C2C #1

d7k_2186copyWEngland’s Coast to Coast path stretches from St. Bees on the Irish Sea in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea in North Yorkshire, a distance of about 190 miles. Conceived and first walked by Alfred Wainwright in the 1970s, it has become one of the most popular walking routes in a nation of walkers, despite the fact that it is not designated as an official national path. It crosses the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors national parks and miles of public rights of way over private land on its way from sea to sea.  Last week the western portion — over the beautiful, rocky, sheep-infested, almost treeless and boggy mountains of the Lake District —was full of hikers from Britain and around the world, traipsing between hotels, b and b’s and youth hostels. Heading east, you eventually emerge into rolling farmland and moors, also full of sheep and a few cows and horses, also incredibly boggy in places. Purple heather and thorny yellow gorse were in bloom and the weather was excellent (for England in September). It only poured for parts of two days in a week. More photos and some logistics to come. More info about the route is here, and here.



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(Map from Contours Walking Tours, UK)


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Posted in England, hiking, walking

Boot & Reboot


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Posted in art, Seattle, walking

Black and Blue

DSC_1986WSHcopyMountains above the North Santiam River, late afternoon light, Cascades, western Oregon.

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Posted in mountains, Oregon, silhouette

Wet But Dry


The mountains of the Pacific Northwest can usually depend on snow melt and summer rains to keep things wet, but this year lack of snow and summer drought have driven water levels down. Above, Detroit Lake, in the mountains east of Salem, OR, is a dam-controlled reservoir that is drained in the winter, but it’s supposed to fill during the summer. This year it’s far below normal. Even rainy Seattle is drier than normal, though you could hardly tell from the old Dodge pick-up truck, below, parked in the city’s Green Lake section. Puget Sound natives like to say they grow up in a climate so wet that they grow moss between their toes. The pick-up, which looks like it was last moved in about 1985, is working on it, despite the drought.


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Posted in climate, Oregon, Pacific Northwest Tagged |

Smoke Sight


How smokey is it in the Pacific Northwest? Very, depending on the day and the place, as windblown smoke from nearly 40 wildfires sweeps across the region. This was last week in the Columbia River Gorge of Washington and Oregon between Hood River and the Bonneville Dam. Video and info from a Portland TV station are here.

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Posted in Columbia River Gorge, forest fires, Oregon Tagged |

Skyline Blue

DSC_9114copyAWSHIn May friends biked the 650 miles of the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, from Front Royal, VA, to Cherokee, NC, and I got to go along. It’s an amazing stretch of road, ranging in elevation from about 560 feet at the northern end of the Skyline Drive in Virginia to 6,053 feet near Richland Balsam, NC. Little traffic before Memorial Day. Virtually no potholes. Consistently stunning views of mountains in all directions. Overlooks, tunnels and turnouts. Your federal tax dollars at work. There were eight people and eight bikes and all the gear jammed into the big blue heavily bumper-stickered Sprinter van borrowed from another friend’s indie rock star nephew, Chadwick Stokes (of Dispatch and State Radio) and his band. Along the way there was a 13-mile climb and a 10-mile descent and lots of other ups and downs. Top, sunset near Big Meadows Lodge, VA. Below, the road and views from it as it winds over the ridges. And flame azaleas and a note stuck along the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. Click here for a slideshow from the trip.










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Posted in Bicycling, Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive

Florida Keys


In the Florida Keys, especially for someone coming from the frozen north, the color is blue: warm blue ocean water running to emerald blue-green, setting off white beaches and a big unobstructed sky that highlights the clouds and the expanse of sea on the Atlantic and Gulf shores.

It’s a unique and beautiful place, but to an outsider on a short visit, it seems a shame that Theodore Roosevelt didn’t set it aside as a national park or a national monument when he did the same for the Grand Canyon in 1908.

There’s not much land in this stretch of islands that runs about 125 miles from just south of Miami to Key West at its southern tip, the southernmost point in the continental U.S., 90 miles from Cuba. Much of it within a stone’s throw of the constant traffic on U.S. Route 1 is covered with hotels, condos, strip malls, shell shops, sandal outlets, marinas, and housing developments that were created by dredging up the bottom to make house lots and canals where wetlands once were. Key West, the most intensively populated place, is one of the most attractive because so much of the old architecture has been preserved.

The national, state and municipal parks and wildlife refuges are beautiful and have saved some of the Keys for public use in something close to their natural state. Tourists come from around the world. Freshwater comes from the mainland via a 130-mile-long water main. Sewage treatment is a big issue because nutrients from even treated sewage degrade the quality of the surrounding water. Residents and government are working to build treatment plants with deep wells to dispose of treated effluent and they are attempting to protect the Key deer and the coral reefs, but they have a lot to do.

For a slide show, from Key West and the Ernest Hemingway House to kayaking, CLICK HERE.

Information on environmental challenges in the Keys is HERE.


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Posted in Florida Keys, ocean, water

iPhone Moon

IMG_1425copy_2WSHFull moon, Main Street, Montpelier, VT. iPhone 4s.

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Posted in Montpelier, Night, small towns

Thailand in Vermont

DSC_8259copySHSo it’s April in Vermont and there’s still snow. Business as usual, except if you come from Ubon, Thailand, in which case it’s cause for curiosity and celebration. Perhaps followed by a large cremee, maple or otherwise. Part of a cultural tour of the Northeast arranged by Montpelier’s Linda Wheatley.

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Posted in Snow, Thailand, Vermont

Canada’s National Gallery


If you find yourself in Ottawa, go to the National Gallery of Canada. It’s downtown, in between the By Ward Market district,  the Parliament and the Chateau Laurier, not to far from the Rideau Canal and the Ottawa River. Not only is the art collection stunning, but so is the building. Southern light streams into it, changing constantly, and putting you in the mood to appreciate art. Especially when it’s 9 below zero F outside. These were all taken with an iPhone 4s.


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Posted in Canada, iPhone, Ottawa