Rain On The Hoodoos

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We were at our favorite observation point at Bryce national park observing the state of the rock formations in the Valley of the Non-essential Hoodoos when it suddenly began to rain. That in itself is not that unusual, however it was only raining on this one particular set of hoodoos. Not on any of the other hoodoos, (of which some say there are too many of, but we disagree thinking that one cannot have too many hoodoos), but just on these particular hoodoos. As if by design. As if it was being created by some unknown entity just to rain there and nowhere else. A weather modification as it were.

“Hmm,” we said to no one in particular “this has the look of some nefarious organization at work here. Could it be *The Institute?” But then we remembered that The Institute had gone bosoms up, as they say, hunted down and removed root and twig, never to be a formal Worldwide organization again. All of its minions, staff, even its Director cast to the four winds to seek employment elsewhere or to starve pathetically in a ditch somewhere. It’s tons of equipment melted down for the slag market. All of its records, data and spiral notebooks snapped up by its jealous vindictive competitors to be pored through for their secrets. Secrets The Institute had developed over years of blood sweat and tears, not to mention hard work and no small amount of intellectual theft.

We were interested yet dismayed to find that a certain huge, yet well-known imaging processing software company (who shall remain nameless, but whose initials are ADOBE) have blatantly appropriated the Weather Modification program pioneered by the Oceanography and Atmospheric weather modification team of the now defunct organization known as The Institute and incorporated it into its shoddy yet expensive software. You can find it under Adobe/ Photoshop/ Filters/ Make it Rain on the Hoodoos/ Light/ Moderate/ Heavy. To support the claim that The Institute first developed this program we have done some research and found several items that reference The Institutes use of its weather modification program to do good in the world and not do bad, which we have listed below for your perusual.

 

Bad Weather Day

All Dreams Must End

Storm of The Full Moon

Moon Painting

Cloud Cutting

Stored Away Storms

Greenery

Behind The Ridge

Thor’s Revenge

Although those of us that remember The Institute are pretty darn mad at that heartless yet soulless large Company that apparently is getting filthy rich off the sweat of the people who made it all possible, we kind of secretly like the ease of how they made it work. The Institute’s program was unwieldy, requiring lots of nuclear power and boring deep into the bowels of the earth for the pilings that held up the equipment and to keep it from shaking causing the neighbors cows to abort. Not to mention the excessive production of enormous quantities of EMF’s around the power shed whenever they fired that stuff up. If by some stroke of fate The Institute ever returns we may just appropriate it for our own use again. Be warned Adobe whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

Along A Crooked Canyon

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If you were to be in Capitol Reef National Park with the idea of visiting Bryce National Park you could do this several ways. But if you are the adventurous type I think you might decide to do it by taking Hwy 12 which is a Utah Scenic byway. Now when I say adventurous I’m talking about the mild kind of adventure where your greatest danger is what happens if you don’t stay between the white lines on the road.

As you can see by the image above, that’s a long way down there and unless you had a huge amount of steam built up and careened way out into space, kind of like Thelma and Louise did, the ride down there would be very bumpy. I’m not certain even if HD off-road shocks and a tight seat belt would make it any better.

Hwy 12 runs westerly from Torrey, Utah off of Utah State route 24 about 122 miles down to the town of Panguitch and Hwy 89. The adventure part comes from seeing the most incredible patch of scenery stuck along any highway you might have traveled. It’s like they built the road to take advantage of the most spectacular views they could find, Oh wait, they did build it to take advantage of the most spectacular views they could find. And it was hard work building it. The CCC did most of it back in the day and you should drive on it and look at everything just to make those guys feel good.

The picture above is a panorama of thirty separate images stitched together using a very fine digital thread with the stitches so close together you can’t even see them, to show a complete picture of this remarkable canyon. I threw in the colored trees at the bottom as an extra bonus, just because I like you.

One of the locals that I talked to said they called this spot in the road ‘the Neck’ and it is the place that most of the acrophobics tend to toss their cookies, as there are virtually no shoulders on either side of the road and there was just enough space for those highway builders to put the road down. This is the view from that stretch of the road and it’s the same on either side. I really like it but then I like things that are over the top, so to speak, and this is over the top.

