Saturday, February 26, 2011

Raider Picture Week 8


Raider in his “walking” collar

Raider goes back to the Vet on Monday for a checkup. He has to wear the "cone" all of the time or he will use his foot to scratch the stitches on the back of his ear. He is not very happy. With the cone on he walks into things, he can't jump on to his couch or our bed and can't play with his chew toys. We won't know until Monday when the stitches will come out or how long he will have to continue to wear the cone. With his cone on Raider doesn’t have any peripheral vision and is easily startled by things. Also with it on he can’t sniff. What is a walk to a dog if he can’t sniff? So for walks we but this blowup collar on. Unfortunately, we can’t leave it on all the time as he is able to scratch his  ear with it on. He seems to be healing well and has increased his daily walks to 4 laps around the RV Park which is just over 3 miles a day!

Snow at 6:30 AM Feb 20, 2011 in Pahrump, NV

This is the scene that greeted us as we let Raider out first thing last Sunday morning!

Birds having a feeding frenzy despite it snowing

Looking out the window last Sunday morning

Looking southwest towards California from Pahrump, NV

On our walk this morning looking southwest towards California from Pahrump, NV

Looking North at the Mtns. Covered in Snow

On our walk this morning looking North at the mountains covered in Snow.

Yes, it has been cold everywhere lately even here in the desert. Our week days have been clear and windy but both this weekend and last there has been snow in the local mountains.

More snow pictures on the slideshow:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Niagara Falls–New York


American Falls with Horseshoe Falls in the background.

Although we are posting this entry the fourth week of February 2011 we were actually at Niagara Falls the last week of September 2010.

I doubt there is a more recognizable natural landmark in the eastern half of North America than Niagara Falls.  We have all seen countless pictures of Niagara Falls, but just as with the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, nothing really prepares you for the full impact of being there. One and half million gallons of water a second going over the falls just has to be felt.

We had a mix of weather while in the Niagara Falls area. We had rain and clouds; along with some warm humid days. The day we visited the falls was quite warm and very very windy.


The "Maid in the Mist" boat tour of Niagara Falls


Brave souls hiking down to the wind caves near the base of the Falls

The updraft from the falls was so strong it was all we could do to keep our cameras dry from the top of the falls. We had no idea why these people would want to get even wetter by trying to get closers to the falls.

As it turns out the best views of the two falls are from the Canadian side of the river. So we walked across the Rainbow Bridge into Ontario, Canada.



The view from the bridge; American Falls on the left and Horseshoe Falls on the right.


Did I mention that it was VERY WINDY!!!


American Falls as seen from the Canadian side of the river.

American Falls is 100 feet high and 1,060 feet wide.


Horseshoe Falls as seen from the Canadian side of the river.

Horseshoe Falls is 173 feet high and 2,600 feet wide. Notice the “Maid of the Mist” boat just right of center. Can you imagine how soaked those people got?


Oddly enough the walk to Canada was free, but there was a 50 cent per person toll to return to the United States.

Many more pictures on the Niagara Falls slideshow:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Raider Picture Week 7

Oh, NO! I am a "cone dog" again

Oh, NO! I am a “cone dog” again!

Kathy Wrote today’s entry:

Monday Raider had to have the hematoma on his left ear repaired via laser surgery and 20 stitches. Poor guy, he's just filling in his coat from December's surgery and now the left side of his head is shaved! At least the vet didn't touch his Mohawk!

Hematoma was caused by scratching his ear too hard due to fleas! That ruptured a blood vessel in the ear which caused a blood blister that enlarged very quickly over a few days! I thought being out in the desert we'd be "flea free", but apparently he had a few hitch hikers from San Jose!

I have to play vet assistant again with 5 different medications to give him. (Antibiotics, Pain killer, 2 different ointments and one other RX I'm not sure what it does! Naturally at different times!)

But at least he was more perky when we picked him up on Monday afternoon, compared to his Dec. surgery, he was lethargic then! And he was starving, a good sign for sure!

Oh, NO! I am a "cone dog" again

Monday, February 14, 2011

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area



You can see by the above pictures why this area is called Red Rock Canyon.

According to the Bureau of Land Management Web page for Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. “The unique geologic features, plants and animals of Red Rock Canyon NCA represent some of the best examples of the Mojave Desert.” It is located 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip, contains 195,819 acres, is visited by more than one million people each year, including a 13-mile scenic drive,and has  more than 30 miles of hiking trails. What the Web page doesn’t say is that it is also 50 miles from Pahrump.

An even better Web page for all things about Red Rock Canyon NCA is the excellent one from the Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association.



The sandstone of the area has all kinds of interesting patterns and is also very popular with rock climbers.




Even the smaller rocks have very interesting patterns


Red Rock NCA is one of the few places we have been that allows dogs on the trails. So with our trusty K9 trail guide we headed out for a hike. Raider was like a puppy, charging along and jumping over rocks.




