“Pic of the Week”. May 17, 2013. Canyonlands National Park. View through Mesa Arch

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Perhaps the world’s best picture is framed by the bottom of this arch. ¬†A storm was blowing through the Utah desert and enhanced our view with a nice pattern of light.

The view says it all, doesn’t it? ¬†Nothing more I can add to that.

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“Pic of the Week”. April 12, 2013. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

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Of the many photos I’ve taken in my life, this remains one of my favorites!  We were visiting the Grand Canyon for a few days, part of a loop trip through the American Southwest that included Monument Valley, Canyonlands, Arches, Bryce and Zion National Parks.  The scenery everywhere was truly spectacular, almost otherworldly!

I think if there’s one place in the United States every visitor should see, that’s the Grand Canyon (or maybe Yosemite?  or Glacier?…. so very hard to choose).   You can’t appreciate the incredible size and scale of the Grand Canyon until you’ve see it with your own eyes.  Photos don’t do it justice but can give you an idea of the beautiful eroded formations and colors of the place.

Set against …

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.All Trips / Nevada / North America / Southwestern USA

Travels with Elvis. (Part 1) Viva Las Vegas! Viva Elvis!!

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Every year my younger brother and I go on a trip together; this time is precious as it allows us to reconnect while sharing our love of travel. This year we decided to center our travels on places that were monumental in the life of Elvis Presley. Elvis and his wonderful musical legacy are very important to us and we’ve both been fans for over 40 years. Our journey will lead us to Memphis, Nashville and Tupelo, but the first step was a visit to Las Vegas.

Las Vegas was at the center of Elvis’ entertainment life during his final years. After spending most of the 1960s making movies, it was in Las Vegas that Elvis began performing …

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.All Trips / Central USA / North America / Utah

Arches National Park — One of America’s Finest

Skyline Arch — Arches National Park

The United States is blessed with some beautiful geography — perhaps more varied than that of any other land. Utah especially has some extremely unusual geology and is home to 5 National Parks, surpassed only by Alaska and California. There is perhaps no more beautiful area in Utah than that around small city of Moab, adjacent to which Arches National Park is located.

Arches National Park is situated in the “high desert,” around a mile above sea level, and has very hot summers, cold winters and little rainfall (though lots of wind). Arches is easily accessible and frequently visited — around 1,000,000 people come here each year. Most come in the peak summer season for …

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.All Trips / Nevada / North America / Southwestern USA

A visit to Great Basin National Park

A visit to Great Basin National Park

In a country with dozens of great national parks it makes sense that there would be some “orphan” parks that are only rarely visited. Such is the case with Great Basin National Park in Nevada. It gets 90,000 visitors annually compared with 3,500,000 for Yellowstone National Park. Part of the reason for this is the park’s remoteness; you REALLY have to want to visit it as there’s nothing else around for several hundred miles.

We traveled to Baker, Nevada from Twin Falls, Idaho, the drive taking us through one of the most unpopulated portions of the lower 48 states. This region is known as the Great

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.All Trips / Idaho / North America / Pacific Northwest

Don’t forget to stop at Twin Falls

Don’t forget to stop at Twin Falls

Most travelers seem in a big hurry to complete their drive on I-84, through the lava fields of the Snake River Plain.  Their destinations are often Boise to the north, Yellowstone National Park to the east or Salt Lake City to the south.  I’d encourage people to slow down and use Twin Falls as their base of operation if they want to explore places in south-central Idaho like Craters of the Moon National Monument or the Sun Valley area.

Twin Falls is a small, clean neat city — typical of so many in the heartland.  It provides very reasonably priced services to travelers (a large …

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.All Trips / North America / Pacific Northwest / Washington

Steamboat Rock — Vistas and Wildflowers galore!

Steamboat Rock — Vistas and Wildflowers galore!

Like the black monolith sitting on the Serengeti plain in the film 2001:A Space Odyssey, the large basalt mass of Steamboat Rock is a distinct landmark in Central Washington state. Steamboat Rock State Park is a dozen miles southwest of the Columbia River’s massive Grand Coulee Dam. The Park is on a peninsula adjoining Banks Lake and is accessed by route 155. Steamboat Rock itself is a high wind-blown mesa above the lake, but the surrounding park is a popular recreational venue with campgrounds, a nice swimming beach, hiking trails, and boat launch providing access to the recreational fisheries of Banks Lake.

I have discussed …

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.All Trips / North America / Pacific Northwest / Washington

Dry Falls – Home of The World’s Largest Waterfall!

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Imagine a waterfall with a precipice over three and a half miles long and a drop of over 400 feet!  (By comparison, Niagara Falls is about 1/10th as wide).  Imagine millions of gallons of water pouring over it each second, draining the flooded plains of central Washington State.  When you gaze at the geologic skeleton of this event, try to envision what it was like here 10-15,000 years ago as snow and ice from the last great Ice Age began melting and shaping the landscape.

I’ve always had a general interest in science and find the geology of Dry Falls State Park to be fascinating.  To understand what you now see in this park a short review …

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