Category Archives: hiking

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse (Newport, Oregon)

"Yaquina Head's light is 81'2" (25 m) above the ground and 162' (49 m) above mean sea level;
“Yaquina Head’s light is 81’2” (25 m) above the ground and 162′ (49 m) above mean sea level; the top of the tower is 10′ (3 m) higher still.

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse:

    “The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse was built in 1871, this lighthouse is the oldest building in Newport. It operated for only three years – until the lighthouse here was built. The restored lighthouse is a popular attraction in Yaquina Bay State Park” ~ information sign at Yaquina Head National Park, Newport, Oregon.

“Yaquina Head’s light is 81’2” (25 m) above the ground and 162′ (49 m) above mean sea level; the top of the tower is 10′ (3 m) higher still. Higher is better – On America’s rugged west coast, keeping lights low enough to be seen under the fog was often a problem. However if they were placed too low, they couldn’t be seen far enough away to be useful. The higher a light is, the further it can be seen at sea. At 162 feet (49 m) above sea level, Yaquina Head’s light can be seen about 19 miles (32 km) out to sea. Late nights at the office – Imagine spending all of a long winter’s night sitting on a stiff chair 70 feet (21 m) up in the tower watching the light. Now try to imagine doing it in the years before there was radio, tv, or even electricity! The buildings attached to the light tower has two rooms which once served as the ‘oil room and office’ however the keepers stood nightly watch in the tower itself. Still lighting the way: Many ships and boats continue to depend on lighthouses for navigational aid. Equipment in the small building attached to the light tower keeps a light on in case the electricity fails. A small battery-powered back up light is attached to the railing surrounding the lantern deck – you can see it from the observation deck at the base of the tower. By modern standards, the regular routine of a lighthouse keeper was monotonous. It was however sometimes interrupted by unexpected moments of drama. ‘last night lightning struck the office and storeroom building. it tore off the copper, lead, and shingles where the root joins on to the tower …’ keeper’s log, Yaquina head, Oct 18 1920. By 10 am every day the lighthouse lamp was refueled and its five wicks trimmed. Throughout the day, the lens and windows were cleaned and repairs made to keep everything shipshape. At dusk the lamp was lit and then watched from the watch room until sunrise. What else did keepers do? they greeted tourists ‘ … sea quite smooth. keepers painting the watchroom and working the road today, had two visitors today.’ – keeper’s log Yaquina head, april 28, 1877. They submitted to inspections: ‘…they never knew when an inspector was going to come. He came about four times each year. He would just come in the house like he belonged there and he would go through it just to see if the women kept the houses up.’ – Philena Nelson, friend of the keeper’s children 1916-1918. They painted, and painted some more ‘ keeper’s painting the bracketts and getting stage (scaffold) ready and mixing paint to paint towers’ – keeper’s long, yaquina head, may 27, 1891. They aided victims of shipwrecks – ‘keeper send 2nd asst. to Newporte for assistance of a tug. The keepers gave the three men that got ashore necessary assistance done all in there power to make them comfortable’-Keeper’s long, Yaquina Head, March 28, 1889. Even though Newport was only four miles away, bad weather, poor roads, and the demands of their work combined to tie the keepers and their families to the Yaquina Head light station. They caught, shot, and grew their own food. ‘Keepers whitewashing the garden fence and weeding the garden also today.’ June 8 1887. They coped with the weather – when there were big storms and the seas were rough, it would make a roar and shae the lighthouse. the spray from the ocean, when the waves were rough, would spray clear up to the tower.Some of the women became keeps – Mrs M J Plummer went on duty as laborer today until a 2nd Asst. arrives at the station.’ August 17, 1888. In the long history of staffed US lighthouses, a number of women, usually wives or daughters of keepers served as keepers. “~ information sign at Yaquina Head National Park, Newport, Oregon. http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25775

"Yaquina Head's light is 81'2" (25 m) above the ground and 162' (49 m) above mean sea level; the top of the tower is 10' (3 m) higher still. Higher is better - On America's rugged west coast, keeping lights low enough to be seen under the fog was often a problem. However if they were placed too low, they couldn't be seen far enough away to be useful.  The higher a light is, the further it can be seen at sea. At 162 feet (49 m) above sea level, Yaquina Head's light can be seen about 19 miles (32 km) out to sea. Late nights at the office - Imagine spending all of a long winter's night sitting on a stiff chair 70 feet (21 m) up in the tower watching the light. Now try to imagine doing it in the years before there was radio, tv, or even electricity! The buildings attached to the light tower has two rooms which once served as the 'oil room and office' however the keepers stood nightly watch in the tower itself. Still lighting the way: Many ships and boats continue to depend on lighthouses for navigational aid. Equipment in the small building attached to the light tower keeps a light on in case the electricity fails. A small battery-powered back up light is attached to the railing surrounding the lantern deck - you can see it from the observation deck at the base of the tower. By modern standards, the regular routine of a lighthouse keeper was monotonous. It was however sometimes interrupted by unexpected moments of drama. 'last night lightning struck the office and storeroom building. it tore off the copper, lead, and shingles where the root joins on to the tower ...' keeper's log, Yaquina head, Oct 18 1920.  By 10 am every day the lighthouse lamp was refueled and its five wicks trimmed. Throughout the day, the lens and windows were cleaned and repairs made to keep everything shipshape. At dusk the lamp was lit and then watched from the watchroom until sunrise. What else did keepers do? they greeted tourists ' ... sea quite smooth. keepers painting the watchroom and worki
“Yaquina Head’s light is 81’2” (25 m) above the ground and 162′ (49 m) above mean sea level; the top of the tower is 10′ (3 m) higher still. Higher is better – On America’s rugged west coast, keeping lights low enough to be seen under the fog was often a problem. However if they were placed too low, they couldn’t be seen far enough away to be useful. The higher a light is, the further it can be seen at sea. At 162 feet (49 m) above sea level, Yaquina Head’s light can be seen about 19 miles (32 km) out to sea. Late nights at the office – Imagine spending all of a long winter’s night sitting on a stiff chair 70 feet (21 m) up in the tower watching the light. Now try to imagine doing it in the years before there was radio, tv, or even electricity! The buildings attached to the light tower has two rooms which once served as the ‘oil room and office’ however the keepers stood nightly watch in the tower itself. Still lighting the way: Many ships and boats continue to depend on lighthouses for navigational aid. Equipment in the small building attached to the light tower keeps a light on in case the electricity fails. A small battery-powered back up light is attached to the railing surrounding the lantern deck – you can see it from the observation deck at the base of the tower. By modern standards, the regular routine of a lighthouse keeper was monotonous. It was however sometimes interrupted by unexpected moments of drama. ‘last night lightning struck the office and storeroom building. it tore off the copper, lead, and shingles where the root joins on to the tower …’ keeper’s log, Yaquina head, Oct 18 1920. By 10 am every day the lighthouse lamp was refueled and its five wicks trimmed. Throuhout the day, the lens and windows were cleaned and repairs made to keep everything shipshape. At dusk the lamp was lit and then watched from the watchroom until sunrise. What else did keepers do? they greeted tourists ‘ … sea quite smooth.

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Yaquina Head National Park, Newport, Oregon

"Yaquina Head's light is 81'2" (25 m) above the ground and 162' (49 m) above mean sea level;
“Yaquina Head’s light is 81’2” (25 m) above the ground and 162′ (49 m) above mean sea level; the top of the tower is 10′ (3 m) higher still.

Yaquina Head
Newport, Oregon

One of my favorite highlights of Newport, this great area of Natural Beauty is preserved by the Bureau of Land Management as part of the National Landscape Conservation System/Lands and a tourist hotspot on the Oregon Coast. Yaquina Head is a headland that extends into the Pacific Ocean with a pristine historic Light House at its head known as the Yaquina Head Light. The protected area is just north of Newport along U.S. Route 101. Consisting of 95 acres, it has been preserved since 1980. The head stands at 108 feet above sea level.

The area depicts a violent volcanic past with basalts that changed the coastline during volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. It is home to 5 hiking trails, all of which are less than a half mile in length paralleling the ocean or through the forest lines. It is a popular place for sightseeing, whale watching, bird watching, history, and the light house.

