Denise Goldberg's blog

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Water, water everywhere

The sky was gray, the ground was dry. I headed to New Hampshire to wander along the coast.

I drove under still gray skies, but as I reached the coast and continued to the north and east I could see a line of white clouds on the horizon. Before I reached blue sky and white clouds I saw seaweed on top of the sea wall, strewn across the road. The ocean must have been wild to see over the last few days...

There were large swatches of land that normally wear tall grasses that were under water. I spoke to someone who lives not far from the coast; he said that the grass just started popping up from beneath the water.

The photos here are of spots on the land side of the coastal road (route 1A), places that usually sport tall grass not water.

water on the non-ocean side of the road

water where there should be sea grass

More photos from today can be seen in the gallery New Hampshire's short coastline - 2010.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A day of...

When I walked out to my car at my home away from home this morning there was white in the air. Hard white, flying, more hail than snow.

A few minutes later, the sun edged out from behind the clouds. Bodies of water reflected trees and the cloudy sky. There was blue in the sky, then it turned gray again.

Hail, sunshine, blue skies, gray skies, snow... a day of constant change.

trees, ice, small reflections

Organized chaos

Have you been watching the Olympics at all?

My eyes were glued to the action, fascinated by the activity on the ice as I watched the final of the men's short track speed skating 5000 meter relay last night. I found the opening paragraph of this article in The Epoch Times to be a good description:

"Compound the craziness of short track speed skating with relay-style rotation of skaters right in the middle of the track, and you get the short track relay."
There were 5 teams of 4 on the ice, with the active racers on the outside of the track and the soon to be next racers positioning themselves in front of their racing teammate to get a big push, becoming the next active racer on the team. A push, not a simple tap, a hard push.

Fast, constant movement, passing, crash avoidance, organized chaos...

Friday, February 26, 2010


What an interesting weather week.

Wednesday's prediction was for snow with the depths decreasing as the storm moved closer to the coast. I checked the forecast in the morning and decided that it was a good day to work at home. The roads were a bit of a mess early in the day. Later? All rain...

Rainfall for Wednesday? Two inches of water fell from the sky over my house, but in central and western Massachusetts there were places where 20 inches of snow fell before it turned to rain. Yikes.

The prediction for Thursday was for more rain. The morning was gray, with fog and light rain. The prize came late in the day, heavy rain, another 2 1/2 inches of water accompanied by high winds, whipping winds topping out at 61 miles per hour (in the town next to mine).

Time for sleep. A beep! followed by quiet...

Uh oh. That slight beep was the smoke detector switching from electricity to battery power. 11PM, no power. I fell back to sleep hoping that the power would reappear before morning.

The power was still off when I left for work. It was still off when I returned home this evening. I pulled out some candles, intending to stay in my chilly dark home. The phone rang. I picked it up to hear a recorded call from the electric company, stating that they were working on restoring power to thousands of customers, that it could take several days. Hmmm.... I really was going to stay home, but that call threw me over the edge. I called some good friends and invited myself to bunk in their spare bedroom for the night. Lights and warmth sounded more appealing than sitting at home in the dark.

I just checked the National Grid web site, and it looks like power has been restored. Ah, tomorrow, warmth at home again. Phew! Do you think I helped the power company fix the problem faster by leaving for the night?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Images, words, Hawaii memories

The words from our wander on the Big Island emerged while we were traveling, and the photos popped up a bit after our return. Words without photos, and photos without words...

I've just picked a few photos to scatter among the words. I know, you already read our words! If you're interested in seeing some of the places described in words through our eyes, click here to take another quick look through our Hawaii 2010 blog entries.

--- Rover
Rover posing on the very black rocks at the end of chain of craters road, hawaii volcanoes national park

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pulled to the coast

I know, I know, it's still winter here in the northeast. We're still a month away from the vernal equinox, and the seasons here tend to lag the calendar date. Yesterday provided an early taste of spring though, sunny, temperatures edging into the high 40s. It pulled me outside...

