December Challenge – 04 Winter Beauty

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The theme for today’s 31-day December Challenge is Winter Beauty. The wilds of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming embody this theme exquisitely. In the summer, Yellowstone is teeming with vegetation and wildlife, and while much of the vegetation is absent in the winter, the charismatic megafauna still abound. The snows transform the peaks and valleys into a different scene entirely, and I find it beautiful in a barren way.

Winter Beauty

What is your idea of winter beauty? Is it a barren winter scene, or a warm sunny beach? Tell me about it!

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Photo Friday: Look Up / Sinks Canyon Cliffs

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Sinks Canyon

Photo Friday Challenge: Look Up

Still playing catch-up for Photo Friday, I chose this photo from Sinks Canyon in the Wind River Basin of Wyoming for the theme “Look Up.” It’s always amazing what you see when you look up, and this day in June 2015 was no different. I was there for the sandstone, which forms these enormous cliffs that line the entrance to Sinks Canyon. The other people in this photo were at the cliffs for another reason. Did you see them yet? The lady near the top was leading the other two up the cliff face, and seemed to be a rock climbing pro. I, too, climbed to the top, but I took a different route. Off to the left of the photo, there is a slightly gentler slope that I used to switchback to the top of the cliffs and check out the limestone at the top.

What do you see when you look up? Let me know in the comments!

Photo Friday: Spare / Coyote

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Coyote in Wyoming

Photo Friday Challenge: Spare

In the fine tradition of being late, I present my Photo Challenge Friday on Wednesday (Japan time). I am currently in Japan, and I’ve been a bit busy with family obligations. So please excuse my absence! Today’s photo is from Wyoming, near the town of Lovell. I caught this coyote running away on a cloudy day as our truck approached. He stopped to look back at us, just before disappearing over the horizon.

The theme Spare is well-represented in the spare landscape of Wyoming, with only a few glimpses of wild animals in this scrub-covered semi-desert.

What spare environments have you visited? Let me know in the comments!

Y is for Yellowstone

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Today is the second to the last day of the A to Z Challenge! So for today, Y is for Yellowstone. Yellowstone National Park is located in the state of Wyoming in the US. It was established in 1872 and is the first US National Park. It’s famous for wildlife and geothermal features, as it sits on a hot spot with lots of volcanic activity. It’s also a supervolcano that has erupted at least 3 times in the past 2.1 million years!

Old Faithful at Yellowstone

Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone National Park – photo by kei

The volcanic activity underground creates many hydrothermal features, such as the world famous Old Faithful Geyser. There are also fumaroles with dry steam, bubbling mud pots, and bright blue hot springs. There are several geyser basins throughout the park, and since the entire park is on a volcano you are never far from a geothermal feature. This means that you should be careful when walking through geothermal areas, stay on marked paths, and never try to touch the hot springs. Continue reading

W is for Wyoming

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For today’s A to Z ChallengeW is for Wyoming. Wyoming is a semi-arid state which is usually dry, and primarily receives precipitation in the form of snow, which can close down roads in the winter. Wyoming is the least populous US state, with plenty of wide open spaces perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

Bighorn Basin Wyoming

Near the town of Lovell in the Bighorn Basin, WY – photo by kei

The state consists of many geologic basins (low spots), which formed in between mountain ranges (high spots) due to tectonic plate movement during the Cretaceous through Eocene periods. This is called the Laramide orogeny, or mountain-building episode, and this is what formed the Rocky Mountains in the US and Canada. This also means breathtaking views from mountains across the expanse of the basins. Continue reading