Monday, June 23, 2014

A week in North Carolina - one more to go - travel

Three darling little pigs and one Big Bad Wolf

Eliza in the character of the Big Bad Wolf
Our 13 year old granddaughter Eliza asked me why would readers of this blog be interested in a bunch of pictures of grandchildren. Good question! I wondered the same thing myself.

I am hoping my readers who are not my friends or relatives stay with the blog long enough until we get situated in our home in July. My wife has suggested a new title, Musings in Missouri, and I will define a focus for the blog that hopefully will keep some of my viewership from Musings in Mongolia.

I had 28 years of experience writing a weekly newspaper column so the challenge of making this interesting is one that I am used to. With modern technology, I can now tell stories with photographs and I have a camera I like to use. It is kind of exciting. Really.

Angelina, age 4, hunting for fireflies
Outdoor fun. This week I include pictures of our daughter and son-in-law's forest which is on their property in Hillsborough, North Carolina. I have been cleaning up the forest of deadwood, wild blackberry bushes and Kudzu.
At the same time, I have renovated a fire pit I built some years earlier

Grant, Eliza's twin, at the fire pit - a path winds to the trampoline area

Grant's Fort

and helped a 13 year old grandson, Grant, build a fort.

The other side of the fort

Grant on the lookout tower

The three grandchildren traveling with us and the five that live in North Carolina are having fun with the campfire meals, bonfires, and marshmellow roasts.

Elena and Juliana with their art teacher, Mrs. Austin

Other neat stuff. The grandchildren attended an art camp, put on a play for us - "The Three Little Pigs" - tried their hand at archery and BB gun shooting at a Cub Scout activity and building puzzles. Here are some pictures from our week.

Elena's tropical fish

Juliana's sand painting

Elena and Juliana try their hand at archery

Peter shooting a BB gun

Add caption

Peter (center) about to go down a water slide


It's all about making memories for them  - and for us.

I have been an advocate of family travel and vacations as special times in childhood. We did as much as we could with our own children under our circumstances.

Our own travels. Indirectly related is our own pleasure in travel in this beautiful country and wonderful world we live in. I am including a column I wrote in 2006 chronicling our own travels in the western part of the United States and then other exciting places.

Notice that Mongolia, Hong Kong, Argentina, and China were on our bucket list at the time - only Lake Baikol remains.

The Ten Most Beautiful Places In America

I have been fortunate. I was born in Montana and lived in the west - Montana, Washington, Utah, California and Arizona - during my childhood and young adult years.

People often ask what my hobbies are. One answer is travel. If I had to pick an occupation for sheer fun, it would be nature photography. Or maybe a combination of nature and cultural photography.

My wife, Darlene has been a willing and occasional reluctant partner is these travel adventures and occasional misadventures. We started off our marriage with a 3 month honeymoon to Mexico, Central America and Lake Tahoe.

The ten most beautiful places. I want to share with you some places I’ve been that are magnificent beyond words. I am going to group ten places in no particular order. Each has a beauty that is unique and incomparable.
- Yosemite Valley, California from above and looking up from below. From any angle.
- Avenue of the Giants - a Redwood forest drive in Northern California. Unbelievable.
- Grand Canyon and, in particular, Havasu Falls in Havasu Canyon found at the bottom after a ten mile hike down into the canyon. Twin waterfalls falling into a pool of turquoise blue water.
- Kalalau Valley along the Na Pali cliffs on the North Coast of Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands. I hiked in 11 miles and spent a week there looking up at the sheer cliffs and looking out at roiling sea.
- Olympic National Park - a moss covered rain forest in splendorous greens.
- Crater Lake, Oregon. Perfect reflective beauty I have seen once and have never forgotten.
- Bryce and Zion Canyons in Utah. The colors and accessibility of Bryce and the panoramas of Zion are nature’s masterpieces. We spent a week camping in Zion Park.
- Badlands in South Dakota as viewed from Sheep Mountain or from anywhere for that matter. Incredible sight.
- The Black Hills of South Dakota: Spearfish Canyon, Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse mountain, Custer State Park, Sylvan Lake, The Needles - the Black Hills are America’s best kept secret.
- The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone Parks. Mountain majesty and expansive and boiling, spewing nature. Yellowstone Falls from any vista.

Honorable mentions. That is my top ten. Now for my honorable mention list, also in no particular order.

Rain forests north of Hilo, Hawaii. Mount Ranier. Mount Shasta. Golden Gate Bridge. Southern Oregon coast. Going up and over the Beartooth Mountains in Wyoming to Montana. Wilderness camping in the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming. Devils Tower, Wyoming. Picturesque Mendenhall Glacier, near Juneau, Alaska. Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona - the Arizona desert in bloom after heavy spring rains.

The north shore of Lake Superior from Duluth to the Canadian border. Camping at Iceberg Lake in Glacier National Park. Alpine scenery in Rocky Mountain National Park and near Aspen, Colorado. Hanalei Beach on Kauai. Wisconsin Dells. Louisiana bayous and causeway north of New Orleans. The north shore of Oahu.

Times Square and New York City skyline. Historic sights of Washington DC. Wisconsin farms and countryside.

Mississippi River drives. Lake Powell, Arizona. San Diego Zoo. The San Antonio Riverwalk. Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center. Outer Banks, North Carolina. 17 mile drive on Monterey Peninsula, California. Lake Tahoe.

To do list. Admittedly, I haven’t seen Niagra Falls, Carlsbad Caverns, New England in fall colors, Monument Valley, Arizona and Arches National Park in Utah. Isle Royale or Mackinac Island in Michigan. Mesa Verde National Park and Colorado River trip. Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. Florida Keys. Everglades. These places have allure for me and might crack my top ten list.
What did I leave off my top ten list for American travel? What are your favorite places?

International travel. I have done some international travel, not as much as I like but enough to make some observations.

Greece: View of Athens and the Acropolis from Mt. Lycavittos. Greek food. Visiting Crete, Santorini, Mykonos and Rhodes - each Greek island is a jewel and a treasure. The rich and famous have discovered Santorini and soon everyone else will.

Turkey: Roman ruins at Ephesus.

Canada: Arctic ocean from Ellesmere Island, Northwest Territories. Canadian Rockies - Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise. Quebec countryside. Montmorency Falls outside of Quebec City. Restaurants in Winnipeg. Grain elevators and canola fields in Saskatchewan. The view of Vancouver, B.C. from Grouse mountain. Chinatowns in Montreal and Vancouver. Countryside of Prince Edward Island.

France: Paris, Paris and more Paris. Plenty to do and see - architecture, museums, palaces, cathedrals. French cooking. Town Square in Nancy. World War I history at Verdun. French countryside. Trains. The Alps around Grenoble.

Luxemburg: charming, beautiful and accessible.

Japan: Beauty of temples, shrines and gardens in Kyoto and Kamakura. Festivals. Trains. Unique cultural experience. The size of Tokyo. Vibrant city of Fukuoka.

Mexico: The beaches of Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlan. Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza and Uxmal. The ruins at Monte Alban and Teotihuacan. The waterfall at Eyipantla.

Guatemala: Lake Atitlan surrounded by cone-shaped volcanoes. Guatemalan highland cities and towns such as Quetzaltenango and Chichicastenango.

Eastern Europe: Castles in Slovakia.. St. Petersburg, Russia - architecture, palaces, museums, and Russian Orthodox churches. Krakow - Polish history and faith. Vienna - great city to visit. Everything about Prague - stunning beauty.

Places we’d like to see. Someday we plan to visit Argentina, China and Mongolia and the Lake Baikol area of Siberia.

I’ve heard that Italy is near the top of everyone’s list travel list: Venice. Almafi coast. Tuscany. Florence. The Austrian or Swiss Alps. Egypt. Croatia. Istanbul. Hong Kong. The Norwegian coast. New Zealand.

What else should be on my travel list?

1 comment:

  1. Please tell your granddaughter that pictures of happy children brighten everyone's day! She is adorable. You are having so much fun and that is awesome! I hope you continue to enjoy your grand children. They are so amazing. I miss my grandfather every day, but his life is such an inspiration to me, too.