Chased by a Baboon & Elephant in Africa~

Oliphants River Kruger National Park.

Curious Impala.

I never posted photos of the time I was chased by a baboon in South Africa because they were terrible photos taken in poor light conditions.

It all started peacefully enough, until some people started throwing rocks at the baboons because they were raiding campsites. They were raiding campsites because the same people didn’t properly lock up their food.

We were on a safe raised viewing walkway, behind electrified fencing that looked over The Sabie River in South Africa, as dusk fell, and the situation turned south.

Jim had just walked away. I was snapping a few last sunset shots, when a large furious male baboon, leaped the fence in the tree tops, jumped onto the platform in front of me, and ran directly towards me in a rage.

I moved rapidly backwards, not wanting to turn my back and run, clicking off a few shots as I moved away. A man in an adjacent campsite saw the whole thing and was doing jumping jacks and yelling, trying to distract the baboon. You can almost make him out in the upper right of the photo. I very much appreciated this man!

If the baboon had wanted to kill me, he clearly would have. He was thankfully content to raise my blood pressure and chase me away.

We also got charged by a furious male elephant on a prior trip when our game driver pointlessly harrassed him. If you look closely at the photo, you will see a male elephant in musk. He should have been left alone. We had to jump out of the range rover, face the elephant, while the ranger drew his rifle and prepared to shoot, causing the elephant to stop his charge.

Wise elephant. Unwise human.

We have luckily never encountered any similar problems when self driving on our two trips to South Africa most likely because we always respect wild animal’s space. We spent more than an hour waiting at a reasonable distance in our car, while we respected these guy’s space. It was awesome experience and they seemed to appreciate our restraint.

The moral of this story, don’t harrass wild animals, they are bigger and stronger than you.

Cheers to you from the civilized wild ones~

Where Are We?

Looking at the first six photos only,

no metadata peeks,

or google image seeks, please.

Where would you guess this is?

There are wild buffalo,

and vast empty spaces of nature conservatory land.

Now, with these photos, the answer is far more obvious!

We are off season in The Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California. This is Catalina Island, the most visited of the islands and not a National Park,

but still replete with wild spaces and wild faces. There are about 150 buffalo roaming free on the island.

Off Season, we are mostly alone with the locals, and their four legged paddling companions.

Cheers to you from The Channel Islands~

Along Came A Spider~

Who sat down beside her.

Tarantulas measure around five inches in length, eleven inches if accurately measured. See:,weight%E2%80%94more%20than%206%20ounces.)

And she frightened (click/tap to enlarge photos).

Mr. Tarantula away.

Tarantula Hawks sting large tarantulas to the point of paralysis, and lay their eggs on them, which then feed on the paralyzed tarantula until it dies. Tarantula hawks have the second most painful insect sting in the world. This is the closest I have ever gotten to one even though they are here all the time. I happened to be sitting next to this one as it peacefully gathered pollen. Unfortunately I didn’t have my full zoom camera or there would be more up close detail.’Number%20two%20is%20broadly%20comparable,that%20of%20a%20velvet%20ant.

Reflecting pool Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage.

Sunnylands Garden Rancho Mirage.

Cheers to you,

from The Holler~

Sunnylands Reflected~

by still waters. (click/tap to enlarge)

The harsh desert,


by silent pools.

Trees offer shade,

in the fierce summer heat,

allowing buds to bloom,

and thrive.


turns Sunnyland,

into wonderland.

Cheers to you from The Annenberg Gardens in Palm Springs California~


A suspected arsonist has been busy at The Holler.

Multiple fires have recently broken out in our extremely fire prone region that have been effectively fought and extinguished by our incredible fire fighters. We live in Southern California in a climate-change worsened rural fire zone under constant threat of fire.

A highly unusual hurricane is forecasted to bring significant rain to the region this weekend which will be a blessing if it arrives.

We flew from The Holler fires to West Maui two weeks ago with the whole family in tow including the four year old twins who are in love with the ocean. (Click to enlarge).

The fires came with hurricane winds on the second day.

Power, all forms of communication, and food quickly perished and were not replaceable. We were informed by our condo hosts that water may be turned off.

Information was word of mouth. We knew there were three fires on Maui and one on Hawaii. We knew they were very serious. We knew they were close. We saw and smelled the smoke, but we didn’t yet know the extent of the carnage and the heartbreak. It was an extremely confusing time. No clarity about where to go or what to do. There was no access to the internet/iphone or information to make decisions.

We were in condos for three days during the fires that were supplied with no flashlights, candles or emergency supplies. We stood, with hundreds of other souls (mostly tourists), in line for food much of which was packaged and distributed by volunteer organizations, including, but not limited to, a church group in Tennessee. Thank you Volunteer Organizations! You make an incredible difference.

Thousands of tourists clogged the airport trying to follow the governor’s edict to leave Maui. Many were evacuated to a convention center in Oahu.

We left West Maui on the fourth day of the fires which required us to drive by the historic and beautiful town of Lahaina. I took no photos. Lahaina is a mass fatality zone. Photos would have been invasive and disrespectful.

We relocated to another part of the island until flying home yesterday. I include here some photos of beautiful Kihei Maui which escaped the flames, but not the pain.

(Click to enlarge). Maui is strong but she needs our help. It truly does make a significant difference. We experienced this first hand when we received desperately needed food and flashlights. If you are able, here are some organizations that need help, or chose an organization that you know and trust:

Love and solidarity to the suffering people of Maui~


Century Plants look like giant asparagus and are members of the aspargus family.

Their name is derived because they are said to bloom,

once a century,

and then die.

We have at least a hundred or more at The Holler.

When they bloom,

the stalks are well over 20 feet tall.

They are magnets for pollinators,

especially bees and hummingbirds.

The hummingbirds fight relentlessly for control over the massive stalks.

Our century plants bloom about every ten years and reproduce prodigiously via underground root systems.

Cheers to you from The Holler Centurions~