In the winter of 1985 I was driving through the Mojave Desert with a friend, talking about our apparent need for new river gear. As we passed the Twenty Nine Palms Marine Base, a man unexpectedly appeared on the side of the road selling used ammo cans. My friend and I laughed wildly and quickly came to realize that the moment was "All In A Days' Karma". This blog contains the occasional ramblings of a died-in-the-wool westerner who loves seeing, understanding, and being alive upon these landscapes. I cherish the moments of bliss and irony that come to all of us as we explore the planet and its residents (and perhaps visitors) in the short time we are here.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Burning the Bluff Mammoth

***Utah's Canyon Country Blog used some of these photo's to advertise the 2014 burning! See the link here.***

**FINAL UPDATE**: The YouTube video of the final act in this rousing, moving, historic adventure can be seen here. Read the lead-up to this below. 

A mammoth Mammoth has been assembled by locals in Bluff, Utah, a small historical hamlet beside the San Juan River. This in honor of the Mammoth petroglyph found in the Navajo Sandstone nearby. The plan is to burn it on December 21, if we are still around after the end of the Long Count Mayan calendar. (Yeah, right).

I visited the Bluff Mammoth 10 days ago and file this photographic report.

Artfully and scientifically constructed

Bill, Wayne and George aside it for scale

Framed by the Bluff Sandstone

Legs of fine cottonwood bark

And  beautifully painted toes

Awesome tusks but not of ivory

A work of art! Thank you Bluff!

You can read another article about this spectacle in the Arizona Republic newspaper here.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

At Last! Verification That My Life Choices Have Been Spot On!

I guess one always wonders if they've made the right choices in life. This recent study suggests that maybe I have! See it here.

Go take a hike!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chasing Greenland Ice

Videographers were set up near the Ilulissat Glacier in Greenland to record 7.4 cubic kilometers of ice calving into the North Atlantic. Watch it here.

Giant Ice-Age Mammoth Spotted in Bluff, Utah!

On the way up to Moab last week, we stopped by the Mammoth across from the Wild Rivers Expedition warehouse.

It is an impressive animal!

It is huge!

With mammoth tusks

Strong, massive legs

Colorful toes

Huge girth

Imagine hunting one of these!

It is so tall.

Watch the video here.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Is The Tide Turning On Creationism?

The Reverend Pat Robertson recently stunned the evangelical community when he told listeners on his popular TV show not to "fight science". The full story is here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Some Recent Great Photos

I am inspired by the landscape around me and there are some photographers I would like you to meet. They have a special way of making this place come alive.

The tubes are now closed at Glen Canyon Dam and the Grand Canyon has received a wallop of new sand for the beaches. While the tubes were open over 42,000 cfs roared out of the dam and photographer Chris Eaton got this shot of the outlet tubes at full force.

On May 20 of this year, northern Arizona was treated to an annular solar eclipse. We watched the eclipse from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and I blogged about the event here. But photographer Clinton Melander was at Horseshoe Bend near Page, AZ and captured this stunning multiple image.

The San Francisco Peaks are the highest point in the state of Arizona and photographer Ted Grussing makes it a habit of flying over them often. His photographs are stunning as seen here on a recent sunny afternoon. The view ois of the southwest side of the Peaks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

To Honor John R. Parsons

Recently, at the start of the month, it was someone's special birthday.
And to celebrate, we are going back to the days of e-tickets

Be sure to check out the very first ride on Main Street on this early edition ticket!

Here's your "junior" admission

Gotta love that Mark Twain Steamboat
And what about the Pack Mules thru Natures Wonderland!

Happy Belated Birthday John! 

Every day with you is an e-ticket ride!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Two Minute History of the World

I received this nice link to a two a minute video about the history of the universe. Obviously, it is anthro-centric but still interesting to watch. Have a look here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The mission of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. The OECD is now 50 years old. You can read about it here.

They have developed a Better Life Index, which rates the conditions in eleven different categories for the richest 36 countries in the world. You can view the index here. Hover your cursor over a counties name and its standing in those eleven categories will be displayed.

For my home country, the United States of America, the ratings for incomes, safety, health, and housing is really good. It is not as good in the categories of work-life balance and education. Denmark scored the highest in life satisfaction and work-life balance.

I found this to be an instructive way to see how various countries stack up with respect to their neighbors.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

700 Months

How big is the number 700? Not very big in today's world (and certainly not for a geologist). But 700 months. How long do you think 700 months is?

Well I can tell you because on Nov. 1, I will turn 700 months old! It sounds like such a short time doesn't it? "Really? Only 700 months?" Yep, it's true.

So the first day of November I will turn 58.25 years old or

700 months old;
3,045 weeks old;
21,308 days old;
511,400 hours old;
About 30,683,500 minutes old;
or 1,840,997,000 seconds old.

If you'd like to know how old you are, check out this web site: It's fun and a happy place to be.

