ODAAT: 
one day at a time…
Monday, 31 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Two Harrys & A Lion Called Percy
CREDIT: © Terry Smith/Interesting Trekking Scenes
WHERE: Alnwick, Northumberland, England. WHAT: historic town & castle.
MAP: Alnwick. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Percy Lion © Terry SmithSome fans of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter stories may recognize those figures in the battlements, but we suspect that fewer will know that the movie version was shot in England at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, a regrettable result of the deplorable tendency for most people to rush from the theater without savoring the end credits. The other Harry in our title (we wonder how many people in the captive audience of a movie theater actually read even the titles) is Harry Hotspur (1364-1403), after whom the sole surviving gate of Alnwick town wall was named. The lion (anatomically correct in a way described by one local as "to a quite unnecessary degree") we have named Percy, because Alnwick is the seat of the Percy family, Dukes of Northumberland. Join webmaster Terry Smith as he walks around the walls of Alnwick, the 'Tenantry Column' now more colorfully known as the 'Farmer's Folly', the Lancelot 'Capability' Brown gardens, and the 'Dirty Bottles'. The county of Northumberland has an excellent selection of castles you may visit, and Terry offers virtual tours of some of the best.

Sunday, 30 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Highest Ground & Fairest Flower
CREDITS: © Andrew Leaney/Leaney.org; © Charles Winpenny/CornwallCAM.co.uk
WHERE: English counties of Cumbria, & Cornwall. WHAT: fair fells & wet flowers.
MAPS: Hardknott Pass, Cumbria; walk route to Hard Knott; Pool, Cornwall.
Thumbnail clicks [1] [full (1a) version] [2] pop-up larger images.

High Ground of England © Andrew LeaneyFor hikers who love the hills of the English Lake District these fells are special: from left to right they are Slight Side, Scafell, Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, Ill Crag, and Great End. Scafell Pike is the highest ground in England at 3,210 feet of altitude: that is the figure I learned as a child, and I am damned if I will change it for resurveys or metrication! Join Andrew as he walks from the top of Hardknott Pass (the road is a 33% gradient worthy, as a simulation for the Alp d'Huez, which Lance Armstrong will climb in his 2004 attempt to become the first six times Tour de France winner) to the top of Hard Knott, the hill after which the pass was named, to look up to the high ground, and down onto the Roman fort of Mediobogdum and the green pastures of Eskdale.

Iris © Charles WinpennyIan Scott-Parker writes: Calling this the fairest flower in the title is slightly misleading. Photographer & CornwallCAM.co.uk webmaster Charles Winpenny used the picture to illustrate that as expected on an English public holiday, the weather was inclement.

When a child, I discovered a rotting bag of iris bulbs on a waste dump, and proudly dragged them home. My mother planted them in a spare corner, below the front window, where the builders had dumped fine gravel with only a thin covering of soil. The plants flourished, producing purple flowers that were less showy than the one in Charles' garden in Pool, Cornwall, but never the less a source of great pleasure to me as I grew older. Mother grew pinks for my father, and by default I suppose, she grew iris for me. Regularly, for the remainder of her life she would have to hack the clump back to manageable proportions, but despite repeated threats, she never completely removed the iris from her garden.

Saturday, 29 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: 19th Century Frontier Luxuries
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Pipe Spring, Arizona, USA. WHAT: living standards in the Old West.
MAP: Kaibab (PDF format). Thumbnail clicks [1][2][3][4][5] pop-up larger images.
Pipe Spring Dairy © Ian Scott ParkerPipe Spring Parlour © Ian Scott ParkerPipe Spring Stove © Ian Scott ParkerPipe Spring Dining © Ian Scott ParkerPipe Spring Bedroom © Ian Scott Parker
Recently we did two [1][2] features about Pipe Spring, the frontier post for the LDS (Mormon) expansion into what is now known as the Arizona Strip. During the time it was being developed it was thought by the LDS president, Brigham Young, that the area north of the Grand Canyon was part of Utah. Surveys by John Wesley Powell, which established the ground position of the geographic parallel, disabused BY of that belief, reportedly much to Young's annoyance after LDS settlers had struggled so hard to establish cattle ranching in the area as part of church's expansionist goals.

The interior of the Pipe Spring stronghold, named Winsor Castle after its builder, was the height of frontier comfort in its day. In a hierarchy of needs, water falls second only to air, so the main building sits firmly over the spring supply, which lies directly under the parlour seen second from the left. The water then runs into the dairy across the courtyard, in the first left picture, which has a cheese making room next door.

Next to the parlour is the kitchen/dining room, where the stove in the center picture was the center of operations: it is said that many of the cowboys passing through preferred to eat outside, rather than comply with the standards of etiquette required by the strict Victorian ladies who ruled inside! Upstairs, the sleeping accommodations, in the upper storeys of both building wings that form the central courtyard, have that essential frontier feature of loop holes for shooting at enemies when under siege.

Winsor Castle at Pipe Spring offered water, food, safety, shade and shelter: all this was free to the LDS settlers passing through, presumably as an encouragement to travel to such an otherwise hostile region. It was, however, a ranch built upon a sandy place: although the foundations of the buildings are on rock, the Sevier fault that created the spring has in recent times also shut off the water supply.

