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Showing posts from 2003

The Big Chill

We’re standing on the open deck of the cruise ship staring intently at Margerie Glacier, a few hundred feet in front of us. With cameras ready, my fellow passengers and I are waiting to see the glacier calve and hopefully catch it on film. By now we know what to watch out for. After seeing a few, our ears have become attuned to the “sumdum”, the Tlingit (klink-it) word for the booming sound when ice calves and crashes into the water below.  Calve  is the word for ice breaking from the face of the glacier. Only two hundred years ago, Glacier Bay as we know it now, did not exist. The explorer, Capt. George Vancouver had observed in 1794 that ice measuring 4000 ft. thick and 20 miles wide covered the area and extended 100 miles to the St. Elias Mountain Range. In 1879, the naturalist, John Muir, noted that the ice had retreated some 48 miles. Today, we can see how the glacier has receded since then as we cruised all the way into Tarr inlet, about as far north as we could travel and some 6

To be in Ashland

The Elizabethan Stage, Ashland* The road to Ashland on Highway 5 is long but rewarding. The flat and uneventful terrain leads to cool, Alpine country of the Cascade range.  Mount Shasta at 14,161 ft. dominates the surrounding area with its powerful presence. It’s snowcapped summit is often shrouded by clouds. Lake Shasta, which meanders between steep hillsides and a basalt covered shoreline, is one of many lakes and rivers in this region. The solitary Black Butte dome is hard to miss as you drive up to Ashland. It rises like an Egyptian pyramid with its near perfect silhouette Ashland is a small university town with a rich cultural life. It’s Main Street is a temptation of delights and treats with art galleries, restaurants, cafés, boutiques and bookshops that invite visitors to browse and linger. Lithia Park is a 100-acre oasis smack in the center of town. Angus Bowmer, a teacher from Southern Oregon Normal School (now Southern Oregon University), had the idea to present Shakespearean

Into the Grand Canyon

It took millions of years to form the 227-mile long Grand Canyon, yet visitors to the site have only a few  hours to experience this handiwork of nature that can only be described in superlatives. Most visitors head to the South Rim and some go the extra distance to the North Rim when it is open from mid-May to mid-October.  Fewer still head to the West Rim, which sits at the tail end of the Canyon on the  Hualapai Indian Reservation, a short ride from Las Vegas through the 900-year old Joshua Forest. The Joshua tree is so called because its branches are outstretched like the arms of the prophet Joshua  as he pointed his people to the Promised Land. It is part of the yucca brevifolia family and has sword-shaped  leaves and may bear a white or greenish flower that looks like an enlarged cone. Rainfall in February produced low-lying yellow and pink desert flowers, giving color to the parched landscape.  And like a mirage, we spotted three wild mustangs, one of them a dazzling white.

Hola! Puerto Rico

Calle Sol, from an original watercolor by Barbara Z. Pecce Puerto Rico is indeed rico . It is an island endowed with lush landscacpe, warm climate, friendly people and flavorful cuisine. Visitors can't wait to finish unpacking so they can bask in the sun at one of many fine beaches. Or swim and snorkel in Atlantic waters or in the calm Caribbean Sea. For those who prefer hiking, the tropical rainforest of El Yunque has numerous trails to explore. One challenging path leads to Pico El Toro. At 3,523 ft., this is the highest peak in the forest. An easy walking trail allows visitors to experience the gifts of the rainforest. About 240 species of tropical trees grow here including the y agruma . Unlike other trees, the yagruma can be male or female. What distinguishes one from the other is the silver coloring of the female leaf on its underside. The male genus maintains a singular color. The forest receives some billions of gallons of rainfall a year collected into streams, natural poo