"Creating Cobbles; Cobbles, pebbles and sand are the result of boiling lava meeting the cold ocean, followed by 14 millin years of weather and erosion.  Fragments of ancient lava - hot basalt exploded upon contact with cold sea water and intermixed with quickly chilled volcanic glass to form a breccia. The cobbles on this beach are weathered remains of these exploded fragments. Sea water alters the glass surrounding the basalt fragments into a mineral called palagonite which is easily washed away. The water then attacks the fragment causing its corners to become more and more rounded. The cobbles are further rounded and made smaller by beach wave action. In the summer there is some sand on these beaches, but winter waves wash most of the sand out to sea leaving almost all cobbles on the beach. Between the tides: Tidal forces shape the shoreline and bring life to the intertidal area. Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the sun and moon. Here and elsewhere in the coastal Pacific Northwest there are almost always two high and two low tides daily. The pull of the moon and sun causes the oceans to bulge and the earth rotates under them. These bulges come and go as high tides. The tides would be easy to predict if they occurred exactly every six hours. However because the tides follow a cycle that is slightly more than six hours long, the whole sequence is repeated later each day. Mean (average) lowest low tide is used as the base level for most coastal charts and tide tables. When ships enter or leave harbor, the depth of water at mean low tide is more important to them than mean sea level." ~ information sign at Yaquina Head National Park, Newport, Oregon. Yaquina Head National Park (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25775). 1/27/16: Chronicles 23: Delving the Oregon Coast and Willamette Valley:  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=19727 -   Photos from  February 2016 . (c) 2016 - photo by Photographers Thomas Baurley  / Leaf McGowan
“Creating Cobbles; Cobbles, pebbles and sand are the result of boiling lava meeting the cold ocean, followed by 14 million years of weather and erosion. Fragments of ancient lava – hot basalt exploded upon contact with cold sea water and intermixed with quickly chilled volcanic glass to form a breccia. The cobbles on this beach are weathered remains of these exploded fragments. Sea water alters the glass surrounding the basalt fragments into a mineral called palagonite which is easily washed away. The water then attacks the fragment causing its corners to become more and more rounded. The cobbles are further rounded and made smaller by beach wave action. In the summer there is some sand on these beaches, but winter waves wash most of the sand out to sea leaving almost all cobbles on the beach. Between the tides: Tidal forces shape the shoreline and bring life to the intertidal area. Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the sun and moon. Here and elsewhere in the coastal Pacific Northwest there are almost always two high and two low tides daily. The pull of the moon and sun causes the oceans to bulge and the earth rotates under them. These bulges come and go as high tides. The tides would be easy to predict if they occurred exactly every six hours. However because the tides follow a cycle that is slightly more than six hours long, the whole sequence is repeated later each day. Mean (average) lowest low tide is used as the base level for most coastal charts and tide tables. When ships enter or leave harbor, the depth of water at mean low tide is more important to them than mean sea level.” ~ information sign at Yaquina Head National Park, Newport, Oregon. Yaquina Head National Park (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25775). 1/27/16: Chronicles 23: Delving the Oregon Coast and Willamette Valley: http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=19727 – Photos from February 2016 . (c) 2016 – photo by Photographers Thomas Baurley / Leaf McGowan

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John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (Clarno Unit – Oregon)

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument – The Clarno Unit
~ 32651 Highway 19, Kimberly, Oregon * Phone: (541) 987-2333 ~

The Clarno Unit is one of three sections of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument that was designated by the United States as an area of special concern in Wheeler and Grant counties of Eastern Oregon. It is located within the John Day River basin and operated by the National Parks Service. The focus of the protected area is its geology and paleontology specializing in well-preserved layers of fossilized materials including flora and fauna. Most found here date from the late Eocene around 45 million years ago to the late Miocene at 5 million years before present. The Other two units are Sheep Rock and Painted Hills. The total designated area is 13,944 acres of semi-desert shrub land, riparian zones, and badlands. It was originally visited by Native Americans such as the Sahaptin who hunted, fished, and gathered roots/berries in the region. Then came the Euro-American visitors who established ranches, farms, and small towns along the river. Under guidance of Thomas Condon in 1864, geologists and paleontologists began digging in the area and making the discoveries that the area is famous for today.

Clarno is the westermost of the three units and is approximately 1,969 acres roughly 18 miles west of Fossil along Oregon Route 218. A breathtaking rest stop along the scenic Journey through Time scenic byway in Oregon is the geological features known as the Pallisades. It is located roughly 18 miles west of Fossil, Oregon. These cliffs and land forms are created by prehistoric volcanic lahars (or volcanic mud flows) roughly 54-40 million years ago. This landscape was quite different at that time – a lush semi-tropical rainforest with jungles, vines, trees, shrubs and mega fauna. After the volcanic cataclysms, the environment was turned into the arid desert it is now. Fossil evidence depicts a vast arrange of plant life from leavaes, fruits, nuts, seeds, and petrified wood of over 173 species of trees, vines, shrubs, and other plants. Numerous faunal fossil remains of crocodiles, mini four-toed horses, huge rhino-like brontotheres, and meat-eating creodonts were found. There are three distinct hiking trails all under a mile in length demonstrating the fossil and geological record. Picnic tables and restrooms make for a restful stay. Drinking water is available from the rest stop May through September.

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

john day fossil site – clarno unit info board: “Few places in North America offer such a unique look into the distant past than the clarno unit of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. From the glimpses of the tropical forest captured in the rocks of the palisade cliffs to the spectacular nuts, fruits, leaves and twigs preserved in the one of a kind clarno nut beds, to the rhinos, brontotherese and hroses unearthed in the hancock mammal quarry pictured here. The fossil of clarno provide an extremely rare and surprisingly complex record of life in ancient oregon 40-54 million years ago. … massive brontotheres – left, primitive four toed horses such as epihippus center and hapiohippus right and a powerful bear-like predator hemipsaladon – upper right are just a few of the fascinating animals unearthed in the hancock mammal quarry. The quarry located only a mile from werhe you stnd may have been a watering hole where animals congregated in large numbers as in this artist’s depiction. Many fossil specimes unearthed here are on display in the Thomas Condon Paleontological Center near Dayville Oregon. “The Pallisades (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=27413) – Clarno Unit – John Day Fossil National Monument (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=27401). Volcanic Legacy: Chronicle 25 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Oregon. Photos taken August 2, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21521. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Journey through Time Scenic Byway (Oregon)

Journey Through Time Scenic Byway – Oregon
~ Oregon ~

This scenic route goes through parts of the state of Oregon spanning five counties and passing through Dayville, Mount Vernon, John Day, and Prairie City. It consists of Oregon Routes 7, 19, 26, 218 and U.S. Route 97 following much of the John Day River. Its purpose is to take tourists and drivers along the pioneer history of Oregon focusing on geology and paleontological history. It is 286 miles in length. You can start from Biggs along U.S. 97 through Shaniko to Antelope, then east on Oregon 218 to Fossil. Rest stop in John Day Fossil Beds National Monument then take it along Oregon 19 towards Kimberly, then east on U.S. 26 to Dayville, then through Mount Vernon, John Day, and Prairie City onwards east along Oregon 7 to Baker City. This route was established February 19, 1997 as a Oregon Scenic Byway.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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The Pallisades, John Day Fossil Beds, Oregon

The Pallisades – John Day Fossil Beds
~ Fossil, Oregon * Contact: 32651 Highway 19, Kimberly, OR 97848 * Phone: (541) 987-2333 ~

A breathtaking rest stop along the scenic Journey through Time scenic byway in Oregon is the geological features known as the Pallisades. It is located roughly 18 miles west of Fossil, Oregon. These cliffs and land forms are created by prehistoric volcanic lahars (or volcanic mud flows) roughly 54-40 million years ago. This landscape was quite different at that time – a lush semi-tropical rainforest with jungles, vines, trees, shrubs and mega fauna. After the volcanic cataclysms, the environment was turned into the arid desert it is now. Fossil evidence depicts a vast arrange of plant life from leavaes, fruits, nuts, seeds, and petrified wood of over 173 species of trees, vines, shrubs, and other plants. Numerous faunal fossil remains of crocodiles, mini four-toed horses, huge rhino-like brontotheres, and meat-eating creodonts were found. There are three distinct hiking trails all under a mile in length demonstrating the fossil and geological record. Picnic tables and restrooms make for a restful stay. Drinking water is available from the rest stop May through September.

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park


~ Carlsbad, New Mexico USA ~

One of my favorite parks, Carlsbad Caverns was like Disney World to me as a kid growing up in New Mexico. I certainly visited the caves as often as a Florida kid visits said theme park. As a “Rockhound” and Geology buff, I went there often on my own during high school, fascinated by the depths, the stalagtites, columns, and stalagmites. I still share the fascination at this world class cavern never bored on its fantastic features and creatures.

The Cavern is located about 18 miles southwest of Carlsbad in the Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico. Anyone viewing the cave can hike in through the natural entrance, or if hiking disabled can take the elevator down to the bottom via the visitor center. The main chamber of the cavern that is the most famous is called “The Big Room” which is 4,000 feet long, 625 feet wide, and 255 feet high – as a large limestone chamber that is recorded as the fifth largest chamber in North America and the 28th largest in the world. There are over 119 caves and caverns in the park of which three are open to the public for tours but the main large show cave is the prime attraction. Slaughter Canyon Cave, New Cave, and Spider Cave are undeveloped with guided adventure caving tours available by reservation. Lechuguilla Cave has a prestine underground environment with delicate speleotems that once was used by guano miners. There have been over 120 miles of cave passages mapped and explored to a depth of 1600 feet.

The caverns were created roughly 250 million years before present when the area was once a coastline for an inland sea. At this time, there was a major reef called the Capitan Reef abundant with corals, sea creatures, and life. There are fossil records of Permian life including bryozoans, sponges, and other micro-organisms. Once the Permian period came and disappeared, most of the water evaporated leaving the reef buried in evaporites, sediments, and sands. There was great Tectonic action during the late Cenozoic which pushed the reef above ground, then it was hit by erosion, which sculpted the Guadalupe Mountains to how they are today.

