Me Monday: My Favorite Pictures

Last year I decided I wanted to start taking pictures: you know, something other than just the phone kind?
Now, not knowing ANYTHING about Digital cameras, I sort of did some research on the different ones and decided I like the Nikon Coolpix l340. I wanted a point and shoot, this would do it. Once I started taking pictures, I wanted to take more of the sky, the moon and the stars, my little camera wouldn’t work for that. For my birthday, my son took me to the store and we “upgraded”, wanting just a bit more, but still within budget, I stayed with the Coolpix and choose the D500, in purple. Now, the kiddo wasn’t happy with the color choice, but I reminded him, it was my camera. So off we went.
Still isn’t exactly what I want; would love to have a DSLR, I really want to take pictures of the stars! For now, I totally love my little purple camera and it suits me just fine. I love it’s so compact, easy to use, not too heavy and takes great pictures.
I have found there are times I want to take pictures and I don’t have my camera with me. What to do, what to do? I use my camera on my phone; takes GREAT pictures (for a phone), always with me and compact.
Here are some of my very favorite pictures.
Moon Shots
 Moon shots are my favorite. It’s a mystery, it’s a force, it stays the same, but is always different.  The moon has been accused of causing craziness on a full moon; but did you also know it’s been blamed to increase ER visits (humans, cats and dogs), sexual activity, auto accidents, murder and suicide. While those may be myth or fact, I love the moon! It’s a calming force within me.

Sunsets and sunrises are the most beautiful time of the day. I see way more sunsets than sunrises, nothing like the sky saying Good Morning or Good Night!

Storm Clouds

These are all taken with my phone camera. The dark black one with the extreme white ones are my most funniest (and probably not such a smart idea). The black is like two seconds before the WHITE of the lightening. I could feel the electricity, see the lightening bolt and where it hit, just across the street to the left of the frame. I jumped and ran back into the house and into my hubby’s arms, where we both just laughed. It was AWESOME!

Flowers and Travel

I love taking photos of flowers, just as much as I do of the moon. This year I didn’t get as many rose photos as I usually do.

“Taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is.” …
— Ansel Adams

Advertisements

Colorado Scenic Byway: Grand Mesa

Part 1: Driving the Loop
I first experienced the Grand Mesa Loop a few years ago when mom and I had gone on a drive to check out the fall leaves. The colors on the Mesa are simply amazing, so I wanted to go back to see what the summer had in store for us. We wanted to make it up there before the snow flies and the road closes, this is Colorado though and there is still some snow on the tops of the mountains. B and I jumped in the ride with Max and headed east.  This trip through the Grand Mesa National Forest will be, what is called “the loop.” Starting in Grand Junction we head east on I70 to State Highway 65, over the mesa and through Cedaredge and Delta,  then to US Highway 50 west, back to Grand Junction. Of course, you can take the loop either way.
Fall on the Mesa
October 2014
Let’s start with what the Grand Mesa is:
It is a National Forest
It is 11,000 ft above sea level, which makes it the largest mesa in the world!
It is home to Powder Horn Ski Resort
It has over 300 lakes, many trails for hiking, fishing, climbing, hunting and more
It also have cabins, lodging and camping areas
Cooler packed, sunscreen and bug spray applied, dog in harness and away we go! Once you get off of I70, you will be able to turn off your AC as the temperature cools as you climb. One of the most wonderful things about Colorado is the greatest summer sport out there, seems no matter where you go, you will be able to watch teams of men and women baking in the sun on the hot asphalt while waving the magical sign, STOP/SLOW. Welcome to road construction season. Our first wait at the STOP sign was about 20 minutes long, while the sport may contain many hard moves or daring feats, this one happened to be boring.  There was, however,  a nice stream I could have gotten out of the ride to see and take pictures of, but I chose to stay in the car and work on my window suntan. Once the pilot vehicle drops off its parade of following traffic we get the go ahead to take our turn following him. I have to say, if I HAD to choose a job in road construction, that would be the one I choose, being a pilot vehicle.
The road wasn’t crowded at all, but the campgrounds and trail heads looked like they had quite a few people in them. It was a nice cool, drizzly drive up the north side of the Mesa. There are many pull offs along the way to grab pictures of the awesome views! If only we knew what the mountain ranges are in the picture, something we are working on. We found lots of flowers, a few chipmunks, a hawk with dinner mid air and the Forest Service out looking for some kind of wild life (truck and trailer), but no Moose, Cattle or Snow Mobiles.
We didn’t get to go down to the Land’s End Observatory, but it is for sure on the next trip.  The road to the observatory is about 12 miles of dirt. Along the way, you will see the historic Raber Cow Camp, which is an example of camps used when the ranchers moved cattle up the mesa in the summer. The observatory is the original visitor center built in 1936-1937 and the access road was primarily built by 200 WW1 veterans between 1933-1934. Once you reach the observatory, you will be able to see Utah’s La Sal Mountains, the edge of the Grand Mesa, beautiful wildflowers and over the Gunnison Canyon. The views of the sunset from here are said to be exquisite, so pack your blanket and camera and head up there for some amazing photos, that’s what I plan on doing. Want more fun? Just past the observatory is a nail biting hairpin – turn road which makes a 6,000 foot decent into the valley below. Pretty sure you shouldn’t drive and take photos while on the way down, unless you have a copilot.
lands end road.png
Heading down the other side of the mesa, you will find more lakes and trails, lots of wildflowers and the visitor center. Something to remember, whether a day trip, a drive through the loop or camping, there are no waste bins so you must pack out your trash and such. That’s a friendly reminder from Max. The visitor center was small, but growing and this Saturday (July 29th, 2017) there is a moose walk, should you find yourself in the area! I finally found the pocket guides I had been looking for. I only purchased five, but it was like I had found the Holy Grail! I will be back for more, unless I find them on another trip.
maps.png
You will pass Island Lake, can’t miss it, it’s HUGE! While we were there, just catching some sun and pictures of wildflowers, we also spotted a lot of fish jumping. Seems the lake is stocked with trout, and also has a fish known as a splake. Splake? Looking it up now. One of the pocket guides I didn’t get…fish.
Splake:  a hybrid of two fish species; a male brook trout and a female lake trout. And you didn’t think you would learn anything.
Continuing down the mesa, you will notice the temperature rise. It was a difference of 20* from the top of the mesa to the entrance to Cedaredge, that’s when the AC came back on. A nice drive through Cedaredge also known as the Gateway to the Grand Mesa and is a Historic Pioneer Town. Guess what’s on the to do list now? We jumped on State Highway 50 and headed west towards home. It was a beautiful drive, however, going back to tackle the outdoor recreation will be a process of more than six months and with the snow coming, it may take longer. Don’t worry though, we will share the experiences along the way.
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
T. S. Eliot

