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Joy of Pickleball

Happy 2020!!

Hope all healthy and thus far 2020 treating you well. On the 31st my sister Donna and her husband Ken sent fresh crab from Seattle so Susan and I welcomed the new year with crab and champagne … managed to stay awake until after midnight. Last month I mentioned working on my next iMovie and presentation at our local Senior Center: Joy of Pickleball (JoyPickleball Announcement). As noted a few times recently, I really enjoy playing and teaching the game of pickleball.  There is a flow and rhythm to the game that’s both relaxing and engaging. Ironically, I find similarities between learning to play pickleball and learning to alpine ski: initially the learner’s approach is commonly defensive but overtime there is a significant change in performance as understanding and confidence increase. Love it! Included in the iMovie is a discussion of when and why the game of pickleball began and how the game is played. Also included in the movie is some footage from a “Beginners” pickleball clinic I did in Tanzania last summer as well as some of our local pickleball players playing the game and discussing the attraction of pickleball. If you’re in town, I hope you can join us on February 24th for the pickleball presentation.

Have a great year!

Pickleball equipment and player – Laramie, Wyoming

Beginner’s Pickleball Clinic (June 4, 2019) – Arusha, Tanzania

Beginner’s Pickleball Clinic (June 4, 2019) – Arusha, Tanzania

Beginner’s Pickleball Clinic (June 4, 2019) – Arusha, Tanzania

Beginner’s Pickleball Clinic (June 4, 2019) – Arusha, Tanzania

Beginner’s Pickleball Clinic (June 4, 2019) – Arusha, Tanzania Beginner’s Pickleball Clinic (June 4, 2019) – Arusha, Tanzania

Beginner’s Pickleball Clinic (June 4, 2019) – Arusha, Tanzania

New outdoor pickleball courts – Laramie, Wyoming

 

Holiday Greetings 2019

Happy Holiday’s Everyone!

Hope all in all you weathered another year successfully. We did … but we’re VERY MUCH looking forward to civility returning to Washington in 2020. All of us stayed reasonably healthy: Sorrel is losing her hearing but not her appetite; Rusty and Michael are getting gray and both continue to be easily distracted; and Susan just never seems to age. Our biggest house projects this past year were the replacing of the fence (long overdue) and instillation of a fire pit. And though both were headaches at times and took months to complete, the new fence and fire pit are wonderful additions. Susan and I got to Denver a few times to visit the zoo, take in a show and rendezvous with friends. And, big for me this year was getting nationally certified as a Pickleball Coach for Adults; have already taught a few Beginning Pickleball classes at our local Recreation Center. Now I’m able to teach skiing (primarily to adults) part-time during the winter and teach Pickleball (primarily to adults) part-time during other months of the year; both activities help keep me connected to the flow of adult education. I also returned to Tanzania for a few weeks in June and backpacked with friends in Yellowstone in August (both adventures were featured in previous blog posts). On the creative side, I made six new iMovies in 2019 (easily a record). Part of the reason for this is every few months I make a travel-like presentation at our local senior center – the Laramie community is also invited. My next presentation is in January and is called “the Joy of Pickleball”. More on that shortly, but for now Sorrel, Rusty, Susan and I extend Best Wishes for 2020!  Below are a few photos from 2019.

Holiday Greetings from Susan, Sorrel, Rusty and Michael – Laramie, Wyoming

Rusty and Sorrel after recent trip to the prairie (November 2019) – Laramie, Wyoming

Susan enjoying fire pit – Laramie, Wyoming

New fence – Laramie, Wyoming

iMovie presentation at Eppson Senior Center (February 18, 2019) – Laramie, Wyoming

Black bear cub – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

iMovie made for Susan for Valentine’s Day, (February 14, 2019) – Laramie, Wyoming

Susan and Michael (May, 2018) – at Machu Picchu, Peru

iMovie presentation at Eppson Senior Center (May 20, 2019) – Laramie, Wyoming

Susan catching a piranha – Amazon River, Peru

iMovie made for June 3-17, 2019 safari to Tanzania

  Male lion – Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

iMovie made for August 13-18, 2019 backpacking adventure along the Bechler River – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Hiking companions, Bechler River Trail – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

iMovie presentation at Eppson Senior Center (October 21, 2019) – Laramie, WyomingFairy Falls – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone’s Majestic Waterfalls

