Posts Tagged With: rock climbing


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Jim and I both have work to do. Me, at home, him on the Motor Home, but all work and no play is not a good idea. We decided to play on Sundays. He also goes “off the leash” as in off the diet. We drove up Ebbetts Pass to Lake Alpine. This view area is at the 6,000 foot elevation.

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Granite boulders tossed like children’s toys give the eye some change from the mono-color of so much green at mid-day when pictures are kind of flat looking.

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The many colors of green.

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Aiming my lens far across the canyon to the opposite side where a touch of yellow resembles fire.

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The hazy background made this tall sentinel evergreen stand out like a beacon.

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And this moss backed old grandfather tree has personality. The pictures probably don’t do it justice but the views along Ebbetts Pass really make it a beautiful drive.

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When we reached the lake, the water level was lower than I had ever seen it. Kind of scary. Everyone I talked to said the same. Jim had never been to Lake Alpine.

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cCouds and lack of sunshine make for some interesting contrasts.

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If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can see near the top of these huge granite boulders the permanent and low water lines.

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A lone fisherman on the point.

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Like these two women, we walked around and did some rock climbing. Something I wouldn’t have been able to do just three  months ago.

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Jim really gets into his photography. That’s why his pictures are so good. He told me this morning he took them all in watercolor mode.

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If I tried to plant a tree in my yard, from seed, where there is reasonable dirt and just ignored it, it wouldn’t grow. DSC01638 (Copy)

A fisherman too far away for me to talk to. We drove to the opposite end of the lake. But look directly above his hat and you can just see the normal water line.

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This couple is camped at the Lake. Tried fishing Saturday and gave up because it was too cold. They said they normally get browns and rainbows here. (Trout).

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A tree that was determined to grow out from under a rock. The scenery and the fresh air, in the mountains is invigorating and gorgeous.

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A touch of yellow among the pines. In the middle is a white pine that everyone around here likes best as a Christmas Tree.

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It’s been about three years since I’ve driven up the pass. Beyond Lake Alpine, the summit is a over 8,000 feet.  I’ve passed this old cedar post cabin with the broken down rock walls numerous times and told Jim, I’m going to stop and take a picture of it before it disappears. It is shuttered and closed up tight for the year.  No telling how long it has been there. It was 41 degrees cold up the pass. It was nice to return home to a hot late lunch and a video.

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El Malpais National Monument and Conservation Area

El Malpais (pronounced el mal py ees) means bad land. Everywhere in the area, roadsides, fields, in town, people’s yards, is evidence of this unfriendly looking lava rock. After learning that this rim of volcanoes spewed the stuff  about a  million years ago, we were not sure what to expect in a National Monument that has seen fit to protect an area with lava so sharp and jagged, it will cut your boots to ribbons if you hike on it for any distance.

Beauty is everywhere and our first stop was the Sand Bluffs. You can see the patches of black lava in the distance so thick, plants haven’t been able to grow in it.

Since rock climbing and taking pictures is one of our favorite things to do, we thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of the Sand Bluffs, said to have been underwater 138 million years ago. Kind of tough to wrap your mind around that many years past.

We climbed all over the rocks, taking pictures and meeting one view after another.


Little catch basins everywhere gave evidence of how the rocks hold water for birds and wildlife. All were dry at this time of year

In a crevice, a stunted pine has found enough nutrients to hang on to life.

We climbed all over the bluffs for a couple of hours.


In another section of the conservation area is second ridge of cliffs that have a beautiful arch. We drove over to see it.

The scenic drive showed multiple layers of rock of different types, making for a colorful show.






We hiked the short distance in to the arch on this beautiful day. It’s a beauty.

Other beauties revealed themselves on the walk.


A rock so beautifully colored, you don’t believe your eyes.

The bright green of new growth on a young pine.

I spotted a second arch nearby. Not as beautiful as El Ventana, which is Spanish for window.

At the Lava Narrows, we got a close look at the lava, but it is pretty boring stuff after the gorgeous scenery we passed to get there. It has a shady picnic area and we stopped for some refreshments before returning to the Motor Home. There is no camping here, but visitors can  hike into the canyons and ridges and most likely find lovely spots that drive-in visitors like us missed. It was a lovely day.

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Overlooking Beards Hollow, the place where William Clark explored, very close to where we are parked. This area must have impressed him as it does me. It’s a northern rain forest. We hiked down to the landing and took pictures up and back.

Spring is evident, though its been cold and wet, even for this area.

Cottonwood seeding, and blowing about, covers sections of water like snow flakes.

People here enjoy riding horses and cars on the beach. They are wide, long and easily assessable.

The surf is tinged with a dirty brown from an oil spill. But the air was clean and invigorating.

