Fairy Falls

Fairy Falls

Fairy Falls The Best Little Hike in Yellowstone One the best things about Yellowstone is that there truly is “something for everyone”. There are the very popular sights that you’ve seen in countless books, photos, and video clips – Old Faithful, Lower Falls, Yellowstone Lake, etc. These are all extremely easy to access, most with parking directly next to them and fully planned walkways to allow up-close-and-personal experience to these grand sights. There are also things that require just a small effort to see – perhaps a small drive to Lamar Valley to see massive herds of bison, or a short walk from a parking lot to boardwalks that take you out over slightly less popular thermal features. But, as with other things I’ve written about, it’s the slightly-beyond-the-norm effort that often results in some of the most interesting things and memorable excursions. Our day hike to Fairy Falls was no exception. See all my Fairy Falls hike photos here! Setting Out Located between two colorful hot springs of its own, the parking for our trail today only has a few vehicles as we arrive. Parking and heading across the bridge on Firehole River, Kathy, Mel, and I head out on our day’s adventure! The trail walked alongside the River, directly across from the Midway Geyser Basin – home of some of the most impressive springs and pools in all of Yellowstone (which we had seen from ground-level just a couple of days before). A sign warned us to stay on the trail, because the actual surface of the Geyser Basin has areas that are unpredictably fragile and thin,...
Kallmunz

Kallmunz

Kallmunz In August of 2001, my project team from the Applied Research Labs: The University of Texas conducted a “site survey” of the US Army Combat Maneuver Training Center (since renamed as the Joint Multinational Readiness Center) just outside of Hohenfels, Germany. We were developing a new digital training collection tool for each of the Army’s major training centers and needed an on-the-ground evaluation of the capabilities and requirements from each unique center. We had many long days working and talking with these dedicated Army personnel throughout the week, but because of the longer length of the summer days, we had free time after work each day to explore the surrounding German countryside. There was a charming old town nearby with a great river, a very old stone footbridge, excellent examples of traditional German architecture, a striking medieval castle atop the hill overlooking the city, and a great local restaurant that quickly became a team favorite. The village of Kallmunz dates from the 1300s, with parts of the overlooking castle having been raised several hundred years earlier than that. The River Naab bisects the small town providing some truly beautiful photo opportunities. My only regret about my visits to Kallmunz is that we did not have the time to actually climb the hill and properly walk around the castle ruins! Kallmunz photos - day 1 Kallmunz photos - day 2 Kallmunz photos - day 3 Bridge Across the River Naab Spanning the River Naab is a medieval stone footbridge leading from one section of Kallmunz to the other. We had parked our car in a convenient spot near a...
Broadway Tower

Broadway Tower

A Cotswolds Folly Situated atop the second-highest point in the Cotswolds, Broadway Tower is easily visible from many points in the beautiful surrounding English countryside. It was built in the last few years of the 18th Century (completed in 1799) as a gift for Lady Coventry from her husband, George William 6th Earl of Coventry. She had wondered whether a beacon fire lit on this spot would be seen from her house in Worcester – some 20+ miles away. So, being a dutiful husband and having plenty of resources at his disposal, he set out to grant his lovely wife’s request! (Spoiler Alert: It could be seen!) Broadway Tower photos - 1996! Broadway Tower photos - 2001! Broadway Tower photos - 2006! 1996 My first experience with Broadway Tower was in November of 1996. Driving with John and Marianne on a sunny (but COLD) English afternoon, we had been through the village of Broadway for some shopping and had been touring the surrounding Cotswolds villages. Pulling out of Broadway and onto the A44, I spotted a very striking silhouette on the crest of the rising hill overlooking Broadway. John obliged my curiosity and drove us to it, but given the time we had for other things that day and the quickly setting sun, we didn’t actually get to explore it. Shockingly, I don’t have any photos of the actual Tower from *this* visit, because we were greeted at the fenceline by two of the shaggiest cows I’d ever seen. After the fact, I found out these were Highland Cattle, a native Scottish cattle breed that have made their way...
Pompeii

