Saturday, August 08, 2009

Lair O' The Bear

I am in beautiful Colorado. I love this state! This morning I went on an easy relaxing hike along Bear Creek at Lair O' The Bear Park. It was the perfect trail for me, considering I have a cold - which is such a bummer for this trip. Here are some pictures I snapped with my iPhone (that got no service by the way...), I will add more or replace these with ones from my digital camera when I get home.

I think it was after taking the picture above that we came across a garter snake, ~1 foot long, sunning along the side of the trail. We stopped to check him out and I took a picture with my "real" camera. Then a runner came along and scared the little guy away.

After this picture we were chatting and walking along when suddenly we came across the largest snake I've ever seen that wasn't behind glass. It was at LEAST 3 inches in diameter! We startled the poor guy and it moved quickly out of our way. By the time we realized he was there, what he was, and how BIG he was, he was gone and we were half running down the path! Our hearts were racing! Once the shock wore off, I walked back to see if I could see him in the grass, and get a better look. And before you freak out at me - I didn't go after the snake (I'm not crazy!) - just went back to see if I could observe from a distance but he long gone. We only saw him briefly but noted that he had gold/orange and brown stripes, with some kind of markings, and about 4-4.5 feet long (maybe longer)! We did not hear a rattle. It was exciting/cool/scary.

I just realized that I didn't take any pictures of the wild flowers with my iPhone but they were everywhere, and so pretty.

This was such a relaxing hike (minus the large snake encounter) with the sound of babbling creek, and the tall grass swaying in the breeze.

I highly recommend this park for families. There were picnic benches in the shade with charcoal grills for grilling, people fishing, areas for wading, and the path was smooth and flat. Though we were there between 10 AM and noon, it wasn't crowded at all. I would definitely go back. I have to add that I felt a little guilty enjoying this hike without Koda. I wish I could have brought her with me. There were so many doggies on the trail and happily jumping into the creek (on leashes).

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, August 07, 2009

Flush Puppies

Has anyone tried these?

They are pricey... Wonder if I could find them online cheaper. Sorry for the blurry picture, it was taken with my iPhone on the plane!

Do you know that doggie poo run-off is bad for streams and rivers? I know, you'd think it would be a natural occurence you wouldn't have to worry about! I read an article about this issue recently that explained it really well, if I find it again I will update this post to include the link.

Thankfully, our pup dog Koda only does her business in our yard (we didn't purposely train her this way but we like it). We let her poo deteriate in the grass. It really hasn't been an issue for us since compared to other doggies we know she doesn't poop as much (we're convinced it's because we feed her Purina ProPlan). Obviously when we travel we have to clean up after her... But from what I've learned recently we should be picking up her poo all the time. Ugh.

I am selfishy posting these pictures of Koda because she's just a cutie and I miss her! One of her favorite things in the world is fresh cut grass :). I had to drop her off at the kennel today and it was harder than usual because I could hear her whining in the back... probably because she could hear me talking to the girl at the desk about her fear of thunderstorms.

Would you a) use Flush Puppies and actually flush them down your toilet, and b) pay $2 for 15? How do you manage your dogs/pets poo? Really, I wanna know!

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Link Between Cosmic Rays and Climate Change?

I stumbled upon this article, and the subsequent browsing brought back some memories of my Space Physics class that was several years ago. I remember this being a great topic of debate back then, seems like it still is... here's a clip from the ScienceNOW article by Phil Berardelli - "Do Clouds Come From Outer Space?"

ScienceNOW (8/5, Berardelli) reported, "Most of Earth's clouds get their start in deep space. That's the surprising conclusion from a team of researchers who argue that interstellar cosmic rays collide with water molecules in our atmosphere to form overcast skies." A new study by Henrik Svensmark of the Technical University of Denmark found that over the past 22 years the five strongest coronal mass ejections from the sun, which would block cosmic rays from reaching the Earth, corresponded to a 7% decrease in cloud cover. "Svensmark argues that the findings suggest a link between cosmic rays and climate change. Because clouds...reflect light from the sun, fewer clouds would mean a warmer Earth." However, Jón Egill Kristjánsson of the University of Oslo noted that there has only been a "slightly upward trend" at most in cosmic rays. "That would mean either no increase in cloud formation or a slight increase--neither of which would warm the world."

Further reading if you're interested:
Study shows strong evidence that cloud changes may exacerbate global warming

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE: Cosmic Rays, Clouds, and Climate

*Random fact about me: I have always been fascinated with climate/weather, and for a while I dreamed of working for NOAA. It's still my back up plan (I have many plans - A, B, C, & D).