Sunset Looking East! by Dave Hileman

The mountains and the lack of clouds did not leave much of a sunset toward the Western sky, so you look East as the sun lowers and you get neat color. These are the Ajo Mountains and are a part of the Organ Pipe National Monument. It is on the extreme Southern boarder in Arizona. It is hot - and unique. Glad to have visited, glad I don't live here. 

Washita Battlefield National Historic Park by Dave Hileman

This is not a battle that most people would know if they had a moderate interest in history. But you ought to visit here. We were here in the evening - no one else anywhere around. It is in an isolated area of Western Oklahoma and you have to make the decision to go there because it is not on the way to anywhere else. It was not quiet. The wind blew in the tall grass and the trees. The Washita River, a small stream by Eastern standards, gurgled and splashed across some rocks and birds were singing ever step of the 2 mile hike. This was not a shinning moment in America's history. Custer - in a harsh winter storm - attacked and destroyed the village of Black Kettle. He killed Chief Black Kettle and between 13 and 103 warriors (his number is the high one, survivors the lower) and about a dozen women including Black Kettle's wife. Black Kettle and his wife were both were shot trying to cross the river. Many escaped to other nearby villages. Custer returned to the fort with 50 or so women and children captives. This all occurred about 9 years before Little Big Horn. The photo is the site of the village.

Piles of Gypsum by Dave Hileman

The White Sands National Monument is a unique place of more than 275 square miles of gypsum dunes and interesting adaptive vegetation. The dunes are open to walk anywhere which is really neat. And they sell Sand Coasters! You can sled down the dunes. We took a sunset tour with the ranger and learned more than I will retain. But the experience is unforgettable.  

Yucca at Dusk by Dave Hileman

This is one of the plants that not only live but thrive on the White Sands National Monument in Alamagordo, NM. What an amazing place. The sand is gypsum and this is by far the largest dunes of the kind in the world, over 275 square miles (number 2 has 2 square miles). It is soft, does not hold heat from the sun and is full of moisture deep underneath the surface. 

Obelisk by Dave Hileman

These type of monuments like this one on Bunker Hill a part of the Boston National Historical Park were very popular at one point in the America's history. The obelisks were modeled after classical monuments. The most famous in the US is likely the Washington Monument. 

Old North Church by Dave Hileman

It is here in Boston that the lanterns were hung to indicate that the British were moving out of the city by the water route. It is a beautiful place with lots of history. The two brass chandeliers were hung in 1724 and used for the first time at Christmas that year. They are still in use today. Old North Church is one of several buildings that are a part of the Boston National Historical Park. 

Comet Falls by Dave Hileman

We were in Washington state three or four years ago and were able to visit Mt. Rainier National Park. The centerpiece of the park is the magnificent mountain that seems to loom over every vista but there is so much more. This was a short hike of about 2 miles with an excellent waterfall at the end. Comet Falls shoots off the side of a mountain and then crashes down in a cascade of water over three or four smaller drops. These two occur near the bottom.  

HWL by Dave Hileman

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow did most of his writing in the house both as a lodger before he owned it and owner after he purchased it, when he made use of this room as his study. He was a popular poet, author, professor (knew 11 languages) friend of nearly every 19th century writer of note and lived in this house that was George Washington's Headquarters during the siege of Boston. 

Very early on Sunday morning... by Dave Hileman

"...just at sunrise, they went to the tomb. On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside.
When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked, but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth,  Or Jesus the Nazarene. who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!" Mark 16;2-6 NLT

Impossible Blue by Dave Hileman

Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is the deepest lake in the US at nearly 2000 feet. It has no inlets or outlets. It fills by rain and snow and evaporation keeps it pretty even. But the color of blue is astonishing. This is a shot of the west rim and Wizard Island.

Yes, This is a National Park Goat (3 photos here) by Dave Hileman

On the property at Carl Sandburg's home in southwest North Carolina is a small herd of goats from the same families of those raised by Mrs. Sandburg's herds. The NPS keeps about 20 or so and auction off several of the new borns and one or two older ones each year to keep the herd constant. There are also three or four rams on the property. 

One of the two-week old goats, super cute. 

One of the two-week old goats, super cute. 

Just Before April by Dave Hileman

Sandburg's home from the lower pond. He wrote in the poem, Just Before April, "Frogs plutter and squdge-and frogs beat the air with a recurring thin steel sliver of melody." 

Unmasked by Dave Hileman

The April first posting - in the words of one friend, was masking the true intentions. This is the actual photograph as I took it on the farm owned by Carl Sandburg. This is a small pond with a rock face on one side and reflected in the still water. Actually a really nice spot. The the fake mask it was merely turned on the side and cropped close on the new bottom of the photo. 

Carl Sandburg's Home near Flat Rock, NC. by Dave Hileman

He moved here well after he had become famous. The decision was largely driven by his wife who wanted a milder climate to raise her prize goats. It is a beautiful home the predates the Civil War. It still has no AC but they are in the process of adding a dehumidifying system to protect the 18,000 books. 

Rare Mossicanite Mask by Dave Hileman

This is the only remaining mask of its kind in the US. It has been very carefully maintained by the NPS neo-palio curators. It is made of bark, moss and other natural materials. You can see the stylized markings for the eyes and the mouth. One interesting item is located above the forehead where, according to Mossicanite lore, the center of the soul is located. Here it is given a rare treatment with pink and grey markings indicating royalty and longevity. You can also count the extra number of wisdom lines that indicate a very sage leader. 

Or is it, after all it is April 1

No Lurch... by Dave Hileman

... at this Adam's family home. John Adams was born here, his son, John Quincey Adams next door where John built his house. Then they moved a short distance to Peace Fields where the family lived until 1929. J. Adams is one of the most prominent men in the history of American independence. And a wonderful story. This home on the outskirts of Boston is so closed in by the urban sprawl that it is hard to appreciate the house. Still worthwhile. 

UP by Dave Hileman

Scotts Bluff National Monument rises out of the west Nebraska plains miles before you arrive. It is certainly a reason why the western settlers of the 19th century used it as a guiding landmark for thousands of trips across the great plains. This is from an overlook where you can see back to the road you took to get to the top.