Taro on Kauai

Let me see. What should be talk about today. How about photography!!!

 

Taro

 

This shot is of a taro field in Kauai, actually very near Hanalei. We really like Kauai. They use the roots of these plants to make Taro Chips. Taro chips are sort of like potato chips only better. Taro chips are fantastic. They also make poi from the roots of this plants.  I personally think Poi is disgusting. It has no flavor. It is similar in taste to southern grits. In other words, no taste unless you add lots of other stuff to add at least some favor.

If you have never been to Kauai, you should really go there some time. It is more “laid back” than some of the other islands.If you are looking for lots of really loud and wild night life, don’t go to Kauai.

Onion Creek Road-Utah

 Today I am going to suggest a side trip you can take on your way to or from Moab,UT. First of all you want to be on highway 128 between Cisco and Moab. As I mentioned in my last blog posting, Hwy 191 from I-70 is faster but not as scenic as 128.

If you are traveling from Cisco to Moab, you will find Onion Creek Road immediately after you go past the road to Fisher Tower. Take this gravel road to the left (east) and within a mile or less you will come to a parking area. Continue on up Onion Creek Road. The gravel road will cross Onion Creek more than twenty times. This photograph shows you what most of the crossings look like.

Onion CreekWhile most of this road may not require 4-wheel drive it is best if you don’t take that chance and instead travel in a 4-wheel drive vehicle with high clearance. Also suggest you stay off this road if it looks like it could rain. Water could rage down this stream several feet deep leaving you stranded in the back country or dead if you try to cross the stream. Never cross a roaring stream.

The drive on Onion Creek Road takes you through some beautiful red rock country. Check it out.

 

Utah State Route 128- Scenic Byway

If you happened to be going through Colorado on I-70 and headed for Moab, I suggest you not take the fastest route which would be Route 191 going south from Crescent Junction. Instead take the Danish Flats exit and you will go through the town of Cisco. (This exit use to be Cisco but they changed it to Danish Flats). When you are in Cisco you might want to stop at the Starbucks and get a latte. OOPS! I just remembered, Cisco is basically a ghost town and there is no Starbucks. If you like ghost towns then Cisco will be entertaining. There a few people who live there but not many.

Out of Cisco Route 128 makes a left hand turn and heads for the Colorado River. Watch for Pronghorn Antelope along the way. Route 128 follows the Colorado River all the way to Moab. This is one of the most beautiful drives in the world.The red sandstone cliffs and rocks are magnificent. The highway passes through Professor Valley where many movies have been filmed. This photo was taken along the Colorado River with cottonwood trees in fall color and the red sandstone cliffs as background.Fall along 128If you stop at the Red Cliff Lodge they have a have a movie museum in the basement level that tells you all about the movies filmed in the area. Very entertaining.

Another interesting thing to do is go for a drive on Onion Creek Trial. (4-wheel drive, high clearance recommended). More on this on my next blog posting.

Fisher Tower is also along Route 128. There is a wonderful hike up around Fisher Tower. The hiking trail leaves from the campground at the base of Fisher Tower.

Here is a link to more information about Utah Route 128.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_State_Route_128

 

Elk

We were recently in Rocky Mountain National Park. The first part of October is a perfect time to visit this national park. Not only are the Aspen in full fall color but the elk are in rut. The sound of the bulls bugling carries out across the valleys which is always amazing to hear. Here is a photo of two cows engaged in some interesting behavior.Elk

We also saw plenty of bull elk. A bull elk and a number of cows walked right through the campground and our campsite. They are amazing animals. This next photo was taken in the campground. Elk-2If you have never seen elk in rut, I highly recommend going to Rocky Mountain National Park in late September to early October and witness this event for yourself.

 

Crystal River Mill

It is that time of year again when the Aspen trees in Colorado turn an amazing golden yellow color. This year is even better than most other years.

We just returned from a trip to the Marble, Colorado area and the Aspen trees were just unbelievably beautiful. The purpose of this camping trip was to make a trip to the Crystal River Mill which is above the town of Marble. It is not real easy to get to this location. The “road” or trail is narrow and rough. Here is a photo of the trail. There are places where the drops offs are enough to make some people very nervous. (If you click on the image it will enlarge)

Trail to Crystal River Mill

Trail to Crystal River Mill

We took a jeep tour to the mill which was well worth the cost. I could focus on photography and not have to worry about driving.

