September 3, 2016 Estes Park, Colorado

Cow Elk
Cow Elk

Strange Morning, Great Day

Saturday’s forecast had called for clear skies and beautiful weather, so I was a little surprised to see clouds obscuring some of the stars as I packed my gear in the Prius and left the campsite for Trail Ridge around 5 AM.

Strange Morning on Trail Ridge
The Start of a Strange Morning on Trail Ridge

As I started the climb up Ridge Road, I stopped for a couple sunrise shots, made more impressive by the threatening skies moving in.

Strange Morning on Trail Ridge
Strange Morning on Trail Ridge
Strange Morning on Trail Ridge
Strange Morning on Trail Ridge

There was a weird red/magenta glow in the sky as dark clouds began to dominate the skies the higher up the road I climbed.

Strange Morning on Trail Ridge
Strange Morning on Trail Ridge
Strange Morning on Trail Ridge
Strange Morning on Trail Ridge
Trail Ridge Rainbow
Trail Ridge Rainbow

As I neared the top, I stopped and hopped out of the car as a fairly bright rainbow suddenly appeared out of the gloom. I was so close to the rainbow, I couldn’t get the entire thing in a photo even with a 20mm wide angle lens, felt like I could just about reach out and touch it at times.

Trail Ridge Rainbow
Trail Ridge Rainbow

The rainbow increased in intensity as the wind began whipping rain sideways, and, unfortunately, right in my face as I attempted more shots, covering the lens, and me, in rain and forcing me to retreat to the car.

Trail Ridge Rainbow
Trail Ridge Rainbow

I raced farther up the road hoping in vain to escape the windblown rain so I could get more shots of one of the most intense rainbows I have ever seen, but as I drove on, the rainbow faded and eventually all but the tail end disappeared before I could get out of the driving rain.

Strange Morning on Trail Ridge
Strange Morning on Trail Ridge
From Trail Ridge
From Trail Ridge

By 8 AM, the rains stopped, the clouds slowly lifted and the good weather promised for today started moving in.

Bighorn Sheep
Bighorn Sheep

On my way back down the mountain, I spotted four Bighorn Rams grazing on the slope above me, but unfortunately, there was no nearby pullout and the Saturday morning stream of traffic coming up the mountain made it impossible for me to get any decent shots.

Bighorn Sheep
Bighorn Sheep

Since these guys were the only Bighorn Sheep I had encountered in my two weeks here, I was more than a little disappointed, to say the least.

Bull Elk
Bull Elk

By the time I returned to the valley floor, the wonderful weather predicted for today had fully arrived. And with it my first opportunity to shoot some nice bull elk basking in the early morning sun.

Bull Elk
Bull Elk
Bull Elk
Bull Elk
Two Bull Elk
Uneasy Peace

This actually was my first opportunity to shoot elk with some wonderful golden hour light, all my previous encounters have been in the dim light of dawn or duck, or in complete shade.

Two Bull Elk
Uneasy Peace
Bull Elk Sparring
Bull Elk Sparring

These two younger bulls would alternate grazing and semi serious sparring sessions.

Bull Elk Sparring
Bull Elk Sparring
Bull Elk in Retreat
Bull Elk in Retreat

One of them finally tired of the game and headed across the meadow at a full gallop.

Chapel on the Rock
Chapel on the Rock

Later in the afternoon, I took a short trip back down Route 7 to get some shots of The Chapel on the Rock. I liked the dark clouds setting off the sculpture on the hill above the chapel. When I was here several years ago, I remember this building being surrounded by water, actually appearing to be built on an island, so something has changed here in the last few years.

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March 31, 2016 Brantley Lake State Park, New Mexico

Moonrise at Sunrise
Moonrise at Sunrise

Return to the Desert

So very nice to have cool nights and warm, dry, sunny days here in the desert. Quite a change of pace from the heat and humidity in Salineno this winter. This is the first sunrise I have seen since last November!

Departing Texas

Tuesday morning I Ieft Lady Bird Johnson Muni CG in Fredericksburg, Texas around 10 AM and drove north on Route 16 to Route 152 west in Llano, fully intending to stay at one of the two campgrounds I had checked out there earlier. But neither worked out, so, on the spur of the moment, and a little frustrated with my lack of success shooting spring wildflowers here, I decided to head west and shoot for New Mexico’s Brantley Lake State.Park, hoping to miss the high winds forecast for Wednesday afternoon.

Took Route 190 west instead of I-10 and enjoyed the decision, almost no traffic and a good, wide road all the way west to the junction with I-10.

I ended up making it to a picnic area about 12 miles short of Fort Stockton on I-10 and pulled in  there for the night. Didn’t get much sleep however, with strong winds rocking the motorhome all night.

