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Road Trip, Part II. June 25, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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So where were we…

…oh yeah, coming down Mount Washington in thick clouds and high winds.

We got down below the swirling cloud cap and the worst of the winds and started seeing some Alpine flowers, not the sub-arctic rarities we had hoped for, but hey, we’d come this far for photos, so we stopped to get what we could.

Along the road we found Bunchberry:

Lapland Rosebay:

Labrador Tea:

Mounntain cranberries:

…and Diapensia:

These are showing their little red buds, but haven’t quite blossomed yet.

In an ideal world, these would have been captured as tilt-shift photographs with expansive mountain views, but given the still-high winds, that was not to be.

This time.  I’ll be back.

By now Lizz and I were ready for breakfast, so down to town we went.

Stay tuned for Part Three.  🙂

A Visit To Mt. Greylock. June 4, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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I had occasion to work last week on the far side of Mt. Greylock, at 3,491′ the highest point in Massachusetts.

It’s not a huge  mountain, but I’d hate to have to paint it.  And even now, at the beginning of June, its weather can be surprisingly brutal, with high winds and dense clouds shrouding the place in powerful plumes of mystery.

So I came home from work by taking the auto road up the southern ridge and over the top, first in weather which kept me swaddled in a hoodie and raincoat, the next day in “better” conditions which allowed me to get the camera out so you can see it, too.

Along the Rockwell Road, a single picnic table with a view to die for sits on a little knoll:

picnic table

It’s pretty sweet.

This is a great low speed drive along a narrow, winding road, making its way to three thousand feet above the farm fields below:

NA view

The road was reconstructed last year, and just reopened about a week ago.  It was a really nice road job, with great pavement and really neat log-and-steel guard rails, very National Park-y looking:

new guard rails

The forest type up here resembles something more commonly found a ways north, up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire or the Greens of Vermont:

krummholz

The summit is adorned with a non-functional tower, the Veterans’ Memorial Tower, which leaks like a sieve and has nearly translucent “viewing windows.”

Vets' tower

The best views are gotten by parking (pay in season) and walking around on the broad, domed summit.  Plus, that’s the only way to see the small things.

Clintonia borealis, or Blue Bead Lily:

blue bead lilies

Bunchberry, a.k.a. Cornus canadensis :

bunchberry

I thought these were single-flowered plants, but a little reading clued me that a clump of tiny yellow flowers sits surrounded by four white bracts, not petals, to give the overall impression of a much larger (1/2 inch) flower.

Here’s a shot of Cypress Spurge, Euphorbia cyparissias,  whose tiny pale flowers are in turn host to a world of complex and beautiful sub-structures:

cypress spurge

By contrast, the seed-heads of coltsfoot are simplicity itself, glowing orbs pole-dancing in the wind, stark and prescient as the plants fail into their future:

coltsfoot seeds

Greylock is primed to erupt into Full Spring Glory, and I hope to have a chance to share that with you.

Cheers, TCR