Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Quote of the Day

There are some who speak one moment before they think.
- Jean De La Bruyère

Fjords

I passed some fjords along the way, but the one I stopped to take pictures of was the Hardanger Fjord. It is the 4th longest in the world, the 2nd longest in Norway and much of the road along its northern side needs to be broadened, if need be with nukes. But I digress. It is also wewy, wewy pwetty there.

The village of Norheimsund lies cozy and pretty in a nook of the fjord.
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The main fjord, running southwest from Norheimsund.
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A bit further east.
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Looking due east.
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This bridge crosses a northern arm of the fjord called Fyksesund fjord.
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This was some fjord closer to Bergen. The Norwegian west coast is just one pretty postcard view after another.
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Steinsdalsfossen

On the way back I stopped to take pics of this waterfall, called Steinsdalsfossen (Stone Valley Fall).

Purdy waterwall.
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A bit closer one could get drenched by the spray. One may also walk up behind the falls, but I could not be bothered.
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Naturally, I was skeptical of Steinsdalsfossen.
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Nice surroundings too.
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A nice stream flowed from the falls.
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Lifelike wooden images of Swedes.
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This year's trip to the West Coast

After a few weeks in Norway I started feeling antsy, so a couple of weekends back I took a quick trip over the mountains to Norway's #2 city: Bergen. On the way I stopped to take pics of the lovely Vøringsfossen.

The water still runs deeeeeep.
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On to the sea.
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From a place just west of the falls, where the sun fell just so.
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This, to me, is the essence of Norway. And yes, that's snow on the hilltops.
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Monday, August 31, 2015

Quote of the Day

Parenting is a negative thing. Keep your children from killing themselves, or anyone else, and hope for the best.
- Erna Bombeck

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Quote of the Day

Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own mind.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Quote of the Day

I’m all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let’s start with typewriters.
- Solomon Short

Friday, August 28, 2015

Quote of the Day

No furniture so charming as books.
- Sydney Smith

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Quote of the Day

It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety.
- Isaac Asimov

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Quote of the Day

Time is money.
- Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Quote of the Day

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
- Calvin Coolidge

Monday, August 24, 2015

Quote of the Day

There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.
- Victor Hugo

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Quote of the Day

Imagine there’s no heaven; it’s easy if you try
No hell below us, above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries; it isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace
- John Lennon

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Quote of the Day

Most people would like to be delivered from temptation but would like it to keep in touch.
- Robert Orben

Friday, August 21, 2015

Quote of the Day

Too much of a good thing is wonderful.
- Mae West

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Quote of the Day

People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.
- Logan Pearsall Smith

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Quote of the Day

A hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane and smells like Cheeta.
- Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Quote of the Day

A man of great common sense and good taste, meaning thereby a man without originality or moral courage.
- Walter Besant

Monday, August 17, 2015

Quote of the Day

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed.
- Carl Jung

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bears and wolves in Yellowstone

My last post from the US will be a return to Monday 7/27, when we spent over an hour in the freezing cold at around 6:30-8AM to watch three grizzly bears and 2 wolves duking it out for an elk carcass. We'd decided to get up early to catch the sunrise and maybe to have a better chance of seeing animals, and since a certain someone had read that the upper plateau (the part with Old Faithful in) was supposedly a good spot, we set off shortly after 5AM.

We stopped to take some pictures of the sunrise, but we did not see a single animal until we came to the road that connects the eastern and western halves of the Yellowstone traffic system. A couple of minutes in, we saw several cars parked along the road and people were all staring south. I parked and we got out. First I saw one wolf at the edge of the field. Then I saw another in the woods. And then I saw the bears. We spent over an hour there, taking loads of pictures and talking to other tourists and some locals.

We were told that the wolves had killed an elk either Sunday morning or Saturday night, but that the bears had now moved in and were staking their claim for the carcass, which I can only assume was dwindling fast. Apparently this is not uncommon behavior and can as easily happen the other way. What was special about this kill was that the wolves and the bears were now sharing the meat, if not in peace, then in a grudging acceptance of each other.

