Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Watery Wednesday

What to do when winter weather is getting you down. You can go to New Zealand, or to the South West US, or you can go to Hawaii.
We stayed an extra day after a hiking oriented Elderhostel in Hawaii in February 2008.
We kayaked up the Wailua river then hiked to Secret Falls where I indulged a fantasy and swam across a pool to stand behind a waterfall. Another couple who had extended their stay joined me. Hubby passed on the swim and took pictures instead.

See more watery sights at Watery Wednesday, hosted for us by 2sweetnsaxy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Joshua Tree National Park--My World

We are headed south later this week to watch grandson Michael while his parents camp in Joshua Tree National Park with friends.
The Joshua Tree for which the park is named.
It is not a tree at all but a yucca. The blossom of the yucca is a beautiful and substantial flower.
In spring the desert can bloom with an incredible variety of flowers. These pictures were taken in March, 2008. It wasn't a particularly good year. I'm wondering what this year will be like.
Here a delicate flower (brittlebush?) nestles with the prickley teddy bear cholla.
There is beauty in the bark and tiny green leaves of the ocotillo.
Back lit, the fiddle neck glows in the light of the setting sun.

If I go again this year I had better bring my books with me so I can identify all these flowers. If you're interested in finding where to see California wildflowers and identifying them, I have found a great website. Michael Charters has posted dates, pictures, and names of flowers from his many field trips in Southern California. It should be a great help in planning trips and identifying plants.
See more worlds at That's my World, hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy, and Sylvia.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Red Rock Shadows

I had been through St. George, Utah several times on the way to Zion. I had never explored the red rock country of nearby Snow Canyon State Park. It has wonderful formations that I had not experienced until our visit to the spa. While going through photos for my earlier post I realized that I had plenty of shadow shots.
They got us out on the trail early so we would be back in time for lunch and other activities.
There were plenty of shadows in the early morning light.
I'm sure I'm not the first to catch a shadow like this but it's fun if not unique.
See other interesting shadows at Hey Harriet hosted for us by Tracy.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cotton Ball Sky

Some cotton balls appeared in our usually gray skies a few days ago.
And some leaves on the birch tree.
Wait! Those aren't leaves, they're birds waiting their turn to attack the feeder.
See more beautiful skies at Sky Watch Friday, hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy and Sylvia.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rain, Wind--Watery Wednesday

I'm a bit late this week, I've been trying to catch the feeling of this storm.
The creek is up. It's not the prettiest little creek but I like living near it and it is our gauge of how much rain we're having.
Floods alternating with drought, is that what global warming will mean for us all? I hear they had balmy (for them) weather in the arctic while folks in the US and Europe had record cold.
See more water sights at Watery Wednesday, hosted by 2sweetnsaxy.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Profile Picture--My World?

In the spirit of full disclosure, I think it is time to be honest about my profile photo. Yes, it is me and I did rappel down that cliff, but I'm not really a mountain climber, I'm a hiker.

So what was I doing on that cliff?

Well, after Grandson Michael was born and DIL Mimi came to learn about the world of the disabled and therapists, she decided to become a speech therapist. She already had an interest in language and a BA in speech communication, she is multi-lingual. It seemed a good fit but it's a difficult program, especially if you are also co-ordinating the care of a special needs child. Both Grandmas helped (we lived nearby at the time) but it was still a tough grind.
When she finished her course work and externship and became licensed, I decided she had earned some pampering. I found a spa in Utah that also offered a hiking program. So off we went, leaving Michael in his father's capable hands, we flew from our separate cities and met at the airport in Las Vegas for the drive to St. George, Utah.
It was a beautiful place and offered delicious, low calorie meals in addition to hikes, work out classes and spa treatments.
The daily hikes were in spectacular red rock country near St. George.
Mimi accompanied me on one of the hikes. The next day the hike included an optional chance to rappel. Mimi had decided to stay and have an extra spa treatment, I decided to give rappelling a try.
On another day there had been an opportunity to try a zip line. I enjoyed the rappelling so much that I was sorry I had passed on the previous days adventure. If the opportunity presents itself in the future I will be sure to take advantage of it. Your never to old to try something new.

