Hiking is one of my favorite things to do; especially in the mountains of the western U.S. On my first trip to Northern Cascades National Park in Washington I was able to do a hike that blew my mind. The Hidden Lake Lookout was a strenuously beautiful hike across beautiful forest, loose rock, and snow fields before arriving at the final climb up jagged rocks and huge boulders to arrive at a view that is rivaled by few I’ve experienced. I could say so much more about this place, but I’ll let the photo speak for itself. I think it’s saying, “you need to come here.”
The Palouse is an expansive farming region in eastern Washington state, and it is one of the most unique and breathtaking sights I have had the opportunity to see. From high atop the overlook, you have a 360-degree view of nothing but rolling hills of farmland colored in browns, greens, and yellows. It seems like civilization doesn’t exist from up there, and I was totally okay with that at the time. There are plenty more photos I look forward to sharing from this place.
I love ocean creatures, but I’m usually disappointed at aquariums. I’m also not completely sure how I feel about zoos and aquariums in general concerning how animals are treated. On one hand I think it’s terrible that animals are confined to such small spaces and not able to live their lives in the wild like they should. On the other hand, zoos can rescue and revive a species on the verge of extinction, and I think they can raise interest or awareness about animals to a level that people might not get just by seeing them on TV. The Omaha zoo has several habitats that offer larger open spaces for animals to roam in some cases, and it’s just a really great zoo overall. It even comes with an aquarium, where I saw these awesome creatures.
It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S. so everyone is saying or thinking about what they’re thankful for. Despite the American tradition of gluttony and self-delusion about pilgrims and Native Americans being buddies, we can all get behind the idea of taking some time to think about the people that make our lives better. I’m lucky to have a few of these people, namely my mom, who has encouraged me for as long as I can remember to do what I love so I’m extremely thankful for her support in everything I do. And of course I’m thankful for my traveling companion who has been with me for almost every awe-inspiring moment I’ve had as well as so much more. Even if things look dark sometimes, any amount of light lets us see that the future might be bright.
The Biosphere is one of the most unique modern structures in Montreal. The latticed dome is in a beautiful park across the St. Laurent River in Parc Jean-Drapeau offering great views of the skyline as well as plenty of recreational activities. It was a beautiful day for a walk when we stopped by. We basically had the place to ourselves as we walked the wooded path along the water and then up to enjoy the late afternoon light on the Biosphere itself. I was enjoying the reflections in puddles from the earlier rain, so you can expect more reflection photos once I’m home to edit things.
The weather has been moody since we arrived in Montreal last week. First it was bitterly cold, then it was warmer and snowing, then it was raining followed by a beautiful, warm day with all the white stuff washed away. We took advantage of this perfect autumn weather to climb to the top of Mont Royal just outside of downtown and, after our eyes adjusted to the almost total darkness, we followed the winding woods paths and stairs to this brilliant overlook. It was chillier up there to be sure, but the worst part was the gusting wind. It was hard to keep the tripod still for a photo, but I was happy with this one as well as some others we had fun with.
Montreal has a ton of great attractions, including the Biodome, which is housed in the Olympic Stadium. It contains several different ecosystems including a tropical rainforest, a deciduous forest, and a sub-arctic area. At times it really feels like you’re walking through a humid, sticky rainforest while wearing winter clothes since it just snowed the previous night out in the real world. I watched this white ibis for a while until he was just about to take off. This is the image straight from my camera. I didn’t do any editing or cropping. As natural as I could get it, just like the Biodome.
It’s officially no longer beach season in New Jersey. That may have been the case for a while, but with the frigid temperatures and impending snow, it’s now settled. The cold didn’t stop us from having a nice walk on the shore while the waves crashed. We both realized that neither of us had been to the beach at all this year in the times when most people find it acceptable and fun. I actually prefer the beach without all the people. I definitely don’t mind the drive there from where I live in the middle of the state without the droves of PA drivers clogging the single-lane roads. Now I’m looking forward to coming back when it snows!
Among the beautiful parks and modern architecture of Montreal is a relic from another time that outshines them all. The Notre-Dame Basilica looks almost unassuming from the outside, but once you step inside you have to stand in awe for a moment before you can really absorb what’s in front of you. A gem of North American Gothic revival built in the 19th century, the altar is something you have to see to believe. The colors are breathtakingly vibrant, while the detailed woodworking is nothing short of a master work. You could spend hours inside discovering the nuances of individually carved statues and ornate spiral staircases; not to mention the 7000 pipes of the organ. Yeah. Definitely worth the visit.
Montreal has a ton of beautiful places to see. The market is no exception. Marchè Jean-Talon is in the middle of Little Italy and has the distinction of being one of the oldest markets in the city. So many gorgeous fruits and veggies were laid out before us it was hard to decide to buy something. It felt more like being in a museum of produce. Everything is as fresh as it is pretty, with samples at the ready to further entice your purchases. Beyond the produce there is a wine vendor, spices, tons of maple syrup, and a couple of cute little bakeries where I picked up some unusual and delicious treats. It was a nice change of pace to slow down and browse before sitting in the cafe to enjoy a pastry.