Travel

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Uganda’s Mountain Gorillas

This events of this post took place in late November 2017 Visiting Wild Mountain Gorillas in Uganda’s Mgahinga National Park Our group was about 7 people and our excitement was palpable. As usual, I could barely contain myself. The guide and scouts came into the reception hall, thee or four AK-47’s in tow. We were…

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Ethiopia’s Rift Valley

The events of this story took place in November of 2017 “Do you have any medicine?” A voice whispered in my ear. “What?” I looked back to see the lone other white person on the bus leaning over my seat. “Like pain medicine? My tooth is killing me.” The young man said. He was clutching…

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The Andes

I was a couple of years along in university. The shine of new adulthood was fading. I went through a hard breakup. My band kicked me out. I was struggling at school. I felt alone, sad, and tired. I found solace in the mountains. The insignificance I felt among them was liberating. They had stood for millennia….

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Single Mothers Foundation

While traveling around Uganda I received a message from our friend Mira Seewald. “Are you going to Fort Portal?” “I think so.” “Well, if you do can you do me a favor and give a donation to Jonathan at the Single Mothers Foundation for me?” I was intrigued. We would visit Fort Portal. We met…

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A Quick Update

Oh my poor neglected blog! How has it been so long? Well, life has been busy, and it still is. After so many months of silence it seems a small summary, at the least, is due. I’ll start one year ago in March of 2017. We felt the crisp air of Patagonia for the first…

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El Chalten

The Fitzroy Massif, outside of El Chalten in Argentina, offers what is probably my favorite mountain skyline on earth. The world’s high places have always captivated me and the desire to see them has led to many strange corners of our planet. Southern Patagonia is home to such wild and iconic peaks. The golden granite…

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Torres del Paine

The 120 kilometer (75 mile) trail around Torres del Paine in southern Patagonia is one of the world’s best treks. It attracts all types. For those seeking comfort there are lodges, guides, restaurants, and even horses. That’s not really our style though and, as usual, we skipped having a guide and carried all of the…

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Puerto Natales

Once again we were back in Chile. This time near the famous Torres del Paine National Park. It was the final stop for my parents. We drank great wine, ate succulent seafood, and enjoyed friendly Chilean hospitality. We rented a car and drove through the park. Valerie and I were preparing to trek the 9-day…

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El Chalten

I have been dreaming about Patagonia since I was a boy. It has always held a mythical power in my imagination. It is a place of scoured earth, wind, and stone. My parents never thought they would go there. Even for me it took nearly thirty years of whispers before I put foot to ground….

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Valparaiso

Valparaiso is Santiago’s bohemian cousin on the coast. It is a beautiful, crumbling bastion of contrasts. Rickety funiculars rise up steep hills and ancient busses ply down clogged arterials. The architecture is beautiful, but the true star of the city is street art.

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Santiago

Santiago is an eminently livable city. It’s full of great food, the public tansportation is fast and efficient, and the people love to have a good time. It was a short stopover for us, but we reveled in the view from our high-rise apartment. My mother, father, Val, and I did our best to immitate…

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Arequipa

We came to Arequipa, Peru’s white city, to eat.  We wanted find out what Peruvian food was all about. We ate ceviche, grilled lamb, soups of all kind, and roasted chicken accompanied. We particularly loved a restaurant called Tupac – a seafood focuses Peruvian-Thai fusion restaurants. The epicurean delights didn’t stop with the food. We…

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Lake Titicaca

Homestays are always an interesting experience. It can be awkward, it can be transcendent, and it sometimes dizzily sways between the two. My parents, Dan and Terri, had recently joined us in Peru. We spent a comfortable week in and around Cusco, Peru’s frenetic and beautiful tourist city. We had eaten international food, shopped, had…

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Machu Picchu

It’s not easy to find a traveler, or anyone really, that hasn’t dreamed of visiting Machu Picchu. I had the pleasure of sharing my visit with my parents and Valerie. My father was not blessed with a strong ability to pronounce unfamiliar words, (in fact listening to his attempts is one of the greatest sources of…

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Cuenca

Cuenca is an exceedingly comfortable city in southern Ecuador. After spending a few weeks with the predominantly indigenous populations of the central part of the country we immediately notices a difference when we arrived. People were taller, had lighter skin, and dressed in western clothing. We met up with our friend Elliot and Stephanie who…

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Guamote Market

As the weather in Ecuador continued to spoil our trekking and climbing plans we shifted course and focused on humans. There is a small town about an hour away from Riobamba, it is called Guamote. It is not a puebla that is commonly found on the itinerary of travelers. That is exactly why we wanted…

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Riobamba

We had come to see mountains and trek through hillsides. Clouds, rain, and stomach problems kept our wanderings contained to the urban aspect of the Riobamba. We saw few other visitors and instead spent our time with the locals, it turned out to be a fascinating and nuanced few days.

