My Death Valley Obsession

More Photo’s of my recent trip through Death Valley. I find this amazing landscape captivating in the extreme. Just wandering and driving through this massive area uncovers unmissable photographic gems. –  Here is a description taken from the  National Park website – Death Valley, the very name evokes all that is harsh, hot and hellish – a punishing, barren and lifeless place of Old Testament severity. Yet closer inspection reveals that in Death Valley nature is putting on a truly spectacular show: singing sand dunes, water-sculpted canyons, boulders moving across the desert floor, extinct volcanic craters, palm-shaded oases, stark mountains rising to 11,000 ft and plenty of endemic wildlife. This is a land of superlatives, holding the US records for hottest temperature (134°F/57°C), lowest point (Badwater, 282 ft below sea level) and largest national park outside Alaska (more than 5000 sq miles).

Click on any image to enlarge………………………

Photos from the USA trip – Early 2020

Here is a random gallery of images from this trip without any of the descriptions or blurb – click on any picture you like to enlarge it then you can run through a manual slideshow. Next trip to Phoenix and whale watching in California scheduled for later this year, I can’t wait, so roll on November.

Just a little thought from – The Dalai Lama 

Old friends pass away. 
New friends appear.
It is just like days. 
An old day passes. 
A new day arrives.
The important thing is to make it meaningful.
Make meaningful friends.
Make it a meaningful day.

 

The End of the Trip………………….

Its back to dear old England today, back to loved ones and friends, to the good old British weather, familiar food and surroundings. This trip has been a bit of an epic from my point of view. I have driven over 4,000 miles and will have flown a further 13,400 miles by the time I get back. The landscapes, food and friendly peoples have been wonderful throughout the 5 States travelled and I can’t wait to return in the not to distant future. It’s been a bit trying at times travelling with an ‘old’ pal, sharing rooms, toiletries, costs and general space. I admit to being a bit of a loner and set in my way’s as is he, however, in general we have got along and shared some great visual experiences which will be remembered for years to come.

Just a few of my favourite images from the trip through Nevada, Utah, California, Arizona and Florida that did not make the blog as we went along.

1800 US Freight by the Salton Sea_DSF1305
Freight train by the Salton Sea, Southern California
1800 The Salton Sea 210120_DSF1307
The Salton Sea, Southern California. Tranquil, Hot and very beautiful in it’s own way.
1800 Snow Geese 4 210120_DSF1254
Snow Geese over Sonny Bono, Southern California.
1800 Snow Geese 5 210120_DSF1252
Snow Geese on holiday from Canada and what a honking racket they make………….
1800 Whiskey Petes Primm 4 130120_DSF0902
On the outside of a wall at Whiskey Petes, Primm, Nevada
1800 Deserted in the desert 310120_DSF0932
Deserted in the Mohave Desert, Southern California

 

Old Town and Main Street

A wander through Old Town Kissimmee, then along Main Street and finally the sidewalk by Lake Toho. The majority of tourists visit this area in order to visit the theme parks in Orlando and of course for the weather. This is the sunshine state after all. If you look carefully there is a lot more to this area than Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. The City of Kissimmee was originally a small trading post on the northern bank of Lake Tohopekaliga known as the community of Allendale. After the Civil War, this area was included in a purchase of four million acres of marshland and plains by Hamilton Disston.

1800 Old Town Shootin 030220_DSF1736
The shootin range at Old Town, Kissimmee
1800 Kissimmee Mural 030220_DSF1704
An intriguing wall mural in Kissimmee
1800 Main Street BW 030220_DSF1700
Along Main Street, Downtown, Kissimmee

We usually pop in at the Cuban coffee shop on Main Street. The Cuban proprietors have got to know us over the years and a welcome hug is always nice. Just a coffee for me today, I fancied a wedge slice of the home made banana bread but it was to soon after breakfast.

