There are a lot of dog pictures on my blog. Dogs are a huge part of my life. My big dogs, my little dogs, puppies, my sister's dogs ... I love dogs. When I was small my Aunt Billie took me to get my first puppy, a Collie which we named Lassie. Then for the rest of my childhood we had and raised Collies, yes, we were the "pure breed" dog breeder family that so many people today get outraged about. The outrage annoys me because I had a childhood of puppies. Not just one puppy for a year or two but years of puppies to love and adore. Raising animals teaches you compassion and love. I also had chores, I had to care for the dogs after school as I got older and I showed dogs for 4H. My friends who breed and raise purebred dogs love their dogs more than most people I know. I am constantly seeing pictures of their children with their dogs and puppies. I realize there are horror stories about people who don't care for their animals but that can be anyone, right down to the people who "rescue" animals.
Since he was adopted right before Easter his name is The Easter Buddy... which goes well with his new Sister
I got a few shots of Pumpkin this afternoon playing ball and the other dogs.
I mean how precious is he? Super precious. I can't wait to get home and cuddle my little boy.
He's so hard to shoot he won't stay still most of these shots are not totally in focus. He's a little stinker.
And awed, Sweet little Buddy meets his Big Sister.
Here is my Ozzie boy with the new boy.
He is a noble old dog. We call him "Old Man" though, most of the time.
So we did a super quick trip to New Mexico over Spring Break - and by quick I mean like 36 hours quick. We drove to New Mexico on a Thursday evening and home on a Friday night, but we still went to a place we have never been before but always heard about. So I spent the day looking at the weather and checking different state parks and places within four or five hour drives that we could go to but since it was St. Patricks Day I also knew that I really didn't want to be in downtown Dallas or Tulsa that night. After watching the weather Carlsbad was our destination of choice, my husband's suggestion and it was a good one.
We left the house at four thirty or so and made it to Carlsbad around midnight. Of course New Mexico is in Mountain Time so I'm not really sure what time it was by the time we arrived.
I haven't been to New Mexico since 2010!!! When I went to a National Endowment for the Humanities workshop up in Colorado at Mesa Verde. It has been a long time and I love New Mexico it is one of my favorite places. I can't believe it has been six years since I've been out there already.
So we make it to Hobbs and I get to drive from Hobbs to Carlsbad. Which was a decent little drive. We arrived at the hotel and went to bed for some much needed rest after our 463 mile drive.
It's pretty flat until you get to the mountains, and you only get to the mountains near the caverns.
So you drive up the mountain and eventually arrive at the visitors center.
It was incredibly windy when we got to the top of the mountain to go into the visitors center for our self guided cave tour.
This is probably a REALLY, REALLY GOOD IDEA. If you are in horrible shape and don't like walking uphill this is not the national park for you. Also, small children, good luck with that. If you want to carry them and hope they aren't scared of dark places. I consider myself in "decent" shape and this cave hike kicked my butt. It takes three to four hours and the hike back out is brutal and uphill. The hike down isn't too bad, but it is one of the most incredible places that I've ever been to.
They weren't kidding.
As you enter it is truly other worldly. I used a tripod and a 15-30 2.8 lens on a Canon 6D, I still struggled to get the shots that I wanted out of these caves. Of course it was so packed with tourists it is truly difficult to enjoy America's National Parks sometimes because they are always relatively crowded.
Now for the pictures inside the caverns.
I hope to have some more time at home now which will allow me to catch up on everything that I'm behind on.
I can't even caption these photos because they do not do it justice. It is a place that you can only imagine if you see it and experience it. A photo does nothing to help you understand the vastness.
I'm trying to show you the images that are in focus more but I felt like I was battling shooting in this not quite dark situation on crowded pathways.
We hiked a total of two miles in the caverns but four round trip and that is all underground. It is impressive. I can't explain or tell you what it is like. You need to go see it for yourself.
These were all shot at 15mm, ultra wide but you really can't tell can you?
See the trail going through the bottom of this room.
So it was time to hike out and I didn't take any photos on our brutal hike out. Mainly because the 15 year old decided we should "jog" out, or walk very quickly. It didn't bother me to leave because I really don't like enclosed places that much! But I was definitely sore the rest of the weekend.
Just beautiful. Other worldly.
And as today is Easter, this photo is symbolic to me because it reminds me of so many Native American emergence stories of how they came out of the middle place. Emerging from the cave just as we as humans emerge into this world from the womb. I sure was glad to see the light and go back to the outer parts of this earth.
Last night I was chatting online and one of my friends said she was driving up to Oklahoma from San Antonio to go to Sad Paw Paw's Cookout in Purcell. Well, I've vaguely read posts or tweets about Sad Paw Paw and how he had a cookout and only one of his Granddaughter's made it. But I haven't thought much of it. So I decided not to be lazy and got up this afternoon and went to meet my friend at the interstate to ride up to Sad Papaw's Cookout. I thought it would be an adventure and something to do, and hey I got invited somewhere!
So the photo above sucks. I know it. It's okay. I forgot to change my ISO settings for a while. Dumb move but it's not the first time and it won't be the last. They will get better, I promise.
That was the food line... my friend and I got in the Meet Papaw line. Now the directions said Purcell, and I expected this shindig to be at Purcell, but we turned off and kept going east, and I realized we were almost to Dibble. When we moved back to Oklahoma from Kansas in 2005, the first job I was offered was in Dibble. I always regretted leaving that job despite the commute because I loved the community and my coworkers.
Look at that grill! It was quite a cookout!
I don't think I have ever posted about Dibble? I am certain I haven't. Dibble is a little town that is in-between Blanchard and Lindsay Oklahoma off of Highway 76.
The line was probably an hour or an hour and a half. I didn't keep track, it was nice outside.
When you work in a community you never forget that connection. Especially as a teacher, just like I'll always be a "Dibble Demon" even if it was briefly. And ten years ago! What has happened with my life! I worked here in 2005 and 06. This is the first event I've attended since I worked here and I didn't even know I was going to Dibble. So, I think this was a wonderful thing. People coming out to show someone that they matter. Sometimes the internet is amazing.
These guys were from Texas, up for a basketball game. Which, how about those Sooners? My school rocks.
The line behind us.
The hosts of the cookout made sure the dogs had water while we waited in line.
This little guy is adorable!
We finally made it in the tent and I finally realized that my ISO settings were off.
We also got to have a burger with Pawpaw!
This was fun. I bet he was a tired man after the day was over! It's pretty amazing how one post can turn viral.