As promised, it is time to pop another offering from Brad’s growing queue. He has been working overtime to bring you a number of new adventures, many of which we will be releasing during my fast approaching migration trip. To wet your whistle, here is an adventure which happens to be closer to home. Note, I thought monopods were just for whacking faster runners when wildlife decides to make a S’more out of photographers. Who knew there was another purpose ha.
Take it away Brad…
Usually, these posts include some sort of travel or exotic location where there just happens to be a bird or three worth photographing. Brian heads to a bird sanctuary near the border in Texas. Jan and I have normally just returned from a fantastic vacation location. This time was a little bit different.
During our last trip to Colorado, I noticed my monopod (an aluminum Manfrotto 680B from the mid 2000’s) was slipping. It was having trouble supporting the weight of my Nikon 200-500 plus the D300 with battery grip. The middle section would slide down 4-5 inches, followed closely by the top section sliding 1-2 inches. I tried to tighten the joints with the plastic tool included with the monopod; no luck. When we arrived home, I discovered that parts are no longer available for this particular model. I also found several people on-line that had simply tightened the joints beyond what may be prudent. While that was not something I wanted to do, I wondered if the bolts had loosened because of usage. I grabbed my favorite metric socket set and loosened all the joints to look for debris. Finding none, I slowly tightened the bolts on the locking levers, about 1/16 of a turn each time. Try the joint. Adjust as necessary. Repeat. At some point I hit the magic friction point because the monopod stopped sliding with the lens/camera combo mounted on top. And it didn’t feel like I was going to snap off the locking levers. Now I had to verify the results.
Hit the jump to see the results of Brad’s verification efforts!
Body hurts, eyes red and very exhausted, I must be in Sin City! Most of that condition is due to non-stop birding since we arrived – the rest of the time, well, as the say, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”. The birding front has been incredible. Already +22 for the Average Year (link here – not updated yet) with a number of lifers in the mix, all of which will assuredly be featured here sometime in the future. Meanwhile, I wanted to get the 2nd part of Brad’s Yellowstone adventure out to you.
Take it away Brad…
In the last episode our intrepid travelers had arrived in Yellowstone National Park in June. It was June . . . remember that. There was a blizzard on the first night. They scraped snow from cars, endured closed roads, saw geysers, bison, birds, rotten egg smells, etc.
Now you are up to date. Time to continue on after our second of three nights in the park. This is our last full day at Yellowstone. Here’s the map to help set the stage again. (It’s a big one a takes a few seconds to open.)
It is still mid-June in Yellowstone. Another 4” of new snow fell overnight (second night in a row) at Lake Lodge, though much more snow fell in the higher elevations. Again. All of the park roads were closed until about 10am. When some of the roads were finally opened and the car was cleared of snow (same benefit card snow scraper) we headed to Fishing Bridge a few miles up the road. However, when we arrived, there was only one car in sight with the ranger inside her car frantically waving and yelling for us to stay in our car. After about 10 minutes, she came out of the car to check the area. She motioned it was OK for us to get out now. We learned she was in her car because a grizzly sow and her cub had ambled through about 30 seconds before we arrived. Their tracks were still visible in the early morning snow.
We walked out onto Fishing Bridge to get a view up and down the waterline. We’d only been there a few moments when this pair of American white pelicans went flying by.
Hit the jump to learn more about Brad’s Yellowstone adventure.
Well, we are officially off to the West. During our absence, I am turning the keys to the Intrigued Headquarters over to Brad. He will be keeping you entertained while Linda and I quest for the Holy Grail…eh, more like a bird or two or fingers crossed 20. Figured this would be a perfect time to roll out one of his two-parters from probably my favorite destination – Yellowstone National Park. Enjoy!
