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Life... ya gotta be doin' something...

 

2019 Adventures

Updated: Dec 30, 2019

January

Lovely sunset with new moon gleaming over the mountains, as viewed from my back yard:

new moon january


Funny thing... we get snow here in Colorado, and I'm really not all that fond of snow or cold weather. But it can be quite spectacular.

january snow


Quite a colorful sunset last night:

january sunset2


There was a very nice lunar eclipse on January 21. The moon turned a quite mysterious-looking reddish hue. I took this photo with my little Lumix point and shoot camera:

lunar eclipse

 

February

Sunrise on the beach in Puerto Morelos, Mexico:

puerto morelos sunrise


The waterfront view from Pelicanos, my favorite restaurant in Puerto Morelos:

pelicanos


A look into the mangrove and the remains of a dilapidated little fishing dock:

mangrove


Another sunrise in Puerto Morelos:

second sunrise


A couple of prehistoric-looking iguanas out for a stroll along the street:

iguanas


Some of the troublesome sargassum on the Puerto Morelos beach:

sargassum

 

March

Just snow and dreary cold here in Colorado. Nothing interesting to show for this month.

April

It's always so comforting when the crocus blooms begin popping up in my yard. They're welcoming beacons of springtime:

crocus blooming

And now the snow has melted enough to go on some local hikes in the foothills. Yea! Almost everything is still quite brown, but lovely. A few flowers are popping up along the trails, like Spring Beauty, Canada Violet, Alyssum, Chickweed and Dandelion. This photo is from a hike near Eldorado Springs, Colorado:

boulder hike

Well, this was a treat! I looked out the kitchen window and saw that a Blue Heron had just caught a rather large fish in the irrigation ditch:

blue heron 1

She stopped, and bent down, seeming to be trying to shove the wiggling fish a bit farther into her throat:

blue heron with fish

Then, just as abruptly, raised up her head and as if by magic the wiggling fish began to go down the heron's throat. Which gave the heron a very large wiggling throat, that wouldn't bend.

heron 3

The heron then just stood alongside the ditch for about half an hour, until the fish was down out of her neck, and she could bend her neck normally.

heron in ditch

Finally.... her neck bends again!

heron digesting

Hiking near Boulder, I met these magnificent Pasque Flowers... another sure sign of the arrival of Spring:

pasque

May

Time for a road trip! Yea!

The rock formation near the middle is called Fisher Towers, and the snow-covered mountains in the background are the La Sals, near Moab, Utah:

fisher towers


Looking across Canyon de Chelly on the Navajo reservation in Northern Arizona:

canyon de chelly

June

Still on the same road trip.

Mountain goats watching me with great suspicion, along the highway near Springerville, Arizona:

goats

And then more of the family appeared to see what was going on:

goats

This gate amused me! No fence, no wall, just a gate in the middle of the Thompson Trail near Springerville, Arizona. So, of course I went through the gate. It seemed like a formal welcome to all the beauty which was beyond:

gate

A lovely steam along the Thompson Trail:

stream


And then back home to Colorado. The terrain is now a lovely vibrant green from all the spring rains:

homestead trail


But not far from where I took that lovely shot of the greenery, this very lumpy 3 or 4 foot long rattlesnake (who apparently must have eaten a large meal recently) appeared in the middle of the hiking trail, showing signs of wanting to be left alone:

rattlesnake


Along MacGregor Falls hiking trail just outside Estes Park, Colorado, this black squirrel with very bushy ears was being quite noisy, defending his tree:

black squirrel

 

 

July

The heavy snowpack in the Colorado mountains is still melting, and the creeks, such as this one in Rocky Mountain National Park's Wild Basin, are still running fast:

st vrain creek


After a very cool and wet spring, the wooded areas have an abundance of this interesting plant, called Coral Root:

coral root 1


It would be easy to fail to appreciate the beauty of this plant, since it is all brown, and perhaps even appears to be dead or dying. But this is quite an unusual plant!

The plant does not need to be green because it gets its nutrients in a symbiotic relationship with the fungi in its roots, a process called myco-heterotrophy. And the tiny white flowers, which are orchids, are quite lovely when viewed closely. The "tongue" of this this tiny beauty is about 3 or 4 mm (1/8 inch) wide:

coral root flower


And here's another magnificent orchid happily growing in the woods, called a Fairy Slipper orchid. This flower is about 2 cm (1 inch) long:

fairy slipper


The State Flower of Colorado, the lovely Blue Columbine:

columbine

 

August

Another glorious day for a hike in the mountains!  This is Mitchell Lake, near Ward, Colorado:

mitchell lake


We had a very wet and cool spring with so much snow that in mid-August there is still some snow on the trail near Lake Isabelle at an altitude around 3400 m (11,000 ft).

snow on trail


Hiking in the mountains on beautiful days like this is such a precious gift!

