Dingle Peninsula, Republic of Ireland

Nearing the end of the All Ireland Rocker trip with Busabout / Shamrocker Adventures. Today we explore the Dingle Peninsula, a stretch of land jutting out to the sea that like most of Ireland is breath taking and green. It should be noted that the ring road around the peninsula while 2-way is generally taken only in one direction by the locals and tourists in the know, that is because for most of the journey its a cliff-side road without a lot of room for modern traffic to allow for casual passing.

First stop on the ring road was a farmer’s estate where for a few euros you can pay to explore the Beehive huts (Cloch√°n), the old farmhouse and pet baby sheep. Expecting a bit of a tourist trap I was pleasantly surprised that it was actually pretty straight forward process. Pay to enter and explore at one’s leisure. The baby sheep where in one section and as long as you were gentle you could pick up one for a photo.

They don’t mince words… exactly as advertised… also historic Beehive Huts

But for a bit of culture I did manage to drag myself away from the cute baby sheep and check out the Beehive Huts that are another staple of the area history.

Next stop on the Dingle Peninsula is Coumeenoole Beach, first we stopped for another photo opportunity then headed down to the beach itself.

Overlooking Coumeenoole Beach

Its quite a trek down to the beach from the parking lot, I opted to grab some more photos and a awesome time-lapse using my iPhone and the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 which makes up my micro travel kit for photographers.

Next we headed out to the point of the peninsula, it got very craggy out there and the wind did start to pick up but was not unmanageable, again weather seemed to be on our side (fun note, the north side of the island was getting pelted by heavy rain so weather is highly variable on the emerald isle – I just got really lucky and I’m sure that luck with eventually run out… cough spoiler cough cough). The Devils Horn as the region is known is quite something, and looking out to the ocean you can see some islands which were used in a recent Star Wars movie.

At the start and subsequent end of our trip around Dingle is the small town of Dingle. Known for its dolphin Fungie that lives out in the bay I had to take a look and see if I could spot the elusive critter.

They even have a statue by the marina honoring their unexpected town mascot
Dingle Harbour / Marina
FOUND HIM!
(J/K – Photoshop is my friend – But I fooled a bunch of people on the bus!)

We did stop for lunch in town, so several of us found a nice place called John Benny’s Pub to have some lunch at the recommendation of our tour guide Gemma. I had the fish of the day and chips, which came with peas as the veggies.

And that was it for the Dingle Penisula, a great day exploring a unique region of Ireland. Along the way we did drive by the famous “Rose Hotel” and stop in town for a rest break. I managed to find a rose bush and an old car to take pictures of… but otherwise short break.

Connemara Countryside – Republic of Ireland

The quintessential Irish landscape, endless rolling hills of green. It feels like we drove through the region for hours but with every new bend in the road was another breathtaking view. In a way it was good I was on a bus I didn’t control or I would of stopped over a dozen times in the first hour alone. But words can’t describe how beautiful this area in western Ireland is… and the photos barely do it service as well!

Its just so majestic, the landscape… not me ūüėõ

Mid-way through our travels in Connemara we came across a small village nestled beside a shallow wide river. Here was our afternoon stop where we could try Irish Coffee or Hot Chocolate (both being mixed with Irish cream). I went with the coco and it was amazing.

Gaynor’s is our afternoon stop for a hot beverage!

The Gaynor’s field bar itself was pleasant nook which had a faint smell of smoke from the fire place and was full of locals in addition to the odd tourist that had stopped like us to grab a nip and use the facilities.

A final group image as we leave the Connemara Countryside, definitely making the “return” list.

New England Trip 2012 – Day 9 – Chatham to Provincetown, Cape Cod

Chatham Lighthouse Cape Cod

Our plan for the day was to drive to Provincetown at the end of Cape Cod and then return to Chatham again in the evening. We had never been to Provincetown, so weren’t sure what we might find when we got there, or what we might see along the way. Our first side trip was to see the Chatham lighthouse and to look at a bit of the local shoreline. (above – click on thumbnail for larger version of information plaque) Continue reading

IR Photography

IR Photography

A few years ago, Graeme converted his Nikon D70S to an dedicated IR camera and has produced some interesting results using the camera. Today, I decided to take the camera out for a short walk through some nearby fields and trails. Rather interesting how the shots turn out so differently in IR compared to full spectrum.

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Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, Florida

Today’s cycling brought us to the mainland portion of the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge on Hwy. 1 in Florida after crossing over the Jupiter Sound inlet on South Beach Road.