Water is now piped in from another spring nearby, but even had all the springs in the area been tapped they would have been insufficient to water the grasslands that were intended to support the cattle ranching operations necessary for Pipe Spring to thrive.

Eventually the LDS church decided to sell out: Powell's survey may have been a factor, but if anyone had listened to Powell (then or now) while he was wearing his water engineer's hat, they would know that the place was doomed. Over grazing reduced the grasslands to desert scrub, and it is thought they may never recover.

It is to the credit of several owners, who followed in the LDS footsteps because they were determined to show that ranching was possible, that even though the place could not be made an economic success they installed caretakers, so that in modern times we may still enjoy this little piece of frontier history.

Friday, 28 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Dodge Brothers Anniversary Auto
CREDIT: © Stephen C. Bern/GiffordPark.com; © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com
WHERE: Springdale, Utah, USA. WHAT: 1928 Dodge Chrysler anniversary vehicle.
MAP: Springdale. Thumbnail clicks pop-up source [1] page/larger [2][3][4] images.
Gifford Park © GiffordPark.comGifford Park 1928 Dodge 1 © Ian Scott ParkerGifford Park 1928 Dodge 2 © Ian Scott ParkerGifford Park 1928 Dodge 3 © Ian Scott Parker
In a previous existence we built web sites for construction developers and estate agents [realtors] in the UK, so we know how difficult it is to persuade them to illustrate their offerings with plenty of detailed pictures. After all, why would anyone be interested in seeing a picture of where they are going to blow their savings, then live for the remainder of their lives? Web designer Stephen C. Bern has evidently been very persuasive with developer Alan Staker of Gifford Park, Springdale, Utah: even if you are not in the market for a $400K-$1M luxury home on the doorstep of Zion National Park, the site is worth a visit just for the pictures.

The shots on the general introduction page, especially the last one of the western Zion cliffs wreathed in cloud and snow with blue sky above, make a visit worthwhile all by themselves. If you are in the market for such a home, then cut along there soon, because when we checked there were only two units remaining available.

The web site has details of Gifford Park selling points such as 'parkitecture' (featured on the HGTV program 'Dream Builders'), salvaged trestle timbers from the railroad that crossed the Great Salt Lake, traditionally cut masonry from local stone used as cladding on form poured insulated concrete, and an energy saving Ground Source Heat Pump heating/cooling system similar to the one used by Albert Einstein.

To advertise the Gifford Park location, otherwise concealed and lacking those hideous billboards favored elsewhere, the developer has parked what we think is a vintage 1928 Dodge motor car at the entrance to the site off state route SR-9.

In 1921 (1923 according to some sources) the widows of brothers [PDF format file] John Francis Dodge and Horace Elgin Dodge, who both died in 1920, sold the company to bankers Dillon, Read & Co. for $146M ($147M according to some sources), said at the time to be the largest cash transaction in history. In 1928, the year the car in our featured picture was built, and by an amazing coincidence on this very day 28th May (30th or 31st July according to other sources), the company was resold for $170M to become part of the Chrysler Corporation. The last link was the only place we were able to find another picture of a similar car. Who does one believe on the Internet, especially when contradictory information appears on the same web site?

Visitors with an interest in automobiles may enjoy a visit to our extensive photo galleries on the HurricaneCarShow.com web site, which includes pictures taken at the 2002, 2003, and 2004 editions of the event.

Stephen C. Bern is a well known photographer whose XtremeFormat.com web site offers very reasonably priced high quality panorama prints of famous Zion Canyon scenery. His spectacular picture of 'Angels Landing and Walter's Wiggles', not for those without a good head for heights, is one of our favorites images.

POSTSCRIPT: While researching this article we came upon the mystery of Mrs. Ethel L. Miller (1884-1967) last known as Winzler, owner of the first, millionth and two millionth Plymouth cars. There is a recently discovered wry twist to her story.

Thursday, 27 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: False Allegation Against Cactus
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: desert flats, Hurricane, Utah, USA. WHAT: cholla cactus.
MAP: Hurricane. Thumbnail/link clicks [1][2][3][4] pop-up larger images.

Cholla 1 © Ian Scott ParkerCholla 1 © Ian Scott ParkerAnyone who has crossed needles with a British hawthorn [1][2][3] hedge will probably have suffered more than punctured composure. Indeed, there is an expression describing a person's dishevelled appearance making them look as though they have just been "dragged through a hedge backwards". The experience will leave you in doubt about the ancients' skill in selecting a plant to make a stock proof field boundary: effective against hikers, too!

On the desert flats, beyond the edge of the town where we now live, below the eroded stumps of the now dormant volcanos that crenellate the ridge of the exposed fault escarpment, grows a plant with an even worse reputation. The hawthorn does not go out of its way to injure, but the cholla cactus has a reputation for preemptive strikes: it is said that this cactus will fire its long needles into any creature whose nearness it senses, and the effect is said to be devastating. Our research, and observations, suggest that the cholla has had a bad press: the devastation is real enough, but the alleged proaction seems to be a false accusation.

