Friday, November 30, 2007

Photo Hunt--Theme: Red

Nature gives us quite a few choices for this week's theme. I had red roses, red wildflowers, red sunsets. But I decided that the Red Rock Canyons of the Southwest would be a good choice. We just got back from the Southwest, and when I wore my hiking boots the other day as the best option for the snow, I left little bits of red soil behind in my snowy white footprints.

Bryce Canyon, Utah

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Zion Canyon, Utah

(There are more photos of Red Rock areas further down in my thanksgiving trip posts.)

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Paulie has been taking moon pictures, so I had to try my hand at it. I got this while we were checking in at Twin Falls, Idaho.

Cedar Breaks

We have set out to visit Cedar Breaks national Monument in the past, only to find that the park road was closed by snow. Today we were lucky. (I think because it was too cold to snow--brrr-the thermometer hit a grand old 22 and the wind was fierce.)

Cedar Breaks is reminiscent of Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon, and is part of the landscape of the same region. One guidebook called it a miniature Grand Canyon. To me it looks more like Bryce.


Wupatki National Monument preserves the ruins of desert pueblos of early peoples of the area north of Flagstaff.

This structure was a six story apartment community, complete with ceremonial rooms, living areas, kitchens.

These grinding stones were part of the findings in the ruin.

The Wukoki pueblo is another in the area.

Sunset Crater

Sometime around 1000 years ago a volcano erupted north of the Walnut Canyon settlement. The peak is a cindercone volcano. Its shape is remarkably similar to though much smaller than Mt. St. Helens, which is a composite volcano. The blast spread ash far and wide just as St. H did. Lava flow left an amazing landscape.

How did the nearby natives react to this eruption? It would have been visible and have affected those at Walnut Canyon and in the areas around Wupatki.

Walnut Canyon

Third time posting is the charm, right? The image above is a seashell embedded into the sandstone. What does it tell us of Walnut Canyon?

We made a side trip to Walnut Canyon National Monument, which is located just east of Flagstaff, Arizona. Home some 800-1000 years ago to as many as 400 people in and interdependent community. Farming took place on the canyon rim. Water was abundant during the rainy season, and stored for the dry season.

The hike goes down 240 stair steps (and up 240 steps afterwards) to the level of a group of 25 rooms of the cliff dwellings. Building of the rooms had a head start--the natural outcroppings of the cliffs formed the roofs and the floors. Materials were abundant for building up the walls.

Most of the mortar in the ruins has been restored or stabilized.

Dwellings are located along different levels on the cliffs all throughout the canyon.

Did I mention that all this starts at about 7000 feet elevation. another one for the high altitude hiking.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Photo Hunt--Theme: Hot

I figured that I would find a good "hot" picture while I was in Arizona, but the temperatures have been very pleasant. Well, until today. As we left Arizona this evening the thermometer hit a whopping 27 degrees (that's Fahrenheit.) But when I took this picture in the same area summer before last it was already over 80 at 7 a.m., so I am calling it HOT!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Traditions

Do your Thanksgiving traditions revolve (after the thanks part) around food, football, and holiday parades?

While we do get around to these, our tradition has come to include:

We go to the Phoenix Zoo for their nighttime Zoo Lights. The displays are incredible. The moving ones are difficult to photograph, but this spider web was nice.

And this display shows that we truly are in Arizona, as the saguaro cactus are lit up.

Then on Thanksgiving morning, in order to make room for the food, we head out to the Annual Mesa Turkey Trot.

Those who do the 10K run have a chance to beat the turkey--see him there on the right? Those of us who do the one or two mile run or walk do it just for fun and a T-shirt and a chance to do something with the grandkids.

None of the family beat the turkey this year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bigger photo--so you can see

Zion National Park

I was suprised so see that fall colors were still showing in Zion Canyon when we stopped there on Sunday. I tried to get a nice juxtaposition of the yellow leaves, the green of the evergreens, and the red of the rock. The canyon is so vast that getting the big picture is a struggle. A visitor more familiar with the area told us that the peak of the colors had passed a couple of weeks ago.

Rock climbers find this a good season for their sport here. It may be chilly out of the sun for these men on the cliff face, but that is better than the 107 we found in the Park when we visited in the summer.

Can you see how many climbers are here? I thought I was taking a picture of two.

We hiked to the Emerald Pools. The fall scene is just a trickle on the water falls. Spring and summer run-off must be awesome.

Here is where the water lands to seep into the Lower Pool below.

A wider view of Zion Canyon.

The reflection in the Middle Pool. One waterfall drops from here to the Lower Pool.

Hiking High

In elevation, that is.

The scenic drive in Great Basin National Park passes the 10,000 foot elevation mark. (Washington's highest paved road is at Sunrise at 6400 feet.) The trailhead is beyond. Mt. Wheeler is seen in the near distance. At 13,000+ feet, it does not seem imposing to those who are used to mountains of similar height rising from near sea level. The plains below are already 5000 feet.

We are not used to trees that grow to a full straight height at this altitude. Here the Alpine and sub-Alpine zones are well above that 10,000 foot level. Trees at this level are strong and sturdy, though not as large or as dense as those in the deep forests of Washington.

