Sunday, September 9, 2018

Spring in El Chalten, Laguna Capri Trail

       El Chalten is a small mountain village in Los Glacieres National Park, in Argentina's Santa Cruz Province. It is on the side of Rio Fitz Roy. The town is is a hub for international hikers. The winds can be fierce and persistent there, because the village is on the edge of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field and not far from the sea. The beauty is astonishing, from the spires of the mountains to the delicate wildflowers at your feet

'In the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods'
Valle De Revuelta, Laguna Capri Trail.

That flash of red is Firebush.

Embothrium coccineum

View from the park visitor center. 
The Laguna Capri trail starts at the other end of town.

Back across the Rio Fitz Roy.
 Cerro Torre in the background

Cerro Torre overlooking the village of El Chalten.

Vista approaching the trail head,
 Valle De Revuelta is not yet visible.

Another view of the valle, farther up the Laguna Capri trail.

And even farther up.

The Landscape is grand.
El Chalten, the smoking mountain, overlooks the trail.

The Paramela is in bloom

As you can see, it is a pea (legume)
Adesemia boronoides

Beauty at your feet. I knew it was spring, 

but was still astonished by the variety of floral beauty

Yellow Violet, Viola reichel.

A flying flower. Yramea cytheris

Geranium mangellanicum

Anemone multifida

Siete Camisas

Escallonia rubra 

After the grand landscapes, The trail winds into a native Northern Beech woods.

Northofagus genus,

Northern Beech leaves.
 There are subtle differences between the types of Beech trees. 

I did not master them.

An elder beech

Gray Lichen, Linguen gris adorns the trees.

Then the goal is in sight. Moute Fitz Roy,  El Chalten.
El Chalten is a Tehueche word meaning "smoking mountain",
 because the peak is often covered with clouds.

Laguna Capri was my turn around point. 
From the trailhead to here and back is about six kilometers.
 A day trip. One could hike on and on..

On the way back,
the Anemones were
 nodding off.
The Evening Primrose,
Oenothera genus, was waking up

A Magellenic Woodpecker, was foraging in the shadows

Carpintero gigante, female.

The male is more shocking!

Down and out of the woods

On the way down, glacial erratics were more noticeable

Lake Viedma comes into view.

Then the village of El Chalten. Time for dinner.

Keep close to Nature's heart and break clear away once in awhile, 
and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. ~ John Muir

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Smyrna Dunes Park

Sabal Palmettos watch the clouds
Smyrna Dunes Park is 73 acres of wild Florida, overlooked by towering condos, a last refuge for the natural world. The park is surrounded by water on three sides, and consists of five ecosystems, ocean, river (Indian River), scrub zone and salt-water marsh. I was there a year ago February. This was my last vacation with my husband, who succumbed to Alzheimer's three months later. It is only now that I have the peace of mind to write this blog.

View of park from condo, scrub zone and ocean visible

On a walkway. The lighthouse is across the Ponce Inlet,
where the Indian River reaches the sea. Saw Palmettos.

Saw Palmettos, Serenoa repens.

Walking along the board walk, the treasures were down below. Not quite spring yet, but several flowers were blooming.

Coastal Plain Golden Aster,  Chryopsis scarbella.

Common Blanket Flower,  Gaillardia pulchella.

Queen butterfly, Danaus glippus, enjoying the Gaillardia

Going to seed. Hard to tell what season it is here..

The Prickly Pear knows it's still flowers.
 (Opuntia Humifosa)

Partridge Pea, Chamaecrista Fasciculata.

Charming massed foliage!

Sea Oats, Uniola paniculata.

Some plants are not wanted

Schinus terebinthifolia is from South America.

Besides butterflies, other creatures make their living on the dunes.

Gopher Tortoise, Gopherus polyphemus.
The only tortoise found in Florida

A marked Gopher Tortoise burrow,
 edged with Cat Briar, Smilex genus.

The Mockingbird knows it's nest building time.
(Mimus polyglotus)

A stand of cedars, Juniperus genus.

Yellow Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata.
In the cedar

I have no ID who this is.

The park is not just dunes. The beach is where the shorebirds are.

Royal Tern, Thalasseus maximus. Bad hair day.

The Laughing Gull, thinks it's funny.
(Leucophaeus atricilla, Juvenile)

Ruddy Turnstone, Arenaria interpres.

Non-breeding plumage.

Fish Crows arguing.  Corvus ossifragus.

Snowy Egret, fishing. (Egretta thula)

Willet (or wont it?) . Tringa semipalmata.

The moon rises.' The days dwindle down to a precious few'.w.'.

The sun sets, on what is left of the dune wilderness.
These are the last sunsets I will see with my husband. RIP

I'm glad I will not be young, in a future without wilderness,~Aldo Leopold