Category Archives: 5 Photos / 5 Days

5 Day / 5 Photo Blog Challenge — Yosemite Falls

Yosemite falls


This was my view of Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, Calif., when I stood at their base in Yosemite Valley that day in May. There are three falls, the Upper Falls, 1,430-foot (440 m), this plunge alone one of the highest waterfalls in the world; the Middle Falls, or Middle Cascade, 675 feet (206 m), a series of smaller cascades; and the Lower Falls, 320-foot (98 m).

The falls drop 2,425 feet (739 m) from Yosemite Creek, elevation 6,526 feet (1,989 meters) at the top of the upper fall, to the base of the lower fall into the Merced River in Yosemite Valley, elevation 4,000 feet. While Yosemite Falls are fed by a creek, some of the falls in Yosemite Valley are fed by living glaciers.

The waterfalls in Yosemite Valley cascade from November to July. The best time to see all these falls is at the spring snowmelt, May and June, when they are at their resplendent fullness. They dry up completely or dry to a trickle by August. Yosemite Falls freezes in the winter.

Yosemite Valley has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth; and, John Muir notwithstanding, I am not alone in my perspective. I am awed. To be in the Valley on the banks of the green Merced, embraced by sequoias, incense cedars, sheer granite cliff faces carved by the glaciers, rising 3,000 feet above you, and the sonorous crystal waterfalls lifted and dancing on the wind is glorious. It is heaven on earth.

Here is a live, streaming view of Yosemite Falls as you read this today:

I nominate Gwynn Rogers Gwynn’s Grit and Grin, to continue this 5 Photos/5 Stories challenge.  Gwynn lives way up there in the Pacific Northwest. Writing from a peninsula overlooking a bay in the Seattle area, Gwynn finds humor in situations that even Erma Bombeck might have found a stretch.

Rules: for 5 photos, 5 days challenge:

1) Post a photo each day for 5 consecutive days

2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, a paragraph — all entirely up to you!

3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation! This is fun, not a command performance!



5 Day / 5 Photo Blog Challenge — The Maggie S. Myers

  the Maggie s. myers

Historic Delaware Bay Oyster Schooner

Unloading at Dock: The Maggie S. Myers with he r sails furled and her dredges.

Unloading at Dock: The Maggie S. Myers with her sails furled and her dredges.

The Maggie S. Myers is believed to be the oldest, continuously-working oyster schooner under sail in the United States. The historic Delaware Bay oyster schooner has never been out of commission. Her captain, Thumper, and crew work her nearly daily on the bay dredging for conch, blue crabs and oysters. She is living history.

The Maggie S. Myers is owned by my Bowers Beach, Del., friends, Frank “Thumper” Eicherly IV and his wife Jean Friend. They bought the Maggie in 1998 when she was about to be scuttled. The moment they saw her, Jean said, “It was love at first sight.” Since then Thumper and Jean have devotedly invested tens of thousands of dollars into her restoration.

The Maggie was built as a two-masted Delaware Bay oyster-dredge schooner in Bridgeton, N.J., and commissioned in 1893. She is 50 feet long and 18 feet wide. The 24.62 ton schooner can carry her weight in oysters. Her masts were removed when she was motorized in the 1940s. She is listed on the National Historic Register.

Maggie Coming Through the Cut

The Maggie with her day’s catch coming through the cut from the bay to dock on the Murderkill River. Thumper sews her sails.. (Robert Price photo)

When the Maggie was built, below deck she had four berths and a woodstove for cooking. She and her crew would stay out dredging the bay all week, then sail to Philadelphia with oysters piled up to wheelhouse windows, unload their catch and be home to spend the weekend with their families.

“She’s low to the water and dredges by hand,” Thumper rhapsodizes. “She turns on a song, like a snow goose flying around in the air.” I can tell you his claim is true; I piloted her briefly up the serpentine Cohansey River in New Jersey at sunrise that morning in 2004 on the way to the boatyard to restore her mast.

The last I heard, recently, the Maggie was at the boatyard having her second mast restored.

Here is a link to an in-depth story I wrote about the Maggie, published under my Carol Child byline in the Delmarva Quarterly,The Low Whistle of the Wind.” This story provides a link to the boatyard where you can see stunning photos of the Maggie’s restoration.



