eregyrn: (-wolf curled)
(Previously: the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.)

K. and I drove back east and then north, heading for our last few stops: Monument Valley, and then later, Mesa Verde. Instead of just driving through Monument Valley (as I'd originally intended), we decided to stay the night there, in order to -- what else? -- see the sunset.


Read more... )

Fantastic trip. Very glad to have seen all of it, and very impressed with what a huge variety there turned out to be in the landscape and geology. And someday, there are parts that I'd like to go back and do, or things we didn't get to that I'd still like to see.

But I think I will arrange to do that in, oh... earlier spring, later fall, winter perhaps. NOT SUMMER.

(The end.)
eregyrn: (-wolf curled)
(Previously: The North Rim and Antelope Canyon.)

Because of the long day (with stops at Antelope Canyon, the abortive attempt to see Horseshoe Bend, lunch, etc.), we ended up driving into the eastern edge of the South Rim as sunset was happening.


Read more... )

Next! Monument Valley, Mesa Verde, and Petrified Forest!
eregyrn: (-wolf curled)
(Previously: Death Valley and Zion National Park)

Our next objective, after Zion, was the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.


Read more... )

Next! The South Rim!
eregyrn: (-wolf curled)
So, in early June, I went on a big trip to the Southwest with a bunch of fangirls, and it was awesome. And hot. IT WAS SO HOT. (Though not as hot as it would be a few weeks later in that area, after we'd returned home.)

It was particularly hot, since three of us decided to start in Death Valley.


Read more... )

Next! The North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and Antelope Canyon.
eregyrn: (Greenman)
As promised, I selected just 24 photos to represent the year, and hit every month except for April and September, I think. Click any to embiggen at Flickr.

Let's see if I can get one of those new-fangled LJ Collapse things to work...
I think I got it... oh it's just the old LJ Cut... )


Jun. 18th, 2012 11:38 am
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - Spring)
Thanks to all for the birthday wishes yesterday. :) We actually had gorgeous weather here, so I took the opportunity to do something I've been meaning to do for a while, which was get out kayaking again. It surprises me to realize that I probably hadn't been out for 2 years, and as soon as I got back out on the water, I remembered how much I just plain enjoy it. The river is lovely and the feel of kayaking is lovely.

This time, I was excited to get out on a stretch of the Charles River that I'd never been on before. Charles River Canoe & Kayak has several rental spots, all of which I've been to, but I didn't know they'd opened up a new one upriver at Nahanton Park in Newton, on a 12 mile stretch of the river unbroken by any dams!

In a sense, this was my downfall; so was going by myself. Because whenever I go out to do things by myself, I always wind up being over-ambitious. Previously, I think I have not done paddles much longer than about 6 miles round trip. This time, I took advantage of a little canal that cut across a big loop of the river -- at the end of which, I had to actually get out and walk through a waterfall over rocks (in flip-flops, because I'm dumb), dragging the kayak under a bridge to get back to the river and go back the long way, downstream. In my head, this made sense, because paddling downstream is always easier, and I'd noticed on the way out that the wind ought to be mostly at my back on the return. But I sort of didn't do the math in my head to estimate how long a trip that would really be. When kayaking, I tend to manage about 3-3.5 miles per hour. I paddled 2 miles to get to the half-mile short-cut. That brought me back to the river 8 miles upstream, which I then had to paddle all the way back to the rental site. And while I was indeed going with the current on the way back, the current isn't so strong that it carries you at any speed. So, yeah. That was about 3 and a half hours' worth of constant paddling, more than I'd ever done before, and the river was twisty enough that I still had stretches where I had to paddle against the wind.

But it was great, even if my arms are kind of limp noodles today.

I don't have any pictures of any of that, because I don't tend to try to mess around with electronics in a kayak, since it's all so wet. Instead, have some pictures from a few weeks ago, when Diane and Katie and I took a day-trip up to the White Mountains in NH. I was the instigator of this plan, because it has seemed for a while now, to me, that it is ridiculous that I have lived up here for over 20 years and never been up there, and never driven up Mt. Washington.


Many more pictures below the cut, half of cool animals and half of scenic mountain vistas: this way... )

Conclusion: the White Mountains are really pretty. And I want to see more waterfalls.
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - cold)
Last weekend I went and visited my Mom, only two months after seeing her at Xmas. The biggest issue here is that it's a long drive and I get SO BORED with all of the possible routes, which I have done multiple times a year for years and years. SO BORED. I have gotten to the point where I will plot a route that is out of my way and on slower roads, just so that I have something to look forward to. It takes longer to get there, but at least I'm mentally stimulated.

On the drive back, therefore, I routed myself through Harriman and Bear Mountain state parks (NY) as has become my custom, and then noodled my way up the east side of the Hudson Valley, discovering things as I went. Alas, a few of them I did not get any pictures of -- like the several deer and for-real beaver dams seen in the aforementioned state park. So for the collection below, you know it had to be truly arresting for me to have stopped to take a picture of it.

But let's start somewhere familiar: bird identification!


