23 November 1995


Dear Friends and Family,


It's hard to believe that another year has passed! Now we've been in Rochester nearly ten years and have been in our house over five years. We've been busy catching up on yard work etc. since our camping season ended in mid-October, but there's been snow on the ground for a couple of weeks now, effectively ending outdoor work. The fall yard work centers mostly on leaves, which need to be cleaned out of gutters, raked off the lawn, carted around in tarps, chopped with the lawn mower, and mixed with grass clippings and dirt to start decomposing over the winter. Eileen uses the resulting compost in the garden to slowly improve the clayey soil. Our original soil was not too bad; in our back yard there were enough trees to foil the bulldozers, and we have hundreds of native may-apple and bloodroot (which bloom shortly after the snows melt), as well as some water-leaf and wild geranium. However, much of the soil near the house, where the gardens are, is from the hole dug for the basement, and so has required a lot of work. Another task this fall was to trim the roughly 30 trees in our back yard, mostly lindens, but also some hickories and a few other species. I spent about 12 hours reducing the branches, some of which were quite massive, to firewood and regulation-length brush piles for removal. We do not have a fireplace, but carry firewood with us when we are camping in the spring and fall. 


We've been up to Niagara Falls twice this month, leading two field trips for a local bird club. It has been a good fall on the river, although we have not been there on the best days. This is probably the single best gull location in North America, with a species total of 19, and a one-day record of 13 species. I think the best we have done is 12 species in a weekend. The full list is: Great Black-backed, Herring, Ring-billed, and Bonaparte's (all abundant); Little, Lesser Black-backed, Thayer's, Iceland, Glaucous, Sabine's, Franklin's, Black-headed, and kittiwake (regular); and Ivory, Ross', Slaty-backed, California, Mew, and Laughing (rare). We've had a number of Sabine's this year, which are always a treat. There are said to be about a quarter of a million gulls in 20 miles of river, although I think that there have been fewer in recent years (some think this is because the river has been cleaned up), nonetheless, there are a number of spots, only separated by a few minutes each, where one can see high hundreds or low thousands of gulls.


Last winter, we undertook two substantial indoor plant projects. The first was working with Dr. Herman Forest, retired from the State University of New York, to analyze and publish his extensive work on aquatic plants of ten counties in western New York State. This was a very interesting and enjoyable project, and was more than half completed by the time our intensive field work started up in May. We should be able to finish off the work this winter. The second project was to computerize all our plant and mammal records and write a database application to analyze and organize the data. I have notebooks going back to 1973 that take up about one bookshelf, so this was a lot of work! Eileen and I roughly split the typing. When we were done, we had about 5000 records on-line, and over 100 pages of printouts in alphabetical order, so that we can quickly look up any plant or mammal and see the listing of all our documented sightings, with dates, locations, etc.  


My work has continued to be very challenging, though sometimes frustrating. The 5-year modelling program that I am leading has now been going for 1.5 years, and finally is adequately staffed, at a level equivalent to about five people full-time. Our modelling group is being moved to another laboratory and possibly to another physical location, both of which are/would be positive actions. I am disappointed at the amount of time I have had to spend on "political" issues in the past several years; long-term research efforts have become fragmented at Kodak, so that each project must be individually defended on a regular basis. In addition, the work we do often has consequences that are far-reaching within the company, which is good, but means that we have to spend a lot of time interacting with other groups, which is considerably less fun than simply doing science. The past two months I have been furiously writing and editing technical report drafts in the usual end-of-the-year crunch, but that is nearly complete now. I do enjoy the writing (although it often is under some time pressure), because it gives a real sense of accomplishment and completion, as well as really solidifying one's understanding of the research involved. 


Our list of native wildflowers photographed in bloom or fruit in the Northeast rose over 70 species to 479 this year. This is an unprecedented increase in the absence of a major trip to a new area! One of the primary reasons for all the additions is the intensive work in the Moose River Plains (see below), which turned up many new, less conspicuous species. Also of note, I think we have broken the record for most species of ferns in a 1-mile radius circle in New York state, with 27 at the Moose River Plains; however, one difficult identification remains to be confirmed, so we may only have tied the record. However, there are two additional species that occur within 1 mile of our 1 mile circle, and we hope to find one or both of these with more field work next year. Also, other species are possible, although we have not found them locally. Our best fern find this year was a stand of the fascinating hexaploid Clinton's fern, which I had seen previously only once.   


