Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park - 3

There's nothing quite like meandering through the Midnight Garden, picking words and making new arrangements. ~ Linda Zajac

Last night between 1 and 2 am, I got a lot of inspiration from the Midnight Garden.  Lines with grace and elegance came to me with ease.  If only I could harness that creativity and move it to normal hours.   Sigh.  I'm currently fact checking and I've got to start reading and doing research too.

Here are more photographs from Rocky Mountain National Park.  The top one was taken on the hike to Flattop Mountain.  We saw a lot of elk while we were there.  On our last day in the park, we were fortunate to get a tip from a park ranger that led us to the breeding ground of bighorn sheep!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park - 2

The big news is that I'm honored and grateful to be a jolly good fellow--a Woods Hole Fellow!   It's coming up fast, so I'm trying to write up everything from my trip out West before I'm deluged with details for more story ideas.  On the road trip, I stopped at two research facilities.  So far, I've completed an article and picture book for one place.  I still want to do two more for the second research stop.  

While in Rocky Mountain National Park, we hiked 4.4 miles to the top of Flattop Mountain (elevation 12,324').  I've never hiked a mountain so high.  I only threw up once--thankfully it was a half mile from the finish.  At the top, the howling wind was incredible.  It wore us right out.

  Tyndall Glacier is visible from the tundra at the top.  While trekking to the summit, we passed a noisy ptarmigan, a beefy yellow-bellied marmot and a whole lot of wildflowers like this blue columbine.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Now that we are down one car, I'm pretty much stuck here during the day.  Although it's cramping my style, it's boosting my productivity (Hallelujah chorus breaks into song).

This past week, I shifted gears again and turned that article that was a picture book back into an article and I'm good with that.  I also wrote a lovely picture book on the same topic.  At 237 words, this is indeed a picture book with little words to spare.  I'll be adding backmatter this coming week. 

Last post, I mentioned seeing signs of climate change while out west.  In Utah and Nevada, I noted dramatic drops in lake water levels.  The first two photographs are of Lake Mead, a huge source of water for the southwest.

While crossing through Colorado, I drove toward a plume of smoke.  It wasn't the only raging forest fire at the time.  Temperatures were exceptionally high (although scientists are careful not to say there is a direct link between extreme temperatures and climate change).  It was 111 degrees in Kansas and 105 at the Hoover Dam.  This article is about fire, drought, and water levels in the Southwest.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park - 1

We came up with three ways to get a car out to our daughter in California:

1. Spend a vacation in CA shopping for a car
2. Ship the car (over $1,000)
3. Drive a car out West and make a vacation out of it

Although I'm not proud of chewing through so much gas, it seemed that driving was the best choice.  Along the way we hiked in five national parks, visited two research facilities and spotted evidence of climate change.  We passed forest, mountain, desert, ocean and prairie.  When it was possible, I checked email and got news that was deeply disappointing.  Later more news came, but this time it was highly exciting.

On one trail in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, I showed my photographs to a park ranger.  She verified they were moose scat and moose tracks, but I saw no sign of the moose.

  Later that day I finally spotted my mammal!