Tag: vacation

Two for One: National Lighthouse Day and Photography Challenge Day 6

Today’s post is going to be doing double duty: It’s an odd-ball holiday, so I have that plus I’m going to do a throwback Tuesday (instead of an transformation Tuesday). So the pictures are all throwbacks to when I managed to visit or pass by different lighthouses. So today is National Lighthouse Day. It all started in 1789, when Congress passed an act that called for the establishment of lighthouses, buoys, beacons, and public piers; in addition to the commission of the first federal lighthouse. Though as the centuries passed and technology advanced—lighthouses weren’t needed as much. Though in 1989 (two hundred years to the date), a new resolution was passed that designated that particular date (August 7, 1989) as National Lighthouse Day. The problem was that—the resolution didn’t state that the date was to be recognized yearly as National Lighthouse Day.

So while we haven’t seen the date officially designated as National Lighthouse Day, it is still celebrated as such by the ones who are caring for these buildings and their place in American history.

I find lighthouse to be fascinating—both in terms of what they do: guide ships and warn of bad weather, and the fact they’re tiny little houses. True it isn’t the most glamorous lifestyle, and it is probably really quiet, but it would be interesting to have it for say a week or so.

So over the years there have been a few lighthouses that I’ve been to, mainly in Minnesota (along Lake Superior), and then a couple out on the East Coast, and then one down in Texas a couple of years ago.

    Split Rock Lighthouse over looking Lake Superior

The one I’ve been to the most is Split Rock Lighthouse on the shore of Lake Superior. This lighthouse was constructed from 1905 to 1910 in response to the destruction of almost thirty ships on Lake Superior in November of 1905. It is now operated as a state park on the shore of Lake Superior.

When I was out in Boston I went out to the islands in the harbor a couple of times and passed this lighthouse on the way:

               Lighthouse in Boston Harbor

 

When I visited the park with family members on a quick trip up to Maine before heading back to OK, I was experimenting with different filters and camera apps for the iPhone—hence the sepia look to the photo.

     Portland Head Lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth Maine

The Portland Head Lighthouse was first lit on Jan 10 1791. Now the light and fog signal are maintained by the United States Coast Guard, while the rest of the park (and lighthouse) are maintained by the Town of Cape Elizabeth.

 

Port Isabel Lighthouse, Port Isabel Texas

We went down to South Padre Island a few years ago for vacation, and passed by this lighthouse going to and from the island to the mainland. The Port Isabel Lighthouse was constructed in 1852 and was near different battles throughout the years (the 1865 battle of Palmito Ranch during the Civil War; and the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma during the Mexican War). Again with the progression of technology, Port Isabel Lighthouse last shone it’s light in 1905. It was designated a state park in 1952. In the late 1990s a visitor center was built, and in 2000 the restoration was completed.

So if you want to learn more about Split Rock Lighthouse, Port Isabel Lighthouse, or the Portland Head Lighthouse below you will find links to the appropriate webpages on the parks. **This is my way of sharing references and hopefully helping others learn about other places in the US.

Split Rock Lighthouse: www.mnhs.org/splitrock/learn/history

Portland Head Lighthouse: https://portlandheadlight.com/about-us

Port Isabel Lighthouse: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-park/port-isabel-lighthouse/history

One thing I actually would like to do is to try to visit (or see) lighthouses in other states as well (namely along the east and west coast–but also the other areas along the Great Lakes as well).

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Going through the White Sands National Monument

So on our way to Carlsbad Caverns, we did a side trip to the White Sands National Monument.

The White Sands National Monument in southern New Mexico is comprised of great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand and is host to numerous different plants and animals.

       White Sands National Monument

This national monument, is almost unearthly when you’re either driving through or getting out to take a small hike to get some pictures. Above I manged to capture some of the swirling sand behind a couple of dunes. Climbing the dunes was interesting (though I think I managed to get quite a bit of sand accidentally in my sneakers–one drawback of having shoes that have the “holes” in them for your feet to breath).

                Lizard at White Sands

In regards to wildlife that if found within the boundaries of the monument–most of them are either nocturnal, or they live within the scrub areas (and those are usually the rattlesnakes, and I heard one already–didn’t really need to see one). There are suppose to be mice, and foxes, and there were also different lizards that also call this place home.

Above is the bleached earless lizard. This lizard is related to other “earless” lizards, but adapted to the region of the white sands–it is extremely pale (we almost missed seeing this guy run across the ground). It was unusual to see them during the day (usually seen in the morning near the boardwalk), but we saw this guy out in the dunes.

                 Gypsum centaury

There were several different plants, that I also managed to get some pictures of. One of them (above) was this beautiful pinkish flower on this one plant. That plant turned out to be gypsum centaury, and while they are usually found around springs or streams, but can also be found in the interdunal area (or the low areas between the dunes).

                   Yellow flowers

Here is another picture of another plant, that had bright yellow flowers. I’m still in the process of trying to identify this plant. Other plants included species of yucca, and grasses.

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