After exploring the Juneau region, we headed to the mountains around Anchorage. But first I made a quick stop after getting off the plane at the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in the Anchorage Museum. It houses a wonderful collection of native arts and crafts as well as photos, maps, videos, and other educational materials. A great experience. My eyes were opened to the wide range and beauty of the native work here. (I particularly loved the masks, as you can see in my photos.)
Tonto National Monument, Arizona
In March 2016 I had a quick trip to Sedona, Arizona, to take pics for Visit Sedona. After Sedona, I swung by the Tonto National Monument above Lake Roosevelt. It's a stunning site, where 800 years ago people created villages into the cliffsides. You can still tour one of the dwelling spaces at the top of a trail that winds through gorgeous cacti and wildflowers.
Alaska: Warm Lake near Twin Glaciers
In the summer of 2016 I visited Alaska, focusing on the areas around Juneau and Anchorage. It's a huge and lovely state, truly epic, and I cannot wait to return. For my first blog post about it, I thought we could take a look at the well-named Warm Lake (I figure its temperature was about 75 degrees Fahrenheit that day) near the equally well-named Twin Glaciers and Twin Glacier Lake, just off the Taku River, not too far from Juneau in southeast Alaska.
Alaska: Fourth of July "Olde Time" Firefighter Hose Races
As part of the annual Fourth of July festivities in the beautiful town of Douglas (next to Juneau, capital city of Alaska), the volunteer fire department challenges Juneau firefighters to what they call an "olde time" hose race. Teams roll out and connect groups of fire hoses as quickly as they can, in order to douse the opposite team before they douse you. This activity is repeated several times until everyone is happily exhausted. It's all in the name of fun, with a prime objective to also drench the onlookers on this warm summer day.
Alaska: Jensen-Olson Arboretum
On the north end of Juneau is the Jensen-Olson Arboretum. Sitting on a beach overlooking the Chilkat Mountains, the arboretum has a great collection of primroses, poppies, irises, and more. Fairly small, but well worth a visit!
Tacoma, Day 2: Gig Harbor Gondolier
The second day of the July 2016 Travel Tacoma and Visit Rainier "instafam" tour was packed. The first thing (after breakfast at the Hotel Murano and checking out) in the morning we went to Gig Harbor, Washington, and met John "Cinque" Synco and his authentic Venetian gondola, Nelly. He runs Gig Harbor Gondola. John rowed us around the tranquil harbor, singing us Venetian songs and giving us a detailed history of gondoliers in America. Pretty great stuff! And the weather was truly perfect, as I think you can see from my photos below.