Phoenix Zoo: August 2018 Sunday, Aug 26 2018 

Grey Crowned Crane

Grey Crowned Crane

Yesterday we visited the Phoenix Zoo at 7:30 a.m. for a two-hour walkabout. Although it appeared initially we were not going to see any active animals, that was not the case. Of course, it’s not unusual to see hungry collared peccary. We had not previously seen the hanging buckets that the javelina could activate by pulling on a rope to drop food morsels. A grey crowned crane preened for a photograph while his gerenuk friends stretched their necks trying to reach the lowest hanging branches from trees already stripped of low-lying leaves. In the distance we could see a sulcate tortoise being fed. The male Hamadryas baboon couldn’t be seen but a member of his harem gazed at us from across their moat. Previously we have only seen sleeping African painted dogs. On this visit they splashed one another in the water directly in front of us. A cheetah with open eyes rested under a tree. All the Chilean flamingos posed in their water while mallard ducks looked on. The colorful scarlet macaw sat in its usual tree. While one of the Andean bears slept directly below a viewing window, the other one walked from one end of its relatively spacious exhibit to the other side and back. Two Galapagos tortoises were mating in their new exhibit space. They were moved to provide additional space for the elephants. A rhinoceros iguana eyed guests possibly looking for a handout. Michael, the huge male orangutan, was initially resting on his back below a viewing window. He joined Bess and baby, Jiwa, when an avocado treat was set out. The buff-cheeked gibbons were busy climbing while several pink-backed pelicans floated lazily in the water surrounding the island. Several turtle, a heron, and ibis were in the same area. The baby Komodo dragon is getting bigger all the time and may soon join his compatriot outside. It was interesting to observe the recent changes in the Phoenix Zoo. Lots of animal snapshots.

Advertisements

5th Prescott Open Sunday, Aug 19 2018 

Spencer Lower

Spencer Lower

Spencer Lower, Clarksdale, and Jim Briggs, Chino Valley, tied for first in the 5th Annual Prescott Open held Saturday, August 18th and split $150 in prize money. Although both players’ ratings topped the eight-person section, they were nicked for draws by lower rated players

In a very long battle, Lower, a chess master and two-time Arizona State Champion, drew with Neil Wadsworth, Prescott Valley, in round one. Wadsworth was co-champion in this event last year and tied for second in the previous year when Lower won it with an unblemished record.

Jim Briggs

Jim Briggs

Briggs, a Candidate Master, drew his second-round game against Doug Vaughan, who recently moved to Prescott from Indiana. Although Vaughan was the lowest rated player in the section, he finished with a respectable 1.5-1.5 record, only losing to Lower in the final round.

Bill Archer

Bill Archer

The tournament, divided into two sections, attracted 13 chess players for a full day of chess at Yavapai College. Tom Green, President of the Prescott Chess Club, directed this U. S. Chess rated event which was co-sponsored by the Prescott Chess Club and the OLLI Chess Special Interest Group.

Duncan Reah

Section B was a five-person round robin where each player faced each of the other players. Bill Archer, Flagstaff, and Duncan Reah, Paulden, tied for first place with 3-1 records and split $75. Reah, playing in his first rated chess tournament, defeated Archer in his first rated game.

Glenwood Springs, Colorado Wednesday, Aug 8 2018 

Hanging Lake

Hanging Lake

The Hanging Lake Trail is hidden within the steep walls of Glenwood Canyon on Interstate 70 about 150 miles west of Denver and 7 miles east of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. There is good reason why this is a very popular hike. We were fortunate to be able to find a parking spot. We walked to the trailhead on a half mile of the sixteen-plus mile bike trail beside the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon. The hike traverses seven bridges in the Dead Horse Creek Canyon with an elevation gain of more than 1,000 feet in only 1.2 miles. Hanging Lake, at an elevation of 7,175 feet, is a clear, beautiful lake fed by interesting waterfalls. Not to be missed is a short hike extension to Spouting Rock Falls. This unusual waterfall features water emerging from a cavity in the cliff face. It is possible to walk behind this waterfall at an elevation of 7,323 feet.

Glenwood Hot Springs

Glenwood Hot Springs

Glenwood Hot Springs, home of the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool, has drawn visitors since 1888. How big is it? The main pool is 405 feet long and up to 100 feet wide. It holds 1,078,000 gallons of water with a temperature between 90-93 degrees Fahrenheit. This massive pool includes a diving board, slide, and several exercise lap lanes. The source of the mineral water is Yampah spring which produces more than 3.5 million gallons of water per day at a temperature of 122 degrees Fahrenheit. The water is cooled down to 104 degrees Fahrenheit for the resorts’ Therapy Pool which measures 100 feet by 40 feet and holds about 91,000 gallons. It has bubble chairs and submerged benches. We visited this Spa of the Rockies for an hour and a half in the evening. We learned too late that arriving after 6 p.m. saves some money. We enjoyed the live music that started at 6 p.m. The word “Yampah” is an Ute word that means “big medicine.” Our visit was reinvigorating after our exhausting morning hike.

Rocky Mountain National Park Tuesday, Aug 7 2018 

On Friday, after setting up our camp site, we picked up maps with trail suggestions and watched a 23-minute film on “These Splendid Mountains” at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center.  We then visited the Estes Park Visitor Center where we walked more than a mile along the Big Thompson River.

Bear Lake

Bear Lake

On Saturday we took a shuttle bus within the Rocky Mountain National Park to Bear Lake where we walked the half-mile loop around the lake with only a 20-foot elevation change. Then we hiked 1.6 miles to Alberta Falls with a 210-foot elevation gain. We completed our morning hike with a 0.8 walk to the Glacier Gorge shuttle stop. We drove the Trail Ridge Road to the Alpine Visitor Center where we were lucky to find a parking spot. The half-mile Alpine Ridge Trail, affectionately known as “Huffers Hill,” requires a steep 209-foot elevation gain for amazing views of the surrounding landscape at an elevation of 12,005 feet. We learned that the treeline, the highest elevation that trees can grow, in Rocky Mountain National Park is 11,400 feet. On our return to Estes Park we stopped at several turnouts. Lava Cliffs had a small, green lake below the cliffs. Construction work is taking place at Rock Cut. At Forest Canyon we saw marmots as well as amazing mountain vistas. Many Parks Curve also offers nice vistas. After lunch in Hidden Valley, we walked the Hidden Valley Interpretative Trail where we encountered several colorful wildflowers.

Ouzel Falls

Ouzel Falls

On Sunday we drove to the Wild Basin area. We hiked 5.5 miles mostly along the North St. Vrain Creek to the thundering Ouzel Falls with an elevation gain of 950 feet. Along the way we viewed both the Lower and Upper Copeland Falls and the Calypso Cascades. The trail was congested with other hikers and some backpackers. Two golden-mantled ground squirrels begged for a handout on our descent.

Denver, Colorado Highlights Monday, Aug 6 2018 

When we walked out of our downtown Denver parking lot, we encountered “Big Sweep,” a giant broom and dustpan in front of the Denver Art Museum. Across the way was a building with interesting architectural features. It turns out it was the Denver Public Library. Just beyond the library we discovered an event happening in the Civic Center Park where we heard four women from the University of Colorado playing French horns. Surprise! Yo Yo Ma, who played at Red Rocks the previous evening, was also on stage. We enjoyed the colors of the beautiful flower gardens which were surrounded by food trucks preparing for lunch goers.

As might be expected, we learned about Colorado history at the History Colorado Center. “Zoom In: Centennial State in 100 Objects” provided an interesting introduction to various historical topics. I liked learning more about the Native Americans who have lived in Colorado. In the exhibit on “Colorado Stories” there is acknowledgement of the racist activity of the KKK in Colorado, especially during the 1920s. In the special exhibit “Play Ball! A Celebration of America’s Game” there is celebration of the local team, the Rockies, who came to Denver in 1993. Of the famous players who were recognized, I noted that there was no mention of Branch Rickey when outlining Jackie Robinson’s contributions.

Colorado State Capitol

Colorado State Capitol

Before we toured the Colorado State Capitol we wove our way through a large crowd wearing tee shirts for an Energy Proud Rally as we made our circuitous way to lunch at a 16th Street Mall restaurant. We visited Denver the day after Colorado Day. Colorado calls itself the Centennial State because it was admitted on August 1, 1876 as the 38th state. Denver, as you undoubtedly know, refers to itself as the “Mile High City.” There have been various spots on the Capitol steps defining where that mile is. The neoclassic Capitol, built in 1908, is topped with a gold-leafed dome. The exterior walls are constructed of granite quarried near Gunnison. The unique pink stone seen throughout the Capitol is rose onyx discovered near Beulah. The floors of the Capitol are constructed of yule marble from Marble. We visited Mr. Brown’s Attic on the fourth floor but did not climb the 99 steps for the view from the dome.

We enjoyed our day in Denver, but only scratched the surface of its attractions. The main downside was seeing so many homeless congregated around the Civic Center Park.

Golden, Colorado Thursday, Aug 2 2018 

Coors Brands

Coors Brands

We walked along the historic downtown section of Golden and along the trail next to Clear Creek. This is another city with plenty of public sculpture. Here are some of my favorites:

  • “Golden Touch” by Lincoln Fox
  • “Winter Wind on the Mesa” by Marie Barbera
  • “A Helping Hand” by Cloyd Barnes

After a buffet lunch at Sherpa House, we toured Coors Brewing Company, the largest single brewery in the world. They also have the world’s largest aluminum producing plant. Founded in 1873 by Adolph Coors, Sr. (1847-1929), during Prohibition the company survived by producing malted milk and other ventures. The tour was self-guiding, and free! We were offered three 10-ounce samples, but as responsible drinkers accepted only two.

Next Page »