August 31, 2014

Trail Cam No. 2

I have been seriously slacking with sharing my trail cam captures lately. In fact, we haven't had the cam going at all this summer! So you will just have to make due with the best shots from late winter into spring.

For those of you unfamiliar with my trail cam, take a look at the first roll here: Trail Cam No. 1.

Here we go...

We were very excited to discover a North American Porcupine had stumbled into the path of the cam. Did you know that porcupines are the second largest rodent in the states behind beavers?

And now check out this utter specimen of majesty - the Ruffed Grouse, colloquially known as a Partridge:

This here is the crowned jewel of our trial cam trials. What are the odds of this fancy-ass bird strutting his stuff directly in front of our very own cam? Now, elementary biology tells us that this is most likely a male exhibiting a mating display, however, both sexes of ruffed grouse do similar displays, so for all we know, this is a just flashy female. 

Ahh! A brown, mystery snake! Just kidding - this here is the tail of the local forest hound that haunts our proverbial moors. Occasionally you can hear him baying in the distance (or sometimes right down on the river banks) for whatever reasons a forest hound has to bay. 

Racoon butt! It's not that shocking that these are in the neighborhood. A few weeks ago we found a little stash of our personal trash way out across the river. Seems some little creeper, most likely of the raccoon variety, was hauling loose trash bags away for a snack. Don't worry - we cleaned it all up and have been in the practice of locking our trash up more responsibly!!

This little guy on the right of the frame is an American Red Squirrel, less commonly and more ridiculously known as a Fairydiddle.

Eventually we moved the camera back to our side of the river where we were hoping to catch some very local action.

Here is a shot of our river at night in the rain that I thought was pretty neat:

And then... BOOM! MOOSE!! Right in our own backyard! We have yet to see one actually in person so this was a big deal.

We believe this beautiful sheila to be a female moose. And despite the grainy quality of this picture, she sure does conjure up some imaginings about what sort of epic moose traffic we may be missing out on right in our own yard.

Moose on Make A Gif
I made this here.

Sweet Gif, amiright? I also made this one of the sunlight dappled forest floor as captured by the trail cam:

SpringLight3 on Make A Gif

Very tranquil. And further, we captured these odd creatures aping through the woods:

Ahh! Attack of the tie-dye monster!! Oh wait - that's just me.

Even used intermittently and even though we have to sort through a lot of garbage pics to find the (mostly) gems, the trail cam is an awesome thing to have hiding in the woods. It's so cool to think that these animals are traipsing around the forest, doing their animal thing all the while we are inside acting like humans.

In fact, I'm inspired right now to boot up the ole cam and see what kind of late summer activity we can capture in the yard!

August 29, 2014

PICSPAM: Burning Man 2012

I am getting a little nostalgic considering this year's Burning Man is currently underway and that all my friends are there without me! So, in anticipation of Nessa returning with photos and stories galore, I thought I would share some photos of my experience at Burning Man 2012. 

For those of you unawares, Burning Man is a week long, weird art and euphoria festival held in the remote Black Rock Desert of Nevada. In fact, the location of the festival, Black Rock City (population: ~60,000), is only a city for the week that the festival is held! 

What goes on there is truly remarkable: imagine a temporary playground for adults, built by creative folk from around the world and country that could not possibly exist anywhere else except Burning Man. You know, due to laws and stuff. And of course, true to its name, there are lots of things on fire. It's kind of hard to explain, so I hope the photos can speak for me.

In 2012 AGP and I camped at Edelweiss and 9:15 with some friends and friends of friends. It was a hot, dusty, overwhelming good time. I can't wait to hear what kind of majesty my friends get into this year.

Note: Wow! Two posts about Nevada in a row? You lucky readers, you.

August 28, 2014

Dreamland & The Extraterrestrial Highway

Okay, I lied. I am a bit more like Mulder than I am like Scully, which is I would go far out of my way to drive Nevada State Route 375, also known as the Extraterrestrial Highway and home to the infamously paranormal Area 51 at Groom Lake, also known as Dreamland. Scully would never willingly go to such a place.

Just how out of the way is the Extraterrestrial Highway? The only reasons you would ever have to drive it would be:

1. If you were trying to get from Cedar City, Utah to Tonopah, Nevada (extra points if you have heard of either of those places). 
2. If you were a UFO nut headed out to Dreamland to catch glimpses of covert paranormal activity - which apparently happen 2-3 times per week. 
3. If you had family in Rachel, Nevada; the only town that the Extraterrestrial Highway passes through in the entirety of it's 98 mile expanse. 
4. Or if you are me and Nessa on a westward cross country trip with an "out there" bent and a love of the 90's television show, The X-Files. 

So naturally we spent a splendid September afternoon attempting the lonely feat of cruising through the southern reaches of Nevada's Great Basin Desert, surrounded by, well, pretty much nothing. And trust me, as someone who has traversed the Canadian plains AND lived briefly in central South Dakota, I do not use the word "nothing" lightly. But if you ever find yourself traveling the Extraterrestrial Highway into Dreamland one day chasing the ghosts of Mulder and Scully (and I sure hope you do), you will find little more than miles of barren open cattle range against a backdrop of linear mountain ranges interrupted by brief patches of Joshua trees, and then back to nothingness again until you reach the small town of Rachel, where you WILL stop for nothing but a bit of ambiance. We saw far more cattle than cars or people on our journey that day. 

Of course, that's exactly what the government wants you to do. If you aren't looking close enough, you just might pass by the clandestine entrance to Area 51, the top secret military airbase whose main purpose is still publicly unknown. Ask a conspiracy buff and it is where our government is obtaining extraterrestrial technology from flying saucers and conducting classified aviation experiments. Well, one part of that is true. They ARE conducting aviation experiments as verified in recently declassified reports, but whether or not the technology is extraterrestrial is still unclear. Basically, Area 51 is the government's worst kept secret - these days you can drive right up to it's very locked gates and the cloud of paranormal mystery that surrounds it does nothing to keep UFO seekers away. Just take the road at the infamous "Black Mailbox" and drive until they turn you away. Oh, and the legendary Black Mailbox is white now, so don't get fooled. 

Once you have made your peace with Area 51 and have either seen the aliens or not (Pro tip: if you didn't see any little gray men, you probably just had your memory erased by MIBs), head on over to the Little A'le'inn motel and restaurant, the heart of Rachel, Nevada. There you can swap stories with other SciFi freaks over beer and pie before turning in for the night. Be sure to add your dollar to the collection on the ceiling so you have proof that you were there before you get abducted. And look for ours while you are there!
Or instead of spending the night, you can press onwards to Tonopah surrounded by more of the same: cattle, open range, and distant mountains that never seem to get any closer. We actually made it all the way to Mono Lake in California that night, but only after some major white knuckle driving dodging the shady cows that peppered the road. 

As you can see in the above photographic evidence of flying saucers, I was very nearly beamed right out of Rachel! Good times.10/10 would get probed again.

(Oh, and for those curious, you can watch Mulder and Scully experience a temporary transtemporalia in the season six episode arc, Dreamland and Dreamland II.)