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Mountain Train…

August 19, 2012

The Durango to Silverton narrow gage railway has been carrying tourists through these Colorado mountains for more than 130 years. Originally built to haul silver and gold ore from the high mountain mines, it has long since only been operated to share the scenic views. The coal fired vintage steam engines are a treat for the eyes, ears and nose. There are some scary  spots on the route  where there seems to be very little to support the rails, and rock slides are a constant danger. But, it’s a fun trip.

Bobcat (Felis rufus)…

August 15, 2012

Bobcats, or wildcats, are very efficient nocturnal hunters. They prey on rabbits, squirrels and many other animals. Bobcats got their name from their shortened tail, which seems to have been lopped off. They have ears like their Canadian cousin, the Lynx. It is estimated that there are at least one million of them, found throughout the United States. This beautiful example was in a wildlife park outside of Williams, AZ.

The Painted Desert…

August 14, 2012

This 94,000 acre National Park in Arizona offers a beautiful array of colors ranging from lavenders to shades of gray with vibrant reds, oranges and pinks.

Mesa Verde…

August 12, 2012

We’ve been traveling the West the past two weeks. This is perhaps the largest Native American cliff dwelling settlement known. The Anasazi Indians occupied this site around AD 1200 to 1300.

Mass Transit…

June 5, 2012

Once every hundred years or so, the planet Venus passes in front of the sun from the earth’s point of view. Today was such an event, due to take about seven hours to complete the crossing. Venus is 67 million miles from the sun, compared to about 93 million for the Earth. Luckily, the clouds parted to allow this spectacle to be photographed. A number of sunspots are also visible in the center section (these are lower temperature areas caused by magnetic disturbances). Mark your calendars now for the next occurrence, due in 2117.

Solar Eclipse…

May 20, 2012

Tonight’s solar eclipse was not going to be at it’s maximum until after the sun had set at this location. Though clouds moved in and out during the hour long process, it did present a nice view just as the sun dipped below the horizon. Right now, the moon is too far from the earth to completely obscure the sun, so this was an annular eclipse.