Thursday, June 30, 2011

Grander is better

The Grand Canyon is Grand enough that trying to squeeze its essence into a square inch of pixels is too Grand a challenge for me. At least in terms of size, the food mirrors the canyon. After a hard day trekking in the canyon, the three of us headed to the bar of the El Tovar lodge (which is very near the edge of the South Rim), for light refreshments. We just about managed to squeeze this Grand starter meant for one person into our three tiny stomachs.

At Grand Canyon


Yes, that's a prickly pear margarita!

Of course, Pa, not being Japanese like us, did have his pudding stomach to fall back on, and, incredibly, he effortlessly polished off this monstrosity.

At Grand Canyon

At Grand Canyon

I suppose one could argue that his trek had been harder work than ours, as he is not so used to climbing mountains...

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

water and rock #2

Lake Powell

Lake Powell

Drowned Glen Canyon, now called Lake Powell, Arizona.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon

Luckily, the un-Native Americans failed to spot the touristic potential of the slot canyons, and consequently, some Navajos are apparently quite happily employed leading tours. This involves an exciting ride in a big tired gas-guzzler across the sands, and then about an hour or so walking gently through the canyon. I had heard about these canyons over the photography internets, and they were a newly opened attraction since Pa's last visit to the area, so we were keen to see what all the fuss was about. Being Japanese, we were not at all put off by the so called "crowds", which I'd over-heard photographers complaining about. There was plenty of personal space for us! It was very pleasant and interesting, but I'm not sure why photographers get quite so excited about it... it is after all, just rock.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

rock and water

Lake Powell

If you go boating on the drowned Glen Canyon, you get strange views like this. Horseshoe Bend is a short way downstream of the dam.

[Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell, photo by James]

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Geoengineering

The USA, being such a large country practices geoengineering on a massive scale. This huge dam regulates the Colorado river, thus halting the evolution of the Grand Canyon which lies just downstream.

Glen Canyon Dam

The wilds of Glen Canyon used to lie upstream, but it is now a lake that people fish in.

Glen Canyon Dam

In order to see this view you have to go through a silly security procedure, and promise not to mention the dambusters during your guided tour. I think this may be counterproductive. I doubt it would occur to most people to suppose that a dam needs protecting from visitors' handbags, but if a handbag is really all it takes to bring the whole thing down, people may be tempted to try.

Glen Canyon Dam

Up there is the visitor center.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

15 years later...

grand hyatt

Apparently (I heard it from the friend of a friend) after the earthquake in March, people found their satnavs were inaccurate. This seems to be borne out by a paper in Science last week, which I cannot now verify because it is behind a paywall and I am at home. Anyway, the paper may say that they used GPS measurements to ascertain that the earth near the epicentre of the Tohoku quake moved 20 metres(!) laterally. As we sat in the most expensive bar and then even more expensive restaurant on the 52nd floor, watching rainy season playing out as the light faded over Tokyo, I thought that 20 metres laterally must surely collapse the tower. But on this occasion no big earthquake hit and the wealthy diners survived the evening. Even the marriage survived, despite the risky playing of "15 things I hate about you" to go with the 15 year anniversary. Distracted by the excellent views and delicious food, we only came up with 3 things between us. 

P.S. Note in lower right image, the reflected kitchen staff and waiter. Apparently this was the hotel in which the movie Lost In Translation was filmed. Given the price, is quite surprising that anyone ever stays there.

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water and rock

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

Our guide book says that "Ranch House Grille" is THE place for breakfast in Page, Arizona. While obeying this order we were inspired by the photo on the wall above our table to visit Horseshoe Bend that afternoon. Thus the next morning we were obliged to return for another breakfast, in order to compare our photo with their's. Pa was kind enough to say he preferred ours. He's such a nice Pa.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Bucolic Idyll

Cows rest in the cool shade of a tree on the prime pastureland of the Navajo Nation:

Navajo Nation finest pasture

The Native Americans were given not only the very best pasture in the whole USA, but the most promising commercial locations too:

Navajo shops

Such astonishing generosity...

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

deserty plants

yucca

yucca

Yucca I think, but I'm no botanist, so perhaps the top and bottom pictures are different kinds.  I particularly liked the spirals peeling off the sides of the leaves of the plant in the lower photo. The rocky stuff in the background is a tiny bit of the Grand Canyon.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Four seasons of Bryce

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Um. I mean 2 days...

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Trees


trees, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Top: Capitol Reef
Bottom: Bryce Canyon

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

The other raven

raven

[Also in the snow at Bryce Canyon]

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Churches

The hunt for 2nd churches of anything American remains fruitless. One small town we visited called Page, in Arizona, contains little other than churches, mostly either 1st churches of X or Unified churches of Y, all lined up along the main street. I couldn't bear to photograph such unanimous division, so instead...

Green River, being practically a ghost town, has just three churches, of which this is one:

church, Green River

In cuddly Boulder, one church has taken the bold decision of investing in stewardship of the environment, by exposing half a massive roof to the sun, which is nice of them:
church

But why are they using 5KW all night?!

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Condor!!!

This is not a condor:

raven

It is a raven in the snow at Bryce canyon. Aren't the pretty yellow and pink rocks lovely?

We did, however, see condors at Grand Canyon:

condor

Oh. um. I mean:

condor

James was carrying the binocules and the condors swooped around for a while so actually we both got really good field-of-view filling memories and the photo was taken just to prove it wasn't actually a raven - here's a 100% zoom:

condor

Do you think all that gubbins on their wings - tags and transmitters - has a deleterious effect, as was recently suggested for the flipper tags on penguins?

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Another flower

globe mallow

globe mallow

The orange flower called globe mallow, apparently used by Native Americans to cure stuff. Photo taken in Capitol Reef park.

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Transport

Wondering how to blog the trip. Chronological would be too dull. Perhaps I should have themes. Of course this means that many of the posts will simply be called "rock". This one, however, is "transport".

A truck:

road

A train:
train

[Location: Rockyplace, USA]

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

flowers

We are back in Japan now, in a semi-conscious sort of a way. I have a bazillion photos of Amerika to bore you all with for weeks to come! Here are two showing some rocks and some paintbrush flowers taken in Zion National Park.

Indian Paintbrush - Zion

Indian Paintbrush - Zion

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