1800 Cuban Coffee 030220_DSF1699
In the Cuban coffee shop on Main Street

Nature and Florida

Although the Osceola District Schools Environmental Study Centre is only open to the public on weekends, its trails provide an up-close look at more than a dozen old growth cypresses and wildlife along Reedy Creek. With its headwaters in what is now Walt Disney World, Reedy Creek flows sluggishly southward through cypress swamps into pristine Lake Russell, and is one of the northernmost sources of water for the Everglades.

The most obvious of the park’s three short trails is the 0.5-mile long boardwalk starting at the parking lot. Don’t miss this trail, as it provides your best opportunity for wildlife watching. Here are a few images from today, Sunday 02/02/2020 following my walk along the boardwalk.

1800 Cypress Swamp Ponciana 020220_DSF1691
In the Cypress Swamp, a unique habitat and landscape
1800 1000 Ibis in Trees 020220_DSF1687
Must be a 1000 odd Ibis in the tree’s – Wow!
1800 Osceola Environmental Boardwalk 020220_DSF1681
The boardwalk
1800 Chewed Leaf 020220_DSF1679
A rather badly chewed leaf….
1800 1000 Ibis and Alligator 020220_DSF1689
An Alligator and a few Ibis

Lake Tohopekaliga Tohopeka; Tohopekaliga [from tohopke /to-hó:pk-i/ fence, fort + likv /léyk-a/ site], also referred to as Lake Toho, West Lake, or simply Toho, native name meaning “we will gather together here”, is the largest lake in Osceola County, Florida.

1800 Lake Toho Kissimmee 020220_DSF1675
Lake Toho through the open restaurant.
1800 Squirrel 020220_DSF1668
A squirrel busy collecting by Lake Toho
1800 Lake Toho Covered Jetty 020220_DSF1673
Lake Toho covered jetty and relaxation area

To Amargosa heading to Death Valley

Leave Las Vegas heading North on the 95 and you’ll find some unexpected points of interest on route. Just north west of the city is the towering snow capped Mount Charleston which looms ahead forbiddingly note the signs enticing you to ski on it’s slopes and hike in the foothills. Around 30 miles up the road an amusing road sign reads ‘Do Not pick up hitchhikers in this area’ as you pass by a rather large Correctional Facility way out in the high desert. Funny thing though, Google maps shows this facility doesn’t exist, it’s just an empty desert. At Creech AFB in Indian Springs a further few miles ahead you will most likely see Military Drones taking off and landing as you pass by, appears to be a training base for these unmanned flying machines. Continue a further 50 miles through desert and rocky terrain, then turn left at the Amargosa Valley towards Death Valley Junction on the 373. The Nevada/California State Line at the Longstreet Inn and Casino. A total road journey of perhaps 90 minutes through barren high desert landscapes, unmissable.

1800 Amargosa Valley 2 California 270120_DSF1493
Amargosa
1800 Abandoned Amargosa Valley California 270120_DSF1498
An abandoned squad car along the 373 in Amargosa Valley
1800 Longstreet Casina Amargoa Valley 270120_DSF1500
Weird stuff by the Longstreet Casino car park
1800 Looking Out from Zabriskie 270120_DSF1518
Looking out from Zabriskie Point, Death Valley
1800 Death Valley from Zabriskie 270120_DSF1528
Towards Death Valley from Zabriskie Point
1800 Death Valley at the base 260120_DSF1581
Down in Death Valley along Badlands Road, tourists walk the salt trails

A Quail & Zion Landscapes at Sunrise

This little chap was scurrying around below the feeders at the Sonny Bono wildlife refuge in Southern California. The California quail, also known as the valley quail, is a small ground-dwelling bird of the New World quail family. These birds have a curving crest or plume, made of six feathers, that droops forward: black in males and brown in females; the flanks are brown with white streaks.