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The Pass of Glen Coe

Hard as Rock - Glen Coe

The Pass of Glen Coe

We woke to overcast weather patterns and the chance of rain, but not letting that dampen our enthusiasm, Jim and I head further north into the pass of Glen Coe. Along the way, Jim explained to me how climbers in Scotland have given classification names to various mountains reaching above certain elevations with the Munroes representing peaks above 3000 feet, and then below that level the Corbetts, Donalds and Grahams. We weren’t about to capture any of peaks on this particular day but it was interesting to talk about the various groups out to bag all of the Munroes or all of the Corbetts, etc. Very similar to the 46’er clubs of the Adirondack Mountains closer to my home.

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Snowshoeing up to Mt. Marcy, High Peaks Region, Adirondack Mountains

Snowshoeing up to Mt. Marcy, High Peaks Region, Adirondack Mountains

Joined up with Tom Bissegger of Brampton, Ontario for a weekend winter camping and snowshoeing trip to Mt. Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. The goal was to camp out at Marcy Dam on Friday evening and then the next morning don snowshoes again and hike to the summit of Mt. Marcy.

Despite the -15C temperatures and forecast breezes, I made the mistake of overdressing by a layer or two and overheated early on. I had to reduce my speed substantially to keep my body temperature down.  That meant that I had more time for photography but ended up making much slower progress along the trail. As seen in the photos, most of the trail was well wooded and I had anticipated a bit more of the trail to be open to the breezes. Oh well, will know better for next time. Had a good time anyway and the scenery was fantastic with all of that fresh snow.

There were a few side trails that would have been open in the summer but during the winter the snow quickly blocked all but the well traveled trails. Lots of tree markers too so unlikely to get ‘lost’ but some do every year in the High Peaks Region and require rescuing.

As the heavy snow causes the spruce boughs to bend in over the trail, it is important to keep your head and neck covered or else a gust of wind will drop a load of snow on the unprepared hiker.

The initial few miles of the trail is through fairly thick bush so tough to see the sun but once we reached this spot on the trail, at the Indian Falls cut-off, it was nice to get out in the open for a bit to see the blue sky and the surrounding terrain. A biting wind made for a very short break and getting back onto the sheltered trail was soon the goal.

With about 1.5 miles to go to the summit we began to encounter shorter and shorter trees as we got closer to the tree line. There would be a few ups and downs before we actually got above the tree line but by this point we were beginning to notice that there was a decent breeze blowing to further cool us off.

Tom had gone on ahead when I had decided to slow down due ot overheating. WHen I reached this spot and could finally see the summit, I knew that with my energy fading and time beginning to become a factor, I wouldn’t likely make it to the top on this trip. When, a short distance later I came upon another sign indicating that I still had 1.2 miles to go and a good climb as well, I knew that I knew for sure that I wouldn’t make it to the top this time around.

From this point on I just followed the trail upward so expecting to meet Tom on his way back down. The snow caked on the trees and the bright blue skies made for a beautiful time and I was on a section of the trail that, although open, was relatively sheltered from the biting wind.

It wasn’t too much further along on the trail, when I met Tom on his way back. Although he had made pretty good progress, he found that the wind right into the face, once he got above the tree line, was making things just a bit too dangerous to continue.

As we headed back down toward Marcy Dam, a look out over the scenic landscape confirmed that we had come quite a way and climbed quite a bit but the peak would have to wait for another day.

Trail info (from ADK High Peaks Region guidebook):

Van Hoevenberg Trail to Mt. Marcy

Distance from Trailhead (one-way):
To Marcy Dam – 2.3 miles
To Indian Falls – 4.4 miles
To Summit of Mt. Marcy – 7.4 miles

Ascent: 3166 ft (965 m)
Elevation: 5344 ft. (1629 m)

How far did I travel on snowshoes?
On the Friday – 3 trips between parking lot and Marcy dam = 6.9 miles
On the Saturday – just short of the tree-line from Marcy Dam and then back to the parking lot = approximately 10 miles.

A couple of Tom’s photos to show what it looked like a bit higher up.

Edit: I went back a few weeks later. Weather wasn’t quite as nice but I got closer to the peak before turning back.

 

*****

*****

Grand Canyon, South Rim

Grand Canyon South Rim

Grand Canyon, South Rim

My first time to the Grand Canyon and, like everyone has said many times before me, it takes your breath away. Very hard to imagine the size and scope of the canyon without some sort of reference point. Humans aren’t large enough to provide any kind of perspective. As individuals descend down into the canyon along a trail, like the Bright Angel Trail, they soon become mere spots and then soon after they disappear altogether into the vast depths of the canyon. Condors, extremely large birds that they are, could easily be mistaken for crows, starlings or even black birds, when viewed against the vastness of the Grand Canyon.

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