Disclaimer! This photograph of me was taken in my 682nd month at one of my favorite places - the inner gorge of the Grand Canyon!

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Irony Of It All

The space shuttle Endeavor being wheeled through Los Angeles and past the famous Randy's Donuts sign at 805 W. Manchester Ave. in Inglewood. You can't make this stuff up. The space shuttle meets the donut hole! More information here. You gotta read it! I especially loved this quip at the end of the Wikipedia site:  

"In the film 2012, the donut sign can be seen rolling through the streets during an earthquake."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Arizona Daily Sun Article on the New Edition of Carving Grand Canyon

To read an article on the new edition of my book "Carving Grand Canyon" in the local Flagstaff newspaper, see the link here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Carving Grand Canyon - The 2nd Edition

The new edition is out and available from me. To get a signed copy send $21 (postpaid) to me and I'll get it right to you.

And remember these folks?

Well they came to the Grand Canyon too a long time ago. See a short clip from their trip here. Thanks to my wife Helen for this link to the family vacation video.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Some Photos Of Mars From The Rover, Curiosity

Is this amazing or what? Detailed pictures from Mars! We live in the future.

Color on AMrs

Detail on Mars

Strata on Mars

Monday, September 10, 2012

Summer, 2012 Is On Pace For The 3rd Hottest Ever In Contiguous US

The summer of 2012 was the warmest on record for Wyoming and Colorado, and ranked in the top-ten warmest on record for 22 other states. For the Contiguous U.S., it was the 3rd warmest summer since record keeping began in 1895. Image credit: NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).  
According to the blog, Dr. Jeff Master's WunderBlog, the summer of 2012 will go down as the 3rd warmest in history in the contiguous US. He writes:

"The summer of 2012 was the 3rd hottest summer in U.S. history, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in today's State of the Climate report. June 2012 ranked as the 14th warmest June on record, August was the 16th warmest August on record, and July was the warmest month of any month in U.S. history, bringing the average summer temperature of the contiguous U.S. just 0.2°F shy of the hottest summer on record--the great Dust Bowl summer of 1936. Second place is held by 2011, which was just 0.1°F cooler than the summer of 1936. So far in 2012, we've had the warmest March on record, 3rd warmest April, 2nd warmest May, and warmest July. These remarkably warm months have helped push temperatures in the contiguous U.S. to the warmest on record for the year-to-date period of January - August. Temperatures this year in the U.S. have been so far above the previous record--a remarkable 1°F for the year-to-date period--that even if the remainder of 2012 ranks historically in the coldest one-third of September - Decembers on record, 2012 will beat out 1998 for the warmest year in history. Reliable weather records for the U.S. go back to 1895."

You can read the whole posting here. Wow - it sure is getting hot out there!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Redwall Cavern Waterfalls

Here is a video that shows a tremendous downpour that occurred while a river trip was stopped at Redwall Cavern this summer. The monsoon has been awesome this year in Arizona! This one storm captured on video kind of sums it up.

The lighting is washed out in some instances here and it is 5 and half minutes long. But the best and strongest waterfalls are after the video has played for awhile. Be patient and enjoy!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Riding the Crest of a San Juan River Summer Monsoon Flood

Last week I got to run the San Juan River in Utah for four days with friends. The drive up was spectacular with bursts of rain falling everywhere along the way. In the drive from Mexican Hat to Bluff, every side stream was full of red, silty runoff. Then, on Friday, August 24, we arrived at the put-in and witnessed the crest of flood coming down the San Juan. A dozen basketballs were on their way to the Powell Reservoir. Unfortunately, my camera was in the shop and I did not get to take any photo's. But my friend Toni took a few pictures of the fantastic scenery found along the river.

Here is the hydrograph for the river during our run. The date is labeled on the bottom. The pink line traces the level of the river in cubic feet per second (cfs) at a point along the river near Mexican Hat. So the pink line includes discharge from Chinle Creek, which was flooding very large when we floated by. The green line marks the level of the river near Farmington and you can see that it is straight-lined through the whole event, meaning that most of the flood water came into the river downstream from there. The red line is the Four Corners gauge and some floodwater had entered the river by then. The big pink spike shows the input from drainages between Four Corners and Mexican Hat. We rafted the river until August 27, when the pink line approaches the pre-flood stage. We rode the crest of a wave!

All photo's by Toni Kaus. A view of the Comb Ridge monocline as it upturns strata. Note the obvious river terrace cut through the upturned strata. This terrace lies about 150 feet above the modern channel, meaning that it likely has cut down that much in about 100,000 years.

Meanders of the San Juan downstream near the mouth of Chinle Wash. The Mule Ear, an upturned spike of Wingate Sandstone is visible in the upper left.

