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21-08-2018, 19:32   #1
M.T. Cranium
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MTC summer trip 2018 photos

As some readers already know, I went on a long road trip this past month through the high desert region of the southwestern U.S. -- the weather was almost always clear so I didn't manage to snag a lot of good cloud or storm photos. We had perhaps two minor thunderstorm encounters, each lasting just a few minutes and not much action with either of them. A more problematic weather variable was forest fire smoke which occasionally crossed our path although it was seldom a visibility or air quality issue for us until the last three days as we approached home base from the east after making a long, leisurely loop through the western states, seeing quite a few new to us places, as well as one or two old favourites.

Anyway, what follows will be a few pictures of the trip, enjoy.

This first one shows a small forest fire at the Grand Canyon on the north rim across a side canyon from the North Rim visitor centre.

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21-08-2018, 19:39   #2
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Here's a more scenery oriented picture of another part of the Grand Canyon, also on the north rim but further east than the fires in the last photo, some haze from various sources which is not unusual in that region -- sunset is the time to be there as the colours really start to glow and the contrasts improve.

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21-08-2018, 19:41   #3
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Thanks! Arizona is may favorite state. Such a variation in climate with elevation.
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21-08-2018, 19:55   #4
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Yes these north rim pictures are taken around 2500 metres above sea level, the forest back away from the canyons resembles what we might expect to see in B.C. at around 1800 metres (spruce and fir mostly with cottonwood aspen groves).

So this next picture is taken near Bryce Canyon Utah of sunset with an advancing (but not very active) thunderstorm about to move in over us, lasted all of five or ten minutes and was still rumbling away an hour later in the final stages of twilight off to our northeast.

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21-08-2018, 20:08   #5
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One more for now, this was taken at the very interesting Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, a large community that existed from about 800 to 1200 A.D. then like several others around it (Mesa Verde for example) fell into disuse as the people apparently either moved away or stopped coming to this apparently ceremonial site.



My interest in it was partly due to their practice of aligning buildings to both solar and lunar orbital extremes showing some knowledge of the lunar declination cycle. I was hoping to gain some insights into why they tracked that as the solar angles had an obvious connection to the crops they produced there. However, I was not able to find anything very specific and might need to go back with some better research into what had been written up about this, as the current park literature and staff seemed unaware of these details.

Anyway, their buildings were quite elaborate and used timber hauled in from many miles distant in higher parts of New Mexico. Some elaborate petroglyphs can be found there also.

(after this visit, we went north into Colorado and ended up at Dinosaur National Monument, worth a visit with a large quarry of partly exhumed dinosaur skeletons -- they have already shipped large ones off to most of the major museums of natural history).
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24-08-2018, 00:47   #6
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Any snow beginning to show on the San Francisco Peaks this time of year, i'm guessing another month or so (height circa 3,900 - 4,100 meters)?

Amazing thinking there are ski resorts not far from the Grand Canyon. Even the canyon itself has different climates within though I can't remember off the top of my head how many.
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30-08-2018, 19:51   #7
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We didn't go that far south (pix are from the North Rim) but would imagine snow begins to stick on those peaks in mid to late September.

Patchy snow visible near summit levels in Colorado and Wyoming on our journey through there around ten days ago now.

This picture captures a weak monsoon type thunderstorm cloud that ended up giving us a few minutes of rain, gusty (southeast) winds and a welcome drop in temperature from 40 to 28 C. Taken on July 30th at Mesquite NV.

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