Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pike National Forest and Pikes Peak

This past Sunday we took a day trip up to Pike National Forest, where we did a bit of hiking, and then took the toll road up to the peak of Pikes Peak.

We have a gallery of 147 shots up on WritingPlaces.com's galleries page,  under RoadTrips 2012.

The road is paved all the way now, and has been for some  years now. That was the result of a suit by the Sierra Club, who protested all that gravel - thousands and thousands of tons of it - washing down the slopes and into the forest and watercourses below. Every year. Hats off to the Sierra Club on that one.

There are even some guard rails now, and from the look of a few of them, not a moment too soon.

We packed a picnic lunch, which we enjoyed at the Halfway picnic grounds. We aren't sure if those are maintained by the Forest Service - it isn't shown in the listing of Pike National Forest picnic areas - or by the City of Colorado Springs. Whoever does it, is doing a pretty good job of it.

However ... avoid the commercial 'gift' shops, which are well-stocked with Hechoed in China junk, including the establishment at the summit. Also be prepared for some pretty grungy bathrooms in all of the commercial establishments. You would think with the money they rake in they'd keep the places from looking like something from the Third World.

OTOH, the Pikes Peak donuts were reportedly pretty good. SteveO woofed one down in short order.

Other than the disappointing commercial establishments, the trip was a most outstanding experience. And we didn't go for the junk shops anyway.

We thought about a weekender to New York City, but decided to skip it. We don't think we could pass their health attitude requirements.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cheyenne Mountain State Park 07.07.2012

We took a trip to Colorado Springs yesterday, to pick up Michael and Froggy at the airport, on their return from 'Zarona.

Then we went to CheyenneMountain State Park for a picnic lunch and a short hike on one of the many trails throughout the park. It was mid afternoon. Leece and I saw plenty of dragonflies and lizards, but no larger critters. The kids had walked ahead and saw a couple of deer - a doe and a half-grown fawn - on the trail ahead.

Though there were a few cyclists on the trail, and fewer hikers, the park was not crowded. Some of the hikers were quite noisy and could heard several hundred yards up and down the trail. Otherwise, it was quiet enough to hear your heart pound.

A good time was had by all.

We have a gallery on WritingPlaces.com under "Road Trips 2012".

Friday, July 6, 2012

Backyard Democrats

We have a new wireless shutter release with which we are dabbling. We took some shots of some of our 'backyard Democrats' this morning. As you can see, the angle wasn't optimum; we're shooting almost directly into the sun from under a cottonwood. Our shutterspeed was really too low; our ISO was at 800; and the depth of field was as shallow as a politician's promise. So tomorrow, we're shifting the seed plate to where we'll have direct sunlight, and the camera will be between sun and birds. This should give us a much better set of parameters.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Knapps is open

Knapps Market on the west side of Rocky Ford is open. We got some nice corn, as well as some very nice Rocky Ford Sweets, and a seedless watermelon.