Unexpected encounters with nature on the trail…

The other day we went for a short hike in Connetquot state park, and had the amazing good fortune to see 31 deer! It was like a deer convention. There was a whole herd of them. We couldn’t believe it. (And I had told Cactus Killer that we probably wouldn’t see any because of the time of day!) As we started our walk we saw one or two in a clearing through the trees, then as we turned we saw the whole meadow was full with grazing deer… maybe eleven of them. That was so exciting in and of itself we were quite content with our walk. But then we saw another meadow area with a bunch more, we kept counting and couldn’t believe there were over twenty. At a certain point we walked right near a few of them, young ones, and only when we crunched some dry leaves underfoot did they look up.

We continued our walk, looping around behind the hatchery, and then back along the stream, and saw a few more deer, for a total of 31.

When we crossed the little footbridge and reached the intersection of trails we headed south, back in the direction of the main entrance of the park, and while we were walking suddenly there was a massive noise as an enormous flock of ducks rose up and flew overhead in formation shrilly quacking as they went. There were so many they seemed almost to darken the sky above. It was amazing.

Mother Nature was putting on a spectacular show for the adventurous souls who dared go walking so late in December.

posted by Blue Coyote in Other thoughts and have No Comments

The Storm is starting…

2010_1225_Marsh_02

Well, today there is supposed to be a Blizzard here on the East coast. Out on Long Island where we are based they are expecting about a foot and a half of snow! And it is the day AFTER Christmas (would have been great to have this on Christmas eve, but now it will just be a bother as folks are trying to get home and many are supposed to get to work tomorrow!!!)…

Early this morning the yard was full of squirrels and birds foraging for food. The animals could sense that there was a major weather event on the way and were scurrying about trying to eat as much as they could before they would have to take shelter. Skies were already grey and a few stray snowflakes drifted lazily down…

As more snow fell, the squirrels began looking for better shelter than the tree they usually live in. We saw one go up to the roof of the neighbor’s house looking for the way into the attic (which the neighbor had sealed up after the squirrels’ last stay a few years ago). It was the mother squirrel–she must have remembered it from when she was little, as her own mother, our “famed” Snacker Queen, had sheltered in there a few winters ago. Frustrated that the entrance was blocked, she looked to the chimney, which also was screened off, and then she ran on, to try elsewhere (we hope not on our own roof!!!!)…

The snow is falling steadily now, and only one lone squirrel is still stretched out on the squirrola feeder, nibbling away…

Meanwhile, nice and warm inside, we hunker down and wait and watch…

posted by Blue Coyote in Other thoughts and have No Comments

Cactus Killer’s favorite pictures…

posted by Cactus Killer in America the Beautiful and have Comments (3)

Alcatraz Island

Hier nous avons pris le ferry pour aller sur cette Ile Infernale d’Alcatraz. Qu’elle est proche de la ville de San Francisco ! A moins de 3 kilomètres ! Les prisonniers, paraît-il, pouvaient, les jours de grandes fêtes, entendre les voix des citadins de l’autre coté ! On ne peut pas imaginer une torture plus douloureuse !

“When you break the rules, you go to prison. When you break the prison rules, you go to Alcatraz” … Ce n’etait donc pas une prison comme une autre …

Maintenant c’est un Parc d’Etat. Tout le monde peut y aller et faire une visite touristique. Mais la visite est incroyablement intéressante ! Ce n’est pas une accumulation de dates ou d’informations générales sur la prison.

Chacun de nous portait des écouteurs et nous étions dirigés très précisément. Nous écoutions les commentaires personnels d’un ancien détenu, ses impressions et aussi ceux d’anciens gardiens de prison. Nous déambulions tous dans cet espace et à un moment donné j’ai eu envie d’enlever mes écouteurs et c’était très étange d’entendre juste le chuchotement des pas des gens sur le sol. Tout le monde était tellement concentré ! Grâce à cet enregistrement et aux bruitages de clés refermant des portes métalliques, les gens s’y croyaient vraiment !

Excellente expérience !

posted by Cactus Killer in Other thoughts and have No Comments

Silly Squirrel aka red prairie dog

Today and yesterday there were some prairie dogs and I made a few pictures of them. As I haven’ t uploaded the pictures I will only be able to put one from the internet.

Actualy my pictures are much better or more realistic but this is an example… My videos too are much much much better.

I love to take pictures of the prairie doggies because they are cute and to take a picture of their private life, you need to establish some kind of confidence with them(that’ s the part I ‘m good at). I had to approach them very slowly  and wait very long before making another step to theme.

I actually had a favorite one that I named Joky he looked like an old man with his enormous bushy black eyebrows

posted by Silly Squirrel in On the Road and have Comments (2)

Petrified Forest

Aujourd’hui on a dévié un peu de la Route 66.

