Denise Goldberg's blog

Thursday, December 30, 2010


This week had two sets of bookend days along with a mid-week holiday, a bit odd but still a good week.

First set of bookends days: I worked at home on Monday to avoid roads decorated with driving snow, and tomorrow (New Year's Eve) will be a work-at-home day too.

Second set of bookend days: Tuesday and Thursday I worked in my usual "at the office" location.

A day in the middle, sandwiched between two sets of bookend days: I had one loose vacation day left that needed to be taken in 2010, so Wednesday was a holiday for me.

It was a beautiful sunny day with some cloud decorations in the blue sky, a perfect day to walk along the New Hampshire coast. For the most part the beaches were clear of snow although there was still a bit on Hampton Beach. The tide was going out leaving a smooth surface of sand covered with a sheen of water, perfect for reflections.

sea gull walking, reflections, sun star

snow on the beach, ripples

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

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Home ahead of the storm

Yesterday was a day for keeping an eye on the weather forecast, for setting a target time for hopping into my car (this morning) for the 4 1/2 hour drive home. When I headed to upstate New York early on Friday the track of tonight's storm was still somewhat unknown, with the possibility remaining that the massive storm would veer out to sea after passing over Cape Cod. That didn't happen.

By late afternoon yesterday there was a blizzard warning up for a chunk of eastern Massachusetts. Hmm... It still sounded like the bulk of the storm wouldn't hit until late this afternoon or tonight, but the blizzard warning was noted as starting at noon. I decided it would be a good idea to start driving early today; 7AM seemed like a good time to hit the road.

The road was dry, with snow flurries starting to fly through the air as I crossed from New York into Massachusetts. Traffic was moving at just above the posted speed limit until I crossed into the eastern side of the state. There, the traffic slowed to about 40 miles per hour. It took a while for me to see the cause of the slowdown. As I peered ahead, I saw flashing arrows on the back of a truck pointing to the right and to the left. I moved into the right lane and was soon close enough to see the reason for the slowing traffic. The truck running down the center lane of the eastbound MassPike was a serious vehicle with two plow blades - one facing forward (yes, still lifted off of the road surface), one folded back against the right side of the truck, a blade that would easily cover a second highway lane when unfolded and in use. The combination plow / salt truck was scattering salt across all three lanes of the highway, a preparation for the snow to com. Once I moved past the truck, the highway speed quickly returned to (dry road) normal.

I arrived home well before the snow started here.

Blizzard Warning

532 PM EST SUN DEC 26 2010




weather map 2010 December 26 blizzard

Warning & map courtesy of the Boston office of the National Weather Service
It's been snowing for a number of hours now, snow accompanied by gusting wind. Yes, tomorrow is definitely going to be a work from home day.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bare branches

A three-day weekend seemed a good time for a visit with my folks, a time for sitting, chatting. Even though it wasn't targeted as photo time, my camera jumped into my bag (just in case).

Today dawned gray and cold. By mid-afternoon the sun decided to play hide-and-seek, the temperature eased up just a bit, and I decided it was a good time for a walk. I realized quickly that stepping off of the road to get a slightly different view for a photo was a bad idea; one step and I was standing in deep snow. Oops! Snowshoes were the footwear of choice for stepping into that white stuff, not the boots that I had on my feet.

bare-limbed trees, stark, snow

A few more photos from this afternoon's walk can be seen in the gallery Winter chill... 2011.



Friday, December 24, 2010

Desert, water, red rocks... photos!

Photos from my southwest wander are loaded into galleries and ready for viewing. Start with the top level gallery, Desert, water, red rocks or click on the photos below to enter a specific gallery.

A few favorites:

A few favorites

Searching for water, Death Valley:

Searching for water, Death Valley

Red Rock Canyon and Spring Mountain Ranch:

Red Rock Canyon and Spring Mountain Ranch

Valley of Fire, Lake Mead, and a dam:

Valley of Fire, Lake Mead, and a dam

Interested in words? You can find my ramblings in my blog entries tagged Death Valley December 2010.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lighthouse or icehouse?

