Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Did you know that today is leap day? It's the 29th of February, a month that (usually) only has 28 days. And since it doesn't fall every year I told Denise that I needed to write today.
Do you have travel dreams? Denise is trying to decide where we'll be wandering this year. I've been looking over her shoulder as she looks at different places, and oh! I'm excited about some of the destinations she is considering. I know we'll be vising Acadia, probably more than once. We've been saving time for late in the year desert visits for the past few years, and I hope we'll do that again this year.
It's the piece in the middle that I'm dreaming about. I wonder...
...from our January wander in Joshua Tree National Park
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
It was a beautiful day today, sun shining, temperature hovering in the 40s. As I walked this evening I could see the moon, stars, and wisps of clouds floating across the just after sunset sky.
It's a bit hard to jump from enjoying today's mild and calm weather to believing the winter storm watch that is posted for tomorrow and Thursday.
Storm total snow forecast from the National Weather Service
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 9:51 PM
Monday, February 27, 2012
Sunday, February 26, 2012
I felt the pull of the ocean this morning.
Temperatures were in the 30s, the wind was calmer than yesterday but still blowing, the sky was blue. I gave in to the need to commune with the ocean and headed to the New Hampshire coast for a walk along the shore.
More photos from today can be viewed in the gallery New Hampshire coast - 2012 starting with this photo and ending here.
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 7:26 PM
Saturday, February 25, 2012
I heard the "honk" of ducks approaching while I was standing on the edge of a pond. Three ducks appeared, paddling quickly. The male stayed in the water while the females waddled onto land, moving quite close to the silent human (me!) standing on the shore. They quickly turned to face the water and just as quickly started scratching an itch.
What beautiful feathers!
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 8:28 PM
Thursday, February 23, 2012
A peaceful place to walk, the beach at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, as the tide is going out...
This is a time of year when I try to visit Parker River on a somewhat regular basis. The beach on Plum Island is a nesting area for the endangered piping plovers and least terns. The refuge is open year round, but the beach closes to human access on April 1st each year, reopening when the birds are done with it.
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 6:00 AM
Monday, February 20, 2012
It was a sunny brisk day, good weather for a Monday holiday. I felt the urge to walk on the beach at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. After checking the tide charts I decided on an afternoon visit, arriving at the midpoint between high and low tide.
A walk, listening to crashing waves, highlighted by the birds...
The water on the inland side of the refuge was teeming with birds, paddling, fishing, floating. As I walked the boardwalk over the dunes to the ocean side I was hoping to share the beach with some birds, and oh! my wish came true. There was a large flock of sanderlings, such funny birds! I really wish I knew how they communicated with each other. They always seem to be running together, stopping, eating, turning, running, flying.
More photos from today can be seen in the gallery Parker River - 2012 starting with this photo and ending here.
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 7:31 PM
Sunday, February 19, 2012
It was a blue skies crisp kind of day, a good day for a walk in the woods. I headed to Maudslay State Park for what I'm sure will be the first of many visits this year. It's funny, I only discovered this park at the end of May last year. There were still flowers blooming, but the early spring bloom was already gone. I'm looking forward to spring at Maudslay this year.
I think this would be a wonderful place for snowshoeing, but this winter's lack of the white stuff has not allowed for snowshoeing. No complaints though, I'm happy to be walking on bare ground. I suspect there will be some time in the spring when walking there will be somewhat difficult; there was a bit of mud today, and I think that will be worse with spring rains.
Walking in the woods was so peaceful. There were sections where I was walking alone, sections where I saw other people (and dogs!). Even when I was alone there were sounds in the woods, birds scurrying through the leaves (on the ground), the sound of the wind. There was water and ice and reflections too.
More photos from this afternoon's walk can be seen in the gallery Maudslay State Park - 2012.
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 8:21 PM
Saturday, February 18, 2012
I can't believe we almost walked right by the utility box wearing these paintings. Once I saw them I was transfixed.