Wednesday, 26 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Sweeter Shade Than Fearful Kings
CREDIT: © Ann Bowker/Mad About Mountains
WHERE: Loughrigg, Grasmere, Cumbria, UK. WHAT: blooming hawthorn.
MAP: Loughrigg Fell. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Grasmere © Ann BowkerLast week Ann Bowker from Mad About Mountains walked over Loughrigg Fell in the English Lake District. She captured this image of the hawthorn bushes and the view northwards across the lake of Grasmere. The thorny shrub or tree with the formal name of Crataegus oxyacantha is the European variety with deeply lobed, shining leaves, and small, rose like fragrant flowers, and a fruit called haw.

In many parts of Britain the hawthorn is used extensively for hedges that form field boundaries. It is so lovely, with a scent heady enough to rival honeysuckle, that it is also used for standards in gardens. The American hawthorn's formal botanical name is Crataegus cordata, and it is similar but the leaves are much less lobed.
Gives not the hawthorn-bush a sweeter shade
To shepherds looking on their silly sheep,
Than doth a rich embroider'd canopy
To kings that fear their subjects' treachery?

William Shakespeare - King Henry VI, Part 3: Act 2 Scene 5.
On the horizon, just right of center, are the summit rocks known variously as 'The Lion and the Lamb' or 'The Howitzer', because of their appearance from the road going over Dunmail Raise, the low pass to the right. It was from there that we once had to make a descent in pitch darkness because one of the party ambles at a snail's pace when among the hills: being nighted on a rough path is certainly not sweet shade!

Tuesday, 25 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Great Art - Silent & Meaningless
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Springdale, UTAh, USA. WHAT: sandstone public sculpture.
MAP: Springdale. Thumbnail/link [1][2] clicks pop-up larger images.

Woman With Child & Bowl 1 © Ian Scott ParkerThis woman with child & bowl sculpture sits in the riverside park at the west end of Springdale, Utah. The mass of sandstone has a powerful presence if you are receptive to such forces, and the faces with eyes closed in repose we read as oneness expressed with dignity. Like all art interpretation, commentary says more about the speaker than about the artworks. Our own preferences are for silent and meaningless art… and commentary, too.

Monday, 24 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Patriarchs & Photo Patresfamilias
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Zion National Park, Utah, USA. WHAT: Court of the Patriarchs.
MAP: Zion NP. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Court of the Patriarchs © Ian Scott ParkerThe day following our East Zion Canyon visit we rode the bus to view the main canyon. Many of the names in the canyon were given not by the LDS (Mormon) settlers, but by a Methodist minister named Frederick Vining Fisher. The first stop the bus makes in the main canyon is the Court of the Patriarchs, three eroded Navajo sandstone monoliths named Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The shuttle bus is free for park pass holders: hopping on and off is encouraged.

We chose to make the Court our last stop, and wandered up the short path to a viewing station. After a senior couple from Florida made so bold as to request us to take a picture of them together, a queue formed made up of people wishing to avail themselves of our services. It was a fine opportunity to chat with lots of families, and check out a wide variety of top of the range digital cameras!

Our own picture was taken from the bus stop. It is digitally faked from several separate images, to replicate a view that would otherwise have taken some fancy equipment to take as a single image. It does not really do justice to the three patriarchs, which loom over the location from the opposite side of the canyon.

Sunday, 23 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Evening Sunlight Upon The Cliffs
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: East Zion Canyon, Utah, USA. WHAT: cliffs in the evening sun.
MAP: Zion NP. Thumbnail clicks [1][2][3][4][5] pop-up larger images.
East Zion Cliffs 1 © Ian Scott ParkerEast Zion Cliffs 2 © Ian Scott ParkerEast Zion Cliffs 3 © Ian Scott ParkerEast Zion Cliffs 4 © Ian Scott ParkerEast Zion Cliffs 5 © Ian Scott Parker
As we waited for the traffic flow to switch at the head of the Zion Mt. Carmel Tunnel (one of the tunnel gallery windows may be seen in the right hand image), a member of our party suggested dinner and margaritas at the 'Bit and Spur' restaurant in Springdale. This suggestion galvanized our driver into action, so that what had hitherto been a gentle amble suddenly turned into a hell for leather dash.

We were permitted one photographic stop, to take yesterday's Zion Grand Arch picture, but confess with a blush that today's pictures were shot from a moving vehicle. Springdale is home to a clique of expert photographers, one of whose number makes a big deal about waiting for the light, mostly: he takes far better pictures than we do, but fecklessness is purposeless unless done with panache & élan.

Saturday, 22 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Largest Blind Arch In The World
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Zion NP, Utah, USA. WHAT: world's largest blind arch formation.
MAP: Zion NP. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Zion Great Arch © Ian Scott ParkerOn our return journey from the Grand Canyon, we looped north to drop down into the top end of Zion Canyon. Towards evening the late afternoon sun streams up the canyon's eastern arm to illuminate the cliffs that are penetrated by the Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel. At the head of the tunnel a trail starts out for the Zion Overlook. The overlook sits over the Zion Great Arch, and as we descended from the tunnel we were treated to cloud shadow dappling across the cliffs. For the first time we noticed what we think is a naturally occurring 'petroglyph' high on the canyon wall, to the left of what is said to be the largest 'blind' arch in the world.

