2012 Review: PART 7 – Back in the FLA

The remainder of 2012 was spent with family, friends, and of course, with nature – the ever-present beauty that surrounds us.

Parent killdeer with its newborn chick
Parent killdeer with its newborn chick
Crested caracara surveys its surroundings during a rain shower - Kenansville, FL
Crested caracara surveys its surroundings during a rain shower – Kenansville, FL
Wild horses of Paynes Prairie State Park, Gainesville, FL
Wild horses of Paynes Prairie State Park, Gainesville, FL
Fox squirrel at Joe Overstreet Landing
Fox squirrel at Joe Overstreet Landing
The sandhill crane pair that sings together .... stays together
The sandhill crane pair that sings together …. stays together
Juvenile bald eagle at Lake Marion, Kenansville, FL
Juvenile bald eagle at Lake Marion, Kenansville, FL
Lake Newnan, Alachua County, FL
Lake Newnan, Alachua County, FL
Great Blue Heron, Wakodahatchee Wetlands
Great Blue Heron, Wakodahatchee Wetlands
West Palm Beach night scene, FL
West Palm Beach night scene, FL
Barred owl pair perched in tree, Dinner Island Ranch WMA, FL
Barred owl pair perched in tree, Dinner Island Ranch WMA, FL
Northern harrier soaring, Green Cay Wetlands, FL
Northern harrier soaring, Green Cay Wetlands, FL

I want to be sure to thank those of you who shared our year’s experiences with us, somewhere along the way…. you know who you are.  It’s always good to see old friends, and of course, make new ones along the way.  Oh, and a special shout out to all who helped out immensely in Georgia – again, you know who you are!  Your friendship means the world to us!  One last person to thank for my 2012 – that’s a great BIG THANK YOU to my best friend, husband, adventure traveler, and sherpa – Tom.  Not sure what I would do without you.

Sherpa Tom
Sherpa Tom

So what’s on the burner for 2013?  Who knows really … but a sneak peek does involve another return trip to AK, visit with the kids in NY or wherever they land, and wherever else makes sense or my hearts tells me to go.  Life is an adventure that one must live to appreciate.  My favorite saying, which guides me in my life and provides me with much inspiration is:  “Life in not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”.  Here’s to 2013 – BRING IT ON!

Hope that you’ve enjoyed a look back at my personal 2012.  I really welcome any and all comments and advice on this blog.  Here’s hoping I can keep this 2013 Resolution – a post a month or so (I give myself permission to “go with the flow”).  I wish you all a year full of life’s wonderful moments, great health, life-altering opportunities, and of course, adventure!  Life is only as good as the effort you put forth into it.

Take off from Beluga Lake, Homer, AK
Take off from Beluga Lake, Homer, AK
Thanks for hanging in as I looked back at 2012.  Now on to 2013!
Advertisements

2012 Review: PART 6 – Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2012

We eventually had the destination of the 2012 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta on our agenda. What we didn’t plan for was the flu bug to invade my body and make me feel so tired, sore, and overall, yucky!  Oh well, time to feel all sick and all just would have to wait.  I pushed through the malaise and set out each morning we attended at the ripe hour of 4am to drive to the shuttle site, board the bus, and arrive, in the pitch dark, to the site of the event.  It was my first time attending and it was quite amazing and left all of us in awe of the beauty and passion of the event.  Never have I seen that many hot air balloons!  So many colors, so many shapes, so many people!  Incredible experience!  Brought me back to our first hot air balloon flight, several years back in Lake Tahoe area, when I literally thought that I would fall out of the balloon as it swayed in the air.  Of course, it was nothing like that, and I could only describe the experience as one of the most peaceful and surreal experiences I have ever had.  If you’ve never done that, and you seek adventure, it’s not too late to add it to your “to do” list for 2013.

Welcome to the 2012 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta!
Welcome to the 2012 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta!

_DSC9372

So many colors ....
So many colors ….
So many people ....
So many people ….
So many shapes ....
So many shapes ….
It's a crowded place for the balloons too!
It’s a crowded place for the balloons too!
Dawn Patrol participant
Dawn Patrol participant
A view from below
A view from below
So many hot air balloons .... over 600 in all.  The largest hot air balloon event in the world!
So many hot air balloons …. over 600 in all. The largest hot air balloon event in the world!
So fascinating!
Stay tuned for the final blog on the 2012 Review:  Part 7

2012 Review: PART 5 – Family Reunion – Yellowstone, Tetons, & Zion NP

Barely unpacked from AK, I had a family reunion to get to out west.  See, we decided to gather up the gang – Kelli & Mitchell, my mom & her husband Murray, and us – to spend some time together out in the great outdoors, appreciating each other’s company, as well as the company of lots of wildlife and beautiful surroundings.  Tom & Kelli took a road trip out west, stopping along the way to get their mountain biking fix, and met us in Salt Lake City.  After a brief stop in SLC, we ventured out to Yellowstone NP & Great Teton NP.  To my surprise, we were a bit late for the explosion of fall colors that we had enjoyed 2 years ago – same time, same place.  Oh well, didn’t matter because the trip more than made up for the lack of fall colors by the abundance of wildlife.  Bears, moose, bison, wolves, coyotes, pronghorn, and elk were plentiful!  The weather was crispy cool, OK maybe even cold at times, but this Florida girl enjoyed it immensely.  Tom & I would get up really early every morning and shoot, while the family took in a bit more sleep.

Family reunion

Family reunion

Bison battling it out for superiority

Bison battling it out for superiority

Bull elk readying for the rut

Bull elk readying for the rut

After spending several days trying to track down the elk in the very early mornings, there’s a few things that I can remember as if it were just a moment ago ….

1.  The sound of the elk when they bugle.  If you haven’t heard that amazing sound, you need to google elk and listen to their call.  It’s one of the most amazing sounds that you will ever hear.  For literally miles and miles you can hear the echo within the vast wilderness of the landscape.  So soothing ….

2.  Another sound ….. see we ran across many sightings of coyotes – hunting in the fields, running to and fro ….. but on 2 occasions, we saw them run back to what I figured out afterwards must have been their den, most likely with a meal, and you could hear the yips of their young.  I’m not talking a yip or 2, I’m talking about 1-3 minutes of continuous calling out.  That is another sound that if you’ve never heard it, you should.  I wanted to tape it on my video in my camera, but I was paralyzed by the beauty of their sound.  Big time smiles after hearing that one!

Three generations

Three generations

Moulton Barn, Grand Tetons NP

Moulton Barn, Grand Tetons NP

Enjoying the view from Signal Mountain, Grand Teton NP

Enjoying the view from Signal Mountain, Grand Teton NP

Yellowstone NP, WY

Yellowstone NP, WY

Several days were also spent in and around Park City also, as Mitchell joined us for an extended weekend or so.  Then off towards AZ and NM we went – taking a few detours along the way – some intended, some not.  What a beautiful country we live in!  One of our unintended detours involved St. George (we won’t go into that one), but things happen for a reason and the detour turned into a visit to Zion NP – so incredibly beautiful and a treat from the summertime visit we did several years ago – much less crowded.

Looking up at the tall stand of aspens kissed by autumn

Looking up at the tall stand of aspens kissed by autumn

Paria, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, UT

Paria, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, UT

Zion NP, UT

Zion NP, UT

Zion NP, UT

Zion NP, UT

While the beauty of the southwest was difficult to leave, we had a more definite destination.

Stay tuned for 2012 Review:  Part 6

2012 Review: PART 2 – Florida

Of course, Everglades NP is much more than crocs … the weekends were filled with many different photo opps, featuring a wide variety of many different species of migrating birds.  I know that if I ever left south Florida, the Everglades would be sorely missed.  Never the same place on any given time – always  evolving and changing.  Of course, no trip to the Everglades is ever complete without a side trip to Roberts for a strawberry-key lime milkshake – at least not if I make the trip down there with Tom!

_DSC7307-3_DSC7656-3_DSC9954-3_DSC7464-3

Burrowing owls were also a big focus for us this year, visiting them at Brian Piccolo Park in Cooper City quite often.  They’re just so gosh darned cute!  In 2012, I really felt that I got to know the various families of owls, as we watched their young grow up, literally through our lenses.  I have to admit, it was a bit sad when they were all grown up and finally “flew the coop” – or should I say “flew the burrow”.

Our very first sighting of the little ones

Our very first sighting of the little ones

Testing out its wings and balance

Testing out its wings and balance

Some of the gang showing off in the nearby tree

Some of the gang showing off in the nearby tree

Can’t wait until the burrowing owl families are back in full swing!

Stay tuned for 2012 Review: Part 3 & Part 4