Tag Archives: desert

Close-up

Here’s a close-up of those desert blossoms.

Spring in the desert up close
Spring in the desert up close
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Canyonlands Road

The road into the southern part on Canyonlands National Park (the Needles section) is very photogenic and not nearly as busy as the more heavily frequented northern part.  Wooly likes taking pictures of these seemingly deserted roads

Scenic road into the Needles.
Scenic road into the Needles.

One of the stops on this road is Newspaper Rock which I wrote about previously.  Along the way we started getting hints of what the Needles section was all about.

The Needles Hint
The Needles Hint

Springtime is a great time to visit our National Parks.  The late spring bloom was very evident at the entrances of Canyonlands.

Canyonlands Wildflowers
Canyonlands Wildflowers

This was the most colorful park entrance we encountered on this trip.  One of the reasons I love desert climates is because it only takes a little rain to make the ground come alive with color.

 

Can a goose’s neck really do this?

Monument Valley, AZ.
Monument Valley, AZ.

At 7:30am, Wooly and Raeski left Phoenix and started their journey through the state and national parks in Southern Utah with a couple of national monuments tossed into the mix.  Getting up early and beating the heat allowed us to start our trip topless.  With the occasional pit stop along the way and a few photos of Monument Valley, the trip to Goosenecks State Park, Utah took almost 7 hours.

Twisted and folded earth
Twisted and folded earth

The Goosenecks are an out of the way, I mean you really have to go out of your way to find it, state park without much to offer except a single exceptional viewpoint.  After turning off the main road and then turning off to an even narrower road and driving a few miles you reach the end of the road and the park.  You can keep going if your names are Thelma and Louise and care to go ‘car diving’.

Goosenecks State Park, UT
Goosenecks State Park, UT

While on this drive you are treated to views of earth that has been uplifted and twisted.  Wooly thinks this is cool because there is a bit of a geology bug in him.  At the end of the road you reach the park and find a couple of picnic tables, an outhouse and nary a tree.  And yes, it’s a hot 100 degrees or about 38C.

Goosenecks State Park, UT
Goosenecks State Park, UT

However what you do find is a spectacular view of the San Juan River meandering and cutting its way through 1,000 feet of sandstone.  We were even able to watch a couple of rafters running the river.  Capturing them gives a sense of perspective of what Wooly saw while teetering on the edge of the cliff.

Goosenecks State Park, UT
Goosenecks State Park, UT

We hope you enjoy the photos.  But I have one question.  Can a goose really bend its neck that much and live to see another day?

Chile’s Flamingos

Tres Flamingos

Smoking volcanos tower on the horizon as you stand on the vast salar.  Shallow pools of water teem with brine shrimp. Flamingos flock to these lagoons to feast on them. As you watch you quickly become parched courtesy of the thin, dry and windy air.

You are standing on the vast salt flats (salar in Spanish) of Salar de Atacama, the largest salar in Chile. In this desolation life carves out a precarious niche that is being threatened by global warming. As the earth heats, the rivers send less water to the vast salt flats where rain doesn’t fall and evaporation takes its toll.

As the habitat shrinks, so does the population of these large and beautiful birds. Nearby mines disturb and pollute the environment with chemicals that are highly toxic to flamingos. As roads are improved tourism and poachers take an additional toll.

Conservationists are trying to protect these birds. The Andean Flamingo was declared an endangered species in 2010. Many of the places flamingos reside in the summer and winter have been made national parks. However many of their breeding grounds remain unprotected.

Enjoy the photos of these Andean Flamingos and please tread lightly when you are a guest in their habitat.

Flamingos filter feed by scooping up the brine shrimp.

Flamingos aren’t the most graceful birds taking off.

We have lift-off!

Graceful in flight.

Flying in formation.

And not so graceful landings. But who cares? They’re beautiful birds and we should treasure them.