See other worlds at My World Tuesday, hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy, Louise and Sylvia.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Agave Shadows

It was nice to see the sun this week, even if it was only for a couple of days. I tried to make the most of the sunshine and went for a walk to see if I could find some interesting shadows. One of my neighbors has some agave growing in the front yard.
Their spiny leaves make great shadow shots.
She has some cacti as well. Some of her plants were badly damaged in this year's freeze but these withstood the weather well.

Check out more shadows at Hey Harriet, hosted by Tracy.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Foggy Sky Shots

I have been complaining a lot lately about the fog and gloom.
Most mornings this is the view. Later in the day the fog may lift a bit and we have gloomy low clouds.
We thought we would go for a drive up into the Sierra foothills, hoping to punch through the fog. I spied this emu in the fog.
We climbed higher, to Hidden Falls Regional Park. Still no sun and very limited visibility. What's a photo blogger to do?
We drove on to the historic gold country town of Auburn which is also the county seat. The beautiful old court house was shrouded in fog. We decided to get some lunch.
After lunch we saw blue sky and sunshine! Hurray! It didn't last long, maybe an hour and then the fog rolled in again. By the time we got home the world was gray again.
Find more interesting skies at Sky Watch Friday, hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy, Louise and Sylvia.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Milford Sound--Watery Wednesday

The previous post showed the first day of the Milford Track. If we had continued to the end we would have wound up at Milford Sound (after a short boat ride at trails end). We did it the easy way. We took a bus to the sound and a tour boat around the sound.
Our guides apologized to us for the lack of water in the falls.

This California native thought there was plenty of water in the falls and there were waterfalls everywhere we looked. The scenery in the sound is breathtaking.
We even spotted a little wildlife, actually, rather calm life.
You can find more watery sights at Watery Wednesday, hosted for us by 2sweetnsaxey

Monday, January 11, 2010

Milford Track--My World

My regular readers must be wondering when they will see some hikes. This was an active Elderhostel with hikes and walks at least every other day. If there was a long hike scheduled there was also a shorter one for those who didn't want to great a challenge. It was hard to decide which to show you, I chose the Milford Track.
The first leg of the Milford Track is pretty gentle and that was the hike this day. Maybe I should say the second leg as the first leg is a boat ride.
The trail wanders through a thick forest.
Glade House is the fist stop for those on a guided tour. They are treated to hot meals and showers.
Beyond Glade House a swing bridge crosses the Clinton River.
There is a boardwalk with interpretive signs that winds through a bog.
Views of the incredible blue water of the Clinton River.
Then we arrived at Clinton house. This is the first stop for those not on a guided trip. There are two bunk rooms and a common kitchen where the through hikers can prepare there own meals.

This is where we had lunch and turned around. We had great weather but I guess it isn't always so.

New Zealand is a beautiful country and well worth the effort to get there.
See more worlds at That's my World hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy, Louise and Sylvia.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Wellington Shadows

Here are some more shots of Wellington, New Zealand. Can you tell that I really loved this city? The clear blue sky made some nice crisp shadows and the harbor front made for great people watching.
I loved these cycles that people could rent to go along the waterfront. If you look closely you might see a hint of the many chalk drawings people had made on the pavement.
Here I watched the people watching the harbor and caught a few shadows as well.
I liked the shapes and shadows in this public space by the Civic Square.
Sculpture, sign, monument? Whatever you want to call it the letters here are outlined by the shadows.
Did you notice how clean it is? Not a hint of trash.

To see more shadows, visit Tracy at Hey Harriet.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wellington, NZ sky

I enjoyed every bit of out trip to New Zealand but I was particularly enchanted by Wellington.
Here at Frank Kitts Park at the edge of Lambton Harbor one need but look up to see some neat sights.
Kids were having a great time on this version of bungee jumping. I'd never seen anything like this in the US.
Even this little one was a master.
At the Civic Square look up to see some fantastic sculpture.

You don't have to crane you neck too much to see this one. Since our hotel was close by and we had some free time we strolled this area quite a bit enjoying the blue sky, interesting sculpture and just people watching. It is a great place for people watching any you'll see some of that with the shadows.

Find more great skies at Sky Watch Friday, hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy, Louise and Sylvia.