Sunday, January 31, 2010

Why Women Fall For Cowboys

A photo essay, photos taken at The Nature Conservancy's Winchester Ranch:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

These are the Voyages

As the Earth would look from space if it were really a globe of glass with delicately-etched continents. Lucky Lane, the final frontier... Is this the world or....?

If you guessed "wine globe decanter that I got from Jody as a wedding present and that is now sitting on my wine rack but WAS sitting on top of the BluRay player on top of a 19th-century school desk in my living room," you'd be right! Otherwise, you just have no imagination. :-D

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Popo Agie Falls

Snow covers ice covers water covers frozen ground covers winter

The river runs, running, sputtering despite the chains of solid cold

Drips oozes sloshes, under the ice, you can see it shuffle by, blue in blue, bluer than sky, bluer than cold, trickling if you squint

The Falls don't fall as much as impose, silent and stiff, cracking with anticipation

of a warmer day.

Friday, January 22, 2010


It was cold, pushing zero degrees

but the sunshine and blue skies made it worth it.

Only a mile in, and we already felt completely alone, completely wild. No
more power lines or sewers or houses, just endless mountains and pine trees and snow.

The trail was marked only with idle footprints, but we knew the way.

Non Sequitur TV Confusion

On a completely non-sequitur note, I'm having trouble figuring out the method or madness behind TV/cable networks and why they show shows when they do.

For example: "Castle" is on at 10 pm EST, which translates to 9pm Central. I get that. But this also means 9pm MST, which is where I get confused. Why not 8? That would follow: 10 on the east coast, 9 in Chicago, and 8 in Denver.

Except "Burn Notice" is also on at 10 EST and 9 Central, and then 8 Mountain.

"Chuck" is on 8pm EST, 7 CST, and 7 MST. But there are several other shows that do not push as early as 7, and so though they start at 9 EST, they start at 8 here in Wyoming.

"White Collar" is on at 10 EST, 9 CST and 8 MST.

"The Daily Show" is on at 11 pm EST, and begins here in Wyoming at 9.

And I haven't a clue when things start on the west coast. Why does it bother me that there is no Time Zone Transition conformity and that they provide no explanation? Jeez.

And now you have a rundown of the TV shows I watch. Herm...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cattle Ranching in Our National Parks

Grazing cows are common sights as you drive across the Great American Plains. Black, brown, dirty white beasts, long horns, short horns, even a long-haired Highland cow, if you look hard enough. Part of our American heritage is the right to homegrown steaks, fresh from the ranch.

What many of us don't think about is what the implications are for our national parks. Many of us don't even realize that there are cows, domesticated bovines, grazing on park lands. Can you imagine Old Faithful surrounded by longhorns? Cows hanging out on glaciers? Cows climbing arches?

It's not quite that dramatic, but it exists, nonetheless. And there are many sides to the story. On one side, ranchers who lease land from the federal government and insist that they, too, have a right to be there. One another side, many conservationists who insist that cattle have no place in national parks, that parks are places for the natural world, that cattle ranching is what the BLM and Forest Service are for. And in the middle, biologists for the Park Service, running test after test and getting answer after conflicting answer as to whether ranching does or does not adversely affect natural systems in parks.

But do they have a place? In some ways, they do. Ranchers in Point Reyes National Seashore have been there for generations, and some of the families have gotten together to argue for their status as "traditionally associated" to the park, a protection usually reserved for Native Americans. Basque people who used herd sheep in and around Great Basin National Park enjoy and impromptu (though not official) status as "traditionally associated," though they no longer ranch in the park. Should those people, many of whom have been there for 100 or more years, be ignored? Other parks simply benefit from the additional revenue, without which many forgotten parks could not operate due to the enormous NPS budget deficit. Should those parks eliminate ranching and financially stagnate?

The Nature Conservancy, at the Red Canyon Ranch outside of Lander, WY, are attempting to find a peaceable solution. On their property, they attempt to raise and graze cattle in a sustainable manner, taking into consideration ecological and economic concerns. On one hand of the argument is the idea that national parks are for nature, which includes the wolves, mountain lions and grizzly bears that could prey on cows, and therefore cows have no place in parks. Another side of the argument rightly points out that 200 years ago, North American was almost overrun with bison. Since then, we have managed to kill off most of them, with small herds existing in Yellowstone/Grand Teton, Great Sand Dunes, and various other national and state parks and on private farms. Bison were a major part of the ecology of North America, and since their mass slaughter, great herds of grazers no longer maintain a healthy environment. Some scientists believe that it is possible to imitate the historic, and biologically significant, migration patterns of bison with herds of cattle, that cows can restore the plains that were left fallow when the bison were virtually killed off. This would, in all probability, involve a reorganizing of the cattle industry, smaller herds on larger tracts of land with greater rotations, but could it otherwise be feasible? Is there a way to make it work? Or will cattle ranching and the National Park Service mutually exclusive operations?