The state botanist, Richard Mitchell, asked for assistance in photographing ferns of the Northeast for a fern identification software package that he is putting together, so we volunteered to do a number of localized or more northerly species. It was challenging to obtain photographs that would reproduce clearly on a computer screen; we had to concentrate especially on finding backgrounds that would contrast with the fern, rather than allow it to blend in, as is so often the case. I think he is using about 7-8 of our photos. 


Eileen painted and stained the exterior of the house and deck this summer, which took a few weeks. It sure looks better! They do not knock themselves out painting new house exteriors in these parts, and it's really needed some work. In early August we visited my Dad and relatives in Vermont, as we have done for several years. As always, it was very enjoyable. Eileen's parents visited at the end of September and got to see the peak weekend for fall color in the Adirondacks, with perfect weather conditions. They also had their first canoeing experience, which they both survived and enjoyed. We'll be visiting my Mom and brother Chris in Virginia over Christmas; my Dad and brother Chuck will be there too, and we look forward to some good scrabble games!   


We took some interesting short trips this year. Early in the season we explored some local spots for interior plants near the eastern edge of their ranges. These included twinleaf (a sensational plant with leaves shaped like a swallowtail butterfly), green violet, and golden seal (like ginseng, its root is sold commercially for purported medicinal reasons). We had another mediocre year at Pt. Pelee but did see Kirtland's warbler (almost impossible to see in migration) and fox snake (about three feet long, sitting at eye level in a shrub). A trip to Chaumont Barrens near Watertown yielded many interesting plants, including the very isolated, easternmost occurrence of prairie smoke, which was in full bloom (it looks a bit like a pink dandelion seed head). A 4-day weekend on the fascinating Bruce Peninsula in Ontario resulted in many good finds: Hooker's orchis, butterwort (a carnivorous plant), three species of twayblade orchis in bloom, Robert's fern, rubber plant (the latter are two very rare plants that grow on the globally rare limestone barrens habitat), Mingan moonwort (very rare), and nodding trillium. A weekend near Syracuse in August to visit several famous fern locations was very productive; we saw leafcup (another characteristic interior species at the edge of its range here), hart's-tongue fern (with very limited distribution in this continent), glade fern (new for Eileen), and Goldie's fern. Finally, although the birding in the Moose River Plains was not as good as some years, we were thrilled to see two black-backed woodpeckers at close range from our canoe on our last weekend of camping.


We took one medium-length (9-day) trip this year, to Algonquin Prov. Park in Ontario in September. Although we did not hear wolves this year (the date was a little late), we did take a number of full-day canoe trips from around the perimeter of the park, which we had not circumnavigated before (it is a huge park). Highlights were black bear in a natural setting; moose; 2 merlins (small, northern falcons) in pursuit flight right over our heads; lavendar bladderwort; the Brent meteor crater; canoeing the deep, sheer Barron Canyon; fragrant cliff fern; and a fascinating arctic plant, encrusted saxifrage.  


The Algonquin trip reminds me to mention that we finally got a new canoe this year and we are very happy with it! A few days after we moved to Rochester, we bought an inexpensive Sears fiberglass canoe, which we named Fourth of July, because our first trip in it was down the Genesee River, around which Rochester was built, to see the fireworks display. We used this canoe very roughly; a lot of our natural history work involves navigation in shallow water, over rocks and logs, etc. We succeeded in wearing the keel down completely, leading to structural instability and numerous leaks. I did a massive rebuilding of the keel once, but when it had worn down again last summer, we decided to upgrade. We got a great trade-in on a new Royalex canoe of about the same size; Royalex is a lightweight, strong, flexible and rather abrasion-resistant material that should prove much more appropriate for the type of canoeing we often do. The new canoe is 24 pounds lighter than the old one, which really makes a difference; I can easily pick it up and put it up onto the van by myself, which is very convenient. In addition, the new canoe, named Lutra (the river otter genus), compared to Fourth of July, is much faster, turns more easily, and has more comfortable seats. We have really been enjoying it!


