Archive for the ‘Landscapes’ Category

Two years ago my wife and I attended a wedding in the Palo Alto, California area. During a bit of downtime we took a trip over to the “7 Mile Drive,” a road that runs along the Pacific Ocean that is famous for its scenic beauty. One of the well-known scenic places along the route is called “The Lone Cypress,” which is called the most photographed tree in the world. I dutifully photographed the tree along with dozens of other people around me — trying to think of some unique angle or view but realizing that it was unlikely that any of my shots were going to be very special.  One the way back to the car, I spotted this piece of driftwood, which absolutely no one was looking at. I thought it was quite interesting but didn’t have much time to photograph it since we needed to head back to the wedding. I thought this would be an interesting addition to this week’s challenge and I hope you agree,

 

Driftwood - 7 Mile Drive

Advertisements

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Gone, But Not Forgotten.”

I call this combine, which appears to be abandoned, the “Row Warrior” in honor of its long years of work in the wintry fields of North Dakota. Looking like a tank, it seems to be defending the rows it has harvested. From what? Who knows? The Row Warrior is gone from the fields, but not forgotten

Row Warrior

During my stay in North Dakota my wife’s nephew Rob stopped by to visit his grandfather (where we saw him). While everyone chatted Rob happened to mention that he and his wife had seen numerous moose in the area of North Dakota where they live.  I thought it might be interesting to see some moose so I traveled to the area where they live. It is not too far from Parshall, North Dakota. Despite my reasonably diligent efforts, I saw no moose but I did see more of the North Dakota landscape that I have come to appreciate over the past several years.

One of the places I happened across was the Hiddenwood National Wildlife Refuge.  Hiddenwood National Wildlife Refuge is a little odd. First, it isn’t the easiest place to find. While it appeared on MapQuest (which is the only reason I knew it existed), the roads in very rural areas parts of North Dakota (and the rest of the country)  aren’t always the same as what appears on maps. Also somewhat confusingly, street sign placement in very rural areas can be pretty haphazard so at times I was in the middle of a corn field uncertain as to whether I was on a local highway or inadvertently trespassing on a path for farm equipment.

My first attempt at getting to the refuge ended at the location shown below when I decided not to take this unmarked and rather uncertain looking road. (The road was supposed to be 373rd Avenue, S.W., which I take as a sign of the optimism of people in the past.)

Road to Hiddenwood Nat'l Wildlife Refuge  - December 05, 2014 - 0058

I think that my decision concerning the road not taken was a wise one:-)

Proceeding on a less direct route I eventually came upon a sign for Hiddenwood Lake (per the sign) National Wildlife Refuge where, not surprisingly, I discovered a lake. More of a surprise was the lack of any appreciable number of trees. I reflected that perhaps they were just more carefully hidden than I had expected.

Hiddenwoods Lake

It turns out that Hiddenwood Natioanl Wildlife Refuge is a very tiny national wildlife refuge. Spanning just 568 acres (2.3 sq. km) it is slightly less than a square mile (640 acres). It is also a special kind of wildlife refuge called an easement refuge. Such refuges are entirely on privately owned land and exist as a result of a conservation easement between the property owner (and all future owners since the easement runs with the land) and the applicable unit of government. An easement doesn’t change ownership of property but instead grants another party some kind of interest in one’s property. In the case of conservation easements, they are used to limit the use of the land subject to the easement in a way intended to protect its use for certain conservation purposes (for example, a lake may be subject to an easement to protect it from development since it is a major migratory bird rest stop).  North Dakota has 63 National Wildlife Refuges, more than any other state. Of these about 48 are easement refuges, which appears to be many more than any other state. I am unaware of the explanation for the disproportionate number of easement refuges in North Dakota.

Whatever the purpose, the day I visited the only thing on the lake was an ice shanty with a couple of trucks pulled up next to it so whoever was fishing inside need not be unduly exposed to the elements while ice fishing. Aside from that, it was a pretty if somewhat barren view.

Trip to Parshall and Area - December 05, 2014 - 0125_6pmatrix

I was able to locate a few trees, but they seemed more lonely than hidden so I’m not sure how exactly they fit in with the whole “Hiddenwood” lake thing.

Trip to Parshall and Area - December 05, 2014 - 0118_19_20pmatrix

Other than the sign, the lake and the few trees I spotted, the only other things of note were a very large parking lot and a church-like building at the end of the lot (below). The building did not appear to be in current use (as a church or otherwise) since the snow immediately around the building was undisturbed.

Trip to Parshall and Area - December 05, 2014 - 0103-Edit-Edit

On its face there wasn’t much to Hiddenwood [Lake] National Wildlife Refuge.  I am going to try to find out a bit more about it and if I do, I’ll post what I learn.

I have been traveling in North Dakota a recently and had the good fortune to run across one of my favorite weather phenomena — hoarfrost. Hoarfrost is a heavy coating of ice that is typically deposited on vegetation leading to a winter wonderland appearance.  As the temperature of moist air drops its ability to hold moisture is reduced. When the air temperature is above freezing, dew forms. At temperatures fall below freezing the moisture in saturated air may condense directly to ice (hoarfrost).  Here are some photos of hoarfrost in North Dakota.

Hoarfrost1

Hoafrost2

Trip to 4Bears - December 04, 2014 - 0023-Edit

Trip to 4Bears - December 04, 2014 - 0013-Edit

I was recently in North Dakota visiting my father-in-law who lives in Minot. The major winter chill has hit there just as hard as it has hit most of the rest of the country although the area has avoided much of the heavy snow. The cold (temperatures often in the low single digits) has been only part of the story in the area. The wind has persistently been over 25 miles per hour with gusts between 30-50 miles per hour. The resulting wind chill has often resulted in temperatures in the teens and twenties below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

My first photo is of a horse as it tries to get some food from a frozen field. It isn’t snowing heavily, but the snow is blowing around causing near white out conditions.

Along County Hwy 3 (Snow Day) - November 17, 2014 - 158-2

In this photo, the wind has died down for a bit. I simply liked the composition.

Along County Hwy 3 - November 17, 2014 - 001-2

After the harvest (in what appeared to be a relatively rare corn field), the cattle go through the field to eat what they can find.  Again, there was not much snow, but it was bitterly cold with the wind chill.

Along Hwy 2 - November 17, 2014 - 0019-Edit

Finally, some rays of hope — the forecast indicates warmer weather within the next week.

Along Hwy 2 - November 17, 2014 - 0067-Edit

As the cold weather began to settle into the Madison area, the temperature of Lake Mendota, the largest of the Chain of Lakes in Madison, was significantly warmer than the surrounding air resulting in some foggy mornings. Here are some photos from those foggy mornings.

Here is a photo of Maple Bluff (about 3/4 mile [1.2 km] across the lake from where I took this photo and about 120 feet [36.5 meters] above the lake at this point) shrouded in the fog.

Foggy Morning - 0109

Here is a photo of part of the City of Madison shore (foreground) with fog on the lake.

Foggy Morning1

Here are two views of the Tenney Park breakwater in the early morning with the fog in the background.

Foggy Morning3  Foggy Morning4

 

 

 

Not too long ago I was in the area around the Madison Audubon Goose Pond Sanctuary. It was my first time there and it was a very windy day. I ended up driving around a bit eventually finding a parking lot that had a sign that said that it led to a bench with an overview among other things. I wasn’t feeling particularly well and plopping on a bench for a bit resonated with my energy level so I grabbed my camera and walked down and very, very easy path a few hundred feet from the road where I did indeed find a bench. The bench was quite comfortable and aside from the strong winds it was a nice day so I parked myself on the bench. I figured the chances  were small that I was going to see much if any wildlife (the bench is more or less on top of a hill and makes no claim to being a “blind”. My guess was right – he only wildlife I saw were crickets,  a nondescript caterpillar and a few geese flying in the distance.

What I did see was some interesting Wisconsin landscapes. This photo is one of them. I just really liked the old silo with the new roof above the old building in the foreground (also new roof) and both of them adjacent to part of the barn with its roof literally falling to pieces – lower left.

Goose Pond - October 08, 2014 - 0267 (Silo)