creek


I was at home, eating lunch, when this amusing grasshopper decided to stare at me through the window. Perhaps he was equally amused by the odd character he was watching (me):

bug on window


A Sphinx Moth (sometimes called a Hummingbird Moth because of their four-wing hovering ability) visiting some flowers in my yard:

moth photo


What wonderful weather! Hiked up to Blue Lake today:

blue lake


Met this guy on the way back down from Blue Lake. This dejected-looking moose must have lost a battle, and now is lopsided with only one remaining antler:

moose with one antler

 

September

A lovely hike on another magnificent day, again up to beautiful Lake Isabelle, after the snow has finally melted from the trails:

lake Isabelle


Lovely Elephant Head flowers along the trail:

elephant heads


A few days later, hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, up to Lake Bierstadt:

Lake Bierstadt

After hiking up to the lake, I sat down on a log along the shore for a little snack, and this silly duck swam over, got out of the water, waddled over alongside me, and then stood there waiting for a handout. Just a foot away from me. Very funny. Like some sort of toll collector.

She wouldn't be shooshed away. She just repeatedly came back and essentially demanded a handout! Finally I gave her a grape, and that seemed to satisfy her.

pesky duck


Encountered this big ol' moose across the road from the Bierstadt trail:

moose


Near the end of the month, on a hike up to Cub Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, at this point on the trail I wasn't sure which root to take:

Tree Roots


Eventually Cub Lake appeared, and it was covered with lily pads. The Aspen trees on the hillsides were just beginning to turn their delightful golden hue:

Cub Lake


On the way down from Cub Lake, these young elk were out in the field rather slowly and gently trying to figure out what their antlers were for. It was a slow motion rehearsal.

young elk

 

October

Brilliant, fluttering Aspen trees along a hiking trail at Caribou Ranch near Nederland, Colorado:

caribou ranch


Oh my. I'm not ready for snow yet, but it has gently begun to arrive anyway. It is quite pretty on the mountains though:

october snow


A young Sharp Shinned hawk sitting on the fence, looking for a snack in my backyard:

october hawk

 

November

Lake Dillon, in the wondrous Colorado Rocky Mountains:

dillon


Meandering through Arches National Park in Utah, near Moab. What delightfully unexpected shapes in the stone formations throughout this wonder-filled park:

november_arches


Hiked to this 40 m (120 ft) waterfall on Lower Calf Creek near Escalante, Utah:

calf creek falls


Some of the whimsical toadstools and arches in Devil's Garden, south of Escalante, Utah:

devils garden

toadstools


The colorful terrain of Kodachrome State Park near Henrieville, Utah:

kodachrome hills


This is Grosvenor Arch, along Cottonwood Pass Road, south of Henrieville, Utah. There are multiple arches within this one rock formation, which is about 45 to 50 m (140 to 150 ft) tall:

grosvenor arch


It appears that about 70 or 80 years ago somebody was happily riding through the desert, perhaps feeling on top of the world in their high-tech pick-up truck, but apparently things didn't work out too well, and here it sits, in an area which is now part of Joshua Tree National Park:

car in desert


Maybe they were going to this refreshing oasis, also in Joshua Tree National Park, but didn't quite make it in the old truck:

oasis


This is a Joshua Tree, in Joshua Tree National Park in southern California. A very amusing tree-like oddity, in the yucca family, which is actually neither a tree nor a cactus, and which looks like a Dr. Seuss creation with its meandering branches and unusual variety of textures and shapes:

 joshus tree


I was surprised to see how fussy some of these desert plants are about their habitat. There are miles and miles of Joshua Trees in some areas, such as in this late afternoon scene:

joshua at sunset

 

Then, down the road just a few miles, at a little lower elevation, there are no Joshua Trees at all, but there are millions of Cholla Cacti:

cholla


And then on down the road a bit farther, at a still lower elevation, there are no Joshua Trees and no Cholla, but there are millions of Ocotillo:

ocotillo

 
And down still lower, the magnificent Saguaro Cacti take over. For example, here are some splendid saguaros in the Saguaro National Park, just west of Tucson, Arizona. I can't tell you why, but I really enjoy hiking in their midst:

saguaro catctii


What delightful "companions" to have on a hike!

more saguaro cactii


Hiking up to Safford Peak (the peak just right of center in this photo), near Sanctuary Cove, west of Tucson, Arizona:

safford peak


And after all that delightful hiking, I returned home to 36 cm (15 inches) of snow... which is beautiful, but not so much fun for hiking:

15 inches of snow


At times like this, I'm thankful that my driveway is only about 8 m (25 feet) long! Here's what the snow looked like after my first shovel-width pass down the driveway:

driveway


Hey, where are the birds??? There aren't any birds in the bird-bath today:

bird bath

 

December

This month is off to a slow start, largely because all of that snow from November has not yet melted. In the first couple of weeks of this month, most of the local trails and sidewalks have been too muddy or too slippery to be enjoyable.

As of the end of December, there's still snow on the ground from that November snowstorm, but the streets and sidewalks are finally clear of snow, and I can get back to doing a bit of running. (Well... I still call it running, but truthfully it's just plodding.)

So, that's it for this year. Hopefully there will be more adventures next year!

Over and out for 2019....