Greetings all,

Back in August I shared photos of a recent six-day backpacking trip to the cascade corner of Yellowstone National Park. (I greatly enjoyed my companions, the hike, the adventure and the waterfalls.) Because the trip was so rewarding, I decided my next Eppson Center presentation would focus on Yellowstone Waterfalls (It’s scheduled for October 21st, flier attached YNP Waterfalls Presentation Announcement (October21st)). But, though I’ve visited many waterfalls in the park I’ve actually only video-taped a few so planned a return trip in early October.  Visiting Yellowstone in October can be challenging primarily due to weather (rain, sun and snow) but can also make a lovely setting for photos. I visited and filmed 15 waterfalls in three days: exhausting and wonderful. Below are a few photos from the trip and if you are in Laramie Monday October 21st hope you’ll join me at the Eppson Center presentation.

7.5DII*j7678MoseFallsYNPOct'19(7.5x5,300cpyrt)Moose Falls (near South Entrance) – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

5DIIe4646CrystalFallsYNPOct'19(7.5x5,300cpyrt)Crystal Falls (view from Upper Falls overlook) – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

5DIIe4456FairyFallsYNPOct'19(7.5x5,300rcpyrt)Fairy Falls (easy on-trail hike) – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

5DII*j8339UndineFallsYNPOct'19(7.5x5,300cpyrt)Undine Falls (road side pullout) – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

5D*j8576SylvanLakeYNPOct'19(7.5x4.4,300cpyrt)Sylvan Lake (early morning) – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

5DII*j7874EarlyMorningSnowYNPOct'19(7.5x3,300cpyrt)Willow Park lake (early morning) – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

5DII*j7879LakeThermal&SnowYNPOct'19(7.5x5,300cpyrt)Lake near Norris Geyser Basin (early morning) – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

5DII*e4521KeplerCascadesYNPOct'19(7.5x5,300cpyrt)Kepler Cascades (road side pullout) – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

5DII*j8063MysticFallsYNPOct'19(7.5x5,300cpyrt)Mystic Falls (easy on-trail hike) – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

1DXb7021GrizYNPOct'19(7.5x5,300cpyrt)Grizzly Bear (October snow) – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone Bechler River Trail

Greetings all,

Recently returned from a six-day backpacking trip to the cascade corner of Yellowstone National Park: The Bechler River Trail.  This was my second hike of both the Bechler River Trail and the thermal geyser basin along the shores of Shoshone Lake (the first time was seventeen years ago). This time we also added a spur hike to Union Falls. Wonderful. We hiked over 40 miles carrying backpacks and another ten or so without. This is generally a challenging trail due to length and two crossings of the Continnental Divide (one being Grant’s Pass at 8,500’); in August, you also encounter numerous fords of fast flowing rivers and annoying biting flies and mosquitoes. But, the weather was great and our hikers fit. My Top Ten Takeaways are: 1) everyone from our group completing the hike; 2) finally seeing Union Falls; 3. viewing Colonnade Falls early evening after a brief thunder storm; 4. covered with midst and spray, experiencing Iris Falls shortly after sunrise; 5. revisiting the lovely Geyser Basin along the shoreline of Shoshone Lake; 6. finding and swimming in the warm springs of the North Folk near Union Falls; 7) gaining a new respect for fording the powerful Bechler River; 8) having lovely camp sites (especially our final two camps); 9) finding box toilets at each camp; and 10) each evening celebrating a successful day backpacking with 1/3 portions of red wine. Ummm!  Below are a few photos from the trip.

Bechler River Trail 6-day Backpack (August 13-18, 2019) – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Shoshone Geyser Basin – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Shoshone Geyser Basin – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Lone Star Geyser – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Camp 9D1 Ferris Fork – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Ferris Fork – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Cascade, Ferris Fork – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Bechler River – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Iris Falls – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Colonnade Falls – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Fording Bechler River – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Camp 9C1 Rocky Ford – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Sunrise, Camp 9U2 Mountaun Ash Creek – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Camp 9U2 Mountaun Ash Creek – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Union Falls – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Warm Spring, North Folk – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Warm Spring, North Folk – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Backpacking Companions, Bechler River Trail – Yellowstone National Park, Wyomin