The coast was calling to me. I headed to south coastal Maine, to the Wells Reserve, a place that is fast becoming a favorite destination for walking. The trails still wore a bit of snow, and there were quite a few muddy sections too. Ponds wore their winter ice, the ocean drew pictures in the sand with water.

ocean, patterns in sand, Wells Reserve

looking inland, coastal water, Wells Reserve

More photos from today can be seen in the gallery Wells Reserve - 2010. I plan to add to this gallery as I wander there through the year; the newest photos will always be at the top of the gallery.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Late afternoon, footsteps crunching, a walk in heavily falling snow...

snow falling, clinging to trees

Monday, February 15, 2010

A call to the coast

Ah, it's President's Day, one of those odd holidays where the office is closed. It's good to have an extra day off; the crisp bright day pulled me to the coast for an afternoon wander.

I headed to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, a place that has fast become a favorite of mine. The temperature was hovering around 40, but a brisk wind dictated layers. That shouldn't be much of a surprise since it is still winter, should it?

It was a sparkling day, blue skies, sun, wind, the sound of the ocean, birds wandering the salt marsh, canada geese sitting still, flying. Beautiful.

Parker River through the seasons - 2010

Click to view more photos in the gallery Parker River through the seasons - 2010.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Look over my shoulder

My photos from my Hawaii wander have jumped from my camera and are now available for viewing. You can start with the top level gallery, Pele's wonders - Winter 2010, or you can click on the photos below to enter a specific gallery.

A few favorites:

A few favorites

Circling the Big Island:

Circling the Big Island

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park:

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Signs, warnings:

Signs, warnings

Words? You can find my ramblings in my blog entries tagged Hawaii 2010.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Photos? soon...

I haven't forgotten. I know some of you are waiting for my Hawaii photos. I'm still wandering through them, soon...

In the meantime, this sign at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach brought a smile to my face.
Yes, I was really far from home!

sign at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Finally! East to west time zone changes are much easier (for me, at least) than west to east. I've been really dragging, having huge problems falling asleep at night. I've been setting my alarm for my normal waking time, staying up all day. Still, sleep was elusive; that 5-hour time change seemed to be getting the better of me.

I think my body finally had enough. I felt exhausted all day yesterday. I came home, still forced myself to stay awake until 9:30 PM. Ah, time to sleep! For the first night since I arrived home, I fell asleep immediately and slept until 6 AM.

Ah, I've finally snapped back into the Eastern time zone.

Monday, February 08, 2010


A Hawaii memory, a name I needed to find...

One day last week I was wandering not too far from Sulphur Banks when I saw a boy and his grandfather looking at something along the side of the trail. I stopped to chat, and to see what they saw.


There was a small plant, something that was low enough to be classified as ground-cover. If you touched the open leaves they curled up, changing from a stem with leaves splaying to the sides to a rolled stick-like form. Wait long enough, and the leaves uncurled again.

I just did a quick search using the words plant leaves fold on touch. Ah, the power of a Google search... I quickly found the name of the plant. Curious? Click to read about the Mimosa pudica, also known as Sensitive plant.

It was hard to get a decent photo since the plants were waving in the wind. But sometimes something with a bit of blur is better than nothing at all.

Mimosa pudica (Sensitive Plant)

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Just a glimpse...

Denise has been using her non-sleeping non-work time to go through her photos, but (as usual) it takes her a while to decide, to select the ones that she likes the best.

In the meantime I thought I'd grab a few to whet your appetite.

The three I've chosen?

The first is a shot of me sitting on a big round disk with arrows pointing at different land features. It sort of reminds me of a sun dial. Oh! I guess I should tell you where we were when the photo was taken, shouldn't I? We were standing at the top of the Pu'u Huluhulu Cinder Cone.

The second is the ever-present plume (of sulphur dioxide) coming from Halema'uma'u Crater in the Kilaeua Caldera on a day when the wind was blowing in the normal direction (if there can be a normal direction!). This was a day without a poor air quality warning since the plume was headed away from the open sections of Crater Rim Drive.

And the last one is of the waves and the sun setting into the ocean, in a park just south of the Kona airport.

Keep checking back for links to the full photo galleries - I suspect it will take Denise a few days to finish her selections, not too long...

