January 20, 2013
0479 UNITED STATES (California) - California map
With a name derived from a fictional paradise (peopled by Black Amazons and ruled by Queen Calafia), California is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third most extensive (after Alaska and Texas), having diverse geography ranges, from the Pacific Coast in the west, to the Sierra Nevada mountains in the east, from the Redwood-Douglas-fir forests of the northwest, to the Mojave Desert areas in the southeast. Also its climate varies from Mediterranean to subarctic, which determines the existence of numerous and very different ecoregions. No wonder, therefore, that California has many natural wonders, shown on the map postcard above.
• Giant Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) - an evergreen tree, living 1200-1800 years or more. This species includes the tallest trees on Earth. Unfortunately 95% or more of the original old-growth redwood forest has been cut down.
• Mount Shasta (4,322 m) - the most voluminous stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc; because it isn't connected to any nearby mountain, it dominates the northern California landscape.
• Bristlecone Pines (Pinus longaeva) - one member of this species, at 5062 years (as of 2012), is the oldest known living non-clonal organism on Earth.
• Lassen National Park - home of smoking fumaroles, meadows freckled with wildflowers, clear mountain lakes, and numerous volcanoes. Jagged peaks tell the story of its eruptive past while hot water continues to mold the land. The dominant feature of the park is Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world.
• Lake Tahoe - the largest alpine lake in North America and the USA's second-deepest.
• Sierra Nevada Mountains - home to the largest trees in the world, the giant sequoias. Its magnificent skyline and spectacular landscapes make it one of the most beautiful physical features of the U.S.
• Mount Whitney (4,421 m) - the highest summit in the contiguous U.S.
• Yosemite National Park - internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, Giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity (an UNESCO World Heritage Site).
• Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks - a land of giants, home to majestic mountain peaks, an immense crystal cavern, and the world's most enormous trees, including the General Sherman tree, the largest known living single stem tree on Earth.
• California Condors - the largest North American land bird, and one of the world's rarest bird species (only 226 live in the wild).
• Mojave Desert, with Death Valley - a vast geological museum, but also the driest area and the lowest point in North America (86 m below sea level) and one of the hottest places in the world (the highest recorded air temperature on Earth, 56.7°C)
• Joshua Tree National Monument - a land shaped by strong winds, unpredictable torrents of rain, and climatic extremes. Dark night skies, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the attraction of this place.
• Salton Sea - a shallow, saline, endorheic rift lake, located directly on the San Andreas Fault, below sea level, created by a flood of Colorado River in 1905.
• San Andreas Fault - the most famous continental transform fault in the world, that runs a length of roughly 1,300 km, and forms the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate.
• Rugged Coastline in the north and famous beach in the south
• Big Sur - a sparsely populated region, where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean (1571 m above sea level, at only five km from the ocean), offering stunning views.
• Morro Rock (177 m) - a volcanic plug, sometimes called the Gibraltar of the Pacific, located just offshore from Morro Bay and connected by a causeway with the shore, home of nesting Peregrine Falcons.
• Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris) - a very cute and smart marine mammal, classified as an endangered species, because was hunted extensively for its fur.
• Channel Islands - a chain of eight islands located along the Santa Barbara Channel, part of one of the richest marine biospheres of the world, but also home for unique animals, plants, and archeological resources, due to the thousands of years of isolation.
About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the series depicting Hawaiian shirt, about which I wrote here.
The second and third stamps are parte of the Mail a Smile commemorative series, issued on June 1, 2012. This Forever stamps includes five different designs that bring into spotlight Disney•Pixar characters:
• Flik and Dot from A Bug’s Life (1998)
• Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) and Dashiell "Dash" Parr from The Incredibles (2004)
• Nemo and Squirt from Finding Nemo (2003)
• Woody, Bullseye, and Jessie from Toy Story 2 (1999) - it's on the postcard
• Boo, Mike Wazowski, and James P. "Sulley" Sullivan from Monsters, Inc. (2001) - it's on the postcard
This is the second set featuring the Disney•Pixar characters, the previous set being Send a Hello, which was issued in 2011.
This is a post for Sunday Stamps #106, run by Viridian from Viridian’s Postcard Blog. The theme of this week is Cartoons and cartoon-like drawings. Click on the button to visit Viridian’s blog and all the other participants.
sender: Mikaila Michel (direct swap)
sent from Parlier (California / United States), on 25.06.2012
illustration: Scope Enterprises