Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dedicated photographers

This is actually a double portrait:
my brother (as a "shadowbox")
and me in the background.
I am kneeling to photograph a blossoming yucca
(you have to enlarge the photo, but I am there!)

Worth the Wait

For about five years now I have tried to get out to White Sands for backcountry camping on a full moon night. The first time I tried it we were stormed out; after that plans kept falling through, but this June is actually happened.
And it was SO worth it.
All the tediousness of detail planning paid off.
It was a gorgeous evening with beautiful light and blooming yuccas (my favorites!) and a big beautiful moon shining on the sands, and then in the morning, moonset with sunrise glow on the dunes. I was in photographers' paradise.
And I definitely want to go back!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Swim, anyone?

One may swim in the pool below Calf Creek falls.
One MAY, but it is mighty cold.
I have only been in water that cold once or twice.
I do belong to the toe-dipping, gradually immersing school of bathers,
and this pool took awhile to get up to my neck.
It was pretty breathtaking once I did.
But, having worn my swimsuit under my clothes while hiking,
I was not going to waste the opportunity for a wilderness bathe!
The photos have to be enlarged to see my face,
grimacing from the cold,
as I swim a few strokes.

There was a definite plus: hiking back, I stayed nice and cool.
(Thank goodness for modern fabric developments;
it was great to wear a wet swimsuit beneath my nifty REI hiker-designed pants but it would have been miserable beneath jeans.)

Lower Calf Creek Falls

I had always wanted to hike to Lower Calf Creek falls.
It absolutely lived up to my expectations.
I believe the height is 126 feet.
It was gorgeous!

Cactus "Roses"

These are prickly pears,
and aren't they gorgeous!!

Wildflower Detecting in Escalante

I went camping in Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument
for a couple of days with some friends.
It was a lovely trip.
I was surprised to see that so many flowers were still blooming down there.
Lots of cactus, mostly prickly pear,
but a number of other things too.
And in the Visitor Center of Capitol Reef,
as we were winding our way home,
I found a really great local wildflower book
that had just come out:
"Capitol Reef Wildflowers" by Deborah L. Clark.
It has some details and local species
that my regular Audubon book does not have.
For instance, the following globemallow
I was able to identify as the small leaf globemallow variety:

This stuff is giving me more problems.
I think it is probably a Hymenopappus,
but I can't quite really match the leaves to any variety I can find,
either in my flower books or on the web.

Here's one of the trail "flower gardens."
There were lots and lots of clumps of blooming cactus,
globemallow, and the Hymenopappus flowers too.
And many more!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


We had rootbeer floats tonight,
my choice for a celebration treat
(but I also knew the kids would like them,
which as you can see,
they did).

What were we celebrating?
I have tenure!!!

Roundheads and other irrelevancies

This little yellowish flower is known as Wayside Gromwell.
I look at it and I think "Cromwell,"
as in, the beheading of Charles I and all that...
Whoever came up with the name "gromwell" for a flower,