Take it away Brad and remember, no mega-parties at HQ until AFTER the work is done …
Many years ago, our family (Jan, Allyson and I) took a trip to Yellowstone National Park. You may remember me telling you that our daughter Allyson didn’t want to spend so much time looking at rocks in this prior post. Based on the pushback from a tweenager, I only booked three nights at a lodge in the park, giving us two full days for exploring. Accommodations inside the actual park are limited and usually fill up 8+ months in advance for summer visits. Two full days is by no means an extensive amount of time in Yellowstone (we still drove hundreds of miles inside the park and barely saw anything, IMHO). Taking the advice of a fellow traveler, photographer, and friend, we had flown into Salt Lake City and rented a car for the drive to Yellowstone. Our trip was in early June, hoping to miss most of the tourists with their kids still in school. We approached from the west entrance through West Yellowstone in Montana. Literally within a few minutes of the park rangers checking our annual park pass, we stopped along the road and were greeted with this view.
Hit the jump to read more about Brad’s Yellowstone experience.
Greetings All! Was able to reproduce Brad’s “lost” post so able to bring you post on another form of blogging. As you are reading this, Linda I will be on the road heading back to the tundra..I know, I know, trust me the call of South Padre Island is getting stronger cold mile after cold mile (and looks like snow and ice in our path). Keeping with Brad’s theme, created my own silicaglyph intro (you might have to hit the link to view the larger version to make out the craptastic figures)
I’ll catch back up with you in February, for now, enjoy Brad’s much more entertaining read…take it away Brad…
Long-time readers of Intrigued know that Brian takes many trips in the US to catch photos of rare, and not-so-rare, birds. His life list credits include many birds that barely make it to US soil. Jan and I like to take vacations to really cool places that may or may not have birds. Recently we have begun making more attempts to find wildlife wherever we are on holiday. I think the Intrigued team takes slightly different types of vacations. Though this may be a subtle difference (bird vacations to cool places vs. cool places that just happen to have birds). Now that I’ve got you all warmed up for birds or cute furry animals, I’m not going to write about either of these. At least as far as I know I’m not. This tale is about petroglyphs.
Hit the jump to read more about this early method of blogging!
Greetings everyone! We are essentially at the midpoint of our winter trip south and I must say this has been quite a productive start to this year’s Average Year efforts (not updated yet, but link here). Ron was able to meet us down here for a week and recently headed back (ironically on the day the FAA grounded all planes). Now Linda and I need to head back to get all the birds we hid from him hehehe. We’ll be moving our base camp soon and that means connectivity may be in jeopardy. While we get that straightened out, I’m going to leave you in Brad’s capable hands to keep you entertained. In case you notice a green tint to this post, that’s due to the fact Brad has managed to tin a bird neither Ron or I have…I’ll let him tell the story.
Take it away Brad!
As you may have guessed, Jan and I have traveled to Colorado a few times recently. Our daughter lives there so it gives us a very good excuse to frequent Colorado and all it has to offer. During our visit last spring, we decided to check out some local hiking. Many of the guide books lists dozens, nay, hundreds of hikes from casual walks to the much more adventurous challenging hikes, some involving ropes and harnesses. We decided to see what was close by our hotel near Boulder. After a brief All Trails app search, Jan found Eldorado Canyon State Park. We first went last April, but Jan was hobbled by an injury and couldn’t hike far. We headed back this fall to more fully explore. Once leaving the Boulder area, the highways turned into county or village roads (no center stripes in some cases) and then very quickly into unimproved roads. By “unimproved” I mean not paved but graded every now and then. Oddly enough the roads “improved” a bit once we were inside the park (still not paved though). We’ve learned from last April not to make the rookie mistake of stopping at the very first pull-off.
Hit the jump to read more about Brad’s Colorado adventure at Eldorado Canyon State Park!
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!
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.
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.
Howdy folks! Not sure what it is like in your setting, but in our parts – it’s damn cold. As a gauge, my last two training runs have been on the treadmill. Guess what I HATE more than anything else…Christmas commercials before Halloween has arrived, BUT, running on a treadmill is easily second highest on my multi-volume set of things that make my blood “boil”. I enjoy running in the snow, tolerate running in sleet and fight through temps into the teens, however, 20mph winds pushing windchills into the single digits can freeze-“burn” the lungs right out of my chest. Reluctantly, tied on the Summer shoes, cranked up the conveyor belt and caught up on several streaming shows – harder that it sounds since I had to strain to hear over the body constantly nagging “Can we go OUTSIDE now!, how about now, I know what we should do..let’s go out there, please, please, pretty please, you know, real mean train outdoors, the ballet called, they want their tutu back, is that your picture next to the ‘wuss’ entry in the dictionary?!?” My body doesn’t even whine that much during ultra races. In an effort to save my sanity and maybe help push the mercury up (do kids even know what that means anymore?) let’s all toast our toes over lava with the second part of Brad’s post on Hawaiian volcanoes.
