Blog Archives

This week in pictures

Living in a real house (as opposed to living in a screened porch on a pavilion on a small island) means I actually have internet access every day of the week and I’ve been meaning to take advantage of this by posting more photographs. Unfortunately, the nature of the work I’ve been doing for the past few months has really discouraged me from taking my camera out with me. So — despite being ‘able’ to post more pictures — I haven’t actually taken many pictures worth posting.

I think I can manage posting a couple decent shots per week though. Realistically, most of what I’m doing doesn’t make for astounding photography, but I think I get enough exploring done to make for some interesting posts.

This week we split our time between four different projects. We worked in Nickerson State Park, repairing washed out fire roads, on Wing Island in Brewster, in a ex-cranberry bog being maintained by a local conservation organization, and at the town of Brewster’s shellfish grant.

The mission on Wing Island hasn’t changed, we’re still mowing down acres of brush to prep the area for a prescribed burn next spring/summer. At last check the total area we’ve treated in the last two months (working maybe one day a week on average) is approaching six acres. There’s still a ton to mow, but we’re making progress.

Wing Island is only an island at high tide. Luckily, we're prepared to make the trip out to the project area even when the moon isn't cooperating.

Wing Island is only an island at high tide. Luckily, we’re prepared to make the trip out to the project area even when the moon isn’t cooperating.

At this point, we're all fairly eager to be finished on Wing. It seems like we've been working there forever and we're looking forward to the promised payoff.

At this point, we’re all fairly eager to be finished on Wing. It seems like we’ve been working there forever and we’re looking forward to the promised payoff.

Although I’ve been living on Cape Cod for the past three months (or something like that) this week was the first time I’ve visited Nickerson State Park. The park itself is enormous, and is cris-crossed with fire roads to allow local fire departments to move engines and other resources easily to the site of any fire-event. We worked to help keep those fire-roads in decent shape by repairing a pair of washed out sections and replacing a damaged water bar.

I'm looking forward to coming back here once its warm out again. This weather and I don't really get along.

I’m looking forward to coming back here once its warm out again. This weather and I don’t really get along.

Finally, we spent the early part of this week helping to remove pines from a recently retired cranberry bog near Brewster. While the organization that is maintaining the bog hasn’t decided on what community they plan on promoting there yet, they know that Pitch Pine isn’t a species they’re concerned with fostering.

Unfortunately, some of the larger pines were too big to remove using brush cutters.

Unfortunately, some of the larger pines were too big to remove using brush cutters.

Sunset on Calf Island

image

I am fantastically lucky. Really. There are updates in the pipeline, I swear. The only thing I’m lacking
on my 30-acre paradise is non-phone-based internet.

I can live with that.

Exploring Piedras Blancas Pt 2: The Lighthouse and outbuildings

The third (and final) entry about Piedras Blancas is again devoted to the awesomeness of the landscape there. The spit of land that the BLM manages is dominated by the impressive form of the lighthouse and its outbuildings.

The lighthouse itself is one of only a few buildings on the property that stands exactly as it did when constructed, the old houses that were built to house the operators and their families are long gone, replaced by more functional buildings to house research staff and the BLM employees that are charged with the area’s upkeep.

On the right are the remaining historic buildings, forgive me for forgetting what purpose they served when they were originally erected, they now house tools needed for the properties upkeep, the BLM’s offices, and (of course) a gift shop. On the left are the aforementioned apartments for researchers and employees. They were remarkably swanky.

Other buildings housed the artifacts that the tours use to teach people about the area with. Including some rather threatening looking casts of skulls.

Guess which one belongs to an Elephant Seal.

Hint: This one.

Another section of the property was given over to housing the bones from a whale that had washed ashore years before.

Shame on me for taking a picture without including an object of a known size to set the scale. Lets just leave it at “the jaw bones from this whale were about the same size as I am”

While bones are great and all, I can’t help but think that most people visit this place for the lighthouse. And with good reason.

My kingdom for a Tilt/shift lens.

The original mirrored reflector has been removed in favor of an ultra-bright modern light bulb that spins (yes, the lighthouse is still functional). Otherwise however, the lighthouse functions much the same as it used to. Going to the top was a real treat, although slightly nerve wracking (a few of the stairs to the top are cracked).

There are a few seals visible on the beach if you look.

Again, looking closely you can see a wide range of marine mammals relaxing on the rocks far below.

I have dozens more pictures like these, I really couldn’t get enough of the white rock itself. Unfortunately a picture can’t capture the sound of the place, when seals and sea lions decide to be verbal, the effects are immediate and impossible to ignore.

Ventana Skies

The absolute highlight of the work in Ventana (aside from the ladybugs, I suppose) were the morning and evening hikes to and from the work site. The head of the trail we were working on was a hair under two miles from our campsite — all uphill — and the hike took us across a set of beautiful ridges, made even more awe-inspiring by the fantastic show the sky and the Pacific Ocean put on for us.

I’d experienced the ocean affect a few times before Ventana, but never from high above it.

I took this photograph the morning of my birthday, the whole trip was something like a gift from my supervisors.

Behind that peak the Pacific is masked with clouds. Far below where this picture was taken (flirting with the fog) is the campsite we stayed in.

Ow, my poor useless eyes.

Most mornings I woke up long before anyone else and stumbled around the campsite trying to make coffee (blind) as quietly as I possibly could.

Another of the numerous snags, backlit.

%d bloggers like this: