Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Your indulgence, I beg it

I really appreciate everyone's patience right now. The construction documents for Gestalt's Uber MOB are due in two weeks, and I'm slammed busy. There's a lot to do, review, check, draw, markup, and fret over, and my team and I have our work cut out for us. Because of this, I haven't had the energy or even time to really do a good post or two for y'all about architecture, life, or anything. I check/email/review stuff and answer questions all day in a state that is super-busy bordering on frenetic, and I come home and collapse and read magazines because I don't have the energy to read a real book.

So, I keep posting about Yellowstone and coming home and resting. I'll be able to do better in a couple of weeks, but for right now I'm just posting pictures and apologies.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Visual Inspiration: Yellowstone, the Critter Edition

OMG anipals! Half the reason I do anything in nature is to see critters whose cuteness rivals that of my own kittehs. Yellowstone certainly did not disappoint in this respect.

Smuffalo! We saw eleventy million buffalo in Yellowstone (bison, really--all pure buffalo are now gone, and all that are left are buffalo with a little bit of domesticated cattle genetics in them, hence the name bison). This one was a just a few inches shorter than our 4Runner's top. yikes. People have actually been killed by buffalo because they think they're a combination of teddy bear and moo cow. No and no.

Wee little bird in the super-hot waters of Mammoth Hot Springs. No idea how he stands it.

OMGPONIES!!1!!! We went horseback riding to a chuckwagon dinner our second night in the park. I'd like to go back sometime when I can ride with many fewer people and have a little more control over the horse. These were pretty well-trained trail horses who spent most of their time walking nose-to-butt with the other horses.

A heron in the early morning fog over Alum Creek.

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore. Or maybe yeah, I dunno. Do you have any crackers or granola?"

Elk! We saw a fair amount of elk as well, mostly mamas and a few half-grown fawns.

You can barely see the coyote in the middle of this picture, but he's there, I promise.

We saw a few pronghorn antelope in the park, but most of them we saw outside of the park. They were not playing with the deer, but we also did not hear a discouraging word.

Oh my squee: chibbik. "Chibbik" is the word my family uses for "chipmunk", for whatever reason. We saw so many chipmunks that week that even Guy started saying "chibbik". They were always pesky/cute, but often they wouldn't be still enough to let me take a decent picture. This one, near Natural Bridge, was one exception.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Visual Inspiration: Yellowstone, the Water and Geyser Edition

More images from the trip; commentary for each photo is just below the image.

Mammoth Hot Springs, from the top of the springs. Gallons upon gallons of steaming water burbling up from the depths of the earth and spilling over the edge of this natural infinity pool, leaving behind small deposits of minerals, leaving its trail marked in red, orange, white, and green.

Mammoth Hot Springs, from the bottom of the springs.

Part of the Norris Geyser Basin. The blue of this water is so heavenly it seems as if the rangers come out every morning at 5:30 to dump food coloring into the geysers and spring pools. That's why they tell you that the pools are 200 degrees at have sulfuric acid and arsenic in them--so you won't step in and find out that it's just food dye. (Note: water boils at 198 degrees in Yellowstone due to the elevation. Also note that they're not kidding about how hot these sumbitches are--you'll sweat while walking around the geysers on the elevated boardwalks, as the ground is over 200 degrees in some places.)

Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. Even from this far away, there's a loud roar from the water.

Downstream from the Imperial Geyser Basin, which has sulfur in the water (hence the red-orange coloration in the stream). I touched the water here, about 150 feet downstream (which is technically a no-no), and the water was well over what I use in my shower, probably 140-ish degrees.

Old Faithful, of course!

The view of West Thumb Geysers from Yellowstone Lake, during Guy's and my kayak trip.

The shores of Yellowstone Lake, near a rock outcropping that is supposedly home to scads of marmots (though we saw none).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

But it was a bargain!

Seen in the parking lot of the Mud Volcano Geyser area.

