.All Trips / North America / Western Canada / Yukon

The S.S. Klondike, Whitehorse

00 SS Klondike Whitehorse (3)

One of the most popular attractions in Whitehorse is this sternwheeler which sits on the banks of the Yukon River in the heart of the city.  It’s one of only two surviving sternwheelers which plied the waters between Whitehorse and Dawson City — a relic from the time when waterways were preferred transportation route , before roads and railway provided quick access to the heart of the Yukon.

Whitehorse exists in large part because it of its proximity to the Alaska panhandle (and as such was a passing-through point during the Klondike Goldrush), and because it was the furthest city upstream on the Yukon River that could be successfully navigated by these flat-bottom boats. (Just upriver from the city, the Whitehorse …

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Alberta / Central Canada / North America / Western Canada / Yukon

“Pic of the Week”, April 12, 2019: Flying to the Land of the Midnight Sun

Flight to Whitehorse from Calgary (19)

I left for a 2 week vacation to the Yukon and Alaska last June 29th, just 8 days after the summer solstice.  My flight departed Calgary at 9:45 pm just in time to enjoy a pretty sunset, which you can see below (photos are in sequentially arranged).  There had been heavy rain that day and the clouds were starting to break apart as the sun dipped below the Rockies.

As we flew further north, the daylight seemed to be increasing, something I expected but still surprised me by how relatively bright it was.  Soon the sun was above the horizon again, illuminating our plane’s engine.  It only grew brighter the further north we flew.

We were scheduled to arrive in Whitehorse at …

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“Pic of the Week”, April 5, 2019: Union Point Church, Manitoba.

03 Trip to Morris (11)

Sometimes it’s good to stop at places you’ve driven by hundreds of times and actually explore them.  Such was the case with my visit to the Union Point Church south of St. Agathe in southern Manitoba.

The church is situated between the north and south-bound lanes of highway 75, the road that connects Winnipeg to southern Manitoba and North Dakota.  It’s a fairly important road, so thousands of people drive by the church every day but I suspect hardly anyone ever stops for a visit.

Union Point church was originally built in 1887, destroyed by fire in 1939, and rebuilt in 1940. There’s a small cemetery beside the church with tombstones dating to the late 19th century.  There was once also a …

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.All Trips / North America / South Carolina / Southeastern USA

A Visit to St. Michael’s Church, Charleston

15 St. Michaels, charleston

Sitting prominently on the corner of Broad and Meeting, across from the old Post Office building, St. Michael’s is the oldest church in Charleston.  Today’s church stands on the site of the first Anglican Church built south of Virginia.  It’s a National Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

In the 1680’s a small wooden church was built on this spot and named St. Philip’s. By 1727 the church had become too small for the growing congregation and a new larger church was built on Church Street, but it was destroyed by fire in 1835 and had to be replaced.

St. Michael’s Church, Charleston

By 1751, St. Philip’s was again too small for its flock so a larger structure — named St. …

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Remarkable Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park 6-90 017. Congress Trail

Going back through my travel records, I was surprised to find that it’s been almost 20 years since I last visited Sequoia National Park — my, how time flies.  I’m glad I spent a lot of time exploring this park during the 1980s and 1990s because it’s a special place.

Sequoia NP was about a 4 hour drive from our home in Southern California (under ideal traffic conditions– often more like 5 or 6 hours) and was one of the easiest to reach natural destinations near us, so we visited it almost every year.  The park spans over 400,000 acres so it’s impossible to see it all.  It’s part of the UNESCO Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve (1976).

What’s so special about the park?  Lots, to be sure …

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.All Trips / North America / Southeastern USA

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

02 Merritt Island NWR Little Blue Heron (46)

During our last visit to Florida, my father and I drove from our base in Orlando to explore some of Florida’s east coast.  Our destination for the day was the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, not far from Titusville.  

This is a massive preserve, some 140,000 acres (57,000 ha), situated on the same island as the Kennedy Space Center.  Because of its close proximity to the Space Center, there are rare times when NASA restricts access to this National Wildlife Refuge (e.g. when the space shuttle was landing in Florida).

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

The topography of the refuge is flat, but still there are a mixture of habitats including saltwater and freshwater marshes, dunes, forests and scrub.  Here …

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.All Trips / Central USA / Colorado / North America

Walking Main Street in Gold Hill, Colorado

01 Gold Hill, CO

There are many mining towns in the Colorado Rockies, one of the most interesting being Gold Hill.  This town is located in the mountains northwest of Boulder at an elevation of 8,300 feet (2530 m).  A scenic drive, most of it on gravel roads, leads you through the transition of the great plains to the foothills, with the grand peaks of the Rockies visible at some distance to the west. 

Gold was discovered by a group of prospectors in a small stream near the town site in January 1859.  This stream was named Gold Run and in March of that year, the first mining district in the Nebraska Territory was created (Colorado had not yet been granted statehood).  The site and …

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“Pic of the Week”, February 8, 2019: Downtown Baker City, Oregon

01 Baker City, Or (3)

I’d driven past Baker City in northeastern Oregon a number of times before finally visiting it — twice — in one year.  One visit was a relatively quick one, just driving through to see the historic district while on a road-trip.  For our second visit it was our destination for viewing the 2017 Solar Ellipse as it was in the path of totality.

Baker City is relatively small, with around 10,000 residents.  The community lay along the famous Oregon Trail and really took hold after the railroad came through.  By 1900 it was the largest city between Salt Lake City and Portland.  It rests between the picturesque Wallowa and Elkhorn Mountain and the setting is quite pretty.   The city …

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