Archive for the ‘Family – Mark’ Category
I’m a little late with prom photos, but here is prom circa 2013.
Many of you may remember that last year when I was cutting down the willows, the chain saw took a slice out of my leg (allowing me to recover and watch the first weekend of the NCAA BB games without guilt).
No such luck this year. After donning the chaps and steel-toes, I was able to cut down all the willows. This is a shot after the fact as we are collecting them all for the burn pile. I’m keeping them coppiced for ornamental and forage purposes.
On a day that felt more like mid-March than mid-February, Martin and I headed out to Ledges State Park a bit southwest of Ames.
At the end of the day, we headed to an overlook over the Des Moines River and the cloudiness broke for a time, giving us an awesome view of the river valley. It’s still rather shocking to see the river this low.
We spent most of the day exploring up a small creek that enters into the river. Knowing that it is only a few inches deep made for great fun trying to stomp through the ice and listening to the glistening sounds of the ice as it cracked and splintered below our feet.
In some spots, a clear layer of ice situated on top of the whiter fractured ice gave an optical illusion of floating on air with out boots.
The ice was particularly slippery today and was good for running and sliding, especially downhill where a bit of slope gave us even more speed.
On this 35 degree day we were surprised to see many of these bugs scooting around on the surface of the ice. Any ideas what they are or what they are doing on the ice in winter?
Finally, the obligatory self-portrait. Thanks to Martin for letting Dad have an excuse to go out and play in the woods for an afternoon!
It saddens me when expensive, well-built mechanical devices meet their end while they are still in good operating condition. Now they are practically worthless. I’ve held onto these for a decade or two, thinking the digital thing might be a fad, but in the latest, more determined closet cleanup, it was time to let them go to an artist who can repurpose the parts. I did keep the lenses, which can be used on new SLRs with an adapter. Back in the early 80′s I saved up money, including one whole season of selling Christmas trees to buy a Canon- AE-1 SLR camera and lenses. The camera was my companion on trips out west – to the Canadian and American Rockies, on adventures on the North Shore of Minnesota.
One of the most memorable was a trip to the top of Mount Timpanogos in Utah. Timp is the 2nd highest peak in the Wasatch range, which is the range running north and south of Salt Lake City/Park City and contains Alta and Snowbird ski areas. At any rate, I was young and adventurous and found myself on near the top of the mountain without any mountaineering gear – not even a shovel or hammer for self arrest. The hike up was difficult, with parts in steep snow.
Some more experienced hikers with ropes, crampons and the like were in disbelief to meet us near the top. In no uncertain words, they explained our stupidity to us and explained we’d have a hard time going back the way we came without slipping and falling as going down a corny snow slope is harder than going up. They said the best worst option for us was to slide down the Timp glacier instead of risking the ridge trail. I don’t have any digital pictures from the day, but I found some at this website that shows the trail in the heat of summer. Imagine the trail in those pictures mostly covered in snow at the higher elevations.
So, I bundled my day pack and camera in my lap and slid over the edge down the glacier. At one point, my camera (in a case) and day pack separated from my body and while I was eventually able to stop, the pack and camera continued to gain speed down the glacier, bouncing higher and higher. On the lower reaches of the snowfield, openings appeared in the snow where a creek ran down the middle of the valley. My memory is that these holes were about 5 feet across and went down 10-15 feet to the roaring creek underneath. My camera bounced over at least two of these before stopping. Miraculously, the camera still worked after the journey.
I just read the following on the Wikipedia entry on Timp that makes me even more frightened, 30 years after the fact:
“undercutting of deeply drifted snow by streams creates a hazard that has proven fatal on more than one occasion. Climbers can fall through the undermined snow fifty feet or more into the icy stream underneath.”
“The Timp Glacier is one of the major sources of injury or death to hikers on Timp, particularly when some attempt to “glissade” (or slide rapidly) down the snowfield’s surface with the assistance of a shovel or other device to save time descending. There have been many cases of injuries from buried rocks under the snow as well. There have been numerous life flight rescues on the mountain, often caused by this activity.”
Ever just want to hop in the car and drive somewhere you’ve never been before? We first grabbed a sniff of the Mississippi River near Keokuk Iowa, and traced it down through Hannibal, St. Louis, and Cape Girardeau, and the bootheel of Missouri, followed by Blytheville, Arkansas, finally crossing over the Mississippi in Memphis, Tennessee, before continuing on to Oxford Mississippi. Driving time, about 11 hours.
Here are a couple of biologists-turned seminarians, Linda and Gail at Gail’s home outside of Oxford. I was struck with the rolling densely forested countryside of Northern Mississippi.
Our hosts for the weekend, Pat and Gail in front of a more or less indestructible spider web. Both are professional arachnologists (study spiders).
Pat shows off one of the 60,000 or so spiders in her collection – this one named after her!
