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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Luray Caverns in the Shenandoah Valley

Last week we spent a cool afternoon exploring Luray Caverns, which is a large cave system discovered in 1878 in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.  I tried to capture several different examples of the geologic formations and although I think I got a good sampling, the following photos do not do justice to what it's like to actually walk through this National Landmark...

 It was a great day for the hour and a half drive up into the mountains.

 Luckily the 6000 school kids on a field trip that day were just leaving so we had a fairly quiet tour.

Stalactites grow down from the ceiling while stalagmites rise up from the floor.  When the two meet, they form a column.  These grow at the rate of about an inch for each 100 years. 

Stalactites reflected in one of the many underground pools.
This type of formation is called draperies. 


Overview of one of the many large chambers.
As the cavern system is still active and growing there is still a lot of water.

 This stalactite fell thousands of years ago and is now molded into the surrounding formations.

This organ is connected to a system of mallets that ring against different stalactites and stalagmites throughout this chamber.

 Large column. 

There is always something different to see.

  Seemed like a good photo to end on.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

NY Photos 3 of 3-- World Trade Center and Related Memorials

No trip to new York City seems complete without taking in the enormous effect the events of 9-11 had on the city.  We quickly noticed the new tower is visible from almost everywhere in the city-- and it still has 35 stories to go!  Not only is the tower visible from all over as a constant reminder of the rebuilding, but there are other reminders everywhere, including: a window display memorializing first responders in the Port Authority on 41st.; a small park in Brooklyn;  a memorial created by school children on a fence on 5th Avenue near Soho, the massive memorial at the site of the towers and even a sculpture rescued from the rubble and temporarily re-located to Battery Park.  

As I went through my pictures, more and more I kept seeing photos related to the towers and the various memorials.  I felt these pictures should be on their own page away from the rest of the photos.  

World Trade Center Tower #1 from 5th Avenue headed South. 

These tiles were created by school children shortly after 9-11 to be incorporated into the memorial.  Those kids are all in their late teens or early 20's now. 

 The sun reflecting off of Tower #1 at about 9:30 in the morning.

While were we there, a plane flew by the tower.  It was kinda strange seeing this and I can only imagine how  seeing planes fly by the tower is for people who experienced seeing one hit it.
The angles of Tower #1 send the suns light all over.

 This is Tower #1 reflected in the almost completed Tower #4.  Work on Towers 2 and 3 recently began. 

This building on the South side still has damage from the attack.

Tower #1.

Tower #1 reflected in the North Tower footprint / memorial.

 Tower #1 in respect to the footprint of the North Tower.

 Fireman from Salinas.

The new Tower #1 is being built just to the Northwest of the North Pool.  Tower #4 is located to the Southeast of the South Pool.  Numbers 2 and 3 are being constructed to the East of both pools. 
This bronze mural is outside Ten House, a firehouse across the street from the WTC.  The firefighters at Ten House were the first to respond and five of the 11 firefighters on duty were killed.

 Plaque outside Ten House.

Men who died hung their coats here.  This is a very surreal place as it is still a working fire station. 

Work progressing.

This truck is a rolling memorial to the seven firefighters from the station lost on 9-11.

These items were in a display case in the port Authority meaning the first think many people see when arriving by bus is a memorial to first responders.

Tower #1 silhouetted bu the sun in the morning fog.

 Looking North across Battery Park.  The WWII Memorial is to the bottom right. 

This memorial off the Financial District is to law enforcement officers lost in the line of duty, including those lost on 9-11.

 Tower #1 from Battery park.

The new Manhattan skyline.

'The Sphere' in Battery Park.  This artwork used to stand between the two WTC Towers and was recovered after 9-11.  It was placed here temporarily, damage and all.