Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Late Winter Snow

Last Thursday was the "big" snow storm of the season.  Early forecast was for a for or more.  That was scaled down to 8-12".  Eventually, we got about 8" - the bottom end of the forecast.

True - it was a nasty storm - but the bulls-eye was south of us.  Oklahoma and Kansas got walloped.  Better there, than here.

I stayed home Friday during the storm.  From a walk out after the snow, I could see that the road was passable, though not plowed (see photo).  Did not plan to shovel the drive - just drive on through the snow. Sometime in the afternoon, one of my neighbors came through and scraped the drive - leaving me a clear path to the road.

Was supposed to get more snow first of the week.  That kept being delayed.  So far, the storm has again stayed south.  Nothing here, except for warmer temperatures and melting (no complaints there!)

Overcast and highs in the mid/upper first half of the week (still melting in the afternoons).  End of the week is forecast into the 40s and sunny - that should get us rid of the rest of the snow. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Eagles at Manawa

John (ham radio, cycling, photography friend) had been over at Lake Manawa State Park to shoot photos of the eagles.   My visits to Bosque del Apache and talking with birder friend Tom, I planned to bring the camera bag with me Sunday morning.

Sunday John brought a print we took at coffee. After coffee, I headed to Manawa to find the eagle.  John had seen them in the area of Boy Scout Island and E. Manawa Drive.

I started on the West side where I visited with Tom.  No eagles.  Next stop was Boy Scout Island.  A few geese, and some large birds further into the lake.  Took a couple photos but was getting discouraged.

Looked there were a group of folks stopping along the East side of the lake.  Drove there and parked along the road as there were several large birds flying in the area.

I forgot how difficult it is to fallow birds in flight and keep the lens in focus.  Auto focus was having a fit.  Switched to manual focus (which I am not accustomed to - like how to move rings to focus vs zoom).  Was able to a get a couple "in flight" photos.

One immature bald eagle decided to perch on a branch right over my car.  Gave me some time to fine tune the focus.  Here's the best of the photos I took.

Liesurely Ride on the Lake Manawa Trail

A little remiss blogging about my ride last week. Wednesday was about the only day that was warm enough and not windy, conducive for a bike ride. Aired up the tires on the hybrid and loaded the bike to the car rack.

A chilly breeze was blowing from the SW. Temperature did not feel the 50 degrees that the thermometer indicated. Headed down the Lake Manawa Trail and see how far I decided to ride. A little before I reached the Indian Creek bridge, I ran across "Tom" - a bird watcher & photographer. We had stopped and visited previous (at almost the same place on the trail).

Tom told me he was planning to shoot some photos of the eagles that are now calling Lake Manawa State Park home. That peaked my interest. Continues my ride to the bridge and turned back towards the trailhead.

In no special hurry, when I caught up with Tom again, I rode with him (he's on foot). He's still shooting film (slides) with a Canon EOS. Planning to get some photos along the E side on Lake Manawa. Made plans the meet with him after I finish my ride.

Decided to take a little side ride on the Nature trail. (see photo). Noticed several large bird nests high in the trees along the nature trail.  Pedaled on to the car and loaded the bike on the rack.

Thought I might have missed Tom since it took a little longer for me to get back to the car and load the bike. Thought I might have missed him, but found him at the place expected. Watch the eagles and visited a little. Gave him one of my calendars.

Didn't ride many miles but sure had a enjoyable afternoon. Topped it off with a visit with Blaine at the bike shop.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Turquoise, Pecos, and Capulin

Long day on the road yesterday. Not many miles - lots of hours. Headed out of Albuquerque west and north on the Turquoise Trail. I was too early to stop in any shops. Did take a couple photos in this eclectic area.

Main stop for the day was Pecos National Historical Park. Stopped in at the Visitor's Center. They had desk copy of trail guide. Took that and drove up to the ruins. Was surprised that I was able to walk the whole top trail - with some rest breaks. The photo with this posting was taken at Pecos.

Back at the Visitor's Center I returned the trail guide and purchased a couple books (evening reading material) about the area and the ruins.

The original plan was to drive to Raton, NM and settle in the Quality Inn. But, it was only 2pm when I got to Raton, so decided to drive over to the Capulin Volcano. I was going to visit Capulin Volcano National Monument today (Tuesday). Anyway, checked in at the Visitor's Center and drove the road up the cone.

I could have hiked the cone trail (there was a couple doing that). But, with the altitude and the 2 hour hike at Pecos, I thought better. Took some photos at the summit. Back down, over to Folsom, NM. Interesting drive on highway 72 from Folsom to Raton.

Checked into my hotel. Started processing photos from the trip. Took a break for dinner at K-Bob's Steakhouse. Productive and exhaustive day.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Weekend then Home

Saturday was an errand day. Needed a day off the bike and not tourist plans. Did some shopping and started re-packing for the trip home. Met cousin Don for food and beers at Billy's Long Bar.

Spend this morning recovering and packing. Yesterday was sunny and mid 50s. Today was low 50s and cloudy. I should have ridden yesterday. Instead, I waited to ride today.

Plans were to ride "The Bosque". Knew the parking lot at Central would be packed, so drove south. Parking lots at "Tinley Beach" were full. Ended up parking just south of the Zoo. Ride down to Rio Bravo.

I noticed that the trail had recently re-surfaced. Much better condition that last I rode that way. There, the trail was closed for construction. Turned around the head back to the car. I was a little cold - should have used heavier gloves and another layer on the core. Anyway, logged in 7 miles.

Late lunch at Applebee's and spemt the rest of the afternoon packing. Took a little break to process photos of today's ride.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Enough of this sleeping in and taking it easy. Today I decided to check out Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument before my bike ride. Kasha-Katuwe was made a national monument in January 2001.

I had not heard about the monument until I saw information about it in the Albuquerque "Official Visitor's Guide". Since it is located 55 miles north of Albuquerque - I had to check it out. Think you know that I am big on National Parks, National Monuments, and National Historic Sites.

In order to get the better feel of the location, I walked the Cave Loop Trail to the Slot Canyon Trail. Had to check out the canyon so walked into the canyon a little - enough to take a couple photos. Had to stop several times to rest my leg/knee and catch my breath. I actually was surprised how far I was able to walk (considering the bike path climbing yesterday).

To hike the whole Slot Canyon Trail, would mean 630 foot climb in the mile trail length. I would have liked to hike up and see from the top, but figured it would be over my knee's ability. And, my breathing was laboring enough with the altitude.

Back to the Cave Loop, I was thinking of walking the rest of the loop, but the trail seemed to get a bit steeper and I still had to walk back to the car. Walking back, I could see that there was a lot of elevation change on the trail.

Next stop was to drive up to the Veteran's Memorial Scenic Overlook. The 3 mile gravel road was no problem. Great views from the overlook.