Photography: My Shot — Elephant Mountain Cave Creek, Arizona

A couple of weeks ago, the weather was rather mild in our part of the Sonoran Desert so we decided to take a hike which was partly in the Spur Cross Recreation Area. As we hiked over a dozen miles that day, we could see Elephant Mountain from numerous vantage points.



This is a well-known landmark in the area and there are several ranger-led hikes to the mountain every year. You can call for information if you like. Our hike this day took us near the mountain and around the sides, but not on to it. It was our near constant companion as we trekked along.

If you are having difficulty “seeing” the “elephantness” of the mountain, here is another copy of the photo with my interpretation.



As a bonus, I included a relevant quote. If you read my website regularly, you probably surmised that I am a collector of quotes.

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Metadata

File Name: DSC_4018.NEF
Capture time: 10:50 AM
Capture date: Dec 14, 2018
Exposure: 1/160 sec @ f/10
Focal Length: 18mm
ISO: 100
Camera: Nikon D3300
Lens: 18.0 – 55.0mm f/3.5-5.6
Edited in Lightroom

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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2018 – JBRish.com



Photography: My Shot — Pine Cones in the Mist

When we plan our hiking and photography trips, we understand that we are most likely going to have some days when the weather is not ideal. Even if it rains, as long as it isn’t a deluge, we carry out our plans to hike. We may elect to alter the selection of trails, but hike we will.

During our adventures in Sequoia National Park, California, we wanted to see a stand of the giant sequoias that were located in the Muir Grove near the end of the Muir Grove Trail. The day was a dreary, drizzly one. To add a bit of drama, we had a map that accessed the trailhead through one of the campgrounds that was unfortunately closed for renovations. Cars were not allowed, but we were told we could walk in.

The construction turned the campground into ghost town and the cloudy, misty, rainy day created an eerie spectacle. Undeterred however, and with most of the landmarks altered or removed, we finally located the trailhead.

As we made our way along the designated path, we came across the beautiful branch pictured below. The two elongated pine cones were dangling in the air. They were posed in such near perfect juxtaposition against the misty background, that I was inspired to take this photograph and I am glad that I did.



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Metadata

File Name: 000031_sequoia_1619.NEF
Capture time: 12:10 PM
Capture date: June 10, 2018
Exposure: 1/60 sec @ f/16
Focal Length: 35mm
ISO: 1250
Camera: Nikon D3300
Lens: 18.0 – 55.0mm f/3.5-5.6
Edited in Lightroom

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BTW – Here is a picture of me by the unbelievably huge sequoia’s near the end of the trail. To give some perspective to the scene, I am nearly six feet tall and I am standing at the base of a single tree.

Click HERE for more information about the Grove Muir Trail.



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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2018 – JBRish.com



Photography: My Shot — Swirling Pine Needles


Pine Needles Swirling in the Stream

After hiking for more than a week in Yellowstone National Park, we moved on to Red Lodge, Montana to continue our adventure. We decided to explore a course along the Silver Run Plateau, Trail #102, Loop #3 just outside of town.

The first part of the loop was quite rocky with boulders and large rocks buried in and around the path. The return half of the hike, however brought us nearer to the river which had much better footing and more intersting views. Along the way, we passed a feeder stream that had a very slow, but consistent flow. A large number of pine needles were “caught” in a side channel and they were swirling around in a somewhat circular motion as the water worked its way around some rocks and debris.

The pattern was very appealing and I found that watching the movement was similar to playing with a kaleidoscope.

 

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Metadata

File Name: DSC_3958.NEF
Capture time: 11:18 AM
Capture date: Sept. 17, 2018
Exposure: 1/100 sec @ f/11
Focal Length: 55mm
ISO: 100
Camera: Nikon D3300
Lens: 18.0 – 55.02mm f/3.5-5.6
Edited in Lightroom & Photoshop

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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2018 – JBRish.com



Yellowstone and Bear Country



I recently returned from more than a week of hiking in Yellowstone National Park and all I can say is WOW! We hiked over seventy miles, but enjoyed every hard-earned inch. We are so lucky to live in a country that has such natural beauty in abundance.

