.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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.All Trips / Argentina / South America

Nowhere is a Place: Visiting Patagonia, 2) Laguna Nimez Nature Reserve, El Calafate, Argentina

031 El Calafate Laguna Nimez Nature Preserve 2-2014 001 Hawk

My first Patagonian post was an introduction to the travel hub of El Calafate. Today’s post focuses on the town’s best attraction.  Situated about a mile from downtown El Calafate, very close to the hotel we were staying at, Laguna Nimez Nature Reserve is a beautiful place worth exploring.  It’s especially a prime stop for bird-lovers, but also offers a nice easy hike in a natural setting.  The Reserve is situated at the edge of a great glacial lake, Lago Argentino, and adjoins a suburban neighborhood.  It contains two lagoons, Laguna Nimez and Laguna Secundaria.

The Reserve is fenced off and you enter through a small visitor center where a modest admission fee is charged.  Signage outside the …

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.All Trips / Central USA / Colorado / North America

Flatirons Vista Loop Hike, Boulder, Colorado

001 Flatiron Vista Loop Trail 09-2014

One of my favorite regions to hike is anywhere near the transition between the great Central Plains and the Rocky Mountains.  The region offers opportunity to explore several ecosystems and to enjoy grand panoramic views of the mountains and a seemingly endless prairie, with relatively little effort due to the flatness of the plains.

Flatirons Vista Trail offers a hike that’s custom-tailored to the above description.  It’s just south of the college city of Boulder, Colorado (where my youngest son is currently a postgrad in physics), immediately off Highway 93, and is a loop trail that  offers great views of Boulder’s famous Flatirons.  There’s lots of parking (for a fee for non-residents, so bring small bills with you).  The trail is quite …

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.All Trips / Alberta / Central Canada / North America

Hiking in Horseshoe Canyon; an introduction to Alberta’s Badlands

008 Horseshoe Canyon 06-2014

Most of the hikes I’ve featured on this blog are in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, with good reason.  The scenery in these mountains is truly spectacular, the altitude not overly taxing, and the long summer days are usually dry and sunny.  But there’s a lot more to Alberta than its Rocky Mountains.  Most of the province is actually composed of vast rolling prairies within which you’ll find limited regions known as “the Badlands”.  The Badlands are one of the most unique ecosystems in Alberta, a mostly treeless environment that offers expansive and colorful vistas of eroded, banded mesas, buttes, and coulees.

The easiest place to explore the Badlands is at Horseshoe Canyon, just over an hour’s drive north of Calgary, near Drumheller, …

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Yosemite National Park: Hiking in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

The “Grizzly Giant” in the Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park

The state of California has some pretty remarkable scenery.  Where else can you find the world’s …

Oldest trees (bristle-cone pines)
Tallest trees (redwoods)
Largest/most massive trees (sequoias)…

…but in California?  I know it’s a rhetorical question, but there’s no area I know of that offers such variety.

As one might imagine, to walk in a grove of giant sequoias is a most memorable experience.  If you’ve never felt small and insignificant in life, you likely will when you stand beside an ancient sequoia tree.   The largest density of sequoia trees is in California’s Sequoia National Park, south of Yosemite, including the tree known as “General Sherman”, the world’s largest living thing.  Yosemite National Park has two groves of giant sequoias, including the …

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