Our Road Trip Comes Full Circle at Arches National Park
Over two months after we set
our compass for the Canadian Rockies we circled back to Arches, one of our
favorite national parks. From there
Chaco Belle was like a horse headed for its barn. We arrived home on October 16, warm with
treasured memories of stunningly beautiful places and adventures often shared
with visiting friends.
Antielope Island: A Quiet Oasis Amidst Salt Lake City's Sprawl
After two magical months,
mostly in Canadian and U.S. national parks, the solitary beauty of Antelope
Island in the Great Salt Lake was the perfect antidote to culture shock from
the traffic madness around Salt Lake City.
We camped overnight on Antelope Island, a Utah state park, and hiked its
beautiful trails. It gets a many-star
recommendation for anyone traveling that way.
Toe to Toe with the Athabasca Glacier
Brrrrrrrr. Polly, John, Dorcas and Pat planted our poles
on the Athabasca Glacier, one of six glacial “toes” fed by the Columbia
Icefield, the largest icefield in the Canadian Rockies. Sitting astride the Continental Divide along
the border of British Columbia and Alberta, the icefield lies partly in Banff
National Park and partly in Jasper National Park. The Athabasca Glacier’s depth is from 270 to
1,000 feet. We were well-fortified with a fabulous breakfast at the Discovery
Centre’s Altitude Restaurant overlooking the Athabasca Glacier.
Chaco Belle Burrows in for a Fridgid Night Across from the Columbia Icefield
It was a gorgeous drive from
Banff up the Icefield Parkway to the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre, the jumping
off point for our glacier tour the next morning. A monster storm was scheduled to cross our
path that night, but a Colorado low pulled it south where it dumped three feet
of snow on Waterton and Glacier National Parks (ultimately changing our exit-from-Canada
plan). It was frigid nonetheless, and
all of us—Pat, Dorcas, John, and Polly—layered up for the night in just about
all of the winter clothes we had with us.
Our Bonnie Lass, then an 18-month-old border collie, wore Polly’s down
vest, and burrowed deep in the valley she dug between us in our Siberian goose
Kicking Horse River Roars through Natural Bridge in Yoho National Park
Our friends Pat and Dorcas on
09.24 flew into Calgary. We met them at
the airport and they encamped in Chaco Belle for the coming week. Our home base was Tunnel Mountain Campground,
an ideal perch above the town of Banff.
On a side trip to Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park—beautiful, but too
cold and snowy to put our canoe in the water—we stopped at the Natural Bridge,
carved out by the powerful Kicking Horse River with a variety of waterfalls
flowing around it. From Pat’s and
Dorcas’s vantage in the photo they are watching the wild Kicking Horse narrow
itself through the opening that created the bridge. Never averse to world class microbrews and
good food, we topped off our Yoho visit with lunch at the Truffle Pigs Bistro
in Field, British Columbia. More stars
for fellow adventurers.
Walking Along the Bow in Banff
It seemed that the Bow River
flowed nearly everywhere we went, including through the heart of the town of
Banff. We enjoyed a beautiful walk with
Beverly and Warren on a footpath along the Bow, and later floated the river
with them in a raft. Bonnie the Border
Collie enjoyed the walk, too.
Hiking to Grassi Lakes with Friends
|On 09.16 our friends Beverly and Warren flew to Calgary from California
where they had gone in search of pelagic birds and whales. From one extreme to another! We enjoyed a hike together to the Grassi
Lakes, whose green and blue waters are surreal.
Afterward we enjoyed dinner in nearby Canmore, a wonderful little town
full of good restaurants, natural beauty, the Bow River, wildly patterned
rabbits, plenty of charm, and absent the tourist pressures on Banff.|
Elk on the Athabasca River in Jasper
The Athabasca River, wild as
it plunges over Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park (scene of Bonnie the
Border Collie’s Great Escape), meanders through the town of Jasper, mellowed by
a gentler drop and sand bars. We kept
coming across the elk on the middle sand bar with the magnificent rack, always accompanied
by members of his very ample harem. (see
John’s photo of the “bull elk in wildflowers” in the “Wildlife” section of this
website). The source of the Athabasca
River is in the Columbia Icefield.
Jasper, Alberta Train Station
The Jasper train station, a
favorite point of debarkation for riders on The Canadian, the train that
connects Toronto and Vancouver, is located in the heart of the town of Jasper.
