Solitude, scenery, and seafood: The benefits and downsides of Camino del Norte

Isolated stretch of Camino del Norte trail with a view of the North Atlantic

 

There are numerous Camino routes throughout Europe, including Camino Francés, the most popular walk and the one featured in a favorite movie of ours, The Way.  So why, then, did we choose to walk one of the lesser known routes, Camino del Norte?

We had a particular vision for what we wanted in our Camino experience, and Dale did some serious homework to find the trail that most matched that vision:

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Cama-i Dance Festival, Bethel, Alaska (part two): The dances

“In the past it was a big mistake to stop the dancing – a lot of things died in this process.  Restarting dances is only one thing… By learning the dances, you young people will have weight, so that nobody can brush you off the top of this earth. You will be the exciting ones.” ~Marie Arnaq Meade

 

In a recent post, I gave an overview of Cama-i, which we attended earlier this year.  In today’s post, I’ll talk about the star of this Yup’ik festival—the dances.

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Anchorage, Alaska: Eklutna Cemetery and Spirit Houses

We stopped by Eklutna on a cool, rainy day at the end of April.  In most parts of the U.S., spring had long since arrived, but here, 30 minutes north of Anchorage, the trees were still bare, and patches of snow lay on the ground.

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Paris, France: Notre-Dame Cathedral

This is one post in a series of articles about our visit to Paris.

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What a contemplative little ghoul, and, oh, that view!

It goes without saying that Notre-Dame Cathedral was at the top of our Paris sightseeing list.  It’s one of Paris’ most recognizable and iconic buildings, a sprawling, Gothic feast for the eyes.  We returned several times, tiptoeing through the massive interior, listening to live music in the small park around back, and, as part of the Paris Museum Pass, climbing hundreds of steps to the iconic belfry.

We were lucky enough to visit the cathedral and take a tour, and here are the highlights:

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The Iditarod: Alaska’s “Last Great Race”

The Iditarod wrapped up yesterday, with the last few mushers trickling into Nome.  Iditarod 2017 may go down as one of the greatest races of all time.  It was fast, with the top four mushers coming in under what was the standing speed record.  And the champion, Mitch Seavey, shattered that record (set by his son Dallas only a year ago) while also becoming the oldest person ever to win the Iditarod.

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Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona: Visions of heat and sun

Last year Dale bought a coffee table book called Treasured Lands: A Photographic Odyssey Through America’s National Parks, by photographer QT Luong.  It basically chronicles the photographer’s long love affair with our national parks.   It took Luong over 20 years and dozens of trips, all of them self-financed, but he visited and photographed all 59 parks, and the book’s 500+ photos showcase just how extraordinary the United States is, both in the diversity of ecosystems and landscapes as well as the vast national parks system that makes the U.S. unique. Continue reading “Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona: Visions of heat and sun”

Meet our new hometown, Seward, Alaska

I’ll be honest: we knew almost nothing about Seward when we decided to move here.

On our trip from Homer back to Anchorage, we dropped by¹ and did a drive-through of the town (that didn’t take long).  I also met the team at the facility where I hoped to work, and I liked the place and the people instantly.  Seward also had a good word-of-mouth buzz, both from tourists we talked to at Denali and locals that we met in Anchorage and other places.  The latter carries extra weight—when an Alaskan tells you they like something within their state, you should pay attention.

That being said, the wise thing would’ve been to spend a little more time in Seward before moving all of our belongings cross country, committing long-term to a job, and moving to this tiny, remote town.  But that’s how we roll, man.

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Central Texas: Goliad State Park and its Spanish mission

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Before moving to Alaska, we spent two weeks bouncing around Texas, visiting family.  That meant going from central to south Texas and then back again.  We may be relocating to the biggest state in the Union, but Texas is no slouch, so this meant a lot of time on the road.

It was on one of those drives, on a rural stretch of U.S. Highway 183 from Refugio to Gonzales, that we had a very pleasant discovery—Goliad State Park and the Mission Espíritu Santo.

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