.All Trips / Alberta / Central Canada / North America

Banff National Park’s best Short Hike — Moraine Lake Rockpile Trail

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Moraine Lake is located a few miles south of Lake Louise in Banff National Park, in one of the most scenic and breath-taking locales of the Canadian Rockies.  In the winter the lake is buried under a thick layer of snow and not accessible by car.  The road leading to Moraine Lake is a popular cross-country skiing destination once enough snow has accumulated for the Park Service to groom it, but the skiing trail ends well before the lake because of high avalanche risk within its valley.  During the summer months (June – Sept) Moraine Lake is popular and busy, even though it doesn’t thaw out until late June.  Parking is limited so it’s best to arrive early.  The lake …

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Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

“Pic of the Week”, November 17,2017: Palmetto

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The most common palm tree in the United States is the saw palmetto, a hardy plant capable of growing in habitats as diverse as sand dunes to swampy wetlands.  It is a fire-resistant and attractive low maintenance plant commonly used in landscaping, and is slowly growing and capable of living hundreds of years.  

Saw palmetto can be low to the ground, like a bush, or grow into a tree 25 feet tall and 7 feet wide.   What I and others find attractive about the plant are its leaves which earn the plant its name, being edged with small but sharp spines that can tear skin and cloth.  Saw palmetto blooms from April to July, producing white flowers that ripen …

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.All Trips / Car Culture / Nevada / North America / Southwestern USA

Cruise Night, Carson City

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I spotted this collection of classic cars while recently visiting the Reno area. We were driving down the main road in Carson City (S. Carson St) when we saw dozens of beautiful cars in this lot and, of course, had to turn off and see what was going on.

Turns out this was the weekly Cruise Night gathering of a local car club. I’d long known that the favorable climate of Nevada helped prevent the deterioration of cars and that certainly was on display.

There were lots of beautiful cars and many people stopped to study and enjoy them. Here’s a part of what we saw that day:

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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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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“Pic of the Week”, October 27, 2017: Two Churches in Boston

03 Trinity Church

By American standards Boston is an old city, although compared to those in Europe and Asia it’s still a juvenile community.  Boston is a great city to explore on foot, with a lot of famous historic sites.

During my wanderings on my last visit I came across two old churches only a few blocks apart.  The more interesting of these is Trinity Church, an Episcopalian church on Copley Square across from the Boston Library, and a National Historic Landmark building.  It was constructed in the mid-19th century as the 3rd church home of the parish and is renowned for it’s architecture and art.  Select tours of the site are available.  

Old South Church’s present building was completed in 1873.  It is …

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Karl on | 2 Comments

“Pic of the Week”, October 20, 2017: Paradise Valley, Alberta

06 Paradise Valley, Lethbridge (2)

There are probably more places that go by the name “Paradise Valley” than by any other.  This particular one is situated on the western outskirts of Medicine Hat, just off the TransCanada Highway in eastern Alberta.

The valley was home to the native peoples of Alberta for thousands of years.  They lived here, gathered wild berries, and hunted buffalo (chasing them off a cliff at a nearby”jump”).  They valley has a rich archaeologic record documenting this history which has been extensively explored. 

Today this Paradise valley is home to a public park and golf course, and has this pretty floral wagon situated within it.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

The Griffith Observatory: Los Angeles’ Art Deco Treasure

01 Griffith Observatory

One of Los Angeles’ most famous landmarks is the Griffith Observatory, which is situated on a hill (in massive Griffith Park) overlooking the Los Angeles basin.  Designed to be an observatory of the planets and stars, it’s a beautiful Art Deco structure that houses space and science exhibitions and has a great planetarium. 

While smog obscures the views from the Observatory most of the time, the place is especially memorable for its great views on a clear day like the one I had the

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

The Living Desert Wildlife and Botanical Park

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Unless you’ve driven across them, it’s hard to comprehend how vast the deserts of the American Southwest are.  While at first glance the region seems nearly lifeless, it’s rich in a diverse variety of hardy plant and animal life.  An excellent way to see this assortment of desert life is to stop everywhere and explore.  A much easier and more convenient way is to visit a botanical garden which, while not a perfect experience, is highly educational.  A place I’d recommend is the Living Desert, located in Palm Desert, California (very near Palm Springs), which provides a one-stop chance to explore the flora and fauna of America’s deserts –with an African sampler to boot!

Giraffes, Living Desert Museum

The Living Desert occupies …

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