanted to pet one. And your pictures are gorgeous as usual.


Comments make my day.