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December 15, 2016

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Since my last art show I’ve been out in the field enjoying wild critters and places with no looming deadlines or responsibilities.

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Bald Eagles are back….

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…Tundra Swans are back….

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I gave a talk on Wildlife Photography to the Sherman County Camera Club, and played at the John Day Dam prior to their meeting.

…and I’m back at work in a new & different way!

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Invited to join and show my photography at co-op gallery, Made in the Gorge… I said YES!  108 Oak Street, downtown Hood River ~ you’ll find me there on Saturdays.  Come in & say hi!!

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I know I keep promising to tell you of recent adventures….it’s just so hard to sit at my computer & tell you about the last one when I want to be out experiencing the next one!

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My first sighting of a Red-necked Grebe in the Gorge!

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Our first snowfall of the season on the White Salmon River at Husum.

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A rare sighting of Bohemian Waxwings in Trout Lake! …

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…and my photo used in Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library!! I so wish it had been a blue sky day instead of winter gray!  Thrilled just the same!!

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I tend to share more often on my Facebook page and would love you to give me a ‘like’ over there!!

For now, I’m on my way to shovel off our decks…again!  Eight fresh inches on top of two earlier feet of snow this week!  Fa La La La La and Happy Holidays to you & yours!!

Camping at Goose Lake

October 9, 2016

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This summer I invited myself along on a friend’s camping trip to Goose Lake in the Mt Adams Wilderness, with her two grandsons.

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This was my first camping experience (that I remember ~ my mom tells me we camped when I was a toddler) and I couldn’t wait to see sunset and sunrise over the lake without having to get up or get home at an ungodly hour.

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The boys brought fishing poles to catch our food, a BB gun to fend off wild animals in the wilderness, and a machete…I presume to clear a nice space for our comfort.  All but the fishing poles were abandoned as soon as they saw the lake!

steider-studios-fishing-goose-lake-8-26-16-11While waiting for sunset we watched a ‘mist’ of dust rise and fall as travelers drove the gravel road next to the lake.

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When sunset arrived in front of our campsite, it was pretty nice!

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Sunrise the following morning was quite beautiful as light overtook shadow.

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I was hoping to see a ton of wildlife, and made sure I was the first one on the lake after a brutally cold and nervous night’s sleep.  Between my husband’s 30-year-old worn out sleeping bag and a twig or branch crackling seemingly every few minutes I think I got 3 hours sleep max.

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Surrounded with golden light and a sweet little Sandpiper to entertain me in early morning solitude.

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As the sun rose higher I could hear campers stirring and looked for more photo opportunities before anglers or boats disturbed the lake.

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I found a family of Mergansers beginning their day.

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They chased each other back and forth…..

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…and did a bit of their own fishing while humans launched boats into the lake.

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A little Junco serenaded me from a branch behind  my spot on the beach…

steider-studios-fishing-goose-lake-8-26-16-23…as did an American Dipper on the next rock over from where I sat.

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Did I already say the morning light was Golden?  Breathtakingly so!

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As I headed toward sounds of the boys talking, a pair of Bald Eagles flew overhead.

steider-studios-goose-lake-logs-8-26-16I had to climb over a series of logs to get to where my friends were fishing for breakfast.

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As I began my climb, I stumbled upon a pair of Crossbills!  Good reason to stop!!

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Finally, I made it across the logs only to find we had no fish for our breakfast.  Luckily we brought a camp stove and eggs!!

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Goose Lake is so beautiful and a perfect place for little boys to fish and dream about all the wilderness has to offer ~ hopefully they’ll take their children one day.

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It’s also a pretty nice place for a photographer to catch some lovely reflections!  I even heard a PIKA speak!!!  I must tell you, I didn’t like the part about no showers and the lake too cold to take a dip ~ but I loved being there at dusk, dawn, and every moment between.

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I joined Friends of Mt. Adams for a hike on Crofton Ridge via the Shorthorn Trail on Saturday.  Our group met at the Trout Lake School for an early start.

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Led by Darvel Lloyd, who grew up climbing and exploring Mt Adams, it was a very educational hike.

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Our group of twelve headed up the Shorthorn Trail through burned forest from the 2012 Cascade Creek fire.

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Fascinated with the charred forest remains, contrasting with new growth I stopped for many photos.

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Can we call this ‘Fall Color’?

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Although it is late in the season, many wildflowers are still in bloom.  I think this is a Pearly Everlasting.

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Looking back I was surprised to see Mt Hood.  We parked at an elevation about 4740 feet and would end up at 6227 feet after our 3 mile hike to the ridge.

