.All Trips / Central USA / Colorado / North America

Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark

03 Colorado_Chautaqua_Dining_Hall. Courtesy Wikimedia and Hustvedt

The Colorado Chautauqua site was established in the late 1890s, when the Texas Board of Regents determined it needed to establish a summer school for teachers in a cool climate.  The Chautauqua Movement was a powerful and popular adult educational and social force at the time.  Boulder was picked as the site because the city fathers offered to supply the land, facilities and public utilities for the Chautauqua.  The presence of the nearby Rocky mountains was icing on the cake, because it was rightfully considered a very healthful environment.  

The Colorado Chautauqua opened on July 4, 1898, with 4,000 people attending. Boulder city leaders and Texas educators had created what was to become an important educational and social summer retreat.  Buildings …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 25, 2019: Bow Valley Provincial Park

04 Bow River PP

Alberta has a fine network of provincial parks (analogous to American state parks).  One of these is situated just east of the Alberta Rocky mountains on the banks of the Bow River as it makes its way from Banff to Calgary and ultimately to Hudson’s Bay.
 
The park has several campgrounds which are very popular during the summer months.  It provides excellent access to Banff and Canmore, and is also not that far from Calgary.   The park also offers some easy hiking trails that provide a nice way to explore the terrain of the Rocky mountain foothills.
 
We parked at Middle Lake and explored many of the trails in the area — Middle Lake, Moraine and

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.All Trips / Chile / South America

First Hike in Torres del Paine National Park

00 Hike around Torres del Paine (1)

The Torres del Paine are three distinctive towering granite peaks of the Paines Massif (see above photo).  Extending up to 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) above sea level, these towers dominate much of the landscape of the park, as does the horned part of the mountain known as the Cuernos del Paine.  The Patagonian steppe abuts the mountains.

We arrived in Torres del Paine in the afternoon and had only a few hours to spare that day for a hike.  I had hoped to hike to the base of the towers, for there is a lovely glacier and lake there, but did not have the time.   Among the feasible options, we decided to hike along the hilly steppe and take in the views …

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.All Trips / Eastern Canada / North America / Ontario

Ouimet Canyon, Ontario

07 03 Ouimet Canyon (36)

Situated about an hour outside the city of Thunder Bay on the Lake Superior’s north shore is a natural wonder you’d never suspect was there if you didn’t know about it.  This is where you’ll find Ouimet Canyon, one of Ontario’s many Provincial Park.   

You’ll need to do a short 1 km hike to get to the canyon from the parking lot.  The trail is partially smooth dirt, partially a boardwalk and overall is accessible to all.  It’s important to stay on the trails because the canyon is hidden by dense forest and you wouldn’t want to accidently step into the gorge.  The walk is easy and lovely and takes you to two viewing platforms from which you get panoramic …

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.All Trips / Asia / Nepal

Namche Bazaar, Nepal

03 Namche

One of the most memorable places I’ve visited was the Khumbu region of Nepal, home of the friendly Sherpa people.  The main town in this region is Namche Bazaar.  It is not an easy place to get to.  You don’t just drop by.  Most people fly to Lukla from Kathmandu, where they start a one to two day trek to Namche Bazaar (depending on how fast you go).  This is the route those going to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal take, gradually acclimatizing as they ascend.

There are no roads here so all goods are brought to Namche Bazaar either on the backs of human porters or beasts of burden, large cattle at this altitude, yaks at higher …

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Backpacking to Ostrander Lake, Yosemite National Park

Ostrander Lake, Yosemite National Park

From time-to-time I enjoy looking at some of my older photos to remember bygone adventures.  It’s from one of these periods of reflection that today’s blog germinated.

When I lived in Southern California, I enjoyed spending time each summer exploring the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains — John Muir’s Range of Light.  While much of California is hot as an oven in the summer, these mountains offer a pleasant climate and excellent backpacking opportunities.  In the summer there’s enough water in the lakes that you don’t need to carry more than a day’s worth — very different and much easier than what’s required when backpacking in the Mojave desert.  The weather is warm in the day, cool at night, and almost without …

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.All Trips / Argentina / South America

Nowhere is a Place. Visiting Patgonia, 4) El Chalten, Argentina

22 El Chalten 2014 (186)

Our next stop in Patagonia is the small town of El Chaltén in Argentina.  This town rests in the rain shadow of the massive spires of the Patagonian Andes and is a dry, windy and cool place.

The region around El Chaltén is part of Los Glaciares National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is very remote.  It is usually reached by taking the bus or driving from El Calafate some 220 km to the south, El Calafate itself a remote town which we’ve previously discussed here.

The town resides in a glaciated valley adjoining the Rio de las Vueltas. The most dramatic aspect of El Chaltén is the beautiful mountains that frame it to the west, including the amazingly steep and narrow spire …

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.All Trips / North America / Oregon / Pacific Northwest / Washington

The Amazing Columbia River Gorge!

Columbia River 3-2006 020  Oneonta Gorge  Beacon Rock in distance.

One of the most scenic road trips anywhere in the world is on the Oregon side of the Gorge, on the Columbia River Highway (I-84), between Portland and the Dalles.  Besides a smooth drive on the freeway, an excellent diversion here is to head up the old Historic Columbia River Highway, a narrow road that twists its way through the mountains and cliffs, past dozens of waterfalls, including the beautiful 620-foot (190 m)  Multnomah Falls.

The Columbia River is one of North America’s longest, at 1200 miles (1930 km) long, starting in southeastern British Columbia, Canada.  The Columbia River Gorge was carved by glacial floods (especially the Missoula Flood) thousands of years ago and is the only sea-level passage through the Cascade Mountain range.  …

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