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~March 11, 2007~
Turkey Vultures
Posted by: zhakee

Two evenings ago I happened to be outside, and the sky was covered with hundreds of large, dark birds, all soaring south. For 5 minutes there was an endless sky of birds. Some looked like Turkey Vultures, some like ravens, and an occasional raven-like caw was heard. I stood in awe as this flight of large birds just continued. The birds didn't go much farther, and broke up into smaller groups that began circling above the river.

I hopped into my car and drove down that way, hoping to see where they were settling. A number of tall pines were covered with birds. In the failing light I wasn't certain if I was seeing ravens or turkey vultures,...   (more)    

0 comments >> Link  

~February 28, 2007~
pretty in white
Posted by: zhakee

It snowed last night and the mountains here were dusted with snow. Took a drive and was oohing and awing everywhere I looked. Thought you all might enjoy a taste of what I got to see.

Last comment by: zhakee @ 3/1/07, 5:48am4 comments >> Link  

~February 25, 2007~
giant sequoias in the rain
Posted by: zhakee

Walked through Giant Forest in the rain, with snow all around, and the forest as beautiful as could be, getting soaked and trying to keep my camera dry but still taking photos.... what a day! Discovered the jackets I brought along (expecting snow, not rain) were not waterproof, and wished I had some sort of umbrella attachment for the camera.

It was one of those spur of the moment ideas I got a couple of weeks ago, when I decided I simply had to go for a mountain drive amidst giant sequoia trees, come rain, snow or clear skies. Where I live, the road up into the southernmost sequoia groves gets closed during winter so to find accessible sequoias meant a trip...   (more)    

Last comment by: zhakee @ 3/11/07, 6:56am4 comments >> Link  

~February 24, 2007~
Ravens and Moro Rock
Posted by: zhakee

Sequoia National Park, one of the prettiest places in California! Took a drive a couple of weeks ago, on a gray, drizzly day and the scenery was phenomenol. The foothills were barely greening up, and the overcast skies gave everything a subtle glow. The above image was taken from the southern road that winds through the foothills. The dome rock in the distance is Moro Rock, a huge, granitic dome that has hundreds of stairs carved into it and makes for an interesting walk during summer months.

A pair of ravens sat in the top of an oak tree, right at the Hospital Rock day use area, and seemed very content to just sit in the drizzle. Ravens can be found in...   (more)    

Last comment by: saundrabeach @ 2/25/07, 12:44pm4 comments >> Link  

~January 31, 2007~
Creatures in the trees
Posted by: zhakee

This tree top is one of the coolest animal shapes I've encountered while out walking in the woods! Looks like one of those Dr. Seuss characters to me. We were on top of a knoll that got a lot of wind, and when I glanced up, I saw this wolflike tree top creature.

Last comment by: saundrabeach @ 2/4/07, 4:05pm11 comments >> Link  

~January 20, 2007~
Icy Stalagtites
Posted by: zhakee

Cold air has settled and night time temperatures have been in the twenties all week long. After a month of being stuck indoors due to illness, I just had to get outside, into the sunshine, and find something scenic and eye-catching, something pretty enough to take photos of and write about. A drive along the Kern River was just the kind of outing my poor, ailing body could handle.

Massive ice stalagtites and stalagmites cover this seeping limestone wall with beautiful icy structures that change shape with the outside temperatures.

Cattail fluff was blowing in the gentle breeze, backlit with the icy reflections. The year-round water provides these cattails with a moist habitat, far removed from any...   (more)    

Last comment by: saundrabeach @ 2/6/07, 11:05am12 comments >> Link  

~December 30, 2006~
ice crystals and skiing
Posted by: zhakee

Iím sore from two days of skiing! I took my teenage daughter and her boyfriend along both days, and we saw some beautiful scenery. The bf is totally new to skiing, and the past couple of days were his first ever, on skis. He got the hang of it very quickly and did most of the trail breaking, yesterday. Hurray for young muscles and energy. The bf suggested our route and took us to a place a couple miles out where he had only trudged through deep snow, on foot, before. He had a specific destination in mind, but didnít elaborate. It was a cold trip, and I had to wear all my layers...   (more)    

Last comment by: zhakee @ 1/6/07, 7:48am5 comments >> Link  

~December 28, 2006~
Posted by: zhakee

Fresh snow fell this week in the Sierras and we were able to get out and ski today! Beautiful, white solitude, surrounded by snow clad conifers and the fog misted in and out. The snow was perfect for cross country skiing.

Last comment by: Robert Jones @ 1/3/07, 9:33pm2 comments >> Link  

~December 21, 2006~
Posted by: zhakee

Icicles! Cold, hard, frozen water that is fragile as can be, hanging from the cliff face where water seeps along the limestone, forming beautiful shapes that linger only so long as the temperatures stay near freezing. Warm up the air and the dripping, melting water slowly becomes too wet to hold onto itís shape and water droplets roll down the icicle, momentarily hanging, suspended, from the bottom, then they become airborne, only to splat upon the surface below.

These icy formations are usually a fleeting part of winter, lingering only when the temperatures are hovering near freezing. Snow must begin to melt and the very cold water rolls downward gradually forming an icicle. If itís below freezing, the water stays frozen in...   (more)    

Last comment by: Larry Levy @ 12/21/06, 4:47pm1 comment >> Link  

~December 20, 2006~
Along the shores of Lake Isabella
Posted by: zhakee

The way light reflects off of Lake Isabella varies with the season, the time of day, and the weather. Lately, shadows have been long and the mountains across the lake have been assorted colors, varying between blue, purple, gold and brown. Dark silhouettes of leafless trees and brush, growing along the waterís edge enchant the eye and beckon, enticing a short drive off the main road and onto a windy dirt road that drops down near to the edge of the lake. A short walk on springy, water engorged soil, sprouting green with a variety of herbaceous annuals fills the eyes with the brilliance of new growth, that shade of green that only new foliage seems capable of.
Making a direct line...   (more)    

Last comment by: saundrabeach @ 12/20/06, 3:25pm1 comment >> Link  

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