Our visit to the station certainly stirred our own dreams of a trans-Canada
train journey. We enjoyed walking all around Jasper, stopping in microbreweries
and bakeries to sample their culinary offerings. Our rolling home lived northeast of Jasper,
first at Pocahontas Campground, where we serendipitously found our way to the
famed Miete Hot Springs, then at Snaring River Campground.
Paddling Moraine Lake in Our Yellow Canoe
After watching dawn break over
Moraine Lake we hiked the trail alongside Lake Louise, but the power of Moraine
Lake pulled us back for a midday paddle in our yellow canoe. Imagine the feeling of dipping your paddle in
that water! Adding an element of
excitement, a bear traversed the rocky sidewall of Moraine Lake as we paddled
along in tandem with it.
Watching Dawn Break Over Moraine Lake, Banff National Park
Up at 0 dark 30 we arrived at
Moraine Lake, just miles from Lake Louise at the foot of the Icefield Parkway,
when it was still dark—and even then snagged the last available parking
place. Moraine Lake, especially as dawn
breaks and the sun moves across the mountains, is a photographer’s dream (see
John’s classic photo in the “Landscape” section of this website). Situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, the
lake is an azure beautiful beyond the power of words to describe. The color comes from the refraction of green
and blue light on the rock flour deposited in the lake by surrounding
glaciers. This photo was taken after
John had photographed Moraine Lake through stages of dawn breaking until the
sun lit up the peaks across the lake, which were reflected in the azure
Rendezvous in Canmore with Kate, Will & Ruth
We were delighted to discover
that our paths could easily cross with Kate, Will, and six-month-old Ruth, who
were taking a Canada vacation from their summer vacation in Montana. On 08-28 we drove through Kootenay and Banff
National Parks to meet the North Carolinians in Canmore. Together we trekked to
Grassi Lakes on 08.29, our first visit to the stunningly beautiful little
lakes, then indulged in microbrews and poutine, the Canadian national dish, at
Tavern 1883. Speaking of
microbrews: The tagline on every can
from Canmore Brewing Company is “Think Outside.
There is no box.” Reason enough
to drink it! In the photo of Kate, Will,
and Polly at Grassi Lakes, Ruth is in the photo, too—catching a ride on Will’s
back. A couple of days later we would
rendezvous in Banff with friends Seetha and Asoka Srinivasan, enjoying
breakfast together at the Fairmont, dinner at Masala, and a boat cruise on Lake
Minnewanka. Banff was a magnet for
friends that summer.
Columbia River Wetlands by Canoe and Foot
We experienced the Columbia
River wetlands by canoe from Invermere and by foot, on a trail overlooking the
river. And yes, that’s the same Columbia
River that flows past Hood River and Astoria into the Pacific. Before putting our canoe into the Columbia we
explored the farmers’ market at Invermere, just south of Radium Hot
Springs. We of course did a tasting at
the Arrowhead Brewing Company in Invermere.
Hiking Trails from Redstreak Campground in Kootenay National Park, B.C.
After a fabulous stay in
Missoula we wound our way toward the Canadian Rockies via Flathead Lake and
Glacier National Park, entering Canada at the small Roosville border crossing,
which connects Eureka, Montana and Grasmere, British Columbia. We broke the next leg of the journey with a
night in the parking lot of the Real Canadian Superstore in Cranbrook (venue of
the wild deer attack), then settled into the Redstreak Campground in Kootenay
National Park, just above Radium Hot Springs.
We enjoyed hiking trails right out of the campground, including the one
in this photo overlooking Radium Hot Springs.
Eventually we took a soak in the radioactive waters!
Good Times in Missoula, Montana
Caroline and her band,
“Junior,” entertain at the Farm Party, an annual “Taste of the Farm” event in
Missoula. Caroline, shared with us by
Kate, once again offered us open-arms hospitality in Missoula, inviting us to
the Farm Party, going with us to an indie movie, eating Missoula’s best pizza
and ice cream, walking along the Clark Fork.
Caroline’s warm hospitality echoed her welcomingness when we visited
Missoula in 2007 during our three years as rolling stones.
Lunch at the Fiesta Mexicana Taco Bus in Dillon, Montana
With Missoula as our first
real destination after leaving Moab, we traveled to Provo, past Salt Lake City,
up through Idaho, and finally into Montana.
