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2012 Adventures

Updated:  29-Oct-2012



'Tis truly wonderful to be able to start off yet another year in the Arizona desert, a land of blue skies and magnificent Saguaro cactus. This photo was taken in the Pima Canyon area near Tucson:

tucson saguaro 3


Such splendid sights in Saguaro National Park:

tucson saguaro 1


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This saguaro seems to have been unable to decide which way to grow next... and ended up with many heads:

tucson saguaro 4




A bit of snow to get the month off to a wintery start here in Colorado. I'm glad I don't have a very long driveway to shovel!

snow at home


Even though the roads are a mess with all the recent snow, the mountain views from my backyard are spectacular:

snow at home 2




Hiking on the Towhee Trail, south of Boulder, Colorado... with no snow on the ground. This lack of snow in March is quite unusual. February was very wet, but now it is unusually warm and dry in mid-march:

Boulder Flatirons 1

Wild turkeys meandering about in the woods:

wild turkeys

A little bit of snow on the continental divide, about 25 miles away:

snow on the divide

Early wildflowers already starting to bloom in March, which is typically the snowiest month here in Colorado:

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Foothills south of Boulder, Colorado on a warm, sunny April day:

april flatirons

Flowers and cactus happily blooming in April here in Colorado:

april cactus

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Hmmm... is this a good sign?? A Turkey Vulture landed in a tree alongside the trail we were hiking on:

april vulture


You can click on the following image to see a little 30 second movie about a confused spider going in circles on the kitchen window...  the spider is on the inside of the window, trying to find his way to a bug which is on the other side of the window:

            confused spider



More flowers blooming in May:

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While hiking late one beautiful afternoon, we encountered this fox standing on a rock just a few feet away:

may fox 1

The fox didn't seem to care about our proximity, even sometimes closing it's eyes, showing no fear or concern whatsoever:

may fox 2

Then another person came up the trail, and the fox suddenly disappeared. I thought that was the end of our visit, but as soon as the other person passed by, the fox came back out of the bushes:

may fox 3

and then stood contentedly on it's favorite rock again:

may fox 4

and again showed no concern about our presence:

may fox 5

Being so unconcerned as to turn her head completely away from me and my camera... even though we were less than 3 meters (10 feet) apart:

may fox 6

And never seeming to stare directly at us:

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After a few minutes, the fox heard or saw something in the bushes on the other side of the trail, and meandered off into those bushes to see what it was.

I thought that we'd never see the dear little fox again, so we began to walk away. After a few steps, I turned and looked back... and there was the little fox watching us leave, with a curious look in it's eye, as if to say "Hey, where are you going?":

may fox 8

This year's solar eclipse was not clearly visible here, due to clouds, but the sky was still quite spectacular during the eclipse:

may eclipse


A few more May wildflowers, near Golden, Colorado:

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A bunny "hiding" (by freezing in place):

bunny hiding

A huge wildfire broke out June 8th near Fort Collins, Colorado. This is a view of part of the immense smoke plume which was clearly visible from near my home, some 50 km (30 miles) from the fire:

ft collins smoke

"Bernstock" DUP dance gathering in Hotchkiss, Colorado... with Bernie Heideman and Narayan Waldman:

jun bernstock 1

jun bernstock 2

Colorful mountains near Silverton, Colorado:

jun mountains 1

Slot canyons and hoodoos in Kasha Katuwe National Monument near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Formed in layers of volcanic ash from a huge volcano explosion near Los Alamos, New Mexico which occurred millions of years ago:

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Just big enough for two butterflies, near Santa Fe, New Mexico ski area:

jun butterflies

A few New Mexico wildflowers near Santa Fe:

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Still some snow along the hiking trails in late June near Lake Isabelle in the Roosevelt National Forest, at about 3400 m (11,000 ft) elevation::

 jun snowy trail

Columbine flowers near Lake Isabelle:

jun columbine

Fields of wildflowers, near Brainard Lake, Colorado... thousands and thousands of flowers in magnificent meadows, at about 3000 m (10,000 ft) elevation:

jun field of flowers 1


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Tranquil mountain view along Long Lake, near Brainard Lake, Colorado:



A camera really can't capture the grandeur of a swiftly flowing mountain stream high in the Rocky Mountains, but here's a photo anyway!