As I was getting gas while leaving the island that Mom lives on, I noticed a bird on nearby power lines, and I looked at it idly, as you do. "Huh," I said to myself, "that's the size of a mourning dove, and it has a long tail... but that is NOT a dove's head shape".

more below, including an identification )

Before we leave LBI...


Yes: the beach, still there. Actually, the beach is very notably wide right now. Probably because the island has not suffered a big storm in a while. This is high tide.

more beach below )

So, after the nice state park and the deer and the beaver-dams and all, I'm driving up the Hudson Valley on roads I'd never been on before, and I come to a junction where I turn from one little state route to another and WHAM:


Curious? See below the cut... )

Coming up this weekend: bald eagles! And maybe, if we are very very lucky, snowy owls.

The Sunset

Sep. 9th, 2011 02:53 pm
eregyrn: (-GHowl - windblown)
As mentioned: visiting my Mom a couple of weeks ago on the Jersey Shore, and the house my brother rented for his family came with a rooftop deck that was perched up higher than any of the other decks for a ways around. That made for a fun view during the sunset, so I went to get some pics.

Yeah yeah, I know, there is nothing more pedestrian than Pictures of the Sunset. I wanted to take some, though, because LBI is not the most aggressively scenic place ever, but it's home, and it can be pretty (even if it's a thoroughly over-built island). It's MY childhood summer sunsets and beach at twilight, in other words.


More under the cut... )

Next: seagulls and sandpipers (or, what passes for Wildlife).
eregyrn: (-GHowl - windblown)
So, a couple of weeks ago, I went again to visit my Mom down on the Jersey Shore; because this summer she had her 80th birthday, and to celebrate it, my brother rented a house a block from her so that his entire family (grown children and spouses) could converge, since Mom's place doesn't have the room (and has a cat, to whom my nephew's wife is deathly allergic). I went down for part of the week to visit with the entire family, and as is my wont, took some pictures.

One of the things I decided to do was go up and visit the Barneget Lighthouse, which is one of the... well, probably the ONLY attraction of any significance on LBI (as we do not have a boardwalk or casinos or other familiar hallmarks of other shore resorts). My relationship with the lighthouse stretches back many many years, to when I was very small. To climb it by yourself for the first time was a milestone. To bike to it for the first time (10+ miles there and back from where our house is) was another. To bike to it alone, yet another. And like other landmarks in places with which one is very familiar, after a while, you take for granted that it's there, and you don't go. So every few years, I like to go back.

This time, I also decided to climb it, which is something I haven't done in so long that I can't remember when I last did. Mom had gone with me for the ride and the short walk, but didn't mind my leaving her to sit at the bottom for a short bit. (Well; she thought it was insane that I wanted to go up, and wouldn't I rather just walk out along the jetty? But no.) Built in 1857, it is the 4th tallest lighthouse on the east coast, and the tallest of the NJ lighthouses. It has 217 steps to the top. (After my experience last summer with Yosemite's Vernal Falls trail's 600+ steps, I was hardly deterred.)


More under the cut, not for those inclined to vertigo... )

Next: pretty sunsets; gulls and sandpipers.
eregyrn: (Default)
(See my previous post for a link to a short video about hiking in Yosemite and climbing Half Dome, to get a feel on film for what the place is like.)

The remainder of my trip was spent with my family in a rented house at Pebble Beach, which is part of the peninsula that Monterey is also on. I have a feeling that most on my flist (like me) are not big pro golf fans, so I'll just note for the record that Pebble Beach's main claim to fame is an extremely scenic golf course, and our house was a 10 minute walk from it. In fact we were across the street from the practice greens or whatever they were, because there was a minor tournament going on while we were there, and we could hear the mowers start up at 5am and the steady hollow "thock" of golf balls being hit throughout the day.


Read on... )
eregyrn: (Default)

If you're curious to see what some of the hikes in Yosemite National Park are like, including what goes into the hike to the top of Half Dome (seen above from Glacier Point), you can go watch this 9-minute video that gives a pretty good, up-close view of what goes into doing that (from the start and with views of the length of the trail, on up to the top).

At one point in the video the ranger narrator remarks something like, "the cables -" [that one uses on the last leg of the climb to the summit] "- are surprisingly much harder to come down than to go up," and I immediately thought, hah ha hah, I am not surprised in the least. Coming down something steep is the *worst*.

Watching that, I think it made me feel better that as much pain as I was in after coming back down all those steps, I at least did not have to be evacuated out by rangers. And I could walk the next day. The whole time, in fact, the allure of going onward and upward was really strong, but I *was* always really keenly aware that I still had to come back down, as well.

And even though part of me is shuddering, especially at the idea of coming down those steep parts of the dome itself... part of me kind of still wants to do it someday.
eregyrn: (Default)
At the end of my last post, I said, "remember this shot, you'll be seeing it again". Yosemite is certainly a place that really inspires wanting to photograph it in every conceivable type of light. This provides a fun comparison with the previous night's sunset image:


Read on... )
eregyrn: (Default)
So my goal for the next day (my second and last full day at Yosemite) was to drive up to the "high country" -- Tuolumne Meadows and so on. Which is quite the drive. It doesn't look that far on the map, but it's still 55 miles, and what you don't realize is that when they post speed limits of 25 mph, they really mean it.