Take it away Brad…
Brief recap. Twenty years spanning vacations to the Big Island. Halema’uma’u crater relatively stable. Blah Blah Blah. At the end of our last episode as we left our intrepid volcanic crater in the Spring of 2018, hell was breaking loose. Literally.
The first sign that something big was happening in 2018 was on April 30th when the lava in the Overlook crater at the Kilauea summit dropped significantly. This meant that the magma had rapidly drained away from the summit and, based on the earthquake trail, was moving rapidly to the East Rift Zone. To help with the scale of the next part of this article, please visit the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) site to see a map of the East Rift Zone. I’ll wait while you go check out the map (humming a popular game show theme song). Halema’uma’u crater is to the lower left of this graphic. Here’s a re-post from a prior article. It is a wildlife and adventure blog after all. This trio was captured flying over the caldera on our last day on the island this year. Remember, Nene prefer to walk everywhere and do not normally need to fly. Just goes to show how large the caldera really is.
In a bit of a surprise, Brad has managed to bring us a two-part post. I have no idea how he had time to crank out not one, but TWO posts with all our new Intrigued employee required training that is just short of 30 online classes, two instruction led workshops and a week long retreat. Included in this curriculum: Information Security, Data Privacy, GDPR, Data Classification, Industrial Waste Management, Prohibitive Harassment (unless target is a lawyer), Insider Trading, Office Ethics: How Not to Embarrass Your Boss in Public (there are some Twitter employees that would benefit from our 2 day course), Corporate Assets Usage (jet, carpool, yacht, big wheel, unicycle, pogo stick, jacuzzi), Lawyer Hell Week (first rule of Hell Week, don’t talk about Hell Week), Performance Reviews, Incentive Compensation (I see Brad already added another “craptastic” check in this post!), Intrigued Birding Rules (link here), a complete viewing of the Monty Python comedy series and Field Safety 101 which includes a very useful workshop on how to properly swing (and if needed avoid) a tripod to escape a wild animal attack – hint, you do not use it on the animal. I’m exhausted just thinking about the workload. While I head off for some rest and a fruity drink with an umbrella in it, enjoy part 1 of Brad’s very “hot” topic.
Take it away Brad….
By now you may have noticed a few guest posts about birds and turtles on the Hawaiian Islands. We have been fortunate to have been able to visit the islands several (more than a few, less than many) times. We’ve also visited Volcanoes National Park each time we are on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Who doesn’t like walking around on an active volcano?! We’ve seen dramatic changes inside Volcanoes National Park. I’m not talking about new parking stripes, or the remodeled Volcano House. I’m talking about geological changes that can take thousands or millions of years to occur. For example, Pikes Peak in Colorado looks pretty much exactly the same as it did 100 years ago, except for the new Visitor Center at the summit and the kitschy shops around its base. The same could be said about the Kilauea caldera on the Big Island the prior hundred years. Even Tom Sawyer’s creator, Mark Twain, seemed unimpressed at first with the Kilauea caldera saying it was “a wide level black plain” and that it was like “a large cellar – nothing more”. Twain was unimpressed until he realized the scale of what he was seeing. The “place looked a little larger and a little deeper every five minutes” he said. Since the Halema’uma’u crater appeared in the early 1920’s there have been precious few large-scale changes. That’s why after reviewing photos from our most recent visit this past August, I realized how much had changed since the prior visit in 2015. And how much had changed from the visits prior to that. Here’s my attempt at explaining or illustrating the changes we have witnessed over the 20 years of visiting Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. (time for a gratuitous volcano photo from 2010)