As the water drained through the bed of limestone it was within the groundwater zone. The petroleum rserves were far beneath the limestones, and during the end of the Cenozoic, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) seeped upwards from the petroleum into the groundwater, combining with oxygen from the groundwater created sulfuric acid which continued upward dissolving the limestone deposits in its path creating caverns. The gypsum in the cave was the bbyproduct of this process when the sulphuric acid combine with the limestone. As the acidic groundwater drained from the caverns, speleothems deposited within the caverns and exposure to the influx of air into the cavern helped carve the caves we see today. As rain water and snow melt entered the cavern, it picked up carbon dioxide and as it reached the cavern ceiling precipitated and evaporated leaving calcium carbonate deposits that would grow dow from the roof as stalagites, this would create stalagmites, columns, soda straws, draperies, helictites, and popcorn features.

The cavern was first discovered by Euro-Americans in 1898 when Jim White, a teenage at the time, made a homemade wire ladder to climb down within – discovering the magical world before him. He assigned names to many of the rooms and features such as the Big Room, Queens Chamber, Papoose Room, Green Lake Room, Kings Palace, and New Mexico Room for the chambers, and Witches Finger, Totem Pole, Temple of the Sun, Fairyland, Rock of Ages, Giant dome, Bottomless Pit, Iceberg Rock for various formations.

Tourists were taken down into the caverns well before 1932 by means of a switchback ramp down to 750 feet and it was in 1932 that the visitor center was opened including an elevator for visitors who wore out easy or had difficulties walking down into the depths. They also built a cafeteria down below, gift shop, and restrooms. Millions of visitors now visit the caverns annually. The Guadalupe Room was discovered in 1966. Additional chambers and rooms were discovered in 1985 when new exploration techniques were invented discovering the chambers known as the Spirit World and the Baloon Ballroom. In 1993 a series of new smaller passages were explored that took the explorers well over a mile further discovering additional rooms outside of the New Mexico Room and being catalogued as “Chocolate High”. The bottom was discovered to the Bottomless Pit at 140 feet deep. In October 2013, a new large chamber was found hundreds of feet aboe the main area of the Spirit World and called “Halloween Hall” at 100 feet diameter with more than 1,000 bat bones on the floor.

They built a bat flight seating area so visitors could watch the bats fly out of the cave each evening with programs included and explanations of what is happening. There are often morning programs as well so that visitors can see the bats return to the cave. Most of the cave’s inhabitants are the Mexican free tailed bats who fly out each evening from the natural entrance to the nearest water sources. There have been recorded over 17 different species of bats in the park. The populations were estimated in the millions but much of the population has declined in recent years due to the use of DDT in the local surroundings by farmers and ranchers.

A recreation area detached from the park called “Rattlesnake Springs” picnic area is a natural oasis as a wooded riparian area in the desert, home to over 300 species of birds. The area is developed with landscaping, wildlife habitats, and picnic tables for visitors.

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

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Sitting Bull Falls (Carlsbad, New Mexico)

Sitting Bull Falls
~ Eddy County Rd 409, Lincoln National Forest, Carlsbad, New Mexico USA ~ https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/lincoln/recarea/?recid=34238 ~

This amazing oasis in the middle of the desert outside of Carlsbad New Mexico is amongst my world’s favorite locations and cooling off zones. I grew up with the Cave and the pools from childhood, hanging out there with friends from high school, partying in the pools above, stealthily camping and cave exploring long before there were required permits and restrictive gates or access. It has changed quite a bit, but very much improved for recreation and protecting the natural resources on location. It is a day-use only site. The site has pavilions, picnic tables, water, and restrooms accessible. There are established hiking trails from the site. It is open from 8:30 am until 6 pm with a $5 per vehicle parking fee.

The site is a astonishing dream-like 150′ waterfall than pours over canyon walls with a stalactite/stalagmite filled cavern behind it, dumping down into crystal clear natural swimming pools beneath. It is one of a series of waterfalls found in this canyon lost within the Lincoln National Forest that are spring fed through a series of streams and pools until reaching its drop-off. Most of the river’s water disappears into cracks, gravel, and bedrock and reappears in springs further down the canyon eventually joining the Pecos Valley underwater aquifer.

The geology of the area is a remnant reef system known as the Capitan Great Barrier Reef dating from the Permian period around 250 million years ago when the region was the edge of an inland sea. The name of the falls has never been proven, but legend has it that the cave behind the falls was used by Sitting Bull to hide. The Apache called the area “gostahanagunti” meaning “hidden gulch”. In 1940, the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed number of stone buildings that are now part of the parking lot and picnic area. THere is a time capsule dated March 24, 1999 embedded into one of the buildings. The park was closed from APril 27, 2011 through April 6, 2012 after wildfires in the are destroyed the area making it unsafe.

There are numerous sacred pools above the falls which are great for swimming in. In order to explore the cave behind the waterfall or any of the other caves in the area, one needs proper equipment and obtain a permit.

The site is easy to get to, though quite a distance from Carlsbad so be ready for some bumpy dirt roads. Take US highway 285 north from Carlsbad, turn west on NM 137 for 20 miles to county road 409, turn right and continue to the site. Another turn-off is right across the highway from the turn-off to Bradford Lake State Park.

Another family’s video of caving in the cave: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWWj5Z7iy_I

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Memorial Park (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

Memorial Park – Prospect Lake
~ Memorial, 1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave. Colorado Springs, Colorado ((E. Pikes Peak and Hancock Aves) ~
~ https://coloradosprings.gov/parks/page/memorial-park ~

In the heart of Colorado Springs is a beautiful multi-use park offering outdoor recreations to all sports enthusiasts and a great place for outdoor family gatherings. It features tennis courts, recreational lake with swimming beach, multiple baseball fields, an aquatic center, bicycle velodrome, ice skating center, basketball courts, volleyball, and multi-use sports fields. For families it offers playground and picnic areas with reservation spaces available. The Park embraces much of the shores of Prospect Lake and features a 1.25 mile fitness trail around the lake for walking, jogging, and hiking. Prospect Lake also features fishing, swimming, boating, water skiing, and jet skiing space. The Skate Park is Colorado’s second largest skate park at 40,000 square feet with competition-size space features for inline skaters, skateboarders, and BMX bikers. There is no cost to use these facilities. Prospect Lake also has a official beach and bath house and two fishing areas with docks. The sports center has an administrative office, three baseball/softball fields, 15 football/soccer fields, 12 tennis courts, and the YMCA hosting an indoor poor, fitness room, social/play room, and swimming lessons. The park features tribute and memorials to soldiers, guards, and military service. There are also horseshoe courts, multi-play courts, three playgrounds, restrooms, public telephones, vending machines, concessions, three trails: prospect lake fitness trail 1.25 miles, criterium trail at .6 miles, and perimeter jogging trail at 2.2 miles.

Review – I am very impressed with this park and love the lake. However, the lake is very murky at times and according to the local hospital its cleanliness is questionable, although they offer a official swimming beach and areas. My son on 6/10/18 was swimming in the lake and cut his foot on something sharp on the bottom of the lake floor requiring 4 stitches, so please be careful and aware. The indoor swim center hosted by the YMCA is laden with rules, often shutting down / interrupting swim time for ‘safety breaks’ and have some outrageous restrictions in play. Not to mention use of the pool is very high priced and oriented towards wealthier clientele. The staff are not very friendly or positive, and the overall experience is just not enjoyable. We have not used the bath house as it is often closed leaving swimming beaches and use around other parts of the lake leading to more unsafe conditions.

Rated: 3.4 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions visited last 6/10/18. ~

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Garden of the Gods (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545)

Garden of the Gods
1805 N 30th Street (at Gateway Rd) * Manitou / Colorado Springs, Colorado * 719.634.6666 * http://www.gardenofgods.com/ * http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545
Originally first published May 9, 2009 by Thomas Baurley

Garden of the Gods is a unique natural geological park that is located in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs … and is a Registered National Natural Landmark. It’s open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the summer and 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the winter. The park boasts over a million visitors a year or more.

History and Mythology

Where the Great Plains grasslands meet the low-lying pinon-juniper woodlands of the American Southwest at the base of the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains a geological upheaval occurred along the Trans-Rocky Mountain Fault system creating these spectacular features over a million years ago. Horizontal ancient beds of sandstone, limestone, and conglomerates were pushed and tilted vertically when the tectonic plates pushed together. Glaciations, wind, and water erosion shaped the features over hundreds of thousands of years.

This geologic feature was seen as sacred grounds by the original inhabitants of the area, potentially visited and used for spirituality possibly over 3,000 years ago to present. As early as 1330 B.C.E. evidence of human occupation has been found from petroglyphs, fire rings, pottery, and stone tools have been left behind. The Ute Indians claim that their people always had lived where Garden of the Gods Park now stands and their people were created there and around Manitou.

The Kiowa, Apache, Shoshone, Pawnee, Cheyenne, and Arapaho also claim their peoples visited or lived here. It was known as a pivotal crossroads and meeting place for many indigenous peoples and nomadic tribes gathered together for peace. Rivaling tribes were said to even have laid down their weapons before entering the shadows of the sandstone features.

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography. Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.

