Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Winter Begins

The leaves are off the trees
and the temps are dropping.

Ice is forming on the creek.

The ice-up begins.

Monday, November 18, 2013

November Storm

We had a severe weather day yesterday.
After starting the day in the 60's, a cold front came through with ensuing storms.
Several towns near us were ravaged by tornados.
We were spared and just had a few high winds and rain.

The storm approaches

Angry clouds
Looking north where a tornado passed just minutes earlier

After the storm

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Red Rock Canyon

Just 15 miles west of Las Vegas is the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
Who knew this gem was so close to a huge city?
 The entrance fee is $7, however if you've purchased 
an America the Beautiful pass for national parks, that will get you in as well.

There are nineteen hikes listed, from easy to strenuous and 
the area has over 2000 climbing routes for rock climbers.

There is also a 13 mile scenic route if you want to enjoy the sights from the comfort of your car.

And, if you are lucky, you'll spot some wild horses or burros.
If you need to get away from the hustle & bustle of the city,
check out the Red Rock Canyon!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree is in Southern California and includes portions of the Mojave & Colorado Deserts.
 This is a stand of the namesake Joshua trees, not really a tree at all, but a species of yucca.

The rocks appear to be haphazardly piled up, but have actually eroded into these unusual stacks.

 The desert iguana is right at home in the cracks of the boulders.

Joshua Tree is a mecca for climbers.
Can you spot the 3 climbers ?

This is skull rock.

Camping among the boulders looks fun.

There are petroglyphs on the rocks too.

 This desert bird is called a Phainopepla.

 A cactus wren nest in a cholla.

 The sun sets on another wonderful national park visit.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ever Been to a Ghost Town?

Yep, I can say I've been to a ghost town.
They are pretty common in the desert Southwest.

Rhyolite is an old abandoned gold mining town. just east of Death Valley.
It sprang up in 1905 when gold was discovered in the nearby Bullfrog mountains.
By 1911, the mine had closed and by 1920, the population had dropped to zero.
At its peak, the town had an estimated 8000 -10,000 people.
This is the old train depot.
 The town had three-story office buildings built of stone & concrete.
This is the Cook Bank building.

 The Mercantile

 Old vehicles sit abandoned among the buildings

This home looked quite nice.

One interesting building that is still standing is the Tom Kelly Bottle house.

The house is made up of over 50,000 (mostly beer) bottles.
 No visit to a ghost town is complete until you visit the cemetary.

This looks like an old cowboy grave.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Exploring Death Valley

We explored Death valley for three days.
Its an unworldly place where rocks, sand & salt are prevalent
and the unrelenting sun beats down from a cloudless sky.

Our first stop was Dante's View where our first glimpse of the valley took our breath away.
 We are 5475 feet above the salt flats on the valley floor and Death Valley is spread out before us.

An hour later, we are walking the salt flats 282 feet below sea level.

The ground is literally crystallized salt.

There is little vegetation, but we still saw wonderful colors of rock.
This is Artist's Palette along Artist's Drive.

There are many places to hike.
This is Natural Bridge.

My favorite hike was Mosaic Canyon.
The walls of this beautiful slot canyon are polished marble in places

and a mosaic of embedded rocks in other places.

The Mesquite Flats sand dunes are fun to climb up & run or slide down.
The day we were there, however, the wind had picked up and sand was blowing in our eyes.

There is water in Death Valley and you can hike along Salt Creek for a different experience.
Just don't drink the water.

And Scotty's Castle is a surprising sight in the middle of the desert.

 This is Ubehebe Crater, a volcanic crater in the northern park of the park.

We made the exhilerating drive up Red Pass and through Titus Canyon.
Probably one of the scariest roads we've been on, but wow, what an experience!

The canyon walls rise 500 feet above as we drive through the canyon.

  Zabriskie Point is a good place to watch the sunset.

You gotta go see Death valley!

I'm Not in Indiana Anymore

We are visiting a national park.
Its not like any other place on earth, in fact, its more like the moon.
Here's some images found around the park.
Can you guess where I am?



I'm in Death Valley, one of the most unique places in the world!