SnowFall

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Before Fall Colors have even popped yet, we got our first snowfall.  Fall Colors dropped against the blanket of fresh snow made the maple leaves in their varying color stand out.

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I love the contrast of color Fall brings, with the green Pines, yellowing Oaks, and emerging reds amidst the scattered Maples.  It’s a potpourri of color and textures.

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The snow just adds another dimension in this already gorgeous time in our myriad of seasons we get to enjoy.

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For more of my fall color photos, check out my post here… https://kritterspix.com/2018/10/20/first-snow-2/

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Fall is in the air

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We went out to check on Fall Colors, but it’s still a little early for this neck of the woods.  Maybe next week will yield more color.

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For now, we were happy to walk through the woods and take in the crisp air… as was this little squirrel we found.

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Winter is coming.  Storms are on the horizon, and we have already had our first snow.  We’ll take it.   Our burnt forest can certainly use a good soaking.

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We’ll make another trek next week to check on colors again.  It’s all good.

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Tinder Aftermath

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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/   

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Old Route 666

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Best of 2016: Honorable Mentions

I wrote about my Best of 2016 photos here.  What a fun and enlightening experience going through all my 2016 photos was.  I feel super fortunate that I had enough good photos that I can do another Top 10 via this Honorable Mentions post… these were the ones that DIDN’T make the cut.. and a lot left that didn’t make Honorable Mentions.  Must mean it was a great year.. and it was.

So here are the second Top 10 photos of 2016… check it out.

fallsprayPSi.JPG1.  South Oregon Coast

moonboatPSi.JPG2. Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

powell rvr closPSi.JPG3. Lake Powell,  Utah 

rok-treerefltni.jpg4. Mogollon Rim,  Northern Arizona

twinsnowtreesPSi.JPG5.  Happy Jack, Arizona

j beam lookPS.jpg6. Canyon X, Page  AZ

fencegrassPS.jpg7. Lockett Meadow, Arizona

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8. Baddeck,  Nova Scotia

fogreflctnPSi.JPG9. Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

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10. Happy Jack, AZ

Check out the Best of 2016…. here.

What do you think?

A Year in the Grand Canyon

Every once in awhile you come across something you really want to share.  Point in case, my friend, Dave.  Dave, is like my dog… in a good way (I do love my dog, Journey, by the way, and Journey adores Dave – she has good taste.).  I mean that in the way that he has never met a stranger.  Everyone he meets is a friend.  He’s affable, friendly, talented, intelligent, and kind.  He’s one of those interesting people that you just love to know, and someone I am super proud and happy to call my friend.

But this isn’t a plug for Dave… not really.  It’s a plug for his book. You see, Dave is quite the aficionado on the Grand Canyon.  He has been down the Grand Canyon over a year. And by that I mean IN the Canyon OVER 365 days.  Pretty impressive.  In that time he has had quite the many experiences.  We are very fortunate that Dave heeded the advise of many who know him to write them down and publish them in a book.  He finally did.

His book, A Year in the Grand Canyon, is a collection of those adventures.  It reads like stories around the campfire.  It’s engaging, inviting, fascinating and intriguing.  It’s one of those books you just can’t put down.  It’s a man’s tales of life through passing through the Grand Canyon and it’s many lessons it teaches.  It’s fun, dead serious, and entertaining.

He got an impressive endorsement from none other than the famous Arizona story teller himself, Marshal Trimble who gives it a glowering review:

“Dave Elston’s passion for spending time in the beautiful Grand Canyon wilderness has produced a series of riveting stories that makes it a must read for anyone who’s ever been bitten by the “Canyon Bug.” His quest to spend 400 days in “Natures Grandest Architectural Masterpiece” over a period of years turned him from a green novice into an experienced veteran.

Elston’s stories also provide many important lessons in survival. Nature can be very unforgiving. The vicissitudes of the wilderness including the capricious elements, ankle-twisting terrain, lack of preparation, not understanding one’s limitations, and a myriad of others have endangered or cost the lives of many who fail to give it proper respect.

This book should be on the shelves of anyone who’s ever hiked the challenging trails of the Grand Canyon or ever wanted to.”

I don’t recommend a lot of books.  In truth, I don’t find the time to read a lot.  But this book is hard to put down, and a great read, one I highly recommend.  Check it out..

A Year in the Grand Canyon, by Dave Elston

It is published by Vishnu Temple Press, Flagstaff, AZ . Online orders can be made at vishnutemplepress.com. The price is $15.95, and the book will ship around mid-August. If you would rather have an e-book, it will be ready by the end of August. Both versions will soon be on Amazon as well.

Order yours today.

I’ll take Flagstaff over Sedona

Blasphemy, I know!  Sedona has stunning views, no doubt.  But there is something real and genuine about Flagstaff.   What’s not to like in city that is littered with start up breweries and coffee roasteries.  Flagstaff has more boutique breweries (NOT affiliated with any big beer company) than anyplace I know.  Let’s see there is Beaver Street Brewery, Flagstaff Brewing Company, Mother Road Brewing Company, Lumberjack Brewing Company, , Darksky Brewing, and Wanderlust Brewing Company.  That’s SIX small breweries.  You don’t have to like beer to understand that there is a mentality and state of mind that comes with small breweries.   The people are free birds, a little hippi-ish, and proud of their passion and want to share.

It doesn’t stop with breweries…  Flagstaff is home to not 1, but 2 Farmer’s Markets weekly PLUS a Farmer’s Market store PLUS an Urban Market every 2nd Saturday.   It has SEVEN coffee Roasters spread across it’s charming but condensed small city.  Now maybe that’s common in big cities… but it’s unheard of in such a small town.   This entrepreneurial mindset demonstrates the passion that Flagstaff residents exude and want to share with their community.  It’s not out of sense of making big bucks or charging high prices, but moreover sharing the products they care about and are proud of, with their community.

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While Flagstaff may not be have the stunning landscape that Sedona has, it makes up for it in character and the great outdoors.  It’s filled with walking paths, trails, hiking areas and National Forest.  It’s a great place to camp, hike, forage and enjoy the abundant wildlife and unburdened (no fee) forests.

It also DOESN’T have the high prices, ticky tack souvenir stores, floods of tourists, or hoity toity-ness that define Sedona.  You don’t have to pay to park on the side of the road (like in Sedona) or fight the insane traffic to get from one end to the other (though Flagstaff has it’s fair share of traffic – unfortunately).

Did you know that Sedona has the only McDonald’s in the world with a turquoise arch (rather than the standard yellow)?  The Sedona city council deemed the yellow McDonald’s arch ‘too garish’, despite the fact that many business (including Hertz) have yellow logos along the same street.  That’s Sedona.  Flagstaff’s McDonald’s arch is yellow.  Need I say more?

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