Tanzania Safari 2019

Greetings all,

Recently returned from my 9th wildlife safari in East Africa. I’ve been asked why return so often? Haven’t you seen all the wildlife you’re going to see? (Over 130 species are presented in my Wildlife Safari: A Photo Journal .)  Those are both difficult questions to answer, but there are always wonderful surprising moments you come across while on safari and perhaps that is the real reason for all the repeat visits: for two weeks, your senses are fully engaged and prepared to experience the unexpected. My Top Ten Tanzania Safari 2019 experiences were: 1. Introducing Pickleball to a new community of players in Arusha, Tanzania; 2. Spending ten days on safari with six new safari companions and a safari guide and friend I first met in 2006; 3. Experiencing the full impact of the Great Migration on the Serengeti; 4. Coming across lions resting in trees; 5. Seeing a four-month-old cheetah cub; 6. Watching hippos move about nearly covered by water plants; 7. Viewing a male lion surveying his kingdom from the top of a kopje (a real Lion King moment); 8. Enjoying a massive assortment of water birds at Lake Manyara; 9. For a few hours, seemingly having the Ngorongoro Crater almost to ourselves surrounded by a grand collection of wildlife; and 10. Returning to the majestic Baobab forests of Tarangire National Park. Below are a few photos.

Pickleball clinic – Arusha, Tanzania

Safari companions – Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania

Great Migration, wildebeests – Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Great Migration, wildebeests – Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Lions resting in tree – Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania

Lion resting in tree – Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania

Four-month-old cheetah cub – Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Cheetah and cub – Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Hippos resting in a salad bowl  – Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania

Male lion scanning its horizon – Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Male lion roar – Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Water birds – Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania

Water birds – Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania

Black-winged stilt – Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania

Elands and Tommy gazelles  – Ngorongoro Conservaion Area, Tanzania

Secretarybird  – Ngorongoro Conservaion Area, Tanzania

Male leopard  – Ngorongoro Conservaion Area, Tanzania

Baobab tree and elephants – Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Safari Yearnings

Greetings all,

Hope winter’s been kind to you but sort of doubt it.  What all this Laramie snow and cold does do, for me anyway, is increases my longing for summer and for another return trip to East Africa – this will be my 9th wildlife safari adventure to East Africa.  A few of you might remember that at the conclusion of my fifth safari to East Africa (in 2011), I gathered together some safari photos, wrote some descriptive information on a variety of mammal and bird species, and assembled a 108-page book “East Africa Wildlife Safari: A Photo Journal”.  After my safari in 2013 I considered updating the book; it’s finally done.  The new book “Wildlife Safari: A Photo Journal” includes another 20 species of wildlife and many new photos.  It also includes a Foreword by my two favorite safari guides: Vicky Simbeye and Peter Nanyaro.  I’ve attached a sample of the book (pages 1-30)  (Part I) Wildlife Safari (pages 1-30 )  and am currently having ten copies printed. It’s expensive to print locally (over $35.00 a copy) and am looking for a publisher (perhaps oversees). Will keep you posted and if any of you would like to purchase a colored copy let me know. Below are copies of both the front and back cover.

Cheers,

Michael

ForpdfInside Back Cover (2) copy

Visions of Yellowstone

Greetings and belated happy new year,

Hope 2018 treated you well. Finally, into February so the coldest Laramie month is behind us; now we eagerly anticipate spring (sort of) just a few long months away. On a more comforting note, just completed a new iMovie on Yellowstone. Thought that after exploring the park for nearly twenty years (hiking and backpacking hundreds of miles) it was time to finish cataloging all my photos and attempt to gather the best and create something new —only twenty-four minutes long. Below are a few photo collages that introduce sections of the iMovie. The announcement for premier showing of “Visions of Yellowstone” is scheduled for Monday, 5:45pm, February 18th at the Eppson Center in Laramie.b.Visions Yellowstone Presentation Announcement (Feb 18th) The focus of my remarks after the showing include: why and when to visit the park; where to go and what to see in the park; and how to hike and overnight camp in the park. If you’re in town join us.

