Visit to Camden Hills State Park in Maine

We had the opportunity to visit the Camden Hills State Park in Maine during our trip to New England earlier this year, and the chance to hike a couple of mountains (or perhaps they should be called hills!) in the park.  I got to take pictures from some locations that took into consideration differently scaled perspectives of the scene in front of us. I did this by zooming into the scene in front of me to different extents to change the scale of the shot.

Here is a panoramic rendition of a view from Ocean Overlook on the Megunticook trail in the park.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA (You can open the picture in the intended resolution for viewing by clicking on it.  The picture should open in a new tab.)  If one were to take a different picture of the same scene with a different scale factor, you can zoom in on the details of the bay on the left hand side of the original picture.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA further scaling would reveal the town of Camden at the right side of the bay.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinally, if you scale the picture even further, you can even see the individual boats on the left side of the bay.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA If you take another look at the panoramic picture (preferably in its full resolution), you can also see Mt. Battie (a smaller hill) at the center of the picture.  If you look at this part of the picture zoomed in, at a different scale, you can see the road up to the top of Mt. Battie more clearly.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you continue to scale the picture, you can make out the tower on Mt. Battie a little better. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is another example of the effect of scaling.  If you were to take a picture from Mt. Battie of the Ocean Overlook on the Megunticook trail, it can look like this from a distance.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you zoom in to a different scale, you can see the details of the people sitting at the overlook.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is clear that one needs to have a closer look at the picture in order to be able to make out the details and make any definitive statements about them.

If you have not done so, you should see this short video about scaling in the context of the universe that we live in.

From a philosophical perspective, one can see that you are likely to make mistakes if you do not have the right perspective on what you are seeing or experiencing. You should not accept any statements regarding such details from a person who has not done the necessary homework in this regard.

A Quantum Pioneer Unlocks Matter’s Hidden Secrets – Scientific American

Fascinating article!  I learned a new term from this article – Quantum Critical Point.

via A Quantum Pioneer Unlocks Matter’s Hidden Secrets – Scientific American

I followed one of the names mentioned in the article to find this short lecture on the topic.

A lingering question in my mind is about the energy consumed (be it in a cooling process, or in the application of high pressures, or in some other process) in creating these superconducting states and maintaining them for practical applications.  Seems like that would be significant regardless of the efficiencies achieved once you get there.  Is there not a trade-off involved?  I do not remember any mention of this aspect in the article or the video.

Pawpaw

I had forwarded an article that I had read online regarding the pawpaw to some of our friends last week since the fruit was somewhat familiar to us from previous walks along the C&O canal.  The article noted that pawpaw was actually being grown on certain farms in our area, and that the fruit was extremely tasty, and that it was becoming more and more popular, just as it had been in times past.

It was a pure coincidence that we began to see signs of the pawpaw fruit as we started our Sunday morning walk today from Whites Ferry.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe noticed that the pawpaw trees were all over the place, and that there were fallen fruit under many of these trees.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOut of curiosity, we picked a few fruit along the way to take back home with us.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We had reached the farthest point of our walk and were on our way back to the car when we we saw somebody walking towards us actually consuming one of the fruits that he had just picked.  So we started trying out the fruit ourselves.  It was extremely delicious and the flesh was easy to extract and eat.  It was a great treat! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis discovery led to increase our collection of  pawpaw fruit from from the trees as we kept walking.  We shook the trees so that the ripening fruit would drop to the ground.  Some of the riper fruit was consumed immediately.  This is what we ended up with to take back with us.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Unfortunately, some of the fruit that we had collected to take back was too ripe and would not hold its form when carried.  By the time we got back to the car, some of them had burst, and we had no choice but to consume them immediately.  But some fruit did make it home.  So we will be having really fresh fruit for the next few days.  An experiment will also be conducted with the seeds…

Welcome to my Magical Wonderland (6/15/2008)

Still true after all these years!!!
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It is a place where giant dragonflies keep you company as they buzz over the waters.

It is a place where the turtles say hello from the trunks of the fallen trees in the middle of the water.IMG_5226It is a place where turtles swim in the waters with most of their bodies submerged and heads above the water – where they quickly dive beneath the surface when they sense that you are looking at them.

It is a place where butterflies stay still enough that you can get close to them to take their pictures.IMG_5217It is a place where the butterflies play with your shoelaces when they think you are not looking.

It is a place where the green heron hides behind the branches of the tree that has fallen over the canal, and moves around as you approach, trying to make sure that you cannot get a clear picture of it.IMG_5230It is a place where the large great blue heron takes off overhead from a spot just near you, and you did not even realize that the bird was there.

It is the place where the startled deer swims across the canal when it notices your approach.

It is the place where the geese hiss at you when you pass them and their little ones.

It is the place where you can say hello to the folks and get a smile in response.

It is the place where canoes glide silently over the waters as the folks who are rowing chatter amongst themselves and navigate around the trees that have fallen into the waters that happen to block their way.IMG_5225It is the place where little children stagger aimlessly on their tiny feet across the trail while their guardians try get them to move in a general forward direction.

It is the place where the grand old river rushes noisily over the rocks, and where the cormorants perch on the branches of the fallen trees in the middle of the river.IMG_5210It is the place where squirrels, and bluebirds and cardinals show you the way on the trail.

It is my magical wonderland, and if I am lucky, I get to visit it for a few hours every once in a while.

Chasing the Deer

The scene unfolded during our Sunday morning walk along the C&O Canal.