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I really wish that I had been in Cleveland last week. The last time I was there it was a hot summer's day back in 2002, as I was riding my bike across the country. It's not a location that calls out to me for a visit, but I wish I could have seen this wonder in person.

Last week the Cleveland Harbor West Pierhead Lighthouse was coated in ice, apparently the result of waves from Lake Erie crashing against the structure in subzero temperatures. The photos remind me of Alice in Wonderland. I'm not sure why; I don't remember any ice in that story.

Interested? Click to read the story Winter wonderland: Ohio lighthouse covered in ice on

cleveland lighthouse covered in ice

Photo courtesy of the Boston Globe. I'd like to give credit to the actual photographer, but that information isn't included in the Globe article. The photo is in many, many publications, none showing the photographer's name.

Would you like to see more photos? I was lucky to see some photos posted by another photographer who also participates in the dgrin photography forum. Click here to jump to Ron Skinner's photo gallery "Frozen Lighthouse and Coast Guard Station". Click on the slideshow button and prepare to be amazed.

There really is a lighthouse under all of that ice. For non-ice-covered photos, click here to see some images of the lighthouse on the site.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Solstice snow

Yesterday there was a bit of a storm that blew in from the Atlantic Ocean, tracking from the northeast. We had light snow here, but there were locations on Cape Cod that were graced with 10 inches of the white stuff.

The weather was quiet for a while this morning. White flakes started to fall, filling the air. The snow stopped, then started again.

Today is the dated tagged as the winter solstice. While the season often lags after the solstice (or equinox), it appears that winter has arrived.

Monday, December 20, 2010


I have a couple of stray vacation days that I need to use this year; today seemed like a good candidate for a bit of a wander.

It was a gray day, gray, windy, and brrr! cold. I felt the call of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, a favorite of mine for coastal wanders. As I walked on the side of the refuge away from the ocean I could hear the roar of the waves. The ocean was as wild today as it was quiet yesterday.

I saw only a single sea gull as I walked along the beach. It was a much better bird day on the inland (calmer) side of the refuge.

patterns in ice

wild ocean waves

icy fragments, floating

A few more photos from today can be seen in the gallery Parker River through the seasons - 2010.

Winter's lace

looks like lace, ice over water

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ice to the west, ocean to the east

Lured by the ocean... I headed to the New Hampshire coast to walk, to listen to the quiet sound of calm ocean waves, to watch the birds, to watch surfers playing in light waves.

I saw a gaggle of (Canada) geese, floating on ocean waters, rising to fly as a group.
I saw sea gulls swimming, then slipping as they walked across wet ice.
I saw reflections in the wet sand as the tide turned from its high point.

It was a good day for a walk by the sea.

bare trees, reflections on ice

sky merging into sea

colors in rocks along the shore

More photos from today can be seen in the gallery New Hampshire's short coastline - 2010. The gallery shows the newest photos at the beginning.

Vegetables and...

Late Sunday afternoon, it was time for some kitchen magic.

It felt like a day for a vegetable concoction, vegetables tossed with an interesting topping of some sort. I started with red lentils, throwing a cup of red lentils in with 2 cups of water and some spices, brought the mix to a boil, then lowered the heat to a simmer and waited for a while. What spices? Let's see, some tumeric, garlic, cumin, and red pepper flakes jumped into the red lentil mix. Cooking...

Vegetables - some microwaved, some raw - jumped into a big bowl. Today's mix included sweet potatoes, red peppers, corn, and chick peas.

After simmering the red lentils for about a half of an hour, I added cubed tofu and sliced portabello mushrooms to the pot and let it simmer for another twenty minutes or so. Then, it was time to toss the bowl of veggies with the tasty red lentil mixture.


