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Random thoughts, rants, raves and photo opportunities

2016 - Petrified Forest National Park, Petrified Forest, AZ

During a recent winter adventure to Albuquerque, NM, I joined a pair of good friends and took a three hour detour into Arizona to visit the Petrified Forest National Park. Our group started off by running the northern loop of the park. While the views were grand and breathtaking, I was momentarily disappointed as our group had to struggle to find even the smallest chunk of petrified wood. It wasn't until we visited the southern end of the park did we discover the namesake of this truly fascinating area. The petrified wood was plentiful, the stone logs numbered into the thousands. Even the soil of the desert floor was composed primarily of petrified wood not unlike beach sand being composed of shells. You can only truly appreciate the colors of the stone glistening in the sunshine by visiting in person.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2016 - Playa de Las Catedrales, Lugo, Spain

After our visit to the ancient ruins of Coaña, we decided it was time to make out way to the water to cool off. Our destination was Playa de Las Catedrales. Located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, the natural arches and caves of the area were created over time by tidal and wave erosion. During low tide the area is known for its spectacular beach and the caves that are hidden during hide tides. Unfortunately, we visited during the mid-tide and were relegated to the tops of the cliffs. I wanted to point out the interesting geology here.. note the sedimentary layers that make up the cathedrals.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2016 - Picos de Europa, Asturias, Spain

As we made our way through the Asturian countryside, our itinerary had a scheduled stop to hike Los Pico de Europa. Though we did not plan to hike the entire 24Km from Puente Poncebos to Cain and back, we did have the idea we'd attempt to hike at least 3 to 4Km to the high point at Los Collaos. Unfortunately, less than 1Km from the parking lot, a storm rolled in packing horizontal rains and wind gusts of up to 30mph. We thought it wise to turn back and save this National Park adventure for some future trip to Spain. During our short hike we did manage to take a few photographs of the spectacular views and we found a geocache.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2014 - Eagle Mountain, Cook County, MN

While in the area camping, I joined a gang of several geocaching individuals that grouped up to hike to the summit of Eagle Mountain. Eagle Mountain is the highest point in Minnesota at 2301' above sea level. The hike is 3.5 miles each direction with an elevation change of about 550'. The majority of the hike was over a trail of stones and boulders across forested rolling hills and the primary elevation climb does even really start until the last three quarters of a mile to the top.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2014 - Oklahoma City National Memorial, Oklahoma City, OK

Our family has visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial several years ago when the children were very young so I decided to stop by for another look while on a recent pass through Oklahoma City, OK. There are few words that can describe this memorial and what happened here back on April 19th, 1995.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2014 - Apostle Island Lake Shore Sea Caves, Cornucopia, WI

It's been in the local news most of this January, the sea caves along the Apostle Island National Lakeshore are accessible by walking on the ice for the first time in five years. Located on the south shore of Lake Superior near Cornucopia, WI, the lake surface near the sea caves rarely freezes over because of wind and water currents. With the colder than normal temperatures this winter season, the ice is solid, the caves are accessible, and people are coming out in droves to explore and photograph them.

The original forecast for today was 20 degrees and sunny so plans were made to road cruise 200 miles north and hike to the sea caves. When Nene, Laura and I arrived at the lake shore parking lot, it was 3 degrees F below zero, the winds were gusting off the lake to 10-25mph, it was cold.

According to my GPS, the distance hiked from parking to the largest sea cave was 1.6 miles. My GPS took 239 samples during the hike which lasted 35 minutes 58 seconds. Our average hiking speed was 2.7mph. Unfortunately, I could not calculate the hike back as the batteries in the GPS died and I did not notice until our adventure was complete. All photographs taken with a Canon G6.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2012 - Pompeys Pillar National Monument, Billings, MT

On our way out west we stopped and visited Pompeys Pillar National Monument.  Pompeys Pillar is a rock formation that contains the last known physical evidence of Lewis and Clark's expedition.  Like many of the stops along our journey, this site was fascinating and well worth the visit.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2012 - Badlands of North Dakota, Medora, ND

Located within Theodore Roosevent National Park, the Badlands of North Dakota has to be one of America's best kept secrets.  It does not have other nearby tourist attractions to draw people in like the famous Badlands of South Dakota.  But the Badlands of North Dakota are just as spectacular.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2010 - Mount Rushmore National Memorial

During our visit to the Black Hills this June, we managed to have only one day without rain.  On that one beautiful sunny day we visited Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2010 - Devil's Tower National Monument

Today while Jeannine and the girls were riding the steam train in Hill City, I rode along with Ryan and the Bowers family to Devil's Tower National Monument.  The rain had stopped just long enough for us to hike and explore around the monument.  I've been to the monument several times in my life but this was the first time I've climbed around the boulder field.  Both Ryan and I managed to hike across the entire boulder field and back without injury.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..