I have had a website off and on for over twenty years. I love the concept and hate the maintenance of it. I was one of the very early bloggers, sharing my life, political views, my family and more online and at one point, had a big following though my biggest fan was always my sweet Aunt Nina. So many of those friends and family members are no longer with us, and the world is a heavier place - Aunt Nina shares a birthday with Debbie, which is coming up in about ten days...
I was showing Debbie my new blog-oriented site and she, of course, was supportive. I asked her what we should include or post about regularly and she said, "the things you love and are passionate about!"
"What else?" I asked.
"I think you should have an area on the site or a regular post that let's others get to know you where you answer questions," then she moved on to something else.
I'll give it a whirl. The first question I'll answer is, "Who are my heroes and why?"
When I was growing up my heroes were predominantly sports-related, like with a lot of young boys. Johnny Bench of the Cincinnati Reds, tennis player Bjorn Borg, etc. The first person who I realized that I actually knew that was hero-worthy was my Uncle, Charles Buell. Uncle Charlie was the oldest of the Buell kids and was someone who thought of others above self, had am amazing, charismatic smile and glimmer in his eye, was quick to make time for others and seemingly always did the right thing - he was just positively orientated in that direction. His void in the family is often felt. Some cousins and I try to jump in and fill that void, sometimes successfully, sometimes not but as time marches forward, his footsteps are not easily filled on this earth. I treasure all of my personal and private interactions with my Uncle Charlie and often times I stop and ask myself what would Uncle Charlie do in this or that setting.
If you get a chance, take a walk on the Charles L. Buell Trail and send many positive thoughts to the greatest man I personally have ever known...
I have other heroes and ultimately I may write more about them but off the top of my head and by way of introduction, they include but are not exclusive to:
There are so many more that you will hear about over time but for now, that's a bit more about getting to know me better and some of my heroes...
An 85 year old hometown friend of mine, a lady who I admire so much, lost her 59 year old daughter recently. I think about her often, sorting out the rhymes and reasons - I've got nothing to add to that, no unique insight, only sadness and a little despair. I suppose we are lulled into thinking that life is fair, that it all makes sense or someday will but I'm not sure if that is the case. My heart goes out to Pat, she's a real inspiration. I'm sorry for her losses but happy for her life and the influence she has had on so many, me included. If my children ever read this, I would tell them to live every day like it is your last, say what you mean, forgive and live in the moment, don't keep score, smile, hug those you love and try your best to make it count - somedays it will work out and somedays it won't and then just as quickly as a spring rainstorm, it will disappear - leave the world drenched in your love...
Flynn was having a sleepover and I wanted no part of that so I gathered up my buddy, Buffalo Kaplinski and we headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park. Buffalo hadn’t been up that way for a number of years and he would return a few weeks later and paint an amazing watercolor (http://www.buffalowatercolors.com/images/halletspeak.jpg) of Hallett Peak under a sky of much nicer weather. I’m super zoomed in here, probably at 400mm plus a 1.4x Teleconverter for a total reach of 560mm. I used the Sony 100-400 lens and shot this one at f/8
Late in the mid-November afternoon, the sky and landscape before me took on a hue of pastel-colored blues and mauves, streak-lit by the fierce, setting sun. Castlewood Canyon State Park is the second closest state park to our home and is about half way between our house and our good friend Buffalo Kaplinski's house. I saw a high-flying flock of snow geese that initially looked like glimmers from a plane's wings but I was able to identify the birds at 200mm on my zoom lens. There were a lot more people at the park than what I typically see; folks tired of being stuck indoors with the COVID-19 pandemic - I never cease to be surprised with how closely people are willing to get with strangers and how many do not wear masks in spite of the reality that 1/49 people in this state are carrying the virus. I tend to stay away from this park in the spring and summer, missing the migrating turkey vultures but also missing the plentiful rattlesnake that are known to frequent the trails at Castlewood Canyon. I want to hike all of the trails this winter, becoming more intimate with them than I am today - we will see if that comes to fruition or not as the winter season moves forward.
Castlewood Canyon State Park is a Colorado state park near Franktown, Colorado. The park retains a unique part of Colorado's history, the remains of Castlewood Canyon Dam. Visitors can still see the remnants and damage from that dam which burst in 1933. The event sent a 15-foot (5 m) wave of water all the way to downtown Denver resulting in a flood. Also contained within the park is the historic Cherry Creek Bridge.
This park hosts a multitude of hiking/running trails, handicapped access trails and rock climbing opportunities, as well as a nature preservation area on the eastern side that is home to wildlife and interesting geological features. Located within the northernmost extension of the Black Forest, Castle Wood Canyon encompasses 2,136 acres (9 km2) with elevations ranging from 6,200 to 6,600 feet (2,010 m). Many urban dwellers come for the picnic opportunity away from the city (group picnic facilities can be reserved), others visit the park because of the unusual geology, particularly the caprock features.
Among the many species living in the park are coyote, cottontail rabbit, red fox, black bear, prairie rattlesnake, mountain lion, meadow jumping mouse, turkey vulture, golden eagle, prairie falcon, virile crayfish, Woodhouse's toad and the northern leopard frog.
Ecosystem Zones in the park are grasslands, shrublands, riparian, foothills-conifer, and caprock.
Castlewood Canyon is on the edge of the Palmer Divide, a geologically upraised area that results in more moisture falling than is normal in eastern Colorado, watering the Black Forest.
The Castlewood Dam in Castlewood Canyon, built in 1890, suffered an utter collapse following heavy rains at 1 am on 3 August 1933, resulting in a 15-foot wall of water rushing down Cherry Creek to Denver, some 15 miles away. Warnings to the city by 4 am allowed most people to move out of the way of the flood waters.
Castlewood State Park was formed in 1964, following an 87 acre land purchase in 1961 and an additional 792 acre purchase in the late 1970s.
Connor comes home for a Thanksgiving visit...
Also, here are a few photos of our 90-gallon reef aquarium from the very early days...
A series of mobile photos that tell the story of a day in my life...
I wake up early, the neighborhood is blanketed in a thick snow, it's a cold day in Minnesota. I fly somewhere (this time it was North Dakota), do my business thing, come home, everyone is asleep, I drink in the beautiful site of Debbie and Cleo, my constant sleep time companions for so many years - what I missed the day is not lost upon me nor is how fortunate I am...
We drove around Tucson looking at cool things - Tucson is one of my favorite places in the world... Later we met up with Eric Ingram and his family and drove up Mount Lemmon. A bit more about Mount Lemmon below the photos...
About Mount Lemmon from Wikipedia
Mount Lemmon, with a summit elevation of 9,159 feet (2,792 m), is the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains. It is located in the Coronado National Forest north of Tucson, Arizona, United States. Mount Lemmon was named for botanist Sara Plummer Lemmon, who trekked to the top of the mountain with her husband and E. O. Stratton, a local rancher, by horse and foot in 1881. It is reported that Mount Lemmon Ski Valley, on the mountain's northeastern side, receives 200 inches (508 cm) of snow annually.
The summit of the mountain is approximately twenty degrees cooler than the base. Therefore, large amounts of snow fall during the winter months, making it a cool escape and popular tourist attraction for Tucson and Phoenix inhabitants.
Mount Lemmon is made up of Bolsa Quartzite, Dripping Spring Quartzite, and a local sandstone and conglomerate. The portions have been intruded by a Diabase Dike of the Apace Group.
Summerhaven is a small town near the top of the mountain. It is a summer residence for many but there are some year round residents. There are many small cabins most of which were rebuilt after the Aspen Fire of July 2003.
At the peak is the Mount Lemmon Observatory, which was formerly the site of a USAF radar base of the Air Defense Command, and the building that formerly housed a military emergency radar tracking station for landing the Space Shuttleat White Sands Missile Range. Although the United States military had a presence on the mountain for several decades all their facilities have been abandoned and were given to the United States Forest Service. The area and buildings that makes up the Mount Lemmon Station Observatory are leased from the Forest Service by the University of Arizona. The telescopes on the mountain are still used for astronomical research today by organizations such as the Catalina Sky Survey, the Mount Lemmon Sky Center, the University of Arizona Astronomy Camp program, the University of Arizona, and the University of Minnesota. The educational resources at the top of the mountain make it a unique research and teaching destination.
The Catalina Highway, also called the Mount Lemmon Highway, as well as the Hitchcock Highway (after Frank Harris Hitchcock) runs up the Santa Catalina Mountains from the east side of Tucson up to Summerhaven, at the top of Mt. Lemmon. The beautiful, curving road is a favorite drive for tourists, for locals escaping summer's heat and cyclists, and has been recently designated as the Sky Island Parkway, part of the US National Scenic Byway system.
2010 saw the inaugural running of the Mount Lemmon Marathon.
An unpaved road to the summit on the north side of Mount Lemmon starts in Oracle, which is on Arizona Route 77 north of Tucson. It offers a secondary route to the top. This route is popular with off-road 4x4 drivers and with off-road or dual-purpose motorcyclists. This road ends at the Catalina Highway near Loma Linda. Before the Catalina Highway was built it was the only route up the mountain.