My First 14er!
Wow! I haven’t posted in awhile! It has been a busy month. I’ve had several tests and I hosted my first student event for the American Meteorological Society. It was awesome! So great to tell my fellow classmates about all the great things available to them through the AMS Broadcast Board!
So, I have to tell you about a big first for me! I go to do my first 14er a few weeks ago! What is a 14er you ask? Well, it is quite the big deal in Colorado. 14ers are the tallest mountains in Colorado. They are 14,000 feet above sea level and it is so cool to say you went that high. For me I am a big outdoors enthusiast so this was huge! The only thing is I am not quite in shape (It will happen by next year!!! Woo!) to hike up one so we did one of the only two peaks you can drive up. We went to Mt. Evans which is near Idaho Springs (but also is part of the city of Denver even though it is far away from the city, so odd).
I have never been to a mountain where the tree line ends and you actually see tundra. In the picture above, that is tundra during the fall season. It makes me so excited to see tundra for once because a) I’ve studied the difference climates and vegetation and b) I’ve only lived in the desert and now Colorado for a little while so tundra is a brand new thing for me. The only thing that is higher than tundra is permafrost (ground that is permanently frozen) which I have yet to see.
Another awesome thing was the mountain goats! They were so cool. I’m a big animal lover so I am a huge fan of anything that crawls around. It was amazing because they weren’t shy at all and it was even more fascinating that any time they wanted to cross the street, one would jump in front of the car and act like a crossing guard. The goat that just walked in front of our car didn’t budge until the whole herd crossed. And I got to see little baby goats! So adorable!
One thing I will say about traveling to Mt. Evans or any 14er is be aware that there will be a lot of traffic. The Denver-Metro area is home to a lot of outdoorsy people and they all like to head up to the mountains on weekends. It got so crowded at one point with people parked on the sides of the roads to see the goats that the road actually was blocked by people. We tried to get through but thankfully a ranger came out and told everyone that it is indeed illegal to park on the side of the road on the mountain in non-parking areas. Also, there is a $10 fee for a car full of people. But it was definitely worth it!
I hope you all get outdoors this season. Fall is an amazing time!
You would think with the long lines at security, the delays, the bad airport food and that noisy baby next to you, that I would be like some of you and hate riding in a plane. But truth is, I love it for weather reasons!
You see, as a meteorologist-in-training I am learning about weather, and all weather occurs in the atmosphere. In fact, mostly all weather only occurs up to approximately 39,000 feet, which is the height an airplane reaches at its cruising altitude. So, when I am up in an airplane, I get really REALLY excited. Like nerdy excited….like taking pictures of every single cloud that passes the wing of the airplane! In fact, as I am writing this blog entry, I am in a plane headed home! (You guys won’t see this until I am safely on the ground though).
So here’s what gets me excited and why:
The bumpy air during a stormy day!
You feel that turbulence? It sometimes is unstable air. Unstable air is needed to lift water vapor up into the air to make clouds. Instability is also a key in thunderstorms (MY FAVE!)
Tall Anvil Shaped Clouds!
What’s an anvil cloud? An anvil cloud is one that forms a tower, has a cauliflower texture and at the top sticks out to one side. The cloud is an indicator of a thunderstorm. As a weather observer on the ground, I can only tell you what is going on at the surface, but when I am in a plane, as long as we are a safe distance away while flying past an anvil cloud, I get to see how high it gets! I had the pleasure to see one of those puppies up close in June over Missouri when I was flying back from a conference in North Carolina and I could not stop taking pictures of it. Incredible!
And who doesn’t love a good sunset? I sure do! I love the colors of the clouds when the sunlight hits them. It makes me so happy.
I hope now that you have read this blog, you will get a kick out of the weather whilke flying just as much as I have.
Coming Home to the Land of Glitter
I come from a place that is known worldwide, but I find I very hard to explain what it was like living there. I was born and raised in the most glamorous place on Earth: Las Vegas.
It’s a weird thing for me to get asked about my hometown. It’s the same two questions over and over, “What was it like to live there?” and “Do you live in the suburbs/close to the hotels?” And I always get the same blank stare when I always respond, “Boring. And 30 miles away.”
I’ve always wondered why? Because for me, it’s not hard to phantom that more than a half a million people live there. That there are schools and doctors and hospitals and parks and grocery stores and lots and lots of crime and seedy people (to where everyone keeps the doors barred and it is not uncommon to wakeup and find there’s a SWAT team at your neighbors house). That’s the life way beyond the glitz and glamour of the Strip and it is true for anyone who has lived there.
But that’s not what I want to talk about here. What I want to talk about is that feeling that everyone gets when the return to their hometown. For my husband and my sister-in-law, its returning to the land of beautiful mountains and where it’s a right to be outside. For others who live in Eastern Washington, its going back to the place where there are trees everywhere and a very small community.
But for a Las Vegan, it’s different. Really different.
I had the pleasure of going back to Vegas a few weeks ago. As soon as I land a McCarran, I get excited by the neon lights (literally). I have a extra sense of awareness while I walk down the streets and become really protective of my family. I also feel free to walk around the whole place without a care in the world, knowing just by sight which people are out to scam you and how to avoid them. People driving 90 mph on the freeway doesn’t bother me. And even though I can’t afford it, I still love gourmet dining and love to go into Louis Vuitton just to look around. Walking around may sound boring you, but to a local, we love the architecture because it is so beautiful, we love looking at people and we loving caking on the makeup because we like to look just a beautiful as everyone else. Suddenly I don’t want to wear just jeans and a T-shirt, I want to get dolled up, put on my big heels and strut my stuff like I am in a Miss America pageant. It’s just out culture there. We live in a culture of luxury. And that luxurious streak stays with you through you whole life. Because even though I’m outdoorsy, you just can’t help but love the luxurious life.
So, why would I say that is boring? I mean, eating good food, going to all the attractions and having fun sounds great right? That’s a blog post for another day. Let’s think about the good things here!
It’s my home. It’s where I grew up and it can be fun to visit, even if it is only once in awhile. It’s my home and I will always be a glitter girl. Always.
Hope you all are well!