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I believe this in the Lupine family.

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A beautiful bouquet of Asters.

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Crossing Shorthorn Creek.

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On the other side of the creek we found pink Monkeyflower.

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Another fork of Shorthorn Creek.

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Crofton Creek.  Looking up, I found a tiny waterfall!

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Looking down the creek I felt amazed and awed….

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When I looked UP from the creek I wondered if I could climb that hill.  See the tiny hikers at the top of the first switchback?  Hint…the dot of red.

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No, I’m not gasping for air….I’m stopping to take pictures!

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This is where we’re heading.

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A vast landscape that takes my breath away, I could stand here for hours.

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Almost there at Round the Mountain Trail #9.

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The last section of our hike, the crest on Crofton Ridge.

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A spectacular view of Mt Adams from the southwest side.

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Looking west at Mt. St. Helens.

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As we sat and enjoyed our lunch, four Clark’s Nutcrackers joined us!

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Zooming in on a waterfall from where we sat in the shade.

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Zoomed in on the almost uncovered lookout tower at the top of Mt Adams.  12,276′

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Rested, nourished and hydrated we began our three mile descent.

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Use caution when heading downhill on a rocky sandy path.  I landed on my cushy backpack twice, but yay my camera landed on my lap!  Might as well take a picture of the view!!  Don’t worry, I wasn’t hurt but even more cautious as I continued.

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Trudging back down I pretty much kept my eyes on my footing and tried to keep up!  Oh look, another pretty wildflower!!  Fireweed.

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Yes, out of breath again I stopped for another pretty picture.  You know I love rocks!

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I looked up from time to time (especially after we reached a gentler downhill section), still amazed at the charred remains of a once green forest.

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You know me, I can’t resist stopping for a ‘critter’.

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Darvel often stopped to discuss history, flora and fauna of the neighborhood.

Photo by Bob Squires

Photo by Bob Squires

I am so fortunate to have met and hiked with such an interesting and cohesive group of people.  Another wonderful September adventure!!!

 

 

Sunday Drive

September 5, 2016

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I don’t enjoy crowds, so instead of hiking in the Columbia River Gorge or going to a waterfall on Sunday (a three-day holiday weekend), I took a drive.  Surprisingly I ended up at one of my favorite places, Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

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It was a lovely quiet day and felt like I had the entire place to myself!  The shot at top was looking east and this shot was looking west.  Sun on one side and rain on the other!

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After watching a bachelor of bucks close to home practice their rutting techniques the previous night, I was hoping to find elk doing the same.  Alas, no elk and very few birds revealed themselves to me.

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Instead I found a ton of dragonflies!  I watched this one eat a bug!!

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And a Sulphur finally let me capture it!  I can’t tell you how long I’ve chased these beautiful butterflies hoping for a picture!

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I did see several sparrows ~ I believe this is a Song Sparrow.

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Swallows are still filling the sky and I managed to capture this Violet-green Swallow in flight!

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I entertained myself for a moment studying this stand of Quaking Aspen.

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From the top to bottom they are a magnificent tree.

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Just look at that beautiful bark!

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Speaking of magnificence, wildflowers abound on the refuge.  I’m not sure, but I think there were two bees sharing pollen in this aster.

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Goldenrod lit up some of the roads…..

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…interspersed with Bird’s-foot Trefoil.

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I thought I heard a Western Meadowlark!   He pretended to not notice me as I pretended to not sneak closer to him.

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He thought he was invisible and he almost was.  My camera had a hard time focusing through the branches so I had to give it a little help.  Yes, I can still focus manually!

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House Wren made a lot of racket as I chased some nearby butterflies.

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Sandhill Cranes are still roaming the refuge, but I only saw 6 all day long and they were in flight.

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I think this is a Golden-crowned Sparrow, but it could be a juvenile White-crowned.  Help with ID is always appreciated ~ especially for sparrows, the ultimate of Little Brown Birds!

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As the afternoon wore on, dark clouds moved closer and a few spots of rain hit my dusty car.

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The dragonflies didn’t mind.

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Oh look, another Sulphur resting long enough to let me watch him.

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As I thought about calling it a day I heard Sandhill Cranes calling from afar…

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…and watched a Heron crossing Kreps Lane ~ first time I’ve seen them in this area!

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With the arrival of colorful foliage, I wish you a Happy September my friends.  I’ve had a magical summer and hope to stay at my computer long enough to tell you about it!!  One day soon…..I promise….I hope….maybe…..after my next adventure!

By the way, I’m now on Instagram, I hope you’ll follow me there!  Just look for Steider Studios!

