Sunday, April 1, 2018

Big Nose Kate’s Saloon
In Tombstone, there’s a place that’s very popular – Big Nose Kate’s Saloon!  It used to be the Grand Hotel, but now is named for the “lady of the evening” who was also supposed to be Doc Holliday’s girlfriend.  On the menu in the saloon, there is a picture of Kate – and no, she doesn’t have a big nose!
Tombstone’s Miss Kitty
Kate definitely got the short end of the stick when it came to names, that’s for sure!  Miss Kitty, Matt Dillon’s girlfriend on the old Gunsmoke TV show, had a much classier name…..but does she have a saloon named after her?
Kate’s Sign
There is a bar that runs the length of the sitting area in the saloon and this sign is centered behind that bar!  It’s one of many pretty stained glass windows/signs in the saloon.
Interesting Drinks
There was your typical beers to choose from, in terms of beverages, and then some more interesting sounding drinks listed on the blackboard….Sex in the Desert??
Stained Glass
Altho the stained glass signs were meant to be read from the outside (this one promoting Tequila), they were much prettier from the inside, as the sun shone thru them!
Old Mine
And downstairs from the saloon, there is a peek into what ran under certain buildings in town – access to a mine!  This was blocked off, so people couldn’t get into the mine, or what’s left of it, but it’s also an interesting slice of what life may have been like back then!
A Step Back in Time
There was a movie about the town of Tombstone (actually, several) that called it “the town too tough to die”.  One day, Jeff and I decided to visit this tough Old West Town, and walk down its main street.  It is like a step back in time to walk down that dusty road….
Courthouse in Tombstone
If you’ve heard of the “shootout at the OK Corral” then you’ve heard of Tombstone!  Somehow, I can’t help but think that this courthouse (or the original one) got a lot of use “back in the day”, as they say!
Wyatt’s Hotel
One of the guys that hung out in Tombstone was Wyatt Earp, and this hotel has been named after him.  Did he actually own it…..or stay there often?  Who knows?  I can almost see him gazing out of the second story window, tho.
Main Street – Tombstone
The main street is actually just a couple of blocks long, and is clearly the main commercial section of town, so no, the entire town doesn’t look like this!  In any event, one does feel like one has stepped back in time when wandering down the street.
Street Signs
As we walked along, I noticed these cool street signs down one of the side streets.  I love the signs that hang out from the buildings.  Why don’t they do that more nowadays?  It would make it easier to spot the shops!
Vintage Town Scene
There were a couple of different stagecoaches that traveled up and down the main street area, with some historical information presented by the coach drivers.  I love the background of the mercantile.
Window Reflection
Just outside of Tombstone, there was a small historical village.  As those of you who follow my blog know, I am greatly attracted to windows with interesting reflections, and this one doesn’t disappoint!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Blooms and Barbs
I was hoping that I would be in Saguaro National Park during the spring blooming season for thee saguaro cactus.  Unfortunately, I was there a bit too early.  Blooming season is generally May into June (darn!).  But, there were interesting things to see among the other blooms and barbs!
Saguaro Texture
Theres something about the texture of the saguaro cactus that fascinates me.  I love the patterns that the rows of barbs make up. The stems of the saguaro generally measure between 18” and 24” thick, filled with water.
Barrel Cactus Bloom
One of the cactus that were blooming were some barrel cactus.  I think this is just getting ready to burst forth with blooms.  Or, its just finished, but still looks nice!  Im never sure!
Saguaro Cactus Points
Ouch!!  I felt like I needed to take a super close up of the saguaros barbs, to really get an idea of how painful it would be if I got stuck!  And, heaven forbid, one should fall on me!  Because they are full of water, they can weigh up to 8 tons!
Busy Bumble Bee
Im not sure what type of cactus bush plant sprouted this daisy like blooms.  But the bees were certainly happy around it!  I didnt notice bees anywhere else, except around these flowers.  It just seemed funny that I didnt even get a glimpse of one elsewhere!
Ocotillo Blooms
Well, the ocotillos must have gotten plenty of rain they were vibrant green and sprouting such bright rosy pink blooms at their very tips!  This is another cactus that I just am attracted to because of its quirkiness so tall and spindly, and can quickly change from this lovely green to what looks like a dried out stick, in a matter of days with no rain.  And, it will change back to green just as quickly when it does rain again!
Saguaro Thorns
I got pretty close to this saguaro to get this nice view of its barbs.  You can see this guy looks to have about 3 arms.  Ive read the record for number of arms is 50 on a giant saguaro somewhere in this national park, but I didnt see it on my travels this time around!

Saguaro National Park (East)
One day, while Jeff was in a technical class regarding our RV, I decided to take a most definite non-technical drive thru the east side of Saguaro National Park.  The interesting thing about Saguaro National Park is that the city of Tucson cuts it in half.  The east side is along the Rincon Mountains and is at about 8600 feet in elevation.  There are a number of hiking trails, but for todays photo shoot, I stuck to the road that meandered thru part of the park.
Saguaro Forest
The first thing that folks may notice is how GREEN it is here in the Sonoran Desert!  It is springtime, so perhaps that had something to do with it!  I love the shades of green that can be seen not only on the saguaro cactus, but the shrub bushes and then traveling up the lower portion of the mountains in the distance.
Ocotillo and Prickly Pear
In addition to the saguaro cactus, there are also prickly pear cactus and ocotillo.  For some reason, Ive always liked prickly pear cactus.  The round leaves are appealing to me, altho I dont ever get too close to the thorns sticking out from them!!  The ocotillo is such a cool plant, too.  When it has had enough water, its a lovely green (altho there are thorns on those long stems), but when the weather turns dry, it dries to a dead looking spindly thing.  However, just a bit of rain and it will green up again in a matter of a day or so!
Big Guy
Of course, the star of the show is the saguaro cactus.  This guy was really tall.  An interesting thing about them is that they will first sprout an arm between 75 100 years old, altho some never will sprout an arm.  They can grow up to 40 feet tall!!  The bloom from the saguaro cactus is the state flower of Arizona.
Cacti Landscape
Theres something about a desert landscape that is quite beautiful and striking, in a non-traditional way.  Its much more stark and unforgiving, in a way.  Almost more real, I feel.  One thing I definitely dont feel like laying down in it and gazing at the clouds!
Prickly Pear and Saguaro Cactus
And, here Im looking at my 2 favorite cacti the round, almost plump looking prickly pear and the tree-limbed saguaro.  Im not certain why I like these 2 so much, but I do.  I guess they have an amount of character that I like!
Saguaro on the Rise
One interesting thing about the saguaro cactus is that it only grows naturally in the Sonoran Desert, which is found in the southwest portion of North America.  This translates into this area of Arizona in the US.  I especially like to look at them as they are silhouetted against the sky.
Along the Road
The saguaro cactus sort of lined this part of the road that I traveled.  Since this is the only place in the US where you can see them growing (naturally), its rather a treat to see them growing somewhat haphazardly in nature.
Saguaro Shadow
I never knew this the word saguaro comes from the Latin, Carnegiea gigantean, which means gigantic candle.  It certainly looks like it in this image!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Haleakala After Glow
As is often the case with sunsets, the show isn’t over just because the sun as dropped below the horizon.  The sky often continues to put on a show from the sun’s rays that continue to sort of bounce around the sky.  And, as we drove down Haleakala, we continued to get a pretty fabulous show!
At first, the light was still the warm light that we saw from the sun as it set…..
Evening Warmth
But, then, the cool night sky began to claim its territory…..
After Glow
And, then, as night fell, the colors glowed with the cool pinks and purples of day’s end, before the pitch dark of night completely took over….