Friday, 21 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: R. Deep, Mt. High, Knees Wobbly
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Grand Canyon, AZ, USA. WHAT:
MAP: Grand Canyon. Thumbnail/link clicks [1][2] pop-up larger images.

Grand Canyon © Ian Scott ParkerFrom Pipe Spring we headed over the Kaibab Plateau to Jacob Lake. From there the park road is a forty mile cul-de-sac to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon; at an altitude of almost 9,000 feet small patches of snow were still visible in the forest edges. The park lodge was rebuilt in 1937, and offers a viewing lounge with tall windows, and an outside terrace where we went to view the depths of the canyon. Another party persuaded one of their number to walk out onto an exposed viewing platform, where he was instructed he must wave. On his return he was man enough to confess that his knees had been wobbly, which was superfluous information for anyone observing his heroic walk.

Even with the camera lens set to extreme wide angle zoom it was not possible to view the far rim and the canyon floor, so we settled for the view you see here, which includes the far canyon wall below the sky line, but well above the floor. We also include a landscape format picture to give a sense of what you will see if you go there yourself for a visit. The row of snow capped peaks on the far distant horizon are the San Francisco Mountains just north of Flagstaff, Arizona, over 70 miles distant from the opposite South Rim of the canyon.

Thursday, 20 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Welcome Relief On A Hard Trail
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Pipe Spring, AZ. WHAT: contrasting accommodations.
Thumbnail/link clicks [1][2] pop-up larger images.

Dutch Oven Catering © Ian Scott ParkerThundering across the vast, arid expanse of the Arizona Strip, that area of the state adjacent to Utah and isolated by the Grand Canyon, even a modern traveller pampered by smooth roads, climate control, and cruise control, may get some small sense of the relief offered by Winsor Castle at Pipe Spring. The fort gave safety, shade, shelter, rest and sustenance to settlers journeying in pursuit of the American aspiration of 'Manifest Destiny'.

The day we visited there was a recreation of campfire cooking in a Dutch Oven: we are familiar with stewed meat in big black cast iron pots, but peach cobbler over a piñon wood open fire was a new experience. The contrast between our society today, and the accommodations offered by the fort in the latter half of the nineteenth century, must be as great as the contrast between the fort and the simple shelters erected by the indigenous Kaibab Paiute people.

Wednesday, 19 May 204

Pix Of The Day: The Wisdom Of Being Doubtful
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Pipe Spring, Arizona, USA. WHAT: historic settler site.
MAP: Kaibab (PDF format). Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Winsor Castle, Pipe Spring © Ian Scott ParkerWe headed over the state line into Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon. En route we visited Pipe Spring, a place where for us some alternative perspectives on European settlement fell into place. We have always held a somewhat grudging admiration for the self proclaimed 'pioneering' of the early Mormon (LDS) settlers; grudging because we are aware of the dangers inherent in any agenda held by those holding cast iron certainties inspired by religious fervor. The work of Bertrand Russell, a man with an acute understanding of paradox, is peppered with observations on wisdom, of which this is one of our favorites:
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
The European settlers who displaced the Kaibab Paiute people from the area around Pipe Spring to claim 'ownership' of the land (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often known as the LDS, or Mormon Church, was prominent among this group, though neither the first nor the last) are probably responsible for the eventual destruction of the grasslands through over grazing. Deprived of the life giving waters from the spring, the Kaibab Paiute population fell to only 75 persons.

Today the tribe numbers 240 persons, and the Pipe Springs National Monument is a cooperative venture among the interested parties. We retain our grudging admiration for the efforts and perseverance of the incomers: however, alternative perspectives were unavoidable in a place like Pipe Spring. After our visit we read, on the NPS [National Park Service] web site, the notes for 'Pipe Spring: Cultures at a Crossroads', which express the author's policy:
Although the word 'pioneer' has long been used when describing the exploration and settlement activities of Euroamericans, the author has refrained from using the term in this report, except in quotations. 'Pioneer' is defined in one dictionary as "one who ventures into unknown or unclaimed territory to settle." Contemporary historians, anthropologists, and Native Americans argue that the Americas were neither unknown nor uninhabited, and that the use of this term perpetuates a myth and is offensive to some. For this reason, the author has chosen to use the less culturally-laden word, 'settler.' After careful consideration, so have we.
Tuesday, 18 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: SW Symphony Among The Rocks
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Springdale, Utah. USA. WHAT: Tanner Amphitheater concert.
MAP: Springdale. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Tanner Amphitheater © Ian Scott ParkerLast Saturday was the start of the summer season of Twilight Concerts in the Dixie State College Tanner Amphitheater. For the opening night Maestro Gary Caldwell (just visible, extreme stage right, in linked picture) conducted the locally based amateur players of the Southwest Symphony Orchestra in a program of cinema hits, Broadway numbers, and patriotic music. We mused upon the difficulties of playing en pleine air (fortunately without wind or bugs on this occasion), where the acoustic lacks concert hall reverberation, so the sound evaporates. There was a minimal electronic sound system, but what the venue might lack acoustically it makes up for in trumps situationally.