Sorting through photos

You know why I'm writing today, don't you? I just wanted to let you know that Denise is still sorting through her photos from our trip. She thought that maybe she'd be faster than usual this time. I really don't know why she thought that; it takes time to select photos to tell our story. I've assured her that you don't mind waiting. You don't mind, do you?

Oh! We're heading to the New Hampshire coast for a camera walk. No photo sorting right now...

--- Rover
lost glove, waiting, red rock canyon national conservation area

Friday, December 17, 2010

Nearing the solstice

The winter solstice is just a few days away, on December 21st. It's the shortest day of the year, but I find it interesting that it's not the day that the sunrise and sunset times start changing.

The earliest sunset (here), at 4:11PM occurred from December 3rd through the 15th, with the sunset time increasing by a minute on December 16th and continuing to increase a minute at a time every few days. On the other hand, the sun is still rising a little later each day, waiting until January 8th when the sunrise time starts getting earlier. It's funny, my assumption was that both ends of the day would start changing at the same time. As it turns out that wasn't a good assumption.

Curious about the sunrise and sunset times in your town? (If you're in the United States,) check the US Naval Observatory's Sun or Moon Rise/Set Table for One Year page. For locations outside of the US, click here for a page where you can request sunrise & sunset times by specifying latitude and longitude instead of an inside-the-US location name.

Crisp air

The temperature was in the upper 20s when I headed out on foot this evening. A sure sign that I finally appear to be adapting to winter temperatures is that it seemed crisp but not overly cold. The right layers and a quick pace kept me quite warm.

It was a good (dry) winter walk.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


A curving, dipping stretch of road, meandering through Valley of Fire State Park.

dips in the road, Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Monday, December 13, 2010

Clouds mimic mountains

The rain moved out overnight leaving a light gray morning sky. As I was driving to the west this morning piles of darker gray clouds on the horizon created the illusion that I was heading into mountains.

Death Valley... magic light

In case you were wondering after seeing yesterday's water photos, we really were wandering in Death Valley!

--- Rover
sunlight on hills, Death Valley National Park

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Reflecting surfaces

I've been peeking over Denise's shoulder as she is sorting through the photos from our desert wanders. I thought I'd let you peek over my shoulder at a few water shots. The first three photos are from Death Valley National Park, and the last two are at Lake Harriet (a reservoir) in Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. Oh! Did you know that Spring Mountain Ranch State Park is inside of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area? It's a park within a park!

--- Rover
reflections near Badwater, Death Valley National Park

reflections near Badwater, Death Valley National Park

reflections, Death Valley National Park

reflecting tree, Lake Harriet, Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, Red Rock Canyon

reflections in Lake Harriet, Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, Red Rock Canyon

Dashing through raindrops

Rain is flying, pushed by the wind, falling, lashing sideways.

It took a bit of (self-) convincing to get me to head out for a walk this afternoon. Ah, I needed that, a good walk in the rain!

Friday, December 10, 2010


Home again, right on schedule... the four and a half hour flight jumped me back into cooler temperatures, although it appears that the next two days will bring moderation rather than the brr! chill that is in the air tonight.

It's time for a good sleep.

Time to fly

We did a quick loop through Red Rock this morning, stopping to walk and to absorb the beauty. It's a good thing that memories stick around, isn't it?

Now we're at the airport, and there's a plane sitting outside of the window waiting for us. Oh, look! there are some very confused sparrows flitting around inside the terminal. Right now they are perched high on the window. I really hope they can get outside again when they are ready. For now they seem pretty happy (even though they are definitely misplaced)!

Time to fly...

--- Rover

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Chasing light

The weather wizard gave us a sky decorated with clouds again today. I know, I know, Denise likes cloudy skies. We spent part of the day chasing the light as the sun popped through the clouds to highlight different mountains. And wouldn't you know that Denise found water for her camera play again today? We're in the desert; how does she manage that?

Today was a two-park day... Red Rock Canyon sandwiched our visit to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. We watched a video about the site, wandered through the ranch house, and then stepped outside.

We poked our heads down a trail next to the house, and oh! A roadrunner skittered down the trail as we were watching. Wow, those birds are fast! I wanted to see a roadrunner on this trip, so happy! Have you seen one yourself? Click here for a photo and some information. You can even click on the little triangle under "Call, rattle" to hear the bird speaking.

Time to walk... we headed towards Lake Harriet, a large reservoir on the property. It was very nicely reflecting trees and mountains in mainly smooth water. Funny, black-headed ducks paddled across the water, carrying on a constant conversation. It was calming, a good spot to stay for a while.

Finally we wandered back into Red Rock Canyon. We didn't focus on any particular trails. I was happy to bounce in several spots in the park. Late in the afternoon the sun decided to play, and we followed the light.

Tomorrow is a travel day. Before we travel there will be time for enjoying the red-painted rocks.

--- Rover

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Looping east

Oh! it was another good day, a long one too. I thought we'd be back while the sun was still shining, but in spite of an early start we finished our drive "home" in the dark. I suppose I should start at the beginning though...

We drove a big loop, from Las Vegas, north & east to Valley of Fire State Park, south & west to Hoover Dam (through part of the Lake Mead National Recreation area, then finishing by heading north & west, back to Las Vegas. I think it was well worth the driving time because it was really beautiful. (Of course I can say that because I wasn't driving, Denise was! But she agrees with me.)

The window in our room faces to the east so we had a gift to start our day, streaks of pink and orange reaching across the horizon, sunrise colors. Denise got her wish too, the sky was decorated with clouds for a good part of the day. It was gray, there were patches of blue, more blue, and then... a fabulous sunset. We enjoyed that one from the car.

Let's see, we started at Valley of Fire State Park. We drove, we stopped, we walked. We enjoyed the very red rocks interspersed with sections of lighter colors, yellows, whites. Ground squirrels played hide-and-seek; too bad they didn't want to pose for photos! At one point while we were walking on the White Domes trail I heard a loud rumble, and Denise heard it too. Uh oh! I wonder if that was thunder? At that point the sky wasn't wearing thunderstorm colors, but we were at the end of a 5 mile long road that dipped into washes that were all signed to tell us they were "prone to flash flooding". Yikes! I hope that wasn't thunder. We heard another crack a bit later too, no rain though.

As we exited the eastern side of the park we entered the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The reds disappeared for a bit, and the landscape took on a corrugated look, browns decorated by clumps of green. Occasionally a view of the lake would pop up. We drove and drove. We stopped at an overlook to find the water decorated by reflections in the afternoon light. Nice! Our next stop was Boulder Beach for a walk along the shore. We had a few conversations with the sea gulls, and Denise played with her camera for a bit.

Our final stop of the day was Hoover Dam. Luckily Denise chatted with the volunteers at Valley of Fire about stopping there; they told her not to drive across the new bridge. One of the people there did that after the bridge opened, and she said she had to drive seven miles past the end of the bridge before she found a place where she could turn around. Oops! Good for us though; Denise knew to take the Hoover Dam exit. That felt a little odd because the road seemed to snake under the new road for a bit. We stopped before the dam to walk on the new bridge. We climbed up and up a seemingly never-ending set of stairs. But if you didn't want to take the stairs there was also a switch-backed ramp at a shallow angle to accommodate wheelchairs. Climbing stairs, walking or rolling up a ramp, either ended on a pedestrian walkway on the Hoover Dam side of the bridge. Oh! That was a nice view. But Denise said she really wanted to walk on the dam so she could see the bridge. And that's what we did!

Wow - that bridge is really amazing. It's very tall, almost 900 feet above the Colorado River, apparently one of the highest bridges in the world. And it's a single arch. Oh! It's very pretty.

Denise said she thinks that some of you might want to see some bridge photos, so I just went looking to see what I could find.

If you're interested in the bridge, click here to read the NPR story Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge Prepares For Travelers. The article includes a few photos to decorate the words.

