Ninth Annual National Get Outdoors Day


Well, don’t we feel silly. Today, as no doubt all of you know, is the 9th Annual National Get Outdoors Day. That’s right. Snuck right up on you didn’t it. To be honest I didn’t know about the other 8 annual ones that have passed already. I must have been outdoors doing something.

A very good friend clued me in this morning about it so I quick jumped on Google and found out she wasn’t lying. There really is a National Get Outdoors Day, and it seems everybody is quite proud of it. This is what they say, “Participants from federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and the recreation industry are again teaming up to host the 9th annual National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day) to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun at sites across the nation. On Saturday, June 11, 2016, these diverse partners will offer opportunities for American families to experience traditional and non-traditional types of outdoor activities. Prime goals of the day are reaching currently under served populations and first-time visitors to public lands, and reconnecting our youth to the great outdoors.”

Gob-smacked, that’s what I was. And as the leader of one of America’s greatest learning, teaching, researching, exploring, and publishing organizations, more better known as *The Institute, I feel like we have let down a huge portion of the American Public that looks to us for guidance and up-to-date  announcements of worthwhile things that are happening.

So we did what we always do when we feel the need for some expert counseling and guidance, not to mention therapy to assuage some of the guilt we feel for letting down our readers. Above is our ‘go to’ specialist in the world of therapy, Dr. Kai Ote. A Jungian and recent graduate of “Become a Therapist for Fun and Profit” online college and Snack shop. We cannot begin to remember the number of hours spent in his office telling him our tales of woe, and of the staggering numbers of problems we have running a worldwide organization like ours. The staff problems, about which we go into excruciating detail, and how it takes all of our energy to keep the interns from revolting. Not to mention the disappointment and frustration from being turned down by the government for yet one more grant to do our valuable work. All of this and more we tell him until you would think a normal therapist would lose interest and strangle you from sheer boredom.

But as you can tell by the expression on his face, he revels in helping us, hanging on our every word, showing you by his expression how he feels about you. We don’t know what we’d do without him.

After droning on and on about how we forgot about National Get Outdoors Day we asked him for some advice, “What should we do, Doc?” and as always his response was dead on. “Uhmm”, he replied, “Get Outdoors.”

See what I mean, he’s worth every penny. So we can only pass on this invaluable advice and hope that you follow it. “Get Outdoors, you’ll feel better, and the feds won’t come down on you.” That’s always a plus.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind.


Evolution Of A Fairyland


In the realm of magical places you normally see the place as a finished project. You don’t see all the effort it took to complete the process. For instance Yellowstone appears to be a finished magical place. Yes there are still changes going on but they are minute and incremental so that you hardly notice any change occurring at all. Same with the Grand Canyon. The water still wears away the rocks surface but unless you have the ability to sit very still for incredibly long periods of time you don’t notice it. We consider these place “Done” and don’t expect any thing more from them. They’re perfect just the way they are.

There is one place however where you can still see the transformation taking place. That place is Bryce Canyon. The evolution from a beautiful and magical site continues right now at an accelerated pace and becomes even more incredible as the transformation occurs before your very eyes. Although this transformative process is taking place throughout the park there is one spot where it is occurring at a phenomenally rapid speed, geologically speaking.

That spot is Fairyland Canyon. Fairyland Canyon is a special area slightly removed from the main amphitheater area that Bryce Canyon is most noted for. It takes a little hiking to get there but once you’re there prepare to be astounded. As you can see in the photo above, the Hoodoos are changing from the beautiful deep red rock into a creamy white, icy frosting color, a rare shade in Nature. Eventually when this process is over Fairyland will be a small jewel box filled with towers and spires and rock formations of the deepest shades of white and cream that will gleam like polished ivory in the soft light of the sun and be impossibly beautiful in the moonlight. I would not go there unless you want to fall deeply, irretrievably in love as that would be what would happen if you were to see it in the light of a full moon. So be careful who you take there.

The Institute has observers that keep constant check on the rate of this change as we were the first to note it happening and they have noticed that it appears to be accelerating faster and faster. Their calculations show that at the apparent rate that this change is undergoing the entire Fairyland canyon area will be completed no later than the 19th of October this year.

