The Ruins of Ani, Kars
Any list of the must-see spots of northeastern Turkey in my mind has to include the ruins of the city of Ani, which you will find in the Kars region, right along the border with Armenia. There are two parts actually, the former city overlooking a river valley, and a countless cave dwellings below along the river...
Driving in Turkey from Trabzon to Kars
Leaving Trabzon after our adventures there, we in the Come See Turkey group made our way through the Pontic and Kaçkar mountain ranges toward Kars. It was amazing to see the changes in environment, topography, and culture as we traveled through river valleys, snowy alpine passes, and down into steppes...
Opal Creek and Jawbone Flats, Oregon
In January 2015 I explored Opal Creek and the quasi-ghost town of Jawbone Flats (population 5) in the central Cascade Mountains in Oregon. The area is thick with gorgeous fir trees, and the water in the creeks and rivers is crystal clear. It's so clear in fact that when it pools, it looks insanely, surreally blue...
Icelandair Stopover Buddy Adventure with ATV – Óbyggðaferðir (Post 1 of 2)
As part of my trip to Iceland for Canopy by Hilton in November 2016, the Stopover Buddy service from Icelandair took us out of Reykjavík for an incredible adventure riding ATVs around Three Horn Mountain near Lambalækur, Iceland. Unnar Gardarsson of ATV – Óbyggðaferðir was our leader at the site, and I must admit he took us on one of the best trips I can remember as we slid through snow banks, forded icy rivers, admired waterfalls and volcanos, and then ate a wonderful lunch in an eighth-century monk's cave on a cliffside. On the first part of our adventure...
Lakes around Mount Hood, Sept 2016
After a tough week with a very, very tough photoshoot at a hospital, I took a day off to just grab my swimming trunks and head off to some of the fabulous lakes south of Mount Hood in Oregon. By the time I arrived, a lovely morning fog had burned off and bright sunshine warmed the air. I hit Trillium Lake, Little Crater Lake, and Timothy Lake in Clackamas County, and briefly Clear Lake in Wasco County...
Drive Through Central Idaho, May 2016
While visiting a sick friend in Boise in May 2016, I had a free morning and decided to take a drive up into the mountains of central Idaho to visit the places of my childhood. It was a quick blast of nostalgia that was met with a rainstorm and then blizzard at the high altitudes...
Rainier Day 2: Sunrise, Washington
After our stop at Eunice Lake, we traveled onward to Sunrise, Washington, which is the highest spot in the park you can drive to. From its lodge, hiking trails spider off in all directions for easy hikes that all offer truly breathtaking views of Mount Rainier and its surrounding foothills. Cascade beauty! As we drove up to the site, a thick layer of clouds sat around the mountain, but as we started hiking the cloud cover quickly burned off.
Rainier Day 2: Crystal Mountain Gondola to Summit House
For lunch on the second day in the Mount Rainier National Park area, we rode the Crystal Mountain gondola to the Summit House restaurant. The views from atop the sky slopes were breathtaking, particularly Rainier itself.
Rainier Day 1: Sunset Drive to Crystal Mountain
We ended a packed day of fun in the Mount Rainier National Forest by driving through incredible scenery to our hotel, the Alpine Inn at Crystal Mountain. The room was pretty small, but I had my own bathroom, and hey, we closed the bar that night. One thing that is for certain: the location is spectacular. Plus, we were a short walk to a host of ski runs. I'd love to return in the wintertime.
Rainier Day 1: Hiking in Paradise
Near the end of Day 1 in the Mount Rainier National Park, we stopped at the satisfyingly appropriately named Paradise, Washington, for some hiking and then a picnic dinner. The views were beyond description! And the weather for us was perfection, as the fog burned off Rainier just as we started on the trail. When you visit the park, Paradise is a must-see!
Rainier Day 1: Trail of the Shadows Hike, Longmire
After lunch we entered the Mount Rainier National Park and took the Trail of the Shadows hike across the road from the Longmire National Park Inn. It's a short hike, but with lots of quick changes of scenery to make it interesting to all ages. As you leave the inn, you get breathtaking views of Rainier and then you travel through swampy meadows and into the forest whose giant fir trees give the trail its name. There are also several springs along the trail, including the vibrantly colored and slightly poisonous Iron Mike spring, and even a restored homestead cabin from the 19th century.