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2018 Adventures

Updated: Dec 26, 2018


I was wondering if my little Lumix ZS60 point and shoot camera could take a usable photo of the moon. And when the full moon arrived, I found that this little camera could take a surprisingly good picture...




Winter can be so incredibly beautiful... but often a bit chilly. Here's a photo from my back yard, looking into the magnificent Colorado Rocky Mountains:




After a dreary and rainy month of March, some nice weather has arrived, and it's time for a road-trip. Here's a sample of some of the majestic scenery along Interstate 70 in western Utah:


Then, a totally different landscape just a few miles down the road from the previous photo:


 Anasazi Valley near St George, Utah. In this area the petroglyphs generally seem to be inscribed on rocks which had already fallen:


Then down to the Valley of Fire just north of Las Vegas, Nevada.


Met this handsome character out wandering about on the rocks:


A lot of rocks around here... surprisingly multi-colored, ranging from white to amber to red and orange.



Next, an adventure into an area called Little Finland, on BLM land northeast of Las Vegas, where the rock formations are bizarre. The first 25 miles on BLM land were easy, but the final 10 miles were a challenge for my RAV4. It took about an hour and a half to travel those last 10 miles on rutted paths and rocky dry creek beds. But the scenery was lovely, such as these Joshua Trees:



I wish I would have taken some photos of the rough sections of the "road", but I didn't. I was too busy just trying to keep from getting stuck or breaking something. Here is a nice section of the road where I was at ease enough to take a photo:



The rocks at Little Finland look fried... they're all curled and twisted. Very strange place. Looks (to me) like a flying elephant on top of these rocks:



Then over to Page, Arizona to visit Upper Antelope Canyon on the Navajo reservation. This is called a slot canyon, and was created by all of the water in a 60 m (200 ft) wide desert wash being forced through a large outcrop of solid sandstone, cutting a narrow (and oddly shaped) slot through the rock.

Here's a view of a Navajo guide leading a group of tourists toward the slot:



This is a typical view inside the slot canyon, with light streaming in from the top and illuminating the colored sandstone walls in brilliant hues:



In this photo, the sand floor of the slot canyon is visible at the bottom of the image:



Splendid shapes, patterns and textures at every turn:


Then I headed down to the spectacular red-rock area around Sedona, Arizona.


Claret Cup cacti along a hiking trail outside of Sedona:


The scenery is magnificent, but yikes, what a mess Sedona has become! A jillion tourists shopping downtown and some stores that look as though someone wants this to be another Beverly Hills. I tried to go hiking on some of the local red rock trails, but was repeatedly run off the trails by hoards of mountain bikers who expect to have hikers yield to them, despite numerous signs and regulations requiring that bikers yield to hikers. Very unpleasant.

I doubt that I'll ever go to Sedona again. When I first started hiking around Sedona in the late 1970's, it was a marvelous place, but now, it has become quite dreadful.

Then I wandered over to Prescott, Arizona and was surprised by the odd shoreline of Watson Lake, very lumpy!


And next, headed over around Silver City, New Mexico where I encountered this lumpy little character along a hiking trail:



I returned home just in time for the flowering of the glorious Pasque Flowers in the Colorado foothills south of Boulder. These splendid harbingers of springtime are such a delight to my eyes! So delicately shaded, so fuzzy, such wonderful pastel colors:



One day I noticed that the case of my Nexus 9 tablet was bulging in the back. When I removed the back cover, a very swollen Lithium-ion battery was quite obvious. The battery package was swollen to nearly 5 times the original thickness.... which is what happens when explosive gasses are released from a failing battery. Had this failing battery puffed up a little bit more and ripped open the plastic bag around the battery, releasing the explosive gasses from the bag, it easily could have caused a nasty fire.



Time for a spring pilgrimage to scenic Moab, Utah for some hiking amidst the spectacular red rocks.