Our major project of the year has been to start a study of the vascular plants in the Moose River Plains, our favorite camping spot in the southwest Adirondacks. We obtained a permit to collect specimens so that we could document our sightings, and start to learn about some of the more difficult plant groups, such as sedges and grasses, that we have largely neglected in the past. You will appreciate that it is much easier to key out these species in the comfort of your home, during the long winter, rather than carry the equivalent of a shelf of books into the field, where time is precious. Our goal is not only to collect (or, for rarer species, photograph) each species encountered in this area, but to quantitatively assess abundance by keeping track of which species occur in each 2-kilometer square (referred to as a block) in our study area. This year we concentrated on just 15 blocks with particularly good access by road, trail, or canoe. These blocks could be contained in a 6x8-mile area. Elevation ranges from about 1700 feet to 3700 feet, but elevations above 2700 feet require bush-whacking, and were not investigated this year. We did about 20 days of field work in our study area this year between late May and early September (as well as additional days too late in the season to be productive for plants).


To give you an idea of what this project is like, I'll describe the history of a specimen; I've picked # 220 (we collected about 340 this year) as an example. That weekend in mid-July we had done a 2-mile canoe carry with full camping gear to reach Beaver Lake, roughly egg-shaped and one mile long, with interesting shallow areas. Our friends Allan, Andrea, and their 4-year old son Collin had joined us for a weekend of quiet camping; we had the lake to ourselves except for a few hikers who briefly viewed the lake before turning around. The fire road into the lake was in pretty good shape, so we were able to wheel our loaded canoe most of the way (using a folding axle that can be strapped onto the bottom of the canoe); this is a great way to haul loads if the surface if fairly even. Friday night we had a torrential rain and high winds; we were not to learn until Sunday, on the way home, that this storm had done massive damage and killed several people. Saturday was sunny and windy, which helped us dry our soaked camping gear.


We paddled all around the lake, noting every plant species seen, because this was a block we had not visited yet during the study. New species were collected, usually only if in flower or fruit (to aid in their identification). Near the center of the lake, we made an exception to this rule for an aquatic plant growing slightly below the surface of the water, because aquatic plants can be difficult to find in flower, and the flowers are less helpful for identification than in many groups. The plant was finely divided, like a typical "aquarium plant", and was very lacy looking under water. Eileen reached under water to cut off a portion of the plant, while I counter-balanced the canoe. With most small plants it is helpful to obtain some of the root, but this plant was growing in deep water so this was impractical. Some aquatics are so flimsy that the only way to get them to spread out nicely, and not bunch up into a matted mass, is to float them in the water and bring a sheet of paper up underneath them very gently. This specimen was a bit more robust and with some effort I spread it out on a piece of 12x18-inch blotter paper, in a configuration suitable for mounting (the shape of the final specimen is pretty much determined by the shape at initial pressing, so you have to get it the way you want it in the final mounted specimen). 


A second sheet of blotter paper was placed over the specimen, and the package enclosed in an unprinted newspaper folder. The specimen number was marked on the folder, in an orientation that indicated how the specimen should be mounted. We try to show both surfaces of each plant, but there is usually a preferred mounting direction. The folder was placed between sheets of corrugated cardboard in a plant press, under considerable pressure, which dries and flattens the specimen. Eileen noted the date, location, elevation, habitat, and precise coordinates in our field notebook, which contained custom-made pages for specimen data entry. The coordinates were determined very accurately using a global positioning system (GPS), which receives military satellite signals and determines through triangulation your location (including elevation) anywhere on the planet, usually in a few tens of seconds. It also has navigational features that are very impressive. By typing the coordinates back in next year, we could return directly to a point within about 100 feet of the collection site. In the middle of a lake, with no real landmarks, this is a very nice feature. Of course, it is even more valuable to someone else, who has not seen the location.


Once home, the fresh specimens are transferred to another plant press and left in front of a fan that sucks air through the cardboard and help dries the specimens even more quickly (to help better preserve colors). After a week of drying, Eileen mounts the specimens on acid-free paper that is the standard size used by herbaria (collections of plants usually found at universities and museums). She has to do this on a regular basis so we do not run out of blotter paper, cardboard, etc. I have already stamped the paper with a custom rubber stamp containing blanks to be filled in with location, date, coordinates, etc. She enters just the specimen number from the folder so that the connection with the data is not lost. Then, in a painstaking process, she affixes the specimen to the sheet using water-soluble glue. She flips the specimen over onto wax paper mounted on cardboard, which is marked off to show the size of the sheet and the location of the label. She then paints the back with glue, using a variety of brushes, foam tools, etc. A sheet is placed against the specimen, the package is inverted, and the wax paper removed. With finely dissected plants such as some ferns, there is not time to paint an entire specimen before the glue dries, so she may have to continue gluing smaller segments at this point, using a dissecting pin to lift each section. A really difficult specimen can take an hour; a typical time is probably about 20 minutes, so Eileen must have spent 100 hours this year at this task. She really got to know this summer's country music hits from listening to the radio while she worked on specimens! The freshly glued specimens are interleaved with wax paper and put back into the plant press for another week to keep them flat while the glue is drying. After that they are put in folders in boxes, arranged taxonomically at higher levels, and alphabetically at lower levels, until the collecting season was done and they could be further considered. The final specimens are like works of art, and are a delight to behold.


