Rugged. Difficult travel.

In the list of mountains, they are not among the highest. The entire slopes, including the top, are covered with trees.

In a way, that increased the difficulty of finding a pathway. Can a horse, or a man, find a way from one valley to the next? And then there was the problem of getting confused, losing your direction.

Explorers. Pathfinders. Pioneers. Those of the Daniel Boone generation did have the the luxury of following a highway, or a power cut, as they blazed a trail from eastern to western Virginia. The mountains clung to their own secrets.


One Mile Plus

Denver, Colorado has a reputation as the mile-high city. And it’s true. The elevation of the city is one mile above sea level.

Note to purists: Elevation varies block by block. Official marker is located on one of the State Capital steps. So I’m sure you could find neighborhood both higher and lower than exactly one mile.

When I visited the capital building — my companions were two male teens. (Yes, it made for an interesting vacation.) Near the end of the self-tour, we were at the base of steps going up to an observation deck at the base of the dome. This is a time to swallow any hesitation and take the opportunity.

I’m not sure of the name of the building in front of us in this photo.    My sights were on the mountains – snow capped in early June.


High in the Baja

In elevation. Get your mind away from the chemical sort of high many of my age dabbled with.

Baja California. What comes to mind? Desert? Seacoast? Lack of roads? A step back in time?

During a visit in 2006, little dabs of all of the above were revealed. But one of the most memorable days involved mountains.

One of the peaks in this photo is likely the highest point in the Baja. It was taken from the base of the observatory on the second highest peak in the Baja.

We drove up from sea level through several climates to reach the visitor area controlled by the University. From here, they did the driving and escorting. I did not experience any problems — well, just one — but the woman with me, very accustomed to sea level, was short of breath.

My problem? Our guide escorted us inside to see the telescope, opened the roof a slice, and permitted photographs. (This was film, I took one or two.) Then he led us up further, opened a door, and allowed us on to the catwalk which circles the building. Heights of this sort are not my friend. I drew a couple of breaths, pulled a little courage out of the air, and managed to go far enough for my companion (the lady short of breath) to step outside. I think I stood with my back against the building. The view was fantastic. (Not enough faith in my balance to take any photos from that perch.)

Tips if you ever visit the Baja. Check out the mountains. Visit the observatory if you have the opportunity.


From the Shore to…

The volcanic crater.

The road slanted up, up, up from the near beach hotel. As we climbed, the vegetation changed. We were changing climate zones.

The top, or in this case, the crater’s rim, was barren and beautiful and the same time. Rocks. A few hardy, low plants.

I found a friendly rock for a seat and contemplated the power and majesty of creation.

Have you found a “thinking spot” on your travels?

Location of this view is Maui in the Hawaiian Islands.



Can you prove it? How do I know you’re not telling stories?

When in conversation with an author, the second of those questions might be a good idea. Fiction authors, by definition, are capable of making things up. You know, creating characters and events out of thin air.

Or is that an exaggeration?

Recently, on one of these stay-at-home order days. (Yes it even had a slight effect on us retired people.) I pulled out a box of pre-digital camera photos from the closet. As I sorted, I was reminded of some of the places I’ve been. I found several themes for my travels. Today we’re going to start with looking at some of the mountains, beaches, and waterfronts.

The year was 1976 and vacation meant going NORTH — to visit relatives in Alaska. The scenery was gorgeous. The camera, not so much. This was taken on a stop along the road between Anchorage and Copper Center.

We visited in late May. The daylight lasted over twenty hours per day and it was (as the relatives said) mosquito-slapping season.