Two sets of petroglyphs were found here – the first hidden in a crevice on the east side of South Gateway Rock depicting a circular shield-like figure divided into four parts with a rain cloud terrace image, a Thunderbird image, zigzag lines, and image of wheat or corn and a faint flower-like image with a dozen dots forming a semi-circle over its top which some experts said was done recently in the last 100 years copying Indian designs from a book. The other petroglyph is pecking in the rock discovered in the 1980’s and estimated to date to 1500 C.E. most likely an Ute Indian design potentially depicting a deer, a third of a buffalo head, and maybe a stone tool seemingly telling a story.

Alleged Native American legends of the site have been told, their authenticity unknown. Marion E. Gridley wrote in “Indian Legends of American Scenes” telling a tale about a great flood that covered all the mountains nearby Pikes Peak. As the waters receded, the Great Spirit petrified the carcasses of all animals killed by the flood into sandstone rolling them down into this valley as evidence of the Great Flood.

The second was written by Ford C. Frick saying “… in the nestling ales and on the grassy plains which lie at the foot of the Great White Mountain that points the way to heaven lived the Chosen People. Here they dwelt in happiness together. And above them on the summit of the Mighty Peak where stand the Western Gates of Heaven, dwelt the Manitou. And that the Chosen might know of his love the Manitou did stamp uon the Peak the image of his face that all might see and worship him … but one day as the storm clouds played about the Peak, the image of the Manitou was hid .. and down from the North swept a barbaric tribe of giants, taller than the spruce which grew upon the mountain side and so great that in their stamping strides they shook the earth. And with the invading host came gruesome beasts – unknown and awful in their mightiness – monstrous beasts that would devour the earth and tread it down … and as the invading hosts came on the Chosen Ones fell to the earth at the first gentle slope of mountain and prayed to Manitou to aid it. Then came to pass a wondrous miracle, the clouds broke away and sunshine smote the Peak and from the very summit, looking down, appeared the face of Manitou himself. And stern he looked upon the advancing host, and as he looked the giants and beasts turned to stone within their very steps … “

If this site was in Australia or Europe, it would be named castles and fortresses associated with Gods, Deities, Spirits, or Faeries.

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography. Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.

Westerners first discovered the features in 1859 by two surveyors who were here to build Old Colorado City. M.S. Beach, one of the surveyors thought it would be a great location for a beer garden. The other surveyor replied to him stating “A Beer Garden? Why this is fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it Garden of the Gods”. General William Jackson Palmer who was known for his contributions of building Colorado Springs convinced his colleague Charles Elliot Perkins to buy the 240 acres embracing the features. In 1909 his children donated the land to the city of Colorado Springs.

The original family that donated the land to the public required that it would always remain free, and that is what it remains today. Garden of the Gods stands as a great park for hiking, walking, bicycling, rock climbing, picnicking, special events, and weddings … The park has it all … protected as 1,387 scenic acres … and presents itself as a unique tourist / information center, with a theater and gift shop near the entrance. Within are 15 miles of trails ranging in various levels of difficulty from beginner to advance for hiking and exercise.
A historical video greets you at the welcome center and tells the tale that began in the 1870’s when the railroads carved westward, when General William Jackson Palmer founded the city of Colorado Springs and upon discovering this natural beauty, urged his friend Charles Elliott Perkins, the head of Burlington Railroad, to make his home where the park now stands. He lived there until he finished his railway from Chicago to Colorado Springs. His railroad project wasn’t a success and never made its destination in the springs.
His homestead eventually became his summer home in 1879. He purchased 480 acres and never actualized building on it, leaving the land in its natural state and for the public. When he died in 1907, he made arrangements for the land to be a public park, and this was enacted by his children in 1909 forever as the Garden of the Gods “where it shall remain free to the public, where no intoxicating liquors shall be manufactured, sold, or dispensed, where no building or structure shall be erected except those necessary to properly care for, protect, and maintain the area as a public park.” That is exactly what they’ve done …. and its a beautiful place to be.

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography. Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.

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Great Sand Dunes National Park

The Great Sand Dunes
* http://www.nps.gov/grsa/index.htm *

One of my favorite parts of Colorado is its great diversity in the ranges of the Rocky Mountains. One of those hotspots of “oddity” is the vast Sahara-like desert of sand dunes in the San Luis Valley. Of course California, New Mexico, and Arizona has tons of sand dunes – but Colorado’s is very unique, especially at the foot of snow-covered mountain peaks and being the tallest dunes in the United States. This geologic feature extends 5 x 7 miles with a grand height of 700 feet above the valley floor (over 7,600 feet above sea level). As early as 440,000 years ago, the dunes were formed from the Rio Grande River’s and associated tributaries flowing through the San Luis Valley. Over a period of several thousand years, and continually growing today, the westerly winds blow the sand over the Rockies and down along the river flood plain, collecting sand, and depositing them on the east edge of the San Luis Valley before the winds rise up and over the Sangre de Cristo mountain range shaping these huge stable dunes. There are also some parts of the dunes where patches of black sand can be found made up of magnetite deposits as crystalline iron black oxide. Medano Creek winds through the dunes as it is fed by melting snow from the mountains. It extends roughly 10 miles, flowing from spring and early summer from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and disappears into the floor of the valley. An unusual feature of the creek is that it never finds a permanent and stable streambed causing small underwater sand dunes that act like dams are continuously formed and destroyed, causing what seems like “surges” with “waves of water” flowing downstream with intervals of a few seconds to a few minutes, and can appear as large as a foot in height with an appearance of an “ocean wave”. The geological area is known as a “High Desert” with summer temperatures not typical of normal high desert lands, varying from high and low temperatures of exceedly cold nights (even below zero). There are also alpine lakes and tundra in the park, with six peaks over 13,000 feet in elevation, ancient spruces, pine forests, aspens, cottonwoods, grasslands, and wetlands. The park is also notated as being the quietest park in the United States. The park, is managed by the National Park Service, and has been a place of enjoyment under their reigns since November 2000 with over 85,000 acres. In 2004 it became known as the “Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve”. It can be reached west from Mosca along country road 6 North, or from the south along CO road 150. The park hosts a great visitor center, a campground, four wheel drive trails, restrooms, and picnic areas. The park is great for hiking, wading, sand castles, sandbox play, sunbathing, sand sledding, rough play, skimboarding, photoshoots, and ATV sports. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Visited 7/12/2008. 2/16/2017. Review by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Leafworks and Technogypsie Research/Review Services.

Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Campout at the Great Sand Dunes (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267), Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken August 27, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Campout at the Great Sand Dunes (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267), Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken August 27, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Campout at the Great Sand Dunes (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267), Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken August 27, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Campout at the Great Sand Dunes (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267), Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken August 27, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Campout and Play time at Colorado’s highest beach – the Great Sand Dunes (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267), Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken August 28, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Campout and Play time at Colorado’s highest beach – the Great Sand Dunes (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267), Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken August 28, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Campout and Play time at Colorado’s highest beach – the Great Sand Dunes (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267), Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken August 28, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Campout and Play time at Colorado’s highest beach – the Great Sand Dunes (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267), Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken August 28, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Campout and Play time at Colorado’s highest beach – the Great Sand Dunes (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267), Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken August 28, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Campout and Play time at Colorado’s highest beach – the Great Sand Dunes (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267), Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken August 28, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Campout and Play time at Colorado’s highest beach – the Great Sand Dunes (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267), Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken August 28, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Campout and Play time at Colorado’s highest beach – the Great Sand Dunes (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267), Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken August 28, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Campout and Play time at Colorado’s highest beach – the Great Sand Dunes (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267), Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken August 28, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Campout and Play time at Colorado’s highest beach – the Great Sand Dunes (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267), Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken August 28, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Come back soon. Article expected to be published by February 20, 2017.

Pagosa Springs, Colorado ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=30437, Southwest Colorado, USA. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Wolf Creek, Colorado

Wolf Creek, Colorado

Come back soon. Article expected to be published by February 20, 2017.

Wolf Creek, Colorado ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=30441) – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Olympic National Forest

Sol Duc Hotsprings and Campground (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26101). Olympic National Forest and Park: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099. Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 26, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Sol Duc Hotsprings and Campground (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26101). Olympic National Forest and Park: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099.

Olympic National Forest
Washington

One of my favorite forests next the the Redwoods is the Olympic National Forest especially the Olympic National Park. However, when I visited in March 2016, it just wasn’t the same. It seemed not in the glorious state I remember. Perhaps it was the wildfires in 2015 that battered it down. Nonetheless, a must visit location for anyone wanting to experience “America”. The Olympic National Forest is located on the Olympic Peninsula, west of Seattle Washington. The park consists of 628,115 acres of preserved rain forest and surrounds the Olympic National Park and its associated mountain range. The landscape varies depending on where in the forest you are, from beaches, salt water fjords, mountain peaks, and of course rain forest (temperate). The forest receives approximately 220 inches of rain each year. It was created as a Olympic Forest Reserve in 1897, then re-named the “Olympic National Forest” in 1907. The extent of its old growth is estimated to be around 266,000 acres (1993 study).

Hoh Rainforerst (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26103) - Olympic National Forest and Park: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099. Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 26, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Hoh Rainforerst (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26103) – Olympic National Forest and Park: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099. Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 26, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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White Sands National Monument

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White Sands National Monument
* Alamogordo, New Mexico * www.nps.gov/whsa/ *

A childhood tromping ground for me with memories of hikes, sliding down cardboard boxes and skis, White Sands was our favorite desert. Rolling hills of white gypsum sand was our concept of a desert as kids. The Monument is located 16 miles southwest of Alamogordo, New Mexico. It resides at an elevation of 4,235 feet above sea level and is a 275 mile field of white gypsum crystal sand.