In October, I finished updating the computerized records from the field season. All records are entered into our home computer, where they can be analyzed and organized using databasing software I wrote at work. One of the principal reasons that we need this is to produce updated block lists before every weekend of field work. I printed out all the specimen label information, and, over the course of a few weeks, Eileen filled in the blanks on the stamped specimen sheets. It would have been nice to print the labels out from the computer, but neither self-adhesive labels nor computer printer inks are archival. Finally, I study the specimens and refer to our fairly extensive set of books, augmented by volumes checked out of a local college library. If the identification seems quite certain, I pen in the scientific name, filling the last blank in the stamped specimen label. To complete this task will probably take most of the winter, and some specimens will have to be taken to herbaria for comparison with known specimens, or shown to experts.


In the case of specimen 220, I was not confident of reaching a conclusive identification because of the difficulty of aquatic species and the lack of flowers. However, examination of the specimen under a magnifier reveals the presence of tiny, transluscent bladders (sacs), used to trap microscopic aquatic animals. This plant is a bladderwort, and its leaf arrangement is (mercifully) diagnostic. The plant is Utricularia purpurea, which has been on our (lengthy) list of most-wanted plants for years now! Of course, what we wanted to see was its interesting purple flowers, but hopefully we will run into those another year, now that we know where the plants are. I guess that I should conclude this account by saying that we finished the year having located just over 300 species, although some remain to be definitively identified. We were very pleased with this total; a study in the northwest Adirondacks spanning 30 years, 3000 square miles, and 3000 feet of elevation range (about 30x, 60x, and 3x our numbers) turned up about 450 species. Of course, diminishing returns are dramatic in this sort of work, but it still seems like a good start.       


Our major trip of the year was a 4-week visit to the Four Corners district in January. This was the last in a series of four trips to the Mountain West. Attached below is Eileen's account of that trip. We'd be happy to be taking off on a trip like that right about now -- but at least we have lots of plant specimens to work on this winter, so we'll be seeing some color other than white!



Four Corners Trip


Thursday / 22 Dec 94 / Day 1

Left Rochester this morning bound for El Paso TX, where we will spend Christmas. Drove 773 miles today and stopped for the night just north of Nashville.


Saturday / 24 Dec 94 / Day 3

Arrived in El Paso around 6pm. Took us three days to get here. Spent last night in Weatherford TX. Besides Mom and Dad, the roll call included: Paul (who arrived yesterday from Indianapolis), Kathleen, Patrick, Corey, Claire, and Thomas, who are on a stop-over visit en route from Fort Riley KS to Patrick's new assignment in Hawaii.


Monday / 26 Dec 94 / Day 5

Had a beautiful Christmas Day yesterday. The ranks were increased by two when Robert and Mahrla (who live about five minutes away) stopped by for a while. Today, we decided to go out for breakfast and then drive to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. Had to interview all available folks to determine who was staying home (Mom, Patrick, Thomas); who was going to breakfast only (Dad, Claire); who was going to Carlsbad only (Corey; he spent the night with his other set of grandparents and had to be picked up after breakfast); and who was doing the whole trip (Kathleen, Brian, and me). Dad said the Normandy invasion was easier to plan.


On the way to the caverns, we stopped briefly to observe a herd of pronghorn antelope. When we arrived, took the elevator down 755 feet to the Big Room (the only section open), one of the largest underground chambers in the world. Among the spectacular formations, we saw Carlsbad's biggest stalagmite (42 feet high).  We also followed the Desert Drive through Walnut Canyon.


Tuesday / 27 Dec 94 / Day 6

By the time we got home from our excursion yesterday evening, Brian was not feeling well and went to bed early. He is spending today in bed, suffering from flu-like symptoms.


Wednesday / 28 Dec 94 / Day 7

Brian still not in top form, spending most of the day in bed. Kathleen and I went to the airport to pick up the newest additions to the Christmas reunion, Elizabeth and her newish (six months) baby, Christina Lynn, from Placerville CA.