Rock here is definitely a souvenir of  old volcanic activity.

Harp rock, was named for its shape. Easy to climb about and explore. Lewis and Clark named obvious rocks so they could have reference points to give others and help their own navigation in new territory.

Volcanic Harp rock  plays host to numerous small plants,vines, and trees.

Ferns unfurling resemble plants from the age of dinosaurs.

Without my Western Garden  Book,  with some consultation on the walk with others, we decided this huge leaved plant is angels lace. A new leaf and blossom extrude from the same sheath at the same time.

I spotted this little snake trying to get some sun on a dead tree.

The area we hiked through is also a wetlands. At one time, it was covered by ocean. In this pond full of giant water lilies, a lightweight  bird, didn’t even dent its floating perch. This plant reminded me of edible greens. We returned home for lunch, refreshed and hungry.

We visited this beach in 2009 without the awful residue of oil. Hopefully we can return someday to find it clean again.

I took 37 pictures if you’d like to see them visit my link:

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Red Rock Canyon lies twenty miles west of Las Vegas. You drive through gray desert and suddenly this huge outcropping pops out of the desert floor. Its on BLM land and is preserved for all to enjoy. The way to see it best is to stop at the visitors center first. Great paintings and video of wild life, wild flowers, and animals show on a continuous loop. You pay seven dollars a car load to get in the gate. Its a thirteen mile drive with many pullouts for photo opportunities and entrances to marked hiking trails. People come here to hike, bike, ride horses and rock climb. The other alternative is to take a Fifty-nine dollar tour bus into the site.

The first area, called calico, we hiked a bit. I have to be careful because my right arm is in a sling and I can’t take a chance on falling. We enjoyed watching the climbers practice on an easy perpendicular wall. That is, easy for them.
Jim enjoys taking photos and he is very good at it. Here the rocks look like pudding has puddled into great flat pancakes.

Well, maybe that isn’t such a good shot of the pancakes.

Just add syrup.

The colors are incredible. One moment you are looking at white or beige and immediately next to it is deep red rock.

It appears as though a giant paint brush swabbed on the red.

The drive takes you on a loop that rises to 4,447 feet where other formations appear

We only spent a couple hours here, but I could easily have spent the whole day and hiked into some of the interesting canyon sights, like petroglyphs.

When I spotted this rock from a distance, I thought it was petroglyphs, but it wasn’t. The natural coloring is interesting even so.

The textures etched by sand and wind; the plants that survive severe climate, amaze.
This land is occupied by a host of animals, most likely visible by chance when hiking in the wilderness. And, wild burros are common here, though obviously not native. Signs on the road warn you to watch for burros crossing. The visitor center warns you not to feed them and how to avoid encounters with them.

The day was windy and cold. We strained to see mountain goats where grazing plants were obvious.

The sky was a stunning blue, the rocks will stand for centuries, and we can return another day.

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A storm kicked up rather suddenly and sheets of rain drenched everything, tents, bicycle seats, people’s bags, towels, chairs, tables… Even under a canopy it hit the camp stove and everything we’d quickly moved under to stay dry. Twenty minutes later it stopped and the kids played in a huge puddle. Earlier, someone was camped in this spot.  Lucky for them, it was their day to go home.

The driest place to be was the motor home. Four kids and Jim and I managed a card game called BS on the bed, while others spread out on the table and played Quiddler or sat and read in the front seats. Wendy’s brother Mike arrived after the first drenching with two more little girl cousins. It rained off and on most of the day and we enjoyed a “full house” for much of the day.
When the weather cleared, I biked to the beach late in the day. The kids did too. The little girl below, (not one of our group) engaged in a common practice around the beach, dragging a raw chicken leg for crabs. The crabs hang on and get plopped in a bucket. Its catch and release and great fun.

The problem is, some families use fishing line and it ends up on the beach. I questioned them about making sure they don’t leave fishing line on the beach and pointed out the dangers to the birds. Don’t know if they objected to my intrusiveness or not.

This young man used a string, rather than fishing line. I spotted two gulls in trouble. One with its legs tangled together in a piece of fishing line, limiting its motion, ability to fly and groom itself. Couldn’t catch it though. Another trying to swallow a piece of chicken on a string with the string hanging out of its mouth. I was able to step on the long string because it had another piece of chicken on the opposing end, and pull it out and rescue that bird.

Rocky Neck State Park beach is a wonderfully friendly, spacious, and enjoyable place. A full boardwalk with shade, plenty of life guards, a designated swimming area, good signage, a breakwater, fishing spots, huge picnic area for groups and many spots for individuals, fencing to protect the dunes…lovely place for all.

This sand castle was about 4 feet tall.

For someone like myself, who likes to rock climb and take pictures, it was a perfect spot.

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