The first known humans to investigate the sand beds were the Mescalero Apache who lived in the area. The first official exploration was by the U.S. Army in 1849 C.E. The first Euro-Americans to explore the sands were Hispanic families farming in the area around 1861 C.E. (Common Era) inhabiting Tularosa (1861) and La Luz (1863). IT was already as early as 1898 C.E. when thoughts were discussed about turning White Sands into a National Park, originally proposed as Mescalero National Park as a game hunting preserve. This was not successful as the idea conflicted ethically with the National Park Service mission which does not preserve sites for hunting. It wasn’t until 1933 when President Hoover created the White Sands National Monument. The Monument however is completely surrounded by military installations such as the White Sands Missile Range and the Holloman Air Force Base. Relations between the government agencies haven’t always gone well as over 131,000 errant missiles have fallen into the National Park property destroying some of the areas for visitors and fly-overs by the air force base have disturbed animal life and the serene tranquility of the monument. It was proposed to be part of the World Heritage Sites in 2008, but shot down by U.S. Representative Stevan Pearce who believed such listing would endanger use by military installations in the near future. This caused a lot of controversy in the surrounding are with resulting petitions signed, passing Ordinance 07-05 purporting to make it illegal to become a World Heritage Site. In 2008 the Commission had a Attorney demand that the Secretary of the Interior remove it from the Tentative World Heritage Site list.

White sands is unique in that gypsum is rarely found in the form of sand because of it being water-soluble as rains would normally dissolve it and carry it out to sea. But since the Tularosa Basin is enclosed, there is no outlet to the sea trapping it in the basin, with water sinking into the ground forming shallow pools that eventually dry out creating selenite crystal, or flowing out south into the Hueco Basin. These crystals can grow upwards in length of 3 feet. Weathering and erosion usually pulverize them back into the sand thereby creating the white dunes which constantly change shape moving downwind. Many different forms of dunes can be found in the park – including domes, transverse, barchan, and parabolic dunes. These sands never heat up like the quartz-based sand crystals so can safely always be walked on with bare feet even in the hottest weather months. The park is open annually, except twice a week for 1-2 hours during missile testing by neighboring bases for safety reasons. The Trinity site, where the world’s first atom bomb was detonated, can be found in the northernmost boundaries of the White Sands Missile Range.

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Montezuma Castle

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Montezuma Castle National Monument
* Camp Verde, Arizona * http://www.nps.gov/moca/index.htm *

Thanks to the Antiquities Act of 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt celebrated it by naming and declaring four National Monuments as having such historic and cultural significance, one of these was Montezuma castle – one of the best preserved examples of cliff dwellings in the country. This 45-50 room Sinagua pueblo ruin sheltered into a natural alcove in a cliff face overlooking Beaver Creek for 400 years is a phenomenal work of art. It was excavated in 1933, and although little artifacts remained, the architecture alone made it shine above others. Early visitors were allowed entrance into the castle by climbing a series of ladders up the limestone cliffs, but due to damages from tourism, it was closed off in 1951. The park consists of over 826 protected acres at the intersection of the Colorado Plateau, Colorado Basin, and Colorado Range. The park attracts over 350,000 visitors a year and is open 7 days a week from 8 am until 5 pm, except being closed for Christmas. The National Park Service has a wonderful museum below at the gate covering the history of the Sinagua and how the cliff dwellings were constructed, displays some of the artifacts recovered, tools used for life, and presents a gift shop for tourists.

The dwellings were first built and used by the Sinagua culture, a pre-Columbian peoples who were distinctly related to the Hohokam who once lived along the valley floor. The cliff dwelling is 5 stores in height and took over five centuries to construct. The construct is stone and mortar buildings with 20 rooms that could have housed upwards of 50 people. Carved into a limestone high cliff, the natural alcove shades the room from sun and rain. It took much skill to create this masterpiece, had an incredibly defensive standpoint, and was difficult to climb up into even with the ladders. There is evidence in another cliff wall that a earlier larger dwelling, but nothing remains of it. Original artifacts remaining were minimal as the area had been highly looted through the ages. It was occupied from 1100 C.E. to 1425 C.E. with its flourishing peak around 1300 C.E. Many tribes trace their roots to this pueblo, including several Hopi clans. This makes the Castle a pilgrimage point for the Hopi and other tribes who conduct religious ceremonies at this place. The first Euro-American contact was in the 1860s which gave it the name “Montezuma Castle” a big misnomer as the Aztec Emperor of Mexico never had anything to do with this community. In fact, it was built and abandoned at least 100 years long before he was ever born. The area was briefly abandoned due to volcanic ash that came from the Sunset Crater Volcano, and its likely the sediment from that ash aided with Sinagua agricultural success. During this brief flash of history, they lived on the hills nearby, then in 1125 re-settled in the Verde Vally and re-cycled the irrigation systems set up by their ancestors the Hohokam. They evacuated the area for an unknown as of yet reason around 1425 C.E. Theories for this ranged from droughts, clashes with the Yavapai people who moved into the Valley, and/or warfare.

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“Timeless Beauty: Montezuma castle invites us to pause in wonder at the ingenuity of the people who began building it over 700 years ago. Ancestors of today’s Puebloan peoples built and occupied the Castle. We can only speculate why they chose to build here and how they lived in this magnificent cliff dwelling. Both Montezuma and Castle are misnomers. In the 1800s European Americans were fascinated with Inca, May, and Aztec civilizations and gave southwestern sites exotic names, in this case for Emperor Montezuma II – who lived long after the Castle was constructed. The Yayapai call this place the home of the protectors of the Yavapai. The Hopi refer to it as both Sakataka, place where the step ladders are going up and Wupat’pela for long high walls. Due to looting, by the early 1900s much of what the Castle’s residents left behind was gone. Damage to the building increased as visitors climbed ladders to walk through the rooms. Now this dwelling is only accessed for inspection, maintenance, and research.” ~ marker, Montezuma Castle, NM.

“Creating a home: To construct their cliff home, residents made use of a naturally eroded alcove and fit 20 rooms into the shape of its contours. Why build a home in a cliff face? There are many possibilities: proximity to water and farmland, to stay above floods, or for protection, the view, or the southern exposure that afforded winter solar heat and summer shade. A ready-made shelter also meant fewer walls and roofs to construct for housing, storage, workspace, customs, and rituals. To organize and partition the alcove space, builders created walls with river cobbles and limestone held together with mud mortar. Mud plaster covered and sealed the walls. For roof beams and floors between multi-storied rooms, they mostly used local sycamore along with some alder and ash, but also carried in fir and pine from a distance. The original roof beams protruding from the wall to the right of the tower and the large beam ending in the wall above the tower provide a sense of scale – the castle is not as high up or as large as it might appear. Each group living in the Castle likely had their own room, with roughly 140 square feet (13 sq. meters) or about 17.5 feet by 8 feet (5.3 m x 2.4 m) on average. Ceilings were at about 5 feet (1.5 meters). Peep holes and doorways provided light in the morning and early afternoon, but rooms were dark in the late afternoon and evening. Women or children likely did the plastering including annual patching of exterior walls that eroded easily – their hand prints are still visible in the plaster today.” ~ marker, Montezuma Castle, NM.

“Cycles of Care: Around the year 1400 C.E. people began leaving their homes here. Five hundred years later, its walls were still largely intact. The builders chose their home site wisely, taking advantage of the shelter that a natural alcove provided. The majority of what you see today is original, and the Castle is thought to be one of the best preserved sites from the period, likely due to its inaccessibility. Hopi and other Native consultants say dwellings like this were meant to recycle back to earth after the people left. However, in 1906 the Castle became a national monument to be managed for present and future generations. A variety of preservation treatments were applied to help withstand hundreds of thousands of visitors and keep the walls standing. Whenever possible, archaeologists attempt to match today’s treatment more closely with the original materials and building details, applying the minimum necessary to protect the integrity of the structure. ” ~ marker, Montezuma Castle, NM.

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Montezuma Well

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Montezuma Well
* Montezuma Well and Montezuma Castle, Arizona *

One of my favorite wells in America, this Native American sacred site is phenomenal and full of mystery! When driving up to the Well, just north of Montezuma Castle, its a small 1/3 mile hike up a short hill to a naturally occurring spring in a sink hole thriving for hundreds if not thousands of years in the desert. Over the top of the sink hole is a series of empty cliff dwellings, caves, and ruins of stone pueblos from peoples who used to live at the sacred spring. It was formed by an enormous limestone cavern collapsing into the spring forming the sinkhole that you see here. From prehistoric cultures to a 14th century farm, the ruins on this National Park property is enticing on their own with the magical spring as icing on the cake. This natural oasis is like none other as a natural well with a never-ending supply of water for a region where water is very scarce. The waters in this spring well up from deep underground caverns and flow constantly out into the sinkhole and down through the boulders into the nearby river. The sinkhole measures approximately 368 feet across and 55 to 120 feet deep with an elevation of 3,618 feet above sea level. The well’s spring water trickles down through the limestone boulders into Beaver Creek, the sacred outlet being a spring hole under the boulders from the sinkhole and is most likely the the revered sacred outlet of the spring.

Over 15 million gallons (57 million liters) springing forth from these primordial origins. The geology of the area is very unique providing refuge to various species of animals, plants, and creatures that are found no where else in the world. This contributes to the sacredness it possesses to early peopling in the area, especially those living at Montezuma Castle cliff dwellings. The name “Montezuma” is a misnomer, as he most likely never visited nor knew of this place. The Hopi called it “Yuvukva” meaning “sunken spring” or “Tawapa” meaning “sun spring”. The Yavapai called it “Ah-hah gkith-gygy-vah” meaning “broken water”. The Western Apache called it “Tu sitch’iL meaning “Water breaks open”. The spring and sinkhole is embedded into emergence mythologies and is a place of origins to many tribes. The communities that settled here were able to exist here for several centuries. No one is sure of why these people left, but it could have been a build-up of low-level arsenic found in the waters affecting their health over time. The Dwellings date from the 1100’s of the Common Era (C.E) through 1400 C.E. when large networks of pueblo-communities set up their villages in the Verde Valley especially at Sacred Mountain and Montezuma Castle.

The two peoples that lived in this area well recorded were the Hohokam and the Sinagua. The first settlers were believed to be the Hohokan, a Pima word for “all used up”. They lived in pit houses made of sticks, poles, and mud irrigating crops of beans, corn, and squash. The second peoples were the Sinagua. Sinagua means “without water” in Spanish, and may have related to the disappearance of the people when droughts hit the area. The Sinagua created the cliff dwellings and pueblos upwards of 55 rooms in the area. They primarily farmed the area as well as some hunting. They were master craftspeople creating tools, manos, metates, ornaments, and garments. Natives first occupied the area around 2,000 years ago – along the Verde River and Beaver Creek. The peoples went through waves of occupations and disappeared almost as quickly as overnight. Archaeologists pondered the reason for this, from low levels of arsenic in the waters making them ill over time, drought, exhausted soil, diseases, wars with marauding tribes coming into the area, or viral outbreaks. No one knows for sure, but when they left, they left the dwellings in the same condition as they had inhabited them.

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This sink hole has been a mystery to everyone who has encountered it. Science today is still stumped about its complexities – its depth, its source, and its constant flow. It is considered quite miraculous. The Yavapai and Apache peoples believe that once something emerges from its vents at the bottom of the well, it can never return. Oral traditions tell of the spirit of a great water serpent that still lives here called “Ah-hah bavilwaja” or “water monster”. That has been true, even to science. Even when a regional drought is taking effect on the area, a sweet 1.6 million gallons flow through its main vents every day at a fairly regular consistency and nearly constant 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius). Science thinks they might have an idea where the water originated and is constantly investigating with National Park Service dive teams. 55 feet deep, fluidized fine sand boiling up in swirling cascading mounds creating the mirage of a false bottom as the vents are another 65 feet deeper making measuring its depth difficult. They tried to put research equipment in and just as the legend dictates, could never get them in, they would always be pushed out. Specialists of all kinds have come to study the well through the years. The geology of the well tells its formation was between 10,000 and 13,000 years ago from precipitation atop the Mogollan Rim peculating down through hundreds of yards of rock, basalt flows, Coconino sandstone, Supal Group, Hermit Shales and others until it reached the relatively permeable Red wall Limestone beneath trickling towards the Spring that is Montezuma Well. The waters and soils combined with an underground dike of volcanic basalt forcing it back to the surface after its ten-millennium journey. Geological patterns and ripples of travertine just 1/3 of a mile around the spring are remains of another massive dome created by yet an older spring than the existing one in Montezuma Well. There are no fish within these waters, just thousands of freshwater leeches and is home to creatures found nowhere else on the planet. Since there are high levels of dissolved carbon dioxide – 80 times higher than any other lake, life is impossible for the fish, amphibians, and aquatic insects to settle here. The well is home to only 5 living species with the leeches being the top of the food chain. These are (1) Endemic leeches, (2) amphipods, (3) snails, (4) diatoms, and (5) water scorpions. The amphipods risk going to the surface to feed on microscopic algae trying to escape the leeches during the late afternoon sunlight. Once darkness folds, the leeches rise and feast on them. Migrating ducks, native sonoran mud turtles, and muskrats often come in and swim the waters on occasion as well. Around the edge of the spring is quite a varied assortment of plant and animal live. The plant life include the One seed Juniper, Arizona Sycamore, Arizona Walnut, Acacia, Velvet Mesquite, Velvet Ash, Joint-fir, Ephedra plant, Cliff-rose, Brittle bush, Salt Bush, Creosote Bush, Desert Broom, Spanish Dagger, Indian paintbrush, gray thistle, hedgehog cactus, gray thistle, pale evening prim rose, penstemon, prickle poppy, prickly pear, jimsonweed, milkvetch, yellow columbine, maidenhair spleenwort, and Globemallow. Animal life include deer, raven, american wigeons, coots, cinnamon teal, canadian geese, gadwalls, ruddy ducks, mallards, robin, roadrunner, red-tailed hawk, great horned owl, american kestrel, belted kingfisher, gamble’s quail, cardinal, canyon wren, black phoebe, gila woodpecker, great blue heron, lesser goldfinch, mourning doves, red-shafted flicker, gopher snakes, bull snacks, rattlesnakes, collared lizard, horned toad, cottontail rabbit, javelina, skunks, arizona gray fox, porcupine, beaver, chipmunk, cottontail rabbit, and jackrabbits.

While Native Americans inhabited this region for hundreds if not thousands of years, the first white explorer to come to the well was the Spanish explorer Antonio de Espejo during his 1583 expedition. He basically described the Montezuma casle and well site in his journal as an abandoned pueblo with a ditch running from a nearby pond. Early settlers believed the cliff dwellings belonged to the Aztec emperor Montezuma which gave root to the naming misnomer. The castle was actually home to the Sinagua Indians and deserted a century before Montezuma was even born.

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Tortolita canyon trail #54 and Nogal Trail 48

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Nogal Trail #48 to Tortolita Canyon Trail #54
* Sierra Blanca, Ruidoso, New Mexico, USA *

On November 2013 we went for a hike along Nogal Canyon Trail #48 to the peak overlooking the Valley of Fire on the Tortolita Canyon Trail #54 to spread the ashes of our family. If you’d like to read the Chronicles of that adventure, go here: . Tortolita Canyon Trail #54 is 9 miles long and begins off of Forest Road 400 through Private Land ending at the Crest Trail (T25). Its a popular trail for horseback riding and hiking. It’s a light hike. Midway along this trail it meets the 1 1/2 mile long Nogal Trail that rises gradually 600 feet in elevation. The trails’ highest point is 9,000 feet above sea level and is a very pleasant hike, moderately-used, with a gentle gradual incline at the base of Nogal Peak. The Nogal trail ends at Tortolita Trail and starts at the downfall shamble of a abandoned gold mine (which was flooded when we visited). Tortolita Trail follows the steep west faced slope of Nogal Peak towards the head of Nogal canyon, climbing above Dry Gulch and extending to the old trailhead in Nogal Canyon. It is not well used or maintained, thereby sometimes hard to follow. At this intersection, appears to be an archaeological site labelled PH 1 (or could represent Post Hole 1 atop the peak) just off center of the intersection of these two trails. It appears to be that of an old mine as rock piles abound and a deep cut in the peak looks mined.

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Cave of the Winds (Niagara Falls, NY)

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Cave of the Winds
* Goat Island * Niagara Falls State Park, New York *

Not to be confused with Cave of the Winds in Colorado, the Cave of the Winds Niagara was a natural cave that ran behind Bridal Veil Falls in the Niagara Falls State Park on the U.S.A. side of the Niagara River. It ran roughly 130 feet deep and was discovered in 1834. It was originally called “Aolus’ Cave” named as such in tribute to the Greek God of the Winds. Tours began in 1841 taking people down within for a view of the falls from beneath. Unfortunately in 1920 a rock fall made the actual cave no longer safe to go within. Tours began again in 1924 bringing visitors to the foot of the falls, but does not go behind it. There are points along the decks and walk ways where tropical storm-like conditions can be felt with winds upwards of 70 mph raging under the falls. The cave eventually eroded away by rockfalls finally in 1954 and the name of the attraction as a “cave” is more a “underlook” and “overlook” depending on your viewing platform. The platforms are removed every winter to avoid damage by ice fall, and are not bolted into the rocks, but rather wedged into the crevices.

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Congaree River, Columbia, South Carolina

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Congaree River
Columbia, South Carolina

Through the heart of Columbia, South Carolina runs a short but wide river called the “Congaree”. Flowing for approximately 47 miles, it was an important river in South Carolina and civil war history. It serves as the final outlet channel for the entire Lower Saluda and Broad river water sheds, before they merge with the Wateree River north of Lake Marion where they turn into the the majestic Santee River. This river is formed in Columbia where the Saluda and Broad rivers meet near the Piedmont fall line, and is usedd as county boundary lines for Richland, Lexington, and Calhoun counties. It is a very navigable river along a great length of it where its high water level allows barge traffic coming upstream from Charleston through the Santee and Cooper Lakes. It flows through the Congaree National Park where boat recreationists, canoes, and kayakers enjoy navigating its river streams and swamps. The River shed is popular for boating, biking, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, botany, and bird watching.

