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Cheng was turning 40. I wanted to plan something fun. He hates surprises, so no big party. He’s doesn’t respond well to gifts, because he doesn’t really ever want anything. He does enjoy hiking, things outdoorsy, and PBS type documentaries. I remembered him watching an entire series on the National Parks, so I decided to plan a trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National park. Remember he doesn’t like surprises, so I made sure to tell him all about our upcoming vacation. We had fun. I took a lot of photos. Waaay too many photos. Here are fewer than 30 of them with some of my commentary highlighting the best/most interesting parts of our trip. If you desire to see more, I uploaded 300+ photos to Cheng’s Flickr account.

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We scheduled our entire vacation around being able to stay one night in the original Old Faithful Inn. Over the 24ish hours we spent here, we watched Old Faithful erupt 6 times, including once under a nearly full moon. The next picture was right after an eruption at sunrise.

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Badger, badger, badger, ZINK!!!

Coating up with protection from the hot, hot sun leaves Cheng looking more like an old man than ever.

DSC01716  …because this is all that’s left if you stay too long in the sun ;)

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Unless of course you take time out to swim in the hot/cold mix of water where boiling waters join the freezing Gardner river.

DSC01697Our car temporarily became swept up in a herd of bison crossing the road in Lamar Valley. Once the males started groaning and sticking their tongues out at each other (across the road, through our car) I realized how close and how huge they really were, and decided to close the window, offering tons of protection I’m sure.

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Two days before our hike along Beaver Pond Trail, near Mammoth Hot Springs, a ranger informs us of multiple bear sitings along this trail. I can’t decide if I want to see a bear or not. Luckily (or maybe un-) we don’t see any grizzlies or black bears.

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But we do find a lone pronghorn munching grass on our 6 mile walk.

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Travertine buildup from these hotsprings coats the signs and edges of the boardwalks to make it look like snow.

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Herds of elk mommas and babies hang around outside our cabins at Mammoth Hot Springs. In another month or so rutting season starts, so I’m glad we’re not sticking around for that craziness.

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I dragged Cheng on an hour-long horseback ride through blooming fields of sage. He got stuck riding a horse actually lazier than he is, urging and kicking him the entire way!

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Here we are at the brink of Lower Falls looking south down the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

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I’m not sure how we timed this visit to Artist’s Point so perfectly, but look at the amazing rainbow in the mists at the bottom of Lower Falls!

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Different bacteria thrive in narrow ranges of temperatures, as shown here and in the next 2 photos. See how the colors very clearly change around the edges of the hot springs?

DSC01168Rainbow lake

DSC01090Morning Glory pond

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Roads on the east side of Yellowstone were closed a few days due to smoke from the Alum fire, named because it originated near Alum creek.

DSC01333We hiked about 4 miles round trip to see the Lone Star geyser, arriving just in time to see this “minor” eruption of 25-30 feet for 2 minutes. We got comfortable, had lunch, and witnessed a “major” eruption, shooting 40-50 feet in the air for about 20 minutes, culminating in a 10 minute bout of steam creating a roaring, tornado-esk vortex.

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Sunset over the Midway Geyser Basin really lit up the boardwalk and surrounding hot springs.

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It was difficult to look anywhere, but toward the amazing sunset, but facing this direction showed off the lovely pinks in the steam and the mostly full moon.

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These trees wear “bobby socks” from all the minerals they’ve absorbed from the hot spring runoff.DSC01263

We saw this geyser erupting from the main road. Cheng got so excited, he careened into the parking lot, took off running in his yellow crocks, knocking old folks out of his way to beat the tour group already on the boardwalk and left me to leisurely follow, taking photos along the way. It was still erupting when I finally got there.DSC01147

Walking around the grounds at Old Faithful Inn early in the morning makes it look like the entire field is on fire…which it pretty much is.     DSC01000

Awesome graffiti! DSC00981

Our 4 mile hike to the lookout over Phelp’s lake in Teton National Park, recommended to us by our house(cabin) keeper. We chose not to continue the switchback trail down to the lake because it was getting late. And because we’re lazy.DSC00921

You can just see the Tetons peeking over the horizon during our raft trip on the Snake river. We saw lots of birds – bank swallows, bald eagles, osprey, ravens, etc.DSC00877

Jackson Lake Lodge looks out over an enormous grazing area great for wildlife watching. Somewhere in this phote are elk, and maybe moose.