So if you’re a careful driver and can control your instinct to jump out and look at scenery around every corner you’ll like this road. And you’ll probably like looking down into the canyon. I heard one person say when asked if he was afraid of heights, that he didn’t even like being this tall, but he crawled over to the edge to look down anyway. You should too. See you at the Dramamine counter. Happy traveling.

 

 

 

 

Sounds of Sunrise

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Inspiration Point  Bryce National park  click to enlarge

 

This is Bryce National Park and something incredible happens here when the conditions are perfect. Something that doesn’t happen in any of the other national parks. I have talked to visitors who have come here for years upon years and they have never experienced it. Park staff who have worked here and have seen almost every scenario the park offers have never heard it. It is reserved for those who have that special ability to experience things on levels the average visitor doesn’t. Those who have only time enough to observe briefly before they move on to the next experience miss one the most magnificent occurrences in nature.

It doesn’t take any particular skill, unless you count being still and listening a skill. You don’t have to be incredibly trained or highly educated. What you do have to have however is an open mind and an acceptance of the possibility that there is beauty in nature that sometimes can not be explained. To experience this for yourself you need to prepare by meeting the following conditions.

You need to be out on very cold mornings and by cold I mean around zero or below. It doesn’t work if it’s warm, the rays are simply absorbed by the already warm stone. It was -9° this morning before sunrise, cold enough that the stone almost rang of its own accord. Your breath would hang in the air as a solid cloud of mist, looking like a colorless version of the Aurora Borealis that you could see in the daytime before gently floating away. You need to be in the proper spot and the spot this morning was in front of the formation seen in this image. To my knowledge it has no formal name but after a while you get so you can predict if this is one of those special constructions that will perform. Then you need a cloudless day so that the sun can fulfill its obligation. That’s it. All you need to do now is stand very still and wait.

As the sun rises high enough so that its individual rays begin to strike the individual stones and their respective columns a sound is heard, faint at first but then louder as the suns strength begins to grow. The power of the light racing down the rays to strike each stone with the exact amount of force needed causes each note produced to be crystal clear and pure and sustain itself just the exact amount of time to be perfect in the music that is to follow. By some unknown miracle the columns and formations and individual stones are placed in just such away that music forms in a recognizable way with the notes always forming and sounding according to the order in which the light hits them and the music demands.

This formation plays a minor piece by Mozart, I forget the name, but it is played in a way that no human orchestra could possible replicate. I call it the Sounds of Sunrise. There are no human-made instruments that can make music as pure as this. It doesn’t last long as the sun rises quickly and if you are unlucky enough to have interruptions due to passers-by you may miss it. But this morning there were no interruptions, it was too cold and the spot you needed to be to experience this phenomenon was too far from the designated viewing area so the occasional viewers there were not curious enough to walk down to see what one lone visitor was looking at so the conditions were perfect. The stone was there, the sun was there and the music was there. And so was I.

 

Well It’s A New Day

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The world woke up this morning and found that it was a brand new day. The sun came up pretty much on schedule, found that there were some minor changes made in some areas, then proceeded to make its rounds through the heavens just like it was supposed to.

Some of the changes appeared to be monumental to a few folks, some appeared to be monumental to a lot of folks, but in the over all scheme of things it was just life doing what it does.

It appears that whatever set of circumstances we humans are operating under will play out as they will and it looks very much like the cosmos will continue unaltered for some time yet. And regardless of what may be happening locally we can all take some comfort in that.

Apparently the director of the Institute has been located after seemingly going off the deep end, and that dispite bingeing on at least eleven packs of Lucky Strikes a day, and mild over the counter sedatives plus an overindulgence in Everclear, seems to be his old self. Although a little bit weathered from the storm, he appears ready to return to the Institute and resume doing as much good for the world in an institutional way, as he can possibly afford. The staff is anxious for his return, not only for his leadership which was unmissed, but after all he is the boss, and he has the only set of keys to the food lockers. People had begun eyeing each other in a Donner Pass kind of way if you know what I mean. There was also a rumor that they might even get paid. I wouldn’t count on that one just yet, but who knows weird things are happening all over the place. But aside from all that it’s still a brand new day. Let’s get on with it.

Furlough Day

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As our long time readers are aware we hire only the most qualified and available researchers, general staffers, maintenance crews and accurate snipers, I mean security people for employees here at the Institute. If they’re not top-notch we send them packing.