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Fontana Lake (Smokey Mountains, North Carolina)

Fontana Lake
* Smokey Mountains National Park, Fontana Dam, North Carolina *

Named after the Italian word for “fountain”, Fontana Lake is named after the flooded town of Fontana, which was the Smokey Mountains infamous lumber and copper-mining hub back in the day at the mouth of Eagle Creek. Now a reservoir contained by Fontana Dam on the Little Tennessee River. The lake creates the southern boundary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, separating it from the Nantahala National Forest. The depth, length, and width of the lake varies with the seasons and flood controls by the dam, but at its greatest containment measures approximately 17 miles long with a maximum elevation of approximately 1,710 feet above sea level. The lake is measured as being over 10,230 acres. The lake houses many inlets, coves, and islands formed from former mountain peaks from when it was land, especially by the eastern edge. Many hiking trails weave their ways around the lake, and the lake itself gives access to some of the more remote areas of the National Park. The apalachian trail crosses the top of the dam. Fontana Dam, the tallest dam in the eastern U.S., is a hydro-electric dam along the Little Tennessee River that manages the lake and its levels. This was built in the 1940’s.

Cheoah Lake/River/Dam, Fontana Dam, NC

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Congaree National Park (Columbia, South Carolina)

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Congaree National Park
100 National Park Road, Hopkins, SC 29061 * Phone: (803) 783-4241 * (outside of Columbia, South Carolina) * http://www.nps.gov/cong/ *

One of the natural attractions to Columbia, South Carolina is the infamous Congaree National Park which preserves the largest tract of old growth bottom land hardwood forest that remains left in the United States. The Park is nicknamed the “Home of Champions” for its age-old hardwood trees. The park offers views of an astonishing bio-diversity along the waters from the Congaree river and the Wateree rivers throughout their flood plains. The park consists of just over 26,500 acres of national park designated as such since 2003 for some of the tallest trees leftin the Eastern United States. The Congaree river flows through the park which is dotted with wooden walkways for hikers, bird watchers, and nature enthusiasts to come enjoy the woodlands and not get mucked up in the swamps and to protect the environment which is 57 percent designated wilderness area. The Park declares itself a National Designated Wilderness Area, an International Biosphere Reserve, National Natural Landmark, and a Globally Important Bird area. The park offers primitive campsites (for free), hiking trails, canoeing, kayaking, and bird watching activities. The park is inhabited by numerous wildlife ranging from a variety of fish such as bowfin, largemouth bass, panfish, and catfish onwards to alligators, snakes, feral dogs, coyotes, armadillos, turkeys, bobcat, deer, feral pigs, turtles, opossum, raccoon, and a plethera of different bird species. The Park is notable for its Bald Cypress, the tallest/largest Loblolly Pines alive today, and hardwood tree spectrum. Some of its more famous hiking trails are the Weston Lake Loop Trail (4.6 miles), Oakridge Trail (7.5 miles), King Snake Trail (11.1 miles), and the Bluff Trail (.7 miles). The Park is home to the Harry Hampton Visitor’s Center, elevated 2.4 miles of boarded walkways, and a 20 mile long marked canoe trail.

Home of a variety of plants and animals. Some researched/photographed by us as follows:

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Gibraltar Falls, ACT, Australia

Gibraltar Falls
* Corin Road * Namadgi National Park * +61 02 6207 2900 * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia *

One of the first waterfalls that I had a chance to see in Australia as accompanied by my travel mate Bluey Bee Fabbo. A nice calm overcast day, we ventured outskirts of Canberra to find this charming little falls which is pretty close to the city. Easy to find, one drives out of Canberra southwest 45 kilomenters, along highway 5 – “Tidbinbilla Road”, roughly a half hour drive turning off at the sign pointing the way to the Falls within the Gibraltar Creek Pine Forest south off Corin Road. Park and take the well-marked footpath down to the falls. With warnings of steep cliffs abound, we kept to the trail, until the end of the path dictated (as everyone else was venturing over) to experience the waters ourselves. Now, being a world traveller and having seen some of the best falls around the world, I wasn’t that impressed. It also seems probable that the falls are more spectacular after a good hearty rainfall, even though it has been deemed the largest waterfall in the ACT. The falls cascade 50 meters down into a 800 meter granite walled gorge feeding the headwaters of Gibraltar Creek.

Historically, the falls and area was of special interest to the Australian Aborigine. Archaeological finds have shown habitation patterns near the falls including rockshelters, axes, lithics, and grinding grooves. The area was first settled by white westerners in the 1890’s. The first recorded white settlers were the Woods family who named the area “Gibraltar Creek”. It wasn’t until the 1960’s with the establishment of a station for the Corin Dam Road that the location found much foot traffic. Environmentally, the falls are home to a rare species of dragonfly called the Waterfall Redspot.

Atop in the parking lot are restrooms, picnic tables, shelters, amenities, first aid equipment, and gas barbeque grills. There are more picnic tables and areas, as well as camping, further into the woods reserves. The footpath takes one to a couple lookouts for viewing the falls, though the best way to photograph the falls is to wander off path (not recommended but seems something that everyone who visits does).

I found the waterfall quaint, and would be a picnic spot I would frequent often if I lived in Canberra. Rating: 2 stars out of 5. Visited/Reviewed by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan with Bluey Bee Fabbo on April 25, 2011.

For more information, recommended readings, and photographs ~
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Narooma

Narooma
New South Wales, Australia

By far, my most favorite place in Australia, Narooma is a panoramic sensation for the beach enthusiast. Think the historic Highway 101 Coastal Oregon route meets the Bahamas and you have “Narooma”. The Aborigine suitably called this area “Clear blue waters” and nothing more could be true. Crystal clear waters. A town of about 3,000 and a strip of geological wonders along the beach, this captures the contrast of earth and water perfectly. The rocks found near Narooma include the Narooma Chert that dates to Cambrian times. There are also underwater remains of a submarine volcano with pillow lava offshore. The Island known as “Montague Island”, now a National Park and Wildlife Refuge, is 8 kilometers offshore from Narooma and was one of the islands sighted by Captain Cook in 1770. The island has 8 known rainforests on it. The area brought white settlers for timber, gold, and fishing. It was declared a port in 1884, opened its first school in 1886, and its first post office in 1889, and originally was only accessed via the sea. By the 20th century, it became a major tourist destination and boomed in oyster farming. Then saw construction of the first major bridge to be constructed on the Princes Highway, improving access by road. In 1937, industry boomed again with a local cannery opening its doors to process tuna and salmon which eventually saw a drought of salmon causing the cannery to close its doors. Narooma was also home to the annual Great Southern Blues and Rockabilly Festival held in October until it moved to Batesman Bay in 2010. Rating 5 stars out of 5.

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Green Cape Light House

Green Cape Light House * Bittangee Bay/Ben Boyd National Forest
New South Wales, Australia

Just to the side of Bittangee Bay/Ben Boyd National Forest
, about 7 km hike away, is the stunning “Green Cape” Lighthouse. Set within the tip of Green Cape, overseeing Disaster Bay in the southern most part of New South Wales in Australia. It is Australia’s first all-concrete lighthouse, and the second tallest as well as the furthest south lighthouse in New South Wales. It was built in 1880 by James Barnett as a all-concrete structure in response to a series of wrecks in the bay and started out as a stone structure. He ran into difficulties in moving materials to the site as the safest anchorage spot was Bittangabee Bay, about 7 kilometers away through forest and various land slopes. Originally, he built the Bittangee Bay Storage building where materials where dropped off from ships until they could be courriered over to the site. Eventually a 7 km long wooden tramway was constructed from the building to the lighthouse spot, and horses would pull cargo from destination A to B during 1881 through 1960’s. By the 1990’s, the lighthouse was converted over to a solar powered lens on a modern lattice steel tower next to the historic concrete lighthouse. Since 1992, it has been solar powered. Visitors can go to the lighthouse in the Ben Boyd National Park anytime, though guided tours are only available on select dates. Some accomodations are available in the two assistant keeper’s cottages on reservation. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

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Merritt’s Nature Track, Thredbo, Australia

Merritt’s Nature Track
* Thredbo, New South Wales, Australia * http://www.wildwalks.com/bushwalking-and-hiking-in-nsw/kosciuszko-np-south/merrits-nature-track.html *

Just from the heart of Thredbo lies a splendid little hiking trail called “Merritts Nature Track” which works its way up the skiing and bobsledding trails of Mt. Kosciuszko. It takes about 2 1/2 hours to hike the trail from Thredbo Village and runs about 3.7 km through the Kosciuszko National Park. It consists of a 64 meter climb exploring the native bushland around the ski resort and slopes. You can hike it from the village up along the Kosciuszko Express chairlift line up the hill, near the Eagles Nest restaurant, winding through a snow gum forest, following ski runs and bush tracks back down the hill. It also walks alongside parts of the popular Thredbo Bobsled tubes and goes up around the back of the village’s tennis courts. Nice hike. Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.

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Glacier Park

Welcome to British Columbia
Driving in Glacier Park

Glacier Park in
British Columbia:

In the Eastern region of British Columbia stands the beautiful Glacier Park. This Provincial and Canadian National Park is one of the wonders of British Columbia. Completely pocketed with giant mountains with glaciers cradling most of them, this Park of beauties is definitely the place to spend a camping and outdoor vacation. Remember to dress warm, for it can be quite cold in some parts of the park even in the center of Summer.

Glaciers

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The Curraugh

The Curraugh
Near Kildare and Naas, Ireland

It is said that in 480 C.E. Saint Brighid came to the area to found a monastery in Kildare and had approached the King of Leinster and asked for land for the poor and on to which to build it. He laughed a her and told her that if she lay out her cloak, whatever space the cloak covers is hers to keep. She laid out her magical cloak and thus claimed almost 5,000 acres of land in County Kildare which is known as “The Curraugh” (a.k.a. “An Currach”). It is a flat open plain that is common land for the Irish. It is used for Army maneuvers, Irish Horse breeding / training, horse racing, sheep herding, and public recreation. Ireland’s largest Fen, the Pollardstown Fen is also located here. There are many rare species of plants that grow on the Curraugh so it is a hot spot for botanists and ecologists. The Curraugh also has a sandy soil that was formed after an esker deposited a sand load on it thereby creating excellent drainage characteristics. In early Irish history, the Curraugh was a central point for legends and lore for thousands of years. The hill north is called the “Almhain” or “Hill of Allen” where the mythical Fianna used as a meeting place. The Fenian tales talk of much mythology here. The Curraugh is littered with prehistoric ruins, ring burial-mounds, and the Race of the Black Pig which may have been an ancient cattleway. In 1234 C.E. Richard Marshal, the 3rd Earl of Pembroke lost a battle here against a group of men loyal to King Henry III of England, he was wounded, and died at his castle at Kilkenny the same year. The Curraugh was also a common site for the mustering of the armies of the Pale. They held a Rebellion in 1798 here that resulted in a massacre of 350 unarmed United Irishmen at Gibbet Rath. This location is now where the Curraugh Camp is hosted where the Irish Defense Forces train. On March 20, 1914 the Curraugh Camp saw an incident called the “Curragh Mutiny” while the Camp was the main base for the British Army in Ireland. As in 1912 the Liberal coalition British governmen of H. H. Asquith had just introduced the Third Home Rule Bill for Ireland which proposed the creation of an autonomous Irish Parliament in Dublin. Numerous Unionists objected to the inclusion of potential rule by the proposed Dublin Parliament and founded the Ulster Volunteers paramilitary group in 1912 to fight against the British government if necessary on this point. In 1913, Lord French and Henry Hughes Wilson with a number of senior officers expressed concerns to the government that the British Army would find it difficult to act against the Volunteers since they were all there to defend the British Empire. To combat this the Curraugh base commander Sir Arthur Paget was ordered by London’s War Office in March 1914 to start preparations to move troops to Ulster in order to deal with any violence there that might break out by occupying governmenet buildings and to repel any assaults by the Ulster Volunteers. He misinterpreted his orders from a precautionary deployment to meaning an immediate order to march against the Ulstermen. At this point he offered his officers the choice of resignation rather than fighting this battle. 57 out of 70 of the Officers, mostly Irish unionists resigned or accept dismissal rather than enforce the Home Rule Act of 1914. When Paget reported this to London. This caused Asquith’s Liberal Government to back down claiming an honest misunderstanding and the men were reinstated and the Army would not be used to enforce the Home Rule Act. A month later, the Northern Irish Ulster Volunteers covertly landed about 24,000 rifles at night in the “Larne gun-running” incident without discovery or arrest. This event led to Unionist confidence and the growing Irish separatist movement convincing nationalists they wouldn’t have Army support in Ireland which in turn increased nationalist support for the Irish Volunteers and a growing concern for an Irish Civil War. The Home Rule Act was dropped after the start of World War I. The plains were also used to film the battle scenes in the film “Braveheart”. A famous Irish song called “The Curraugh of Kildare” is dedicated to the plains.

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Sandymount Strand

Sandymount Strand Beach
* Sandymount D4, Ireland * 01 6617297 * County Dublin, Dublin, Ireland *

Sandymount Strand a.k.a. “Dumhach Thr” is just a short 3 km walk from downtown Dublin. It is a large strand on the east coast of Ireland adjacent to the village and suburb of Sandymount in Dublin. This is a premiere location of the south side of Dublin Bay and is great for walking but not good for swimming. It’s gradual slopes make the water too shallow to swim near the shoreline. In fact the tide is so tricky that cars and people sometimes get trapped by the incoming tide as it sneaks up on you and has gotten the nickname of “Cockle Lake”. In 1883 swimming baths were built measuring 40×40 meters with a 75 meter pier added in 1884 hosting a bandstand halfway along it and was a commonplace for summer concerts. Unfortunately by 1920 the pier had deteriorated and had to be demolished and now lay in ruins. An old defense structure called Martello tower remains that was built to warn of an invasion by Napoleon. This was once converted to a popular cafe in the 60’s, then attempted into a restaurant that never opened and leaving a modified window in its seaward side. This strand is also the location for James Joyce in Ulysses referring to Cock lake making it one of the most famous beaches in Irish fiction where young Gertie lifts her skirt as Bloom pleasures himself and was the section that caused the book to be banned in the USA for alleged obscenity. The Strand stretches from Irishtown through Sandymount and Merrion and on to Booterstown. It is a shallow tidal mudflat that attracts thousands of birds especially during winter and becomes a prime location for birdwatching. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.

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Knocknashee

“Knocknashee”, legendary ” Hill of the Faeries”
County Sligo, Ireland

Knocknashee is known as the legendary “Hill of the Faeries” and is one of Ireland’s seven most sacred hills. The name comes from the Irish “knock” (cnoc) meaning “hill” and “shee” meaning “fairy”. Its older name is Mullinabreena or “Fairy Palace”. The hill fort is located near Lavagh, Ballymote, and rises 900 feet high with a flat top, green and lush, with a diameter of a square mile. Oddly, unlike any other hill in the area, it has absolutely no heather. At its base stands the ruins of Court Abbey and its 90 foot high tower that was built in the 15th century by the O’Haras for the Franciscans. This legendary “Hill of the Fairy Mansion or Palace” as “Mullinabreena” or “Knocknashee” is a sacred site for Faeries and those who worship or believe in them being the mythical headquarters or high court of the Fae. Geologically the hill is a 276 m Marilyn located in the Ox Mountains of County Sligo, Ireland with the River Moy at its foot. It consists of a limestone top with shales underlying the lower slopes. The hill is culturally rich with archaeology as it was discovered to be a hilltop fort in 1988 during a Office of Public Works aerial survey of the county with the observbation of the remains of limestone ramparts containing cairns, burial chambers, and hutsites on its top. The fort is 700 meters long and 320 meters wide, enclosed by two earth and stone ramparts covering an area of 53 acres. There are two cairns, the remains of over 30 circular house sites, and two earth/stone ramparts. The hill has a panoramic view of the Connacht plains. The lower exposures of the hill show irregularly bedded limestone with a diverse fauna of colonial and solitary corals, with very well preserved fossils in silica that were deposited some 340 million years ago. Hilltop is covered with a thin peat. A popular play was made in tribute of the hill called “Knocknashee” by the Irish playwright Deirdre Kinahan in 2002. A traditional Irish song was also named after the hill called “The Hills of Knocknashee” with “The River Moy so gently flows from there unto the sea. Farewell to you, farewell to all from the hill of Knocknashee”.
Directions: Knocknashee is a table-top plateau 7 kilometres NEN of Tobercurry. From Tobercurry take the N17 north for 5 kilometres to Carrowclare then take a left to a T-Junction then a right about 1/2 kilometre on your left is a farm house ask here for permission to climb the hill. Portal Tombs around Knocknasee: http://www.irishmegaliths.org.uk/sligo.htm

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Glenariff Forest Park

Glenariff Forest Park
Antrim, Northern Ireland

One of Northern Ireland’s enchanted woodlands … Glenariff Forest Park is full of myth and legends, faeries, and woodland creatures. It is home to a unique Waterfall Walkway that was introduced to tourists 80 years ago and significantly upgraded along its 3 mile length that passes through a National Nature Reserve. The park is a photographer’s paradise. It houses a visitor center, exhibition, interactive display, a gift shop, caravan/camping sites, and a seasonal restaurant complimenting the Park called “Gateway to the Glens”. The park is a 2,928 acre forest in County Antrim of Northern Ireland that is managed by the Northern Ireland Forest Service. The forest is also utilized for timber production centered around the clearfelling of coniferous plantation trees.

According to some myths and legends, the legendary warrior/poet Oisin (Ossian/Son of the giant Fin McCool) had once tried to outrun a band of Vikings in this forest. When they closed in on him, he climbed down a steep gully, as just as he was about to plunge to his death, a mysterious grey rope-like column appeared, he grabbed on to it, and climbed up to safety. When he reached the top he found it to be the tail of a white horse grazing in the field above. He thanked the horse and asked for its help. She turned into a mountain mist, falling to the ground as water, thereby washing away the Norsemen who pursued him. This is now the waterfall in the park known as the “Grey Mare’s Tail”. (myth as told from Causeway Coast and Glens Myths Tour).

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