Sunday, April 17, 2016


 I made a pilgrimage to Shangri-La.  My brother went with me.  We found ourselves in a magical place with water and earth mixing, as if the rules of gravity were merely suggestions.  I can't tell you where it is, or how to get there.  It may not exist like this again.  It might have been just a dream.
 We had to struggle and pass through many trials to find the spot; climbing hillsides so steep no trees would grow on them, descending cliffs that would make a llama's knees shake, wandering through trackless forest, and battling a clear-cut full of blackberry.

 As in many magical places, there was a strong sense of Deja-Vu.  We had attempted to peer into this Pandora's Box before with little success, but when we did, we found ourselves climbing a waterfall just like the one above, with a log the only conveyance for us.  We clawed and scraped ourselves up the slippery log and found an impassible wall, so we retreated.  This time we came upon the very same spot, or so we thought, but it was impossible.  Unless our memory moved to another place, deeper in the canyon, we were misled.

 The river flowed in many forms, sometimes wide and gravelly, sometimes narrow.  Here it is a narrow slot of sandstone cut by time.
 There was an overhang cave that was the size of a small house.  It was gigantic, and dry in the bottom, with the river flowing softly along the side.  It must have been carved out by a huge flood at some time.
 It was a memorable trip, and I hope to do it again, possibly with more camera gear, in the future.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Return To Seattle

I made it back to seattle, by driving with my friend Wes, up from San Carlos, Sonora.  What a trip!  We crossed the border into the USA without trouble, and went towards the Salton Sea, where we saw some nice bunnies and California Quail, as well as passing tons of solar power plants.  There are normal silicon panels, as well as one kind that uses tons of half-pipe kind of mirrors to focus the light onto tubes.  The tubes all run together and the heated liquid goes to a central cooling station where the power is taken out, probably by steam turbines.  I think its a great solution-low cost since there isn't so much refined silicon needed, and probably more efficient than the silicon anyways.  
We also stopped at a sand dunes area, east of the Salton Sea.  There were sand dunes only on one side of the road, and the other side was more grown in. I was wondering if the sand dunes were possibly created by the people driving their cars over the sand and killing the plants that would turn the dune into a hill.  Another possibility, since the area is the ancient mouth of the Colorado River, is that the advent of farming loosened the soil and the sand began to dune up after that.  In any case, there were large areas nearby that were not creating dunes and I thought it was human influenced in some way.

 At the Salton Sea we saw a bunch of ducks, and I believe these are Ruddy Ducks. They might just be the first Ruddy Ducks I have ever seen.  I cannot recall a previous sighting.
 We proceeded to LA to visit my brother and his family, and then onwards up the coast to Monterey Bay, where we saw a loon on land.  Crazy!
 And my favorite bird sighting of the trip was an American Avocet in mating plumage.  I've seen these before twice, but never in mating plumage.  I noticed that they sweep their bills side to side to collect things in the mud.  It probably helps to have an upturned bill.
 Our final night was spent near the Redwoods, along the coast of Northern California, in a secret spot overlooking the ocean and a lagoon.  It was a strange night, because it might have been the warmest night of the trip.  It was warm, there was no dew and the next day it was 85 degrees as we drove along.  Now that I am in Seattle, it feels like July.  The weather is very strange, and probably will be getting stranger.
I also made a video of the trip in Altair north from La Cruz de Huanacaxtle (in Nayarit) to San Carlos (Sonora).  I hope you enjoy it.