Cheers,

Michael

New Adventures

Greetings all,

Hope your summer was relaxing (even a bit adventurous) and your fall not too much of a reminder winter approaches, especially if you live in Laramie, Wyoming — we had a significant snowfall this past Sunday. All remains interesting here and thus far I’m still able to maintain the joy of changing seasons and the aliveness of new adventures. Thanks to our friend Jeasik I was introduced to Pickleball a few months ago and actually enjoy it – resisted the sport for a few years due to its association with “old people”. Pickleball is great fun — much more challenging than it seems — and a great way to stay physically active; Susan remains unconvinced. Also, for the first time I backpacked into the Wind River Range near Pinedale, Wyoming. Though it took a bit of adjustment to once again carry a 50-pound backpack, prepare a new camp each day, and appreciate the changeability of weather in late August (one evening experiencing a torrential storm around supper time), the adventure was delightful — sparkling with newness. I’m also in the midst of coordinating my first small-group safari to Tanzania scheduled for next summer (so far so good, have our first group of six travelers); each visit to East Africa is full of wonder and surprise. We still have a few places available for the safari so think about it. Attached is the safari itinerary, a winter-photo from this past Sunday, a Pickleball group photo, and some photos from my backpacking trip into the Winds. Happy Halloween!    Revised Itinerary TZ’19 Description(july’18)

Sunday morning snow (October 14, 2018) – Laramie, Wyoming

Pickleball Fall Rally participants, September 30, 2018 – Laramie, Wyoming

Backpacking in the Winds – Wind River Range, Wyoming

View from Photographers Point – Wind River Range, Wyoming

View from Photographers Point – Wind River Range, Wyoming

Pack lama (not ours), Photographers Point – Wind River Range, Wyoming

Backpacking companions, Photographers Point – Wind River Range, Wyoming

Miller Lake Trail – Wind River Range, Wyoming

Miller Lake Trail – Wind River Range, Wyoming

Eklund Lake – Wind River Range, Wyoming

Camping, Eklund Lake – Wind River Range, Wyoming

Pack horses (not ours), Eklund Lake – Wind River Range, Wyoming

Pole Creek Trail – Wind River Range, Wyoming

Pole Creek Trail – Wind River Range, Wyoming

Pole Creek Trail – Wind River Range, Wyoming

Pole Creek Trail – Wind River Range, Wyoming

Pole Creek Trail – Wind River Range, Wyoming

Pole Creek Trail – Wind River Range, WyomingCrossing Pole Creek – Wind River Range, Wyoming

Sweeney Creek Trail – Wind River Range, Wyoming

Morning midst, Sweeney Lake – Wind River Range, Wyoming

Miller Lake, Miller Lake Trail – Wind River Range, Wyoming

Trip’s end, Miller Lake Trail – Wind River Range, Wyoming

Peru

Greetings all,

Hope the final days of Spring are treating you well. Recently returned from a few weeks in Peru — a country of contrasts, marvel, beauty and lovely people. Only half way through cataloging photos but have a few to share. Susan and I began our trip with a few restful days in Lima then flew a bit over 600 miles North-East to Iquitos in the Amazon jungle. There we boarded the Aria Amazon for a seven-night cruise up the Amazon River. Then back to Lima for a 300-mile flight South-East to Cusco where we explored a number of locations in the Sacred Valley ending with the rather compulsory, but still rewarding, visit to Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu was crowded with tourists; the Sacred Valley was majestic; and Cusco one of the loveliest cities we’ve ever visited. Below are a few photos.

Weaver – Sacred Valley, Peru

Skiff – Amazon River, Peru

Village – Amazon River, Peru

Traveling to market – Amazon River, Peru

Stilt homes – Amazon River, Peru

Owl monkeys – Amazon rainforest, Peru

Scarlet macaws – Iquitos, Peru

Amazon tree boa – Amazon rainforest, Peru

Infant Three-toed sloth, village – Amazon River, Peru

Capped heron – Amazon River, Peru

Giant water lilies – Amazon River, Peru

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dusky-headed parakeet- Amazon River, Peru

Susan catching a piranha – Amazon River, Peru

Aria Amazon – Amazon River, Peru

Sunrise – Amazon River, Peru

Looking down on Cusco from Sacsayhuaman – Cusco, Peru

Woman with llama, Sacsayhuaman – Cusco, Peru

Urubamba River – Sacred Valley, Peru

Wheat fields – Central Highlands, Peru

Salt mines – Maras, Peru

Salt mines – Maras, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, PeruSusan & Michael – Sacred Valley, Peru