Down South, there are plants that ya’all don’t get to see up north, like this lilly plant that sends up foliage in the spring, dies back, and then sends up the flowers in the fall.
Of course, there are the Magnolia trees as well.
Here we’re kicking back on the back steps of Rowan Oak, William Faulkner’s home in Oxford.
This was a bit of a rarity in this part of the state – a cotton field. We actually saw much more cotton in Arkansas.
There was however, no shortage of Kudzu – namely along edges of forests, as you can see along these railroad tracks – it covers nearly everything in sight.
With Claire home only a few days between her summer at Wolf Ridge on the Superior coast and starting school, we thought we should try to get a few family photos.
First, the big picture.
The final stop on the trip was the badlands.
Emma in the magnitude that is the Badlands.
This is for Claire. We have an old black and white photo from the same place, but I can’t locate it at the moment.
On the ladder on the Notch trail.
Emma taking the ladder.
Emma taking the ladder in years gone by.
A bit of the terrain of the trail.
It is a rather ethereal landscape, much like what walking on the moon might be like (sans the spacesuits).
At the end of the trail.
Yes, it was hot!
Universally acclaimed as one of the best hikes of the trip was the Red Beds trail around Devil’s Tower, Wyoming.
Here’s a good-looking family in front of the exposed batholith.
This year’s vacation group shot, for the first time in about 15 years, not in Northern Minnesota.
The visitor center and parking lot were very crowded – so we took the road less traveled and instead of taking the 1 mile hike around the base, we took the longer three mile hike around the red beds trail.
The trail starts off in a pine forest – very welcome shade on a 97 degree day.
Eventually the trail opened up to some meadows.
There were wonderful vistas looking out over the Wyoming landscape and Belle Fourche river valley below.
At one point the trail dropped into the “desert” as the kids called the exposed red beds that is the trail’s namesake.
Up from the red beds, the trail traversed through an area that had been burned.
Martin taking a look at the imposing rock near the end of the trail.
A well-deserved break near the end of the trail.
I hadn’t noticed this strange object in the sky when I took this photo and didn’t see it until I arrived home!
All in all, the trail had great diversity of landforms, and on this trip we were the 1%. We only saw one other hiker on the trail. So we were in the 1% of people who left the visitor center!
Family vacation is here! Family vacation is here! We’re on our way to experience the West. Our first stop is in Chamberlain South Dakota.
On the banks of the Missouri River, we stretch our legs after a long afternoon and early evening drive.
When heading west on I-90, I consider crossing the Missouri river to signify the beginning of the West. After crossing the river, farm fields are rare and open range becomes predominant.
With the continued onset of hot, dry weather, and much more ahead, it was time to augment soil moisture.
We filled a stock tank and dragged it around to give some plants a drink. We drained about 750 gallons from our wqter collecting tank.
The blackberries are vigourous this year, so they received some, in addition to the tomatoes and peppers.
Today we settled in at friend’s cabin near Duluth. Spent some quality time on the dock.
In between kayaking and floating around on the lake, Martin still found time to join us on the dock for some fishing. He also managed to catch the biggest fish of the day.
Her looks a bit apprehensive about holding the prehistoric-looking pike.
A few ours on the boat yielded few fish, but fishing from the dock provided some pretty good action!
For better or worse, we agreed to allow Claire and Emma go on their first longer canoe trip (without parents) with a couple of friends who happen to be brothers and do not have BWCA experience. I used it as an opportunity to see them off and get them up and back. Since it’s about a 10 hour drive, we stayed for a night before the trip and after the trip at Kawishiwi Lodge where we have spent many summers.
I’ve recently received complaints about the lack of pictures of me on the blog. Here’s one at Lake One on the night of our arrival.
And one of Martin as well.
The crew the last night before heading into the wilderness.
The group just moments before they headed off down Moose Lake for points east and north.
With the advent of the warm weather, I’m behind on the pruning. Today, I thought I might catch up by speed-cutting down the willows by using the chain saw instead of the hand pruners. Perhaps the execution was faulty. While I failed to separate my leg from my body, I did manage to turn it into an ER room visit for 6 big stitches right near the inside of a knee. Claire was home, and while I felt I could drive, I wasn’t sure I could drive home, so off she came with me. The two hours there went quite quickly as the basketball tourney was on the waiting room TV and the suturing room TV, which was decorated in a Nemo theme.
The doc said it was easy as chainsaw stitch-ups go as the chain didn’t “bounce” two or three times making a road rash like some chain saw incidents.
On a college visit with Emma to Luther College, I picked up a knitting pattern for a Norse hat.
Here’s father and son proudly wearing the hat on a rare snowy day (it melted with 24 hours). Linda was kind enough to knit them for us. We do attract attention wherever we walk wearing these beauties!