Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Florissant Fossil Beds

Today I went for my second hike in Colorado. I have wanted to go to the Florissant Fossil Beds for a while so today I took the hour drive out to Florissant. It was absolutely worth the drive and the six miles I put in on the trails. Today was my longest hike to date but it felt great, even if I am a little tired now. Florissant is home to a petrified redwood forest. I’ve seen petrified wood before, even some big pieces but these things were amazing. Many of them were over 10 foot tall and over 10 foot wide. I started out the day by taking a one mile loop around that went by many of the fossilized stumps. Then I took two other trails for another five miles of hiking. It was gorgeous! Mountain views, meadows, huge boulders, and babbling brooks (okay so they were barely a trickle but still cool. One of the things that amazed me the most was the sound of the wind. It made this eerie sound that I had never heard before. Then walking across a meadow I saw the wind pushing the tall grass around and it really looked like the ocean with waves of grass. If you are ever near Florissant, I encourage you to stop by. The entry fee is a whole $3 and even if you don’t have much time, you can see three huge petrified stumps with almost no walking, then another 4-6 with a one mile, easy walk. I can’t wait to get to San Francisco to see the living redwoods at Muir Woods.


I have used Skype before and was amazingly impressed with its performance. Last night I saw how amazingly cool it could be. In March I was able to teach my science class from Colorado using Skype. Last night my friend Bobby read a book to his daughter who has been in Hawaii for the last two weeks. How amazing is it that in real time they could interact over a book. I need to get some friends who live out of town so that I can Skype with them.

On another Skype note, last month Eric Langhorst, social studies teacher extrordinaire from South Valley Junior High, wrote an article for The School Library Journal about using video conferencing in the classroom. I am mentioned in the article and in the print version is a picture of me teaching from Colorado. It is the picture from this blog where I have the computer in front of me and I am wearing the glove from a space suit. You can read the article at: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6660875.html

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hiking Garden of the Gods

Cathedral rock and the Moon

Today I spent a few hours hiking around Garden of the Gods. I think I went about 4 miles. I’m not exactly sure how far because I got turned around a couple of times and had to backtrack. It was a beautiful walk and I got some great pictures. I saw a ton of birds, lots of rabbits and one deer. Tomorrow I will be going to Florissant to walk around the fossil beds up there. I’m not exactly sure what all is there but it sounds like there is a petrified forest as well as some dinosaur stuff. It will be a pretty drive to get there and then a couple of miles of walking around. Today my wife was in a Space Foundation class learning about lunar and Mars bases. I can’t wait to pick here brain tonight. We are staying with some good friends and last night Bobby, one of the Space Foundation teachers, had a great conversation about space lessons for next year. He had a great idea that I can’t wait to investigate more involving Galilean telescopes and a project for kids to work on. Enjoy the pictures.

My resting spot after hiking more than 2 miles.

Falcon flying above the rock formations, I happened to capture this picture as he passed between me and the moon.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I’m hooked. Last night I went on my first geocaching adventure and had a blast. I had never used my GPS in this way and wasn’t sure if it would work. I completely went out not expecting to find anything. Comet and I headed over to Stocksdale Park and started down the trail. The only problem that I had was that kept having to refresh the GPS to see my coordinates. I completely lost track of time and we walked a long way. About the time I thought I was getting close, the trail would change directions. Finally we got really close (I was actually able to get to the exact coordinates) and I started looking around. The hint was that the cache was less than 10 feet off the trail. I wasn’t sure how accurate my GPS was so I started looking around. At almost exactly the right spot, I found it. It was well hidden, you would not see it if you weren’t specifically looking for it. The cache was a black ammunition box. Inside were two ziplock bags, one with a log book and pencils and the other with some small trinkets. There was a ball, a pencil with a rabbit topper, an army man, and some Garbage Pail Kids. I used to collect those so that it what I took. I left a space pin. I signed the log book, re-hid the cache and started back out of the woods. When I finally got out of the woods, I realized that had I gone in the left hand entrance to the trails, the walk would have been around ¼ of a mile. As it was, we went closer to 4. There is another cache near there that I am planning on going and looking for today.

Do you see the cache?
Do you see it now?

Comet with the cashe, and log book.