Thursday / 29 Dec 94 / Day 8

Brian feeling much better today so he and I went with Robert to the music studio where he (Rob) is an engineer. We met the owner, Tony Rancich, who also owns a pecan ranch; he guided us on a tour of the pecan orchard and processing plant. Back at home, there were four new arrivals: Scott, Jessica, Sara, and Tom, just in from Indianapolis. After dark, took a driving tour of the famous Christmas light display in Eastwood.


Friday / 30 Dec 94 / Day 9

The week at home went fast. Left El Paso this morning, headed west. Our first stop was at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, the world's largest gypsum dune field. In spite of some rain, we were able to get a few photographs and walk the Big Dune Nature Trail. Then drove to Grants NM, where we spent the night.


Saturday / 31 Dec 94 / Day 10

Visited El Malpais National Monument, NM, a volcanic badlands southwest of Grants. It is famous for such features as spatter cones, a lava tube cave system, and ice caves. Also visited La Ventana Arch, the largest arch in NM. Drove the very scenic Chain of Craters byway, first through short grasslands, then forests of ponderosa pine and Rocky Mt. juniper. Spent the night at Red Rock State Park Campground just outside Gallup NM.


Sunday / 1 Jan 95 / Day 11

Last night was cold!! A raven perched on top of a red rock formation was our first bird of the year. Spent the day on the South Rim Drive of Canyon de Chelly National Monument, known for its canyon views and the ruins of prehistoric Pueblo Indians. Took a one and a half mile hike from the rim to the White House Ruins, the only area of the canyon where visitors are allowed without a guide. Camped near Holbrook AZ.


Monday / 2 Jan 95 / Day 12

Visited Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert. Most of the (petrified) trees found in the park belonged to a now-extinct genus; Norfolk Island Pine is the closest living relative. We picnicked at Chinde Point, followed walking trails at the Puerco Indian Ruins (before 1400 A.D.), and the Giant Logs area, and stopped to see Newspaper Rock, a huge sandstone block covered with petroglyphs. Spent the night in Winslow AZ; Brian with a mild relapse of his previous indisposition.


Tuesday / 3 Jan 95 / Day 13

First stop: Meteor Crater AZ, the site of the first and largest definitely identified crater. The floor is 570 feet deep and more than 4,100 feet across; the rim is more than 3 miles in circumference.  All Apollo astronauts were given extensive training here. Next stop: Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument AZ. Viewed prehistoric Anasazi dwellings and the volcanic area, including the cone named by John Wesley Powell (of Colorado River exploration fame), who was head of the U.S. Geological Survey in 1885: "The contrast in the colors is so great," he wrote, "that on viewing the mountain from a distance the red cinders seem to be on fire. From this circumstance the cone has been named Sunset Peak." Hiked the Lava Flow Loop Trail but the trail up the cone has been closed due to erosion. Saw huge flocks of robins but no Abert's squirrels. Camped at Manzanita Campground in Oak Creek Canyon between Flagstaff and Sedona AZ.


Wednesday / 4 Jan 95 / Day 14

Rain this morning, snow at higher elevations. Drove to Peach Springs AZ, got permit to enter Hualapai Indian Reservation where we camped at Diamond Creek Campground on Colorado River. Saw a coyote and scrub jays. Still raining. Can smell the creosote.


Thursday / 5 Jan 95 / Day 15

Drove out Quartermaster Point. View is terrific but visibility somewhat impeded by low clouds. Saw a herd of 50 pronghorns. Also joshua trees, an indicator plant of the Mojave Desert, and several other species reminiscent of the Lanfair Valley CA, an old favorite stomping ground. Camp at Diamond Creek.


Friday / 6 Jan 95 / Day 16

Spent morning in camp on Colorado River. Sunny and warmer than most days since we'd left El Paso. Drove to south rim of Grand Canyon. At the visitor center, got a weather report: expected low is 18 degrees F and windy, so we did not camp.


Sunday / 8 Jan 95 / Day 18

Poor weather yesterday and very low visibility at canyon overlooks; no photographs. Tried to locate forest service road to Havasupai Point, but too much snow, so turned back. Same today.


Monday / 9 Jan 95 / Day 19

Clear today; we revisited all canyon overlooks and took photos at Moran, Lipan, and Desert View. Snow on cliff edges highlights them nicely.  Very cold at this elevation; stopped for hot chocolate beside an enormous fireplace at Hermit's Rest on West Rim Drive. While doing laundry this evening in the village, ran into some friends from Oak Creek Canyon; had dinner together at Bright Angel Lodge.