Monday, 17 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Worryingly Familiar Museum Relic
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Hurricane, Utah. WHAT: Pioneer Heritage Park.
MAP: Hurricane. Thumbnail clicks [1][2][3][4][5][6] pop-up larger images.
Hurricane Heritage Park 1 © Ian Scott ParkerHurricane Heritage Park 2 © Ian Scott ParkerHurricane Heritage Park 3 © Ian Scott ParkerHurricane Heritage Park 4 © Ian Scott ParkerHurricane Heritage Park 5 © Ian Scott ParkerHurricane Heritage Park 6 © Ian Scott Parker
We have featured the Hurricane Museum & Heritage Park on three [1][2][3] previous occasions. For this feature we crossed the road from the museum to visit the restored former Bradshaw Hotel, and the display of old farming machinery in the park behind. We were alarmed to discover that several items in the museum were familiar from childhood, and the horse drawn buck rake in the barn was of more recent vintage than one we had driven many years ago on John Gate's farm at Mosedale [1][2], Cumbria.

Sunday, 16 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Province Juncture For Diversity
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Snow Canyon, St. George, Utah, USA. WHAT: small park, huge feature set.
MAP: Utah State Parks. Thumbnail clicks [1][2][3][4][5] pops-up larger images.
Snow Canyon 1 © Ian Scott ParkerSnow Canyon 2 © Ian Scott ParkerSnow Canyon 3 © Ian Scott ParkerSnow Canyon 4 © Ian Scott ParkerSnow Canyon 5 © Ian Scott Parker
We featured Snow Canyon State Park back in August 2002, with a view from the canyon rim overlook. The canyon lies at the juncture of three geological provinces: the Great Basin to the north; the Colorado Plateaus to the east; and the Mojave Desert to the west. This situation creates a diverse environment, which in turn hosts a diverse range of plants and animals. The natives of each of the individual provinces are unusually found together in a single location.

More details from: the State Parks service; ASW [American Southwest] where there is photo gallery; and UAA [Utah Outdoor Activities] if you are an 'out you go' visitor. Bert Sirkin has an atmospheric shot of the sand dunes, which shows critter trails.

Saturday, 15 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Eroded Outcrop Beside The Virgin
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Red Desert reserve, Leeds, Utah, USA. WHAT: eroded sandstone outcrop.
MAP: Sandstone Mountain. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Eroded Virgin Sandstone © Ian Scott ParkerTo further our investigation of silver mining on the sandstone reefs around Silver Reef and Leeds, we went down the Babylon Trail looking for the Stormont Mill on the Virgin River. The trail name derives from the Mormon naming of Babylon Mill for the silver ore processing plant, an indication of LDS President Brigham Young's discouragement of precious metal extraction because of the ungodly nature of the miners who were attracted into the area.

The route passes through the red Desert Reserve, with signs warning that the area is patrolled by the County Sheriff, and others advising of tortoises crossing the trail! The eroded sandstone outcrop in today's picture is seen from the opposite side to that displayed in an earlier feature. The fine sand of the desert surface showed lizard tracks, and when we saw snake tracks we retired gracefully to the truck.

Today's [1][2] bloom was seen growing near the upper reefs at the side of a dirt road, but was one of only a scattering of plants of the same species.

Friday, 14 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Smile Even Rooted In Dried Clay
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Virgin River valley. WHAT: ghost town of Grafton.
MAP: Rockville. Thumbnail click [1][2][3][4][5] pop-up larger images.

Rio Virgin © Ian Scott ParkerGrafton Church & Schoolhouse © Ian Scott ParkerRussell Home, Grafton © Ian Scott ParkerGrafton Cemetery © Ian Scott ParkerZion Canyon Mouth © Ian Scott Parker
Yesterday we took to the back roads again: this time we climbed high towards the polygamist communities of Hildale and Colorado City on the Utah-Arizona border using the road towards the Grand Canyon, then dropped back down onto the left bank of the Virgin River using an unpaved scenic byway. This route gives views northwards to Zion National Park across the early Pioneer settlements of the upper valley. We visited a famous location, the Grafton township, where the 'Raindrops Are Falling On My Head' sequence for the movie 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' was filmed.

The pictures in the thumbnail strip are in sequence left to right: the drop off the plateau to the Virgin River valley; the renovated Grafton church/schoolhouse; the Russell home in process of renovation; the nearby Grafton cemetery; and the view across the river just before the bridge into Rockville, showing the mouth of Zion Canyon. For more details we recommend a visit to the GHPP [Grafton Heritage Partnership Project] history page. The cemetery includes one wonderful Old West style marker for a Native American burial, and a well kept memorial to members of the Berry family killed by Native Americans on 02 April 1866.

The bloom for today is a delicate plant found bravely smiling through at the sun, despite having its roots in a dried out bed of clay. Readers with a bent for inspirational metaphors will find grist to their mill in that scene from a hard country.