Caroline Keys, Kate Medley’s good friend, advised us “not to miss lunch
at the Fiesta Mexicana Taco Bus in Dillon” and miss it we did not. Polly swigs a soda as she waits for the delicious
mushroom taco they ventured to make for her.
Dawn Breaks Over Arches National Park, Utah
John takes a break from photographing
Arches National Park in the early morning hours. On our first visit to Arches in the 1990’s we
mountain biked past dinosaur tracks to Klondike Bluffs just as dawn broke, and
we’ve loved the park ever since. On this
trip we visited with Dell Keys, who in 2008 as an NPS volunteer had taken us on
an off-limits hike in the Fiery Furnace restricted-use area of Arches. Our sojourn in Moab made us feel like our
great Canadian roadtrip had begun in earnest—and it had taken a village to get
us underway. Neighbors Annie and Andrew
welcomed us and Chaco Belle into their driveway for two weeks when we were on
the countdown. To get us back in
practice for dry camping Scott, one of John’s Tesuque firefighter friends, provided
hospitality for us and our rolling home on the grounds of Shidoni Foundry and
Galleries for a few days before our 08.08 departure. Finally underway, our first stop was in
Dancing NIA to Celebrate Nance’s Birthday
Studio NIA was alive this
morning with friends and the full range of Lopez family members celebrating
Nance on her birthday. Yarrow, the youngest Lopez at nearly 11 months, does his
own almost-crawl dance with Sarah, the NIA teacher.
Suzanne Plays the Blues at
Tiny’s in Santa Fe
Tonight bass guitarist
Suzanne played the blues at Tiny’s with other musicians in the Santa Fe
Workshop. The music moved Tiny’s customers to move on the dance floor!
Bringing in the Light at
Santa Fe Photographic Workshops
Santa Fe Photographic
Workshops never fail to bring new perspectives and new techniques to my
photographic work. All week I’m immersed in a workshop on portrait lighting techniques
using speed lights. These photos of a couple of the models illustrate
techniques using my newest lighting equipment.
Cross-Country Skiing in
Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park
It’s getting to be a
habit, meeting friends from Washington, DC for winter skiing in beautiful
places. This year we’ve gathered at Snow Mountain Ranch near Winter Park,
Colorado. Today our group geared up for cross-country skiing on a trail in
Rocky Mountain National Park. The tracks into snowy terrain are an inviting
reminder of the quiet beauty of gliding into winter.
Cactus Wren at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix
|A cactus wren sits atop…a cactus, of course. This morning
we visited the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix with Ellen Dement, who now
lives in Mesa not far from the “Arizona Dements”: Aimée, David, Cayden, Hannah
and Kendall. This botanical garden is stunning. We plan to go back again and
again. (Can’t help but add that Phoenix’s Musical Instrument Museum is
another wonder. Don’t miss either place if you get to Phoenix).|
Darcy, Andy and Delia Come
to Santa Fe for Christmas
Our friends Darcy, Andy and
Delia flew into snowy New Mexico from sunny Burbank, California—their nearly-new
home—on the evening of Christmas day. Yesterday we explored Meow Wolf’s House
of Eternal Return. Today we tromped around the Plaza in boots with poles—and
with Darcy wearing John’s cowboy hat and boots. She looks like a natural! This happy
photo in front of the New Mexico Museum of Art doesn’t foreshadow what the
Florida-bound travelers will face in just a few hours. A huge snow storm has
socked in Albuquerque and Santa Fe airports, probably for days, and the three
Sawatzkis have embarked on a 30-hour drive in a rental car for Safety Harbor,
Florida and a holiday visit with Darcy’s family.
Roadtrip in Southern Utah
Pat and Dorcas, our good
friends from DC, our six-and-a-half month-old border collie puppy, Bonnie,
Polly and I have embarked on an 11-day roadtrip in Southern Utah with Chaco
Belle, our Airstream, as our rolling home. Today Dell Keys, a physician by
profession in Moab and also a longtime Park Service volunteer guide in Arches
National Park, took us on a great tour of Arches. Delicate Arch is an iconic
landmark in the park. The looks on Pat’s and Dorcas’s faces mirror our love of
Southern Utah, which we feel is like one big national park filling the southern
third of the state. In coming days we’ll explore Capitol Reef National Park,
the town of Boulder (including Hell’s Backbone Grill) and the Trump-threatened
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Kodachrome State Park and Bryce
Canyon National Park.
