Larkspur Lightning

I have been feeling under the weather all weekend and was dozing off when I thought I heard a rumble of thunder.  As always, that sound just does something to ignite my senses and I sat while awaiting another bolt.  A couple of minutes later one hit less than a mile away lighting up the entire sky and trees.  I quickly grabbed the camera and was able to grab some shots as the storm quickly intensified and headed east.  I can’t say I “chased” this storm, but it was nice to have a break of the doldrums of being sick.

From the back porch, the orange is Castle Rock (yuck) and the violet is the storm.

From the back porch, the orange is Castle Rock (yuck) and the violet is the storm.

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This one was interesting because it looked like a bat when i zoomed into the lightning.  Interesting cloud formation...

This one was interesting because it looked like a bat when i zoomed into the lightning. Interesting cloud formation…

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Supermoon & Geminids August 2014

It’s a couple days before the peak of the Geminids, one of my favorite meteorite showers I watch each year.  Fortunately and unfortunately the supermoon is full and setting right after dawn each morning, so the sky and ground is filled with lunar light!  I saw a couple of shooters but they were not as brilliant as usual due to the lunar light.

As I watched the sky, I realized the amount of nighttime light was probably how most folks in the suburbs see the sky on a good night!  I’m reminded how spoiled I am to live where I do on the Palmer Divide at nearly 7000 feet above sea level, in the forest far away from the city!

Perseids

2014 Perseids Shooting Star

Perseids shooting star

Perseids shooter over Cassiopeia. Very bright, about 1+ second.

Supermoon 2014

Supermoon August 11, 2014

Arkansas River Petrified Wood

Discovered some petrified wood while camping this last weekend.  We went camping in the Arkansas River valley across from Mt Antero, Princeton and Shivano.  Our secret private campsite at Ruby Mountain.  It was a muddy camp trip because of the monsoonal moisture, but that heavy rain helped cool it off in the evenings making for great camp sleeping!

I wanted to check out rocks in the Taylor Mountain / Missouri Hill area around some of the Marble and other quarries.  A fellow rockhound James was kind enough to give me some directions and advice on visiting this location, however he warned me that the road required a high clearance 4WD vehicle.  I went in our non-4WD knowing that I would probably have to park and walk a mile or two, however by the time I got up there the rains were coming in and I was running short on dry clothes.  I went almost to mile 4.5 of about 6 but eventually turned around and headed back down into the river valley.

I visit Ruby Mountain at least once per year and am not overly excited about the hard to find garnets and elusive topaz, and have more than enough apache tears from this location, so since I had a couple of hours left I decided to head down to Brown’s Canyon area as my only other visit several years back yielded nothing.  As described in Steve Voynick’s Colorado Rockhounding book, most of the side roads off of Chaffee County Road 194 past the private land lead to old Fluorspar mines.  I picked one side road and headed on a hike with my trusty Rock Hound Dog Boogie.

Boogie standing in the shade on this hot August day

Boogie standing in the shade on this hot August day

It was a hot day and we ended up at the mine which now is a nice makeshift gun range. It wasn’t that large of a reclaimed mine but I started to wander around and scout what was there.  I picked up many red, green, black and other cool colored stones that would I feel be great to tumble.  I found some fluorspar but nothing that great.  I was looking for smaller  fluorite crystals without any luck.  I did happen upon some agatized petrified wood and spent the rest of the hour or so I had looking for this.

Fluorspar mine in Browns Canyon

Fluorspar mine in Browns Canyon

Found a couple of really great camping sites while hiking as well; I hope to bring my kids back to this site someday and do some target practice, camping and more rockhounding!

The collection of nicer wood samples I found

The collection of nicer wood samples I found

Great texture and color in this sample

Great texture and color in this sample

Petrified Wood, love the way the wood grain turnson this one

Petrified Wood, love the way the wood grain turns and twists

Cool agatized petrified wood

Cool agatized petrified wood full of color!

Petrified Wood

Petrified Wood

Agatized petrified wood

Agatized petrified wood, the first rock I found this day

I love the detail on this piece of petrified wood

I love the detail on this piece of petrified wood

Random river rock with some cool patterns

Random river rock with some cool patterns

Cool river rock with Amethyst

Cool river rock with Amethyst

Backyard Mycology

Need help from all of you with Mycology expertise!  With the steady stream of precipitation this year we’ve had green everything all summer long; the first time since 1998.  We went out into the back yard forest last night and discovered that mushrooms are popping up EVERYWHERE!  I will capture more in the upcoming days but these were some of the different mushrooms we have thus far.  We typically only get the large puffballs, which we have a couple in the front yard right now.

There are a bunch more varieties, but they are all pretty much brown and mostly smaller; pictures didn’t come out too well.  These are the most interesting ones…

Gooey black can't be good!

How gooey can a mushroom get…there were black spots on the ground below this!

Larkspur Mycology - Fly Amanita

Found under a trampoline. Fly Amanita is poisonous.

Larkspur Mycology - Fly Amanita

Fly Amanita cap

Larkspur Mycology - Fly Amanita

Perhaps a Fly Amanita popping up out of the ground? Will know in a few days.

Larkspur Mycology - Fly Amanita

Gilled belly of the Fly Amanita

Awesome colors

Awesome colors! Perhaps a fly agaric? We’ll check back in a few days

The next two I believe are the same, they are in close proximity to each other.  One is by itself while the other is in a pair.  The cap is about an inch-inch and a half in size.

Larkspur Mycology

Still researching this one…

Larkspur Mycology -

Still researching this pair…

There are a couple of these in the taller grass.  Where the gills intersect with the top of the cap they are at the highest point.  The top of the cap is light brown.

Larkspur Mycology -

Still researching this one…

There are about 7 of these growing over a 20 foot semi circle area.  Each cap is between 5 and 8 inches in diameter.

Larkspur Mycology -

Lots of these, 5-7 inches.

This one was cool, really pretty yellow/orange with white spots on the cap.  I’ll check this one again in case the cap opens up in a few days.  The cap is about 2-3″.

Larkspur Mycology -

Great yellow color…still researching…

UPDATE.  Several days later I made a trip completely around the yard.  There are a ton of mushrooms, they are everywhere!  My neighbor came out and asked me what I was doing; then he pointed me to a few in his yard too!

Puffball Action!!!

Spiked Puffball

Spiked Puffball

Spiked Puffball

Spiked Puffball – way cool! About 6″.

Puffball Scleroderma citrinum

Tiny Puffball…Scleroderma citrinum?

Puffballs.  Morganella pyriformis

Puffballs… Morganella pyriformis?

Puffball

Puffball

Love the colors on the stalk

Love the colors on the stalk

Looks a bit scarey.

Looks a bit scarey.

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Orange Mushroom

Beautiful orange!

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red mushroom

Big red beast, about 8-9″

Like the little guy under the huge 8" shroom.

Like the little guy under the huge 8″ shroom.

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Great red color!

Great red color!

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