The mill was built in the late 1800’s and was used to generate compressed air for various uses in the mines. Some people claim it is the most photographed site in Colorado. I seriously doubt that because it is not that easy to get to. However, it does make a great photograph.

If you would like to go see this old wooden mill then I highly recommend the jeep tour method. If you are not going to do the jeep tour than an ATV would be a better method than some 4 wheel drive vehicle. Here is a link to the jeep tours. http://www.smithfamilycolorado.com/CRJT/

Oh, I almost forgot. Here is a photograph of the Crystal River Mill.

Crystal River Mill

Crystal River Mill

Wine Grapes

For the wine country in Grand Junction, Colorado it is harvest time. I have a few vines of my own so I can make a few bottles of wine. For the last two years I have lost all my Merlot and Syrah vines to freezing conditions. My Chardonnay vines have survived. I am in the fermentation process for the Chardonnay grapes. I actually prefer red wine but I am out of luck for this year.

Here is a recent photo of red wine grapes from the Grand Valley wine country.

Wine Grapes

Wine Grapes

If you are in the Grand Junction area I highly recommend taking a tour of the valley wineries. They make some great wines. Here is a link for more information.

http://www.grandvalleywine.com/

Bighorn Sheep

I recently went hiking with a friend in the Colorado National Monument and we saw Bighorn Sheep twice during this hike. That is very unusual. We saw 6 of them on the first part of the hike and approximately 30 more toward the end of the hike.

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep

We hiked the Bench Trail which is one of the longer trials in the Monument. We started out near Gold Star Canyon which is where we saw the first Bighorn. It is a steep climb to get up to the bench but after that the trail is not bad. Up and down with a few drop offs and just a very pleasant hike.

At the other end of the trail we came down the lower section of Liberty Cap Trail which is where we saw the rest of the Bighorns. While coming down the trail I fell and ended up sitting on my butt. While sitting down I shot the photograph you see above.

It was a fun hike and a great day.

Colorado National Monument Weather

Lately we have had more rain in the Grand Junction area and the Colorado National Monument than we usually have this time of year. While August into September is our “monsoon” season it has been much more so this year.

This photograph shows storm clouds building over the Monument. Click on image to enlarge.

Storm Clouds

Storm Clouds

This view is looking toward Independence Monument which is located in Monument Canyon. The photograph was taken just to the north of the Bookcliff overlook view point.

Lately there has been lots of low and clouds and fog in the Colorado National Monument. So far I have not captured an image that I am really happy with. But I will keep trying. I have great fog images from other years but not yet this year.

If you check out the page in my website for the Colorado National Monument you will find some of these fog shots.

 

 

Wildlife in the Colorado National Monument

Yesterday a friend (traveler A) and I went for a hike in the Colorado National Monument. We hiked Monument Canyon from the top to the bottom. It was a great day with magnificent scenery. By the end of the hike it started to get a little too warm.

On the drive up to be dropped off at the trail head we saw a Bighorn Sheep in the middle of the road. The following photograph was taken in the Balanced Rock area.

Bighorn

Bighorn

During the hike we also saw three Collared Lizards. It is unusual to see three of these lizards during one hike. The next photograph is obviously one of the lizards we saw. They are very colorful and easy to get close to. They also have a powerful bite. It is best to not try and pick one up.

Collared Lizard

Collared Lizard

 

Colorado National Monument Pothole

As promised we are back in the Colorado National Monument for this blog posting. I love it when it rains up there because the rocks are wet and the potholes are full of water. These water filled potholes are critical to the many life forms that live in the high desert. Some of these creatures are too small to see with the naked eye and others are the various mammals that live in this environment. In the desert water is very important. Hiking in this country can be deadly for humans if you forget to bring along water. Be sure to click on the image to enlarge. It doesn’t look very good in the small format.

Pothole

Pothole

In this photograph you can see among other things Independence Monument in the background. Independence Monument sits in Monument Canyon which is probably the best place to see Bighorn Sheep. I will be hiking there on Tuesday and hopefully will get some good shots of them. However, I do not always see them in Monument Canyon.

Here is a link to more information about the Colorado National Monument.

http://www.coloradonma.org/