(As usual, click through for larger versions.)

More under the cut... )
eregyrn: (Default)
So on Sunday morning, I parted ways with [ profile] rednikki and [ profile] emdiar, they to head off to the desert for Burning Man and me to drive across the width of CA to Yosemite National Park.


(As usual, click through to enlarge some of these; and some of them will be worth enlarging for details later.)

More under the cut... )
eregyrn: (Default)
Okay! So, this is old, but... at the end of August, I took a trip out to CA to attend my niece's wedding, and managed to make a nice vacation of it. I had never been to the San Francisco area, so I had a very little time to see a LOT of stuff, more than I could possibly fit in. But I was really zen about that. In all cases I decided to see what I could see, and not let it bother me that there was stuff I couldn't get to. All in all, it was still an incredible trip, and yes, I would like to go back at some point and have more time to spend in several of those places.

So, first up -- San Francisco!

(As usual, you may click through to find larger sizes.)


More behind the cut... )
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - Peer)
So, I have a question for the ol' flist out there...

In less than a week, I'll be visiting San Francisco for a couple of days. (Almost literally.) I've been consulting guidebooks, and I have a guide while there, but the trouble of course is that it would be very easy to spend a week or two in San Francisco, let alone a little over 48 hours. So I need to narrow things down.

That's why I want to ask: if you have ever been to San Fran, what were your favorite things to see/do there? What are your top recommendations for "don't miss this, if you have a limited amount of time"? (Fantastic eating options also a plus.)

I realize I'll probably still end up with a longer list than I can manage, and I'm okay with that. I think it'd be nice to have a range of options that I can choose from according to my mood.

So hit me with your best thoughts, flist!
eregyrn: (Default)

Sad coda, for those of you who stuck with me through to the end of many postings of pics from my New Zealand trip. In the final part, I posted pics of Tam and Stephen's cats, some of whom I already knew and some who I got to know there. Jake is one of the new additions, a cat from the next valley over who showed up one day and decided that he liked it at their place, despite attempts to take him back to his erstwhile owner.

I probably should have posted that link before! That's the blog they've been keeping since moving to NZ, filled with many wonderful pics and posts about life in NZ.

A few days ago, Jake turned up very badly hurt -- what turned out to be a lacerated and broken foreleg. After a lot of examination, the best guess at the moment is that he'd been shot (although they're waiting on some final evidence of that before going to all the neighbors thereabouts to see if any facts can actually be discovered). As you can see from the pics, Jake is kind of rabbit-colored, and rabbits, like possums, are destructive vermin in NZ, and shooting them isn't uncommon in farming country. So it might have been an honest mistake, though not really that excusable not to make very sure of what you're shooting before you shoot it. Or... it might not have been. They might get someone to fess up to it. Might not, considering the vet bills.

The good news is that Jake isn't dead. But by this point, he's now 3-legged. The joint was too badly destroyed to make saving it practical, or even possible.

:( I feel so badly for Jake, who was and is such an intrepid, tough little kitty, and yet such a cuddle-muffin too. I feel really badly for Stephen and Tam, getting socked with this, as well. Cats usually adapt very well to 3-legged-ness. I'm betting that Jake becomes an intrepid outdoor kitty again. Definitely a reminder that farm life has its dangers, though.
eregyrn: (Default)
Well, this should be the last chapter of this! As always, click on my "travel" tag or look at the list at right for previous parts...

Getting up early in Amberley, with a relatively short drive to get to Kaikoura in time for a 12:45pm whale-watch trip, we decided to take the scenic inland route northwards (more views of mountains than the coastal route). We stopped briefly in the town of Waiau, next to the river of the same name, which is where I took this shot illustrating the wide, flat, stony nature of NZ riverbeds (what you're looking at there is only half of the river's width, too), with the Puketeraki Range in the background.

The rest under the cut... )

Well, thanks for sticking with me through all of this! Hope you've enjoyed it all! And hey, if you ever want to go to New Zealand (which I highly recommend, obviously), I know this farm that you can probably stay on...
eregyrn: (Default)
Okay, back to this! (Previous parts avail. under the travel tag, etc.)

There's a picture-postcard view, huh? That was Lake Te Anau the next morning, looking north towards the mountains beyond which lies Milford Sound. Had we in fact gambled and just waited out the day before, it looks like we would have had perfect weather that Sunday for doing either Milford or Doubtful. But there was no way to know that at the time. And actually no way to know whether the road was indeed open, even if the morning looked fine. (And of course no way to know whether we would have made it to the sounds but found it raining *there*.)

More behind the cut! )

So, the next part will very likely be the last! Some pretty snow, and sperm-whales, and a few odds and ends from the trip.
eregyrn: (Default)
(As usual, hit my "travel" tag or see the list of recent posts at right for earlier parts.)

Hmm, where was I? Oh yes, finishing going to look at the face of Fox Glacier (in the rain), running back into town to change into dry clothes, and then hopping back into the car for a sprint south and over the Haast Pass.

More behind the cut. )

Next: Dunedin, albatross, more alpacas, guanaco, bizarre rocks, and more!


eregyrn: (Default)

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