Tag Archive | weather

Time To Reflect – Antelope Island

There were never enough hours in the day to see and do all the things that we had planned during our trip to Utah.  We had already spent several hours at the Natural History Museum in Salt Lake City, the rain having chased us inside, but by the time we were finished in there things had cleared up somewhat and it was suggested that we head over to Great Salt Lake.

We weren’t quite sure what to expect. Various people had mentioned that the place had rather a distinctive odor to it, but we were curious to find out for ourselves just what Antelope Island was all about and so we took the road along the causeway that leads to the largest of the ten islands in the lake.

Antelope Island 18

Our first impression when we stopped along the causeway and opened the car windows was not encouraging. Apart from the smell, which was pretty awful, we were inundated by flies and we quickly closed them again. Thankfully it didn’t deter us because once we got onto the island everything was fine.

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Antelope Island covers about 42 square miles, most of it native grassland. The size of the lake fluctuates during the course of the year but has lost quite a lot of its water due to evaporation. It is the largest salt water lake in the western hemisphere but because of its extremely high salt content it cannot support fish although large amounts of brine shrimp attract many waterfowl which were very much in evidence as we drove along the shoreline.

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It didn’t take long for us to spot some of the many species of wildlife that roam about Antelope Island State Park including pronghorn antelope, for which the island is named, and bison. The bison herd may include anything up to 700 animals and there is a yearly round-up to take count and make sure they are all healthy.

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The sun had put in an appearance by this time and we decided to take a short hike along Lady Finger Point Trail. The scenery was awesome and we could see the bison grazing in the distance while at our feet some kind of lizard scurried away as we approached. Magpies are a common sight in Utah and we were closely watched as we made our way along the trail.

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But time was growing short. The rest of our days in Salt Lake City were already spoken for so we knew this was our only opportunity to see the island and now the light was fading fast.

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And once again the storm clouds rolled in. I was sorry to leave with so many wonderful things yet to see and photograph but it was as though the island was closing ranks on us. It seemed to be saying, “That’s all you’re getting. Come back another time. Goodbye.”

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

The Weekly Photo Challenge from the folks on The Daily Post at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/weekly-photo-challenge-sea/ is Sea.

Mum and me at Folkestone 2

How I miss the sea! When we lived in England, every year we would take a holiday by the sea. Although technically Folkestone wasn’t by the sea but the English Channel, it made no difference to my young eyes. Sometimes we went to Westcliff-on-Sea, occasionally to other places such as Broadstairs, Blackpool and Brighton, and once we visited Lowestoft which later proved to be a major turning point in our lives.

In the 40 years that I’ve lived in the USA I’ve only seen the sea once. I longed to visit the sea-side and eventually we decided on a trip to Virginia Beach. The girls were in their teens and it seemed like a good idea at the time. We had been to Florida some years earlier but we never reached the coast as an approaching hurricane had forced an early retreat. This trip to Virginia Beach was destined to be no less fraught with meteorological havoc. We arrived almost literally on the heels of a tornado.

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The newspaper headlines of The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star on August 7th 1993, the next morning, read ‘Tornado Mayhem.’ We had picked our way through overturned campers and trucks along the road to our final destination, shaken by the scenes of devastation on either side and were really in no mood to appreciate the prime location of our hotel, perched almost directly on the waterfront, as we eventually rolled into the parking lot.

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On Saturday morning the skies were still ominously grey and despite the fact that it was summer, the temperatures had taken a dramatic dive, which is more than we felt like doing in that dark, angry ocean. We did venture a walk along the shore, however, but I was disappointed to discover that the storm had washed any kind of interesting item from the beach out to sea. There was not a shell in sight. No seaweed, no starfish or jellyfish. Nothing that we would routinely have found had we been strolling along the sands at Margate.

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There wasn’t much of an improvement over the ensuing days. The sun put in a brief appearance and the girls made the most of it, but the few tentative forays into the water were soon followed by a mad dash for jackets and warm drinks. It seemed as though we spent a good deal of time gazing out of our hotel window as the waves rolled in over a dismal, deserted beach.

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Naturally, on our final day there, things brightened up. I still hope to see the sea again. My husband retires in a year or so, and he’s promised that we’ll go traveling. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.

Virginia Beach
“Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.”

A Lack Of Winter

Who would have thought!!!! How could one possibly imagine walking around Spring Valley on the last day of January without cringing against cold winds, floundering through snow or, at the very least, sliding on hard, icy ground. But here we are on the verge of February and there are few visible signs that we are still in the grip of winter.

To be sure, the pond is frozen over but only just. It’s easy to imagine that even a leaf falling on its already watery surface would crack the thin veneer of ice and sink without trace. The paths and trails are muddy; the snow that fell most recently has already melted in the unseasonably warm weather.

While all this is great if, like me, you find no pleasure in freezing to death while shoveling your way out of the driveway in order to nip down to the grocery store for a gallon of milk, still I can’t help worrying about the garden.

I just know the bulbs and plants will get easily confused, encouraged by the unusually mild temperatures, and will start pushing their way up out of the ground to see what’s going on. I’m afraid that when we do return to reality and get hit by the kind of weather that we normally see here at this time of year, as we undoubtedly will, there will not be that deep layer of snow to protect them.

I wish I could just relax and enjoy this welcome break in the weather but I can’t. I keep waiting for the other shoe to fall. It all seems too good to be true. Mother Nature, one can’t help feeling, is waiting to drop us in it very shortly. And who could blame her. It must be very frustrating to be in her shoes (if she wears any.)

“Moan, moan, moan! That’s all they ever do! Give ‘em a blizzard and temperatures in the single digits and they can’t handle it. Take pity and lighten up on the snow storms and freezing winds and they’re crying about the garden!”

Sorry, Mother Nature! That’s just the way it is. We are mere mortals and never satisfied.