The air is thinner, too, of course, the wind is brisk and chill, and a hike at 10,000 feet is more of an effort.

The plain below--the Great Basin--5000 feet above sea level.

These pictures were taken the same day as the cave pictures. The destination for our hike was the Bristlecone Pine Grove, but we turned back before we reached it. We'll come back another time in a warmer but not too hot season.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ever Been Spelunking?

On Saturday we visited Great Basin National Park, where one of the main features is Lehman Caves. My experience with caves is very limited, so this was definitely something new and amazing.

When stalactites )the ones that hang from the ceiling) and stalagmites (the ones that rise from the floor) meet, they form a column. This stalactite and this stalagmite are almost there--or are they there already? It is very difficult to tell.

The flash washes out the reddish color of the cave formations.
In areas where the lighting was turned on, I did not use the flash. You can see the red. When I get home, I hope to be able to enhance some more of the non-flash photos and will post more if I am successful.

This formation, known as "The Parachute", is a type of formation called a shield. Shields form in only a very few caves.

Seen While Waiting for a Traffic Light

A car ahead of us had a license plate holder with a scrolling advertising sign. Way cool, I guess. Except the sign said: "Lose weigt by hypnosis toll free --- --- ----" I have not changed the spelling--just the number.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Seen on the Road

A livestock trailer carrying alpacas with this sign:

"Sweaters on the Hoof."

Photo Hunt--Theme: I Love.........

This is so open ended. What do I love? Lots of things. Here are a few.

I love spring...




I love my family--my hubby of 40 years, my brother, my kids and grandkids. These are some of my grandchildren reflected in Shadow Lake (one of the places I love.) I avoid posting recognizable photos of children for their security sake.

I love quilts and quilting. This quilt is one that my Grandmother made that is owned by my brother. My quilting is a connection to family--to past and to future generations both.

Monday, November 12, 2007

HIgh Wind Advisory

We are under a high wind advisory. It looks like the neighbor was pruning his willow and did not get to this branch.

The birch tree at left is really blowing.

The tree in the next picture was covered with deep red-brown leaves as of this morning.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling
The wind is passing thro'.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads
The wind is passing by.
Christina Rossetti

Friday, November 9, 2007

...and times they are changing...

My hubby has returned from the post office where he sent off an envelope to Battle Creek, Michigan. He had collected enough box tops and such from Kellogg's to get a free cholesterol testing kit.

"Do you know what I last sent for from Battle Creek?" he asked me as he was assembling his request forms.

"A decoder ring?" I guessed.

"Close! It was a space helmet from Space Patrol!"

(A little research has determined that Space Patrol was not sponsored by Kellogg's, but by Ralston. Kellogg's instead sponsored Tom Corbett Space Cadet. And I leave you to your own musings on that.)

Photo Hunters--Theme: Flexible

For my "FLEXIBLE" photos I am going back into the files I just got transferred off of floppy disks (no longer a very flexible medium to save data, on since most newer computers don't offer a floppy drive). Most of these floppies were photos I took when I went to India in the summer of 2000. I was with a group of teachers from schools operated by the Christian Brothers in the western USA. We spent a month in one of three projects run by the Indian Christian Brothers.
Three of us were at St. Joseph Boys Village, a home for orphaned or very poor boys from six to 14 in the state of Tamil Nadu in the south of the country. We helped with a construction project--reroofing and painting the small housing unit where the Boys Village cooks live. When the boys were back from schooleach day , we joined them in their recreation and prayers.
Being fairly near the equator, there is not much difference in the length of day and night from summer to winter. It was already dark by supper time and recreation was after supper. Earlier in the afternoon, after school and chores, the boys would all go across the road to the playfield and play soccer (oops, sorry, it's football in most of the world.) These boys at recreation were very flexible dancing about.
On weekends we did some touristy excursions. In the real evenings we visited some villages and met the common people.
In thinking of the word "flexible", I usually do not think of the sense of being physically flexible, but rather being able to do things and change to meet the circumstances. One day we did not work on the roof, but were invited to visit the school the boys attended. There we saw how flexible the teachers had to be to teach these children with little in the way of supplies or materials.
Each classroom had a chalkboard and a supply of colored chalk. The older students had desks, which consisted of a table and a bench which was shared with another. One true advantage was the flexibility to take a whole classroom outside when the weather was fine.

On the Monday morning when we visited, Dan (another volunteer) and I took in the morning assembly, where students sang, gave recitations, and were given a pep talk by the principal. When this was over, Brother Lawrence, who had brought us to the school, turned to us and said, "At 10:00 you can give a lesson to the seventh and eight grade." After pointing out where we would gather, Brother Lawrence left us to go to his fourth grade classroom.
Dan and I just looked at each other dumbfounded. It was 9:40, and this was the first we had heard of our giving a lesson.
That is the final flexible moment in my post (but no picture as I was rather busy thinking flexibly at the moment.) Twenty minutes later, the entire seventh and eight grades gathered in a large outdoor theater style classroom, where Dan and I presented the history of the United States and related it to the history of India--with a chalk board, a supply of colored chalk, and a lot of flexibility.