That’s an astounding figure, geologically speaking, anyway you look at it. The geologists that we brought in for a second opinion were frankly skeptical but then we realized they worked for the government and couldn’t be trusted to give an impartial collaboration for fear of being out of a job. First they didn’t notice this phenomenon at all themselves, and secondly felt completely outclassed by The Institutes trained observers. Our people’s ability to come to conclusions and process this information in a lightning fast manner that made us look so good, was beyond their rigid thinking and inability to veer away from the accepted scientific approach to interpreting geological behavior. Their way takes so much time and we have better things to do than sit around for millennium waiting for something to happen when we can just formulate new predictions and hurry the entire process up.

So that’s what we’ve done. Using all of our expertise and lack of knowledge, not to mention our complete disregard for current scientific conventions, we were able to formulate, confirm, publish and be out of there with an entirely new way at looking at geological evolution before the other guys even had a clue about what was happening. But that’s how things are done at The Institute. We bring you the latest, newest, most unconventional approach to science and the world, so you are among the first to know “What’s Happening Now!” science-wise. Yes we know it’s incredible but you’re worth it.



Short Days


As Director of the World Famous Institute I was surprised and somewhat dismayed at the fact that the days here in the immediate area of the Institute’s holdings are getting noticeably shorter. It was just a moment ago and it was light until nearly 10:00 pm. You could work late. Get things done. Now just a low belch after supper it was getting dark. I mean, like, Geeze. We have things to do yet that require long periods of light. Places to go, pictures to take, stuff to look at. Check out the picture above. That’s what happens when it gets dark early. Well I immediately called a meeting.

Gathering the heads of the various departments that are responsible for handling these types of events I demanded answers. “WTF is going on?” was one of my first queries. Looking around to see who I could pin down for some straight answers my gaze swept over the my elite team of specialists. We have cast offs from NOAA, The WMO: World Meteorological Service, The National Weather Service, the one run by the government, even CoCoRaHS or the Community Collaborative Rain Hail & Snow Network, none of them would look me in the eye. We even have that goofy intern wunderkind that has The WeatherBug widget on his computer at the table, as it seems most of these other supposed experts ask him daily for the forecast. No one ventured an answer.

“This shall not stand!” I roared in my best dictatorial voice “These days shall not get shorter until we get all the crap done we’re supposed to and If heads have to roll, then I advise you to get steel collars on your wife beaters, because they will.” The room got quiet, even the WeatherBug kid snuffed out his joint. They knew I was serious. We’ve had purges here before and for a lot less reason. I reminded them if they had any chance in hell of getting that back pay I was holding just for circumstances like this, they had better get things straightened out and I mean now. Yeah that got the sweat rolling down their faces.

They started brainstorming and the suggestions that flew around our 35′
Amazonian Rosewood table, imported before the moratorium on wasting irreplaceable timber resources went into effect, that went from the sublime to the ridiculous. “Let’s pull an iceberg down and plant it off the coast of California and reflect sunlight back this way. That’ll get us a couple more hours.” This was from the NOAA guy. Every other word out of his mouth was iceberg  this and iceberg that. I remembered they punched his ticket for spending too much time out on the icebergs until he was just too loopy to find his butt with both hands behind him. He may not have been our best pick of the litter.

Someone asked the guy from the WMO, the ex-World Meteorological Service person, for a suggestion but no one could get him to answer until we provided him with a mike and a whiteboard. He’s turned out to be useless. They wouldn’t even send his dossier over, said it was classified. That’s probably why we got him so cheap.

The suggestions flew around the table, each one more preposterous than the next until a quiet voice was heard back at the end of the table. “How much more time do you need each day? How many hours?” The room went deathly still. You could have heard a pin drop. It was the stoner kid, the intern we took in after they towed the 79 Pontiac he was living in. We hired him because he was able to get Outlook to work again and we could get our email. He’s now the head of our IT department and will make big, I mean big bucks, if we ever pay him. I thought for  a minute and said “About 4 hours.” “What time is it now” he asked. I looked at my steel-cased, waterproof to 600 meters Rolex chronometer and said “11:15”. “Set your clocks back 4 hours.” he said.

