Updated: Dec 30, 2019
Lovely sunset with new moon gleaming over the mountains, as
viewed from my back yard:
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 a colorful sunset last night:
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:
Sunrise on the beach in Puerto Morelos, Mexico:
The waterfront view from Pelicanos, my favorite
restaurant in Puerto
A look into the mangrove and the remains of a dilapidated little
Another sunrise in Puerto Morelos:
A couple of prehistoric-looking iguanas out for a stroll along
Some of the troublesome sargassum on the Puerto Morelos
Just snow and dreary cold here in Colorado. Nothing interesting to
show for this month.
It's always so comforting when the crocus blooms begin
popping up in my yard. They're welcoming beacons of springtime:
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:
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
She stopped, and bent down, seeming to be trying to shove the
wiggling fish a bit farther into her throat:
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
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.
Finally.... her neck bends again!
Hiking near Boulder, I met these magnificent Pasque Flowers...
another sure sign of the arrival of Spring:
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,
across Canyon de Chelly on the Navajo reservation in
Still on the same road trip.
Mountain goats watching me with great suspicion, along the
highway near Springerville, Arizona:
And then more of the family appeared to see what was going on:
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:
A lovely steam along the Thompson Trail:
And then back home to Colorado. The terrain is now a lovely vibrant
green from all the spring rains:
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
Along MacGregor Falls hiking trail just outside Estes Park,
Colorado, this black squirrel with very bushy ears was being quite noisy, defending his tree:
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:
After a very cool and wet spring, the wooded areas have
an abundance of this interesting plant, called Coral Root:
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
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:
The State Flower of Colorado, the lovely Blue Columbine:
Another glorious day for a hike in the mountains! This
is Mitchell Lake, near Ward, Colorado:
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).
Hiking in the mountains on beautiful days like this is such
a precious gift!
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):
A Sphinx Moth (sometimes called a Hummingbird Moth because of their four-wing hovering ability) visiting
some flowers in my yard:
What wonderful weather! Hiked up to 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
only one remaining antler:
A lovely hike on another magnificent day, again up to beautiful
Lake Isabelle, after the snow has finally melted from the
Lovely Elephant Head flowers along the trail:
A few days later, hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park,
up to 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.
Encountered this big ol' moose across the road from the Bierstadt
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:
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:
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.
Brilliant, fluttering Aspen trees along a hiking trail at
Caribou Ranch near Nederland, Colorado:
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:
A young Sharp Shinned hawk sitting on the fence, looking for
a snack in my backyard:
Lake Dillon, in the wondrous Colorado Rocky Mountains:
Meandering through Arches National Park in Utah, near Moab. What
delightfully unexpected shapes in the stone formations throughout this
Hiked to this 40 m (120 ft) waterfall on Lower Calf Creek
near Escalante, Utah:
Some of the whimsical toadstools and arches in Devil's
Garden, south of Escalante, Utah:
The colorful terrain of Kodachrome State Park near
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:
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:
Maybe they were going to this refreshing oasis, also in
Joshua Tree National Park, but didn't quite make it in the
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
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:
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:
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:
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:
What delightful "companions" to have on a hike!
Hiking up to Safford Peak (the peak just right of center
in this photo), near Sanctuary Cove, west of
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:
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:
Hey, where are the birds??? There aren't any birds in the
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
So, that's it for this year. Hopefully there will be more
adventures next year!
Over and out for 2019....