If you'd like to visit this artwork, it is painted on utility boxes on the path leading from the parking area to the beach, East End Beach, Portland, Maine.
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 7:32 PM
I drive by Portland at least twice a year as I head to Acadia National Park, but it's been a long time since I actually stopped. Today was a good day for a reintroduction to Portland, a shared wander with a friend from Texas. Lauren and I touched just a few spots, starting with East End Beach, jumping to Bug Light, and on to Portland Head Light. It's funny, I was sure I had visited Portland Head Light before, but when we arrived it was totally unfamiliar. I thought I was losing memories until I realized that the lighthouse that I remembered was the Cape Elizabeth "Two Lights".
It was a beautiful day for a coastal visit. The temperatures were quite reasonable for most of the day, turning chilly as the wind started whipping as we were visiting Bug Light. Hiding behind the lighthouse helped!
More photos from today can be seen in the gallery Glimpses... Portland, Maine.
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 7:01 PM
Friday, February 17, 2012
Thursday, February 16, 2012
This isn't mine to write about, but writing is what I need to do. Information on Roberta's sudden death is already published on the web, on CaringBridge.com and on a local to Roberta's home publication's site, so I don't feel that I'm violating privacy.
It was just over a week ago that I heard the bad news that Roberta had suffered a massive stroke. Over the week the news went from bad to a little better to bad again, ending yesterday in death. At 45 years old, she was young for such an early end, young, active, healthy, loved by her two young children, her husband, family, and friends. I know, I know, all unexpected death is a shock - whether the individual is old or young. Still, this one was hard to accept.
There doesn't seem to be any logic to life and death. I suppose I'm a bit odd; my life is centered by logic, and I'd like to be able to apply it here. I can't.
Sometimes life just isn't fair.
There's a wonderful tribute to Roberta on the DublinPatch, Beloved City Employee, Mother and Wife Passes Away After Stroke.
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 11:03 PM
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Lines of birds flew low over the Salton Sea, sometimes long lines, sometimes short. This flight? three pelicans...
Catching birds in flight is an art that needs steady hands and fast reflexes. I'm learning. In the meantime, I like the patterns.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Photos from my wanders in California last month are loaded into galleries and ready for viewing. Start with the top level gallery, California's southeastern corner, or click on the photos below to enter a specific gallery.
Joshua Tree wanders:
Around the Salton Sea:
Interested in words? You can find my ramblings in the blog entries tagged California 2012-01.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
It was a gray day, a day with snow flurries in the air, a day that highlighted the soft golden colors of dried grass as I looked inland from the road along the New Hampshire coast.
More photos from today can be found in the gallery New Hampshire coast - 2012 starting with this photo and ending here.
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 9:15 PM
The lift span of the Memorial Bridge was removed this past Wednesday. If I lived or worked in Portsmouth I would have popped over multiple times during the day; instead I was happy with a visit today. I should say I was happy and surprised because I expected the lift span to have already been removed. It was still sitting on a barge next to the bridge, with the removal date set for sometime between February 10th and the 16th depending on the weather, the tides, and the sea.
For information on the bridge removal, see the New Memorial Bridge page.
For current updates on progress, see the PortsmouthPatch Memorial Bridge project page.
Yes, I know there are white streaks on some of the photos. It was snowing!
I was surprised to see power plants steaming as I got closer to the southern end of the Salton Sea. As it turns out, these plants are gathering geothermal energy. From the Center for Land Use Interpretation web site:
This photo combining agriculture and power production was taken just after I turned right (south) as I exited one of the visiting areas of the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge.
Salton Sea Geothermal Plants
This cluster of seven geothermal plants is the largest of three major geothermal energy production sites in the Imperial Valley. A network of deep wells drilled in the geothermal field allow water, heated by the earth's mantle, to come to the surface and to power electrical generators. Owned by the CalEnergy Company, the electricity is sold to the local power utility and put on the grid. The seven plants in this field produce enough electricity to power over 100,000 homes.