Thursday, 13 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Utah Red Cliffs Above & Below
CREDIT: © Peter Turner/MaccCAM Vistas; © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Utah, USA. WHAT: red cliffs. Thumbnail clicks [1][2] pop-up larger images.

Utah Overflight © Peter TurnerPeter Turner's MaccCAM.co.uk web site, featuring life in and around the Cheshire town of Macclesfield, has appeared here on a number of occasions. On his return from a visit to Los Angeles, California, USA, Peter has revamped his web site to include a section that features his overseas travels, entitled Vistas. The Los Angeles trip is recorded in three galleries, and still growing. The picture we have chosen makes a good introduction, and shows the red cliffs of Utah, shot from the aeroplane as it overflew on the way to LA. As always, Peter's eye for key features and points of interest in his surroundings ensures an engaging photo gallery for his visitors.

Zion Red Cliffs 1 © Ian Scott ParkerOur own pictures (one to the left, plus two [1][2] bonus images) shows some Utah red cliffs from ground level, taken on our recent back roads trip west of Zion National Park. Peter Turner has also joined the plant identification debate, having opined that the Triffid pericoloso is a Yucca, sending one of his own pictures taken during his LA trip on the road between Yuma and San Diego, showing a very similar but even more magnificent specimen. Eric Shackle in Australia saw yesterday's bloom of the day, which reminded us of Britain's ragwort and reminded Eric of escaped members of the Coreopsis [1][2] family growing wild.

Today's bloom of the day breaks our policy of not attempting botanical identification. We have eaten the fruit of this plant, and saw this particular specimen bearing fruit in a previous year, so we are fairly sure of our identification. We offer two [1][2] pictures, one of the bush plus a close-up of the flower, and a hint from classical painting for those with a detailed knowledge of Botticelli's work.

Expert botanists will recognize the formal name and [1][2] classification from the University of Hawaii botany department, but those who are still mystified may be surprised when the answer is revealed. Although native to the region that includes Iran and northern India, the fruit is widely cultivated but this example was semi-feral, growing on the banks of the Hurricane canal in southern Utah, USA. Beth Kingsley's picture of a bloom acting as an unusual food source for a hummingbird was an unexpected delight, because these birds are now in evidence here in our valley.

Wednesday, 12 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Silver Boom & Bust On The Reefs
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Silver Reef, Washington County, Utah. WHAT: silver mining ghost town.
MAPS: reef country, and Silver Reef. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Former Wells Fargo Building, Silver Reef, Utah © Ian Scott ParkerAlert readers of yesterday's feature, especially those who followed the map link, will have seen references to 'reefs'. Discovered in this area, at Silver Reef, was the only commercial quantity of silver found in the United States among sandstone rocks or reefs. The University of Utah's J. Willard Marriot Library has ten archival images, taken when the mines were fully operational, between their establishment in 1876, and abandonment in 1884.

Local historian 'Ranger' Bart Anderson has written a short account of Silver Reef; and Chris Cannon has other details. The featured picture shows the former Wells Fargo building that served the town. The building has been renovated to house a museum, and also serves as the gallery for sculptor Jerry Anderson. Other pictures taken around the Wells Fargo building [1][2][3][4] show old mine equipment on display, and a model of the old town located in Cassidy's Powder House.

Prosperity has once again returned to Silver Reef. On the day we visited we saw a Bentley Mark VI parked to one side of the road, and a modern Rolls-Royce parked opposite. Perhaps somebody has secretly opened the old workings!

Today's bloom of the day is reminiscent of the ragwort found in the UK, but our new botanical identification policy allows us to venture no further than 'Yellow Flowers'.

Tuesday, 11 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Life & Times Of Pioneer Families
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Harrisburg, Washington County, Utah. WHAT: early Utah Pioneer cabin.
MAP: Harrisburg reef country. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Adams Cabin, Harrisburg, UT © Ian Scott ParkerThe expansionist aspirations of the LDS (Mormon) Pioneers, following their arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, were furthered by expeditions south into the Great Basin. Strategic forts and strongholds were established, and Harrisburg was one in the far south of the Territory. Settlers were then despatched to colonize the area; the Adams family were one of nine sent into the area. You may read the history from the nearby billboard. We also have the bloom of the day, photographed nearby, for the gardeners and botanists among our visitors.

Leeds Clear Sky ClockAstronomers, meteorologists, and clock enthusiasts among our visitors, may be interested in visiting the CSC [Clear Sky Clock] service, which has data (shown above left) for Leeds, a town adjacent to Harrisburg along the reef.

Monday, 10 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Pink Both Sides Of The Atlantic
CREDITS: [top] © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com;
[bottom] © Charles Winpenny/CornwallCAM.co.uk
WHERE: Utah, USA, and Cornwall, UK. WHAT: pink Spring flowers.
Thumbnail clicks [1][2] pop-up larger images.

Pink Flowers © Ian Scott ParkerWhilst our own abysmal botanical ignorance continues to embarrass us, more informed visitors from around the world have grabbed an opportunity to flaunt their expertise. Jenny Cockshull, knowledgeable Essex gardener and fluent Anglo-Saxon speaker now living in the Netherlands, has identified yesterday's featured plant as a Soaptree Yucca (Yucca baccata), providing two [1][2] links as supporting evidence. Check it out and make up your own mind.