Set your clocks back 4 hours! Set your clocks back? That would make it like 7:15 in the morning. We had the whole day ahead of us. “Eureka!!!” someone yelled, I think it was that woman from CoCoRaHS and pandemonium broke loose. What an absolute perfect solution and it didn’t cost anything, other than hiring that crazy guy to climb the tower and change that clock up there, but that was nothing compared to the productivity we’d get with the days made 4 hours longer. Who would have thought that little 420 burner, I think his name is Billy Haze, would have the answer. My aide, in a quiet aside, said I should reward him somehow, do something nice for him. So I told him that he could move from his tent into one of the dorm rooms in the intern barracks. He quickly asked if it could be one of the heated ones. I nearly balked but thinking of all the time he saved us I said yes, and he immediately split to move his stuff before I changed my mind.

Right now everyone is in feverish hyperactivity determined to wring every second out of those new 4 hours. Quarterly reviews are coming up and since their pay, or lack of it, is dependent on their scores everyone wants to look like a hero. We’ll see. Personally I’m soon off to an important shoot and can’t wait until I get to pack those 4 hours with pictures from my latest adventure. If I run out of light, I may set my watch back another hour. Genius that kid, absolute genius.

Into Each Park Some Rain Must Fall



Many years ago when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was perhaps touring Yellowstone National Park he penned one of his famous poems titled “Rainy Day”. The last two lines of the poem are “Into each park some rain must fall, some days must be dark and dreary.” Well this was in 1842 and it is apparently still raining.

Later on the Inkspots were touring the park and covered the poem with their hit song “Into each Park Some Rain Must Fall”. This was back in the early 40’s and Ella Fitzgerald was so taken with it she joined them and together they brought out a jazz version of the song. It was raining that day too.

When we arrived at the park to conduct The Institutes semi-annual inspection it was raining and in fact it rained 15 days out of 17. The two days it didn’t rain we had some sunshine but it quickly turned to rain.

Upon questioning some of the park staff who refused to give us their names, we asked “Why is it freaking raining sooooo much?” We hated to sound like we were whining but enough with the rain already. They had several theories, the most plausible of which was that the animals after a hard winter, spent either hibernating, or standing around buttocks deep in snow, or laying in the dirt somewhere needed some sprucing up before the park officially sprang into high gear after Memorial day. We thought this theory had some merit after being downwind of the buffalo herd as it trudged up the Gibbon canyon. Three hours behind a buffalo herd will give you a new belief in the need for good animal hygiene.

But while some rain is good, great even, there might be too much of a good thing. These animals are now as clean as they are ever going to be. Sparkling, they look like they’ve had the best spa day ever. The Kardashians have never been as clean as these animals and we all know how long they spend at the spa. Weeks.

We thought that the animal washing theory was a little weak and conveyed that fact to the park representative we were speaking to but they adamantly defended this as a valid reason for the rain so, being as they are like official park officials we went along with it. After all if you can’t trust someone who works for the government, who you gonna trust?

So, comfortable with the reasons given for the seemingly endless rain we continued our inspection amongst the squeaky clean animals, enjoying the fresh fragrances of the buffalo and elk and even the grizzlies, although they had a slightly musty odor that went away later in the summer, we were told by the same knowledgeable official who had the rain theory. He said “Trust me, come back in August and smell one, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.” We gave that assignment to one of our newest interns.

We have provided you with an image of a high country valley being rained on as we toured up to Mt. Washburn, one of the highest peaks in the park, where it was raining. But with sweet-smelling ground squirrels and Stellar Jays accompanying us we hardly noticed. The rain. I think that was day nine. That was a particularly rainy day.

Note : To those of you tuning in late the following posts will catch you up on preceding events. There is no extra charge for this service it is included in the cost of admission. We know you don’t want to miss a minute of our fascinating but undocumented report.




The Great Quail Migration


When going through our archives the other day we stumbled across a treasure-trove of forgotten images. Deep in the hidden recesses of The Institutes’ storage shed we found photographic evidence of one of Nature’s most incredible stories, The Great Quail Migration.

Many of you I’m sure, have never heard of the Great Quail Migration as it happened way before the internet. But back in the latter half of the last century there was a great drought in the high plateaus of the desert Southwest. Plants dried up and died. Insects disappeared and the Quail were faced with imminent starvation. The elders of the flock knew something drastic had to be done and hearing that the government was giving away land up along the Snake river in Idaho to any quail brave enough to make the journey they decided to attempt the long dangerous trail North.


Gathering the flock together they started northward. At first there were just a few hardy souls determined to find a better life, but as word spread of the possibility of a land of plenty just laying there for the taking, others joined in.