View of Comb Wash in flood beneath the Comb Ridge monocline

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hottest Rain Ever Recorded on Planet Earth - Needles, California, August 13, 2012

Earlier this year, Mecca, Saudi Arabia tied a record for hottest rainfall ever recorded. On June 5, rain began to fall in that city that was 109 degrees F - the same as the outside air temperature. This tied a record from Morocco in June, 2010. It is unusual for rain to be so hot because hot temperatures usually require high pressure which precludes rain. But this record was not to stand for very long. You can read about this event and its making here at Jeff Master's blog.

Just 2 months and one week later, the record in Morocco and Saudi Arabia was shattered by Needles, California when rain fell on August 13 that was 115 degrees F. The air temperature at the time in Needles was 118 degrees F, tying the record for that date. Most of the rain evaporated and just a trace was recorded. But it shows that extreme weather events are happening. You can read about this event here, again at Jeff Master's blog site.

The weather just keeps getting more interesting all of the time!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Economic Value of the Colorado River

President Barack Obama will visit Grand Junction Colorado this week and likely see the Colorado River as it flows through this beautiful Colorado Plateau city. A business person from Grand Junction recently wrote an excellent 'Letter to the Editor' at the Grand Junction Sentinel newspaper. In it he noted what the intrinsic value of the Colorado River is relative to other Fortune 500 companies. Here is the letter in its entirety:

Monday, August 6, 2012

President Asked to Remember the Importance of the Colorado River

My job depends on the Colorado River, so when President Obama arrives in Grand Junction this week, I’ll be listening closely to see what the president’s plans are to protect this economic lifeline for the Grand Valley, our state and the entire Southwest.

Every year a population 2.2 times greater than the entire Denver metropolitan area descends upon the river and its tributaries in Colorado to recreate, leaving a trail of $6.4 billion behind in exchange for hotel stays, meals, souvenirs, rafting trips and countless other products and services.

In fact, if the Colorado River were a company, it would be the 19th largest employer on the Fortune 500 and rank ahead of companies such as General Mills, US Airways and Progressive Insurance.

But without the leadership of President Obama and the adoption of conservation measures, we won’t always be able to rely on the river to create jobs and support our tax base. Years of drought paired with large population increases across the West have taken a severe toll on the river, and now more water leaves the Colorado River than enters it each year.

If we stay on our current course, the Colorado River will slow to a trickle. And so, too, will the tourism dollars flowing into our state, the profitability of our outdoor recreation economy, our jobs and our current way of life.

Mr. President, if you remember one thing from your visit it should be: The Colorado River is good business for Colorado.

Adventure Bound River Expeditions
Grand Junction

This letter makes good sense to me. Let's hope that in the future the recreational value of the Colorado River plays a more visible role in economic and environmental decisions. Oil and gas, uranium, and potash are not the only economic drivers in our region.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Home Country

My sister recently sent me some photo's of our homeland in Sicily. She visited there about 2 decades ago but has kept in touch with the Ricca family there. These are two pictures of the area near Santa Margharita di Belice.

It looks mountainous and beautiful!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Inside of an Ant's Nest

Nature always astounds and here is a short 3 minute video about what the inside of an ant nest in Africa looks like:

I hope you find this interesting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's Hot In Death Valley

Death Valley in California is known for its heat during the summer but this year has been excruciatingly hot. On July 11 it registered a high of 128 degrees F, only 6 degrees off its all time high of 134 degrees F. Later that morning, the low temperature was 107 degrees F.

Read all about it here:

Monday, July 2, 2012

Clever Birthday Greetings

I am just about to start a private tour of the Colorado Rockies with Jack Share from Boston. On a previous trip, we stopped to take a picture of me at the Wayne County line on State Highway 95 south of Hanksville. Using Photoshop, he was able to clearly change the word county to Ranney. Here is the result!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The True Cost of War

Our country is mired in conflicts around the world while segments of our own society languish and suffer. War is the true reason that we do not have the financial resources to address our many problems. Our leaders tell us that there are threats looming everywhere but their own policies often incite these threats.

Stop the madness! Check out this web site to see just how much of our Federal discretionary spending goes to the Department of Defense, nuclear weapons and Veteran Affairs: A counter at the top right on this web site shows how much we spend each second to create wars. The rate is astounding.

America can be great again but we will never be great if we continue to foment unrest around the world. Our citizens are not inherently hostile to other people, yet our policies and certain special interests have co-opted the system to make us the largest war-mongers on the planet.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Celestial Art of Tyler Nordgren

Those blog readers who saw my post on the recent Southwestern eclipse, will have noted the artwork that preceded the piece. These artworks are done by physicist and astronomer Tyler Nordgren of University of Redlands . Tyler was the Keynote Speaker at the festivities at Glen Canyon NRA over the past weekend and is the author of the book Earth Below, Stars Above.

I thought I would share with you his artwork completed for the eclipse from the various National Parks in its path. They are something to behold! I have also included two of his pieces at the end of these that show the Milky Way in Canyonlands and Grand Canyon National Parks.

Tyler's website is here.