Las Vegas Wander

aria lobby_IR.jpg

I find it funny that whenever we mention to people we are going to Vegas… most will cringe and say, ‘why?!’  We don’t go to gamble so much, as we go just to wander.

… and we love the food.  There are so many great food options available in a very small space, either on the strip or off.

shishito_IR.jpg

P1000831_IR.jpg

There is art everywhere… whether it’s in Bellagio, or along the roads and between buildings.

canoe2_IR.jpg

eraservert_IR.jpg

People watching always makes for interesting conversation fodder in Vegas, as Vegas swims with a wide variety from around the world.  It continues to fascinate me how much money goes through this relatively small town of only 600,000 full time residents, (more in outlaying suburbs around Las Vegas metropolitan area), with 75% of Nevada’s total population living in Las Vegas.  Las Vegas reports revenue from gambling alone of an astounding $1 B per month.

Our trips are never long, but always delicious.

 

Advertisements

Blue Ridge Reservoid

treedpath_IR.jpg

We have not had much of a winter, or snow fall… or rain this summer.  As a result Blue Ridge Reservoir, our local waterway, has been pretty devoid of water.  Our recent fires haven’t helped much, with air support dipping into the reservoir for water needs to put out fires.

river turn_IR.jpg

Hiking into the river bed revealed the reality of the toll the reservoir has taken, when it was clear that the waterway was not only dry, but dry long enough to be covered with a fresh green grass.

daisyfront_IR.jpg

While it was a beautiful hike, it heightened our need for rain… and a good snow fall this winter.

Tinder Aftermath

burnt needles_IR.jpg

Following the Tinder Fire that devastated our communities, I have been intent on capturing the many faces of the aftermath.  You can see my other post here….  https://kritterspix.com/category/pix/   

burnthill_IR.jpg

clrcrk corner_IR.jpg

In this endeavor I have been faced with the realities that are post-fire – the devastation, the soot, the destroyed vegetation and the re-birth of new vegetation.  What I somehow didn’t expect was the realization that my photos truly are capturing a moment in time that will only be that way for that instant… to never be the same again.

charcoal tinder_IR.jpg

I took this photo (above), I call Charcoal Tinder, just after the fire and we were finally allowed back in the forest.  This cool tree still has the roots attached, charcoaled that they may be.  It stands as a testament to the resilience of the forest, and the trauma that it saw with fire raging all around.  I flinch to think about it.

charcoalburst_IR.jpg

scaraface_IR.jpg

I took these two photos of the very same tree just a week later, I called it Scar Face, now.  It’s the same tree!  It’s roots have broken off and already disintegrated into the charred soot at it’s feet.  The cool branches that stood strong amidst the tragedy of that day… are now gone.  It is already fading back into the earth from where it came.

burntridge2_IR.jpg

It saddens me to realize that what is left now… may not be for long.  Our forest will continue to change.  Trees will fall, leaves will drop, plain sticks and hulks of trees will become more prevalent… until nothing but a heaping pile of remnants remain.  Whoa!  That’s too vivid… but that’s what it looks like on the Mogollon Rim, years after wildfire devastated it’s beautiful landscape leaving nothing but fallen tinder in it’s wake all these years later.

burst vert reflect_IR.jpg

reflection burst_IR.jpg

I remain extremely appreciative and thankful that it wasn’t worse, and that we still have our home to return to, where so many don’t.  We look over a scarred ridge that serves as a reminder of what came so close… and I look toward the green trees amongst the brown ones and smile at their tenacity and strength.

tinderlit_IR.jpg

sky siloette_IR.jpg

skyfire vert21_IR.jpg

Old Route 666

treedrd turn vert_IR.jpg

Probably 2 decades ago, Route 666 from Clifton, AZ to Springerville, AZ was renamed for political reasons to Rt 191.  The road hasn’t changed much, and is nearly as scenic as it has been… other than the devastating Wallow Fire which went through the area in 2011.

daisyfire hort_IR.jpg

It was awful to see that the damage which still scars the beautiful landscape some 7 years later.  The Wallow Fire was started by an unattended campfire (an all too frequent story), and was Arizona’s largest fire in history, burning more than 500,000 acres.

streamrunrd hort_IR.jpg

elksticks_IR.jpg

While grass has grown back, and new growth aspens, the sticks and moonscape are still burned into the landscape telling it’s story of devastation and carelessness.

elkherd_IR.jpg

motorcycrd_IR.jpg

People still come to visit the area.. but it has never returned to it’s hey day, pre-fire.  Many business had to close down due to lack of tourism, campers, and visitors to the area.  Today it is but a ghost town of what it once was.  All because of the carelessness of individuals who walked away from a campfire not properly extinguished.