Our first trail was to an area known for petroglyphs and pictographs. Petroglyphs are when the patterns are carved into the rock and Pictographs are when they were put on with paint. In the very nice visitor center at Red Rock NCA they use the term Rock Art to cover both.




There are areas with sweeping views.

Our second hike was one the the volunteer at the visitor center said not to miss. It was to  desert waterfall with a surprise.


With Raider leading the way our trail started across a dry wash.


Then we entered one of the many side canyons.


We did find a waterfall.



We also found ice! Even though it looks clear and sunny in all of these pictures the temperature never reached 50 and even in the sun we hiked in sweatshirts and down vest. Here in the canyon the temperature was only in the 30s.



The surprise at the end of the trail was this frozen tree.



The Red Rock Canyon NCA is real desert and has the cacti to prove it.

This place seems to have everything: there are  wild burros, wild horse and bighorn sheep. We did not see any wild horses but we did see wild burros along Nevada Highway 159 and saw the bighorn sheep along Nevada Highway 160. Unfortunately, both were in areas where we could not pull over to get pictures.The bird list for Red Rock NCA says that there are over 100 species in the area, but all we saw was a single Spotted Towhee and a Common Raven.

More pictures of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on the slideshow:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Raider Picture Week Six

It is so hard to ghost write the blog when I have writer's block!

It is so hard to ghost write the blog when I have writer's block!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Thousand Islands–New York


Boldt Castle on Heart Island

Although we are posting this entry the second week of February 2011 we were actually in the Thousand Island area of New York the third week of September 2010.

Prior to our visit to upstate New York the only Thousand Island I had ever heard of was the salad dressing. However, while we were visiting our friends Jim and Janet in Vermont they said “While you are in the area, you might want to go see the Thousand Islands.”

Wikipedia defines the Thousand Islands as follows: “Thousand Islands is the name of an archipelago of islands that straddle the Canada-U.S. border in the Saint Lawrence River as it emerges from the northeast corner of Lake Ontario. They stretch for about 50 miles (80 km) downstream from Kingston, Ontario. The Canadian islands are in the province of Ontario. The U.S. islands are in the state of New York. The islands, which number 1,793 in all, range in size from over 40 square miles (100 km2) to smaller islands occupied by a single residence, to even smaller uninhabited outcroppings of rocks that are home to migratory waterfowl.” On the tour we took they said that Canada has 2/3rds of the island, however since the US has most of the larger islands the amount of land is about the same.


A scenic turnout along the Saint Lawrence River

We had some rain while in Vermont and would have more rain when we got to Niagara Falls. As you can see in the above picture we had great weather while visiting the Thousand Islands. Late September is definitely off season for this area. In fact the RV Park we were staying at was working on getting ready to close for the season. It was a very good thing to be there during the off season as the villages are small and the roads two lane. I can’t imagine how people get around during busy holiday weekends. There are only a few RV Parks in the area and most of them like the one we stayed at were 90 percent full of “seasonals”. Seasonals are permanent trailers that are used by their owners during the “season”. The RV Park we made reservations at advertised as: “on the river” and “pull throughs”. What we found was a RV Park that was built on steep slope down to the river. All but the 6 sites furthest from the river were seasonals, most of which hadn’t moved in decades. The 6 sites available were all  “pull throughs”. However, over the years trees have grown and power and light poles have been added. So when we got into the site the managers said “You won’t be able to get around the corner down there so you will have to back out.” You can imagine how I was looking forward to basically doing a 3 point turn up hill with 60 feet of truck and trailer!


The view of the Saint Lawrence River from the bottom of the RV Park


Our Tour Boat coming in to pick us up.

Well you can’t see islands without going on a boat so, we signed up for a 2 hour tour with Uncle Sam Tours. It was a gorgeous day as we had a narrated trip up and down the river and between the many Islands.

The most striking place on the river is the Boldt Castle in the opening picture. George Boldt owned the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City among other very expensive hotels of the day. He started having Boldt Castle built as a present for his wife in 1900. However, she died in 1904 and he immediately had all construction stopped.  No one ever occupied the castle and the castle and all of the other structures on the island sat exposed to the elements for the next 73 years. In 1977 the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority bought the island for one dollar and started restoring it.


 This boat house was built to house the workers and the supplies while Boldt Castle was being built.

There are all different sizes islands and houses on both sides of the border in  the Thousand Islands.






We were told on the tour that some of the smaller islands with a house sold for $400,000 – $1,000,000. While the high end properties were in the $15,000,000 – $20,000,000 range. I know being from California I have a warped sense of real estate values but, I thought a private island with a house for $1,000,000 or less was a really good deal. Then the guide pointed out that the river freezes over during the winter and that all of these are just summer homes. Only useable for about 5 months a year.


This had been a Dance Hall until the roof collapsed.


On another beautiful day we visit Tibbett's Point Lighthouse built in 1827.

Tibbett’s Point marks the end of Lake Ontario and the beginning of the Saint Lawrence River.

There are many more pictures on the slideshow: