Thursday, November 9, 2017

American Landscapes: Water

Much of the west is dry, but we also saw beautiful coasts, rivers and lakes.

California Coast at Gualala

St Marys River at Pine Island, Ontario
Point Arena Lighthouse and marine sanctuaries, California
Lake Tahoe, Nevada/California


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

American Landscapes: Hills

On our road trip we saw lots of lovely landscapes. Many of those that made us pull over to take pictures were mountains and hills. Not too surprising, since we live in the East and don't see much elevation in our everyday lives. I suspect that even those who see them often still get a bit of a thrill from the hills.

Hills, Southern Idaho
Powder River Pass, Wyoming
Devils Tower, Wyoming
Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming

Sunday, November 5, 2017

American Landscapes: Badlands

It's tempting to put badlands in quotes, because "bad" isn't the adjective that comes to mind: "strange", "tortuous", or even "severe" seem better. But apparently early europeans called them bad because they were difficult to traverse, and the name stuck.

"Extensive" is another adjective. The badlands cover more than two hundred square miles in North Dakota and South Dakota, in Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Badlands National Park respectively. A casual tourist can see wonderful sites but to see it all would take a long, long time. We were happy we could at least visit both parks.

The northern badlands were cloaked in haze from large fires to the west, but the vistas were beautiful nevertheless. A memorable hike led to a vantage point overlooking a group of grazing bison. My preconceived notion of the badlands as barren was wrong. They have colors, textures and life.


Painted Canyon, Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Bison, Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Jones Creek, Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Yellow Mound Formation, Badlands National Park

Saturday, November 4, 2017

American Landscapes: Canyons

Susan and I took a long road trip to the U.S. West Coast and back, driving 8,200 miles over 38 days. Loving landscapes as I do, this journey thrilled me. The scale and variety of the terrain and vegetation kept us enthralled through many hours in the car, and made every hike unique.

Some of the most enchanting scenes were in canyons. One chilly morning in South Dakota we drove through Spearfish Canyon, where the Ponderosa pines on the hills were frosted and the cottonwoods at lower elevations still had their autumn yellows.

Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota
Another morning found us in Twin Falls exploring the Snake River Canyon near the Perrinne Bridge.

Snake River Canyon at Twin Falls, Idaho
Wyoming had two canyons we loved: On the Wind River in central Wyoming, and Ten Sleep Canyon at the western edge of the Big Horn mountains.

Hillside in Wind River Canyon, Wyoming
Ten Sleep Canyon, Wyoming
Outside of Bozeman, Montana we hiked in Cottonwood Canyon along South Cottonwood Creek.

Cottonwood Canyon, Montana
There seems to be no end to the beauty in our country, let alone in our continental neighbor, Canada, where we also traveled. Pictures from north of the border in an upcoming post.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

African Wildlife, part 3

Apologies for the multiple posts. There are so many animals to see, including a wonderful variety of birds. There was no way to get photos of them all.
Tawny Eagle, Hwange National Park
Lilac-breasted Roller, Okavango National Park
Saddle-billed Storks, Okavango National Park
African Fish Eagle, Chobe National Park
Woodland Kingfisher, Okavango National Park
Small mammals are harder to spot. One of the most unusual is the hyrax: a mammal that resembles a rodent but is in the same taxon as elephants and manatees.
Hyrax, Okavango National Park
Banded Mongoose, Okavango National Park

Sunday, April 23, 2017

African Wildlife, part 2

Every day on safari brought new sightings. Impala were the most numerous of the large animals and among the most beautiful. We saw other antelopes as well: kudu, tsessebe, waterbuck, bushbuck, red lechwe, eland, puku, Sharpe's grysbok, and klipsringer.


Impala, Okavango National Park
Kudu, Okavango National Park
Zebra were also a common sight, sometimes in the company of wildebeest. Apparently they are better able to spot predators using the multiple talents of different species.


Zebra, Okavango National Park
Wildebeest, Okavango National Park
Cape Buffalo, Okavango National Park
Vervet Monkeys, Chobe National Park



Thursday, April 20, 2017

African Wildlife, part 1

On our safari tour, we were fortunate to see many animals. The national parks we visited, Chobe and Okavango in Botswana and Hwange in Zimbabwe, are well-endowed with wildlife and not much traveled by humans...at least, in comparison to some U.S. national parks. The animals are protected and so (to varying degrees) are not too shy of people or their vehicles, making close approaches possible. Our guides were uniformly skilled and knowledgeable, increasing our chances of finding our "prey" in the bush.

And find them we did. It's a thrill to see them in their own environment. Each species has a character of its own, a combination of appearance, movement, social groupings, sounds and preferred habitat.

African Leopard with Impala Prey, Okavango National Park
African Elephant, Chobe National Park
Lion Pride with Two Juveniles, Chobe National Park
Hippos, Egrets and Hippo Corpse, Chobe National Park
Southern Giraffe, Okavango National Park