Awoke early and had to wait for daylight next morning before heading out around 8 AM. Since I had a really strong internet signal at the roadside picnic area, I worked on the computer while waiting for the sun to come up. Filled up with gas at the Love’s in Fort Stockton ( easy in and out ) and headed north on Route 285 to Carlsbad, NM.

Route 285 was fairly good through most of Texas, gradually getting poorer and poorer in condition as it proceeded through oil country, and was in terrible shape, beaten to a pulp by the oil trucks, from the New Mexico border until you reached Carlsbad.

Brantley Lake State Park

Brantley Lake State Park, NM
Brantley Lake State Park, NM

What a pleasant surprise this place was ! I checked into Brantley Lake S.P. around noon and purchased a New Mexico annual camping pass for $225 and signed up for a week ( an additional  $4/night is charged for a site with electric and water ) on Site #148, one of 3 pullthroughs and the only one empty in the first come, first served area. All reserved sites were full and both sections were full not long after I pulled in.

Brantley Lake State Park, NM
Brantley Lake State Park, NM

Very nice site with water and 50 amp electric, covered concrete pavilion with picnic table and a raised grill. Paved pad and fairly level though some of the back in sites looked unlevel. Very strong Verizon signal on the jetpack. Pretty decent separation between sites. Overall, pleasant enough that I probably will stay my maximum of 14 nights to relax and get some odd jobs done on and in the motorhome.

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December 9, 2014 Lake Havasu, Arizona

Lake Havasu sunriseLake Havasu Sunrise

Stocking up in Lake Havasu City

Up early this morning to catch a nice sunrise above the hills to the east of this boondocking site next to Route 95.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Lake Havasu sunrise
Lake Havasu sunrise
Lake Havasu sunrise
Lake Havasu sunrise

Drove down to Lake Havasu City to Walmart for supplies and checked out the many other shopping possibilities in the area as well as a few of the other commercial campgrounds and restaurants. There is a very nice State Park and campground with sites right on the water, located right in the heart of the city, though the attendant informed me that it is a little difficult to snag a site there this time of year.

Craggy Wash boondocking site at MM 190.5
Craggy Wash boondocking site at MM 190.5

While out, I also checked out the other BLM area, Craggy Wash, located between MM 190 and 191, just north of the airport runway, you have to go a mile in past the entrance sign to get to the camping area, nice enough with plenty of other campers there and far enough away from the highway to eliminate any road noise. Not sure how far in past the main area you would want to go with the RV as the road gets soft and sandy and there doesn’t appear to be any place to make a U-turn with a big rig and toad.

My boondocking site at MM 194.5
My boondocking site at MM 194.5

Map above is the BLM boondocking site where I stayed my 3 nights in the Lake Havasu area. If visiting again, I would probably use the Craggy Wash site.

Boondocking site south of Lake Havasu City MM 174
Boondocking site south of Lake Havasu City MM 174

I noticed this boondocking site south of Lake Havasu City as I was leaving the area traveling south on Route 95.

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December 8, 2014 Moving Day

Lone boat on Lake Mead at sunrise
Lone boat on Lake Mead at sunrise

Leaving Las Vegas ( Government Wash actually )

Sunrise over Lake Mead, with the light of a lone early bird fisherman shining in the distance, here on my last day at Government Wash, a campsite I really hate to leave.

Quail feeding
These guys will miss me

I’ll bet these guys will miss their twice a day handouts too.

On to Lake Havasu, Arizona

But by 11AM I have the Prius loaded, the motorhome ready for travel and off I go for the short drive down Route 95 to Lake Havasu, Arizona.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Sunset Lake Havasu Campsite
Sunset Lake Havasu Campsite
Lake Havasu Sunset
Lake Havasu Sunset

Hope you enjoy these incredible sunsets as much as I do. Probably am so impressed because of  having spent most of my life in New England where this sort of thing is a very unusual treat. I am beginning to realize that out here in the desert, these are probably pretty commonplace … but not to me … yet.

Lake Havasu Sunset
Lake Havasu Sunset
Sunset Lake Havasu
Sunset Lake Havasu

Just loved these two wispy orange clouds!

This campsite, no more than a few hundred yards from the edge of the highway, is easily accessible, but certainly nothing to get very excited about. The road noise is tolerable and the 20 or so others camped here are fairly considerate, and I at least feel quite safe and secure with the others so close by. Satellite reception good with no trees around and my Verizon JetPac shows 4 bars of 4G so surfing the internet was fast ( but I continued to have no luck being able to do a blog post while staying here, that’s why this post is so dated ). I would say I would stay here again, strictly for the convenience, not the ambiance. There is another primitive (free) area just a mile or two south of here that I will check out tomorrow.

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