In the distance, it isn’t obvious. A simple gash across the landscape, a ribbon of earth in a wave of green and gold vegetation. Yet that undulating ribbon is as deep and majestic as the distant mountains, an 800-foot-deep gash into a volcanic plateau, humbling in its grandeur.
I never expected the blue. Living in a land where ice comes in shades of white and off-gray, the brilliant blues and violets of Glacier Grey were startling, invigorating. The lake itself a silver-gray mirror with a surface brushed roughly by the wind, dotted with chunks of glowing blue. Our journey, from Zodiac to tour boat and back again, was one of the roughest of my life, awash in giant waves and hurricane-force blasts off the ice field. But the blue, the blue, made it all worthwhile. This corner of Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile will always occupy a corner of my soul, lit in blue.
It was my first overnight in London, a mere 18 hours to soak in the ambiance before I re-entered the United States after a three month absence. I was searching for a curry shop, and I found Trafalgar Square.
I was fortunate, as a child, to grow up in a small town where the Appalachian Trail danced along the mountaintops that I could see from my bedroom window, and even more fortunate that my parents often took me for walks in the woods, sometimes on the Red Dot and Blue Dot trails that led to the AT.
As an adult, the AT remained beyond my grasp until the 1990s, when I made an effort to day hike along it in numerous spots, including Shenandoah National Park. Bearfence Mountain was one of the spots that scared the heck out of me. The blue blaze was a gentle enough route, but the white blazes led up a jagged course with deep fissures between the rocks, and never mind the rattlesnakes that might be sunning.
When you’re out for a hike and you see a mushroom like this, you immediately think of gnomes. At least I do. I had the good fortune to take a trip last fall as part of my annual SATW Conference to Germany’s Black Forest. It’s been on my life list for hiking. After a day hike near Baden-Baden, our group was transported to Baiersbronn, a major jumping-off point for hiking in the Black Forest, so we could enjoy a rather rugged day hike in the deep dark woods. It’s the land of fairy tales, that’s for sure. And I’d like to spend a few weeks in here. Next time. Meanwhile, the gnomes have it to themselves when no one else is looking.
Easter is Greece is a joyous time, a season of rebirth and renewal. Spending Easter with my sisters on the island of Corfu was very special for me, since it is the one place in Greece that truly goes all out with all aspects of the celebration. The culmination of Easter evening services is the lighting of the candles at midnight as Easter arrives. The lights spread quickly across the city. Watching from a friend’s balcony on the Liston, it was a moving scene.
When Sally and I went to Santorini, I was blown away by the geological delights of the places. Just being in the Cyclades was fun enough, but to be roaming about a massive volcano that was still huffing and puffing at its core … call us crazy, but there we were. After enjoying the delights of Oia and the far shores, we took a boat trip to the cinder cone in the middle of the caldera, which is filled by the sea. From the rim above, it didn’t look so massive as it did when we got off the boat and began to ascend. George, as the locals call it, spewed out sulfur in fumaroles and deposited crystals of yellow, pink, and orange all over the bubbly basaltic rocks.