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Showing posts with label Natural Beauty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Natural Beauty. Show all posts

Monday, 20 September 2021

Horseshoe Falls

Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls

Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Address: 6650 Niagara Pkwy.
Date: Dec 2003
Website: www.niagaraparks.com

   Niagara Falls is home to some of the most impressive waterfalls in the world.  The largest waterfall is the Horseshoe Falls.  It is named after the curved shape that was caused by erosion due to the six million cubic feet of water that rush over its edge every minute.  The Niagara River flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario and when it passes over the falls it is a sight to be seen.  We like to visit every chance we get in order to see the power of nature up close.

American, Bridal Veil And Horseshoe Falls.

  The Niagara River divides as it approaches the falls and some of the water goes over the smaller American and Bridal Veil falls (left hand side of picture above) which are located in New York, USA.  The Horseshoe Falls takes on the majority of the water as it plunges over the edge and drops almost 200 feet into the depths below.  It is located almost entirely in Ontario, Canada.

US Edge Of The Horseshoe Falls

  Only a small portion of the falls are considered to be within the United States of America.

Buildings Rise Up Beside Niagara Falls.

    The Canadian side of the falls draws huge amounts of tourists all year long.  There are hotels, casinos and viewing towers like the Skylon that let them stay for a longer look from a higher vantage point.

Incline Railway Niagara Falls.

  There are many ways to get down to the falls for a closer look from the hotels above.  One of the most fun is an incline railway.

The Upper Edge Of Niagara Falls.

    The closest you can get to the falls is at Table Rock.  You can get very close to the water as it rushes over the edge.  Just be prepared to get wet as the mist that comes up as the water crashes down below can make it seem like it is always raining.  

Rainbows Over Nigara Falls.

  On a warm summer day the mist can be refreshing.  On a colder fall day it can make you regret your clothing choices.  On any sunny day, the mist and sun can treat you to a variety of rainbows.

Annie Taylor & Her Barrel.

    Through the years many daredevils have wanted to get an even closer look at the falls.  Annie Taylor (above) was the first person to go over the Horseshoe Falls in a barrel.  Annie survived her stunt in 1901.  Since then many others have tried with mixed results.

Rapids At The Top Of The Horseshoe Falls.

   We can't imagine venturing into the rapids of the Niagara River.  

Old Power Plant In Niagara Falls.

    The rapidly flowing water of the Niagara River is diverted to be used for electricity by both the United States and Canada.  Above is an older power station that used to be used for this purpose.  Today over a million people get power by harnessing the force of the water.

Maid Of The Mist.

    While we wouldn't get into the water at the top of the falls, we have ventured into the rapids below.  The Maid Of The Mist boats used to take tourists up as close as they could to the crashing water of the falls.  Today, Hornblower boats have taken over the job.

Niagara Falls From Maid Of The Mist.

   From the boats you can look up at the Horseshoe Falls from a very unique angle.  If you are willing to get completely soaked you can experience the weight of the falls crashing down in front of you.

Journey Behind The Falls.

  If a boat is not your thing, you can also do the Journey Behind The Falls.  Here you can get right down near the bottom of the falls while still staying on dry land.  Well, wet land anyways.   There is also a little hallway with a tiny opening at the end where you are actually behind the falls itself.

The Falls At Night.

    Once the sun goes down, the falls are still entertaining.  In the evenings colourful spotlights bring the falls to life in a whole different way.

Fireworks At Niagara Falls.

       On summer weekends and during special events, fireworks light up the sky over the falls.

Table Rock Frozen In Winter Niagara Falls.

       The falls are still worth seeing in the winter months as the mist rises and freezes wherever it lands.

Niagara Falls In Winter.

      No matter how cold it gets, the falls have never frozen solid.  Even in the coldest winter the water still flows.  There is always something to see at the Horseshoe Falls all year long.  We recommend you visit Niagara Falls at least once in your life.  We try to do it at least once in a year.


Map of Our World
Horseshoe Falls


Post # 303

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Uluru

Uluru Ayers Rock in the Centre of Australia
 
 Location: Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia
Address: 3 Yulara Drive
Date: May 2012
Website: parksaustralia.gov.au
 
  Uluru is located right in the red centre of Australia.  The giant sandstone rock is a sacred spot for the aboriginal people of the region.  Uluru is also known as Ayers Rock when it was named after Sir Henry Ayers who was the Chief Secretary of South Australia.  We prefer the original name.  During our Australian trip we spent a couple of days and nights exploring the area around Uluru.

Kata Tjuta Uluru

   We stayed at a place called Emu Walk Apartments.  In the distance we could see Uluru and another important group of rock formations called Kata Tjuta.

Kata Tjuta

  Kata Tjuta is made up of about 36 domed rock formations that jut out of the earth. We took a tour which gave us the opportunity to see some of these formations up close.

One Of Kata Tjuta's Valleys
  
   We walked into one of the valleys that is formed between the domes.  You can see how the sandstone rock is shaped by rainwater running down its walls.  While the mass of rock was impressive we had hoped to see some of the desert's little creatures on our walk.  We would have to wait until we returned to our apartment.
 
Crested Pigeon

  As we entered the property a few crested pigeons ran across the walkway.  These pigeons seemed to prefer running around to get out of our way rather than take flight.

Spider In Uluru Australia

    As we walked through the apartments, a spider was spinning a web right at face level.  We are glad we noticed it in time.  We snapped a photo in case a doctor needed to see it later and carefully passed by making sure we didn't get tangled in the web.  Australia is full of deadly insects and spiders.  We are not the best at identification so we just generally avoid everything that crawls or slithers.  We believe this is an orbweaver spider which, while its bite might be painful, is thankfully not deadly.  If anyone reading this knows otherwise please post in the comments.
 
Caterpillar In Uluru Australia
 
   Outside on the ground we found another fuzzy critter.  Australia is known for having processionary caterpillars that follow each other in long lines across the desert.  This caterpillar was all alone so we don't know if later it would join up with a group for a game of follow the leader.

Uluru Camel Tour Camels Sit On Ground

  The next morning we had our own version of follow the leader.  We had signed up for a sunrise camel tour.  The tour started in the dark so that we could be out on the trail when the sun finally started to rise.

Sunrise In Uluru Australia

   When the sun did rise there was a beautiful orange glow that grew from beyond the horizon.

Wild Camel On Hill Uluru

  We noticed a large animal walking along the top ridge of a hill.  It turned out to be another camel.  This camel wasn't an escapee from a camel tour, it was a feral camel.  Dromedary (single humped) camels were brought to Australia's desert for transportation back in the19th century.  Today, close to a million wild camels roam Australia.

Wild Camel Near Uluru Australia

  We also saw other wild camels walking beside the road when we travelled to Kata Tjuta.

Camel Rides Uluru Australia.

  The camels on our tour we not so wild.  They followed each other slowly and steadily.  Everyone was riding two people per camel. 

Uluru Camel Tours

  Our camel had a bit of an itchy head and took any opportunity to rub against the camel in front of us.

Camel From Uluru Camel Tours

   Our camel was named Chester.  As the guides called him it is pronounced "Chestah!"  It is quite high up sitting on top of a camel. When they sit down they fold their legs underneath them.  This means the riders are tilted way forward as the front legs fold under and then levelled out again as the back legs fold.  The process is the same for when the camel stands up.  Chester did a good job and we remained in our saddles the entire time.

Uluru Sunset

  After an early morning of camel riding, we had plans for a late night too.  We headed to Uluru to watch the sunset.

Sunset BBQ Near Uluru.

  There were some tables set up so we could enjoy a meal and some drinks while the sun went down.  We hate to admit it, but the kangaroo was tasty. After dinner we would look up at the sky and see the stars in the reverse of how we are used to seeing them in the Northern Hemisphere.  

Desert Mouse Near Uluru.

  During dinner we had a few friends scurrying under the table looking for scraps.  Uluru is known for having the cute Spinifex Hopping Mouse.  We are quite sure our visitors were just regular mice.

Uluru From Ayers Rock Airport.

   Our time in Uluru came to an end and we caught one last glimpse of the giant rock formation as our plane started down the runway.  We had seen some creatures big and small and even more reasons why Australia is such an unusual and special place.


