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Sonoran Desert, southern Arizona

The beautiful Sonoran Desert - the lushest desert in the world, with 12 inches of rainfall annually.

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Down in the canyons, cool water flows.

Down in the canyons, cool water flows.

The massive Saguaro cactus, whose seed is so small it is difficult to see with the naked eye, can grow to 60 feet tall, weigh 2 tons, and live well over 100 years.  Their pleated trunks expand and contract as they store and lose water.

The massive Saguaro cactus, whose seed is so small it is difficult to see with the naked eye, can grow to 60 feet tall, weigh 2 tons, and live well over 100 years.  Their pleated trunks expand and contract as they store and lose water.

An agave with a view.

An agave with a view.

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The Grey Hawk,  Buteo plagiatus,  is found only in the most southern areas of the United States, and migrate further south in Winter.

The Grey Hawk, Buteo plagiatus, is found only in the most southern areas of the United States, and migrate further south in Winter.

The Harris Hawk,  Parabuteo unicinctus,  hunts in pairs or larger family groups.

The Harris Hawk, Parabuteo unicinctus, hunts in pairs or larger family groups.

Glacier Gorge

Glacier Creek runs down out of Glacier Gorge in Rocky Mountain National Park.  Its headwaters are high up in the Gorge, tucked below the western flanks of Long's Peak and the Continental Divide.  The Creek connects Frozen Lake, Black Lake, Jewell Lake and Mills Lake before leaving the Gorge and joining the Big Thompson River.

Here's a bit of video from one of my favorite spots along the Creek. 

Colorado National Monument - May 2011

Colorado National Monument lies just West of Grand Juntion, CO, near the border between Colorado and Utah.

The so-called "Coke Ovens", also known as the "Haystacks".  The stacks are composed of Wingate Sandstone about 200 million years old, with caps composed of harder material called the Kayenta Formation. 

The so-called "Coke Ovens", also known as the "Haystacks".  The stacks are composed of Wingate Sandstone about 200 million years old, with caps composed of harder material called the Kayenta Formation. 

Another view of the Coke Ovens from below in early morning.

Another view of the Coke Ovens from below in early morning.

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"Claret cup" cacti in bloom.

"Claret cup" cacti in bloom.

Independence Monument - a 450-foot high fin of Wingate Sandstone with a Kayenta Formation cap is all that is left of a wall that once stretched across the canyon.

Independence Monument - a 450-foot high fin of Wingate Sandstone with a Kayenta Formation cap is all that is left of a wall that once stretched across the canyon.

Collared Lizard,  Crotaphytus collaris .  Collared lizards feed mostly on insects, and can run on their hind legs.

Collared Lizard, Crotaphytus collaris.  Collared lizards feed mostly on insects, and can run on their hind legs.

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