Evening Magic
Haleakala Afternoon & Sunset
Since we had a lot of time before our flight, Jeff and I decided to visit Haleakala one last time, this time to see and photograph the sunset that night.  As we drove up toward the summit, we wondered if we’d get to see a sunset, since we were bogged down in heavy fog and clouds, with some drizzle happening from time to time.  But, then, just before we reached the summit, we burst thru into the sunshine and blue skies!  We stopped at the place where we saw the sunrise just a couple of weeks before, and this time saw clouds just rolling into what is known as the crater.  However, that crater has been worn away by erosion to the extent that if we could see it minus the clouds, it wouldn’t look like a crater at all.
Clouds Creeping Up the Crater
We then drove about a half mile to the absolute top of Haleakala, where we could see Mona Kea and Mona Loa from an observation area.  As you can see, they barely broke thru the cloud cover on this day, even tho both of them are over 13,000 feet in elevation!  And, both of those mountains are on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Mona Kea and Mona Loa from Maui
After a while, the sunset began to happen.  At first, tho, the light just seemed to play over the cloud tops, which we were looking down on!  That is quite a surreal experience, if you stop to think about it.  I have been higher than the clouds, but generally from a plane, and now I was just standing near the edge of Haleakala’s summit.  I processed this image as black and white, just to emphasize the contrast of the play of the light on the clouds.
Early Evening Rays
When the sunset began, the light gave the tops of the clouds a sort of golden glow.  It was also interesting to me that some of the clouds appeared almost wispy, especially those closest to me.  The dark on the bottom of the image is the rocky land upon which I stood.
Golden Light
And, then it began!  The sun just glowed a warm orange as it began to set behind a higher ridge of clouds.  It again seemed a bit surreal as I’m used to the sun setting below the clouds, and not from above them!
End of Day
We stayed until the sun was just about gone.  I sort of hated to leave, as I felt like this sunset truly marked the end of our visit here.  As the sun set behind the cloud ridge, the clouds in front took on that wonderful contrast type of look.  I’m glad the cloud cover was so high on this day as it allowed me to photograph this sunset with the clouds truly at my feet.
Almost Gone
Last Day in Paradise – I’ao Valley and Needle
On our last day in Maui, we had quite a bit of time free to explore, as we had to leave the cottage we stayed in at 11am, and our flight out didn’t happen until almost midnight.  We decided to visit a small state park called I’ao Valley and I’ao Needle.  The state park was very lush, and quite green and lovely.
Stream at I’ao Valley
As we walked up the path and stairway toward the Needle and a great view of the valley, we passed some lovely flowers.  It was rather quiet, even considering there were a number of visitors to the park.
I’ao Valley Bloom
One of the things that surprised me was the Bird of Paradise plant.  I guess I never paid much attention to anything except the bloom itself, but here I noticed that the blooms were off a small tree, or perhaps considered a tall shrub.
Bird of Paradise Bloom
However, people don’t come to this park for the lovely flowers.  There is quite a bit of history associated with this area.  This once was a sacred burial ground for several chiefs of Maui, and this peaceful looking park was the site of last giant battle for supremacy.  In 1790, Kamehameha the Great (king of the Big Island of Hawaii) decided to do battle again for Maui (each island was considered a separate kingdom).  The battle might have been fairly even, except for a canon that Kamehameha nicknamed “Robert”.  Kamehameha kept advancing with “Robert”, driving the Maui troops further and further back into the I’ao Valley, and killed every one of them, while their wives and children looked on from the cliffs above.  Even by Hawaiian standards at the time, this was a brutal battle.  It’s truly hard to imagine this quiet and peaceful place being the site of so much bloodshed.
View from I’ao Valley
The I’ao Needle is sort of at the highest point that the trail took us to and is actually the end of a long, very narrow ridge.  From the side, it would look flat, but from our vantage point, it’s easy to see why they called it the Needle.  This entire area is what remains of the caldera of the ancient West Maui volcano.
I’ao Needle