Tuesday, January 19, 2016
|The Mangrove Boardwalk|
Near Cairns International Airport
Find a place where the sun cracks through these dense mangrove forests, giving light to this dark underworld, and you will discover an ecosystem of complicated but immense beauty. Upstream, where the mangroves give way to the rainforest, a cacophony of bird song punctuates the soft morning light - parrots, cockatoos, lorikeets, lapwings and wood pigeons all lend their distant reverie to the magic of this place.
Monday, January 18, 2016
Sunday, January 10, 2016
What better place to hike than a trail that winds through a 165-million-year-old rainforest - said to be the oldest on the planet. The bird and frog and insect chorus is deliciously maddening and primeval. The plant life is insane - so many things still thriving and vining and still producing otherworldly fruit - fruit that dinosaurs once ate.
The Mossman River with its tumbled granite monoliths and pristine waters makes the most spectacular swimming holes - called billabongs down here, down under. I want to explore everyone single one of them. I want to map them and photograph them and swim in them all. And the forest's 90 percent humidity and plus 90 degree temps make the prospect of a dip in the river all the more inviting.
This morning I'm cutting a fast clip along the Fig Tree Rapids trail before work begins when I am suddenly stopped in my tracks by several snakes crossing the trail. At closer observation (once the glasses are pushed back upon the nose and the humidity cleared) these several become three, then two - until I realize this singular bundle of taught muscle and rolling rib cage is pushing 12 feet in length all by itself. This gorgeous Amythestine python does not budge. Alternatives that allow me to pass do not pass his mind for even a second. He is the guardian of the end of the trail gate - and I am not allowed in.
My motto: do not go where you are not wanted. I will try again tomorrow. It is the journey, not the destination after all. Seconds later on the rebound I would encounter an apparition, a forest ghost of haunting beauty - white gossamer wings shimmering in the forest air and fluttering up toward the heavens. Eventually the white tail feathers are revealed to belong to a buff-breasted paradise kingfisher. Who has ever even heard of such thing? And fetching up on a lower fig tree limb looking like the exquisite offspring of a kingfisher and a bird of paradise flycatcher. In birder's terms - its a major get -and I give my most humble thanks to my reptilian friend. After all, not all our guides necessarily appear in human form. Pay attention and nature will reward. Show up and nature will deliver.
Friday, January 8, 2016
|Seine Fishing in the Coral Sea from the Cairns' esplanade|
|Coral Sea at sunrise|
|Waiting on the Sun - Cairns Esplanade|
|Tide Moving Out - Cairns Espanade|
|Australian Pelicans on the Cairns Esplanade|
|Low Tide - Cairns Esplanade|
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
|Four Mile Beach at Dawn|
Port Douglas, Australia
Sunday, January 3, 2016
Saturday, January 2, 2016
Friday, January 1, 2016
|Sunrise - Four Mile Beach - Coral Sea|
Port Douglas, Australia
01 January, 2016
Greetings from 2016 and Happy New Year to all!!!
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
|2015 Instagram Best Nine Photos|
There's an end-of-the-year meme going around that generates your nine most popular photos posted to instagram. These aren't my nine most popular - but they are my nine most favorite. They represent an otherworldly, incredible travel year to more than 26 countries - 10 which were lifers!
The photos, from left to right represent: Amman, Jordan; Quartz Mountain, Oklahoma; Kandalama, Sri Lanka, St. Petersburg, Russia; Toronto, Canada (Pan Am Games Opening Ceremony); Kona, Hawaii, Cape May, New Jersey; and Pico Bonito, Honduras. Although Australia was the last country I traveled to in 2015 (still here as I write) - travels to Honduras in early December brought me to my 120th country (not that I am a lister!).
And since I am fairly certain no one reads my blog anymore - I might as well go ahead and post my travels from 2015 - because they were pretty mind-blowing:
San Antonio, Texas (Alamo Bowl)
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Cartagena, Colombia (#112)
Lake Tahoe, California
Joshua Tree National Park
La Coruna, Spain
Beirut, Lebanon (#114)
Toronto, Canada (Pan Am Games)
a five-week assignment
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
St. Petersburg, Russia
Sri Lanka (#116)
Papua New Guinea
London, England (Rugby World Cup)
Yangon & Bagan, Myanmar
Port Douglas, Australia
At sunrise today, the winds departed, the rain softened, the ocean calmed and the tide receded to its lowest point, making it possible to wade into the mangrove estuary at the end of the beach. The only problem with a low tide is that it enables the beach walker, the tidal voyeur, and the perpetually curious to unknowingly pass the crocodile warning signs placed nearer to the high tide mark. Oops!
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Friday, December 25, 2015
|Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge|
Happy Solstice, happy full-moon on Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
|Parallel Forest - Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge|
Photographed on the nearly-annual uncle/nephew Christmas break hike - 2015
A nice winter break - step into the evergreen goodness of these nearly 100-year-old cedar trees in the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge and you are immediately transported back to the delicious green of summer-time.
Friday, December 18, 2015
Thursday, December 10, 2015
|Collared Aracari - Lodge at Pico Bonito, Honduras|
One of my favorite birds from the Honduras trip - the collared aracari - photographed in the rain on the grounds of the insanely beautiful and birdy Lodge at Pico Bonito.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
The spectacular and nearly vertical Loop Trail hike from the Lodge at Pico Bonito was a mystical, magical journey into the heart of the Honduran rainforest.
|Loop Trail Hike - Lodge at Pico Bonito|
December 2015 - ©trryan
Saturday, November 21, 2015
|Fall leaves peaking in Oklahoma's Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge|
Under a most luminous gibbous moon tonight, we sat in the warm tropical air, the south wind teasing the changing leaves, and listened to the bitter sweet sounds of a number of nocturnal insects - still plucking their summer tunes, oblivious to how soon summer would be over. This was, indeed, to be their last song. A few hours later the wind turned as if in a tailspin, bared its winter fangs, and now howls through the canopy as the temperatures plunge below freezing.
|Cache Creek running through the Narrows|