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Cheng shows off his Geocaching trackable created for his birthday – Lordy, lordy look who’s 40.DSC00771

After numerous dead ends down gravel roads too rough for our sporty Kia Rio, we finally found the right one leading to The Boundary Cache, where Cheng made his first find and dropped off his trackable.

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What an amazing vacation! Happy Birthday, Cheng!

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If you enjoyed these photos and want to see (a lot) more, visit

Cheng’s Flickr account.

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This post has more photos than previous, but it’s still under 100, so not as overwhelming as looking at all of them on Flickr.  One benefit to visiting the Flickr site, though is that Cheng has more diligently captioned the names of places and is working on uploading the twenty-ish video clips we took (under 90 sec. each)

 Happy reading!

(Sorry, all the panos got relegated near the end instead of chronologically when they were taken. I haven’t figured out how to change this.)

Ok, so maybe a new post every day was a little ambitious. However, I’ve gotten such positive, encouraging feedback about my captions, that I’m motivated to keep going. I’m working on captions for a new post of “pretty pics” so check back in a couple days or click on the “follow” button waaaaaay at the bottom so you’ll get an email when a new post is available for your viewing pleasure :)

Crap. I just wrote twenty-some blurbs and then deleted them by accident.

I’m trying to add at least 1 post each day with thematic pictures. That way you can skim over them if you’re bored easily or look at them in detail if you want a more intimate experience. 1300+ photos can be overwhelming (for all of us.)

Anyway…here is the next installment of our exciting 2012 Asia vacation! (and soon you’ll be able to see them ALL on Flickr)

Throughout our journey, we encountered many different types of animals. Luckily, not any snakes or scary things (other than the fire ants that liked the taste of our feet!)

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Click on any of these photos for a more intimate experience

Since the hot weather has arrived, I thought we should organize a tubing trip before all the water dries up.  We can discuss details (like times, location, etc) once I get an idea of who wants to go on which dates.

I skipped over June 16 for those of you playing in TBUF and June 17 for Father’s Day.

My first solo art show!

Luscious Dew

Art will be displayed from December 6, 2011 – January 19, 2012

(Closed between Christmas and New Year)

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Join me for an artist reception Thursday, December 15

6:00 – 8:00 pm

Cospace

911 W. Anderson Lane #203

Austin, TX 78757

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Check out my artist bio and price list here:

Artist bio and price list

I just finished this oil painting yesterday. After starting it in the spring, taking the summer off, then finally reinstating regular painting days, I’m done! I took this picture while visiting the tiny town of  Etna, CA during our honeymoon in 2010. Cheng was sleeping in, as usual, so I went for an early walk. I really liked how the sunrise played with light and shadows along this wall. In the painting, it was fun to be very loose on the flowers up front to contrast with the tight lines of the bottles in the window. Surprisingly, the brick wall was the easiest and quickest part of the entire painting once I figured out the general pattern and did some math to get the scale just right.

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Oil on canvas 16x20

Luckily, the rain waited just long enough for the official photographers and judges to finish. What a refreshing finish to a grueling 16 hours of intense labor! I deem the 2nd annual Round Rock Chalk Walk a success, and look forward to improving my art for next year.

This year I chose to create an anamorphic drawing using forced perspective to give that 3D feel. I borrowed a photograph taken by Stephen Morton in Georgia during Hurricane Irene. After running it through a computer program called Anamorph Me, I gridded it out so I could transfer it to the pavement, then made sure to take lots of pictures throughout the 2 days to show progress. I ran out of time to fill in the entire 10′x10′ square, so I let the asphalt represent the beach sand of the photo. While it technically works, I can’t help but think it would have looked much better completed. Next year I’ll try to find a helper or work with a partner to finish in the allotted time.

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I’ve collected 20 of my favorite photos from our trip to Mexico. Many of them have interesting stories and some of them are visually appealing, but they all hold wonderful memories. If you want to see more, you can link to Cheng’s Flickr account where we’ve posted almost 30 videos and just under 500 pics.   (Pared down from over 1100!)

 

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