Pompeii

Pompeii In 2005, we had an amazing trip to Italy, starting out with three days in Rome and continuing on with an incredibly luxurious cruise in the Western Mediterranean on the Radisson SS Voyager. Each day on the cruise included a stop that would’ve been an adventurous vacation in and of itself. As it was, we were sometimes forced to make a decision between one of several potentially once-in-a-lifetime options. The first port-of-call was one of those moments. Waking up to the sunrise coming over the mountains surrounding the Italian port town of Sorento, we had already made the first of our several tough choices for this cruise. While Kathy and her parents wanted to see the beautiful sights of Positano and the Amalfi Coast, my historical wanderlust made the only decision possible for me. I’m heading to Pompeii! See all of my Pompeii photos here! Sorento Meeting the group of (previous to this excursion) strangers from the cruise that will be going to Pompeii with me for the guided tour, we board the small tender that takes us from Voyager to the waiting dock. As we get closer, some of the details of the homes along the cliff come into view – striking that ever-present desire for me to go explore them, too. Alas… no time this visit. Perhaps another time. Boarding the bus at the base of the hill, we drive up the narrow street from the port, turning left and north towards our destination. Weaving between the already-busy town of Sorento, we eventually come out onto the coastal road that has the Mediterranean on our left...
Taggart Lake Hike

Taggart Lake Hike

Taggart Lake The US National Parks system is one of the crown jewels of our country. Being able to set aside beautiful and breathtaking venues, preserve them, and provide public access really is an amazing part of our national fabric. Before heading to Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 2012, we were spending a few days in the Grand Tetons and Jackson, Wyoming area (way-too-many photos here). Given the wild and beautiful surroundings, we wanted to take a nice hike into the foothills of the Tetons and explore. See all of my Taggart and Bradley Lake photos here! Hike preparation Prior to even leaving home, we had looked at several hike options. Since the appeal of the Tetons reflected in a clear mountain lake is so strong, having a large body of water was going to be key. Also, since we were going to be hiking around the very popular and well-visited Jenny Lake at one point, it was decided to look for something that was more remote and less popular. There are a pair of lakes, Taggart and Bradley, that have well-defined hiking trails (so we could count on having fellow travelers from time to time – safety!) and the draw of *two* beautiful lakes on one hike. It made it an easy choice. 🙂 Setting out Since we had arrived in Jackson the previous afternoon and had only seen the Tetons from the surrounding roads, this was the first entrance into the actual Grand Teton National Park. As you would expect, the closer we get to the base of the Tetons, the more impressive they become....
Ebrington and St. Eadburgha’s

Ebrington and St. Eadburgha’s

In 2015, we returned to England for an amazing vacation (read all about it here). Anytime a traveler comes to England who has never been before, visiting the traditionally tourist sights of London will be #1 on the list. It’s getting out into the countryside – and specifically to the Cotswolds – that should always be the true destination. Here are all of my photos from Ebrington! Ebrington One of my favorite memories, after doing the “three days in London” tourist sights, was spending several hours in the small village of Ebrington. We were staying in the amazing Charingworth Manor during our week in the Cotswolds and were going to be branching out from there to many different wonderful adventures. But one particular morning, we had some time to ourselves before the afternoon’s festivities began. Since I had “done my homework” prior to the trip, I knew there was a nice country road walk from Charingworth to Ebrington, and the photos looked exactly like the prototype Cotswolds village. So, after breakfast we set out on foot. The way Charingworth was situated with the road behind it, we actually got to climb over a small dry-stack wall that had a convenient step built into it! The road was typically “English narrow”, allowing two cars to pass side-by-side only if one or both of them were off the actual road surface! So – walking along, we definitely kept our eyes open. Fortunately, English drivers are VERY used to foot traffic, and this particular road was so rarely used that we only saw one or two cars during the round trip walk!...
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