--- Rover

Rover at Pu'u Huluhulu Cinder Cone

plume over Kilaeua Caldera, Halema'uma'u Crater

sunset & waves, near the Kona airport, west coast of Hawaii

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Timezone challenged

I expected to be a bit timezone challenged, but this is more than I expected.

Going from east to west I seem to be able to snap into the change. West to east is quite another story though. I've been back in the Eastern Time Zone for two days now. Yesterday was really annoying. I felt like I was sleepwalking until well after noon - which makes sense in a way, since the 5-hour change (from Hawaii-Aleutian time) means that noon at home is 7 AM in Hawaii. I think the morning was a little better today, but I am still wide awake now, and it's after 11 PM.

I know, I know, it's only been two days, and I really expected the adjustment back to my home time to probably take five days. I suppose I'm just being impatient.

I guess I'd better break out the melatonin!

Thursday, February 04, 2010


5 AM. Early...

Those crazy winds I felt on the ground yesterday must have extended high in the sky. The flights landing in Kona were all late, pushing through the winds.

The plus side of the wind? It took only 4 1/2 hours to travel from Kona to Los Angeles. We landed at 5 AM instead of the scheduled 6 AM. Amazingly enough the terminal was already alive. Starbucks, an Americano and a cinnamon scone (yes, I know, not the healthiest breakfast, but it tastes good!) gave me a good start to the day.

It's time to wait for my next big bird.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Completing the circle

One last good B&B breakfast, and it was time to complete the counterclockwise circle of the Big Island. I made a quick trip into the park, to check the plume rising from the crater, to say farewell to Pele. Until next time...

plume rising, hawaii volcanoes national park

It was a driving day, a day with a few good stops along the way. I headed from Volcano to Hilo, then north along the east coast, to the northernmost point of the island, then down the west side to Kailua-Kona. How many miles? According to Google Maps, my route was 161 miles, estimated to take 4 hours and 22 minutes. Of course that distance is before I added a couple of side trips. Yes, it would have been much shorter to go in a clockwise direction - but that wouldn't have taken me to the black sand beach at Polulu Valley, and that was on my list of must visit places.

Driving... up the wet side. It rained from Hilo pretty much all of the way to Waimea. I could easily have stopped to grab some photos of the beautiful green countryside that I was passing through, but somehow standing on the side of a road in the rain didn't sound too appealing at the time. Green rolling hills, cattle and horses in pastures, beauty, all images in my mind.

From Waimea, I hopped (the short way) across the peninsula for a quick visit to the Pua Mau Botanical Garden. I hoped to play with my macro lens but I didn't even put it on my camera once I realized how strong the wind was. Somehow trying to get close-up photos of flowers when they were moving wildly didn't sound like it was going to make me happy. I had a nice walk, a visit with the huge bug sculptures, and then...


Pua Mau botanical garden sculpture

the wind in the palm trees

I retraced my route back to Waimea because I wanted to absorb the vistas from the road over Kohala Mountain. It's a narrow road with few places to stop - but at least the road was two lanes! When I did find spots to pull over I found it quite difficult to stand in one place. The wind was doing a good job of attempting to push me over!

Ah, Hawi at last. A quick turn back to the east, a road that started curving and traveling over one-lane bridges. Ah, the end of the road, the jumping off point for a visit to another black sand beach. From the top, the beach was visible, as were sculpted and heavily treed cliffs beyond the beach. Given more time, I probably would have climbed up the other side to see what I could see. Today I was quite happy with a walk down, across the beach, along the shores of the river heading inland.

polulu black sand beach

The walk down was quite steep. It started steep and smooth, then became rocky and muddy. Mud? Slippery! Down, down, down. Finally, the beach. Black sand, bright green plants along the edges, rocks stacked in straight piles, a path along the river, crashing waves. So beautiful.

Walking up was easier than walking down. Funny, I wasn't the only person who felt that way after walking the trail.

I turned the car in the direction of Kailua-Kona. I still had plenty of time since it was only 4:30, and my flight was scheduled for 10:35 PM. Overnight to LA.

