Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Roaming the desert again...

Yesterday Rockbuddy Rich, Pi, and I went out to Red Rock Canyon to do some exploring. The plan was more exploring than getting lost in old river beds. The plan succeeded.

Red Hill is a cinder cone. I collected a bunch of cinders from it. Currently it is being mined for... yup, cinders.

Can you spot the murder in this photo? Hint: not a bloody murder.

This is "Fossil Falls" an area where a strong river ran formerly, and now there are the remnants polished smooth from many years of rapids, eddies, whirlpools and waterfalls. The vesicular basalt is sculpted, rounded, full of tubes and tunnels and handholds - all very very cool.

Random desert finds

Totally unexpected and happy surprise was a big pile of beautifully preserved pillow basalt, clearly defined alteration rims around them, and opalized amygdules. This was cause for a whoop and a screeching halt to go play!

Not even remotely unexpected in the desert are mudcracks. But I liked seeing them anyway.

Neither expected or unexpected, this was a very white bug. It's standing on vesicular basalt, by the way.

Another snippet of odd California history

What remains now of 1 extremely OCD man, 1 one-armed man, and 1 long-lived and very strange woman are these barbed-wire bound and vandalized shacks in more or less the middle of nowhere. The tunnel that took "Burro" Schmidt 32 or 38 years (depending on your source) to dig out through solid granite, by hand, solo, that leads nowhere (see view of cliff edge looking down on salt flat playa below) was certainly worth rumbling over to see. It's unreal how people lived and what they did out here in the early 1900's - and all of these people who lived up here on this mountain (not simultaneously) completely missed out on the California Gold Rush too. Read about Burro Schmidt, Mike Lee, and Tonie Seger - I highly recommend it.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Rafting... that's part of Earth Science, right?

About a month ago I took my Earth Science lab on a white water rafting field trip. Ok, well it didn't quite go down exactly like that - my class assisted with the adaptive fitness students on their field trip... But I justified us being able to go because we talk about rivers in my class. It's only half a lecture, but the day trip more than makes up for it!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Adventuring the Mojave Desert

The old postoffice at Kelso (ghost town, railroad depot), right smack in the middle of the West Mojave Desert, and only a few miles North of the Kelso Dunes (some of the biggest in North America!)

The Oasis at Zzyzx Rd - a place with a long and colourful history - what more could you want in the middle of nowhere? You've got an endangered fish (Tui Chub), swings, and an old boat. PERFECTION!

The cutest (but not soft, trust me, I checked) cactus balls I've ever seen! These things are hilarioius! They are called "cotton balls" - only semi-appropriately. I think "basketballs" would work better.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Stolen Action Shots

Ok, here are the thumbnails - amazing that they had one of me for each event...
The swim, the part that felt the most relaxed for me, the shot captures what appears to be a look of shear agony and pain, which I think is hilarious.
The bike shot is pretty good - makes my arms look all svelt - but my helmet appears to be a little off-kilter, teehee!
And the run, here the photographer was obvious, and this was at the last bend before the finish line, so I did a big grin and a little skip of joy and that's exactly what was captured on film. You can even tell by my arm position that I'm in mid-skip, and if my feet were in the shot, they'd both be off the ground!!!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

A Happy and Surprising Event!!!

While waiting for the other competitors to finish the tri today, I thought I'd go and have a look-see at my time. I got to the prelim posting and found myself up in position #3... Position # what??? #3??? I placed 3rd???? Is that what that means I asked???????
Apparently it is. Soooooo cool. And so unexpected!!!
This girl I met on the run was the only one in age 20-24, so she was pretty pleased with her gold - she didn't finish that far behind me either, and the craziest part? She's a petroleum engineer working at Chevron... Seriously, how do I meet these people - it's like geology folk are drawn to one another.
P.S. I did not run in the Grand Canyon ghetto T with holes in the armpits, I wore a real shirt. One with holes only for arms, head and body. But I also poured water all over it, and was feeling a tad damp, so I changed - and then totally didn't look cool getting my medal :(

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Trade

The dinos I posted below were made "on commission" in actuality... I traded them for this hand crafted, custom-made necklace. You can now see how truly nerdy I am...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

More Dinosaurs!

I didn't even use a pattern for the pterosaur! I'm SO good at wasting time!!!

Monday, May 15, 2006


When I first moved out here the view over the bluffs was desolate dirt brown. Logically so since this is a desert. I posted photos of that brown landscape back in Sept. of last year. This spring we had record quantities of rain, and to my amazement the expanse of brown turned green(ish).

The Culprit!

My Basil appears to be recovering slightly, but my poor tomatoes are completely DESTROYED! Curse you snails! Curse you ALL!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Hiking in Tehachapi

Envirobel and I strike a pose at the top the hike.

It was super windy. I think it's fairly obvious why!

Lots and lots of turbines...

"Grape-soda" lupins, so named because the smell like grapes. Rather rankly. And unfortunately because they smell like concord grapes - YUCK!

California poppy. They're orange, I like them!

Dead steer.

Significantly deader steer. Or maybe sheep. Hard to tell due to the extent of deadness.