Whenever I explain to other people that I hiked in Yellowstone one of the first topics to be raised is bears. Yes, Yellowstone has bears and by reading all the literature, posted warnings and sales pitches for bear spray one would think they were lurking around every corner. I am not making light of visiting areas in bear country. It needs to be a real concern and we did take it seriously, but not everyone sees the bears of Yellowstone when they visit the park.

My wife and I both had bear bells to make noise as we walked so we didn’t startle any bears in the vicinity. One thing worse than an unintended encounter with a bear is to startle a bear unexpectedly and have them feel threatened. Wearing bear bells sometimes brought snarky comments like: “I thought you were Santa Claus.” My retort would be: “Not Santa Claus, but no bear claws!”


Yes, Yellowstone has two types of bears. Grizzlies are more agrgessive than Black bears. – Picture courtesy of naturalunseenhazards.wordpress.com

All the hype does make one a bit paranoid, but I am not sure that is a bad thing. According to the National Park Service, over 100 million people have visited Yellowstone since 1980. During that time 38 people were injured by grizzly bears.

Here is an interesting breakdown according to their website Bear-Inflicted Human Injuries & Fatalities in Yellowstone

Type of Recreational Activity: Risk of Grizzly Bear Attack

  • Remain in developed areas, roadsides, and boardwalks: 1 in 25.1 million visits
  • Camp in roadside campgrounds: 1 in 22.8 million overnight stays
  • Camp in the backcountry: 1 in 1.4 million overnight stays
  • Travel in the backcountry: 1 in 232,000 person travel days
  • All park activities combined: 1 in 2.7 million visits

Also noted is that only eight people have been killed by bears in Yellowstone since 1872. To keep things in perspective, the website reminds visitors that more people have died from drowning, burns, etc.

We had two grizzly bear encounters in and near Yellowstone National Park. We were hiking along one of the paths around Ice Lake in Yellowstone returning to the parking area. Three hikers were hiking towards us and as they passed, they explained that a mother grizzly crossed in front of them with two adolescent cubs and they were going to hike around the lake to get back to their car. This was a significant, lengthy detour part of which was uphill along the roadway.



Picture courtesy of National Park Service

All the literature I read indicated that the chances of being attacked in a group of three or more was only two percent. I suggested to the group that we continue heading back toward the parking lot and risk a bear encounter since we were a larger group and had several canisters of bear spray between us.



Picture courtesy of National Park Service

We walked quickly, but deliberately toward the area near the road where the bears were spotted. We noted their tracks along the path. Apparently they didn’t like the debris in the wooded area any more than we did and they were walking along the relatively clear hiking path.

About one quarter mile from our cars, the three bears (not those three) were spotted about 300 feet ahead of us. The mother bear (very large!) stood up on her hind legs and spread her arms wide in an “it was this big” fashion. I estimate that she stood at least nine feet tall at that point. One of the rather large cubs also stood in the same fashion while the other remained on all fours looking our way. The bears were only there for a half-minute or so when they scampered into the woods.

It was very exciting indeed, but we were glad that we did not have a more intimate bear encounter. We made it to the cars without further ado. My only regret was that the action happened so fast I couldn’t get a picture.

Our second sighting a few days later was of a grizzly with three cubs along the Beartooth Highway near Beartooth Lake. We noticed a group of people along the side of the road, a certain giveaway that something interesting was happening, and we pulled over.

Sure enough, there was a group of three Grizzly bears about 450 feet downhill munching on a carcass that I assume was that of an elk. The speculation was that this was a mother with her cubs, but the bears all looked to be similarly sized…so who knows? The bears were more interested in eating than in what we were doing and since we were a lineup of more than a dozen people standing quite a bit away uphill, it was not a tense encounter.

Bears are large and they look fat, but don’t ever think you can outrun one and don’t for one minute think climbing up a tree is going to help. Read the placards above to see how to survive a bear encounter.

I am an enthusiastic amateur photographer. I enjoy wildlife, but I don’t have an expensive wildlife kit. The closest I come is my Canon SX50HS bridge camera that has a telephoto lens of approximately 600mm of reach. This isn’t the highest quality camera or lens, but I think you can get an idea of what we saw at the bear buffet along the Beartooth Highway.


group of grizzly bears


lone grizzly bear


two grizzlies bears


lone grizzly bear with carcass



After leaving Yellowstone, we stayed in Red Lodge, Montana one night and did some hiking along the Silver Run Plateau, Trail # 102, Loop #3 in the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

There were warnings there as well.