Map of Our World
Uluru Camel Tours
Emu Walk Apartments , Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Post # 299

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Winter in Algonquin

 Spruce Bog Trail In Winter.

Location: Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada
Address: Spruce Bog Trail
Date: Feb 2019
Website: www.algonquinpark.on.ca

 While Algonquin Park is known for moose and bears and wolves, in the winter it is all about the little guys.  We visited the Ontario provincial park with a goal to try and see one little critter who is quite active during the winter months.  We were on the trail of the American Pine Marten.

 Chickadee At Algonquin Park in Winter.

  We started our search on the Spruce Bog Trail as there had been reports of marten spotted here. A chickadee welcomed us as we started the trail. Things looked promising.

 Animal Tracks in Algonquin Park in Winter.

  We came across some small tracks in the snow.  Things looked even more promising.  We are not the best at identifying tracks, but we believe we have marten tracks in the photo above.

Grey Jay in Algonquin Park.

    Next we were greeted by one of the guardians of the forest. A grey jay flew to a nearby branch to watch us on our hike. "Can you show us where the pine marten are hiding?" we asked. The grey jay flew from branch to branch in front of us leading the way. After a short time he flew off. We didn't come across any marten, but we always enjoy a visit from a curious jay all fluffed up for winter.   

A Snow Fly Walking In Winter Algonquin Park.

  As we were scanning the snow looking for marten tracks we noticed something unexpected walking across the snow.  It was a snow fly.  We never expected to see insects during the winter months, but that is when the adult snow flies live.  They have glycerol inside them to prevent their bodies from freezing in the cold weather.

Pine Marten Fur in Algonquin Park.

  When we returned to the parking lot after our hike, we learned that we had just missed a pair of pine marten running around in the snow at the edge of the lot.  While we had been out on the trail they had been putting on a show.  We hung around for a little while just in case. Still we had no luck and decided to see what was going on at the Visitor Centre.

Porcupine In Tree At Algonquin Park.

    At the back of the Algonquin Visitor Centre is a large viewing area that looks out across the valley below.  We noticed a group of photographers interested in something in the distance.  In the center of the photo above is a porcupine at the top of a tree (trust us).  Unfortunately, there are not too many porcupine in Algonquin.  They are preyed upon by the slightly larger relative of the pine marten, the fisher.  Fishers themselves are a rare sighting in the park.
 
Common Redpoll in Algonquin Park.

  There is also a bird feeder behind the Visitor Centre which sometimes attracts martens looking to eat some of the bird seeds. It never disappoints as various birds come and go.  A common redpoll (above) is one frequent winter visitor. 

Pine Grosbeak.
Pine Grosbeak.

    Another bird we had never seen before is the pine grosbeak.  The male is the brighter red coloured one.   We had seen a lot of different things today, but it was still the martens we had our sights on.

Mew Lake Campground.

  We had one last place we wanted to try in our search for the marten.  We headed to Mew Lake Campground where there is an old airfield and of course camping.

A Pine Marten in Algonquin Park.

   No sooner had we pulled the car into a parking spot when we spotted something in the rear-view mirror.  At last!  A pine marten had just climbed over the snow bank and onto the road.

A Pine Marten in Algonquin Park.

   We stepped out of the car and the marten ran back into the woods.  We stayed still and it wasn't long until the marten showed itself again and continued searching through the snow.  A marten is about the size of a small cat but with much shorter legs.

Snow Fleas in Algonquin Park.

   After spending some time with our new forest friend, we started to head back to our car.  We noticed something that looked like pepper in the snow.  Upon closer examination we realized it was snow fleas or springtails.  Another winter insect.  As we watched them we could see the fleas hop off the snow and disappear into the air. 

  Suddenly, something flew near us and at first we thought it was a moth.  We had seen enough insects that day, why not a snow moth?  Something else flew towards us and we realized it was a group of chickadees.  They took turns swooping in and landing or almost landing on us.  They must have thought we wanted to feed them.  As they flew closer to our faces, we decided to take cover and call it a day.   It truly was a day full of small creatures, but the marten was definitely the cutest animal in the forest that day, or some might say any day.


Map of Our World
Algonquin Park (Mew Lake) , Algonquin Park (Spruce Bog)

Post # 297