1800 Californian Quail 210120_DSF1226
A California Quail at the Sonny Bono Wildlife Refuge

Zion – Very cold at the canyons this morning, a beautiful sunrise but hidden behind the towering canyon walls on the park roads and lower viewpoints. I wasn’t really dressed for the cold but managed to take a few photo’s at strategic points in the park. Landscapes from the road back to St. George just as impressive although not easy to stop on the narrow road with passing places

1800 Zion at Sunrise 250120_DSF1416
Sunrise on the canyon walls at Zion
1800 Zion at Sunrise 2 250120_DSF1421
The towering canyon walls at Zion National Park
1800 Zion Stream 1 250120_DSF1445
The creek running along the base of the canyon
1800 Zion Stream 2 250120_DSF1438
Another long exposure of the creek at the canyon base
1800 Utah Mountains 250120_DSF1455
The snow capped mountains from along the road to Hurricane Utah.
1800 Near Hurricane and Zion 250120_DSF1454
Indian country landscape

 

Zion

1800 Zion 2 240120_DSF1410
Near Zion National Park – Utah

This landscape is unique, and no matter how good the photo’s are and the titles are detailed, in my opinion you cannot portray the experience you get when you gaze upon your surroundings. The scale of the mountains, buttes, canyons and rock formations is mind boggling and you have to see it to believe it. This is my third visit to the park and it’s surroundings and I love it.

1800 Zion 3 240120_DSF1378
In the park – first stop……………..
1800 Zion 1 240120_DSF1394
You just have to look up
1800 Zion 4 240120_DSF1399
Zion landscape, just before Springdale after Hurricane
1800 St George 1 240120_DSF1376
Staying at St George, Utah with the Snow capped mountains of Zion in the background

Mesa and the Lost Dutchman

Mesa a sprawling suburb and city of Phoenix Arizona. Main St. runs from Tempe in the west to Apache Junction and the Apache Trail in the east, a distance of around 10 miles. A tram system operates for a short proportion of the street and shares the space with local buses, cars and cyclists. We travelled the length from our hostelry in order to drive the Apache trail and visit the Lost Dutchman and Borderland ghost town. Mesa Grande Cultural Park is home to a giant, centuries-old ceremonial mound, and artifacts of the ancient Hohokam people.

1800 Main St Mesa 190120_DSF1146
Main Street Mesa at dawn
1800 Canyon Lake 190120_DSF1155
Canyon Lake on the Apache Trail

Goldfield ghost town along the North Apache Trail just past the Lost Dutchman Mine, a bit of a tourist hub but actually seemingly quite realistic in it’s attempts to portray the history of the wild west in this area.  Wikopedia : Reconstructed 1890s town including gold-mine tours, Old West gunfights, a history museum & more. Still it’s an interesting place to explore and a visit to the saloon is a must.

1800 Borderlands Bordello 1 190120_DSF1175
A reconstructed Bordello from the 1890’s
1800 Borderlands Saloon 190120_DSF1174
The Goldfield Saloon – a rough, ready and just a bit seedy establishment.
1800 Badwater Springs 190120_DSF1170
Bad Water Springs – I love the ‘BUTTS’ receptacle
1800 Lost Dutchman Mine Stuff 190120_DSF1165
Old mining equipment looking a bit worse for wear.
1800 Rodeo Beer 190120_DSF1186
Inside the Saloon by the stairs to the first floor
1800 Through the Saloon Window 190120_DSF1179
Through the first floor window of the saloon
1800 Bordello thru the Saloon Window 190120_DSF1180
Keeping an eye on the bordello from the saloon windows.

The Apache Trail flea market, a place to wander on a Sunday morning to see the unusual. Caged canaries, great sign written vans, dogs being pampered and of course all manner of used stuff, crap and antiques for sale.

1800 Flea Market Van 190120_DSF1150
I love the graphics and Rolls Royce plate of this van at the Mesa fleamarket.
1800 Dog Day BW 190120_DSF1151
This is the life – Apache Trail Flea Market proprietor.

See more images that didn’t make the blog by going to the link ‘USA Trip 2020’ and clicking any image to enlarge.