There’s a reason for all these signs. One shouldn’t be afraid, but it is important to take precautions and be aware. They refer to it as being “Bear Aware” and they aren’t kidding.

Yellowstone even uses celebrities to help impress the importance of bear safety upon visitors.



We now have bear encounter memories that will last forever and we are very happy that they turned out the way they did.

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2018 – JBRish.com



Photography: My Shot — a Tree with Character

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.

— William Blake —

A Tree with Character - Rocky Mountain National Park

While hiking along the Glacier Gorge Trail to Loch Lake, we came across an evergreen tree nestled off to the side of the trail. The photograph is not technically excellent, but I like the way it shows the character of this tree. It appears to me that this tree has been in this location for a long time and it has had to fight to survive.

Look at how the roots encircle that large rock in the middle and how the other roots are “hugging” smaller rocks at the base. The roots are running shallow along the earth which denotes how hard the ground is in that area. This tree is holding on and fighting for life.

This is survival of the fittest at work!

 

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Metadata

File Name: 000026_DSC_0717_r.tif
Capture time: 5:23 PM
Capture date: Sep 11, 2018
Exposure: 1/3 sec @ f/18
Focal Length: 18mm
ISO: 1600
Camera: Nikon D3300
Lens: 18.0 – 55.02mm f/3.5-5.6
Edited in Lightroom

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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Photography: My Shot at Puente Nuevo – Ronda, Spain


Puento Nuevo - Ronda Spain

It was an unusual decision for us, but we decided to take a trip to Portugal and Spain this spring. Usually we enjoy hiking the national parks and beautiful areas of the United States while our knees and joints can still take to the hills and dales America the beautiful has to offer.

One of our favorite stops on the tour was Puento Nuevo in the town of Ronda Spain. My wife and I often remark at the historic nature of towns in Europe which are very old compared to those in the United States. We tend to think of something as being old if it was founded two hundred years ago, but in Europe we are often talking about multiples of that or even thousands of years.

Ronda was first settled in the sixth century B.C. That is old! The photograph above is one of my favorite shots from our trip. It was taken from the Puente Nuevo bridge which is the largest of a number of bridges spanning the gorge of the Guadalevín River that meanders through Ronda. I was hoping to capture the beauty and uniqueness of this spot and I think I managed to do so fairly well.

 

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Metadata

File Name: ronda_spain_PuentoNuevo_DSC_3082.jpg
Capture time: 9:36 AM
Capture date: May 16, 2018
Exposure: 1/320 sec @ f/9.0
Focal Length: 22mm
ISO: 100
Camera: Nikon D3300
Lens: 18.0 – 55.12mm f/3.5-5.6
Edited in Lightroom

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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Adventures in Oregon: From the Shore to the Falls


Adventures in Oregon: From the Shore to the Falls

Our maps and notes were showing the wear and tear of daily folding, unfolding and occasional markings incurred through our journey. Indeed our coastal exploration of Oregon was nearing the end.

One of the last points of interest we highlighted at the southern leg of our trip was the marine viewing area near Cape Arago State Park with views of Shell Island and Simpson Reef.


Shell Island

We were told by locals that we would be able to view wildlife at this viewpoint and a closer look revealed colonies of seals and sea lions on nearby Shell Island.


Seals basking on Shell Island

The water near Simpson Reef was a bit more shallow and appeared to be a tropical color.


More tropical-like waters near Simpson Reef

Read more about Simpson’s Reef and Shell Island via this brochure.

Our day began to take on a theme of land and sea as we were motivated to hike and explore the Golden and Silver Falls State Natural Area farther inland. With maps and cell phone access, we figured it should not be hard to find.

There were some quirky twists and turns which led us temporarily astray, but perseverance and a trip down a bumpy road that was hard packed led us to our desired destination; the parking area near the trailhead to the falls. We chatted a bit with a couple familiar with the hikes and gained some advice about which trails to consider.

We thought that the view of the Golden Falls would be better if we headed there first to capture the best light. It was after 3PM and the sun was beginning to cast shade on the gorge. The flow of water was not dramatic, but steady and picture-worthy.