Thursday, February 09, 2012
The Salton Sea is a magnet for birds, captured in flight here as smudges in the sky.
I'm amazed at the number of birds that congregate at this somewhat odd lake, and I hope that restoration efforts under way are continued and successful. For more information, see the Salton Sea Authority web site.
I've been turning the blog writing over to Denise since we returned home a week ago, but I think it's time for me to jump in again. You've figured out that we'll be returning to both Joshua Tree National Park and to the Salton Sea, haven't you? I don't know when, but I know we'll be going back to both places.
I really wanted to touch the cholla; I thought a photo of me with or on a cholla would be fun. Denise told me that would be a bad idea because of the prickly spines of the little cactus, so I jumped into the desert plant shown in the photo below instead. At least this one wasn't spiky!
Denise has been slipping photos from our wanders into blog entries since we returned home, but shes still sorting out which photos to publish in galleries. I told her to take her time; it may be a few more days until everything is complete.
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Late afternoon light is always special, isn't it? It took me a couple of looks to realize that this image really doesn't have a double horizon - just one, with a reflection, and ripples in the water.
Oh, you want to know what those big kind of oblong spots are in the water? You're sure you want to know? Those are dead fish, floating.
Monday, February 06, 2012
Sunday, February 05, 2012
Saturday, February 04, 2012
Friday, February 03, 2012
From a distance the-teddy bear cholla looks soft, but hugging the cholla is a really bad idea. From the Cholla Cactus Garden brochure available at Joshua Tree National Park:
The clever desert wood rat uses cholla joints to line the runway to its nest, protecting against (some) of the wood rat's prey.
From a distance, the top joints of Cylindropuntia bigelovii, a species of cholla (pronounced choy-ya) appear to be covered with soft, silvery bristles, which accounts for its common name, "teddy-bear" cholla.
However, each of its spines is tipped with a microscopic barb, and if you try to "hug the bear" or simply brush up against it, the spines will penetrate your shirt, your shoes, your pants, and espcially your skin, causing the joint to detach and stay with you. Then the origin of its second nickname, "jumping cholla" becomes apparent
Thursday, February 02, 2012
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
I'm home from my too quick (as always!) wander. I need to catch up on sleep, and I need to snap back into this time zone. I know that will take time; I seem to adjust much more quickly on the east to west time change.
From yesterday's Salton Sea sunset...
Denise & I woke up really early this morning. Our flight was at 6:55 AM, and Denise thought it might be a good idea to leave herself some extra time to find the airport. It's a good thing she did that or we might still be on the ground!
Oh! I just looked out of the window. We're just above a layer of bright white clouds with visible ground beyond the edges. Very pretty.
But back to our airport adventures... Denise looked at a map, then she decided to print directions from Google Maps. Somehow she didn't realize that the turn towards the airport just after we exited from I-10 was backwards. So we headed toward the airport on I-10, exited, turned left (following the directions), and drove the equivalent of two exits on the freeway backwards! No, the car moving in a forward direction, but the direction was backwards! Luckily there was a gas station that was open, so Denise stopped to ask directions. Yikes! We needed to go west again, turning the right way this time. At the airport we followed the signs for the rental car return. And you know what? The last sign we saw was leading out of the airport. There should have been another sign signaling a right turn into the return area, but there wasn't anything visible. We passed the turn, then Denise turned around again. Luckily the sign was easy to see coming from the other direction. It's funny, the person checking us in said that other customers had complained about the lack of signs. He also said when the workers passed that on to the people in charge of signs they said there wasn't a problem. Huh?
The Palm Springs airport is small, quiet, calm, and hidden in plain sight. Denise said she expected to see signs to help her find the airport. I saw two signs - both within a block of the airport. That's really silly, isn't it?
We're on our first airplane right now, heading to Dallas. I told Denise she should take a nap because she really didn't get enough sleep last night. She doesn't seem to be listening though. Maybe later...
Posted from the air, just east of Palm Srpings