Meanwhile Her Indoors has decided that the blue flowers in Wednesday's desert blooms feature, which the British contingent thought might be a vetch, is actually sagebrush in bloom. Our UK visitor avers that the orange bloom in the same feature is not Indian paintbrush, but more probably a member of the Penstemon family (Beardtongue). Those interested in making identifications for themselves may like to check out the DesertUSA.com web site [1][2] guides. We have decided to admit defeat, so the US contribution to this feature must remain unidentified.

Wheal Coates © Charles WinpennyBack in Britain, we are confident that Charles Winpenny has correctly identified the Thrift growing along the coast of Cornwall at the abandoned Wheal Coates tin mine. Thrift is one of Charles' favorite flowers, and we would add one that brings back many memories salt wind and spray days on the coast. Nowhere in the British Isles is very far from the sea, and its presence is something that is taken for granted, and missed all the more for that lack of attention.

Sunday, 09 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Jungle Jim & The Lost World Mesa
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: west of Zion National Park, Utah, USA. WHAT: mesa flora.
Thumbnail clicks [1][2] pop-up larger images.

Triffid pericoloso 1 © Ian Scott ParkerRegular visitors will know that our combined botanical knowledge is sparse, and for at least one of us [blush], non existent. So when we hit the back roads, and climbed to the higher altitudes of the mesas, it was frustrating to see unfamiliar plants, but be unable to identify them or know anything about their natural history. The plant in today's feature [NOT Triffid pericoloso] gave the firmamentum into which we ventured the feeling of an alien planet.

Triffid pericoloso 2 © Ian Scott Parker As children, watching 'Jungle Jim and the Lost World' movies at the Saturday morning junior matinée performances (known as the 'ABC Minors', if you are British, and of a certain age) has clearly had a deleterious influence upon our imaginations. On closer inspection the plant was reminiscent of the foxgloves found on moorlands, and in hedgerows, all over the British Isles. The petals (and we hardly dare use even that widely known term, since we discovered that in some plants the bracts are more pronounced) had a softness that we yearned to touch, but thought we were probably safer to err on the side of caution, and leave well alone.

Saturday, 08 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Green Grass Back Road Travelling
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Zion National Park, Utah, USA. WHAT: grasslands of the high mesa country. Thumbnail clicks [1][2]pop-up larger images.

Back Road © Ian Scott ParkerWe took to the back roads to bring you some images from the country west of Zion, little seen by most of the millions of tourists visiting the park. A blacktop road climbs to the top of the mesa, hugging the precipitous cliffs; this route provides access to a rocket sled test track. After a hard right turn, marked by warning signs that threaten dire consequences for those inattentive enough to proceed further into a restricted high security area, the road is red dirt along the top of the mesa among piñon pine, shrubs, and Spring flowers. After crossing a cattle grid, out of place in this wilderness, the trees give way to open upland prairies.

Welcome! © Ian Scott ParkerThen we found a desert secret, for at an elevation above 6,000 feet there is enough moisture to produce vast rolling green meadows. The welcome in these parts was friendly; we passed three vehicles approaching from the opposite direction, which seemed to contain local residents, and each time received hand waves. Side roads all displayed 'private' signs, and one even reinforced the message with some fine print, if foot high letters can be said to be fine print!

Friday, 07 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Wild Times With The Viking Party
CREDIT: © Sisse Brimberg/NationalGeographic.com
WHERE: Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland. WHAT: midsummer fire celebrations.
MAPS: Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland, and Lerwick, Scotland.
Thumbnail click pops-up source page with larger image, and enlargement feature.

Midsummer Fire Festival, Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland © NationalGeographic.comUsually we try to skip around the world without too many repetitions of the same web sites, so we do have a small twinge of guilt for the second successive POD [Picture of the Day] feature from the archives of NationalGeograhic.com web site. On the other hand, the image is so compelling we thought it was too good to miss: those Vikings surely do know how to party, shown at Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland.

There are similar traditions in the northern Scotland island of Shetland, and the town of Lerwick hosts the winter Up-Helly-Aa festival, when things get so out of hand that they burn a galley! Both the Up-Helly-Aa name and history are perhaps less ancient than some people imagine. In our own homeland Allendale Town, claimed as the geographical center of great Britain (although we have been told nearby Haltwhistle now disputes the claim), has a fire festival with guisers bearing flaming tar barrels through the streets of the town. Whatever will they think of next?

Thursday, 06 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Viewer Discretion Is Advised
CREDIT: © William R. CurtsingerNationalGeographic.com
WHERE: National Wildlife Refuge, Hawaii. WHAT: tigers in for the kill.
Thumbnail click pops-up source page with larger image, and enlargement feature.

Albatross Tiger Shark, Hawaii © NationalGeographic.comIt is some considerable time since we last visited the POD [Picture of the Day] archives of NationalGeograhic.com web site. This startling picture caught our eye; we only hope that the albatross fledgling made it into the skies, even though that might mean the shark went without food. Nature is very unforgiving in its balancing: the faint of heart should look away now, while the curious click for a closer view.

