Friday, November 30, 2018

Abandoned

Gone and forgotten...
Slowly becoming part of the landscape...
This old truck sits quietly rusting on a hillside near Barkerville, BC...

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

¡Ay, caramba!

A gator swims among the yachts at Puerto Vallarta...
Do not go swimming off the docks!!
We recently returned from Puerto Vallarta where I made a surprising discovery. While waiting in the local marina for a bus ride, I glanced out over the water to see a 10-foot alligator lazily swimming among the yachts.

Locals working on the jetties didn't give it much attention, so they are obviously native to the area. We've been to Mexico numerous times and this is the first time we had ever seen one. I guess when you consider that alligators stroll the golf courses of Florida, it's not such a surprise, but it's still disturbing to see them so close to civilization.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Beach birds

Three of artist Paul Lewis' collection of driftwood sculptures...
Birds on the beach...
If you stroll along Esquimalt Lagoon's beachfront, you'll encounter this collection of sixteen bird sculptures crafted from carefully assembled driftwood.

They are the work of local artist Paul Lewis. His story is remarkable. Twenty years he was tried and convicted for armed robbery and sentenced to eight years in prison. He credits his time in prison with turning his life around when he turned to art to relieve the boredom.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Devils Tower

Devils Tower beckons visitors in Wyoming...
No extraterrestrials on the day that we visited...

Anyone who saw the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind back in 1977 will be familiar with Devils Tower in Wyoming.

It sticks out above the horizon like the proverbial sore thumb, but its true scale isn't apparent until you get closer. With binoculars, you'll see climbers scaling the face of the 900 foot high monument like so many ants on a hill.

Each of the green circles in the bottom photo indicates where one or more climbers were visible on the day that we were there. There was even a couple at the top.

Climbers rise to the challenge of scaling Devils Tower...
Climbers tackle the Tower...

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Eyes up here...

A hidden sign for those who know where to look...
If you want to be uplifted,
stop walking around with your eyes on the ground...
What you see depends on where you're looking.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Beautiful deadly

One of Yellowstone's many thermal pools...
Do NOT attempt to swim laps...
Yellowstone's thermal pools might look inviting with their aquamarine colour so reminiscent of tropical water, but don't be fooled.

The temperature of the water is only slightly below boiling and the water is extremely acidic. Staff are often on the lookout for people 'hot potting', i.e. illegally trying to have a soak in the pools as if they were hot tubs.

One unfortunate man from Oregon several years ago learned how deadly they could be in the final minutes of his life. He slipped and fell into the water. The high temperatures and the acidity of the water literally dissolved him before his body could be recovered. Ewww...

Hot potting is a bad idea...
Hot potting... a good way to thin out the stupid ones...

Friday, November 16, 2018

Alien world

Strange horizons...
The strange horizon...
Although most people associate Yellowstone National Park with Old Faithful, there's more to see than geysers. With an eye for the off-kilter, you can take some truly surreal photos that don't require any fancy-schmancy Photoshop-ing.

Trippy landscapes...
Trippy landscapes...

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The age-old question...

Chickens contemplate the situation...
Chickens got questions...

Monday, November 12, 2018

Under the orange sky

A cruise ship docked at Victoria under a hazy sky...
With the onset of the rainy season, Victorians are already quickly putting the memory of last summer's hazy skies -- filled with the smoke of our second worst wildfire season on record -- behind them.

Friday, November 9, 2018

White wolf

A wolf gives the evil eye...
"I can stare for a thousand years..."
I was surprised to see these all white wolves at The Grizzly Bear and Wolf Discovery Center. Every wolf I've ever seen before was always shades of white, grey and black. However, Google assures me that, yes, grey wolves can indeed be all white.

They are not to be confused with Arctic wolves which are also all white.

I also learned that if an animal such as an elk is being hunted by wolves, it stands a much better chance of survival if it stands its ground and uses its antlers for defence. Wolves prefer to run after their prey and pull it to the ground.

When they are milling around an animal which is standing its ground the pack members more often just get in each other's way.

A wolf stretches after a snooze...
 A post-snooze stretch...

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

A rose among the ruins

A rose grows from the ruins of the now gone Holiday Court Motel...
A spot of colour among the ruins of a soon-to-be demolished hotel...

Monday, November 5, 2018

Grisly remains

A grizzly bear on the move...
A grizzly on the go...
The Grizzly Bear and Wolf Discovery Center on the east boundary of Yellowstone Park is the only bear-safe food container certification testing facility in the United States.

Yes, that's a thing. Before any food storage container can advertise itself as bear safe, it must first be able to withstand a 90 minute full-on bear bashing. The containers are baited and scented with bear attractants and then tossed into the pen with the big bruins.

The image below shows the remains of various containers that did not pass the test.

Staff there told us that some of the smarter bears figure out how to open containers by simply manipulating the locking mechanism with their paws. Most of them though resort to the tried and true method of simply smashing the hell out of the container.

Failed test subjects...
Food grade but not grizzly grade...

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Get out!

Parked in a sea of big-ass motorhomes...
The smallest one of the bunch...
Our little 15-foot trailer is frequently surrounded by much longer and luxurious motorhomes in a lot of the RV camp sites that we stay in. We joke that we must annoy our neighbours because we are bringing down the local property values.

I woke one morning to find that someone had left this dead bird on our power box. We laughingly figured that someone was leaving us a warning to take our little pop-up and get out of Dodge.

At least it wasn't a horse's head...

Was it a warning?
There's a message here... I think.



Thursday, November 1, 2018

Atomic City ID

Main street of Atomic City ID...
Nothing happens on Main Street of Atomic City...
Atomic City in Idaho is definitely off the grid. It's about 20 miles off the main interstate at the end of a non-descript gravel road.

I wanted to see it because I was intrigued by its retro-future name.

It's nearly a ghost town now, home to just 30 people. It features a small stock car race track which appears to be still active, but, except for a couple of grizzled old characters -- one of them sporting two artificial legs -- it seemed deserted in the middle of the day.

The only bar in town... closed for business.
The only bar in town is long shuttered...

An oasis in the desert...
No longer serving cold ones...