Do you want to see a few photos from late in December when the bridge was very much still under construction? Click here. Don't stop after you've enjoyed the photos in the first post; scroll down a bit further for a few more construction photos.
I think it's time for me to call it a night. I'm tired; I'd bet Denise is too!
--- Rover

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Changing state

It was a day of changing locations, of wandering too. My day started in California and ended in Nevada, from Death Valley to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area.

Early morning brought a quick drive through the badlands of Twenty Mule Team Canyon before I headed east. I chose to follow the shortest route between Death Valley and Las Vegas, almost a reverse of my previous voyage along that route.

Open range signs kept appearing along the road, bearing images of different animals in each new (sign) location. They varied from burros to cattle to big horned sheep, and then back to burros again. No animals... do you suppose they see the signs and deliberately stay away?

I was keeping an eye out for a sign for route 159 to cut over to Red Rock, hoping that road signage here is better than home. I was still on route 160 when I saw red rocks off in the distance. Shortly after that a well-signed route 159 intersected with the road I was on. I turned, I drove a bit more. Oh look, there's another park, Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. Interesting. It's a state park (that turns out to be) inside of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Later in the afternoon I had a conversation with another photographer and he highly recommending this park as well. And guess what? I (think) I have time to stop there too.

It was an afternoon of walking, first the Calico Tanks trail, and then the trail from Sandstone Quarry to the Calico II overlook (and back again, of course).

As the sun dropped lower the mountains were mainly covered by shade, with occasional sunlight on the peaks. Tempted by the view, I stopped to attempt a photo. There was a car pulled off on a gravel parking area leaving room for me too. It turned out to be a good conversation stop; my companion was a local photographer who was waiting for the light to change. We chatted about Death Valley, about Racetrack Playa, a place I'd love to see but that requires a vehicle with 4-wheel-drive, about other places to see in the general Las Vegas vicinity. He recommended spending some time at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, and he showed me geologic points to watch for on the route from Valley of Fire State Park to Lake Mead.

Hey, what book is that? You know me, I'm fascinated by geology, and while souvenirs of my travels tend to be photos, sometimes I need to buy maps and books. Instead of driving straight to my hotel I reentered Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area to stop at the bookstore to pick up my own copy of Geologic Tours in the Las Vegas Area. Now I have some reading to do.

Tomorrow? Valley of Fire State Park is calling to me.

Monday, December 06, 2010


It was a no stress day, a day (for a change) of not pushing myself.

Spots that grabbed me today included Mosaic Canyon, the sand dunes, and a somewhat odd assortment of other places.

I stopped for a welcome cup of hot chocolate at the Stovepipe Wells General Store after coming out of Mosaic Canyon, taking time to sit on a bench and relax. That gave me a chance to watch a bunch of sparrows playing in a puddle.

I stopped to sit on a slab of hardened sand (and salt?) in the sand dunes. It was so quiet... I couldn't hear a sound.

I chased a few more glitters of water in the salt flats.

A quiet day was just what I needed.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

North to Ubehebe

Denise told me she thought we should drive to our planned furthest point for the day and that we would stop at places that reached out to us on the way back. I just shook my head and waited. And guess what? We weren't too far from our starting point when she saw glittering light to the right. Water in the salt flats! I didn't think she was going to stop, but just then the car slowed and pulled off to the side. Denise said she didn't know what the light would be like on the way back, so, we made our first stop of the day.

There were small streams running through the salty ground, separate streams, and streams joining and splitting. Honey-colored spiky clumps of plans decorated the white too.

I'm sure we stopped a few more times before we arrived at Ubehebe Crater, but finally! We jumped out of the car and started trudging up the loose soil to get to the top of the crater. Late afternoon might have been a better time to visit since the morning sun wasn't really highlighting the red and gold layers in the crater. It was beautiful though, fascinating to see the ribs of land sticking out along the edge. We bounced around the edge of Little Hebe crater, even when the very narrow path had slippery loose soil falling down steep slopes on both sides of the path. You do know that Denise doesn't like exposure, don't you? We thought about sliding to the bottom of Ubehebe crater, but that would mean a two steps forward one step sliding back on the way back up. Denise decided we could skip that today.

