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Hart Mountain – spring delights

For too many years Hart Mountain was out of my line of travel and added just enough extra time and miles to the trip at hand that I by-passed it. This spring I made the effort to go there, just there, and was well rewarded. It is a long slog from anywhere, the roads can be quagmires, the dust invasive, the heat crushing, and the mosquitoes draining. May it always remain this way.

 

butterfly flower

Swallowtail and balsamroot

sagebrush, thunderheads

Sky drama

raptor harrier

Looked down upon by a northern harrier

Subtle layers of color and texture

hills valleys

Sagebrush landscape

glowing yellow flowers bumblebee

Bumblebee with balsamroot

The commercial strip v. the National Monuments – a request for stay of execution

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

On the executioner’s block: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

 

It is already true that one can be dropped on any commercial strip in the USA and have no idea where they are. Each is so much the same, so not unique, that Chattanooga and Bakersfield look much the same. We have eradicated the prairies, slaughtered the forests, and filled the wetlands, must we also quash the individuality of the national monuments and make them conform to the ideals of capitalism, consumerism, and corporate expansion? What of calm, contentment, and courage to step outside of the box, to appreciate the subtle realm of time, space, and light that is not under our control? Where will we go for peace when we have used up all that is wild?

You have seen my photos over the last year. Many of those photos were taken in national monuments (including the two on this page). If you enjoyed my meager attempts at conveying the intensity of these landscapes, you will enjoy this (free ebook) photographic journey through the national monuments by exquisite landscape photographers

http://landalmostlost.com/

And, I hope you will send comments in support of retaining the national monuments.

 https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOI-2017-0002-0001

Stay the executions.

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

 

Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice!

All the best and brightest for 2017!

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Spring trees after morning rain. Beartown State Forest, Massachusetts

yampa

Yampa River valley, cottonwoods, snow, and afternoon light. Colorado

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Fern aliens. How can so many shades of green live in one place? Mount Baker, Washington

Sea alien – A.K.A. anemone. Deception Pass State Park, Washington

paintbrush

Paintbrush in lichen-laden sagebrush. Steens Mountain, Oregon

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

The road through Candy Land

capitol-reef-3409

Fall color against red rock. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

needles-8817

Super moon set. Canyonlands National Park, Utah

grand-canyon-7832

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

africa-4433

Kalahari Milky Way. Botswana

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Zebra-belly nap face. Moremi National Park, Botswana

Moremi National Park, Botswana

Personal grooming is important in maintaining superiority.

Elephant knees and toenails and a little one tucked under the trunk. Chobe, Botswana

Lilac-breasted roller. Moremi National Park, Botswana

Paradise Found, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Quieter moments

 

Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana

Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana

Maun, Botswana

Okavango Delta, Botswana

Waterbuck, Zimbabwe

Emerald-spotted wood dove, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Whoa, amazing butt balance.

sunset elephant

midnight stars, Maun, Botswana

midnight stars, Maun, Botswana

Jackal, hyenas, and lions. A story in three parts.

Part 1 The jackal

The jackal arrived first. Stopping every few meters to look around, over this shoulder, over that shoulder, turn all the way around and look again. Then do it again a few meters later and again a few meters after that. Finally, at the zebra carcass, she ripped off big chunks and swallowed them almost whole. Standing on the ribs for better traction, tearing, stopping to scan every mouthful or two, gulping as much as possible. Working every angle for the best grip and the most meat, she moved from one end of the zebra to the other and back again. Watching and eating.

Black-backed jackal with zebra carcass. Moremi National Park, Botswana

Part 2 The hyenas

Three hyenas materialized, one by one, in the grass 30 or 40 meters from the carcass. The jackal stood on high alert. It went back to the carcass, but more furtively, inhaling as many big chunks as she could. The hyenas began working their way in, looking around as they moved. And then, just as quickly as they appeared, they dissolved back into the grass. The jackal stood down.

Hyenas in the grass. Moremi National Park, Botswana

Part 3 The lions

As the hyenas began their descent upon the carcass, a lioness sauntered into view through the grass. Lying down 20 meters out from the carcass, only her back and head were visible. The hyenas made their exit. The jackal went back to business with renewed vigor.

A few minutes later, another lioness appeared in the grass. Moving around the first, she strolled the perimeter, moving slowly toward the carcass. The jackal took note and without rushing or being in any way obvious, she evaporated from the scene.

The lions took turns moving closer, repositioning themselves, lounging near the carcass but not going directly to it. They were both within a few meters, rolling a little, posing for the morning sun, seemingly enjoying their implicit power over hyenas and jackals. One flopped to the ground with a post-zebra belly in need of rest, while the other dragged the carcass closer to a covering tree and began feeding. Breakfast is served.

 

Zebra breakfast, Moremi National Park