Cabrillo (two photos) by Dave Hileman

This is the Cabrillo National Monument at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula in San Diego, California. It commemorates the exploration of Juan Rodr√≠guez Cabrillo, wh landed here (or nearby) in September of 1542. 

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Close by Dave Hileman

A walk through the Saguaro National Park in Arizona. The park has two sections, east and west on either side of Tucson. Interesting and hot. Early in the day we heard lots of owls but could not see a single one. Rats. 

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Overlap by Dave Hileman

This zone at the Organ Pipe National Monument has lots of both Organ Pipe (multi-stemmed) and Saguaro Cacti. In parts of the park there were primarily OP with very few Saguaro but get too far from here are there are hardly any of the OP. 

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Contrast by Dave Hileman

This cactus is one that I do not recall the name but loved the contrast between the harsh and spiny core and the soft, creamy yellow flower. Pluck with caution!

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Yucca by Dave Hileman

When we were at White Sands the desert was blooming. I love these plants as they send shoots into the sky and blossom. The roots in this area may do down under the sand 15 or 20 feet to sustain this small plant. 

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Who, Me? by Dave Hileman

On one of the many sections of the Gulf Islands National Seashore is a stand of trees once used for ship building. And one makes a great home for the Great Horned Owl, guarding the nest like any good mom.

"The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and owls, too, for giving them water in the desert. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed."  Isaiah 43:20 NLT

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Twins by Dave Hileman

It may have been the break in the constant winds, the moderate temperatures or the fact that we were anxious to see a park after about 2000 miles into the trip but both Cindy and I loved White Sands National Monument. I really want to return and venture well off the road and close-in trails to see some of the sand still pristine. This small view had the prints of some critter but no people. You can see from the shadows that the sun is still up but late in the day. Nice soft colors as well. 

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Off the Mountain by Dave Hileman

Finish off the work week with Cindy again (and our friend Janet) descending from Moro Rock. This was quite a view for just a little effort. The effort is for those today not the people who created the trail, the scores of steps and rock carved walkways. Moro Rock is a neat place in the Southern end of Sequoia National Park. I would put it on the "do not miss" list.

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Lower Yosemite Falls by Dave Hileman

From one year ago all the waterfalls in Yosemite were bursting with a near record snow melt. This is the lower portion of Yosemite Falls and from this distance we were still covered in spray from the falls. And the roar... conversation was difficult. What a wonderful place.

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View by Dave Hileman

Just soak in the peaceful nature of the photo and ignore the scores of cars on the loop road trying to find a place to park. Yosemite is a study in contrasts. A few of the hikes, short walks and the main road will be full of people. Some of the less popular hikes, further into the back country, and just a mile downriver, like here, very few people. But the beauty is overwhelming. 

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Moon Rise Over Half Dome: Anniversary Number 47 (2 photos) by Dave Hileman

So for last year's anniversary, our 46th, we were at Yosemite National Park. This shot of the moon rising over Half Dome was done the evening before and on May 8th we enjoyed a day of hikes, amazing waterfalls, and dinner at a beautiful lodge - just a perfect evening. So, how do I top that this year? Well how about a Waypoint Director's meeting in South Boston, VA. Wow. 

I am blessed to share life with one who can make a nice day out of either. 

 

But.... Yosemite would be better! Or Zion, Bryce, Glacier, White Sands, Great Smoky Mountains, Mt. Rainier, Joshua Tree, Arches, Cape Hatteras, Blue Ridge Parkway, Acadia, etc. 

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Bird Week V: Rocket Birds 7 (two photos) by Dave Hileman

We end Bird Week with my favorite of the Canaveral National Seashore, a Reddish Egret. I have not seen this bird too often and it is a striking color especially the bill and the neck colors in a breeding bird such as this one. They often will spread their wings like a canopy to create shade that attracts prey.

"My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises!"   Psalm 57:7 NLT

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Bird Week V: Rocket Birds 6 by Dave Hileman

This bird was once known as a Louisiana Heron is now a Tri-Color Heron. How does that happen? Does a bird just think a name change after doing a stretch in the swamp will erase his record? No, the American Ornithological Society each year adds or substracts species and subspecies as they are constantly being reclassified and they usually change a few names. Like our Tri-Color friend morphed a few years ago. This also adds confusion as you keep a life list of birds because, one year you may add a Western Scrub Jay and then the next year there are two varieties of Western Scrub Jay now the Californian and the Woodhouse. Which did I see or did I see both and my list goes from one to two? I did see both because the Woodhouse is only found in the central Rockies and the Californian Scrub Jay in, well guess. A couple of years ago my list shrank by one as a bird once listed separately was combined with another. This year the Cassia Crossbill was split from the Red Crossbill so if you are in Southern Idaho you can add the Cassia as it is only located there. Whew. And you thought this was only about pictures. 

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Bird Week V: Rocket Birds 5 by Dave Hileman

The American Coot, insert old coot joke here, I'll wait. Felt good to get that off your chest, rigfht? So, the Coot is an interesting bird. First note the purple "bump" on the top of the forehead and the band around the beak near the front. That becomes more red in breeding season. I also watched a flock of coot smim in a line, maybe 40 or 50 of them, out from shore then form a line roughly parallel to the shore and all furiously swim back toward shore pushing their potential meals in front of them. And they sound funny!

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