Our next stop was Scotty's Castle We wandered around the grounds for a bit. I didn't realize how far the car had climbed - Furnace Creek is at 183 feet below sea level, and Scotty's Castle is at 3000 feet. I didn't have any idea that we had climbed that far as the road wasn't noticeably tilted.

Heading back to our home away from home, we made one more stop, at Salt Creek. Yes, one more place with flowing water in the desert. We walked to the turnaround point on the boardwalk, then stepped onto a trail leading out a bit further. We followed the trail to some large pools of water, pools wearing an interesting green color.

There was one more activity to the day. Denise gave in to her desire to jump into the pool here at the Furnace Creek Ranch. The pool is fed by a hot spring with the water temperature at 82 degrees. It was only in the 50s, so the air temperature was quite cool. She said that the water felt good, but getting out was really chilly. Luckily she was able to take a hot shower at the pool, no walking back in a wet bathing suit. Me? I watched - I thought it was a bit too chilly to get wet.

Tomorrow is our last full day in the park. I wonder where we'll be wandering.

--- Rover

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Seeking water

Today was a day of wandering under a changing sky, from shades of gray early in the day to late afternoon clearing. It was a day of seeking water in the desert.

I planned to start my day at Badwater, the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level. A morning chat with one of the rangers here enticed me to drive a bit further to the south to find a few (less visited) pools of water. Heading north again, my second stop was Badwater, more water in the desert. I walked out on the salt flats past the area smoothed by the passage of many feet to see large hexagonal shapes in the salt.

Artist's Drive beckoned with exposed colors, pinks and greens scattered among the expected warm tones of the desert.

Footpaths etched in the dirt pulled me past the Harmony Borax Works to salt-clad ground showing where water sometimes flows.

As the sun dropped towards the peaks of the Panamint Mountains I returned to Badwater, seeking (and finding) reflections in the water.

It was good wandering day.

Friday, December 03, 2010

A traveling day

Flying... the big airplane is carrying us across the country. The sun is shining, and when I peek out the window I can see bright blue skies with hazy white on the horizon and some scattered wisps of clouds under us. I really wish I could bounce on the wings - I think I could see more from there. But Denise told me it is really really cold outside, so I think I'll stay here and write instead.

We were talking to some people when we were waiting for our flight. They are heading to Death Valley too. It turns out that there is a marathon there tomorrow morning. Uh oh! I wonder if that means we won't be able to move the car. Hmm... I thought that Denise might be upset about a possibly constricted travel morning. She wasn't planning on a sunrise walk tomorrow morning (which would allow us to leave Furnace Creek before the start of the marathon). I can hear her thoughts though, and it sounds like she's already figured out tomorrow morning. There is a short loop through a canyon called Mustard Canyon. It's not too far from where we are staying (the little road guide that Denise picked up on our visit last year says the start is 1.7 miles from Furnace Creek). We usually stop there on the way to somewhere else so we usually travel there in a car. But I think we might walk there tomorrow morning. I guess I should have known that Denise wouldn't get upset by possible road closures.

We've been in the air for just under two hours so I think we're still on the eastern side of the country. It's funny, the flight out is scheduled for just over 6 hours, and the flight back is 4+ hours. I guess that's because of the very strong winds blowing across the continent from west to east. I know we can't be over Nebraska yet, but I want to take this opportunity to say hello to my friend Gromit.

