Palms in Monochrome

Back in June, we traveled to Las Vegas for the first time since early childhood.  Included in a jam packed 48 hour weekend were a few moments at the pool, which is where I was captivated by the sun shining through the palms.

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The fullness of life is keeping me from posting as I typically do, but after 6 yrs of blogging with WP, I am committed to this space in my world.  With a goal of returning to the norm later this year, I will for now, at least share my weekly image from Monochromia.

Hiking and Jetboating in Queenstown

It was with mixed emotions that the Wanaka Crew began to disperse Thursday morning, with all of us checked out of our gorgeous temporary home on Friday.  What an incredible journey blogging has been for all of us!  Who knew that when we all published our first posts, for me back  in June of 2012, we would meet and make such great friends.  The benefits to blogging are many and without a doubt, the best part is the worldwide connections that are made.

This image nipped from Alys’ FB page: Boomdee, Alys, Danella (daughter of Pauline), Pauline, Steve (partner of Joanna), me, Joanna (daughter of Pauline), and Mike (Alys’ husband).

After one last lunch with Pauline, Danella, Boomdee, and Siddy, with this view as the backdrop, I was dropped at my Queenstown Hotel.  It was time to start my solo adventure.

Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world, and with just one and a half days to spend there, I had many choices.  Ultimately, I decided to hike Queenstown Hill and, on the advice of Danella, to take a jet boat ride on Lake Wakatipu.

After walking by this gorgeous tree, I began my morning with the now customary Flat White.  I was thrilled to see this Giant Sequoia since I’ve not seen them in California yet.

They Call it a “Hill”

Queenstown Hill is a popular hike for locals and visitors alike despite the moderate to difficult rating.  While only 3k from the trail head and back, it was another 3k on foot to get to the trailhead.  It’s 500m to the summit, straight up hill all the way.  Click on each image in the gallery to get an idea of the steep climb, both on the street and the trail.

Soon enough I entered a magical area of stacked rocks.  I was capitavated and spent a good 15 minutes in peace and quiet, and then added my own rock.  The photography is poor as it was quite dark and I just didn’t capture the stacks well.

I knew that I was near the summit when I arrived at the Basket of Dreams.  Sculptor Caroline Robinson created this piece in 2000 for the Queenstown Millenium project which has  transformed the existing walk into a heritage and art trail.  The ‘Basket’ is near the top of the hill and “is built to lie inside of, eat your sandwich, and imagine. It provides a meeting place, a resting place, a dreaming spaceIts a place to be with others and with the magic of the Wakatipu landscape”.

I began what I thought were the final steps (the basket is right in the middle of this next image).  It is so tiny as seen here.  Then I turned around and saw that I had several more steps to go (see the second image).  Can you see the people on the summit?

Finally! I arrived on the summit and the view is indescribable, at least for me.  I mean, how many more times can a person say “incredible, gorgeous, stunning”?

I sat in complete contentment for a long while.  A woman came up and asked if she could take my photo as I looked so quiet and peaceful.  What a thoughtful gesture as I would not have been able to manage a selfie.

It was difficult to leave this place.  Thankfully, a celebratory beverage and a jetboat ride awaited me.  I enjoyed my Monteith’s Black as I looked back up to the summit.  Can you see it, peaking through the trees?

And then I looked towards the lake.

It was a specatacular day for a jetboat ride!

What a thrill, and even though 60 minutes, not long enough!  My time in New Zealand came to an end all too quickly, despite being there almost 2 weeks.   What a remarkable country!

Now though, it was almost time to get on that plane, and fly to Melbourne.

That Wanaka Tree

Over 70 years ago, “That Wanaka Tree” began as a wooden fence post that kept livestock from wondering through the Wanaka Village.

From those origins, a beautiful willow tree has grown.

The signage nearby notes that photographers come from around the world in an effort to capture the beauty of this tree.  Please visit this link to see a photo of a swarm of photographers trying to capture this distinct little tree.

Evidently the popularity of the tree and the desire for selfies is starting to damage the tree.  Per a story on News Hub, Lake Wanaka Tourism is asking tourists not to climb the tree to get photos, after a branch fell off before Christmas.   “The loss of a branch is a big concern as it takes longer for this particular tree to regenerate,” a Queenstown Lakes District Council spokesman told NZ Newswire. “It’s quite a small tree growing in a challenging environment with its roots often completely submerged in alpine lake water.  When bark falls off, which is more likely if people climb on it, the wound can be a focus for decay fungi and other diseases,” he said.

Thankfully, there were only a few others there when Boomdee and I visited, and I definitely did not damage the tree when I took my selfie 🙂  Sadly, the selfie of Boomdee and I, due to the bright sun and the angle at which I held the camera, did not turn out.

Tamarack Trees

 I’ve been on the road alot lately, and had the chance to spend a short time on the campus of Willam and Mary Law School in Williamsburg.  While my friend did some research in the law library, I wandered around outside with my camera.  Of course.

The first thing I saw when I walked out of the door was this stunning sculpture of John Marshall and George Wythe.

And the front was as captivating as the back.

As I turned around, I was struck by the beauty of the campus.

It was early in December yet I still found what looked like spring.

Then I saw the Tamarack Trees off in the distance.  Their gorgeous needles were almost glowing.

Though the tamarack tree resembles other evergreens, it is actually a deciduous conifer, meaning that it sheds it’s needles every fall.

Research in the library was over so I took one last shot before getting back on the road.

Rising Up

Before I head out to do Thanksgiving Dinner Grocery Shopping, I wanted to share a few #Fall2016 photos.  Since the devastating results of the election, I’ve pulled out my camera only once or twice, and because of that, I’ve not really captured the beauty of fall.

I did snap a few though.  Two with the camera. Two with the cell phone.

Can you tell which image came from which camera?

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Thank you for being here. Your solidarity in devastation, your words of wisdom, and your hopeful spirits have been soothing to me.

What do you think?

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My post for Monochromia this week.

It was a bright, sunshiney day, but tell me, do you think it was cold or warm?  This image could go either way, right?