Formula One Grand Prix in Austin
Today I’m perched on Turn
15 of the Formula One racetrack in Austin for the Grand Prix. The technology of
the cars is breathtaking—as is my race to catch them in the eye of my camera!
Fred Vang and Chris Judge, your enthusiasm for racing has caught up with me.
Austin is all the more
wonderful for our visit with friends Hester and Jim Magnuson, who have taken us
to their favorite restaurants, Central Market and the LBJ Library. Everywhere
we’ve gone Austin-ians heap kudos on Jim, who will receive the Texas Writer
Award at the Texas Book Festival next week-end. Kudos from us, too!
Golden Aspen on Santa Fe
Polly and I hiked our
favorite “golden aspen trail” on Santa Fe Mountain for the third time this
fall. When you’re in the midst of an aspen forest at its peak in autumn, it seems
like the whole world has a golden glow. Our five-month-old border collie,
Bonnie, thinks the millions of golden leaves on the ground are all for her!
Santa Fe Tech Rescue Team
Drills at Nambe Falls
The Santa Fe County
Technical Rescue Team practices taking a patient with a compound fracture out
on a litter over slippery rocks at Nambé Falls on the Pueblo of Nambé, just
north of Santa Fe. My teammates and I practice one Sunday every month for
rescues that require technical expertise—airplane crashes (we had one in
January), cliff falls, rollovers into arroyos. Accidents happen all too often.
Hiking in Santa Barbara
Canyon Near Penasco, New Mexico
After a morning visit with
Stanley Crawford and Thomas Conboy at El Bosque, Stanley’s garlic farm in
Dixon, NM, and brunch at Sugar Nymphs in Penasco, our well-fortified band
enjoys a walk through the aspen forest and along the Santa Barbara River (a
real, free-flowing NM river). August has been rich in all kinds of outings with
friends visiting Santa Fe, including on the Santa Barbara hike: Michaela Buhler
(DC), Roy Winkel (Shepherdstown, WVA), and Hester and Jim Magnuson (Austin).
International Folk Art
Market Community Celebration
us the most exciting
moments of Santa Fe’s International Folk Art Market come during the
of artists from all over the world at the “community celebration” on
Carrying country signs, wearing traditional dress, eyes dancing—feet,
often singing as they parade across the bandstand, the artists don’t
on their excitement about the upcoming market and being in the U.S. In
today's procession a silver jewelry artist from Mali brings a roar from
the crowd gathered
on the Plaza. Polly and I volunteer every year for the market, this
time in the
“artists hospitality” area—up close and personal.
Our Bonnie Lass Comes Home
Our lovely border collie
puppy joined our family today. Just eight weeks old, straight from a ranch in
the Albuquerque East Mountains, Bonnie has a huge personality and promises to
heal our still-sad hearts from the too-early loss of our beautiful border
collie, Zen. Our “negotiations” in the parking lot of Sprouts with Matthew, the
teenager who raised her litter, took an unexpected turn and we came home with
Bonnie and her brother! For now we’ll
fittingly call the puppies Bonnie and Clyde (feeling in our hearts that “Clyde”
will find a loving home in Galisteo with our friends Ken and Terra).
Punting at Cambridge
A roadtrip to Cambridge
topped today’s agenda. Punting with Chris and Fiona on the River Cam was a fine
way to see the ancient university, which dates to 1209. Our visit with the
Judge family—godson Sam, Fiona, Chris and Nathan—at their lovely home in Wilby
(Northamptonshire) has also included an amazing variety of British pubs!
Seashore on the Ring of Kerry, Ireland
southwest coast of Ireland is stunningly beautifu. I took this photo on
today's trip around the Ring of Kerry. Truth is, we absolutely love the
Greenmount House, where we're staying in Dingle (one peninsula further
north), and could happily just explore the Dingle Peninsula's coast and
trails, and its pubs with traditional Irish music.
Falling in Love with Ireland
a couple of days in the very happening city of Dublin we drove today to
the town of Dingle. En route we had lunch in Kilkenny, then explored
the Rock of Cashel (above), an ancient fortress rising
from the plains in County Tipperary. There we encountered the first of
unending photogenic Irish sheep! (we’ll watch border collies herd sheep
in a couple of days). The Irish crow sitting atop the fence post is
evocative of its cousins, the ravens, back home in New Mexico.