Delicate Arch, with a few tourists wandering about:


A few of the brilliant cacti along the trail to Delicate Arch:

catci blooms

Landscape Arch is getting very thin at the top, but it hasn't fallen down yet. The arch is about 90 m (290 ft) wide and 25 m (80 ft) high:


View of some of the many vertical sandstone fins along the trails in Arches National Park:


Looking through Mesa Arch on the Island in the Sky, toward the water-eroded desert floor about 300 m (1000 ft) below:

mesa arch


Over the last few weeks, the daily news has been full of threats and counter threats regarding North Korea's nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles, which brought back a lot of childhood memories, such as learning how to hide under our school desks in the event of a nuclear attack, and seeing movies of nuclear explosions, with their soaring mushroom cloud towering over the explosion.

So... it would be an understatement to say that I was quite startled when I looked out the side window of my car and saw this towering mushroom cloud growing in the sky somewhere south of Boulder:


Fortunately, it was just a very unusual thunderhead cloud... but it sure had my mind churning for a few moments!

Hiking in the Lumpy Ridge area of Rocky Mountain National Park. What a splendid day. So much greenery!

estes park

This Lumpy Ridge rock outcropping reminds me of Devils Tower in Wyoming:



A few of the June wildflowers here in Colorado:

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Hiking at Shrine Mountain, south of Vail, Colorado, at an altitude of about 3650 m (12,000 ft). Lovely day!




Close-up of a lovely little Red Columbine flower near Cataract Lake, south of Kremmling, Colorado. This is the only place where I've ever seen this splendid little flower, which is about 4 cm (1 1/2 inches) long, and seems to prefer moist, deeply shaded areas:



Had a lovely hike up to Crater Lakes, near Rollinsville, Colorado. Trailhead parking lot is at 2860 m (9200 ft), and the Crater Lakes are at 3230 m (10,600 ft). Saw about 74 varieties of wildflowers along the trail! It was like hiking in a flower garden.

Here's a view across Lower Crater Lake, with reflections of the sky and mountains. Interestingly, in the darker portions of the mountain reflection, the rocks at the bottom of the lake are clearly visible, adding a new texture and different shapes into the reflection:


Wildflowers along the southern shore of Long Lake, near Ward, Colorado... Elephant heads, Indian Paintbrushes, Bistort, and Daisies:

long lake flowers

Then, a bit farther up the trail, beautiful Lake Isabelle at an altitude of about 3350 m (11,000 ft):



Beautiful scenery along the Pawnee Pass trail, above Lake Isabelle. The jagged peaks remind me of the Tetons in Wyoming:



A pelican was happily paddling across a lake near my home, and this photo came out even nicer than I had hoped... the reflections of the trees at the top of the image remind me of Monet's painting style, while the clarity of the pelican provides an interesting contrast to those vague pastels:



Lumpy landscape in the City of Rocks southeast of Silver City, New Mexico:

city of rocks

The long-legged jackrabbit was cleverly hiding in plain sight by sitting very, very still... which is not really a very good strategy for hiding from cameras (or bullets):



Nearby was this Yellow Bird of Paradise plant... a jubilant explosion of red stamens:

yellow bird


Magnificent cactus flowers, with wet, juicy appearance in the dry, hot desert:



And these beautiful Desert Willow flowers:

pink bird


No travel this month, and not even much hiking. Amusingly, I spent most of September refinishing the front door of my house.

I thought it would take me about three days to sand, stain and put three coats of varnish on that silly door, but it actually took over two weeks. I wasn't even sure I could save the poor old door, after nearly 40 years of weathering, it was getting rather ugly, with some bubbling and peeling varnish.

Fortunately, the door is made of some nicely grained wood, and it turned out pretty nice... now I need to repaint the rest of the house trim to look as nice as the door!



Ominous clouds:



The result of ominous clouds:



Sliver of moon setting over the mountains, in early December:

moon over mountains


Lovely sunset:



Well... that's it for this year... the journey continues... hopefully!