Waterton Lake National Park and our first bear encounter!

Alaska road trip, stop three

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The International Boundary line–Canada, here we come!

This is one of three posts about some of Canada’s spectacular national parks.


After leaving Glacier, we crossed the border into Canada and headed for Waterton Lakes National Park, in Alberta.  The two parks are actually a single entity, called Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, established in 1932 by members of the Rotary International organizations in Alberta and Montana.  Both parks have been designated as Biosphere Reserves, and the Peace Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  (Note: each park has its own administration and entrance fees and you have to go through customs when crossing the border).

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Glacier National Park

Second stop on our Alaska road trip

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Glacier National Park, in northeastern Montana, isn’t just a jewel, it’s an entire crown.

It’s part of the “Crown of the Continent,” 28,000 square miles of wild, rugged Rocky Mountain terrain encompassing the corners of Alberta, British Columbia, and Montana.  Its sister park, Waterton Lakes National Park, sits just across the border in Canada.  In addition to these two national parks, the Crown of the Continent has several national forests and Indian Reservations and numerous Montana state and Canadian provincial parks.

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Alaska road trip: Random thoughts about bears

We started the second leg of our road trip on August 20.

Destination: Denali National Park in Alaska, where we plan to camp for ten days.  Along the way, we’ll make stops in Montana’s Glacier National Park as well as three Canadian national parks, Waterton Lakes, Banff, and Jasper.  Then we’ll hop on the Alaska-Canada Highway (also known as the Alcan), which is about 1400 miles and runs from Dawson Creek, Canada, to Delta Junction, Alaska.  We have about two weeks to cover this ground and reach Denali to claim our campsite.

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Taos Pueblo, New Mexico: How to be a respectful visitor to a Native American community

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Taos Pueblo (Source: Wikipedia, public domain)

 

When faced with a culture that is different from our own, sometimes we humans are uncertain how to respond and might act kinda inappropriately.

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Random things to do in and around Taos, New Mexico

 

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San Francisco de Asis Church

We spent a few days sightseeing in Taos, a tiny town with a fascinating mix of cultures–Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo, not to mention the influence of artists and free thinkers who have made their residence here for over 100 years.  For such a little town, there’s a lot going on.

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What’s it like to camp full-time?

One month in: Random thoughts about the camping life

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“So… can I return to using porta-potties and baby wipes after two weeks’ of indoor plumbing?”

“Will we be OK with going back to an air mattress again?”

These were questions that we’d been bracing ourselves for.

I mean, I hog the sheets and Dale tends to take up more than half the bed, issues that become more pronounced when you’re sleeping on an air mattress more appropriate for a large child than two adults.

But we’d adapted, you know?  We were sleeping well, and I’ve mostly gotten over my squeamishness about using public bathrooms.   We’d made some good progress.

But, after four weeks of camping, we’ve now moved indoors for side trips to Las Vegas, Idaho, Portland, and Seattle.  These were planned stops and we knew this time was coming, but we had to wonder–would our return to the civilized world for two weeks thwart our desire to go back to the nomadic life?

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Taos’ Harwood Museum: The spectacular colors of New Mexican art

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Christmas Eve at Taos Pueblo, Dorothy Eugenie Brett

 

Taos, New Mexico, is a town of about 5700 people, so small that it doesn’t even have a Starbucks (our go-to for WiFi, so that was a disappointment).

And yet, when it comes to the development of modern American art, Taos’ place in history is huge. Many of the biggest names in 20th-century American art, including Georgia O’Keefe and Ansel Adams, have been inspired by Taos’ and Northern New Mexico’s stunning landscapes as well as the Native American and Hispanic cultures of the region.  Taos has even earned the nickname “Paris West.” Continue reading “Taos’ Harwood Museum: The spectacular colors of New Mexican art”

Ft. Davis: Texas’ frontier army post

A surprisingly moving visit to this little historical site

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We came to Ft. Davis army post expecting to spend an hour tops. We’d been there years ago and remembered it as being a dry, dusty little place, your average 19th century army fort, with a small cluster of buildings and an American flag flying out front.  A museum in the visitors center orients you to the history; from there you can wander the grounds and inspect the handful of buildings that have been restored, and, if you don’t put this place into its proper historical context, you may forget it as soon as you leave it.

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