Nature

A Ride in the Park

sea

“The purpose of life is to live it,
to taste experience to the utmost,
to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

Eleanor Roosevelt


Alright, it was a cold, clear night. For the first time in days I could see the surroundings of West Yellowstone. The town is still in hibernation, only locals frequent the supermarket, the bars, and the occasional  coffee shop. Everything else is till boarded up.

There are still 2 feet of snow on the ground, huge snow piles cover the parking lots.  Around ten o’clock I had my hot chocolate and a pastry, ready to roll. I was dressed like an explorer near the North pole, plastic double boots, fleece pants, insulated snow pants, fleece and soft shell, mittens, the whole yard. It felt right, given temps were still in the teens. Soon after the park entrance I encountered my first group of bison. Probably the first biker of the season. We checked each other out. Females and their young. We came to an agreement. Giving each other space…

A few miles later three big bulls…

Different story. They did not feel like budging, standing in the middle of the road, staring at me, not giving an inch. Luckily a maintenance worker came by in his pickup truck and offered me to stay on his safe side while passing the big boys. Hope they are gone on the way back 🙂

I rode 14 miles following the Madison river to the junction. Just north of the junction I found a thermal feature with bubbling water, a lot of steam and some hoar frost. That was beautiful.

On the way back I ran into 4 groups of other bikers, including a tandem. Bike season has started, even it is still nippy around here.

Luckily, the male bison were gone!

Can’t wait to shed some layers, although that may not happen soon, according to the forecast. It looks like snow and rain and wind for another week…

Advertisements
Standard
Nature

Mammoth Hot Springs – № 2

“You can always back up
and pick a new fork.”

Kary Mullis


What’s the connection between Kary Mullis and Yellowstone National Park, you ask?

Well, Thermus aquaticus, a thermophilic, chemotroph bacterium was discovered in Yellowstone National Park. A number of enzymes were identified in this organism that likes to grow in 70 °C warm water. Make that 70 °C hot water. One of the enzymes, Taq polymerase, was later used in a technique called PCR, which revolutionized molecular biology. PCR is the brainchild of Kary Mullis.

If you want to read more about Kary Mullis, beware! You might find some strange believes and come across extraterrestrials in the form of a green fluorescent raccoon.

Standard
Nature

Blue Blood Winter Super Moon

Supermoon

“Let’s swim to the moon
Let’s climb through the tide
Surrender to the waiting worlds
That lap against our side.”

Jim Morrison


Hey Jim, let me have some of that, too 🙂

Seriously.

The astronomers did it again. With an uncanny precision they have predicted again the occurrence of a rare  event on the night sky. We had a storm approaching last night with high winds and snow fall. I have not done much night photography and I did not expect to see the lunar eclipse on a full moon. So I did not set a timer.

What woke me up at 6 in the morning? Was it Jimmy? I’ll never know.

So I get up, bundle up to walk to the bathhouse and I see a flash going off. Not thinking clearly at this hour I think somebody has set up a camera trap to get a picture of any wildlife on campus. That’s strange. The I see some shapes in the distance moving around near the bunkhouse. Somebody is awake. What are they doing this early? Too early for sunrise, no wolves howling, no class?

Then it dawns on me. I see a blood orange in the sky. It is supposed to be a bright full moon, but it is not. It is a red moon. Bright at the bottom, darker on top.

I fumble with some knobs and settings to capture the rare event.

What would we do without astronomers? Expect the world come to an end? Or go with Jim?

 

Standard
Nature

Shades of Blue – № 3

“It was a black and white day of frost, which crawled along the dark trees and outlined twig and branch. The air was misty, and distant objects assumed a mysterious importance. Slight sounds, too, suggested infinite activities to the mind.”

Robert S. Hichens


The picture was taken a year ago. Cottonwoods and spruce trees covered with frost and snow. A fine mist hanging over the frozen river bed. If you look carefully you might even spot two bald eagles. Mysterious…

How did Robert Hichens know?

Robert Smythe Hichens was a journalist, writer, and a contemporary of Oscar Wilde.

Standard
Nature

Who do you think we are?

blog

“Our mastery over the forces of nature has led to a rapid growth of population, and a vast accumulation of wealth; but these have brought with them such an amount of poverty and crime, and have fostered the growth of so much sordid feeling and so many fierce passions, that it may well be questioned, whether the mental and moral status of our population has not on the average been lowered, and whether the evil has not overbalanced the good.”

Alfred Russel Wallace


That was more than 150 years ago. Alfred Russel Wallace was born 194 years ago and became a leading scientist, who independently proposed a theory of natural selection, which prompted Charles Darwin to publish his own theory.

I wonder what instilled his negative view on the evolution of human society. It is also remarkable to read his historic assessment of our proliferation and its effect on our ethics. What would he think if he were around today? Did his voice go unheard?

On another note, it is also Elvis Presley’s birthday today.

Standard
Nature

Devils Club Snack

blog

Mmmh, delicious. Prickly devils club, or what’s left of it. That’s what this calf is munching on just outside my living room. They clearly know I am there, behind the window. I think, I am more nervous than they are…

A mother and her two calves make the rounds regularly and trim the bushes around the house. This was a week ago, now we have more snow on the ground, which makes it harder for them to move around and find food. On the other hand it is less cold.

They are amazing to watch. I hope they make it through the winter alright.

 

Standard