Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bent's Old Fort: 2015 Fur Trade Symposium

This past Saturday, we went out to Bent's Old Fort for the last day of the 2015 Fur Trade Symposium.

Some of the finest and most knowledgeable living history interpreters for the period were invited to attend. The time period was around 1842, when the fur trade was moving away from beaver, to buffalo.

We got some pretty good shots of some of them:

with more over on WritingPlaces.com:

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Mueller State Park ...

Here are some shots of Mueller State Park. Though we have hiked other trails in the area, and have passed by Mueller many times, this was the first time we actually spent time in the park.

It's really quite nice, nicely maintained and laid out with a seemingly endlessly entwined network of trails.

Here are some shots:

Florissant ...

We went up to the Divide area for the Labor Day holiday.

We hiked in Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument on one day. Though most of the wildflowers have gone to seed this late in the season, there was a surprising number of 'em still in a photogenic state.

Indian Paintbrush

Colorado Aster

Leece and Steve-O on the Hornbeck trail

And us, of course

Leece and Steve-O try to identify these flowers near the fork to the Hornbeck Homestead

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Prowers Bridge

We stopped at the Prowers Bridge, a series of truss spans over the Arkansas River in eastern Bent County.

The bridge was constructed around 1902. It has three camelback trusses, two Pratt through-trusses, and one Pratt pony truss.

This reference, Bridge Basics,describes those trusses in detail.

The bridge has been closed to traffic for years. There is a new bridge a few yards to the west of it. Take either CR 34 or CR 35 south from US 50 to CR JJ, then either right or left, depending on which road you took from US 50, to CR 34.5. You can see the bridge from either intersection with JJ.

Here are some photos, taken during our road trip of July 11:

Sunday, June 28, 2015

High Plains Summer: Lincoln County, Colorado

This weekend, we went up to DIA to pick up SteveO, who was returning from his visit with grandfolks in Phoenix.

On the way back, we stopped off I-70's exit 348 (CO 134) for some photos of the high plains. Lincoln County is usually lushly green in comparison to southeastern Colorado, even with all the rain we've received in the southeast. As you can see from the photos below, it is.

CO 134, looking southwest toward Pikes Peak, some 80 miles distant. The haze is blocking the view of the mountain, which is often sharply detailed despite the distance.

Leece setting up for some photos.

Bull thistle.

Leece shoots the thistles.

Amber waves of grain, off CO 71, south of Limon.

South Rush Creek, from Lincoln County Road 2d.

Lincoln County Road 2d, looking to the east.

Crested Prickly Poppy, off CR 2d.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

British Cemetery, Ocracoke Island

There is a British cemetery in the village of Ocracoke. It's off the main road, but it's easy enough to find.

Here are some photos:

Four members of the crew of HMS Bedfordshire are buried here. Bedfordshire was an armed trawler, operating out of Morehead City on antisubmarine duty.  Her captain was Lieutenant Russell Bransby Davis, RNR. On May 12, 1942, she was torpedoed by U -558, and lost with all 34 (some sources show 37) of her crew. The four crewmen buried here washed up from the sea on Ocracoke over the next few days. A fifth was found on Hatteras Island and is buried there next to a British sailor from the merchant ship San Delfino, torpedoed a year earlier.

The British cemetery here is maintained by the US Coast Guard; the one on Hatteras is maintained by the National Park Service.

U-558 was a Type VIIC boat, skippered by Kapitänleutnant Günther Krech. A little more than a year after U-558 and Krech sank Bedfordshire, U-558 was sunk in the Bay of Biscay on July 20, 1943. Krech and four of his crew survived the sinking - they were either on the bridge or part of the gun crew - and were captured. Krech died in 2000.

Bodie Island Light Station

Bodie Island is the northernmost part of the Outer Banks. Once upon a time, it was a true island, but the inlet that separated it from the Currituck Banks peninsula closed, and now it is an extension of that peninsula.

'Bodie' is properly pronounced 'Body,' though you will often hear it as 'Boh-dee.'

Part of the island belongs to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The Bodie Island Light Station is at the southern end of the island, just north of the Oregon Inlet bridge. The Light Station is part of the national seashore.

The lighthouse is the third such structure at this site. For a history of the lighthouses, please click here.

Here are some photos from this year's trip:

Further up the island, you'll find Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and the Wright Brothers Memorial, as well as Jeanette's Pier. The Pier is now part of the North Carolina aquarium system.

Willow Pond, Harkers Island

Willow Pond is behind the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center, at the east end of Harkers Island. There is a nature trail that wends around the pond, and ties in with a trail over by the Cape Lookout Visitors' Center.

Here is a link to a WRAL video about Willow Pond.

On this trip, we saw - among other critters - a Little Blue Heron. As we entered the blind, he took off. We thought we had spooked him, but I managed to get a few shots as he flew off. But it wasn't us.

Backtracking a moment. As we quietly approached the blind, frogs were sounding off in a noisy cacophony. There were some white ibis lurking in nearby trees - that's not uncommon; we refer to them as 'the ubiquitous white ibis' - and some squirrels next to the blind. There were some terns flitting about, and a couple of egrets. The frogs, however, were the thing ...

The heron had targeted a frog out in the lily pads and grasses. He swooped in and took up the frog.

The rest of the frogs instantly went silent. Leece snickered and said you could almost hear an amphibian gasp of shock and dismay.

The heron took the frog back to his original spot, and worked the frog around till he could swallow it headfirst.

Here are some photos Leece taking flower shots by the museum entranceway, and then out at the pond:

And more:

Leece's Willow Pond shots from 2010

Willow Pond 2011

Core Sound Waterfowl Museum 2012 (includes some of Willow Pond and the nature trails)

Willow Pond and the soundside trail 2013

Core Sound Waterfowl Museum 2013 (includes decoys and boat models)

Willow Pond 2014