Thursday, July 28, 2016

Back to One of My Favorite Little Corners of the World!!!

In the beginning of May we joined friends in beautiful 
Yosemite National Park

Having lived in Mammoth those 4 years, we were used to entering the park
from Tioga Pass, on the eastern side of the park.
This time, we were staying on the western side of the park,
near Glacier Point.
So it was a very different perspective of Half Dome than I was used to!

Being early in the season, the falls were quite powerful...

...and the Dogwood were in bloom.

This was our picnic spot for lunch!

I'm sure these aren't the first folk to climb that rock and wall for a photo...
but I sure as heck wouldn't do it!!!
(it's a l-o-n-g way down!!!)

Getting my Ansel Adams mojo on... 

Looking down on the valley floor.

A couple more crazy folk throwing caution to the wind!!!

Proof positive the pine cone came from Yosemite!!!

Nice spot for a music video!!!

Our second full day started out a bit dreary...
...but made for some interesting shots by the house we stayed in!!!

A smaller Dogwood bloom...and pale yellow!!!
At least I think it's still a Dogwood!

We still headed into the valley...
I loved the ethereal look of the fall through the fog.

And what better way to spend a dreary day in Yosemite 
than having lunch at the beautiful (former) Ahwhanee Hotel dining room!
Yeah...I's now called the Majestic Yosemite Hotel...
but I refuse to call it that!
To me it will always be the Ahwahanee Hotel.
Yes...the National Park service lost a legal battle with 
a former concessionaire.  The Park service did not renew the concessionaire's 
contract.  Unfortunately for us, the government did not copyright the name,
but the concessionaire did.  So after a lengthy battle, the concessionaire
won the battle and retained the rights to the name.
While legally it was ostensibly the correct decision...
I think it was unethical and basically
"criminal" on the part of the concessionaire.
The hotel is a national treasure and the concessionaire
essentially stole the historical context of the name from us, 
the people who love this beautiful park and its history.


Sorry...I had to include this one!
I took this the first time I went down to Yosemite from Mammoth
in the summer of 2011...the year after the most incredible snow year...
with incredible snow melt!
It's my favorite photo of Bridal Veil!!!

And of course...being a devotee of Ansel Adams...
I had to turn it into a Black and White too!!!

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Our Little Corner of the World...on Our Last Game Drive...

On our last day in Zambia, we went on one last game drive.
We weren't expecting much as the game park was very small.

Who knew we'd see the largest herd of elephants of the trip!

This guy was quite stately...

...and bee-lining his way to...


He very diligently shook this tree until the nuts fell off.

Then he grazed on the nuts...kind of like a vacuum cleaner...

And what, might you ask, is this?

It's a termite mound!!!

These were all over South Africa and here in Zambia.

Now...if you've been to our know why I took this!!!

TheChief was in South Africa once before...
...he brought this lovely warthog home with him...
...the warthog sits prominently in our living room...
...he is the bain of my existence!!!

Whoever comes over either loves him or hates him!!!

What's not to love with a face like this???

This Rhino and her baby were a bit hidden behind the plants...
...which was a good thing as we were only about 30 yards away!

We pulled to a stop on the road, got out and walked to where these Rhino were.
Yep...we walked.  Which meant we were on foot when I took this.

Our guide told us when we began our trek, " Africa it is never good to run".

He told us that if the Rhino started to move toward us, to slowly back away,
then walk away...SLOWLY!

Well...they did start to walk toward us and we did just what he told us to do...
...and lived to tell it!!!

I felt pretty safe as our guides had these giant AK47's strapped to them.
Fortunately, TheChief didn't tell me until we got back that 
an AK47 wouldn't even pierce the hide of the Rhino.
They carried the AK47's to use on poachers!!!

TheChief told me that the AK47 could pierce the hide of the Rhino...
but it wouldn't stop it!!!
Glad I didn't know that until after the fact!!!
I had visions of the scene in Hatari where John Wayne, Red Buttons
and their crew were trying to capture the Rhino...
and he kept charging the jeeps...

Our guide and TheChief!!!

This little guy climbed inside the window of a car not far from us when we 
stopped for our sundowner.
He apparently needed a map...

Our last sundowner spot, next to the Zambezi.

I'm really not complaining...but at Singita we had beer and wine at our 
sundowner parties!

Our last African sunset...

...and our last evening to enjoy this spectacular hotel's porch.

The next day we headed home...
...first stop...
...the Zambia airport.

Not particularly comfortable for waiting...

...but there was plenty of floor space!!!

From Livingstone Zambia to Johannesburg South Africa...
...from Johannesburg to London...
...and London to LA.

Sadly...this was the end of one of the best trips of my life!!!

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Our Little Corner of the World..Getting a Birds Eye View of Victoria Falls!!!

We weren't quite satisfied with our walk along the edge of Victoria Falls... we decided to take to the skies!!!

We arrived at the heliport and had to take care of the usual paperwork... know...
the paperwork that says you won't sue the beejeebies out of them if the helicopter falls out of the sky!

To keep our minds off the fact that we've just signed our lives away...
...this smiling gentleman entertained us with his traditional music.

On the way to the helicopter we saw these beautiful flowers.

And here it is!  Our sweet ride!

Take off was interesting and fun...

...with pretty incredible views!

If you look to the left of center you'll see a row of buildings...
...that is our hotel!
And off to the right, you can see the spray from the falls.

Pretty amazing crevice!!!
See the rainbow near the top of the falls crevice?

This made me think of all the earthquake movies that show the earth just opening up!!!

There's a bit of reflection on the window glass...

...but if you look closely, you can see the falls.

Seeing the bridge and the cars on the road begins to put this massive natural wonder into perspective!

More reflections in the window...but wow!  What a view!!!

We even saw some elephants from up in the wild blue yonder!

Back safely on the ground...and ready for our next adventure!

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