Wednesday / 11 Jan 95 / Day 21

Left Grand Canyon yesterday morning, photographed a precipitous view of the Little Colorado River from a highway overlook, stopped in Page AZ to make arrangements for the next couple of days, and camped at Lone Rock Campground on shore of Lake Powell, just over the state line in Utah. Today we took a tour boat on Lake Powell to Rainbow Bridge. We were the only passengers, so had the boat and two captains to ourselves. Rainbow Bridge, the world's largest natural bridge, was nearly flooded by the rising waters of Lake Powell, formed when the Colorado River was backed up behind the Glen Canyon dam, completed in 1966. Now much of the canyon, known for its striking scenery and Anasazi ruins, is under water. We were the only visitors at the bridge, reached by a short hike from the dock, and we enjoyed the spectacular views. Took a number of photographs. On return boat trip, took readings with GPS and helped the pilots measure the actual distance from Rainbow Bridge Dock to Wahweap Marina Dock. Also stopped at Glen Canyon Dam Visitor Center. Camped at Lone Rock.


Friday / 13 Jan 95 / Day23

Yesterday we visited Antelope Canyon, or rather that portion of it (the upper) known as Corkscrew Canyon. A slot canyon, carved mostly by wind erosion, this place had what we considered to be some of the most impressive and beautiful scenery of the trip. Spent four and a half hours photographing as the light filtering in from the narrow opening overhead shifted, creating new scenes.


Today, visited Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. We reached here last night and camped in the Mitten View Campground, so named because the famous mitten-shaped (sort of) formations in the valley are visible from the campground. After photographing at sunrise, we made arrangements for a tour guide to take us through the valley (in a beat-up old 4-wheel-drive vehicle -- front seat propped up with a chunk of wood, etc.) Photographed gorgeous rock formations, windows, and ancient ruins. Had picnic lunch, then headed north, past the town of Mexican Hat to Gooseneck State Reserve to see the gooseneck canyons (entrenched meanders dug by the river) of the San Juan River. Camped at Natural Bridges National Monument.


Saturday / 14 Jan 95 / Day 24

Yesterday in Monument Valley was warm and sunny but today is cold and cloudy with snow on the ground.  We stopped at overlooks to all three of the bridges, which were formed by flowing water, and took a short hike to the Horsecollar Ruins overlook. Most of the other hiking trails were closed due to unstable conditions. This area is unusual for the number of natural bridges formed in such a short distance as well as for the unique formations themselves. Drove on to Monticello, where we spent the night.


Sunday / 15 Jan 95 / Day 25

Drove north to the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park. We visited the other two districts of the park -- the Maze, and Island in the Sky -- last year. Weather cold with fierce winds. Had good views of the needle formations and a spectacular anticline. Hiked up Elephant Hill; our 4WD vehicle would not have made it. Tried another 4WD road leading to the Colorado River overlook but managed only 6.1 of the seven miles; road just too rugged. Actually, there was a sort of cliff in the middle of it. Spent the night in Monticello again. Snowing.


Monday / 16 Jan 95 / Day 26

Still snowing; visibility poor; driving conditions slow. Drove to Mesa Verde National Park, located in the high plateau country of southwestern Colorado. This park is one of the major archaeological preserves in the country; the area was inhabited as far back  as A.D. 500. Most of roads and trails in the park closed due to weather conditions. One guided tour was offered, to Spruce Tree House Ruins, the best preserved and one of the largest cliff dwellings in the park. Also visited museum. Spent night in Durango.


Tuesday / 17 Jan 95 / Day 27

Drove from Durango to Ouray to see the beautiful San Juan Mountains. Traversed three passes over 10,000 feet; needed chains on tires. Photographed both immature and adult bald eagle at carrion; also crows and magpies. Lunch at a cafe in Ouray. Began drive for Rochester.


Saturday / 21 Jan 95 / Day 31

Arrived Rochester after four days on the road. Spent Tuesday night in Salida CO; Wednesday in York NE; Thursday in Davenport IA; and Friday night in Cleveland. The drive back was uneventful until Thursday evening when temperatures dropped, snow started falling, roads became slippery, etc. Traffic slowed to a crawl. When we decided to stop for the night, had difficulty finding a motel with vacancy. Progress was slow the rest of the way; took us an extra day of driving. The toughest part of the trip, without a doubt; other than that, what a wonderful time we had!