Monday, May 27, 2019


I know all of of you who know me well have been wondering, "Where are the flower pictures?"
The truth is, there were too many to choose from, and the longer I waited, well, that problem got worse.

So I am finally posting just a few. Believe me when I say just a few. At some point, I plan on putting together a google album just for flowers. To be fair to all of them. Like I did for for Southern California Wildflowers 2010


Sunday, May 26, 2019

In the Footsteps of a Million Other People Who Also Had the Great Idea to Hike Kasha-Katuwe on Memorial Day Weekend

After packing out of Bandelier we drove to Kasha-Katuwe National Monument just in time to get in line at the “Approximate Wait Time from this Point 90 Minutes” spot. Which was a pretty accurate estimate. Had plenty of time to eat lunch, put on our hiking boots, and watch the line get longer and longer behind us. 
After 1/2 an hour on line

I considered asking the folks in the Cruise America RV that was about 12 spots behind us if I could use their bathroom, but was too embarrassed.

Fantastic volcanic tuff formations on the hike ...

Followed by a fantastic view from on top 

Bandelier, where we had come from that morning, off in the distance, about 20 miles away as the crow flies and about an hour and 45 min and 84 miles by car.

Saw that “Weather was coming”. Wind picked up and was blasting us just as we got into the slot canyon. A sand and gravel windstorm! Must have gotten 10 years’ worth of wrinkles sandblasted from my face. And as much sand and gravel in my hair as if I had done a headstand at the beach. Wind was followed by a hail/rainstorm. No point in running as we were going to get soaked anyway. Skipped the other hike in the area and decided not to camp that night. Needed a hot shower to wash the sand out of our ears and various other places.

In the footsteps of the Ancestral Pueblo people (formerly known as the Anasazi, a term which is no longer PC)

Bandelier National Monument 

Native Americans used to live and farm here about 800 years ago. They lived in homes in a natural alcove high up in the cliff, in caves hollowed out of the cliffs, and in a village in the valley.

We got to walk around the valley, and climb into a few of the hollowed out caves and the alcove.


These kids were on a multi day class trip of 1st and 2nd graders(!) from a private school in Denver. I asked one of the adults how many kids came, and she told me, “Well, we had 23, but now there are 22.” That didn’t sound too good. But she went on to explain, “One had to leave early for a family event.” Whew.

We also climbed into the alcove which is 140 feet above the ground and accessed by 3  huge ladders and one small one, and lots of steps. 

4th ladder not visible in this photo 

Pretty scary. At least for us. Not for the energetic 80 year old who left every one else in the dust, and kindly took this picture of us up on top
Don't know if it was scary for the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived here who presumably didn't have the railings and may or may not have had ladders. There were lots of toe holds in the rocks, however.

When we got back to the visitor center, I went over to the rangers on staff and asked where I could get the “I Survived the Climb to the Alcove House” tee shirt. They thought I was joking, and told me it would be a good business opportunity.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

In the Footsteps of Georgia O’Keefe

Went to Ghost Ranch on Tuesday. Incredible. Part of the Colorado Plateau, so it has the colorful rock formations, variations on the theme of Utah and Arizona.

 Took the “Landscape Tour”. We were driven to various places on the ranch. We'd stop, and the guide would show a picture of a painting where O’Keefe painted the exact same view.  

Also took the history tour. Native Americans, cattle rustlers, a high stakes poker game, dude ranch, O’Keefe stories. Same guide for both tours. She was terrific.

The property also has one of the world's richest Triassic dinosaur fossil beds. Who knew?
Went to the “White Place,” another favorite of Georgia O’Keefe’s. Sounds kind of racist, doesn’t it? It’s “Plaza Blanca” in Spanish, which sounds better.

Cesar from Valley Wrecker Service claimed Georgia O’Keefe taught him art when he was in 1st grade in Abiquiu. Which sounds a little far fetched, but a nice story for locals to tell tourists.  I need to do some research to find out if it may be true. 

Schizophrenic weather all day. Blue skies, rain, sunshine, hail, sunshine, rain, etc. All within an hour. Sometimes, at the same time!