 

The Road to Phoenix

A long and dusty road trip along i8 from Yuma to Gila Bend then onto the 85 towards Tucson with a few rest area breaks to stretch the legs and have a drink. The railroad line runs parallel for a fair few miles and the goods trains appear to be endless in length, they go on and on pulled and pushed by 2 or 3 massive diesel locos.

1800 Train to Phoenix 160120_DSF1084
A rest area with a goods train passing by Yuma to Tucson
1800 Train on the bend 160120_DSF1085
A part of an apparently endless good train

The terrain is wild, arrid and harsh but has an intoxicating beauty of it’s own. The endless stretches of bare sandy soil are interspersed with copses of strange leafless trees, massive cacti and thick brush where the birds sing and small mammals live in abundance.

1800 Near Why Arizona 160120_DSF1089
Apache country near Tucson, Arizona
1800 Desert bird 170120_DSF1136
A desert bird with the perfect camouflaged plumage
1800 Hummingbird 170120 SF1122
A very small emerald green hummingbird
1800 Arizona Cactus and Hills 170120_DSF1112
Wild hills and fog on the road to Phoenix near Globe
1800 Arizona Landscape near Globe 170120_DSF1118
Old and deserted land with rusty old gates 

 

Dana to Yuma Arizona

Down the Pacific Coast Highway from Dana Point through San Clemente then onto the i5, south and off at Oceanside north of San Diego. A couple of Pacific Ocean view points on the way before turning inland onto C76 by Camp Pendleton towards Lake Henshaw.

1800 Pacific View Point 150120_DSF1031
Looking out to the Pacific which is behind this bush and trash bin
1800 Pacific Coast 150120_DSF1027
The Pacific Ocean near Oceanside

Lake Henshaw on C86, a Reservoir in San Diego County, California at the southeast base of Palomar Mountain. Here a couple of images of this tranquil body of water, private boating and fishing but a nice walk down to the waters edge after a cup of coffee at the cafe and truck stop opposite.

1800 Lake Henshaw Jetty 1 150120_DSF1041
Lake Henshaw boat jetty
1800 Lake Henshaw BW 150120_DSF1046
Lake Henshaw reflections

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, located within the Colorado Desert of southern California, United States. The park takes its name from the 18th century Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and borrego, a Spanish word for sheep, although we didn’t see any baah! The view, approaching from Lake Henshaw upon high is staggering, the landscape of boulders, rock formations and sand into the badlands is akin to a moonscape.

1800 Anza Boreggo 2 150120_DSF1060
On top before the descent to Anza Borrego and the Salton sea.
1800 Down to Borrego Springs 150120_DSF1065
Down to Borrego and the Salton Sea in the distance
1800 Borrego Road Down 150120_DSF1066
The 85 Mile Marker above Anza Borrego
1800 Badlands 1 150120_DSF1070
Badlands stop for relief !
1800 Badlands 4 150120_DSF1074
The badlands, many a western hero or fugitive travelled here to hide in the canyons.

 

 

Dana Point – California

Dana Point Harbour, with its marinas and eclectic boutiques, is a jumping off point for dolphin and whale-watching cruises. Surf waves roll onto nearby Doheny State Beach and Salt Creek Beach, which is backed by a grassy park. Trails wind through Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area, which has sweeping ocean views and an interpretive centre. Very nice fish restaurants are in abundance at the marina, we have eaten calamari steaks, mexican king prawns and good old fish and chips (American style) over the past two evenings. Some of the sports bars happy hours 4-7pm are great value for both food and drink. It’s almost impossible to not to enjoy the atmosphere of this very well to do community.

1800 Dolphin Dive 130120_DSF1009
A dolphin taking a dive
1800 Dana Point 140120_DSF1021
Dana Point and the Memorial Park on the cliffs
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Bird of Paradise in full bloom
1800 Golden Eagle 140120_DSF1019
Golden eagle at the entrance to the Memorial Park
Humming Bird cropped at Dana 140120_DSF1022
A humming bird drinking nectar from bird of paradise in the gardens

 

1800 Strange Californian Fruit 140120_DSF1014
Strange Californian fruits, not for eating!
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