.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

A hike up Tahquitz Canyon, Palm Springs

California, Spring 2009  026.  Tahquitz Canyon Waterfall and Oasis

It’s a great time of year to be visiting the desert regions of the Southwestern USA.  The weather is warm and pleasant, the wildflowers are in bloom, and the oppressive heat of summer is a distant memory.  This is the time of year to go on a hike in the Mojave and that’s what we’re going to look at today: a walk up tranquil Tahquitz Canyon just outside of Palm Springs, California.  This is one of several canyons in the area, each with its own character, each awaiting exploration!

Centuries ago, ancestors of the Agua Caliente Indians settled in the Palm Springs area.  They adapted well to life in the desert and developed a complex network of communities …

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.All Trips / British Columbia / North America / Western Canada

Magnificent Takakkaw Falls, Yoho National Park, British Columbia

010a Takkakaw Falls 07-2014

There are hundreds of amazing places in the Canadian Rockies.  Beautiful lakes and rivers, wonderful mountain peaks and breath-taking vistas from high alpine meadows.  Yoho National Park, in eastern British Columbia, straddles the continental divide on Alberta’s border and not only is a place of great beauty but geologic significance as it is home to the legendary Burgess Shale Formation.  Yoho derives its name (not from a Johnny Depp pirate song but) from the Cree language, meaning “Awe and Wonder”.

The crown gem of this beautiful area, in my humble opinion, is Takakkaw Falls which thunders as it pours into the Yoho Valley not unlike the waterfalls of Yosemite Valley.  Takakkaw Falls has a total drop of 384m (1260 …

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“Pic of the Week”, July 4, 2014: Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Columbia River 3-2006 055

One of the great drives in America is through the Columbia River Gorge west of Portland.  There are lush green mountains, steep cliffs and numerous (77) waterfalls to enjoy.   Of these many waterfalls, Multnomah Falls is the grandest of the them all.

Multnomah Falls drops 620 ft (189 m) in two steps, and is a popular destination.  Only three waterfalls in the USA are higher, and none are in a more lovely setting.  A trail from Multnomah Falls Lodge takes you across the arched Simon Benson Bridge (1914) over the shorter lower cascade, then the trail switchbacks up towards the top of the upper cascade.

It’s a beautiful, misty place.  Hard to keep the lens dry but that didn’t stop me from …

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“Pic of the Week”. June 13, 2014: Shoshone Falls, Idaho

2014 23a June 7 Shoshone Falls, Snake River Canyon, Twin Falls

Known as the “Niagara Falls of the west”,  Shoshone Falls is a lovely cascade situated in the desert just east of Twin Falls, Idaho.   The falls are 212 feet (65m) tall and about 900 feet (275 m) wide.  At this point the Snake River drops in a series of steps and the result, as you can see, is beautiful!  A bonus is the brilliant rainbow you’ll be guaranteed to see in the mist on a sunny day.

Stroll along the edge of the Snake River Gorge and you’ll find a natural arch.  If you look downriver you’ll see where legendary stunt-devil, Evil Knievel, attemped his jump across the Canyon.  The Snake River Canyon and Shoshone Falls are natural treasures that are …

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“Pic of the Week”. February 28, 2014: Rainbow Falls, Hilo, Big Island of Hawaii

2014 009 Feb 28a Hawaii 2-2011 151 Rainbow Falls

Situated on the outskirts of Hilo, on the windward site of the Big Island of Hawaii, is beautiful Rainbow Falls.  The falls is just northwest of Hilo off the main roads of the city, in Wailuku River State Park.  It’s in a small canyon covered with lush tropical foliage and makes a picture-perfect photostop for people heading to and from Volcanoes National Park.  The waterfall has a beautiful “Y” shape only when there’s only the right amount of precipitation — too much or too little and the “Y” disappears into a single channel of water.  The fall’s name comes from the rainbow you’ll see in morning light on a sunny day.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance the …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 16, 2013. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

2013-033-August 16

Victoria Falls is one of the Natural Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Spanning 1700 meters (1 mile) between two countries, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the falls represents a 100 m (330 foot) drop of the Zambezi River into its gorge.

The appearance of the waterfall differs greatly from season to season.  During the rainy season, the Zambian side is the preferred place to watch the falls as you really can`t see much then in Zimbabwe (high flow kicks up so much mist you get drenched and obscures the falls — hence the nickname,`The Smoke that Thunders`).  During the dry season, the Zambian side literally dries up, with little more than bare rocks visible, but Zimbabwe …

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.All Trips / Europe / Iceland

An all too brief visit of South Iceland

south-iceland-2013-001intro

Only a single day was left on this visit to Iceland, not nearly enough time but I did want my wife to see more of South Iceland.  Most travelers think the Southern part of Iceland has the country’s best and most dramatic scenery — from lovely waterfalls, recently erupted volcanoes, large glaciers (one with a very memorable glacial lagoon), to vast stretches of people-less space.

Of greatest importance was to get Sylvia on the back of an Icelandic horse and on a trail ride.  The staff at our hotel in Fludir recommended a nearby stable (one of dozens around South Iceland), so we headed there for the morning.  Sylvia had a wonderful ride on these small smooth-gaited horses (which she will …

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.All Trips / Europe / Iceland

Highlights of Iceland’s Golden Circle

Iceland Golden Circle 2013 001 intro Strokkur

The most interesting and diverse day-trip from Reykjavik is to Iceland’s “Golden Circle“.  I’m not certain where the name “Golden Circle” originated, but it is a golden travel opportunity.  During this excursion you have a chance to see Iceland’s largest lake and explore the historic site of its first parliament (situated in no less than a rift valley).  You’ll visit one of the world’s few sites of geysir eruption, and an amazing waterfall.  By any standards, that’s a pretty good list of attractions to see in one day’s travel.

Sylvia and an Icelandic horse near Geysir

There are several commercial vendors that offer tours of the Golden Circle from Reykjavik for those who don’t want the hassle of car rental or driving (the most popular including Reykjavik Excursions and …

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