Approaching Golden Falls

My assumption is that the yellowish color of the rocks along with the tones cast by the sun inspired the name of the Golden Falls.


A closer view of Golden Falls

Our last adventure this day was the hike to the Sliver Falls.


Silver Falls

This proved less dramatic than the Golden Falls, but we wanted to complete the circuit and appreciated nature’s offerings along the way.


Another view of Silver Falls

This was a full day so we were glad to find our lodging for the evening as we prepared for our long drive inland to our final destination; Crater Lake National Park.


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Read previous posts about our adventures hiking and exploring in Oregon:

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 1

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 2

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 3

Adventures in Oregon: Warrenton to Seaside

Adventures in Oregon: Hiking at Indian Beach

Adventures in Oregon: Views from Ecola Point

Adventures in Oregon: Movin’ On Down the Road

Adventures in Oregon: Garibaldi’s Graces and Pier

Adventures in Oregon: Tillamook – Cape Meares Lighthouse

Adventures in Oregon: Pacific City, Neskowin & Lincoln City

Adventures in Oregon: Cascade Head and Hart’s Cove in Lincoln City

Adventures in Oregon: Cape Foulweather & Drift Creek Falls

Adventures in Oregon: Newport to Yachats

Adventures in Oregon: Heceta Head & Sand Dunes

Adventures in Oregon: State Parks: Umpqua to Shore Acres

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Photography: My Shot – Yaquina Head Lighthouse

While hiking down the coast of Oregon, we enjoyed visiting a number of lighthouses along the picturesque coastline. A challenge photographers face when they arrive at such an area is that many other people want to enjoy the same view and that is a good thing!

The issue is how to capture a picture with as few distracting elements as possible. There have been several times when I have been at a prominent place in a national park where the scene was spectacular, but in the field of view there was a couple having lunch or a snack wearing bright orange or luminescent green garments.

Obviously this can be addressed by waiting for the people to move or fix it in post processing. In the picture below, there were a number of people, cars, RVs, etc.(middle right) that would prove problematic for the composition for reasons mentioned above. Rather than work on each piece in Photoshop, I decided to use a toned, black and white image (duotone) to maintain the focus on the distant lighthouse.

I hope it works as I thought it would!


Yaquina Head Lightouhse & Naural Area, Newport

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Metadata

File Name: oregon_coast_XT2A0212.RAF
Capture time: Sept. 11, 2017
Exposure: 1/30 sec @ f/13
Focal Length: 28.9mm
ISO: 200
Camera: Fuji X-T2
Lens: XF18-55mm, F2.8-4 R LM OIS

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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Photography: My Shot – Canyonlands Wooden Shoe Arch

The southwest is truly a spectacular part of the United States. That is not to say other states, sections, etc. do not have beauiful areas as well, but the southwest has been blessed with an abundance natural wonders.

Utah, for example, has their Mighty Five:

  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Arches National Park.
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Zion National Park

I am glad to report that we have been to all of the above and we yearn to return to several of them to see more of what they have to offer. We hiked Zion two times and want to return at least once more. For those who love nature, hiking, etc. it is hard to overestimate the amount of wonder that can be found in all of the parks listed above.

As a side trip to visiting Arches National Park, we took a day to go to Canyonlands National Park’s Needles District. The day was stormy with periods of rain, but as long as it is safe, we hike rain or shine.

One site we saw was the Wooden Shoe Arch. I only had my 8 MP Canon point-and-shoot, but as they say: “The best camera is the one you have with you.” I took the picture below and I think it captures the beauty of the area.


Stormy Canyonlands Wooden Shoe Arch

You may have to look carefully to see the “shoe.” It is the formation in the distance on the right. The heel and front of the shoe are separated by a space. The cloudy day makes it hard to discern so I put an arrow above the shoe in the picture below.