Soon there were dozens then thousands until the earth was dark with mottled bodies of quail heading North.


The journey was long and arduous with many of the original flock falling by the wayside. but their determination never wavered. They steadily kept to their dream of tall grass, abundant insects and safe havens. Young were born along the way to replace those that had fallen, prey to the many predators who shadowed the migration.


When the journey seemed to be at its darkest point and it looked as if they would never reach that magical land, the miracle finally happened. They reached the border the government had erected to set aside the land that was to be the home of the quail for as long as the sun would shine and the grass would grow. That was the land that was to be given to any quail that could reach it, for now and forever. Tired, hungry, footsore, feathers dusty with travel they entered one by one into the promised land and safety.


The patriarch who had led the flock those hundreds of miles, who had evaded predators and sickness, who had kept hope alive and guided them unerringly to the final spot where they could begin new lives, was the last to enter.


Realizing what they had left behind, and the price they had paid for it, he took one last look back at the past. Standing at the border that represented safety and a new beginning for his flock he seemed satisfied with what they had accomplished. They had completed the Great Quail Migration.

Today his descendants can still be found living peacefully along the riverside in the Snake River Raptor Rehabilitation Area, a testament to the quails determination and bravery that still is prevalent today.

As always we are proud to be able to bring you the stories of these amazing and often heroic events, many of which never happened, and to share with you the incredible but unbelievable tales that have been captured on film and more recently pixels. We do this so that you too can share in Nature’s glory. No there’s no need to thank us, it’s just part of our job.

Deadly Menace

DeadlyMenace4680click to enlarge

There are many dangerous things in the mountains here in Colorado. Some are very obvious, the western Rattlesnake, angry beavers, the Unibomber, well he isn’t here so much anymore, but one of the deadliest is our State flower the Columbine. Yeah, sure they look harmless and they’re pretty, some might even say beautiful, but therein lies their menace. Just like their sister in crime that Venus fly-catcher trap thing that lives somewhere else and does deadly stuff, these harmless appearing flowers sit in the dappled sunshine of a shady grove and startle you with their absolute undeniable beauty. To illustrate just how dangerous these innocent looking flowers can be we asked our resident Flowerologists the twin PhD’s, Drs. Solenoid and Nodule Stem about them. We here at the World Headquarters of our Media Empire sponsor a lot of freeloaders, I mean researchers for a small cut of their grant money and the publishing rights to any lucrative research they might accidentally produce. They couldn’t wait to describe their deadly encounter with these harbingers of evil. The Drs. Stem had been on a field trip to discover whether any of the flowers pictured in their “Flowers of The Rocky Mountains” guidebook actually grew here. As this was a government-funded project they were obligated to obtain results and had struggled for weeks trying to show some sort of progress. The pressure to protect their phony-baloney jobs I mean large, tax deferred grant was paramount. So with these discouraging thoughts weighing heavily on their minds they were totally unprepared for the radiant gorgeousness that suddenly appeared before them. Solenoid, being the older of the two twins by three days, and some say the more intelligent one, immediately spun around to warn his brother Nodule to cover his eyes before they were damaged beyond repair by the insidious beauty lashing out at them in shades of Columbine blue and pestle and/or stamen yellow. Instead of protecting his sibling he accidentally struck him with the tripod he was carrying knocking out his gold tooth and causing him to drop his notebook with all their irreplaceable data in it. Of course while looking for his tooth he accidentally kicked his notebook under a rock and it was lost forever, the big dummy. At least that’s what they told the people administering their grant, hoping to salvage something out of the catastrophe. I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed we were with the Drs. Stem. The grant was gone, our sponsorship fee was gone, everything was a total screw up I mean, in disarray. We don’t like failure here at the World Headquarters of our Media Empire and take any very poorly. Very poorly indeed. But life goes on, the Drs. Stem are out in the forest turning over rocks hoping to find grubs which they say are very nourishing. Their petition for the return of their cafeteria privileges is on my desk and I intend to look at it, perhaps as soon as next month, and we are still dedicated to the research necessary to maintain our position as one of the premier research facilities anywhere on this planet. The only bright spot to come out  of this whole mess was our ability to point out the dangers that lurk in our natural environment so that you, our most favored readers, can remain safe while visiting our gorgeous state. Remember, let’s be safe out there, not everything is as it seems even the really pretty stuff.