Tag Archives: national parks

Still an Island

A stretch of sand clasps Great Island to the mainland now.  But, before the currents of Cape Cod Bay swept the sandbar into place Great Island truly was an island, the residue of melting glaciers.

If Cape Cod were the muscled arm of a flexing bodybuilder, Wellfleet, Massachusetts would be the forearm.  Chilly Atlantic waters crash heavily on the open ocean side inevitably tugging down statuesque bluffs in the ongoing rearrangement of sand by Sea.  The inner side of this forearm is Great Island.

We hiked the Great Island Trail after a weekend of celebration: a fiftieth birthday and the subsequent reunion of favorite family and friends. Great times. I had run the roads of Wellfleet the morning before and was primed to walk its adjacent shores and marshes before driving back toward Boston.

We followed the Great Island Trail through a pitch pine forest, by salt marshes and along sandy shores adorned with flowing sea grasses.  Color was nuanced across a spectrum of gold, brown and russet red, pierced by the brilliant blues of sky and sea.

And as we wandered through its desolate beauty and tranquil seclusion, Great Island still felt every bit the island it once was.

More album photos: Heather Dugan Creative on Facebook

 

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Road Ends in Water

Green River Ferry caution sign

A sign reading “Road Ends in Water” might alarm the unwary driver, but we drove the Green River Ferry Road for that very reason. Two rural ferries operate within Mammoth Cave National Park, and we were intrigued enough to seek out at least one of the river crossings.Ferry ride

Mammoth Cave National Park Map and Visitor Information

We drove down a hill and edged up to a stop sign to wait our turn, watching river water spray sideways as the unusual ferry boat glided nonchalantly across the few yards of river splitting the road. It appeared as a sliver of asphalt, flanked by a Porta John and an operator’s booth. As it putttered toward us, it gave physicality to the Irish Blessing: “May the road rise to meet you...”

Ferry crossingWe drove aboard with no notions of u-turns, and one additional car squeezed in behind us. There was just enough time to snap a couple of photos before the safety arm lifted, releasing us to explore the other side of the Green River. We honked a “thank you” as we drove off. The ferry captain tooted his horn in reply, loaded up with his next vehicle and began his return journey, bearing and sharing the essential missing piece of road.

Mammoth Cave National Park Map and Visitor Information

The largest cave system in the world; 367 miles so far…!

Miles of trails both above and below ground.

Hiking, biking, kayak/canoe, horseback riding, hunting/fishing, camping…

“Yes” for pets (not in Cave; kennel available within park)

 

Park Fees: None for park entry. Cave tours range from $5 – $48.00 with discounts for youth and senior citizens.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7; Mammoth Cave, KY 42259

Phone: 270-758-2180

Directions: Travel south on I-65 from Louisville, KY. Take Mammoth Cave/Cave City exit 53 and follow the signs to Mammoth Cave NP.

Park Website

View Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky in a larger map


Updated from March 31, 2009


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I Spy from Sky High

Aside from its 7000 foot elevation and lack of community garage sales (or garages, for that matter), it was still a different sort of neighborhood.  While I might glance across my street to admire lush landscaping or to see if the neighbor who occasionally rides to my lawn’s rescue on a John Deere lawnmower is headed my way, Walnut Canyon tenants watched the inhabitants of their cliff side community for more serious considerations.

The Sinagua people’s version of the neighborhood watch was an ongoing monitoring of cross-canyon villages.  Awareness lowered the probabilities of surprises in a place where the unexpected was unlikely to be a positive event.  A cliff side perch allowed for controlled access and a passive defense.  It was community living at arms length and with a roughly 600 foot drop-off in between.

Water could be found far below.  Sometimes.  Water storage was critical as the dry season was desert dry —the Spanish words sin and agua translate to “without water.”  Food was hunted, gathered and grown on the relatively fertile soil of the cliff rims above.  Observing the neighbors in 1125 AD was more about computing essential survival information than today’s mundane curb check to verify trash collection day.

The cliff dwellings: Sinagua Style Sky-boxes

The lifestyle: Just a Wild Guess?

 

More album photos: Heather Dugan Creative on Facebook

Flagstaff Things To Do

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