Stormy Canyonlands Wooden Shoe Arch

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Metadata

File Name: 8968_cl_woodenshoe_arch.JPG
Capture time: 3:02:01 PM
Capture date: September 11, 2012
Exposure: 1/200 sec @ f/5.5
Focal Length: 23.2mm
ISO: 200
Camera: Canon PowerShot AS590 IS
Lens: 4.3-215mm

Edited in Lightroom

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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Adventures in Oregon: Pacific City, Neskowin & Lincoln City

After leaving Cape Lookout State Park, we were eager to see more of the beautiful and very different (for us) Oregon coast. Our next stop was Pacific City and environs. We realized very soon into our adventures that every city, town, hamlet, etc. is very proud of their section of the Oregon coast with their variety of natural rock formations and distinct features.

This is why we encountered two very different Haystack Rocks. They both resemble haystacks, but are very different in appearance. Here is the second Haystack that we encountered in Pacific City.


Haystack Rock, Pacific City - from a distance
Haystack Rock, Pacific City – from a distance

It is hard to appreciate at a distance so here is a closer view.


Haystack Rock, Pacific City - a closer view
Haystack Rock, Pacific City – a closer view

The relatively nice day brought many people to the shore for a variety of activities including surf casting.


A surf caster adjusting his rig<
A surf caster adjusting his rig

After a stroll along the beach, we decided to take advantage of whatever sunshine we had so we headed for the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge. We are fond of preserves and refuges and the descriptions we read were enticing.

We realized that this area was being revitalized and was very nicely presented. Unfortunately, this was probably not the best time of the year to appreciate the refuge as most wildflowers were dead or waning.

I guess the wooly bear caterpillar should have given us a clue.


A wooly bear caterpillar
A wooly bear caterpillar hinting at the cooler weather coming

Nevertheless, we embarked on the walk up the main path. Here is a view of Haystack Rock from one of the highest points in the park.


Haystack Rock from a high point at the refuge
Haystack Rock seen from a high point at the refuge

We also appreciated the “fun” side shown by the custodians of the refuge.


Bee crossing sign - fun!
Bee crossing sign – fun!

With no animals, not very many flowers to see, the sky becoming overcast and cooler temperatures developing, we left the refuge. Once again we decided to head on down the road to see another one of the touted sites nearby; Proposal Rock. There was a large parking area near the beach access with a unique and colorful wooden sign.


A Native American-style Colorful Fish Sign
A Native American-style Colorful Fish Sign

A short walk toward the back of a nearby hotel, led us to the beach where Proposal Rock is located. There was an active volleyball game being played as you can see in the area between the gap toward the right of the photograph.


Proposal Rock in Neskowin
Proposal Rock in Neskowin

We had one more stop earmarked for this day so we headed back to our car and reviewed the map for the best route toward Lincoln City. Once in town, and after securing our room for the evening, we headed for Roads End State Park. One of the area “residents” seemed to be standing watch over the parking lot inspecting new arrivals while making sure to heed the sign.


A segull sitting atop a sign to 'stand back'
A segull sitting atop a sign to ‘stand back’

Although the day was not very sunny, this beach was abuzz. There were college groups playing a variety of sports which we stopped to watch at various points. Many of the activities were new to us.

We proceeded with our customary routine of exploring by walking up and down the beach looking with interest at the various items we found in the sand and admiring energetic pups running through the surf.

This long rope-like piece of vegetation (below) is Bull Whip Kelp. These plants were very long perhaps twenty feet or more. It was amazing to see how thick and firm they were and how many pieces were strewn across the sand.


Bull Whip Kelp
A large piece of Bull Whip Kelp

Nature has an interesting way of offering gifts to those who are observant. Whle walking along the beach, we discovered the pieces of a Dungeness crab. Although the crab was very dead and well-eaten, all the major parts where present. I only had to move them slightly to arrange them in their relative natural order.


Remains of a complete Dungeness crab
Remains of a complete Dungeness crab

We had seen enough beaches this day and it was time to remove the sand from our shoes so we headed “home.”


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Read previous posts about our adventures hiking and exploring in Oregon:

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 1

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 2

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 3

Adventures in Oregon: Warrenton to Seaside

Adventures in Oregon: Hiking at Indian Beach

Adventures in Oregon: Views from Ecola Point

Adventures in Oregon: Movin’ On Down the Road

Adventures in Oregon: Garibaldi’s Graces and Pier

Adventures in Oregon: Tillamook – Cape Meares Lighthouse

Adventures in Oregon: Adventures in Oregon: Cape Lookout, South Trail

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com