Thursday, March 23, 2017


After being cooped up for a day due to wind, the promise of winds only 10-15 mph in the morning had me heading out to see flowers.  My destination was Red Rock Canyon State Park.

It was lovely – goldfields, two varieties of mimulus, scale bud, coreopsis, phacelia -- all set off against the red striped cliffs.

Goldfields and Mimulus


Mimulus and Phacilia

After looking at the flowers around the parking lot, I headed up the north drainage to get out of the wind.  I had a nice work out climbing out of the canyon and new views of the rock formations.  I also had a pair of nesting prairie falcons in the cliffs above me.

Mimulus and Goldfields

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Our Start in Tasmania

The lovely Loongana Valley and Leven Canyon
From New Zealand we flew to Tasmania to start another adventure. From the capital city of Hobart in this island state of Australia we drove to the north end and Leven Canyon. We stayed at Mountain Valley Wilderness Holidays, a private nature reserve where they feed nocturnal marsupial mammals for viewing out the window of each cabin. 

Our cabin and animal viewing hide for two nights

The first night was a late one as we stayed up watching pademelons, spotted-tailed quoll, brush-tailed possums, and Tasmanian Devils. We were tired the next morning but it was so worth lack of sleep to see these animals. An amazing show! Photography through the window with no flash was tricky but we got a few.

Tasmanian Pademelon 
Brush-tailed Possum
Tasmanian Devil

Tasmanian Devil

In the morning we did a 7.5 mile round trip hike from our lodgings to Paddys Lake. It was great fun. We were going to go to Black Bluff, but had to turn around at the lake due to wind. And it was windy!
  The wind screaming over the ridge and across the lake. Fortunately, most of the hike was in the scrubby forest and was pleasant. In addition to several flowering species of shrub, and many species of bird--some of which we could identify and others which we could only hear, we had an echidna. What a fabulous creature!  It heard and smelled us and pushed itself under the leaves. Then, its nose would poke up and it would smell us, think about what to do, and crawl out. Any noise or smell that startled it, caused it to dig itself in again. What fun to watch. Eventually it decided to ignore us and went back to feeding and tottered off into the forest. 



Forsest stream

Black Bluff

A view of the valley from high up


Paddys Lake

Paddys Lake

We had one more late night of nocturnal animal viewing before we set off for Hobart to embark on the rest of our Tasmanian adventure.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Anza Borrego Hiking and Flowers

We spent the week in and around Anza Borrego State Park. Not much to say other than wow. The best bloom in at least 12 years, perhaps 20, according to the locals. We hiked around a lot to see flowers species and sights that most visitors will miss. Their loss. The first afternoon we wandered up Smoketree Wash for some great flowers and interesting geology.

Smoketree Wash track Link

Wednesday morning we hiked up an unnamed wash in the Yaqui Meadows area.

Track Link

Some car cruising for lowland species of sand verbena and sunflower.

Thursday morning had us hiking up Hellhole Canyon for a (very well) hidden waterfall and spectacular flowers. 

Track Link

Friday we were back to Yaqui Meadows since we just couldn't get enough of the huge mimulus displays. 

Track Link

One more for the road, a gorgeous desert lily.