Saturday, April 30, 2016

Fritos & Beer (Zion NP)

Fritos & Beer (Zion NP) - Utah  2016

Mike having a relaxing moment on his room's balcony. Can't remember if this was an actual scene or if it was staged. It was winter, after all: temperature wasn't that conducive to sitting outside.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Zion Hike - 4

Trail, Stairs (Zion NP) - Utah  2016

Trail Sign (Zion NP) - Utah  2016

The trail finally went up a Mordor-like staircase before coming to the end of the maintained trail. Mike decided that he wasn't really up to any rock scrambling that day, so that was the turnaround point for him.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Zion Hike - 3

Trail, Chain (Zion NP) - Utah  2016

Trail (Zion NP) - Utah  2016

The trail was just a little bit precarious, sloping at times with a precipitous dropoff on the outwards edge. But there were chains affixed to the cliff wall for grabbing-on purposes, so, no problem!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Zion Hike - 2

Cliffs (Zion NP) - Utah  2016

Tree Trunks (Zion NP) - Utah  2016

Nice views while on the trail: wrinkled cliffs on the opposite side, and close-up details.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Zion Hike - 1

Trees Near Trailhead (Zion NP) - Utah  2016

Early one morning Mike hiked to the mouth of Hidden Canyon. Even during the winter a fairly early start seems to be advisable due to parking issues at the trailheads.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday American Dipper Blogging

American Dipper, Virgin River (Zion) - Utah  2016

Seen here perching on a rock in the Virgin River. A favorite of John Muir's:

He is the mountain streams’ own darling, the humming-bird of blooming waters, loving rocky ripple-slopes and sheets of foam as a bee loves flowers, as a lark loves sunshine and meadows. Among all the mountain birds, none has cheered me so much in my lonely wanderings, —none so unfailingly. For both in winter and summer he sings, sweetly, cheerily, independent alike of sunshine and of love, requiring no other inspiration than the stream on which he dwells.

- The Mountains of California

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Virgin River, Cliffs

Virgin River, Cliffs (Zion NP) - Utah  2016

Virgin River, Cliffs (Zion NP) - Utah  2016

Scenes from two separate mini-hikes.

Saturday, April 23, 2016


House (Springdale) - Utah  2016

Latte (Springdale) - Utah  2016

Tourist town, right outside the park boundary. Close. Too close.

Although Mike was able to get a respectable latte there.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Winter Branches

Branches, Leaves on Ground (Zion NP) - Utah  2016

Branches, Rock Wall (Zion NP) - Utah  2016

Well, it was winter, so Mike was able to photograph a number of Andrew Wyeth-ey scenes.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


Cottonwood Trees, Cliff (Zion NP) - Utah  2016

Cottonwood Trees, Evening (Zion NP) - Utah  2016

As I've said before, a winter visit. Late winter, yes, but still winter: the cottonwood trees were still bare. Some just starting to leaf out, though.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Zion Lodge

Zion Lodge Main Desk (Zion NP) - Utah  2016

Mike had paid Zion National Park a visit some four years ago:

The sheer number of people wanting to visit Utah's national parks - even in the (supposedly) off-season of October - was somewhat confounding.

So, a drive-though, parking at a few pull-offs, checking out the vistas and the cliffs. Might be interesting to plan a winter visit.

Since the scenic main road through the park is accessible by shuttle-only starting in mid-March, Mike scheduled this particular visit for the first week in March, springing for a reservation at Zion Lodge. Yes, a winter visit. 

A late arrival after a somewhat exhausting drive, so after a quesadilla and beer at the lodge's restaurant, back to the room to rest up.

(BTW: yes, comparisons are odious, but Zion Lodge is much nicer than Yosemite Lodge.)

Quesadilla, Beer (Zion NP) - Utah  2016

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Approaching Zion National Park

Cottonwood Trees, Cliffs - Utah  2016

Concerning This Property - Utah  2016

Fun fact: Zion National Park was initially established as Mukuntuweap National Monument (by President Taft, in 1909). (I'm getting this from Wikipedia.)

Continuing on with our story:

In 1918, however, the acting director of the newly created National Park Service changed the park's name to Zion, the name used by the Mormons. According to historian Hal Rothman: "The name change played to a prevalent bias of the time. Many believed that Spanish and Indian names would deter visitors who, if they could not pronounce the name of a place, might not bother to visit it. The new name, Zion, had greater appeal to an ethnocentric audience."

A prevalent bias of the time! I'm sure that that wouldn't happen today.

Driving through the increasingly spectacular scenery towards the park, one expects the park entrance to be just around the corner. But it isn't. As I've noted before, the total area encompassed by the park is disappointingly small.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Monday Gull and Seal Blogging

Gull - Sausalito  2016

Seal - Sausalito  2016

February in Sausalito. I ended up walking down amongst the boats for the seal photo. Photos taken with a Canon G5X, which I like, but wish that it had a longer zoom range.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sausalito Boats

Boat - Sausalito  2016

Boats, Reflections - Sausalito  2016

Top taken in January, bottom, April.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sausalito Flowers

Flowers, Wall - Sausalito  2016

Flowers, Concrete Wall - Sausalito  2016

Taken earlier this month.

Friday, April 15, 2016

California / Nevada / Arizona / Utah

Highway 58 On-Ramp - Mojave  2016

Corvette, Highway 15 - Nevada  2016

Mike left Mojave and headed east on highway 58, eventually joining Interstate 15 at Barstow. Then, a very long drive through Nevada with a lunch stop at Mesquite at the eastern edge of the state.

A short stretch through a corner of Arizona before reaching Utah: past St. George and then over to Zion National Park.

Whew! (And, for the record, Mike didn't see any rest stops in Nevada.) Next week: Zion NP.

Mesquite - Nevada  2016

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Mojave #2

Highway 14 - Mojave  2016

Mojave Thrift - Mojave  2016

It's interesting . . . since I've gotten back and started to look at these photographs I've come to realize that Google Street View can, in many cases, provide an alternate view.

For example.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mojave #1

Gold Pans - Mojave  2016

Arts Center - Mojave  2016

Taken during an evening stroll around Mojave.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Welcome to Mojave

Unethical - Mojave  2016

I noticed this sign as I was approaching my motel further down the road. Had to stop and take a photo, of course. Never did find out the backstory.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Monday Cow Blogging

Cow, Powerlines - Central California  2016

Green hills! Early last March at a rest stop off Highway 5.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Tehachapi #2

Dining Room - Tehachapi  2016

Darlene's - Tehachapi  2016

I scouted around for a while, took some pix, then got back into the car and headed east to Mojave.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Tehachapi #1

Beekay Theatre - Tehachapi  2016

Bobs Barber Shop - Tehachapi  2016

I always manage to stop at the railroad town of Tehachapi just off highway 58. This time, no trains appeared. Annoying.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Tehachapi Oaks

Oaks, Flowers - Tehachapi Mountains  2016

Oaks, Flowers - Tehachapi Mountains  2016

Every time I travel over the Tehachapis I've been intrigued by these oaks. But this time there were wildflowers! I was able to turn onto a side road, pull over and get out of the car.

I used an Olympus E-M10 and a 14-150 zoom (mighty handy).

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Tehachapi Mountains

Wildflowers #1 - Tehachapi Mountains  2016

Wildflowers #2 - Tehachapi Mountains  2016

Leaving Bakersfield I headed up into the Tehachapi Mountains, not expecting to see much, when rounding a corner I came upon this wildflower display. Whoa! Luckily, there was a pulloff where others were already parked, busy with their DSLRs and smartphones.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Valley Sightems

Tree Blossoms - Central California  2016

Shopping Cart - Central California  2016

Sightems seen while stopping for lunch at an anonymous spot in the San Joaquin Valley. The best route to the desert, I've found, is to cut over from Highway 5 to 99 well before Bakersfield, thus avoiding the traffic found in the Bakersfield sprawl.

A number of fruit trees were blossoming . . . very nice.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Dams or Trains

Dams or Trains - Central California  2016

Refers to an initiative sponsored by agribusiness to promote defunding the high-speed rail project in California so that more dams can be built.

I knew that. But even if I hadn't, my immediate response would have been, "Yeah, trains!"

Taken just opposite Harris Ranch just off Hwy 5, on my way to Mojave.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Monday Band-Tailed Pigeon Blogging

Band-Tailed Pigeon - Marin County  2016

Right opposite our house. I could tell that it was pigeon-like, but it seemed awfully big. Barbara gave me the ID, of course. As of last year, their population was in decline in California:

The band-tailed pigeon is a common, medium-size, gray-feathered bird known for a white crescent on its neck and a long tail that sports a pale band at its tip. The bird is a relative of the passenger pigeon – a species once as common as the band-tailed pigeon, but now extinct.

- Sacramento Bee

Of course, they could have called it a "white-collared pigeon." But no, that would have been too easy.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Rain Clouds

Stable, Rainclouds - Marin County  2016

At the stable, Tuffy in the background.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Stable Sightems

Charlotte - Marin County  2016

Rake - Marin County  2016

Both photos taken with an Olympus E-M10.