5 Day / 5 Photo Blog Challenge — Redondo Beach Pier & Harbor

 Redondo beach Pier & harbor

Redondo Pier & Harbor

Redondo Pier & Harbor

There are the Santa Monica Mountains, across the Santa Monica Bay, in the background. This place still feels like home to me. I lived in Redondo Beach, Calif., most of my adult life, for 30 years. It is where I raised my daughter. Over the years we lived there, we watched big Pacific storms wash ashore fishing boats permanently anchored out in the bay, and partially destroy earlier piers standing on wooden pilings; on the end of one pier was a dinner-house restaurant, Castagnola’s, washed over by huge waves.

The first Redondo pier, 1889-1915, was built to facilitate delivery of timber and oil from ships to trains.  It was destroyed by a storm. The second pier, 1895-1929, built nearby, in front of the Hotel Redondo, was V-shaped and had a railroad track on one prong. It was destroyed by a storm.

In those years, Redondo served as the Port of Los Angeles. It was a bustling harbor where passenger trains and Henry Huntington’s Big Red Electric (trolley) Cars brought people to enjoy superb saltwater fishing, shops, restaurants, the world’s largest saltwater plunge and poking around in the mounds of moonstones on the beach. These natural mounds of gemstones are said to have been five to six feet deep and 40 to 50 feet wide. They’re not there now, and I’ve never been able to find out what became of them.

Back then, residents of inland cities such as Pasadena and Glendale summered in their beach bungalows lining the broad boulevards along the cliffs above the beach. The streets above Moonstone Beach where the Hotel Redondo stood bear the names of gemstones––Ruby, Diamond, Sapphire, Emerald, Beryl, Pearl, Garnet, Topaz, Carnelian…. The bungalows charmingly graced Catalina Avenue and Broadway when I first moved to Redondo. They disappeared in the 1980s when they were replaced by high-rise apartment buildings and condominiums.

Built on a bluff overlooking the Santa Monica Bay in 1889 with an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, each of 225 rooms “touched by sunlight at some time of the day,” the $250,000 Hotel Redondo embraced sweeping views of the Santa Monica Mountains along the Malibu coastline to the north, the 1,000-foot altitude Palos Verdes Peninsula to the south, and the vermillion sunsets to the west.

Alas, the gods smiled on Redondo in a roundabout way, saving the city from becoming an industrial port and keeping it for the beach people, the upwardly mobile and for families and children: The grand, red-turreted Hotel Redondo was done in by Prohibition, razed in 1926 and sold for $300 for scrapwood. Its near twin, the historic Hotel del Coronado, built on Coronado Island off San Diego in 1888, continues to host guests in grand style.

During Prohibition, the gambling ship Rex operated three miles off shore. As the Redondo harbor declined, the San Pedro harbor bustled, and San Pedro became the Port of Los Angeles.

In the stead of the Hotel Redondo, today jutting out over the harbor, high over the waves in water as green and clear as an emerald, stands the bustling horseshoe-shaped Redondo Pier, with its restaurants and shops. Built in the early 1990s on concrete pilings, the present pier has outlasted its predecessors lost in El Niño storms every few years.


The ramp down to our beach when we lived in Redondo. (Kellie Child Soucek photo)

Weather in Redondo is sunny and in the 70s F nearly every day — except in June, when the “June gloom” sea mist rolls in and hangs around. The steady salt breeze off the ocean wafts aromas of ice plant (a succulent planted to keep the cliffs from sliding), sea urchins and Mexican food.

A brief history of the Redondo Pier

A brief history of the City of Redondo Beach — This paints a colorful picture of what Southern California was like before the throngs arrived in the 1950s and ’60s.

The land on which the City of Redondo thrives was once Rancho San Pedro, part of a land grant the California (Mexico) government gave to the Juan José Dominguez family in 1784.


5 Day / 5 Photo Blog Challenge — The Quest for Human Equality and Dignity

appoquinimink friends meeting house

Appoquinimink Meeting House

Appoquinimink Friends Meeting House

They rode beneath vegetables in hay wagons; they came packed in shipping crates; they ran through the swamps in the night, reaching for the light in the distant window, the bounty hunter hot on their heels. The Appoquinimink Friends Meeting House, in Odessa, Del., provided a safe hiding place when you were a slave running up from the South for your freedom, where you could get food, clean, dry clothing, money and be guided on your way to the next stop. The Meeting House, added to The Network to Freedom in 2008 by the National Park Service, was a stop on the Underground Railroad.

