Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winter Road Tripping – Forty Nine Palms Oasis

On my recent “Winter 2014 SoCal Adventure,” I found myself in a dilemma. Should I pocket an easy $100 and burn some morning daylight by sitting through what should be no more than a one–hour time–share presentation, knowing that pigs would fly before I ever bought into anything? Or, should I just forget the quick cash and head for the hills of nearby Joshua Tree National Park? For a summer seasonal park ranger and barely employed geology adjunct, the decision made itself.
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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Winter Road Tripping – An Accidental Sea

During my “2014 Winter SoCal Adventure,” I took a leisurely winter solstice kayak tour in 75°F southern California sunshine wearing sandals and a Santa hat. Ten days later, at home in cloud–shrouded southern Utah, it is nearly 50°F colder and I am wearing sweatpants and two pairs of socks. A winter Pacific storm is blustering its way across the western U.S., so it looks like I will be trading that kayak and sandals for some cross-country skis and insulated boots.
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Feet on the Salton Sea - Winter Solstice 2014


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Winter Road Tripping – Balboa Park

It was billed as my “2014 Winter SoCal Adventure,” and I had been planning it since last spring. I would drive south for a week of urban camping in John and Cathy’s guest room, bird watch in lagoons, visit a museum, admire architecture, splosh around in tide pools and look for anemones to tickle, reconnect with Jo whom I have not seen in 30 years, be treated to dinner, leave the city, kayak on an inland sea, live a cushy condo life for five days, become familiar with the romance and sex life of dates, hike to desert oases, and spend Christmas Day bird watching once again. By the time it was all over I would have been gone for ten days, put away some serious fermented grape beverage, added 1,420 miles to my car’s odometer, and experienced the best vacation I have had in years while wearing a custom–made Santa Claus hat.

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Two poinsettia earrings hang from my "jade plant cuttings in plastic cup" Christmas tree

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Finding Castor Canadensis

I have located my little buddies here in southwest Utah! Well, I have not located them, exactly, but I have found clear evidence of their existence. Now it is just a matter of time before I catch the little rascals in action. And just who do you think these little rascals might be, industriously re–engineering their short stretch of the Santa Clara River?
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Santa Clara River -  more here than meets the eye!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Riprap, Slickensides, and a Thanksgiving Walkabout

I went for a walkabout yesterday, two days after eating my way into a holiday food coma. That spiral cut ham–scalloped potatoes–pecan and cranberry dressing–vegetable medley–cranberry sauce–two pieces of pie–champagne and wine Thanksgiving dinner needed to be dealt with. So after nibbling on some leftover ham and forking my way across a hefty slice of breakfast pumpkin pie, I headed over to the Santa Clara Reserve to spend a few hours with friends, hiking and socializing in the great southern Utah outdoors.

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I have enjoyed hikes with these guys for several decades

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Lesser Known Yellowstone –Shoshone Geyser Basin

How many footsteps are in a mile? If I had a nickel for every step I have taken getting into and out of the geyser basins of Yellowstone over the past four summers, I would be a wealthy individual. Include the eighteen round trip miles involved in accessing Shoshone geyser basin and I could retire comfortably right now. I would spend my golden years driving across the geology of the continent while towing the glamping camper of my dreams.

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On the way to Shoshone geyser basin, hiking buddy Brian (aka "Tater") poses and points.


Monday, November 17, 2014

View from the Handlebars

The blistering heat has dissipated. The jostling summer crowds have disappeared from the trails. Shuttle buses still whoosh quietly up and down the main canyon, but only on the weekends. The sun casts its lengthening shadows on the towering cliffs of Navajo Sandstone. There is a definite chill in the air. This is Zion National Park in November, and it is a perfect time for a bicycle ride.

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View from the handlebars