Sunday, March 8, 2009

Big Birds, Muddy Waters and some Worthy Time Away

It is time to get out of Dodge. Stress is something we shouldn't let get to us. For me I take pride in my work and with that comes a little more absorption of the troubles of the current economy and trying to make sure I do everything I can to help keep folks employed. Diane suggests we go up to the Vermilion Cliffs and watch the release of the latest batch of California Condors. She once again comes through big time in suggesting a great getaway for us and I start the planning.

Now most of you may know what a California Condor is and even know it is one of the rarest birds in the world. There are just over 300 of them left with about 1/2 living in the wilds mostly in Northern Arizona, Central California and in Baja Mexico. They are also the largest bird in North America with wingspans reaching 7ft! Pretty Worthy Creatures


Pretty Ugly mug but a righteous animal that plays a critical role in Nature.

So we are out the door by 5:30 and make our way to Flagstaff for the night. I have a lot of Hilton points so we stay at the Hilton Gardens in Flagstaff for the night. The release point is only 300 miles from the house but they are scheduled to go at 11 on Saturday morning so we decide to make our way North Friday.

Diane getting dinner ready. We are both tired and decide to just stay in an watch TV.

Diane has a cool new PINK phone. I am comfortable enough with my manhood to be photographed with it.

Diane watches some more TV and I pretty much fall asleep within about 20 minutes. We get up and while she gets ready I go get some gas for the Jeep.

The Hilton from the gas station. It really is a great place to stay. Especially when it is free!

Plus I think the Hilton has mostly Earthlings. Not that I have anything against Martians.

There is even a trace of snow on the Jeep

As we head up 89 towards Page there is some weather. You can see that snow is still a reality even though the deserts have been unseasonably warm these past weeks.

We get to the release point and discover that there is a pretty good crowd there already and that the Release Managers have opened the cages early but the birds are still in them. Now I knew we would have some seperation between us and the birds. What I am not prepared for is the fact that it is really far and that photo's are going to be hard with the equipment I have.

Condor Groupies.

The top of the cliff is the release point. With my spotting scope you can see them great. But my 1000mm lens isn't going to cut it.

This is max zoom and while you can see the birds sitting on the rock, the detail of them is lost. Oh well next time you have to just tag along with me.

Miss Diane uses the scope to get a better look at them

Meanwhile I fall madly in love with the neighbors Rig. Man o man the place I could go with that!!

It is pretty darn windy and cold for most of the morning but the weather is starting to get better.

You can see just how big these birds are though.

It is a worthy place to go see if you get up there

We get out of the area just after lunch and the weather has turned for the better. We decide to go explore Lee's Ferry on the way home.

Stopping around Marble Canyon reminds me a lot of further North in Utah. Glorious Red Rocks!!

Worthy how stress just goes away when you get outside.

Miss Diane at Lee's Ferry

Lee's Ferry showcases the mighty Colorado River and the colors today are spectacular

Worthy Water!

Another thing for me to learn how to do. May need to bring Kendal out here next time to show me the ropes

The war of the Worlds comes to mind when I first see this in the distance.

We have to be home tonight so off we head back towards home. As we near Flagstaff we decide to head to Grand Falls to see if they are running.

They are and we get some other folks there to take our picture

The falls aren't as massive as last year yet but they are still a sight to see

I don't know why Bob hates taking pictures of old cars. They are glorious subjects. Not unlike Horses.

It is so wonderful to be out and about in Arizona. The Jeep is still amazing me every trip we take it out on.

We will see you next time somewhere out there!


Anonymous said...

A very worthy trip Tom. Had to laugh at the photo of the Quality Inn sign. Don't remember that sign but I think I stayed there once. :) Too bad they were released so far off. Would have been great to get some closeups.


Anonymous said...

Most worthy little road trip my friend! I can see spending $10,000 and still not getting enough zoom to be close enough. Still very cool pictures.

As to martians, I think that may have been referring to Louise, Nina, and Jacqueline. (Diane may qualify) You will have to ask Whip about that one...

I'm glad to know you had fun!