Golden marmots, on the look-out:


Hermitage at Saint Benedict's Monastery, near Snowmass, Colorado:


Looking across the pastures toward the Saint Benedict's hermitages in late afternoon sunlight:


Mountain view near the hermitage. A lovely place to re-connect with the simple wonders of nature:


A storm is brewing in the mountains:


More wildflowers beginning to bloom in the mountains in July:

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jul_wildflowers_3 jul_wildflowers_8 jul_wildflowers_11
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jul_wildflowers_10 jul_wildflowers_4 jul_wildflowers_6
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A bunny "hiding":


Ptarmigans strolling on a hiking trail near Snowmass, Colorado:


Silly birds seem to prefer staying on the hiking trail, despite the large creature with a camera (me) following them:


Hmmm... I wonder how many horses actually read this sign... perhaps a fence would keep them out better than a sign??


Miles and miles of sand dunes in the Great Sand Dunes National Park, in southern Colorado... at an altitude of about  2500 meters (8000 ft) above sea level, right alongside the mountains! What a funny place for sand dunes:


Some of the sand dunes are nearly 250 m (800 ft) tall. These are the tallest sand dunes in North America:




A splendid Swainson's hawk sitting in a tree near my back yard... apparently eyeing something for dinner:


Brilliantly colored mushrooms along the Lost Lake Trail near Eldora, Colorado:


Star Gentian and Blue Gentian flowers along the trail to Lake Isabel, above Brainard Lake, Colorado:

 aug_flower_1 aug_flower_2

A rather large moose on the shore of Brainard Lake, Colorado


A lazy moose, lying down to forage in the bushes. Is he smiling? or perhaps thinking about charging?


Panorama of a few of the rock formations in Lumpy Ridge, near Estes Park, Colorado... with shadows from the late afternoon sun:


These are some of the shadows on the rock formations in Lumpy Ridge... what do you see in the shadows? a long legged gnome wearing a dunce cap? a poodle or maybe a lama? a bull-fighter with hat and cape? a pregnant woman wearing a hat? Very amusing shadows!



Look at the bare rock hillside near the center of this picture... I see a cat's face... what do you see??



Mountain scenery near Wild Basin in Rocky Mountain National Park, a few miles south of Estes Park Colorado:




Fall colors along a hiking trail heading to Forest lake, south of Nederland, Colorado:


Noisy marmot along the trail:



Fall colors in the mountains along the Peak-to-Peak highway, north of Nederland, Colorado:



A herd of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park:


Bull elk "directing" his ladies:



First significant snowfall in the high mountains this fall:




Fall colors and blue skies, south of Boulder, Colorado:


Sandhill cranes at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge south of Socorro, New Mexico. These magnificent waterfowl are about 1 m (3 ft) tall and have a wingspan of about 2 m (6 ft). They are migratory, and many spend the winter in the Bosque. Here are photos of a few feeding in a farm field:


A heart on the forehead:


The cranes seem to prefer to return to the marshes in the late afternoon, perhaps for safety from predators overnight.



White Sands National Monument in southern New Mexico has over 750 sq km  (275 square miles) of brilliant white wind swept gypsum dunes:



A few Yucca manage to establish a little colony in the shifting sands:



Magnificent scenery along a hiking trail in Dog Canyon, south of Alamogordo, New Mexico:





Late one afternoon, whilst I was strolling around the Pella Crossing ponds near Hygiene, Colorado (yes, Hygiene is really the name of a town!), I saw this American Coot swimming about. It looks a bit duck-like, but it's not a duck... I had never seen a coot before:



And then I saw this Golden-Eye Duck, which I had also never seen before... quite magnificent... and perhaps you can guess why they call it a Golden-Eye:

golden eye duck 1



On a stroll around Coot Lake, just outside Boulder, Colorado (no, there weren't any coots there), I happened to see three Bald Eagles sitting in a tree. I couldn't get very close, but managed to get this quick shot of one of them, just as the sun was setting:

bald eagle