We were headed back from Swains Lock to Pennyfield Lock along the towpath (the trail).  The canal, which happens to have water flowing in it in these parts, was to our right, and to our left was vegetation and a somewhat sharp drop off to the Potomac river.  The only people on the trail in front of us were a middle aged couple who walking towards us from the distance.

We heard a commotion behind us.  After initially ignoring it, I turned back to see that there were two deer running on the towpath in our direction, being followed by two bicyclists.  One of the deer was bigger than then other, probably a parent.  Even though the deer had seen us, they keep coming, veering neither left or right.  They were scared by the cyclists, and also of what lay on both sides of the trail.

We turned to face the deer.  I feared a possible collision and I moved to protect my broken ribs.  The deer finally stopped not too far from us.  The bigger one then jumped into the trees and bushes on its left, towards the river, and the young one followed.  The bicyclists went by.

As the people coming towards us got closer, the bigger deer crashed out of the bushes beside the river and ran across the trail into the canal.  It swam across to the other side of the canal and climbed up the hill beside the canal.  You could barely see it behind the trees. There was no sign of the smaller deer, but we knew that it was still on the other side of the trail, separated from the deer that was probably its parent.

As the folks approaching us went by, the little deer jumped out of the bushes beside the river in front of them.  It saw the people approaching.  It took off in the opposite direction along the trail, heading back towards where it had originally come from, and away from the other deer.  The folks who are now walking behind the sprinting deer are pantomiming and trying signal to the deer to cross the canal to be with the other one.  The deer is in a panic, neither can it understand human communications.  Go back and get your young one, we ourselves say to the bigger deer who is on the other side of the canal.  Of course, we are not speaking the deer’s language.

We did not wait to see how the drama of the lost deer finally played out.  I would not be surprised if the two deer eventually found each other.  While they might be considered creatures without intelligence by some human beings, animals have capabilities that would surprise many of us.  They are not necessarily limited by the kinds of senses that we human beings normally use.  (Check this out!)

The places that we frequent during the weekends allow us to experience things that may be considered out of the ordinary, things that we do not see during the normal course of the day in our usual surroundings.  It may simply be that the turtles are hanging out on the logs, or the great blue heron are fishing, or that the wren is singing on a tree as you pass by.  You just need to keep your senses open and a different world opens up to you. But our experience last Sunday was unique even by those standards.

Fast-Forwarding to Today Temporarily Before Returning Back to My Canadian Adventure

I made it a point to return to the C&O canal for the first time today after the accident in Canada.  The pictures below are perhaps old in the sense that I have posted similar pictures before, but they also represent something new in my recovery process.  I am able to walk decent distances in the park, and I am also able to take pictures! Assuming no setbacks, I intend to slowly but surely try to get back to the stuff I enjoy doing outdoors.  This trip was to Pennyfield Lock.
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Jasper to Banff Bike Ride – Day 3

I know I am very fortunate, and there a times like now, and days like today, and moments like the one I experienced this morning, when a sense of the extraordinary is so overwhelming that I do not know whether to laugh or cry out aloud in happiness when I am out there all my myself.

I woke up a little earlier than the others this morning and went for a walk.   There was nobody around.  The feeling was very different from that of the previous afternoon when there were crowds all over the place.  You could even hear the water flowing in the distance from the glacier.  After dropping by the pond in front of the hotel, I discovered the Forefield Trail and ventured off towards the Athabasca glacier before the others were up.  The sun was rising behind me, the early birds were all atwitter, and off in the distance was the massive glacier and the mountain peaks. It was glorious!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe following pictures are from the Forefield trail.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI joined the others for breakfast after the walk.  Then it was time to get ready to depart. I saw Ben outside our hotel window getting the bikes ready for the day’s ride.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday we crossed over from Jasper National Park to Banff National Park as we went over the Sunwapta pass. This is the second highest pass that we will cross during the ride, and it is at about 2035 feet.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe stopped for hike at Parker Ridge. We crossed over the mountain ridge to the other side to see the Saskatchewan Glacier.  It was a pretty steep climb.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe found this chap beside the trail, taking in all the tourist traffic going by.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou could see the support vehicle at the bottom of the mountain as we returned from the hike.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen came another challenging section of the ride.  This one was a little scary, but we all came through in good shape.  We were essentially speeding down a mountainside on a road that was not in the best of shape, a road that was also lacking a good shoulder, or even a shoulder in some parts.  We were riding besides other motor vehicles on the road.  It was bone rattling ride at high speeds. Ben had a stop for us at the halfway point, where he instructed me on how better to hold on to the bicycle handle so that I could take the rough road without wobbling too much.  One of our riders hit a speed of 70 kmph coming down, a personal best for her.  I was just a little slower. 🙂  The picture below shows a very short section of that descent.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then we were riding the rest of way to our destination for the evening on the flats beside the North Saskatchewan River.  This river flows into the Hudson Bay. The Columbia Icefield is a source for rivers that flow into the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe were riding beside a wall of rock for a certain distance.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter a certain while, the river disappeared behind some trees and woods. There was less things to stop for, and the rest of the ride became more about the sheer enjoyment of the experience of riding.  Folks were speeding along all the way to our destination, which was a place called The Crossing Resort. It was located at a spot just before our road, the Icefield Parkway, crosses the North Saskatchewan river.  Here is a picture of our digs for the night.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are some views from the resort.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter dinner we drove to the Mistaya Canyon where we could take a hike to a spot where the Mistaya river goes over a waterfall.  The Mistaya river feeds the North Saskatchewan river.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat evening a few of us stood outside our rooms hoping to see some colors in the sky at sunset.  The show was a little disappointing.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe are halfway through the ride at this point!