Nous sommes allés dans le Painted Desert (le Désert Peint) et la Petrified Forest (la Forêt Périfiée) qui font tous les deux partie d’un Parc National d’Arizona. Sur un territoire d’une cinquantaine de kilomètres de longueur, les panoramas et les vues les plus incroyables se succèdent.

Tout d’abord des reliefs colorés, de l’argile blanche ou rouge. C’est le désert et on a du mal à penser qu’il y plus de 200 millions d’années à cet endroits vivaient des dinosaures et qu’il y avait une forêt avec d’immenses arbres ! C’est pourtant ce que nous prouve cette forêt pétrifiés. Des arbres immenses devenus pierre ! Et des pierres de toutes les couleurs !

Tout ça par une journée assez nuageuse ce qui donnait à ce paysage lunaire un éclat particulier dû à la couleur sombre de certains nuages.

On nous a conseillé de ne pas dormir dans l’enceinte du Parc Nationale car il y avait des risques d’averses et d’inondation … l’argile ne boit pas l’eau …

posted by Cactus Killer in On the Road and have No Comments

Route 66: Oklahoma to Texas…

DAY FIVE: An amazing sunrise on the lake this morning in Foss State Park, on the edge of Oklahoma. But it is HOT and HUMID!!! Still the campsite was amazingly beautiful, and we had a nice relaxed evening last night making our BBQ lakeside…

Back on Route 66 today and we were still chasing down some of the “landmark” sites the road has become famous for, as well as discovering some details for ourselves…

The town of Texola wasn’t supposed to be a ghosttown, but it seemed one step away from Ghost status when we drove thru… We couldn’t help but get out and walk around, exploring what happens when a town is on the verge of extinction but still holding on…

It was kind of eerie. It was hot and the sun was high in the sky and the streets were deserted and some of the buildings were in ruins while others were simply abandoned, as if someone had left for work in the morning, locking the door, and then never returned… everything was left as it had been that day… looking just as if nobody was home… but it was clear that “nobody was home” for a very very very long time already… in the distance a dog barked, attesting to the fact that some folks hadn’t given up on the place, even if many of their neighbors had…

On the edge of town, a boarded up saloon front was painted with the surreal sign “No Place Like Texola”… a small town’s pride surviving the town itself…

posted by Blue Coyote in On the Road and have No Comments

… toujours la route !

C’est etrange de regarder un pays, l’histoire d’un pays a travers une route, l’histoire d’une route!

On commence a voir des fermes ou des ranchs a taille humaine. C’est comme si ce pays etait specialise par region. Ici on voit des vaches partout mais on n’en a pas vu une jusque dans le Missouri !

La route elle meme, la 66 ressemble par moment a une nationale avec 2 voies de chaque cote, mais hier nous sommes passes par l’ancienne route … comme dans le temps … et je m’imagine tous ces camions passer avec des familles entieres empilees avec tout le barda. En effet ca devait etre un voyage long et difficile.

Je repense a Grapes of  Wrath et a la grand mere qui craignait tant le voyage … elle devait pressentir … et elle est morte d’epuisement, ballotee dans le camion, fatiguee de dormir sur les planches. Elle n’a pas pu tenir.

posted by Cactus Killer in On the Road and have No Comments

Route 66: Oklahoma

DAY FOUR: We made it as far as Tulsa last night… the landscape has changed from Missouri’s rolling hills to the flat endless horizon we tend to associate with the great big West… And the animal of the day is the cow!

Lots and lots of cows… and lots and lots of corn… Cornfields and Cows… Cows and Cornfields… occasionally interrupted by the tall stalks of the wind turbines generating clean energy… wind farms and traditional farms all in the same place…

The clean energy windmills dotting the landscape made it seem as if the nation is hedging its bets… still believing that oil is king, but solidly investing in alternatives as well…

And so the windmills stood starkly in the flat fields defining the horizon like so many mechanical scarecrows… the cows paid them no mind!

posted by Blue Coyote in On the Road and have No Comments

Route 66: more Missouri …

DAY THREE: We drove the old road as much as we could today! Sometimes we got a little bit lost, but that was OK, because usually it led to a good discovery…

And then we DID manage to visit a few places we really wanted to stop at… like “Gay Parita,” Gary Turner’s place in Paris Springs MO! Gary is an amazing guy! He greeted us as if we were long lost friends… and he took the time out to chat with us a bit about the Mother Road and about the places and people along this stretch…

We enjoyed Gary’s hospitality, and would have liked to have stayed longer, but we had to get back on the road…

It seems like, even with all the time that we have, there is just never enough time to do all that we would like… We need to keep up our pace or we will fall hopelessly behind!

The funny thing is that this was supposed to be the ultimate trip… and in fact, it is turning out to be something of an introduction rather than an emphatic conclusion… and so, for me personally, it makes me think about coming back and doing each section in much greater detail…

I guess I have been bitten by the road bug…

posted by Blue Coyote in On the Road and have No Comments

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