Aurora Borealis

August 3, 2016

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Did you see it?  Aurora Borealis tonight!!

Worth It

July 28, 2016

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I decided to take myself to the top of Angel’s Rest on this hot summer day.  I’ve been on the trail, searching for Pika with Cascades Pika Watch, but for various reasons never got to the top.  Above is the view looking west toward Portland.

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I headed up the trail at 7:30am and arrived at the top just after 9.  I stopped here and there to catch my breath.  Watching for Pika along the way gave me ample reason for frequent stops.

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It’s only 2.3 miles up but with an elevation of 1600 feet, it felt steeper (to me) than it probably is.  Heading back down I stopped for a snack in a likely place to see Pika.

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They didn’t disappoint!  Unfortunately, I only had time for a couple of shots of this American Pika before a noisy trail-runner scared him off ~ I was hoping on a weekday I’d have a quieter hike, but alas it is summer and the trails were busy by mid morning.

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Heading down I decided to stop at the stream that feeds Coopey Falls and found some stacked rocks that someone kindly left me.

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A tiny bit further I followed a lesser trail to view the stream cascading over some rocks at the top of Coopey Falls.

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Just beyond that is the last part of the stream near the top of the falls.  Any further downstream, I’d be tumbling in the waterfall (which is only accessible via private property).  Steider Studios.AngelsRest Hike.7.28.16-7

Back down at the trailhead at 11:30, I grabbed a shot of the sign, a memento of another fine day in the Columbia River Gorge.  Such a beautiful place to live and play!  It was definitely worth it!

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One of the reasons I love Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge is the peaceful quiet setting.  I went up on Wednesday to meet the new manager and ended up staying all….day….long….  It was simply put ~ a spectacular day.

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After leaving the office, I looked around Lake Road to see what I could find.  I thought this was a juvenile Pied-billed Grebe, but have since learned it’s a juvenile Coot!

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A Great Blue Heron fishing caught my attention…I watched him until he flew off to ‘greener streams’.

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Plenty of little birds filled the air with song.  Cedar Waxwing above; little sparrow below.

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I haven’t looked him up yet to see what he is.  If you know, do tell!!

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To my delight, I found a Yellow-headed Blackbird!  And I heard Soras!!  I crept around the reeds as quiet as could be and distinctly heard at least two & maybe three but they did not show themselves.  I’ll be back soon to stalk them!

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My next stop was the Kiosk area on the Glenwood Hwy.  Early in the morning I heard plenty of Sandhill Cranes calling, but by mid morning I only found one pair.  I became one with the field of grass hoping they wouldn’t see me.  OH!  See the vertical white splotches in the background?  Too far away for me to get a decent shot, but there were at least 15 Great Blue Herons lined up across the field!

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I usually see woodpeckers around the Kiosk, but did not.  Instead I found a Western Bluebird, …

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…and a House Wren.  Last year there was an Oriole nest here, but alas I didn’t see any this time.  There were also sparrows and Juncos flitting too fast for my heavy lens to follow.

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The Canal area is another favorite area for me and I went there to check on the Wood Duck Family but didn’t find them.  I found this little family though ~ Pintails?

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A Western Meadowlark stood sentry at the Glenwood Hwy and Canal intersection.

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See her?  I almost missed her!  And then her mate flew in….

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…With TREATS!  Western Tanager, yet another favorite.  Isn’t he gorgeous?!  Grasshoppers swarmed the canal area and filled the air with each step I took.  Several flew into my open car windows, so I decided to move on.

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No trip to the refuge is complete without a little drive down Kreps Lane.

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Red-winged Blackbirds greeted me on fence posts.

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Eastern Kingbirds posed for me.

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While Swallows evaded me.

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My last stop was off of Lakeside Drive and Outlet Creek.  Greeted by a couple of Turkey Vultures, I found a shady spot and enjoyed my picnic lunch while watching them.  Watching them watch me, that is!

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I watched the birds at water’s edge … what’s better than a female Red-winged Blackbird?

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A female Red-winged Blackbird with SNACKS of course!

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My focus went to Dragonflies as they were everywhere!

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I saw several varieties including these acrobats hanging out on reeds.  My shots of  red dragonflies turned out too blurry to share!

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Other insects buzzed about including this one as well as a variety of butterflies.

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A Killdeer foraged for food at the waters edge.

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Then I noticed a pair of Sandpipers across from me.

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And a Spotted Sandpiper ran across the grassy-covered mud right in front of me!

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When the Canada Geese took off I decided it was time for me to do the same.  Can’t wait to go back!!

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