Until we figure it out, I will leave you with my vision of the cattle industry as it can be seen inside the borders of Capitol Reef National Park:

Monday, January 11, 2010


Growing up in the east, I'm used to seeing the moon only on the clearest of nights or through a cloud of the dusty haze that escapes from engine exhausts and coal power plants. It was there, camouflaged in that sick, yellow glow of industry, but you never really thought about it, and you never really looked at it because it would only remind you of the city looming just over the next hill. No escape from the light pollution to really see the moon for what it is.

But since moving out West, I think about the moon all the time. It is always there, clear and crisp, enjoying the fresh Wyoming air, free from any real light pollution. Even when you can see Vegas, humming at the horizon, it is often not enough to cloud the night sky, or the midday sky. Though I've never seen the man in the moon, I do love looking for him.

Some moonscapes that have managed to stay with me, no matter how many moons I see:

Moonrise in Capitol Reef National Park

The moon beyond the pines in Castle Gardens

Moon at sunset in Canyonlands National Park

Tis the Moon!

Arches National Park

Moonrise over Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh... through the city lights

Moon over the old medina in Meknes, Morocco... exotic with the markets and the tents and the 12th century city wall

Saturday, January 9, 2010


While largely thought of as "The Ghetto," Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati, OH is one of hippest up-and-coming neighborhoods in the city, and one in which often people of all ethnicities and economic categories intermingle with little conflict. It is often overlooked a being part of "Downtown," which to many in Cincinnati means the area around the University of Cincinnati. This neighborhood is NOT, in fact, Downtown at all. But even the true Downtowners forget about the architectural jackpot that is Over-the-Rhine, the grids of brick and mortar and hidden statues and sculptural geniuses left to revive and advertise themselves. The funkiest restaurants, the most new-age stores mix with a Kroger that needs the full-time employ of an entire police force just to keep the tenuous peace. A jazz bar hidden in the basement of an old corner building that looks more like a crack house than a classy jazz club. Terribly atmospheric and dangerously romantic.

Taken on a foggy day in Over-the-Rhine from my balcony of my parent's building:

Music Hall

The Art Museum up on the hill

The Cincinnati Museum Center in the old Union Terminal

The rest are of Over-the-Rhine in general:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Alien Earth Landscapes

We spend all this time watching science fiction movies and marveling at the alien landscapes, wondering if Mars really does look like that and sitting in awe as Captain Kirk stiffly throws bad punches at a Gorn and wondering how people could ever manage to live in such a thrilling, yet barren and inhospitable landscape.

Nobody ever bothered to tell us that these "alien" landscapes are real and exist here on Earth...

These two are from Capitol Reef National Park, quite earthly yet so strange....
You may remember this scene from Galaxy Quest! In reality, it is Goblin Valley State Park, near Moab, Utah

Friday, January 1, 2010

Year in Photographic Review

What a crazy year! We did so much traveling, both locally and around the country, that it was pretty hard to do this entry. The idea is that you pick 12 pictures, one from each month of the past year, to illustrate a year in your life. We took soooooo many photographs this year, it was hard to choose! And we did so much more than I could put there!

So, Happy New Year, and here's to another crazy-busy one!

View of the Las Vegas Strip from the top of the Eiffel Tower

Street sign in the French Quarter during my birthday trip to New Orleans

Crazy people jump into a frozen lake in Nederland, CO for Frozen Dead Guy Days, celebrating the joy of cryogenics

Hippies dance happily during the Colorado Beltane Festival, outside of Loveland, CO

Jonmikel hiking around the dunes at Great Sand Dune National Park in southern CO; we also stopped to visit our favorite natural hot spring resort, Valley View Hot Springs

We bought our first house together in Lander, WY!!!

The view from our porch at Northside Valley, an eco-lodge on St. Croix, USVI, where we spent the 4th of July with friends

The month of weddings! This is of my cousin Johnny and his beautiful bride Janine at their wedding in Southern California

Finally living with Jonmikel in Lander, WY after a summer of separation while I finished my work in Ft. Collins, CO, we decide to spend his birthday exploring the Killpecker Sand Dunes, just north of Rock Springs, WY

My parents come visit us here in WY, and we show them the best sites in the area, including the rugged Wind River Mountains and the moose!

We spend Thanksgiving in Utah's canyon country, visiting Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef National Parks and this gorgeous (and not yet full of people!) little slot canyon, Little Wild Horse Canyon. We also stayed at Red Cliffs Lodge and Winery and took advantage of great off-season rates!

We buy a permit from Shoshone National Forest and, for the first time for both of us, cut our own Christmas tree! Merry Christmas everyone!

And have a great 2010!