Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Territorial Dispute

After the recent storm, I went walking with my wide angle zoom lens on the camera.  A nice lens for cloud filled skies but not the best for birds.
While sitting at the edge of a pond I noticed a dispute had arisen between two Snowy Egrets.
One evidently had claimed the pond as its own, private hunting preserve and was determined to chase off the intruder.
 They raced around the pond,
 sometimes as graceful as an areal ballet,
other times more like a dog fight.
finally one gave up and flew off alone.
I wonder when I observe this, what happens to the birds that don't find an unoccupied area to hunt?

The egrets weren't the only hunters out there, I also saw this immature Cooper's Hawk.

It too took to the air.

Find more images of birds by going to Wild Bird, Wednesday, hosted for us by Stewart at Paying Ready Attention

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Mist Trail

One of the highlights of the hiking season for me is the hike to the top of Nevada Falls in Yosemite via the mist trail.  When we did this two years ago Hubby had a lot of trouble.  People would stop him and ask "are you OK?"  He made it up and down but we decided that would be the last time he would undertake such a demanding hike.  We thought it was his age, he was 75.  We were wrong.
Jules now                                                                                 Jules two years ago

It wasn't his age, it was his weight.  Now, 35 pounds lighter he was ready to try again.
Off we went.  The trail starts out pretty easy, paved with a nice wall to keep one from falling off the edge.  It is a bit steep, even at this point and can be very hot in summer months.

At the first bridge there is a nice view of Vernal Fall.

Then the trail heads up, up some steep steps carved out of the granite.

There can be a bit of a traffic jam.

Finally the trail goes along the cliff  and then up to the top of Vernal Fall.

The reward for making it this far is lunch where Silver Apron flows into Emerald Pool.
After lunch we hit the trail again and cross the Merced River for the second time.

Then it is up more granite steps, some with a view of Nevada Fall.  This is where other hikers became concerned about Hubby's well being on our previous hike.  No problem this time.  Sure, it was strenuous and we felt it, 1,900 feet is a lot of up.

Once at the top we always find it was well worth the effort.

This backpacker even found himself an easy chair!  It looks like he brought along an e-book as well.  All the comforts of home.

Now we cross back to the other side of the Merced.  We didn't want to take the steep Mist Trail back down.  The John Muir trail is gentler but not as interesting.

We look back at Liberty Cap on our way down.  Just one of the many granite domes for which Yosemite is so famous.

A few late autumn flowers still grace a weeping wall along the trail.

And we look back frequently, not wanting to miss the spectacular views of Nevada Fall.

Will we make this hike again next year?  We hope so but the day may come when age will be the factor that keeps us on the valley floor.

You will find more views of our wonderful world at Our World, Tuesday.  Hosted for us by Arija, Gattina, Lady Fi, Sandy and Sylvia.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Stay Safe

To all of you in Sandy's path,
Stay Safe!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

On the Ranch

Gone are the days when people knew where their meat came from.  The practice of factory farming has disturbed me for a long time.  When we moved to Northern California I was pleased when I found I was able to buy meat from the grower.
We were invited to a party at Coffee Pot Ranch last weekend and jumped at the chance to see how he raised his animals.  The ewes were in the pasture, getting close to lambing.
In another pasture were the cattle.  No feed lot for them, they will graze and feed on grass hay until the end. Much healthier for them and for us.  (This beef is very lean!)
Week old chicks were in the brooder.  They will be put out to pasture next month.
No factory farming of hogs, no gestation crates for the sows.  All appeared happy and content though I do wish the rancher had pasture for them too.  He says he is trying but he will need a new hog barn to give all of them access to dirt.
It's not pleasant to think about the source of our meat and I realize that most of us do not have access to nor can afford to buy meat from small producers.  My solution has been to eat very little meat and know where it comes from.

Find more critters at Camera Critters

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

After the Storm

I love to go out with my camera as a storm is clearing.  The sky is clear and blue, filled with decorator clouds, so beautiful even the best photograph doesn't do it justice.

