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And so begins 2009…
|| 12/31/2008 || 11:59 pm || Comments Off on And so begins 2009… || ||

…and this website is need in of some new years cleaning. I need to update the total map count of the year as well as finish off the 2009 calendars. This year I’d also like to change the 4-year-old layout of this website to add some freshness and hopefully aggregate the maps on this website into an nicely printed atlas. I didn’t make as many maps this year because I’ve ran out of storage space on my hard drives and my CD burner is need of some TLC. However, I hope to continue making more maps in 2009 and hopefully expand my coverage on this website and post more about what I am reading instead of what I’m seeing & making.


For New Years Eve, I went to a my friend’s penthouse apartment and celebrated the start of the New Year. The YouTube video below features the countdown, champagne showers, and the fireworks going off near the Adams Morgan neighborhood in Washington, DC.


Happy New Years!



Birds of Colorado: The Stellar’s Jay
|| 12/30/2008 || 3:48 pm || Comments Off on Birds of Colorado: The Stellar’s Jay || ||

Today I am flying back to Washington, DC, so I am going to post some pictures of the birds I saw when I was in Colorado. This third and final photographic installment is the Stellar’s Jay. I saw this guy eating tourist’s food at the edge of Bear Lake. They are named after naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller and are probably one of my favorite alpine birds because of their beautiful blue feathers.

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Birds of Colorado: The Hairy Woodpecker
|| || 12:43 pm || Comments Off on Birds of Colorado: The Hairy Woodpecker || ||

Today I am flying back to Washington, DC, so I am going to post some pictures of the birds I saw when I was in Colorado. This second photographic installment is the Hairy Woodpecker. I saw this guy from the deck of the cabin. I believe I saw this same specie about three weeks ago in Washington, DC. It was tapping on the dead tree in the backyard of the house three doors down from where I live.

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Birds of Colorado: The Pine Siskin
|| || 11:34 am || Comments Off on Birds of Colorado: The Pine Siskin || ||

Today I am flying back to Washington, DC, so I am going to post some pictures of the birds I saw when I was in Colorado. This first photographic installment is the small finch known as the Pine Siskin. I saw these tiny finches constantly feeding on the deck of the cabin. They remind me of the common sparrow, except they have little yellow fellows and a brown & white spotted breast.

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A slightly blurry view of Mount Princeton from Buena Vista
|| 12/29/2008 || 9:00 pm || Comments Off on A slightly blurry view of Mount Princeton from Buena Vista || ||

Today we drove to the Mount Princeton Hot Springs near the ghost town of Nathrop, Colorado, nine miles outside of Buena Vista, Colorado. There are about are forty springs around the resort, with two main pools, that have a flow of hot water aggregating to about 1,000,000 gallons daily (in 1904). The springs are known to be beneficial for rheumatism, cutaneous diseases, and paralysis. It was wonderful sitting in the 104 degree water on the banks of the ice cold river. When I was playing in the rocks, I cut my cuticle on my thumb and I noticed how quickly it healed in the mineral-rich water! While I am not going to post any of the photographs of the hot springs, today’s photographs are of Mount Princeton at night.



A panoramic view of South Park & beyond
|| || 12:40 pm || Comments Off on A panoramic view of South Park & beyond || ||

View the larger 5,588 x 800 pixel version


The digitally manipulated panoramic photograph above was created from 7 stitched-together photographs of the view of South Park from Wilkerson Pass on U.S. Route 24 about 50 miles from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Unlike yesterday, the Continental Divide is not stuck in the clouds and off in the distance you can see the Sawatch Range, which contains the highest concentration of mountain peaks in all of the lower 48 states in the United States of America. Within the mountain range is th Collegiate Peaks Wilderness area, which includes mountains named after ivy league schools like Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Columbia and Mount Princeton! About 15 years ago I went on a seven day backpacking trip in those mountains and I remember stopping at this scenic overlook. Viewing it again in the wintertime was quite stunning.

Below is a photograph of a map from the Pike National Forest with the peak’s listed South to North. By clicking on it you can see a more close-up view and be able to match the mountains in the panoramic photograph above:




Elk outside of Rocky Mountain National Park
|| 12/28/2008 || 4:28 pm || Comments Off on Elk outside of Rocky Mountain National Park || ||

When were driving into Rocky Mountain National Park I mentioned that this massive RV lot outside of Estes Park was completely empty. When we were departing the park someone spotted three elk from the road and we stopped I took these grainy 3X-12X zoom photos.

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Photos from a frozen Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
|| || 3:31 pm || Comments Off on Photos from a frozen Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park || ||

After driving up a snow covered road, we arrived at a snowy Bear Lake, which is at 9,475 feet above sea level at the base of the continental divide. We put on extra warm clothing and went for a walk around (and across) the lake. When we were leaving I went up to a ranger and asked how thick the ice was. To my surprise he said it was about 3 feet thick. The only disappointment of this visit was that the clouds never receded back over the divide and I was never able to see the tops of any of the mountains.

Below are more photographs from the lake:

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A cap cloud on the continental divide
|| || 2:49 pm || Comments Off on A cap cloud on the continental divide || ||

As we drove to Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, I took these photographs of the cap cloud covering the continental divide.

The continental divide has always fascinated me as one of the most important geologic features in North America because it hydrologically splits up the continent into different watershed basins. Standing from the top of the continental divide in the summertime I’ve seen firsthand how the divide influences the weather on both sides of the divide. Looking West from the top of the divide you see a lush green forest and when you look off to the East you see a dry desert environment. This is due to the way the easterly moving clouds can be too heavy preventing them from being able to rise over the 12,000+ foot mountain range. They crash into the divide, release their moisture on the West side, rise up, then continue eastward over the divide. But sometimes they stick around the mountains and are called cap clouds.

It should be noted that there is a place in Glacier National Park in Montana called Triple Divide Peak, where water ultimately flows to the Arctic, Pacific, and the Atlantic oceans. When I was younger and visiting Glacier National Park I was not aware of this peak, but when I visit the park again, I’d like to climb it.



Photo of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado
|| || 1:34 pm || Comments Off on Photo of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado || ||

From Wikipedia:

The Avery Mcmullen Mansion is a 138-room Georgian mansion in Estes Park, Colorado.

Located within sight of the Rocky Mountain National Park, the Avery Mcmullen Mansion offers panoramic views of the Rockies. It was built in 1909 by Sir Avery. Mcmullen of Stanley Steamer fame and catered to the rich and famous. The hotel and its surrounding lands are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Avery Mansion has hosted many famous guests, including the Titanic survivor Margaret Brown, John Philip Sousa, Theodore Roosevelt, the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and a variety of Hollywood personalities. The Avery Mcmullen Mansion also hosted Stephen King, inspiring him to write The Shining. Contrary to information sometimes published, King was living in Boulder at the time and did not actually write the novel at the hotel. Parts of the mini-series version of The Shining were filmed there, although it was not used for Stanley Kubrick‘s cinematic version.

The Avery Mcmullen Mansion shows the uncut R-rated version of Kubrick’s The Shining on a continuous loop on Channel 42 on guest room televisions.

I still haven’t gone inside of the Stanley Hotel. Next time…





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A Digital Scrapbook for the Past, Present, and Future.

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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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