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Parks, Monuments, and Refuges Once More
2/23/2011 10:00:12 PM

Tonight's additions are focused on refuges.  As with the other posts in this series, you can find more photos on my photo page.

Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge

Brazoria is on the Texas mainland south of Galveston Island.  It hosts a wide variety of waterfowl and other birds as well as a number of alligators.  There is a fairly good gravel road that circles the refuge.  There is also a short walking trail that starts near the visitor center.  I haven't visited since the last round of hurricanes so I'm not sure whether the Refuge suffered any damage from either wind or flooding.

J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Ding Darling is located on Sanibel Island, Florida.  It also hosts a wide variety of birds.  It has a good sized visitor center and a nice road that circles the refuge.  While many refuges are far away from any urban areas, Ding Darling is convenient to the city of Sanibel with its many stores and restaurants.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a short drive southeast of Sanibel.  Unlike most of the other areas that I've described, this one is not a National Park, Monument, or Refuge. I believe it is run by the Audubon Society but that may be incorrect.  It has a fairly lengthy walking trail that starts and ends at the visitors center.  Here, too, there is a significant bird population.

Creative Thinking
2/19/2011 3:45:25 PM

Earlier this week I pulled Julianne Kost's book Window Seat The Art of Digital Photography & Creative Thinking off the shelf for a fresh look.  For those unfamiliar with the book, it includes a large number of photos that Julianne took out of the windows of airplanes during her travels (I have to wonder if this book would be possible with the security concerns today).  In addition to her photos, Julianne offers tips on both creativity and photography.  The book opens with eighteen ideas on creativity of which I am sharing a few here (the complete list and much more detail are available in the book).

  • Be open to whatever comes your way
  • Share what you know and learn from others
  • Collaborate with other creative people, especially the quiet ones
  • Fix whatever you complain about the most
  • View every challenge as a possible discovery
  • Look at new stuff -- and at what you already know -- with a fresh perspective
  • Play!  Play!  Play!
  • Know when you're done
These are great ideas that I only wish I could do better at incorporating them into both my work and play.
More Parks, Monuments, and Refuges
2/13/2011 9:30:12 PM

Some more on some of the lesser known parks, monuments, and refuges that I have visited.

Craters of the Moon National Monument is a bit out of the way.  I visited the Monument on a trip to Glacier National Park.  Craters of the Moon is located about 18 miles southwest of Arco, Idaho on Highway 20/26/93.

Craters of the Moon National Monument

Grand Staircase Escalante is one of several parks and monuments in southern Utah and northern Arizona.  A vacation could include the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Lake Powell, and Grand Staircase Escalante.  The photo here and those on the Photos page are along the western side of the Monument on the Cottonwood Creek Road between Highway 89 and Kodachrome Basin State Park.  While some guides say you can drive this road in a passenger car, I would recommend either a pickup or a SUV.  Also, this is not a good road to drive after a rain storm.

Grosvenor Arch, Grand Staircase Escalante

Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments are adjacent to each other and reached off of the same road about 12 miles north of Flagstaff, Arizona along Highway 89.  A visit to these two monuments is convenient for anyone traveling to the East Rim of the Grand Canyon or Lake Powell.  Sunset Crater, like Craters of the Moon, is in an old volcano area.  Wupatki, like Walnut Canyon, provides access to Native American sites.

Wupatki National Monument

Tumacacori is located near the Mexican border about 50 miles south of Tucson on Interstate 19.  It consists of three mission sites.  The most easily accessible is Tumacacori which is in the town of the same name.

Tumacacori Mission

Walnut Canyon is another Native American site near Flagstaff, Arizona.  It is located just off of Interstate 40 about 7 miles east of Flagstaff.  There is a short walk with a number of steps between the parking area and the main area of the Monument.

Walnut Canyon

Our Parks, Monuments, and Refuges
2/2/2011 12:07:30 PM
A few days ago I finished scanning a large collection of 35mm slides.  As I was looking through some of the images, I thought about how much I enjoyed travelling to some of the lesser known locations.  I've included a few of these here and put some additional photos on my Photos page.

Bandelier National Monument is near Los Alamos, NM. It includes several miles of trails through wilderness areas and the remains of settlements of Ancestral Pueblo people.

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is located in Socorro County, NM, about eight miles south of the small town of San Antonio.   While the refuge is open year around, huge crowds visit in the late fall or early winter to see and photograph the thousands of migrating birds including ducks, geese, and sandhill cranes.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is located in the Gila Wilderness area in southwest New Mexico about 45 miles north of Silver City, NM.   It features the remains of dwellings used by the Mogollon people from about 700 years ago.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is located about 55 miles northeast of Albuquerque, NM. It consists of a number of cone shaped rock formations resulting from volcanic eruptions several million years ago. Many of these formations, called hoodoos, are topped by boulder caps that offer some protection to the softer rock beneath.

Petroglyph National Monument is on the west side of Albuquerque overlooking the city with a view of the Sandia Mountains to the east. There are a number of images carved in the volcanic rock throughout the area, some recognizable others more abstract.

Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument is located near Mountainair and Manzano, NM. Mountainair is about 54 miles southeast of Albuquerque and the ruins are from 8 to 26 miles from Mountainair. The Monument includes three sets of ruins of mission churches  – Quarai, Abό, and Gran Quivira – and a partially excavated pueblo.
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