Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring is Here!

Today is the first day of spring! Looking out the window I can see the leaves on the trees begin to bud out. Soon we'll see the tulips and daffodils.  Another sign of spring is my messy car when I park under a tree. Looks like those birds are coming back. I've since found a new parking spot that isn't under tree.

The University of Utah celebrated spring break last week, so my brother and I went to southern Utah to enjoy the spring weather where it was a little warmer. This was my first trip to Zion National Park. That place is probably my new favorite national park. I loved the red rock and green vegetation (you don't see much green stuff at Arches National Park).
My brother and I safely made it to the top of Angel's Landing. If you've done this hike, you know what I mean by "safely."

Looking up towards Angel's Landing. This climb is not for people afraid of heights!
Photo: NGB

Part of the Angel's Landing trail. Looking down I didn't realize how high we climbed. This part felt like climbing stairs!

Some wild flowers on the trail.

The Virgin River runs through the park. My brother and I spent a lot of time skipping rocks here.




We also made a trip to St. George, Utah, where the trees have already blossomed and flowers are already planted. 
Blossoms on trees in front of the St. George Temple. 
Photo: NGB



In a park we enjoyed walking in our shorts and playing a game of Kubb. If you don't know what Kubb is then you better check it out here.

This is me playing Kubb. Look at how green the grass is, too! Another sign of spring!
Photo: NGB

I think my brother won more games than me.
Photo: NGB

So, what is so significant about Spring? Spring occurs on one of the two equinoxes in a year. An equinox is when the axis of the earth is tilted neither away nor towards the sun. At this time the sun is directly overhead the equator. If you lived on the equator, at noon the sun would be directly above your head. 



Compare the above image of an equinox with the northern hemisphere winter and summer solstice below. The earth's axis is tilted away form the sun in winter and toward the sun in summer.

     
An equinox also means that every location on earth has 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night. The chart below illustrates how much sunlight a location will have on a clear day based on latitude and the time of year. Circled in red is the Spring Equinox where it is shown that all latitudes have 12 hours of sunlight. Another equinox exists near day 270, which is the Fall Equinox.


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