Departure Delay in Alaska

It seems the common murre, also known as a guillemot, needs a good head start to fly. With a relatively hefty body compared to its wings, departure takes a bit of effort and once aloft, it can't maneuver very well. If you were to suddenly stand up in its flight path, there's a good chance you... Continue Reading →

Parting Shots at Portland’s Japanese Garden

My wife and I have never driven I-5 through the Northwest in October. This year we did, en route to Southern California. The autumn leaves were gorgeous all along the interstate, mostly yellow with occasional spots of orange and red. They helped break up the monotony of having gone this route many times before. When... Continue Reading →

Portland Beauty

If there is one outstanding beauty in Portland, Oregon, my vote goes to this laceleaf maple that shines the brightest in late fall at the Japanese Garden. I was fortunate to see it in its full glory when I passed through the city last Sunday on my way home to Seattle. Five years ago, I... Continue Reading →

The Majesties of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

The park ranger held it up between her thumb and forefinger. It was a mere two inches long. “This is a sequoia cone.” Behind us was a colossus, the General Grant sequoia, the second largest in the world and located in Kings Canyon National Park, standing at a prodigious 268 feet in height. That a seed... Continue Reading →

Sequoia National Park’s Other Attraction, Moro Rock

It's a breathless exercise to climb the roughly 350 steps to the top of Moro Rock, which summits at 6,725 ft ASL. No, this is not the Morro Rock along the California coast but a granite monolith in Sequoia National Park. The effort to complete the climb of 300 feet is worth it for the... Continue Reading →

Fog Lifting Over Pasture

Fall is in the air. In the Northwest we get foggy days early in the season. I was taking back roads in the morning around Eugene, Oregon, when lifting fog was lending its mysterious beauty over the landscape.

Of Obsidian, Lava Casts and Waterfalls: Newberry National Volcanic Monument

The lava sparkles. In a sea of black, rocks reflect light like mirrors. It's eerie enough to walk through a lava field where the ground beneath seems scorched by a cataclysmic firestorm, inhospitable to life, meager vegetation struggling to stay alive. Here in Newberry National Volcanic Monument in Oregon there also happens to be an enormous... Continue Reading →

A Tuff Climb at Smith Rock (Terrebonne, OR)

It’s hard to miss the strange but spectacular rock formations as you’re driving through Terrebonne on US 97. The last time I visited Smith Rock State Park in central Oregon was in 2011. Even though ill with a slight fever, I managed to get down to the foot of these rocks to admire them as well... Continue Reading →

Morocco Recapitulation and Final Thoughts

This is my last post on Morocco. The writing material the country provides is inexhaustible because, to me as a Westerner, it's different in ways cultural, linguistic and religious, reasons I find Morocco so fascinating. I'll conclude by writing down some loosely related thoughts and observations that together have contributed to my understanding of what makes... Continue Reading →

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