 

Hutch Mountain

 

hutch lo far_IR.jpgHutch Mountain Lookout tower is one of many throughout Arizona.  It is on the National  Historic Lookout Registry.  It was built in 1936, and still serves as a manned major viewpoint for fires in the Flagstaff area.  Located off of FR3 (Lake Mary Road) at Milepost 310, not too far down a couple good dirt roads.

hutch journey_IR.jpg

The day we were there there were 9 fires in the area, all started by dry lightening, including the Tank Fire.  The Tank Fire was in the very same area as the Tinder Fire which devastated our neighborhoods just a month before.  As an eery reminder of those terrifying days, our neighboring subdivisions CCP 1&2 were issued pre-evacuation notices.  Fortunately, the fire was quickly doused and completely contained.

hutch stairs_IR.jpg

hutch radio twrs sunset_IR.jpg

From the top of the tower you could see the Chinooks flying on the horizon dumping water of the fire.

hutch tank_IR.jpg

tank fire vu_IR.jpg

The surrounding landscape is full of Ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, elk and deer.

deertern_IR.jpg

aspenpinehort_IR.jpg

treeoverhang_IR.jpg

At 8535 feet elevation the days are cool, and nights brisk.  Climbing the tower offers a vantage point across northern AZ.

hutch sign2_IR.jpg

hutch stars_IR.jpg

Carrieres de Lumieres

 

lumin wave_IR.jpgJohn and I are all about repurposing things… whether it is a hunk a wood we make into a table or a slab of rock into a bench.  We love nature and using it for new and interesting useful things.  During our visit to France we went to this fascinating old Boxite quarry in Les Baux en Provence.

raw mine_IR.jpg

lumin canvas_IR.jpg

lumin john_IR.jpg

The ‘mine’ itself was fascinating, but their repurposed use of it, was even more fantastic.

painting walls_IR.jpg

They developed light shows of works of art that they shown onto the walls of the mine that played and faded with the music.  It was wonderful.

lit street_IR.jpg

The ‘shows’ change ever 6 months or so.  When we went it was works of the Picasso mixed in with The Spanish Masters and a Pop Culture show.

picasso_IR.jpg

paintbrush_IR.jpg

paianting_IR.jpg

It was one of the most interesting ‘shows’ we have seen… truly magical.  We stayed and watch it loop all the way through as we stumbled through the mine and watch the works of art unfold before us in full living color.  Just fantastic!

 

 

South of France

I’ve said it before, everyone looks for something different in a vacation.  For some it might be a golf course, or white river rafting, maybe shopping or big adrenaline adventure.  For us, we like to see and experience something new.  We like the relaxation of walking around taking it all in… but also an activity to bring some excitement, and culture to round it all out.

Our relaxation came from the tradition of ‘paseo’, a term that actually means walk in Spanish, a time honored tradition of walking around the town square before dusk and dinner time.  It’s a time for the Spanish people to visit with old friends.  In France, the tradition takes another form, when the people sit at a table, turning their chairs to overlook the street and watch the people go by.  We practiced it often to be sure we got it right!

john cassis bar_IR.jpg

Of course, the views while sitting watch the people go by, are stunning.  As you can see where we were overlooking the boats in Cassis or the old ruins in Arles.

arlesstorm2_IR.jpg

cassisboatslit_IR.jpg

cassisreflectr_IR.jpg

The ruins and history everywhere we went were fascinating.  It’s hard to imagine the stories these places could tell, and to be in the presence of something so old.  Some built as far back 7AD, others as new as 1600.

abbey grds_IR.jpg

lebo far_IR.jpg

aquepopi.JPG

The village overlooks were stunning.

gordes flowers_IR.jpg

roussillon flowrs_IR.jpg

cityvu2_IR.jpg

eze clocktwr_IR.jpg

Even the streets themselves were fun to walk through, with their cobblestone walkways and decorative archways.

spdv cobblston_IR.jpg

spdv st vu_IR.jpg

spdv st_IR.jpg

eze blk_IR.jpg

We especially enjoyed the markets in all the villages with it’s own town as the backdrop.  Fresh veg and hand crafted goods were marketed with passion and pride.  Farmers carefully laid out their vegetables in an attractive presentation.  Lines formed behind favorite (and great) cheese and salami makers.  Amazing breads were everywhere, made with pride and passion.

courgett_IR.jpg

mkt_IR.jpg

saus_IR.jpg

zuke_IR.jpg

Which had to be our favorite part about the entire trip… the people.  It was not Rick Steves-afied, i.e popularized beyond belief.  It was real and genuine.  The people genuinely wanted to please and help.  They took pride in everything they did to make it the best they could, whatever it was they were doing.  They offered it and presented it in such a way to make it appealing and beautiful.  And everything was amazing.