Some Winter News

Greetings all,

Again, sorry for the delay. New Year’s Resolution was to mind the blog better in 2018 — off to a slow start. Unlike friends on the East Coast, up until a few days ago we’ve experienced a mild winter in Laramie: some annoying snow shoveling but not nearly as bad as most years. Our mountains though are getting some good snow and with that some interesting news, of sorts, our local ski area put together a ski package designed for senior skiers (Extended Flier Senior Ski Package Announcement (March9’18)); it’s great fun teaching this group and working part-time for the ski area again. And, just returned from a few days in Yellowstone … enjoyed last year’s winter visit so much needed to return. This time we added a bit more cross-country skiing to our daily park visiting agenda. Highly recommend! Below are a few photos. Otherwise all doing well. Hope same true for you. Keep in touch!

1.1DXb6450BisonYNPFeb'18(7.5x5,300bd)Bison in snow, Soda Butte Creek – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

5.5DII*i5052MammothTerraceYNPFeb'18(7.5x5,300cpyrtbd)Cross-country skiing Upper Terrace, Mammoth Hot Springs – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

6.5DII*i4971MammothTerraceYNPFeb'18(7.5x5,300cpyrtbd)Upper Terrace, Mammoth Hot Springs – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

7.5DII*i5005MammothTerraceYNPFeb'18(b7.5x5,300cpyrtbd)Upper Terrace, Mammoth Hot Springs – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

2b.5DII*i5012OrangeMoundYNPFeb'18(7.5x5,300bd)Orange Spring Mound, Upper Terrace, Mammoth Hot Springs – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

2.5DII*i5080CanarySpringYNPFeb'18(7.5x5,300cpyrtbd)Canary Spring, Mammoth Hot Springs – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

2c.5DII*i5073MammothTerraceYNPFeb'18(7.5x5,300bd)Upper Terrace, Mammoth Hot Springs – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

52d.DII*i4803SodaButteYNP'18(7.5x5,300bd)Soda Butte – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

8.1DXb6554YRiverYNPFeb'18(7.5x5,300cpyrtbd)Yellowstone River with snow – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

3.5DII*i4935LamarRSnowYNPFeb'18(7.5x4.1,300cpyrtbd)Lamar River covered by snow – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

15.1DXb6506RiverOtterYNPFeb'18(c7.5x5,300bd)Northern River Otter, Lamar River – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

16.1DXb6509RiverOtterYNPFeb'18(7.5x5,300bd)Northern River Otter, Lamar River – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

17.1DXb6497RiverOtterYNPFeb'18(7.5x5,300bd)Northern River Otter, Lamar River – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

13.1DXb6683CoyoteYNPFeb'18(7.5x5,300cpyrtbd)Coyote near Mammoth Hot Springs – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

14.1DXb6481RamYNPFeb'18(c7.5x5,300bd)Bighorn sheep near confluence of Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

9.1DXb6569FemaleElkYNPFeb'18(7.5x5,300bd)Elk near Mammoth Hot Springs – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

12.1DXb6699PronghornYNPFeb'18(7.5x3,300cpyrtbd)Pronghorn near Mammoth Hot Springs – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

11.1DXb6707MuledeerYNPFeb'18(7.5x5,300bd)Mule deer near Mammoth Hot Springs – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

10.1DXb6597BisonYNPFeb'18(7.5x5,300bd)Bison near Mammoth Hot Springs – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

8b.5DII*i5192ObsidianCrkYNPFeb'18(7.5x5,300cpyrt)Cross-country skiing near Obsidian Creek – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

4b.5DII*i4831CalciteSpringsOverlookYNP'18(7.5x5,300300bd)Cross-country skiing near Calcite Springs overlook – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

4.5DII*i4865TowerFallYNP'18(c7.5x5,300cpyrtbd)Cross-country skiing near Tower Fall – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

18.5DII*i4913BisonLamarValleyYNPFeb'18(c7.5x5,300cpyrtbd)Bison in snow, Lamar Valley – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

19.1DXb6536BisonYNPFeb'18(7.5x5,300bd)Bison in snow, Lamar Valley – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

20.1DXb6640BisonYNPFeb'18(7.5x5,300cpyrtbd)Bison near Mammoth Hot Springs – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming