The Glacial Rivers and Lakes of Jasper

 

Jasper NP  165Some of the most spectacular places in Jasper National Park are its glacial rivers and its brilliant hued glacial lakes. And we’re always drawn to water.

Jasper NP  149Jasper NP  150The amazing colors of the lakes are caused by reflections from sediment that originates in rocks under glaciers called rock flour. These colors were like nothing we’d ever seen before.

Maligne Lake is the largest lake in the park and the second largest glacial-fed lake in the world.  We considered kayaking there, but the lake is 14 miles long so we figured we’d see a lot more of it on a boat tour, which we purchased as a package with the Jasper Sky Tram.

The weather was a bit cloudy as we started out on the road to the lake. But the road is known for its beauty and for its abundance of wildlife.

Jasper NP  152Jasper NP  151Jasper NP  172Along the way, we checked out Medicine Lake, which is flooded in the summer and disappears in the winter. There is no visible channel for the lake to drain through, it drains from the bottom through sinkholes, then follows an underground cave network and surfaces in Maligne Canyon (more on the canyon later). Early Indians believed spirits were responsible for the lake’s disappearance, thus its name.Jasper NP  178

Bighorn sheep are commonly spotted in this area, and further along the way a couple of females with babies were wandering in the middle of the road. The adults apparently have no fear of humans (or have been fed by humans) and walked right up to various cars’ windows to peer inside.

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The Olympic Peninsula

Olympic   016Olympic   005Arriving in Forks, Washington, a small logging town which also happens to be the setting for the Twilight books and movies, we immediately witnessed the town’s earnest efforts to capitalize on the Twilight craze.Olympic   008

Olympic   009It was a surreal experience. Vampires and werewolves unseen in the background. Brilliant rivers and lakes, verdant meadows, towering trees, rugged peaks, and a wild coastline.  And then there were the various forests: lowland, montane and subalpine.

We had arrived at the Olympic Peninsula.Olympic-Peninsula-map Continue reading

Portland and the Columbia River Gorge

portland  071portland  001Our last stop in the Oregon area was Portland and the Columbia River Gorge, although our campground was located by Stevenson, Washington, on the other side of the river.  As we drove inland towards Portland we came to a detour.  Turns out the direct road was closed and the police were diverting everyone.  So we had to take the long way around.

stock-illustration-20342509-robberBut, since Portland was on our way, we had planned a couple of errands on our way there. One was a stop at Camping World. We had an unfortunate incident at our last campsite – one night someone stole our barbecue and our one-gallon propane tank – just like that. We were both pretty furious about it, and it was the first time anyone ever lifted something from our site – after a year and ten months of fulltiming. Ugh!

81lJ1qRg+wL._SL1500_Even with the detour we still had time to stop at Camping World and buy a replacement barbecue and propane tank, as well as some water filters. We also stopped at the Blue Beacon to have Island Girl washed. Not bad.

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Mt Hood Oregon

portland  013Our first day we took a driving tour of the area, including the Fruit Loop, a loop drive that goes through “approximately 35 miles of orchards, forests, farmlands and friendly communities” on both sides of the Columbia River. What a great idea to create and “event” that connects these places for visitors.

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Mt Adams Washington

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Yosemite Valley

“But no temple made with hands can compare with Yosemite. Every rock in its wall seems to glow with life.”– John MuirYosemite Valley  038

Some of you have been there. Some have seen beautiful images of Yosemite National Park by that famous photographer, Ansel Adams. Some may have read some of John Muir’s inspirational writings about the park.Yosemite Valley  047

As for me, this is the end of my California tour down memory lane. I was here with Hector once over thirty years ago. I remember wishing we could have a billboard on top of our rental car that spelled out WOW! And so my description of this place is simply WOW!

Yosemite Valley  037Hector was smitten on that first trip long ago and has returned several times since.  This is and always has been his favorite national park. And as we approached, he was jumping out of his shoes with excitement.

Excitement about being back and about finally bringing me with him.  I was excited too. This park has so much to offer – towering giant cliffs, waterfalls, a beautiful river, high sierra, sequoia groves, and an enormous valley, meadows, flowers, wildlife…Yosemite Valley  014Yosemite Valley  002Yosemite Valley  005

Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove became the first protected land in the U.S. on June 30, 1864 when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant Act.

After the National Parks movement began, U.S. Congress proposed creating a new federal park surrounding the old Yosemite Grant and in 1890, Yosemite National Park became a reality.

There are four entrances to the park.  One from the east at Tioga Pass and three from the west.

After a somewhat harrowing curvy drive from the coast, we reached our campground, five miles from the northernmost west entrance called Big Oak Flat.

Angel was exhausted after the drive and enjoyed one of her favorite perches.

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The Pacific Coast Highway

Big Sur  005Big Sur  030The Pacific Coast Highway south of Monterey climbs towards Big Sur,  yet another very cool place along the coast.  This section of the coastal drive is stunning.  And this is the same drive we took many, many years ago on one of our very first “big” trips as a married couple. Big Sur  010Big Sur  003Big Sur  007

That long ago trip began in San Francisco and ended in Los Angeles.  With a memorable stop in Big Sur.Big Sur  001 Continue reading

The Amazing Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park

Sequoia  004Sequoia  117We stayed in Three Rivers, California while visiting the amazing Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park.  This small town, just outside of the entrance to the park, had lots of interesting structures and other “stuff” throughout.  And many beautiful birds filled the trees.  One thing the town didn’t have was Verizon service.Sequoia  112Sequoia  118Sequoia  113Sequoia  098Sequoia  003

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Niagara Falls

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niagara  001Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve wanted to visit Niagara Falls.  And even though we lived in New York City for awhile, my family didn’t have the opportunity to take the trip at that time. Later in life, other places captured my interest, and I moved on.niagara  002

But now that we’d spent some time on the east coast, it was time to take care of this childhood wish.  So Hector and I planned a short stop in Niagara Falls on the way from Southern Vermont to Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Land’s End

Perce  016Forillon  044The drive from Percé out to Forillon National Park on the eastern tip of the Gaspé peninsula is very scenic.  And it’s an exciting drive on a very steep road with multiple 10-15 degree inclines and one 17 degree incline.  They don’t much believe in switchbacks here.Perce  017

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Lovely New Brunswick

New Brunswick31New Brunswick17Like Canada in general, the province of New Brunswick is large in size and low in population.  It encompasses about 27,453 square miles and has a population of just 751,000 people or about 27 people per square mile. Continue reading