This, one of the smallest Friends Meeting Houses in the nation, placed on the National Historic Register in 1972, has just one room with a small room upstairs.  img032There are no windows along the pent eaves on the sides of the building. Local Quakers, some at the expense of getting caught and losing their own property, hid runaway slaves in a small alcove under the eaves, pictured here.  Prominent among them was conductor Thomas Garrett, born in 1789 on his family’s farm, Thornfield, west of Philadelphia. The Garrett family held abolitionist beliefs. When Thomas was a boy, a family paid servant was abducted by men intent on selling her as a slave in the South. The men were tracked down and she was returned. Thomas never forgot the incident, though, and it served to intensify his abolitionist beliefs. Coincidentally, I grew up in Drexel Hill, Pa., on land that was once Thornfield. The Garrett home still stands and is open for tours.

You might imagine then, what a curious phenomenon I found at age 10, when our family moved from Drexel Hill 30 miles south to Wilmington, Del., to encounter segregation — separate water fountains, restrooms, schools, movie theaters…. Delaware was a border state during the Civil War, divided. Indeed, before the War, many runaway slaves hidden in the Appoquinimink Meeting House came from plantations in lower Delaware and the adjacent Eastern Shore of Maryland. Here is a link to the magazine story I wrote about The Appoquinimink Friends Meeting House and the Underground Railroad: The Quest.



5 Day / 5 Photo Blog Challenge – Bodie Ghost Town

It is my pleasure to take up this 5 Day / 5 Photo Blog Challenge for which my good friend, author and blogger Susan Scott, Garden of Eden Blog, has nominated me.

bodie state historic park


Bodie Alley

Bodie is described as haunting, desolate, captivating. It is. I was there.

Bodie State Historic Park, Calif., is a ghost town, “preserved in a state of arrested decay.” Interiors of the 110 remaining buildings are untouched as they were left, and it looks like some people left in a hurry, their belongings still strewn about.

In 1859 William (Waterman) S. Bodey discovered gold near here. Mr. Bodey didn’t have much time to revel, though, for in November that same year he died in a blizzard.

In 1861 a rich strike was made and a mill was built.  Over the next years the railroad and the telegraph came and the population swelled from 20  to 10,000. It is said there existed three breweries, 65 saloons, an abundance of brothels, a Chinatown, opium dens and a Wells Fargo Bank. There were gunslingers and shootouts. It was a full-on Wild West town. Bodie became the second or third largest California town and one of the earliest United States towns to acquire electricity. The big strikes were soon depleted, though, and the town slid into decline in the 1880s. Miners moved on to Tombstone, Ariz., and other legendary places. Bodie was officially labeled a ghost town in 1915, after the last newspaper closed. The ghost town was designated Bodie State Historic Park in 1962 when the last residents left.

Bodie, just north of Mono Lake, a salt lake, is located at Bridgeport, Calif., near the Nevada border, just below where the eastern border of the state bends to the right. Bodie is northeast of Yosemite and about 75 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe, on high, open hills. The Clint Eastwood movie “High Plains Drifter” was filmed at Mono Lake. The production company built a large façade town at Mono Lake just for the filming.

Even in its boom days, I wonder how residents survived Bodie winters. It is one of the coldest places in the U.S. Up in the Eastern High Sierra Nevada Mountains, elevation 8,375 feet (2,554 m.), where the winds sweep through (up to 100 miles per hour, according to Wikipedia), Bodie has a subarctic climate — temperatures even on summer nights can drop below freezing. The most snow recorded in one month was 97.1 inches in January 1969. Bear in mind, the snow doesn’t melt until spring. The population of Bodie is now a few park rangers and assorted ghosts. The rangers use snowcats to get around through the deep snow. The park is open in the winter, but only to those with skis, snowshoes or snowmobiles. I have visited Bodie in the daytime, in May. I dream of returning with a digital camera to take a nighttime Ghost Walk.

The ghost town is a National Historic Landmark.

The timeline on this site linked below is interesting, plus there are some great photos:

Here are links to more Bodie history:,_California

The movie “Hell’s Heroes,” released in 1929, was filmed in Bodie, just before the second big fire in 1932, leaving Bodie as we see it today: