A Sonoran Sojourn

After our visit to Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, we headed a bit further south to Tucson. Our goal here was to visit the Saguaro National Park. While here, we started learning a lot about the Sonoran Desert. It was pretty interesting to discover. Some of what we learned related to the places we visited earlier in the year. And we found that the next stop, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument was also in the Sonoran Desert. Continue reading “A Sonoran Sojourn”

Lake Michigan and Sand Dunes

Our last stop on the way to Michigan was the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore which is on the southern edge of Lake Michigan. There is also the Indiana Sand Dunes State Park in the middle of the national park. It is not a contiguous park as there are several parts that are separated from the main section. This park encompasses a variety of habitats to see and learn about. The eco systems represented here are: lakes, beach, dunes, interdunal, marsh, swamp, savanna, prairie, rivers, bogs and fens.

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There Be Tallgrass in Them There Hills

As Bev mentioned in the last post, we decided to revisit the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Strong City, Kansas on our way back east. The first time we visited was in July 2017.  The grasses were only about 2 feet high. So, like many, we asked the rangers, “Where’s the Tallgrass?” They patiently explained (seems everyone asks that question) that the grass grows during the summer months and reaches its full height during the September/October timeframe. Then you can see the grass at around 5-6 feet depending on the amount of rainfall during the summer. Continue reading “There Be Tallgrass in Them There Hills”

Wandering Through Washington, Part VII

Finally, after 6 weeks in the beautiful state of Washington, we made our way to the last stop, Mount Rainier National Park. It lived up to its fame.

“Of all the fire mountains which like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest.” – John Muir

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Wandering Through Washington, Part VI – Mount St. Helens Rebirth and Today

The devastation brought about by lahars and the pyroclastic flow was extensive. Besides the 230 square miles of forest destroyed, animals were also killed in large numbers. It is estimated that 1,500 Roosevelt elk, 5,000 deer, hundreds of bears, coyotes, bobcats, rabbits, etc. were killed that day. The monument was made into a very large observatory to examine how nature recovers from such a disaster. Where they could, the mountain and surrounding areas were left as they had been after the explosion in 1980.

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Wandering Through Washington, Part VI – Mount St. Helens Devastation

The day after arriving in Castle Rock, we hopped into the car for a drive to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. We wanted to take a look at the mountain that blew its top in 1980. As we drove along, we kept expecting to see the mountain. We stopped in at a few viewpoints and visitor centers, but still no view of the mountain. It was hiding in a low cloud bank. The devastation was easily visible in the valley below us, but not that mountain. We finally decided to turn around and return another day to take it in.

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