He lives with Marilyn and John, and he likes to travel too. Gromit, I'll make sure to wave when we get a little further west. I hope you can see me! Oh, and thanks for your email yesterday. You're right, we really should visit Hoover Dam to see the new bridge. I looked it up after I read your message, and it sounds like there is a pedestrian walkway on the side overlooking the dam. I pulled out the map of Nevada, and I showed Denise a route we could take on our way back from Valley of Fire State Park. We'll take the highway there, then we'll follow back roads to Hoover Dam. Denise has been to the dam before, many years ago, but I've never seen it. I hope that we get there. I think we will.

Look! we're flying over Lake Mead. And I can see the Hoover Dam off the left side of the plane. Almost there...

Denise decided to take a different route to the park this time. There were four sets of directions on the park's web site. We have always taken the route labeled "easiest" before. Today we took the route labeled "shortest". Once we passed the city limits of Las Vegas the road varied from 2 lanes (one in each direction) to 4 lanes and back to 2 again. It was a good choice.

It's so incredibly beautiful. We passed through desert with low brush, and mountains in the distance. The road gradually ascended to 5400+ feet, then went down again. At the high point there were even a few patches of snow on the ground. Denise thought the snow was my imagination, but then she saw it too. The sky was painted with light from the setting sun, rays coming through the clouds, highlighting the mountains.

Denise just checked on the marathon route tomorrow and it turns out it's not on the paved road. From the race organizer's site:
Death Valley Trail Marathon & 30K 22nd Annual
This scenic wilderness trail run is on a gravel jeep road from Beatty, NV through the picturesque Titus Canyon, finishing in Death Valley (entire run is in Death Valley National Park).
Ah, good. That means there are no limits on our wandering for tomorrow other than our own desires and energy levels. I think that's good, don't you?

It feels like a good day for an early sleep.
--- Rover

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Westward bound

...maps, dreams, ready to go!

Guess what! Denise & I are going to jump onto a plane on Friday to fly to the other side of the country. It's time to wander in the desert and to visit red rocks. Oh! that will be so different from the island vacations we've already taken this year.

Where are we going? We're going to start in one of our favorites, Death Valley National Park. Oh! you're right, first we're going to fly from Manchester, NH to Las Vegas. We should arrive early in the afternoon, and then we'll drive to Death Valley to wander for a few days. After that we'll be looking for red rocks in two parks in Nevada, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, and Valley of Fire State Park.

I've been busy making sure that Denise doesn't forget anything. I pulled out the topo map of Death Valley and road maps of both California and Nevada, I made sure that her electronic toys (and the batteries for her camera) were charged, and I've even started pulling out clothes so she can just throw things in her bag. We're almost ready to leave, just one more day...

--- Rover

Denise just reminded me that some people reading this may be meeting me for the first time. If this is the first time you're reading my words (and even if it isn't!), here are a couple of photos of me. I'm Denise's partner in travel! I usually sign my posts, but sometimes I forget. You can tell it's me writing though; my posts are the ones with the slanty writing.

The first photo is from Iceland, just before we left the hostel in Vik to head for the glaciers. I was looking out at the rain, chatting with the weather wizard and asking for a day with some dry patches between the wet. The wizard was quite nice to us that day! I don't think we'll need to worry about rain in Death Valley, although Denise told me she would love to be in Death Valley when it rains. That doesn't happen very often. Did you know the average rainfall in Death Valley is less than two inches a year? I just wandered to the National Park Service site to get more information on the weather. Are you interested too? Click here for some weather and climate information.

The second photo is from our wander in Death Valley National Park last November. Can you see the crusty surface? We were bouncing down a trail past the turnaround point on the Salt Creek boardwalk. I think I want to bounce down that trail again.

rover in Iceland

rover in Death Valley, 2009


Can you hear the wind?

Evening, my normal walk time, a heavy rain was falling, driven sideways by a howling wind. I could hear trees swaying in the wind, rain slapping against the windows. And I was so looking forward to walking.

Ah, I know, food first, walk later. A delay of an hour allowed me to head out in a light rain. Luckily I was dressed for flying water; the last half mile (or so) of my walk was in heavy, wind-driven rain.

Happy... A walk in the rain can be quite calming.