DK

Where in the World Wednesday: Hometown

Where in the World is not just about leaving town for adventures, but experiencing your “hometown” this week we stayed in town, our new “hometown” of Grand Junction, CO. 
19248147_10212876771730298_9195966856184566421_n
Since there are a total of 48 active wildfires burning in California, Colorado, Utah and Arizona we, unfortunately we get the haze from the smoke which provides us with breath taking sunsets & rises and sadly, some days it’s hard to breathe.
B and I headed out to find the perfect spot to take sunset pictures. Since we aren’t really familiar with the area yet, we didn’t know what options we had for prime sunset viewing.  What we did know, wouldn’t provide us with a clear view of the sky. However, I would be able to have lots of views of trees, roof tops and power lines, which I took into consideration, but decided they just wouldn’t be the ideal locations for a sunset. We put our thinking caps on and remembered, we have a small State Park just about three miles from where we are living,  named The James M. Robb – Colorado River State Park. Since I had no idea it was a state park, I only knew it as Corn Lake. I found, while researching the area, the park itself contains five different or distinct locations, all attached by the Colorado River. That’s when I realized I had stumbled on more ideas for our day trips right in our own back yard!
19756549_10212886405411134_1460313809092101378_n
There is a fee for the use of the park
Day Passes: $7-$9
Camping: $18 – $30
Annual State Park Pass: $70
Island Acres.
Located off Interstate 70 in the Debeque Canyon
Activities: fishing, camping , picnicking and/or hiking along side the Colorado River
Colorado River Wildlife Area
Located one mile west of Corn Lake on D Road
Since the primary goal of this area is on protection, enhancement of wildlife and wetlands habitat, there are very few activity areas.  Hiking, wildlife observation and environmental education is available for this area. There is no boating in this area and fishing access is only on the south and west sides of the lake.
Connected Lakes
Connected Lakes is a day use only park open from 5 am – 10 pm
How to get there:  take Highway 340 (Broadway) to Power Road and turn north, then turn right on Dike Rd. which will take you to the park
Activities: river boating & rafting, hiking, warm water fishing only, picnicking, bird watching and pond boating.
pexels-photo-205712
Fruita
Located south of Exit 19 on Interstate 70 on State Highway 340 and is adjacent to the Colorado River.
Activities: year round camping, lake fishing, boating, picnicking, seasonal bird watching, walking, biking, hiking and even have a dinosaur site. The park does close at 10 pm for day use
Corn Lake
Located at 32 Road & the Colorado River, Corn Lake is a day use only park and serves as headquarters for the park
Activities: boating, rafting, picnicking, both warm & cold water fishing, hiking and biking
Corn Lake is where we found our awesome sunset and some great moon shots as well. Lucked out on that one! The downfall of going to a lake/river at dusk is the army of mosquitoes who love to attack any innocent or non innocent bystander, fisherman or hiker. Note to self, apply the bug spray before you go to the park! Max was just excited to go, but when B got out of the car to watch the fish jump, he got a bit upset with me. Unfortunately, we didn’t have his leash, so he stayed with me at the car.
We spent about a half hour or so just watching the changing colors in the sky. Watching nature live instead of on TV and just being able to the silence and beauty of our home state and now, our hometown.
When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.
Mahatma Gandhi