Greetings everyone, I hope everyone was able to enjoy their Christmas (or your celebration of choice) with family and/or friends. Ours was a bit hectic as we started early with our traditional gift exchange which has somehow morphed into “EVERY PRESENT IS MINE” event for Ruger. Hit the treadmill to pre-work off the annual feast and then promptly went to work packing up to head south. Thanks to brilliant idea from Linda, this is the first time we didn’t have to take down the 12′ (by now fire-hazard) real tree in the midst of the chaos. All that effort to get to somewhere with temps above single digits. As we will be dealing with some sketchy roads for at least the first long day… maybe 2, thought it would be a perfect time to bring out one of Brad’s post from another warm location. We’ll catch up later in the week… Brad, take it away…(note, you can click on the images to view the full size images)
Our first trip to the Big Island of Hawaii was in 2002 when we met two of our friends from Boston. The four of us decided to go on a hike to see the waterfalls of Waipio Valley from a trail at the top of the valley. Waipio Valley is located on the north side of the Big Island, in the Kohala Watershed Forest Preserve. This wasn’t where all the tourists take the pretty pictures of the black sand and surf. We were way back at the beginning of the entire Waipio Valley. The tour book (Intrigued Legal says I can’t use the name because it’s considered an endorsement) gave us specific non-touristy directions to a fantastic hike with a 1500’ waterfall. Once we had interpreted the instructions and turned at a certain colored fence located 3 (or so) miles outside of Waimea, because the instructions were that precise. Not really sure where the edge of town really was, it took us a couple of attempts to find the references in the book. We parked the rental car and climbed through the security fence. Don’t worry, this was a pedestrian entrance to somewhat public grounds, shared with a private owner. This part of the Big Island is all green; rainforest green not palm tree green. The horses inside the fence were very happy to see us, or at least the treats they thought we were carrying. After a few moments of nudging us with their noses, and realizing we had no treats, they wandered off.
The four of us followed the unofficial footpath past the municipal water supply and started into the rainforest. The elevation was about 2700’ at this point and in the middle of a rainforest. The temps were much cooler than along the coast, but still very much shorts and T-shirt weather at this point.
After a minute or two in the rainforest, we kept seeing forms of Hawaiian Ginger along the pleasantly maintained unofficial trail.
Hit the jump to read more about Brad’s Hawaiian hiking adventure!
We here at Intrigued wanted to extend a hearty Merry Christmas to each and all! Mr. Freeze has decided to insure we have a white Christmas for a change – at least here in the Midwest Tundra. Sprinkle in some wicked windchills and you have the perfect conditions to stay inside and enjoy some hot chocolate nestled around the fireplace…or basking in “the soft glow of electric …”.
We are now officially deep into the holiday season. Christmas will be here before we know it and the New Year stands ready to pile on disappointment for any unfulfilled ’22 goals. For a change, I happen to be in fairly good shape on the resolution front. As mentioned in a previous post, my 1200 mile goal has been met (currently at 1221.6 to be exact), and technically, my Average Year goals has been blown out of the water. Ron always reminds me that I thought it would be impossible to crest 200 birds in a single year. Stunned the count currently sits at 294 to the point I’m optimistic there’s an outside chance to crest 300. Two possible birds were on the hunt list for the end of this week (Prairie Falcon/Snowy Owl). Unfortunately, Mr. Freeze has decided to snow on my parade. The Four Snowmen of the Blizzpocalypse (link here) arrive tomorrow followed by the next “Ice Age” (-1F degrees base with 55mph gusts belching windchills to -30 and below). In those conditions, both Scrat and I would both lose our n….oses (link here). Fingers crossed we can get 6 checks the week after Christmas while we head south. In recognition of the “Hoodie” layer weather forecast – as in t-shirt, sweater, hoodie, coat, scarf, mittens and snoot-boot… how about we “check” out today’s featured feathered friend.
Hit the jump to read more about our orange flavored specimen.
Hope you recovered quickly from Brad’s lava hike. In stark contrast, today’s post comes from the cold snow of Rochester, MN. We are up at Mayo for Linda’s annual heart checkup – which means ample time to get a post (or two) penned while we navigate Linda’s battery of pokes and prods. One positive, it allows me to continue researching a concerning phenomenon. It is a human behavior topic so it will be targeted for the mothership. Here is a teaser. We are historically social creatures, yet we are evolving to isolation as demonstrated by Waiting Room Entropy (which sounds a lot more appealing than my previous title Men’s Room Urinal Selection Principle link here). This is on full display in Mayo Clinic waiting rooms. Every grouping seeks to maximize space between themselves and others. It is an elaborate ballet as they cleverly try to disguise the task, hawking from the main aisles as they calculate the best spot. Circle backs are occasionally required when personal items are strategically placed. Quite fascinating to this life voyeur. Someday I’ll post the full multi-year analysis, but the New Year is fast approaching and I want to maximize distance between Ron and I’s “official” bird count.
I can assure you Ron and I have not decided to start including Mosquitoes in our bird count – that blotch above is definitely a bird…well, not just any bird, rather a Magnificent bird!
Hit the jump to get a better view or our fork-tailed lady.
With just under 5 miles to go, by the time you read this my last remaining goal of 2022 will be officially checked off. Oddly thanks to Covid, I was able push through the remaining miles and again break the 1200 mile ribbon – there were around 64 miles still to run at end of November. Over the years, I’ve found that running can help ward off sickness or minimally break down whatever heathens make it through my defenses. Feeling under the weather or exposed to the possibility equals 7-9 miles per day – less and don’t sweat enough to purge the sickies, more than 9 miles the immune defense get redirected to muscle recovery instead. I am definitely NOT advocating this approach for others, simply noting it as beneficial to my goal. As I celebrate the accomplishment, going to let Brad take you for a few miles on a hike. Put on your surest footing gear (not Crocs ha), this trek covers some dangerous terrain.
Take it away Brad…
Concrete. Asphalt. Crushed gravel. Grass. Granite. Dirt. Leaves. Shredded tire chips. Wood chips. Mulch. All good hiking surfaces. What about hardened basalt? You know, cooled lava.
I know. I know. This site is called Wildlife Intrigued. I have to admit, I’m not going to describe or show any photos of wildlife in this article (unless you count tourists). But I thought it was interesting and would capture your attention and maybe, just maybe, entice you to visit Volcanoes National Park sometime.
Jan and I were able to reprise a hike we first completed in 2010. As you’ve seen by now in a few of the past posts, we visited Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii. And as the name implies, there are volcanoes involved. Even though Kilauea volcano is currently erupting, there is no molten lava in the Kilauea Iki crater. Actually, there’s no molten lava within two miles of where we were hiking. This particular crater last erupted in spectacular fashion in 1959. (See this site for iconic photos of the drive-in eruption of Kilauea Iki.)
Despite having arrived early in the morning, the parking lot was nearly full. I think we found the last available space in the small lot.
Greetings everyone from the warm state of Arizona…wait, why am I wearing winter clothes and looking out at a cold, overcast, dreary day – CRAP, I’m still in the broke state of Illinois. Unfortunately, there is an explanation for this change of plans. We are supposed to be in Mesa, Arizona this week giving our bones a preview of what’s coming in January and more importantly – pushing my Average Year (link here) over the absolutely shocking 300 threshold. Linda and I decided to get some of our Christmas shopping out of the way on Black Friday – picked up a few presents, a few bottles of wine and apparently a case of Covid. A complete non-event for me, a night of joint/bone aches and a sharp headache passed off originally as just another night after a long run doubled with time in the gym. Linda took it harder with more of an extended flu-like experience. She’s coming out of it now, thankfully, but we had to make a decision to cancel our trip before we lost the flex option. Going to take some magic for me to get to 300 birds for the year – maybe with the help of a Wizard!
There are probably at least 3 or 4 winter birds that should be relatively easy to get as the temps continue to drop – Snowy Owls being one of them, which had its first sighting yesterday a few hours away. That should put me in the 290s, waaaaay above my projection at the begining of the year. The dark horse is the fact we will have a week of birding opportunities in Texas before the new year hits – fingers crossed. In light of the “magic” that needs to occur, thought this would be a perfect time to bring out another addition to my life list.
Somehow we are officially in December and as far as I can tell, we must only be getting one maybe two weeks top per month being no other explanation for how fast time is flying by. Yesterday I was wondering whether to isolate my Turkey from the rest of the fix’ns or just make one big scrumptious pile and douse it with the entire contents of the gravy bowl. A day later wondering if I’m going to get my shopping done before Christmas Eve (which, at this pace might end up being tomorrow). Thankfully, we can lean on Brad to keep us entertained while I wage battle with the hourglass. I must say, our new staff member is doing quite well on his goal milestones – especially the bonus counter for the use of “craptastic” – we never imagined it would find its way into a post in the “literal” sense. Editor note, he would have pulled a mega-score if he had replaced bird “pose[ing]” with a Python reference to the Norwegian Blue nailed to the perch – now that would be Senior Corporate Staff Writer at Intrigued material hehehe. Enough of my rambling, let’s get to Brad’s latest offering, the Ravenpalooza (or should that be Ravenpooplooza?).
Take it away Brad…
The Fall of 2021 was our first visit to Pikes Peak in Colorado. Jan and I had high hopes of spectacular views from the top. The sun was shining in Manitou Springs at the base of the mountain where you board the cog rail to ride to the peak (visit here for more details on the cog rail). We booked our tickets for the cog rail while driving to Colorado the day before, so we didn’t end up getting the best seats. In fact, we ended up sitting backwards on the train as it headed up the mountain. We were fighting gravity the whole way because the average incline is a 10% grade (up 10 feet for every 100 feet forward) with short runs of 25% grade. This also means that while we were facing forward on the way down, we were still holding onto our seats so we didn’t fall into the laps of the people sitting across from us.
Unfortunately, the weather can change very quickly around the Front Range of the Rockies. That visit was no exception. As we approached 9,000 feet on the ride to the top, clouds settled in and the view diminished quickly. At about 12,000 feet, snow started to slant past the windows. By the time we reached the peak, we were in a full-on blizzard. The snow was falling so fast, and the wind was so strong, that we had to follow the handrails to the visitor center for fear of getting lost in the white-out. Understandably, we were disappointed not to have a good, or any, view at the top. Jan and I did decide to run outside for a quick selfie in the blizzard, then ran back inside just as quickly. After a quick break in the visitor center, we boarded the cog rail for the ride back down the mountain.
Fast forward to Fall 2022. We bought cog rail tickets months in advance to try for better seats. Jan and I ended up with two front row seats.
Hit the jump to read more of Brad and Jan’s “clearer” return to Pikes Peak.