“Pic of the Week”, February 9, 2018: Old Massett, Haida Gwaii

Q.C.I.  017.  Old Masset

Haida Gwaii — the island chain off the coast of British Columbia formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands — has a long history of terrific native artistry.  While visiting the islands, we made a stop in the small community of Old Massett which sits on the site of several historic Haida villages.  

It was in Old Massett that some of the Haida people who had survived the devastating wave of smallpox that arrived with white settlers started regrouping in the late 19th century.   Today, Old Massett is the administrative center for the Council of the Haida Nation. 

Old Massett is home to the Islands’ largest collection of contemporary totem poles, which are located throughout the village.  There are several skilled …

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.All Trips / Central USA / Minnesota / North America

A Day in Grand Marais, Minnesota


Grand Marais is a town of about 1500 residents situated in Cook County, Minnesota.  It rests on the northwestern shore of the largest lake in the world, Lake Superior.  Grand Marais is a popular tourist destination, especially during the summer season, and is accessed by Minnesota Highway 61 (North Shore Scenic Drive).  It’s 110 miles NE of Duluth and 40 miles SW of the Canadian/US border.

Grand Marais is French for “Great Marsh”, the name referring to a marsh that was situated in the town long ago which it seems has mostly been filled in.   It has a nice harbor (see photos above and below) and many people like to sail from it onto the unpredictable waters of the Great …

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.All Trips / Eastern Canada / Ontario

Rambling around Thunder Bay’s Waterfront

00 Thunder Bay (51)

Situated on the northwestern shore of the world’s largest lake, Lake Superior, the small city of Thunder Bay is home to one of my favorite people (my baby brother).   I enjoy visiting the city, especially during its summers which are warm and pleasant.  

One of the nicest places to explore on foot is the waterfront along the northern section of town.  Much of the southern shore of Thunder Bay is devoted to transporting the bounty of the prairies to foreign markets.  There are many massive grain elevators alongside which ships pull up and fill their bins with wheat and other grains from the vast stores within the elevators.

The area around the Prince Arthur’s Landing has undergone a dramatic revitalization …

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.All Trips / Central USA / Colorado / North America

A visit to the Celestial Seasons Factory, Boulder


My younger son is a PhD student at UC Boulder (astrophysics of all things) and visiting him has given me the opportunity to explore this pretty little city recently.  It’s got some nice attractions, especially it’s close proximity to the Rocky Mountains and a great summertime farmer’s market But there are many Americans who think of tea when they think of Boulder. You heard that correctly — a tea factory in America’s heartland.

Celestial Seasons may not be the biggest distributor of tea in the USA but it unquestionably has the most devoted following and is the country’s largest supplier of herbal teas.  I know several people who would have trouble going to …

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.All Trips / Nevada / North America / Southwestern USA

St. Mary’s in the Mountain, Virginia City, Nevada

‘s in the Mountains

Virginia City is an interesting destination, being one of the best preserved “Wild West” towns I’ve ever visited.  Once a prosperous mining city, it was one of the largest communities in northwestern Nevada during the late 19th century.  Thousands of people flocked here when silver and gold were discovered in the Comstock, including many Irish Catholic immigrants.  Those of you who remember the popular television series, Bonanza, will remember that the Cartwrights frequently visited Virginia City to conduct their business.  They were not alone, as Virginia City provided services to local miners, ranchers and timber men. There’s lots to see in this old town, still a center of commerce but now catering mostly to tourists rather than locals.

I thought the …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 5, 2018: Prairie Sunrise, Alberta

00 Prairie sunrise

One of the things I enjoy about prairie winters is the soft diffused quality of the sunlight.  The sun is far to the south during the winter months and with cloud cover over the Rockies and its foothills the light is often filtered. 

Recently while making an early trip down the Cowboy Trail highway I enjoyed this lovely sunrise, which I thought I’d share with you today.

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

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.All Trips / Hawaii / North America

Black Sand and Green Turtles

‘u Black Sand Beach (5)

I love visiting the Big Island, my favorite of the Hawaiian Islands.  I think the main reasons are because of its active volcanoes and large stretches of undeveloped land.  The volcanoes especially fascinate me and draw me to see them again and again.  It’s because of its volcanoes that Big Island has so many black sand beaches — black sand is only formed by the breakdown of lava rock, often when hot lava encounters the ocean, solidifies, then shatters in the powerful surf.  White sand generally is due to the breakdown of shells, corals, and other organic matter. 

An excellent example of a black sand beach is Punalu’u Black Sand Beach Park, located on the southeastern Kau coast.  Since black sand …

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“Pic of the Week”, December 29, 2017: Terry Fox Monument, Ontario

04 Thunder Bay (7)

The Terry Fox monument is located on the outskirts of Thunder Bay, just off the TransCanada Highway.  The monument honors a popular Canadian hero.  Terry had a leg amputated as a young man because of bone cancer.  Thinking he was cured, Terry began a “Marathon of Hope” raising cancer awareness and funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.  Every day Terry ran, in his hobbling manner on (by today’s standards) a primitive prosthesis, the full distance of a marathon with his goal being to run the breadth of Canada.  When he was nearly half finished, Terry became ill and had to abandon his quest.  Thinking at first it might just be a cold, Fox and the nation were heartbroken to discover …

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