Wednesday, 05 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Blooming Desert In Full Flower
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Hurricane, Utah. WHAT: desert flora.
MAP: Hurricane, Utah, USA. Thumbnail clicks [1][2][3][4][5] pop-up larger images.
Desert Flower 1 © Ian Scott ParkerDesert Flower 2 © Ian Scott ParkerDesert Flower 3 © Ian Scott ParkerDesert Flower 4 © Ian Scott ParkerDesert Flower 5 © Ian Scott Parker
To prove a point about the exceptional growth and bloom this Spring in the southern Utah desert, today we went flower hunting. The five examples you see here were found in places where such plants were not growing in recent years. The delightful Indian Paintbrush, seen in the middle picture, was previously found in scattered locations on the town overlook, but this year appeared in drifts.

Tuesday, 04 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Green Is A Very Relative Term
CREDIT: © Andrew Leaney/Leaney.org
WHERE: Kentmere, Cumbria. WHAT: hill walk in southern English Lakeland.
MAP: route, and location. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Kentmere © Andrew LeaneyWe collected our UK visitor from Las Vegas airport then drove north through the desert. We told our visitor how rain in the earlier part of the year had produced a green sheen on the surface of the usually arid brown landscape. We sat out in the evening sunshine saying how unusually green were the nearby hills. Later we went online to show some of the web sites that depict the landscapes back in the UK. Finding an alternative to describing the desert as green has clearly become an urgent necessity: less brown, perhaps.

Monday, 03 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: The Noble Art Of Throwing Sticks
CREDIT: © Andy Goldsworthy/ArtsEdNet
WHERE: global. WHAT: landscape art by Andy Goldsworthy.
MAP: Penpont. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image on source web site.

Penpont Stick Throwers © Andy GoldsworthyIt is now more than twenty five years since we were personally involved with what one friend euphemistically calls "country pursuits" in the Lowland Scotland village of Penpont (locally pronounced 'Penpunt'). Recreational activities during the intervening years seem to have taken a more sophisticated turn, especially with the arrival of landscape artist Andy Goldsworthy: the coarser pursuits of former times have been superseded by communal stick throwing. The picture shows such an event, part of Andy's work with 'Ballet Atlantique'. It looks good fun, and unlikely to lead to trouble.

The artist's work is often ephemeral, and he uses photography both as a means of recording the art, and as an artifact in its own right. The Getty ArtsEdNet web site has more on Andy's work, and there is a good overview and commentary from the online Sculpture Magazine. The Des Moines Art Center has details of 'Three Cairns', a widely discussed Goldsworthy project, and there has even been a film made about other Goldsworthy projects. We tried to find a comprehensive visual record of Andy's work, and the best was what we think may be an 'unofficial' gallery by Pan Omnibus on the Webshots service, where 'Iris Leaves and Berries' is a personal favorite.

Sunday, 02 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Delights Of India In Tea & Dance
CREDIT: © Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Government of India/TourismOfIndia.com
WHERE: India. WHAT: the art of dance. MAP: India (from CIA Factbook entry).
Thumbnail click [1][2][3][4][5][6] pops-up larger image from source site.
Indian Dance 1 © TourismOfIndia.comIndian Dance 2 © TourismOfIndia.comIndian Dance 3 © TourismOfIndia.comIndian Dance 4 © TourismOfIndia.comIndian Dance 5 © TourismOfIndia.comIndian Dance 6 © TourismOfIndia.com
In the serendipitous way of the web, we were actually researching 'tea dance', a social phenomenon of earlier times in the West, but ended up in India with tea from Darjeeling, and dance. Pour another cup of Stash, and let the dance begin!

Saturday, 01 May 2004

Pix Of The Day: Marie-Jeanne Dance Without Music
CREDIT: © Glen McGaha Miller/Visionary.nu
WHERE: not known. WHAT: images in a Conceptual Photography series.
Thumbnail clicks [1][2][3][4][5]pop-up source pages with larger images.
Dance Without Music 5 © Glenn McGaha MillerDance Without Music 7 © Glenn McGaha MillerDance Without Music 2 © Glenn McGaha MillerDance Without Music 6 © Glenn McGaha MillerDance Without Music 3 © Glenn McGaha Miller
Glenn McGaha Miller's Visionary.nu web site carries the tag 'Visual Poetry', and when we arrived on site we were looking for 'Conceptual Photography', which is one of the labels Glenn uses when classifying his work into various sections.

We selected an item entitled 'Dance Without Music': "A photographic exploration of what it might be like to be deaf in a hearing world", featuring model Marie-Jeanne. There are nine images in the series, but because we did not consider them to be serial in essence, our thumbnail strip presents them in a different order. We thought all nine images should be viewed as a complete statement by the photographer, but viewing them in a different sequence was an interesting exercise.

We have visited Conceptual Photography galleries in earlier features: introductions to work by Hollywood photographer William Mortensen, and the unusual conventional (non digital) work by Misha Gordin are still available. A page on the Italian language web site ThousandImages.com makes a useful type summary, but we hesitate to overuse the label so that it becomes any kind of a definition.

  
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)