I also overheard some local old timers talking about the lineage of the wolves and Albie apparently saw pups at one point. There's actually an organization with their headquarters in Gardiner which tracks all the known wolves in Yellowstone, with family history and everything. Anyways, watching these magnificent animals was the highlight of my trip, possibly the highlight of all my trips everywhere and one of the greatest single moments of my life.

I started out with over 600 pics, but I have cut it down considerably - the whole photographic loot of 127 remaining photos can be viewed here.

At this point I only had eyes for the lone wolf in the field.
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Then I saw the bears.
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Three of them, in fact.
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The elk had originally been slain down in the field, but the bears had dragged parts of the carcass into the woods. Here, a wolf is back at the source.
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Later, the bears also went down there for refills. Every time one of the two species went down there, a huge flock of birds lifted from the dead elk. In many other pics you can also see several types of birds of prey sitting around in the trees, biding their time.
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At one point, one of the wolves was alone up in the woods and used the time to tear off some good sized chunks.
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At another, one of the wolves demonstrated her gender...
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Later, she took off, possibly to check on the puppies. We then packed up and were ready to leave, but she came back, so we stood for another 15 minutes.
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Beautiful doggie.
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This one time, a wolf got too close.
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And the bear reacted.
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But it was just a warning, not an attack.
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And soon they were back to stuffing snout at a somewhat respectful distance.
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At one point, early in the proceedings, one wolf actually laid down in between three bears. I've never even heard of such behavior.
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This is the last useful photo I took. The wolves had gone and two bears were mopping up the scraps. It had been a magical event, where the beauty and the savagery of nature were both on display and my love of Yellowstone has never been stronger than it was then and there.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Zion: More Bighorns

That last day at Zion was magical - not only had we walked several miles and seen several attractions - it was rounded off by taking a car trip through the tunnel to the eastern part of the park, where we saw not one, but two groups of Bighorns up close. Afterwards it was dinner at Zion Lodge and as we were walking back to the cabin we could see several deer grazing on the lawn, just a couple of feet away from us. Perfect way to end our two week tour and my six week vacation.

We first spotted this group, not long after the tunnel. We also saw them when we came back, and they were much closer then. But my pocket camera was out of power and I just couldn't be bothered to pull out the big one. So I just stood and enjoyed the sight of these magnificent animals.
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The other group was just about where I'd photographed a herd a month before. Possibly they were the same animals.
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The alpha male and his missusses.
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This was taken on the exact same ridge as the last pic of my previous post.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Zion: The Narrows

We'd been taking a lot about going up The Narrows, which is, as the name implies, a narrow passage of river which is supposedly quite beautiful. However, we'd probably need wetsuits or something similar, at the very least some proper shoes. Additionally, none of us really had the necessary physical stamina to do something like this on such short notice. But we agreed that we would at the very least walk up from the last bus stop to the entrance of the Narrows.

Multicolored rocks bear witness to the eroding effect of water.
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The path winds along the right hand side of the Virgin river for about a mile.
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It then stops abruptly and you need to get your feet - at the very least - wet to proceed several miles upstream. One day... one day...
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The squirrels in this part of the park are unbelievably cheeky and sadly unafraid of humans. I watched several almost get trampled in the frenzy to get some goodies off of stupid tourists.
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This pic almost looks like it's a painting.
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Zion: The valley floor

After Weeping rock, we crossed the road on foot and then proceeded to walk to the next bus stop, over the narrow valley floor. I took some pics here, mostly in black & white.

Lush and green.
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Notice the greenish leaves at the bottom, near the trunk.
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Plenty of colors.
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Black and whites.
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Monday, August 10, 2015

Zion: Weeping Rock

After the Emerald Pools we took the shuttle up to Weeping Rock. This is another overhang, where the water has been dripping for thousands of years. We were told that tests had confirmed the water running down the rocks to be appx. 1,200 years old; that's how long it takes to pass through the layers of sandstone.

This water is 1,200 years old.
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There's a platform along the overhang where the water runs down. It's usually full of Asian tourists taking selfies.
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The views in Zion are puuuurdy.
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There are some nice places on the steep path up there too.
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I'm no geologist, but I think what's happened here is a tree split the rock in two.
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Naturally, I was skeptical of Weeping Rock.
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