In this post, I chatted about White Sands and how beautiful it is at sunset. And that's true. But it is equally beautiful during the middle of the day. It's hard to capture in pictures the size of the dunes made by the gypsum. This one shown below was grand.
Even more amazing was the plants. Quick growing plants live in this area, stretching to survive over an incoming dune. In the middle of this particular photo, you can see the two plants in the middle of the frame are half covered with the sand.
As the wind moves the sand, it makes cool patterns in the sand. I thought this one was cool.
But as the dune moves on its way, the plant has generated a vast root system which keeps the gypsum from moving with the rest of the dune. The sand is tangled in with the roots and prevented from moving with the breeze. That leaves these large towers throughout the park, waiting for the nest dune to pass by.
There is something about a horse that I absolutely love. They are large animals and can be intimidating, but I find them to be some of the most gentle creatures on earth.
This is a photo of Easter Island. Usually, when people show photos of the island they show the pristine blue water or the awe inspiring maoi status. And if anyone has looked through this blog, I'd be guilty as well. But the land is also so inspiring. There are few trees on the island due to over-cultivation in the past. But the grasses, the wildflowers cover the land beautifully.
Which makes for a good environment for the wild horses. Yes, there are wild horses roaming all over the 63 square mile island. Which explains the rock walls and turnstiles to protect the more significant sites on the island. (Although, horses can jump and I did see them entrapped inside of the very area the walls were built to protect.)
One night I was walking home from a late night dinner. The town on this island is small and there are few lights on the streets. Footsteps could be heard, but the darkness prevented seeing the maker of the noise. Suddenly I was surrounded by 5 - 10 wild horses as they overtook my pace and wandered down toward the beachfront.
That's when it was confirmed that I was someplace unique. I can honestly say I had never previously been surrounded by wild horses in the middle of the busiest street in town.
labels: easter island
location: easter island, chile
White Sands National Monument is an amazing place in the southern part of New Mexico. Not really sand at all, the dunes are made of gypsum. The gypsum is from the nearby mountain ranges. While typically the gypsum would be dissolved by the water and eliminated via water run-off, this place is different. The water here runs into a basin where there is no outlet. Once the water seeps into the ground, the gypsum is left in crystallized form.
The dunes it forms are amazingly tall. The day we went, kids were sledding down the sides and scrambling up to the top again. We looked at the evidence showing how the dunes moved over time.
But sunset makes this place magical. The light brings out the colors of the area. People wandered among the plants snapping photos where shadows formed that previously had none. Items in silhouette were stunning against the desert sky.
labels: national park, usa, white sands
location: white sands national monument, 19955, alamogordo, nm 88310, usa
As mentioned here, a friend and I traveled around the Four corners region during early May. Of course in the desert region of the south west, I knew the soil would be dry and sandy. However I didn't know the flowers that thrived in that kind of land. These wild flowers were so beautiful and dotted the desert floor.
Who has ever fed the fish at the Byodo-In Temple in Hawaii? If so, you likely have a photo just like this one. The temple is built in a valley on the island of Oahu where the light brings out all of the colors of the surrounding area and the air is heavy but cool.
Around the temple is a large "lake" of water that is stocked with fish. The nearby gift shop has fish food for sale. So it's common to see people feeding the fish. What was surprising is how active they were at grabbing their next bite. Years later, I went back to this temple. These fish are now almost a foot long and not nearly as cute during fish feeding time.
labels: hawaii, usa
location: valley of the temples, 47-200 kahekili hwy, kaneohe, hi 96744-4562, usa
After independence from Spain in 1818, the harbor at Valparaiso received all shipping traffic that went between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans as the international port. With the development of the Panama Canal in 1914, this port received less traffic and slowly the city started to diminish in size and wealth.
Today the majority of the shipping traffic in Chile goes to another port in San Antonio, about 100 miles south of Valparaiso. But it is hard to tell in this picture. Fishing boats, navy ships and others were in port (with many waiting to dock). If this is a slow day, I can't imagine the traffic that this port used to see.
labels: chile, harbor, valparasio
location: valparaíso province, valparaíso, valparaíso region, chile
I think a lot of people in the world have this photo of Trevi Fountain in Rome. They snap this photo as they throw a coin into the fountain to insure their return to the city.
But I wonder how many people have this photo of Trevi Fountain in Rome. The fountain, and a nearby gelato shop, fill tourists' hands with ice cream and cameras. Wandering though this square many times, it was rare to see it with fewer tourists.
This photo personifies Vienna for me. Extravagant rose gardens. Stunning fountains. Ornate buildings. Clean. It was everything I expected. This garden was something I stumbled upon on my way to the nearby Palace. And even though the day was warm and sunny, the park was filled with people taking in the sights. It's funny to say that given the photo has only two people in it. (Well, two people and two ducks.) But the park was large and there were many people behind me on the benches and walkways.
labels: austria, garden, vienna
location: schönbrunn palace, schönbrunner schloßstraße 47, 1130 vienna, austria
Halfway between Phoenix and Flagstaff AZ, in the Verde Valley, you will find Sedona and the great Red Rocks. If you have time, the surroundings make for great reason to get off of the streets and head out via hiking paths or jeep tours.
You may have also noticed this area as the back drop in many movies used throughout the middle of the twentieth century. So between the places celebrating the vistas, and the feeling of the old west, you might also find a dash of Hollywood.
In addition to the great things that Sedona is known for, they also have some silly claims to fame. For example, Sedona is the home to the only McDonald's with turquoise arches versus the common yellow ones that we see (literally) everywhere else in the world.
labels: arizona, usa
location: sedona, az, usa
I love things that make you stop in your tracks and just take in your surroundings. That's what I did when I stopped in the Bellagio Hotel Lobby in Las Vegas. What was just a normal hotel lobby became something special due to this installation from the artist Dale Chihuly.
It is comprised of over 2000 glass flowers which is located on the ceiling of the hotel lobby. I wish I could say that I was the only one impacted by this work. But any quick Google search shows photos all over Flicker, YouTube and other sites on the internet by others who were similarly affected.
labels: las vegas, nevada, usa
location: 3655 las vegas blvd s, le boulevard at paris las vegas, las vegas, nv 89109, usa