Monday, February 20, 2017

Calvert Cliffs: Chesapeake Bay

It's been over 15 years since I last visited Calvert Cliffs along the Chesapeake Bay. It's amazing how much I didn't remember about the place. I didn't remember the crowds, the 1.8 mile hike to the beach, the large parking area, the playground equipment, the small beach, the offshore natural gas shipping terminal.

We've had a beautiful, warm, President's Day weekend. I visited Calvert Cliffs on Saturday. I guess due to the nice weather, lots of other folks also decided to visit. Temperatures were probably near 70 degrees, much cooler and windier along the beach. I like to do a lot of my hiking and exploring alone, and I wouldn't recommend this hike if you are looking for some solitude, unless you explore some of the side trails. This is a great hike for families, couples, and groups of friends. I was disappointed how small the beach was, the cliffs fenced off to the public. Basically everyone gets herded into an area smaller than a football field. One of the highlights is searching for fossils and sharks teeth which date from the Miocene Period. While the Miocene ranged from 24.6 to 5.1 million years ago, most of the fossils found at Calvert Cliffs date from eight to 11 million years ago. Last time I was here, I remember finding several sharks teeth. Not this time unfortunately.

Overall, I think Calvert Ciffs is worth the visit, just keep in mind that you will be sharing it with lots of other people. The 1.8 mile hike to the beach was flat and easy...

Friday, February 10, 2017

1000 Years Ago, Corn Made This Society Big. Then A Changing Climate Destroyed It

I had the pleasure of visiting Cahokia by chance, a prehistoric earth mound city just outside of St. Louis on the Mississippi River, two summers ago, when I drove cross country from California back to Maryland to begin the Appalachian Trail. It was a beautiful, warm, summer's evening when I arrived and walked around part of the abandoned city. The idea of a large, thriving Native American society which suddenly disappeared before the first Europeans arrived on the continent was and still is very intriguing to me. In fact, I had never even heard of the place until I was in my 30's.  Here's a neat article from NPR on the city and a new theory which may have led to its demise...

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

U.S. to Grant Final Permit for Dakota Pipeline

Another strike against clean water in America. This pretty much puts the final nail in the coffin. Let's hope those who argue pipelines are a completely safe method of oil transport are correct...

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Donald Trump Advances Approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Oil Pipelines

Now more than ever, for those of us who love the land, clean air, and clean water, we must remain vigilant...

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Tsankawi Village: Bandelier National Monument (Winter Break Day 6)

Well worn footpaths

Unexcavated puebloan ruin of Tsankawi

Camo sits inside a spacious well ventilated room once used by the Ancestral Tewa Pueblo people over 600 years ago.

View from inside the room

Here's to a happy and healthy 2017!
It was a cold, foggy morning on the first day of 2017 in Bandelier National Monument. Camo, Moosie, and I had a 10 hour drive to head back east to Texas where Moosie and I had planes to catch the next day. Our winter break road trip was coming to a close.

Before leaving Bandelier, we were treated to one more fantastic trail, the Tsankawi Village Trail. Moosie, Camo, and I took about two hours to slowly walk the route which led through the un-excavated ruins of the village which was once home to the Ancestral Tewa Pueblo in the 1400's. There were about 275 ground floor rooms there, many were once one to two stories high at the time. The views were spectacular once again, the air cold and crisp. There were well worn footpaths carved along the canyon walls by the Ancestral Pueblo people, made deeper by modern day tourists and visitors. Petroglyphs and pottery sherds were abundant. We only saw one other visitor on this New Year's morning, and were able to quietly contemplate the people who once lived here, and think about what the new year would bring. Once again, I was fascinated by the numbers of people that once lived there, as well as the surrounding canyons off limits to visitors.

Our time was short, so eventually Camo, Moosie, and I made our way back to the car. Before long, we were staring out the windows over the Texas plains. I was feeling rejuvenated, thankful for another opportunity to see a small portion of the southwest...