2 days walking NYC…

Central Park…

Steve-Jeff-CentralPark

CentralPark-3

CentralPark-4

CentralPark-3

Views from the High Line…

HighLineView-3

HighLineView-2

HighLineView-a

The globe at Columbus Circle, seen from below coming up the stairs from the subway…

ColumbusCr-Wrold

A mosaic wall near Chelsea Market…

TileWall

MosaicWall-2

Our view from the Hilton Garden Inn…

HotelView-1

HotelView-2

When I got back to the hotel and started putting my stuff on the bed, I realized that I am very monochromatic this trip. Good thing I have a bright green jacket :-).

MonochromeMe

 

Hiking Wheeler Peak…

Note: You may have read this post way too early. WordPress hiccuped and I couldn’t fix it. But here it is, in the intended order of posting.

We talked to a local who said that if we started our hike early, we ought to miss the storm that was forecast at Wheeler Peak so Chris, Steve, and I were out the door by 5:00 AM on our last vacation day. Lorna opted to stay back with the kids on their last day in Red River. She and her mom took them on a 4-wheel excursion up the mountain.

We parked the car at Taos Ski Valley (altitude 9439′) and started up the Bull of the Woods trail. This is longer, slightly easier, scenic route to the top, but it’s uphill all the way. It is 2.1 miles to this meadow.

We still have 5 1/2 miles to go to reach the peak. Oh my. This sign got my attention. If you ski, you know that a black diamond means ‘expert’. It may not mean that for this hike, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

IMG_0702

Some parts were only a little uphill, more were really uphill, and there were a few disheartening spots where we went downhill and then had to climb back up. Deep sighs all round.

We walked across snow a few times…

Honestly, our lungs were killing us. As we got higher, we stopped to breathe every 100 steps.

IMG_0739

You reach the 2nd highest point before the you get to the actual peak. And then you hike down a while before turning back up. It was harder than it looked like it would be but we did it. Wheeler Peak, altitude 13, 159′

IMG_0752

The views were amazing!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

IMG_0764

This is Chris standing way closer to the edge than Lorna would have been able to tolerate…

IMG_0757

We took the short, steep way down. The first part were switchbacks over a huge granite talus field. I was happy to have on knee braces and to have a real trekking pole because this was the scariest part of the whole hike. No photos, I was focused on not falling.

The last part of this trail intersects with the downhill part of the Williams Lake trail that we had hiked earlier in the week. We went back to the Bavarian Restaurant to celebrate reaching the peak and hiking 11 1/2 miles with more Andechs beer. As we sat there, the rain finally came. Life is good :-).

 

 

Red River, NM…

Sometimes you have to get away from your actual business to plan the future of that business. That is why I took my office manager (Lorna), web and social media consultant (Chris), shipping clerk (Elanor), and the man who does everything else that comes up (Steve) on a working vacation to Red River, NM. The boys (jack and Bear) had to come too because they couldn’t stay home alone and, besides, we love them :-).

Red River is a long day’s drive from Sherman. Lorna and I did a lot of talking on the way out and back. I made notes and took photos. The white van in front of me in most of these photos belongs to Chris and Lorna. It was a 2-car expedition.

The land is mostly flat from Sherman to the mountains. There are lumpy stretches (not really hills), and towns. There were trees in most of the towns but out on the prairie, not so much. The elevation rose as we drove west.

I didn’t get good photos of the mountains from the car on the way to Red River because the light was wrong. And I missed some lovely photos when I was driving. It’s better to be safe than wrecked, right?

We took a more scenic route on the way home, through Tucumcari and Las Vegas, NM. The mountains in Red River quickly gave way to plateaus. The trees gave way to scrubbier plants.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And then it got flat again, all the way home, which is one reason why we who live on the prairie go to the mountains :-).

I do love being able to see off into the distance, and I love how big the sky is over flat land, but it’s not for everyone. I’ll share more photos of the trip, with mountains and people, later this week.

IMG_0815

 

 

More from St. Maarten…

My selfies are getting better. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

IMG_8016

We went on a snorkel tour on boat with Octopus Diving. The fish were pretty, the water was warm, and the Dramamine kept me from getting motion sickness. All good.

IMG_8031

We snorkeled out by that rocky island. IMG_8055

When I wasn’t snorkeling, I was visiting with Captain Kyle who is 27, has lived all over the world, and who can put all he owns in a small duffle bag. His life sounds really interesting, probably because it is so different from my own life. Just thinking about how to live that way and still quilt was enough to make my head hurt.

IMG_8055

Shadow selfie…

IMG_7985

I’ll sign off with these two beach photos. St. Maarten was wonderful, and the vacation shared with friends made it even better!

IMG_8053

I took this with the iPhone Camera+ app which is a very cool app. I used the in-app editing tool that is a whole lot like Lightroom. I’m visiting St Maarten and I thought I’d have my big camera out and about with me but it’s not working out that way. My iPhone is turning into my camera on this trip and it’s working pretty well.

Hiking on St. Maarten…

There is a zip line course at Loterie Farm near the high point of St. Maarten. Julie and Wayne have ‘zipped’ before and while it sounded like (dangerous) fun, we decided that hiking was more our style. Julie opted to read a book on the beach and Steve, Wayne and I set off for the jungle.

IMG_8058

It was hot and humid and sort of jungle-y.

IMG_8060

It was uphill mostly going in, and downhill mostly going out. In some spots it was very rocky. I’m not sure how far we hiked but we all felt like we had accomplished something when it was over.

There used to be a sugar plantation on the property and this is a ruin of a well…

IMG_8072

This was one of the overlooks on the trail…

IMG_8061

We got to the top and were stopped by this gate. We did not try ringing Nils Larsen, the name by the buzzer, to see if he’d let us in.

IMG_8078

The view beyond the gate:

IMG_8076

I got the guys to stand by this blue pole…

IMG_8069

And then I got them to strike a pose. Wayne and Steve were very good sports about the whole photo thing.

IMG_8068

The trail back down started here, just to the right of the concrete wall. Look close and you can see the arrows pointing us down the trail.

IMG_8070

It started to rain as we walked the trail out. We spotted a monkey who didn’t seem to mind us but took off when the thunder started and the rain began to fall in earnest.

IMG_8075

And that was the end of the hike picture taking!

St. Maarten, continued…

There were lots of photo ops. In fact, I could turn into one of those people who makes little forward progress because they are too busy taking pictures. That used to drive me crazy with other people, so I try not to overdo it.

IMG_8019

Sometimes I like to play with filters or other editing options. (Camera+ has some really great built-in editing features.) There is never only one perfect choice so it’s hard to know when to stop..

IMG_8020

This photo in color is not nearly as good…

IMG_8015

The same is true with this photo. In black and white is looks very retro.

IMG_7986

There was one wall with a broken glass bottle ridge along its top that looked like dangerous flowers.

IMG_8022

It was more interesting in black and white.

IMG_8023

Sint Maarten…

AKA St Maarten, is an island in the Caribbean that is split between the Netherlands and France. We stayed on the Dutch side, at Dawn Beach. By ‘we’, I mean Julie, Wayne, Steve, and me.

IMG_7963

We were in an lovely condo and could look out from the living room onto the balcony, over the next building to the ocean. I’m not sure why, but I really liked the view through the doors to the balcony.

IMG_7959

This was our view…

IMG_7916

Even the cloudy days were beautiful…

IMG_7957

In case you are wondering, I took all of these photos with my iPhone using the Camera+ app.

We walked on the beach…

IMG_8009

IMG_7996

IMG_8030

I’ll post more photos from our trip over the next few days. It’s nice to re-visit the ocean!