Monday, May 26, 2008

Funhouse Images

Distortion sometimes can be as interesting as the subject itself. The first is the spire of the Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas, reflected in another hotel's windows.

The second is Justin, seen through the facets of a crystal hanging in a garden.

Friday, May 23, 2008

SPS: "You Have to Post That One!"

When Dad saw this picture of a raven, he told me I just had to post it. So here he is, sitting on a rail fence at a parking area along the drive in Bryce Canyon.

Normally, the ravens are most interested in getting food from people, but this one had just started to scope out our potential as crumb-providers. In another park, I have actually seen someone get a fine for offering food to a raven. Rangers are serious about preventing animals from becoming acclimated to human contact, even beggar birds!

Bryce Canyon is known for its otherworldly rock spires. Here is a close up and a far away view of them.
This last picture was taken from an overlook called Bryce Point. I think I could've sat there all day just looking and drinking it in :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Trail

Here are a few shots showing the trail that took us up to Angel's Landing:

I took this picture before we were up very far, but I liked how the trail blended into the natural rock. The view is up across several switchbacks. The people coming down were laughing at those of us just starting out, jokingly saying "You're almost there!"

This next picture is of a section of trail called "Walter's Wiggles." The wiggles are one of the CCC-constructed feats of shear effort, a collection of 22 very short switchbacks that scale a near vertical rock face. Here, you are looking from the top down to the bottom of the wiggles. If you enlarge it, you can make out people at the bottom.

And here is a view of the lower part of the trail, seen from higher up. As an interesting aside, park workers were in the midst of trail maintenance on the day we hiked. They had several ATV-type vehicles outfitted with small truck beds, and a couple of other machines that could haul rock or dirt. On one section of the trail that had been concreted to prevent erosion, I could see the imprints of horseshoes. I imagine mules or donkeys were used for heavy hauling before the advent of the smaller utility vehicles. If mules can work daily in the Grand Canyon, I guess this would be small potatoes for them :)

Here's one of the trail machines, I almost forgot I had taken a picture of it, and picture of the horseshoe imprints:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

How About a Super Park Sunday?

Between one thing and another, I never did my SPS post yesterday. So I am humbly submitting a Super Park Sunday post with lots of pictures to make up for yesterday's blip :) I've got some more Zion pictures for you. These photos follow my trip up to Angel's Landing, one of the more popular but also more strenuous hikes in the park.

I took this shot close to the beginning of the trail, where the going was flat and easy. The large rock promontory in the photo is Angel's Landing, and we're headed to it's top!

Here, we were only part way up the first climb on the trail. The view was already breathtaking, with the sheer wall in front of us framing up the cliffs in the distance. In many places I was amazed that a trail could exist at all. Signs indicated that the Civilian Conservation Corps built the trail through some tremendous feats in engineering during the 1930s.

After the initial climb, a nice stroll through a side canyon, and then another steep climb, you reach an area called Scout's Lookout. From the Lookout, you have an eerie, discouraging, view out and up the spine of Angel's Landing. I say discouraging because I was winded just getting up to the Lookout, and it seemed impossible to make it all way up to the Landing itself, across that narrow rock spine.

You'll notice I don't have any pictures taken on the climb up to Angel's Landing. Frankly, I was too scared to take my camera out - I wanted both hands and feet on the rocks in front of me :) But the views from the Landing itself were well worth the effort.

At the top, we could see the smoke from a prescribed burn on the rim of the canyon. From the floor of the canyon, the angle was too sharp and you couldn't see the smoke plume at all!

I will share a few more Angel's Landing pictures in my next post, including some more of the trail itself.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Easter Seals

Each year, the office where I work participates in several charity events. One of these is competition in the Office Olympix to benefit the Easter Seals organization. Easter Seals' mission is to help provide exceptional services to ensure that all people with disabilities have equal opportunity to live, learn, work and play.

To be able to compete in the Office Olympix, each team must raise an "entry fee," of which 100% goes to support Easter Seals' programs. We raise money through bake sales, the office snack fund, a pay-to-dress-casual day, and individual donations. Then we go and compete against other teams from across the community in such events as "swivel chair relay."

I am not normally a fan of asking people for money, for my sake or for the sake of others. But I did want to make a post about Easter Seals and Office Olympix, in hopes that perhaps some of you were planning on making a donation to Easter Seals already, and might consider making the donation through my office's website.

If this is the case, or if you would simply like to know more about Easter Seals, please visit this link. I, and all the members of the "YCPC Planning Platoon" are greatly appreciative :)

PS: The picture on the website does not include me, it was taken the year before I started working at YCPC (York Co. Planning Comm.).

Thank you!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

SPS: Zion's Court of the Patriarchs

Thought I'd start out the post-vacation SPS posts with a taste of Zion. I did some internet research for information on the various trails in the park before we left. I read that the trail normally used for horse riding was supposed to have good views whether you were on a horse or not, and since most people without horses never thought to hike it, it was relatively peaceful, too.

Well, my internet directions were a little fuzzy, and we missed the horse trail. We actually ended up on an unmarked trail, with no name, that entered the area known as the Court of the Patriarchs. The area is named for the three large rock spires that tower over the narrow valley. Each spire is named for a Biblical patriarch: Jacob, Abraham, and Isaac. We did not see one other person while we were on this trail, but we did run into some animal friends:

This frog (or toad?) was hanging out by a small stream.

This lizard was extremely patient with us. I took a number of pictures from about 3 feet away, and when he showed no sign of caring about me, I circled in until I had the S2 on supermacro, positioned about an inch from his eye. Still didn't care one bit!

The sky on this day had some interesting clouds, which made for visual interest, and also helped to cut the bright sunlight, allowing for some decent exposures. Justin and I both felt that, even though we'd missed our intended target, we'd still run across something very worthy: solitude in a busy park!

Friday, May 09, 2008


Allright, I give in, here are some rocks :)

This was actually taken out of the window of the moving car, so forgive the blurry bushes in the foreground. Just focus on all the pretty colors :) This was taken somewhere along the road that goes from I-15 down along Lake Mead and into Henderson, NV. That road had quite the collection of mixed up, strange, jumbled heaps of rock!

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Thank you all for visiting while I was out and about! I've enjoyed catching up through your comments. Vacation was, as always, way too much fun and way too short - and I can say that even though I sat in conference sessions for three and a half days :) But even though we split our time between Las Vegas and southern Utah, I'm gonna kick off my Western pictures with one you maybe would not expect:

No bright lights, no red rocks, just flowers blowing in the evening breeze. It was very windy in Las Vegas for two of the nights we were there. Coming from the non-desert East Coast, it was strange to experience such high winds without any thunderstorm to cause them. I wish I'd had a tripod and some patience, and then maybe I could've gotten the tree trunks in focus with the flowers swishing around them :)

When I get my files in better order, I'll start in and post some of those bright lights and red rocks (heck, I'll probably bombard you all with way too many pics!), but for now the posies are it ...

Friday, May 02, 2008

SPS goes Black and White again

Last Saturday, I promised I'd share the rest of my b & w Yellowstone pictures, so here they are:

This formation, I think, is known as the buffalo. It does have that shape to it. The buffalo is one of the hot springs in the Mammoth Hot Springs area.

As you drive into the Mammoth Hot Springs area from the south, you look out across a valley to a dramatic rock face.

And finally, a trumpeter swan preening in a small lake. We found two swans and were able to approach quite closely, as long as we took a few steps at a time and gave the birds to become used to our presence.