I spotted some windmills, and headed down one of those one-lane two-way roads to get a closer look. This time the sides of paved road were smooth grass, which means there was no problem passing oncoming cars. It seemed that the cars I danced with along that road had the same idea that I did - to get closer to the windmills.

windmills along the west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii

Next stop was a beach park behind the airport. I walked on the black rocks, fascinated by the wild waves. I was back far enough not to get wet, but I did see one person who was quietly standing, watching, get totally soaked as a wave crashed against the rocks.

I stayed, playing a bit with my camera, until the sun sank into the ocean.

sunset and water, west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii

Beach parks have places to change clothes. No need to pull a quick change in the car, I have a ready-made place to shed the day's sweaty clothes. Long pants are definitely a much better choice than shorts for the long flight home.

End of the day, end of my quick trip... I'm sitting at the airport, waiting. The waiting areas at the Kona airport are under cover but open air. The wind continues to howl, enough that I donned a couple of layers to keep me warm.

Apparently all of the inbound flights (from the east) have been delayed, fighting a headwind on the way over. My flight is a turnaround - it was due in at 9 PM from Los Angeles, and is scheduled to head back to Los Angeles at 10:35 PM. It's 9:45 and the plane has just arrived.

No matter, if that big bird was fighting a headwind on the way to Hawaii we should be riding a nice tailwind on the way back.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Red glow

Darkness fell, and I just had to go back into the park.

Pele's treat - Kilauea was glowing in the night. Dark, a red glow, stars above. I stood and watched for a bit, absorbing the silence and the beauty.

A little more magic

Oh! Denise has been doing a lot of the writing on this trip. I think it's my turn!

Breakfast at our current B&B is the same each day, but that's more than OK. Fresh papaya is always wonderful, and papaya + bananas + pineapple is even better. Yum. Gary's waffles are really good too. They have a somewhat secret ingredient, taro. That's the plant that is made into poi. I don't know if I would like poi, but I know that Denise & I both like the waffles. One more fabulous breakfast day before we head home... I think that Denise is getting spoiled here. But that's not a bad thing.

The white plume rising from Kilauea pulled us to the Jaggar Museum before we started our morning wander. And that was after we ignored the warning signs flashing as soon as we entered the park informing us of "poor air quality". The wind direction had changed, and it was carrying that plume of sulphur towards us. Funny, it didn't smell that bad, and my breathing was fine too. I find it interesting to watch the changing shape of that rising cloud.

poor air quality warning, hawaii volcanoes national park

white plume rising, hawaii volcanoes national park

Once we were done watching movement in the sky, we headed out to the end of Hilina Pali Road. That's a nine-mile one lane two way road. If you haven't already figured this out, that road configuration is not a favorite of Denise's. She really prefers two-lane roads. I guess I can't blame her. This road wasn't anywhere near as bad as the road to her first B&B here, but there were still sections where it would have been difficult to pass an oncoming vehicle. A good chunk of the road had a smooth grass or rock section next to the pavement, but there were some sections where the surface next to the road just dropped away.

The terrain changed as we drove. There was a section of old (brown) lava rock, places that housed stark dead trees. Oh! those trees were beautiful, and there was no where to stop. Ah, I guess we have memory photos for that section. The road ended in an area filled with swaying grass, volcanic rocks visible too. Hilina Pali is a cliff (or fault scarp) that is 1500 feet high and 12 miles long. It's the starting point for some long - as in overnight - hikes. We bounced just a little bit down one of the trails. I could hear Denise thinking that she'd like to have time to do more exploring here. I know she hasn't done any overnight hikes in a long long time. I wonder if that's what she is thinking, or if she thinks maybe we should just do some all-day explorations here. Uh oh. We're really out of time for this trip. Denise doesn't need an excuse to return to this park - I know we'll be visiting here again.

from the end of the road to Hilina Pali, hawaii volcanoes national park

Time for a longer walk... we turned our feet to the trail to Pu'u Huluhulu. That's a really funny name; it means Hairy Hill. The walk was across old lava fields, from the 1974 Mauna Ulu flows. At the end we climbed the short Pu'u Huluhulu to get to a spot where we could see a frozen and flat lava lake. Then we turned around and walked back the same way we came. Denise did her usual straying from the "path" when she saw something that interested her camera eye. Oh, you want to know why I put path in quotation marks? If it hadn't been for periodic piles of black rocks, you wouldn't see a trail at all. We were bouncing on old(er) lava, so it wasn't as black as the lava we bounced across yesterday, but I still didn't see much of a mark on the ground.