Prague through the Eyes of Holly and Family
is the first stop on our 2018 European swing. We love being with
goddaughter Holly, Kevin, Sage and Ansel while in their three-year
sojourn in Prague. The family introduced us to the city through a
"locals' day," featuring their favorite beer garden, and tomorrow
promises "tourists' day," exploring Prague's old town and getting up to
the castle. Prague’s iconic Charles Bridge (above), witness to history,
took me back to a previous visit while on assignment from the State
Department. We look forward to a guided "food tour," but it would be
hard to beat our delicious brunch at the Café
Savoy (above right), a restaurant that has lived through over a
hundred years of Czech history. Sage has promised us a visit to her
school, which we anticipate being the best of the "locals' tour."
The Roundhouse, New Mexico’s
Capitol in Santa Fe
was out photographing Santa Fe landmarks today, including “The
Roundhouse,” New Mexico’s state capitol building--appropriately
located on the Santa Fe Trail in Santa Fe. The volunteer New Mexico
Legislature is one of the few in the country to meet for only one month
in even years, and two months in odd years. Whenever the
legislators are in session I serve as EMT (emergency medical
Plaza Blanca near Abiquiu,
NM – O’Keefe Country
Today we hiked at Plaza Blanca, located in the Rio Chama River Valley between the
village of Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch. Georgia O’Keefe’s painting entitled “The
White Place” is set here in the heart of O’Keefe Country. It’s hard not to
think of O’Keefe when you’re here (“Pedernal” is on the horizon), but if you’ve
seen “Cowboys & Aliens,” it will feel familiar for another reason!
Mikey Five-Fingers Plays Rhythm
Our friend Michael aka
Mikey Five Fingers plays rhythm guitar at Skylight Santa Fe as our other friend,
guitarist-singer Suzanne, and uber-musician Peter Williams, founder of funk
band The Stickey, join in. Photographing this event was pure fun!
Bison: Up Close and Personal
Think I must have made eye
contact with this bison. First thought on seeing that “tail up” was that he was
relieving himself, but as the bison charged on, I could see the fire in his
eyes. Photographing wildlife in Yellowstone feels almost like I’m back in South
Africa’s Kruger National Park.
Hot Water in a Cold
I’ve hiked around
Yellowstone’s geothermal features in every season, but watching the steam rise
off of geothermal pools in sub-freezing temperatures and seeing the geysers
erupt against the winter horizon is the most dramatic by far. The natural light
of Yellowstone in winter is as inspiring as the light in my home state of New
Mexico, and the wintry clouds add to the dramatic effect.
Yellowstone’s Bison in
Winter: First Sighting
our way into Yellowstone National Park today our first sighting of
bison foraging their way through winter took my breath. Our
Bombadier-made snow coach (the means for getting into the heart of
Yellowstone in winter) rounded a curve along the Madison River, and
there they were--a herd of the magnificent beasts. With camera and
three lenses in my backpack, I'm homebasing at Old Faithful Snow Lodge
for a week of cross country skiing with Polly and friends from DC:(left
to right) Sam Stokes, Pat Munoz, Chris Brown, Mary Rollefson, Dorcas
Adkins, Polly and me.|
Blood Moon Over Santa Fe
Santa Fe night skies are
always full of wonder. Tonight, it’s the blood moon. It helps to live in some
of the purest air in the country.
Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes Lift Off by the Thousands as Dawn
Breaks Over the Bosque del Apache
This morning at O’Dark 30
friends Beverly and Warren Jones joined us on a “flight deck” at Bosque del
Apache National Wildlife Refuge further south in New Mexico, bundled in winter
clothes and sipping hot coffee. As dawn began to break a few snow geese began
to signal that lift off was near, and within minutes some 40,000 snow geese
were in the air. A little later, as the sun broke the horizon, the sand hill
cranes used the warming air to lift their heavier bodies and began to take off
in flight groups.
Snow Geese in the Bosque Honk About Climate Change
We warmed up over breakfast, then continued to explore the refuge for hours. I'm reminded once again that the beauty of a camera
lens is getting closer subjects like the birds. Not only do thousands of snow geese and sandhill cranes winter in
the Bosque del Apache; they are joined by a variety of hawks (we were
particularly entertained by a kestrel today), eagles and smaller birds. And the
refuge is attractive to plenty of mammals, too.
the Land of Enchantment:
People, Wildlife and Iconic Landscapes