Friday, October 19, 2012


There are different types of reflections
On this meme we usually deal with reflections off a shinny surface like the reflection here off June lake.  But I never travel the June Lake Loop without experiencing another type of reflection, one of the mind.
When we arrive at this picnic site at Silver Lake I remember a day over 20 years ago and a picnic with my parents.
Jim Wagner

That day I captured some of my favorite images of my dad,
Pat Wagner

My mom
And my spouse.
My parents are both gone now but I cherish their memory and these images of a wonderful day at Silver Lake.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sky Comes to Earth

An autumn storm came by
And on leaving came down to kiss the Earth good-bye.
Not wanting to make the water jealous,
It bent to whisper farewell to Mono Lake.

Find more skies from around the world at SkyWatch, Friday; hosted for us by Sandy and Sylvia.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

June Lake Sign

Signs indicating points of historic interest are not uncommon, they are seen frequently through California and other parts of the Nation.
This one on the June Lake Loop in the Eastern Sierra is rather unique, incorporating as it does, parts of an old slot machine.
A little closer view makes it easier to read.

Find more signs at Signs, Signs; hosted for us by Lesley.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Shadows at the Water's Edge

She stands at the water's edge
Casting long shadows in the last rays of the setting sun.
Unwilling to return to the ocean, unable to leave.
Is she waiting for someone or mesmerized by the rolling surf?

Find more shadows at Shadow Shot Sunday

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Trailside Fences

Some fences are built to keep people in, some to keep people out.  Some fences are built to keep people safe.
 The fences I share today are of the latter kind.  I love the mist trail in Yosemite but it is not for the faint of heart.  After climbing some steep steps carved from the granite, one encounters this narrow portion, the last stretch up to the top of Vernal Fall.  I think that few hikers would be willing to climb this portion if not for the fence.
I made it to the top first and got a shot of Jules coming up behind me.
Once at the top of the cliff, the fence continues, protecting people from fall over the edge.

Fences don't always work, though.  This one is intended to to keep people out of the river where they can be swept over the edge.  The Merced River doesn't look like much here but in the spring it can be a raging torrent.  Last year three young people didn't heed the warnings, went beyond the fence and were swept to their death.
I am afraid even I have been known to go beyond the fence for a shot but even now with the river low I still kept well away from the water.

You can find more fences at Friday Fences hosted at "Life According to Jan and Jer.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sky Watching by the Sea Shore

We went to Southern California to celebrate our son's birthday.
When asked how he would like to spend the day he suggested a trip to some of the south coast beach cities.
First stop was lunch in Laguna Beach at a restaurant with a great view of surf and sky.
After lunch we went down to the beach where someone was throwing treats for the gulls to catch in the air.
We drove farther north to catch the sunset from Balboa Island in Newport Beach.  While waiting for the sun to set we watched the boogie boarders and a child dancing in the fading light.
As the sun went down beneath the sea, two ships passed before it.
 As we turned to face the other way, the moon was rising as boats returned to the marina.
It was a good day for sky watching.

See other views of the sky at SkyWatch, Friday; hosted for us by Sandy and Sylvia.

Signs of the Times?

These weren't the signs I expected to see in conservative Orange County. 
Find Other Signs at Signs, Signs, hosted for us by Lesley

Monday, October 1, 2012

Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park

Colonel Allensworth SHP is a little known California State Park, off the beaten track in the San Joaquin Valley.  The town was founded in 1908 and named for one of its founders, Col Allen Allensworth, a former slave who gained an education after the civil war and rose to be a chaplain in the US Army, the first African American to obtain the rank of Colonel.
Today the town is a state park consisting of restored and rebuilt buildings.  I could tell you the story but you will get a much better sense of the town and Col Allensworth if you listen to the park's Podcast.
Throughout the park, plaques explain the history of each of the buildings.  You will find it easier to read the story of these buildings if you enlarge the images.

Although we were unable to get a tour, a kind park employee opened one of the buildings allowing us a closer look inside.
The founders of Allensworth had hoped to found a town where they could live, work and educate their children, free of the discrimination that they felt in other parts of the country.  The early death of Col Allensworth, the loss of water rights and other setbacks kept the town from being the prosperous community they had hoped for.
The town continued with a few residents until the 1960s when arsenic was found in the water.  In 1974 the state bought the property and established the park.
To learn more about the park and some of the special events, visit the park's website and download the brochure.

See other interesting views of our world at Our World, Tuesday; hosted for us by Arija, Gattina, Lady Fi, Sandy and Sylvia.