Random, Travel

Days of Wonder

Some things you’ve thought about doing for a long time aren’t always what you’d hoped they’d be, but that isn’t what we found to be true of an Alaskan cruise. Our seven days on Admiralty Dream exceeded expectations and took us to places full of wonder.

Most Alaskan cruises focus on southeast Alaska, particularly the area between Sitka and Juneau. Ours began in Sitka where there is evidence of both Russian and Tlingit culture.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs with other places we would visit, much of Sitka’s economy depends on fishing for halibut, salmon and rockfish.

On our short stay here, we hiked a rain forest to become familiar with the growth common to the area and which is a food source for the wildlife.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe days of wonder began when Admiralty Dream left the dock at Sitka and headed to open water and sights startlingly beautiful.

As lovely as snow capped mountains were clouds hanging low splitting the mountains in half.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThough it doesn’t seem so, most of the mountains are higher than 5,000 feet which explains the snow. At that height, precipitation is snow and ice whereas at lower levels it becomes rain.

Because of those rocky surfaces rain cannot be absorbed so it is not unusual to see water cascading down the mountain creating some pretty impressive waterfalls. Should there be a few days without rain, rare I’m told, the waterfalls disappear.

 Along the coast we stopped in places where we were exposed  to new opportunity for discovery whether it be beachcombing

or learning about the Tlingit culture that has existed in southeast Alaska for hundreds of years.

p6027463Theirs is a complex, socially organized matrilineal society whose stories and tradition are communicated in many ways. Tlingit stories that have been passed down through generations enhance knowledge of the physical changes that have occurred in southeast Alaska over the years.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is impossible to capture the experience of seven days in one post, so you will have to come back for more about the days of wonder.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Travel

Taste of New Zealand

I read a few days ago that applications from Americans for temporary residency in New Zealand are up by 70%. I won’t go into the reasons why I think this is true, but I will share with you some of its appeal.

It is a beautiful country

with lots of opportunity for outdoor activity.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are snow capped mountains 

and glaciers with runoff that turn rivers a stunning blue. Meandering through the mountains, the water reminds me of an abstract painting.

There are sheep farms

and orchards

and friendly people descended from the Mauri tribe native to New Zealand.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are numerous vineyards making, among other blends, outstanding Sauvignon Blanc.

No matter where you might choose to have that glass of wine or just sit back and relax, you can count on having a beautiful view.

Hmmm, now that I think about it, New Zealand might not be a bad place to be.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Texas

On To Big Bend

Big Bend is a land of strong beauty, often savage and always imposing.

Lon Garrison

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABig Bend is one of the more interesting but least visited national parks in the United States.  There’s good reason for that.  Big Bend is not an easy place to get to.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is not right off any super highway which means you better know where to turn to get there.  And, it’s a good idea to start with a full tank of gas because there’s no close place to fill up when the gas gauge nears E.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce there, the solitude and beauty of the place is overwhelming.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is desert

and mountains.

It is rock formations

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Santa Elena Canyon

and canyons, all formed millions of years ago by volcanic activity.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is green valleys along the Rio Grande,

Rio Grande 1the narrow, shallow river that serves as the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

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Big Bend

It is native grasses swaying in the wind

and here and there an abandoned ranch or dwelling where a family once lived.  It is hard to imagine surviving in such a challenging environment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABig Bend is sunriseOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand sunset and so much more, but that can wait for another day.  Do come back to share the grandeur and mystery of this captivating national treasure.

i so appreciate your visit and especially the comments you leave behind

Joining

Wow Us Wednesday