San Rafael Valley, AZ ~~ Photo by Bill Haas

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012


You haven’t lived until you’ve drowned in the sweet, fragrant ambrosia of Wild Azaleas.  One might compare the flowers to Iris, their perfume to Honeysuckle.  They are actually  related to Rhododendrons, and typically bloom in June, rimming meadows in wet spots and along creeks.  Turn away from them at your peril!  

I found a smattering of Wild Azalea shrubs along Tuolumne River’s South Fork just starting to bloom.  Yosemite Valley is where you’ll find entire meadows-full of Wild Azalea, their heady fragrance impossible to miss.  Big Basin State Park is the only other place I’ve found similar profusion of this unique plant.  

Of their five fringed ivory petals, only the middle of the top three petals is tinted with a pale, buttery apricot hue.  The remaining four are tinged with barely a blush of pink bisecting each petal.  Their come-hither pistils and stamens invite nectar scoopers, pollinators, human noses. The buds of Wild Azaleas are just as pleasing, and the colors a tiny bit more intense.  

I love this plant.  Discovering it made my day ... 
all I did was follow my nose!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


This is the bridge over the Merced Wild & Scenic River, between Yosemite and Mariposa.  It's one lane as you can see; it's waaaay above the river canyon; its suspenders are low-lying; the ingress on *both* sides are at right angles; there is no red light/green light to curtail oncoming traffic; and there is NO option (or space) for backing up anything but a small passenger vehicle!
The bridge is crossed by buses with trailers full of rafts and rafters, by gold dredgers in motorhomes larger than mine, and intrepid, half-baked adventurers like me.  I'm assuming that's the reason BLM has not posted ANY vehicle length limitations!
This young woman halted traffic, helped me maneuver around the corner, under the suspenders, over the river and around the corner on the other side.  Where was she when I first crossed this bridge?  Hmmmm, that probably explains the appearance of a new bumper bite on my Lazy Daze!
She's paused from signaling so I can take photos.   

The river, campground and beaches were outstanding.  Overwhelmed by anxiety over the re-crossing, however, I left my idyllic spot after just two days.  A wimp after all!!!