"Look, Debbie, I know it doesn't quite fit the truck, but it was only $20! And just think--when we sleep in back while we're camping, we can just hang our butts over the tail gate and go pee! No shoes required!"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Visual Inspiration: Yellowstone, the Landscape Edition

There is much to say (and show) about the Magic and Wonder That Is Yellowstone, so I'll try to break up our week there into little themed chunks that are at least mildly interesting and possibly won't bog down your old computer and too-slow internet connection (Mom, I'm looking at you, and I know it's not your fault). Info on each photo is written below the image.

The basalt cliffs at Sheepeater's Cliff. Evidently, all the Native American tribes in the area thought the Tukudika folk of present-day Yellowstone were some bad motherfuckers, because they chased down and ate bighorn sheep and lived above 7,500 above sea level. Straight gangsta.

The white travertine formations caused by the geysers and springs at Mammoth Hot Springs.

Lost Lake, near the Roosevelt camp and cabins. Some large animals took a group crap near this beautiful vista--other than that, it was a great view and a really good hike.

I think this is near Fairy Falls, but I'm drawing a blank for some reason. It was just a great shot with the sky and clouds and little trees there in the shade.

The view north(ish) from a hill/small mountain we hiked up to get to Monument Geyser Basin. Extraordinary views. You see a lot of dead trees interspersed with the little green pines--that's from the fires of 1988. Those fires were the first to happen after the National Park Service (NPS) decided that, while it would protect buildings and people, it would no longer try to put out every single fire that started in its boundaries, whether it was human or natural in cause. 37% of the park burned that summer, which had seen record high temps and record low rainfall amounts. While folks were horrified to see the trees burned to crispy black sticks, it turns out that lodgepole pines actually need fire in order to reproduce on a real, grand scale--some of their seed cones won't open up unless the surrounding temperature gets over 150 degrees. What we now have is mile after mile of 6'-12' high green pines everywhere. Letting the 1988 fires burn themselves out was a controversial decision at the time, but we have to remember that forests work on a 20-50 year cycle, not a 1-2 year cycle like much of humans' timetables.

Mountain range in the Lamar Valley, towards the northeast entrance of the park.

Natural Bridge, near the Lake Yellowstone campground/hotel/cabins. You used to be able to walk across it, but you can now only walk around it. Probably a good thing--Guy does not need to tote my clumsy ass out of the forest after I fall off of something like this.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Reflections on Yellowstone

Pool from a geyser/spring at Mammoth Hot Springs, northeast portion of Yellowstone National Park

We're finally back from a week in Yellowstone National Park. First of all, if you haven't been to Yellowstone, and you like seeing amazing things, then get off your ass. Every time you turn around in YNP, you say the same thing: "Oh my God, did you see that? That's amazing! Take a picture!" By the end of the week, Guy and I were almost sick of carrying our cameras around, but you didn't dare leave the sonofabitch in the cabin, because you'd miss something else amazing. I don't mean that sarcastically. I mean, it's like going to the Moss Isley Cantina of Amazing and Beautiful Natural Wonders, and you dare not miss a one.

I'll post more later, as I'm trying to a) play catch-up at work and b) figure out how best to post about the week in smaller, digestible bits over the course of the next few weeks. The most important thing from the whole week was that Guy and I spent six truly relaxing, healing, wonderful days together/alone in YNP. We hiked probably 6-10 miles a day while there, saw some of the most unbelievable sights, and spent what I think experts mean when they say "quality time." No TVs (anywhere), no phone, no internet. Just us and nature. (And lots of cars and some other people, but not bad--it was the week before Labor Day, so all the kids were gone. It was just us and the old people and the foreign tourists. God, at the Germans in the park.) We went to bed and got up with the sun, which might be some of the most sleep I've gotten in...months? years? It was really relaxing.

And fun. Guy and I made up some pretty ridiculous stuff, some of which will hopefully translate into the blog. Phrases such as "jealousy stop" and "knock-kneed prairie dog" shan't leave our lexicon anytime soon. And we laughed and had a few good drinks, ate well, slept pretty well, and toured well. Plus, the whole weekend was fairly affordable; it was way less than flying anywhere, and of course camping as well as bringing food for breakfast and lunch saved us a bunch. So, a good time was had by all.

I'll post more later. Just gotta get my head back in my project, as well as revel in the fact that we asked for and were given two more weeks of time before our deadline. Score!