Friday, July 31, 2009
This is American Chestnut. It used to be a dominant species throughout the eastern mountain areas but because of an introduced disease it now only exists as a few little bushes resprouting from old trunks.
Lichen-covered rocks on Black Mountain.
This area is called Big Meadows. It is believed to have been a meadow for at least the last 1000 years, probably longer. It is either caused by weird soil or by some sort of management technique the Native Americans used.
A large area of grass wouldn't be unusual in the West but in the Appalachians, every single square foot that can support a tree seems to have one. It was surprising to see such a large open area.
Bizarro-Torrance (in Pennsylvania)
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Rainbow near the Great Smokeys.
Asheville, North Carolina, which is a cute little town in the mountains.
Blue Ridge Parkway.
Lichen on Mt Mitchell
Christmas tree farm
GPS unit (Miss Crumpets) on Blue Ridge Parkway
As always, there are more photos at the Flickr account .
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
The French Quarter... it's more interesting at night but I didn't bring my camera.
A summer thunderstorm...
Huge spider and her delicious (to her) boyfriend.
Baldcypress knees in Jean Lafitte park.
Mushroom inside a tree
Floating marsh area.
The Containment Theory vulture???
Friday, July 24, 2009
an mspaint drawing of a swamp, kinda from a photo, kinda not
I love baldcypress trees!
I'm still in Atlanta. I'll be playing music with some friends tomorrow, at a party. It'll be fun. After that, I'll be in the Appalachians for a while and may not have internet access for some of that time.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
and it is actually quite notable how glad I am that I'm not going back any time soon.
I will really miss family and friends, and I will also miss the fascinating ecology/climate/natural history of California... but nevertheless, I am really glad to be gone.
It's funny how I didn't even really understand how badly I needed this change until it happened. There's no going back now, and I find that I am looking backwards a lot less than I was previously. This should be a good two years.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Here are a few selected pictures, but there are more on my flickr site at http://www.flickr.com/photos/inyo395/
Baldcypress trees. These trees, which are related to redwoods and sequoias, can survive soils that are saturated for much of the year. In this particular lake, a levee was created that interrupted the occasional drying up of this area. The trees can survive having their bases submerged indefinitely - but will not reproduce, nor will they grow very much (except their bases expanding) unless the water dries up around them. Thankfully they live hundreds of years so it will be a long time before these trees die off.
A huge spider. There are a LOT of big spiders in the swamps.
Storm clouds and birds (the birds might be too tiny to see in this picture)
Saturday, July 18, 2009
This is Breaux bridge. We spent two nights in southern Louisiana, which was great, and I took lots of pictures, which I hopefully will eventually have time to post. meanwhile, click on this photo to connect to my flickr account and see more photos. i'll post about the Bayou and New Orleans later on.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Getting back to Texas... This morning we drove through downtown Galveston, which was by the way under 6 feet of water when Hurricane Ike came through last year.
There were lots of dead trees everywhere in downtown. Trees don't like being under 6 feet of saltwater.
left Galveston, and Mrs. Crumpets (my GPS unit, which speaks in an English accent) directed us into the line for a ferry, without telling us! Oops! This ferry took us to the Bolivar Peninsula.
On the way, someone was feeding seagulls, and they repaid the favor by 'decorating' all the cars on the deck of the ferry. In the background there you can see a shipwreck although it looked older than 1 year so maybe Ike didn't wreck that ship.
The Bolivar peninsula is about 20 miles of hurricane wreckage, with a few surrounding houses and debris everywhere. Apparently, it used to have a lot of beach houses on it, but most were destroyed. Barrier islands/peninsulas are not good places to build for just this reason - they are devestated by hurricanes, and the storm surge goes right over the top of them. Nevertheless it was really sad to see all of the destruction to peoples' homes and workplaces.
This is what thunderheads look like in Louisiana. They aren't as crisp and dramatic from afar as the ones in the desert as they hide behind humid hazy air and low clouds. Today we only went through a bit of rain, most of the storms missed us.
A green anole, the closer one is a male and the further away one is probably his intended mate. These guys are really neat, they can actually change color between green and brown. I thought I was hallucenating until I verified it on Wikipedia.
A dragonfly.. this guy and the Anoles were just hanging out to welcome us, at the Lafayette Welcome Center.
As I mentioned earlier, we also got yummy Cajon food today, and as always, I went swimming in the hotel pool in the evening. One other thing too - the hotel had a free beer for us when we checked in! Southern hospitality!