along the trail to Pu'u Huluhulu, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

We came to what most people thought was the end of the hike, but Denise saw a path leading off through some woods. We followed that for a bit, then came out into a different moonscape kind of area. Very interesting.

moonscape, hawaii volcanoes national park

Next stop, Sulphur Banks. Oh, you're right, we've been there before on this trip. Denise keeps getting pulled back by the steam and by the wonderful bright yellow sulphur decorating the rocks.

Denise had one more place she wanted to wander today, a trail that we'd never set foot on before. We pointed the car down route 11, heading to the west, to the trailhead for the Ka'u Desert trail. At the beginning of the trail there were trees scattered in rough aa lava. And then there was sand. I think we walked a couple of miles down the trail, then we reversed direction. Very interesting...

alond the Ka'u Desert trail, hawaii volcanoes national park

We definitely need to visit again so we can bounce down more of that trail!
--- Rover

Battery power

I learned something interesting when my camera misbehaved back in December and I travelled to Death Valley with a rented camera body. The body came with one battery, and I grabbed the two that I had for my own (identical) camera as backups.

My camera batteries (yes, proprietary rechargeable batteries) were two years old. I hadn't noticed that the battery life was diminishing, but that fact jumped out at me as I used the newer battery that came with the rental body. I could still shoot with the older batteries for more than a day, not the couple of days I was seeing with the rental.

Before I headed out on this trip I bought two new camera batteries. At the end of the day today - my fifth day of camera play - I needed to charge one battery. That was the first charge of the trip!

Sometimes a simple thing like purchasing new batteries is a really good idea.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Pele's breath

As I was close to reaching the high point on Chain of Craters road on my journey back from the sea, I looked to the left to see steam rising.

Curious, I headed to the steam vents on Crater Rim Drive. Oh! It definitely wasn't my imagination! Pele was putting on quite a (steam) show this afternoon. Steam rising, overpowering, hiding the scenery. A truly eerie look.

vog, mist, crater rim drive, hawaii volcanoes national park

An after-dark visit to the observation area behind the Jagger Museum gave me my first glimpse of light coming from Halema`uma`u. The glow was subtle, a slight light obscured by VOG. I have a feeling I'll head over there tomorrow night to see if Pele is kind enough to share her bright light.


The sound of rain hitting the roof above my head lulled me to sleep last night. That's apparently normal rain forest behavior, quiet rain, every night. There was still wet in the air this morning, not fog, yet not quite rain either. I supposed I used that as an excuse to start wandering a bit later than usual. I finally took the time to watch the video shown in the park Visitor Center each hour.

I chose to ignore the heavy mist. Chain of Craters Road was calling to me.

As I got closer to the sea, the wind blew the gray away and the air grew warmer. By the time I finished the Pu'u Loa Petroglyph trail I shed my extra layers, back to hiking in shorts and a sleeveless shirt.

heading to the sea, patterned lava flows, hawaii volcanoes national park

Pu'u Loa Petroglyph trail, hawaii volcanoes national park

Pu'u Loa Petroglyph trail, hawaii volcanoes national park

Next stop, the end of the road. It was time to wander across the very black rocks, paying attention to the general path I'd followed so that I could easily find my way back. Trail? What trail? I was picking my way across a very messy surface, smooth sections, ropey sections, broken sections, lava cooled to shades of black. There were sparkles coming from some of the rock, glittery blue against black.

hardened lava over the road, hawaii volcanoes national park

rover, prancing on black lava rock

hawaii volcanoes national park

I spent more time wandering there than I expected. Somehow I thought I'd do another hike in the afternoon. But a good six hours elapsed between when I left Crater Rim Drive (at 4000 feet of elevation) in the morning and when I returned from sea level late in the afternoon. I guess you could say that I lost track of time!

along chain of craters road, hawaii volcanoes national park