Azaleas are a "garden" flower, or maybe a nice shrub to line the driveway - but occasionally, walking through the forest, you see these relics alongside daffodils, indicators of a more human-cultivated past. They bear testimony that a homesite used to stand here, and the plants, and the bees that love them, thrive long after…Read more Bumblebees and Azaleas
Cutting to the chase - we have coyotes in the neighborhood. Truth be told, these days there are coyotes in most neighborhoods, but this is a new thing for me. I remember as a kid, maybe 15 years old, we heard one deep in the mountains of western Virginia on a backpacking trip - and…Read more New Neighbors
This is part two in a series outlining my family's exploration of Iceland during the summer of 2019, pre-COVID. It was a mostly outdoor experience, exploring the wild and natural sights of a beautiful country during the height of summer. For the full journey, and notes on places to go and things to see, check…Read more Iceland, 2019 – Part 2, Snæfellsnes Peninsula
I have to take a break from reminiscing about Iceland to share what's going on right now. We've been accumulating freezing rain and drizzle for the past few days. This morning the sun is out, and turning every ice-coated branch into a crystal chandelier. It's beautiful - but these trees are carrying a lot of…Read more Cold, Heartless Beauty
As I'm reminiscing on last summer's trip to Iceland (and working up videos, etc), I'm uncovering some photos that just make me smile. On the cliffs above Reynisfjara, a black sand beach with impressive caves and balsatic columns outside Vik, on Iceland's southern shore, dozens of puffins were nesting. These pudgy little birds were impressively…Read more Puffins!
During our 2018 trip to Hawai'i (see other posts for touristy and mostly outdoor adventures on the islands), we wound up taking a drive along the famous Road to Hana, on Maui. If you're unfamiliar, this route is a narrow (often single-lane) route that winds in and out of the canyons on the north shore…Read more Maui’s “Flame of the Forest” is an Out-of-Control Wildfire
Way back in the summer of 2018, in the "before time", we could travel, and hang out in large groups. Remember those days? Ah, innocence. Little did we know... https://youtu.be/mlgaZRprj3A Day 3 on the Big Island started with that most fleeting of opportunities - sleeping in. We had an evening appointment requiring several hours in…Read more Hawai’i 2018: Day 3 – Swimming with Mantas!
Arctic Terns (Sterna paradisaea) have one of the longest migrations in the world, annually flying from the Arctic to the Antarctic, a distance of over 12,000 miles (19,000 km), AND BACK. As we were told in Iceland, this exertion leaves them perpetually ticked off. At one point during our Iceland summer (2019), we pulled off…Read more Arctic Tern
Out backpacking in mid-October, we saw two Timber Rattlesnakes cuddled up together for warmth, and then this friendlier Garter Snake on what was probably one of the year's last hunts. After this weekend, it started getting cold, quick. I'm sure he's underground somewhere now. Get Out There! http://www.flying-squirrel.org
Times are strange. Even though a lot of what I like to do is, by its nature, remote - backpacking, canoeing/kayaking, sailing, etc - all these activities became extremely popular as soon as we started getting guidance not to congregate. The bars closed down and the trailheads clogged up. Add to that the challenges of…Read more COVID Camp
I'm about a week late in writing about Earth Day, but this subject seems to fit, so consider it my offering. Recently, someone challenged me to consider the COVID-19 outbreak from a non-human-centric point of view. The basic nature of the argument was this - if nothing else, the human tragedy associated with a global…Read more Earth Takes a Break
Signs of spring are everywhere right now. Fruit trees are starting to bloom, and the larger hardwoods are budding. Robins are everywhere (though in truth I've seen them all winter - they never really left), and the high school sailing team is back on the water. We've had no snow this winter, and very few…Read more Red-Belly Nest
It topped 70 degF at home this weekend (in the mid-Atlantic). Second week of January, and I'm in a T-shirt. It's not that this doesn't ever happen. Brief warm spells are a thing here - but we still haven't really gotten cold. The leaves are off the trees and it feels like April, with thunderstorms…Read more It’s Too Warm!
Last summer I introduced the idea of Night Music, that special cacophony of animals, insects, wind and whatever else that is unique to the night, and makes many an outdoor evening or camping trip that much more memorable. I was intrigued to find that many people hear almost nothing in their respective wild lands. Silence. …Read more Night Music, Revisited