We are a multinational organization with employees from places as diverse as Lapland, The Belgian Congo now known as Africa, The Falklands, Kansas, The Aleutian Islands, Bhutan, The Peoples Republic of China, although they’re housed in their own barracks with their own internet connections and land for their rice crops, France, but only people from Provence because they will cook for their room and board, Tonga, Suriname and Yellowstone National park. As a  reward for good behavior, I mean excellence in their performance we give them 24 hours off, unpaid, to visit their homelands every three to five years. And with the government shutdown and our grant money frozen this was as good a day as any.

So everybody left including Izzy who as you are no doubt aware is Bill Faulkner’s nieces’ sister-in-law’s daughter’s boyfriend, who does a lot of the ghost writing here at Blog Central. We were excited to get someone from one of the nations foremost literary families to work here and so far he hasn’t done that badly although he tends to let his sentences run together too much but we got him really cheap so…. Anyway the lumpy dufas took off with the rest and took the cord that connects the keyboard to the computer and now we’ve got no way to post easily, I had to step in and post this from my iPhone, and so all I got for you today is a pretty picture.

Sorry.

They should be back in the morning, although our attrition rate has been in the high 70% no-shows historically, so who knows. Anyway enjoy the picture if you can. We’ll be back to normal just as soon as they get the government back in order. And you know that’s going to happen any moment now, right?

Color Dump

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Any one who has been to Bryce National Park can tell you about the incredible colors available to the viewing public. It’s as if every color that has ever been thought of has been used here just to impress the viewer. It would take years just to identify the shades of red used, not to mention the purples and magentas and blues and on and on and on. This random appearing vista known as Bryce National Park isn’t just left to nature to construct, this is a carefully choreographed production by many, many people who work in the color trades.

It takes a tremendous amount of effort to keep a place like Bryce looking fresh and vibrant all the time. We here at the Institute commend the National Park service for spending the time and money to keep a full staff of colorist’s working to constantly present to you, the American public, new and updated views of your national parks. It’s not easy creating the new looks the public demands, many of which are driven by the constant barrage of photos and articles in the trendy fashion magazines available now. The constant need to change and create the new looks the public demands from their national parks are powered by the advertising combines that fuel the publics’ demand for new fresh colors and textures. And that effort doesn’t even include the maintenance required in a place that has constant erosion problems from wind and rain, freeze and thaw that are a constant force here in the park. The repairs alone take a crew of seven just to keep the colors that have fallen off the rock spires swept up and carefully disposed of.

Yes it is a huge expense to keep the constant repairs and upkeep and the semi-annual color change that takes place each year up to the standards we’ve come to expect. The expense of creating and applying a new color in a national park is absolutely huge and quite frankly in the present economy not sustainable. Which is why the park has had to resort to repurposing materials that normally would be disposed of or sent to another park in a complex color exchange program. There have been cutbacks and re-budgeting that have cost the jobs of at least one colorist and two of the maintenance people that we know of and who knows what the future holds. It’s possible that if these reductions in budget continue we may be forced to resort to leaving this entire process in Mother Nature’s hands, and that is a terrifying prospect.

On a recent trip our staff photographer found some unsettling evidence of some of these new programs already in place. The image above, which was obtained under very dangerous conditions, our photographer had to walk down a hill and look behind some big rocks to be able to get a photo of this carefully hidden away site that clearly shows a color dump in use as a storage facility. It seems the material will be used to replace some of the other colors instead of manufacturing the new colors that were scheduled to be applied. We have learned that this has caused massive layoffs in not only the color manufacturing sector but in related industries as well, such as trucking, scaffolding building and erection, color application tools and devices, the list goes on. And this was only one site! Apparently there are dozens of these sites scattered around in the back areas of the park that are off-limits to the general public.

The end result of course, is that you the American public will not get to see the newest most carefully designed color schemes when you make your next visit to Bryce National park. Instead you will see the same somewhat tired, but tried and true, colors that have been used for ages, although admittedly they are perfectly adequate and the average tourist will notice little or no change but we know what the difference is. So if you want to see the latest colors displayed you better hurry and see them now, they’re already a season old and it looks like they won’t be replenished this year or for many years to come. You better jump in the old microbus and head to Bryce before Mother Nature has her way and you’re stuck with seeing the old colors for ever. P.S. bring your camera it’s still pretty.