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Showing posts from July, 2016

Trail Ridge Road - Rocky Mountain National Park

Amazing day in the Colorado Rockies!

Trail Ridge Road is only open in the summer and this year it didn't open until June. It was in the mid-90's in Thornton and very hazy, you couldn't even see the front range.  Good day to get out, there was a little bit of the haze at the top of the world but is was cool and refreshing.

Photo notes: I am really loving the new Nikon! I shot a .07 stop under today in hopes to bring out a bit more detail from the haze.  fun shoot!

Darwin Research Station - Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos

At the Charles Darwin Research Station, you see the Giant Turtles and the Galapagos land Iguana.   Introduced aminamls to many of the islands threaten the existence of the indigenous species. Wild dogs that were brought to the island almost killed a colony of over 500 land iguanas in 1970’s. Cats, mice and goats were induced as well, the goats and dogs have been irraticated but getting all the mice and cats poses real challenges. The Research Station was able to rescue 60 iguanas and in an effort to re-build their population, they began a breeding program for iguanas in Santa Cruz. This breeding program is still active today.

Darwin Finches  We saw the Common Cactus, Small Ground, Green Warbler, Wood Pecker, and the Gray Warbler.

Darwin identified 13 species of Finches among the Gal├ípagos Islands that were primarily differentiated by beak size. In contrast, only one species of this bird existed on the mainland South America to the east. Darwin correctly concluded that the different bea…

Galapagos Islands - 3 Night Boat Cruise

The Islands you visit are dependent on how many boats and visitors are in the area.  We landed on Baltra Island and visited Seymour Norte, Santiago, Bartolome, Genovese and Santa Cruz. Each island is different, from sandy beaches to lava landscapes.  We were not able to go to the Island where all the Lizards are and we didn't see the flightless cormorant - I think you would need at lest two weeks to see it all - still a trip of a lifetime!

Here are the rules for visiting the Galapagos Islands: Visitors to any protected areas within the Galapagos National Park must be accompanied by a naturalist guide authorized by the GNPD.Travel only with tour operators and/or boats authorized to work in the protected areas of Galapagos.Remain on marked trails at visitor sites and respect signs at all times for the protection of wildlife, and for your safety.Maintain a distance of at least six feet (two meters) from wildlife to avoid disturbing them, even if they approach you.Never feed wildlife,…

Cool Inca House - Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo is the jumping off point to Machu Picchu.  It was a tambo, otherwise know as a "resting place" along the Inca trail.  This is a pretty cool site on it own.  
Around the mid-15th century, the Inca emperor Pachacuti conquered and razed Ollantaytambo; the town and the nearby region were incorporated into his personal estate.[3] The emperor rebuilt the town with sumptuous constructions and undertook extensive works of terracing and irrigation in the Urubamba Valley; the town provided lodging for the Inca nobility while the terraces were farmed by yanakuna, retainers of the emperor.[4] After Pachacuti's death, the estate came under the administration of his panaqa, his family clan. -
The existing town of Ollantaytambo was built on ancient Incan foundations.  We were lucky enough to go inside a small house.  It was a small one room dwelling where 7 people lived.  There were the characteristic niches in the the walls, m…

Machu Picchu - 7972 ft

Machu Picchu is more awesome in person. What a fantastic place!! Machu Picchu is commonly referred to as the "Lost Inca City". Vilcabamba more accurately described as the "The Lost Inca City", as it was the last refuge of the Inca Empire until it fell to the Spaniards in 1572.  Machu Picchu just wasn't discovered due to it's remoteness in the Andes Mountains. You can hike the five day journey on the Inca Trail along the original trail built out of stone.  We took the train from Ollantaytambo, much quicker that way.

We stayed overnight in Agua Calieintes and were able to go to Machu Picchu twice.  The first day we visited in the afternoon, there were low clouds and mist just as you would expect to see.  Our local guide, Al, was very knowledgable about the site, he is from the area and used to play soccer with his friends on the Machu Picchu grounds.  Can you imagine?

Machu Picchu is located in a Cloud Forest and is green all year round, no snow either just …