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The Amazon

The Amazon touches 11 countries and is the defining feature of South America. By its very nature jungle is difficult to access. Rivers are the highways of the amazon and usually the only means of reliable transportation. We knew that we would visit the Amazon at some point on our trip through South America. The…

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Quito

After a wonderful time in the Galapagos we headed for Quito. As the oldest city in the Americas Quito is full of colonial charm. It sits some 10,000ft above sea level, quite a change from our lazy beach days. We arrived at the airport without any semblance of a plan. It was raining and the…

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Galapagos: Above Water

The Galapagos Islands are an almost mythical travel destination. When the naturalist Charles Darwin visited the flora and fauna prompted him to develop the theory of evolution. The landscape varies from barren wastelands to lush highlands, and all manner of steps in between. To say that islands are “otherworldly” is an understatement. Valerie and I…

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On the Road Again

Our lives are a repeating cycle of feverish work and long-term travel. Since returning to the USA in 2013 it has taken us three years of double shifts, penny-pinching, and austerity to be ready to travel again – but that time has finally come. I’m writing this from a guesthouse in Quito, Ecuador. Last week…

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Motor Transport Museum

About a month ago I stumbled upon the Motor Transport Museum while in Campo, CA. It was love at first sight. A former mill tower rises to nearly 100′ and makes the museum a landmark. The mill is surrounded by wonderfully aged vehicles dating back to the 1800’s. Inside there are a dozen restoration projects underway….

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Jordan – the Red Desert

My first impressions of the middle east were formed in Jordan. In April of 2013 Val and I landed in Amman, Jordan’s largest city. We weren’t sure what to expect.  Tremendous hospitality, rich history, and dramatic landscapes are wheat we found there. The kindness of the people is what immediately comes to mind when I…

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Amritsar

The state of Punjab in Northwest of India is the vibrant homeland of the Sikh religion. In the city of Amritsar stand’s the Golden Temple, the beating heart of the Sikh people. It is not only their most sacred site but also one of the world’s great centers of religious tolerance – a rare and…

Delhi

Love it or hate it Delhi has everything. It contains some of India´s most impressive architecture and offers a dazzling array of food, art, religious, and cultural variety. Knowing we would need a place to decompress each day we put a lot of effort into finding a good room. We spent hours but were richly…

Agra

North Central India is plagued by heavy fog in winter. Apparently, Indra, the Hindu god of weather, forgot about our travel plans and sent an extra heavy curtain just as we wanted to go to Agra. Our train was canceled giving us a chance to sample long distance bus travel in India. True to form…

Orcha

Valerie and I travel for extended periods. Time is a valuable and we choose to spend ours traveling. Most people either have time or money but not both, sadly we are no exception.  We go to amazing places but always on a restricted budget, which can be quite challenging. The most unfortunate aspect of this…

Khajuraho

India is overflowing with legendary sights. The erotic temples of Khajuraho are no exception. They appear like a mirage out of the scrub brush, dust, and stunted trees of the arid plane. The audacity and lewdness of what the carving depict the temples is offset by the incredible quality of their craftsmanship and starkly contrasted…

Varanasi

The Ganges is India´s most sacred river and most important pilgrimage. To Hindus dying here guarantees transcendence from the cycle or reincarnation and a direct path to heaven, all sins washed away. Cremation on its banks, even simply spreading ashes in its waters, is auspicious and believed to bring salvation to the departed. Varanasi, perhaps…

Destination India

India had been whispering to us for years. Traces of its influence were everywhere, flavoring everything we had seen in Asia. Travelers told stories of incredible sights, cheap living, and unlimited adventure. Others spoke of a darker side filled with food poisoning, sanity-testing beggars, filth, and frustration. For a long time we didn’t feel ready…

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Leaving Nepal

With two weeks left on our Nepali visa we considered our options. We had to return Kathmandu to get our Indian visas but what would we due while we waited for them? We said goodbye to wonderful Pokhara and returned to the chaotic street of Thamel, Kathmandu’s tourist district. We found a cheap hotel with…

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Annapurna Base Camp

Annapurna is the deadliest of the world’s big mountains. One climber dies for every two that make it to the summit. Avalanches scour the entire standard route. Ed Viesturs, America’s premier high altitude climber and six time Everest summiter, spent 18 hours in the death zone climbing across a nearly flat ridge to avoid this…

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Annapurna Circuit – Part 2

  A road has overtaken the second half of the Annapurna circuit.* A small section, near the trail’s end, remains blissfully free of traffic.  Tate, Jo, Val and I jeeped, walked, and bussed as fast as we could to get there. After two weeks of brown Himalayan desert the sudden green was striking. Flowers adorned…

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Annapurna Circuit – Part 1

After 31 wonderful days in the Everest region we found ourselves back in Thamel, the tourist district of Kathmandu. It is not a relaxing place. Motorbikes weave through pedestrians with horns blaring. An endless stream of touts offer drugs, guides, bus tickets, girls – you name it. Litter is strewn everywhere and stray dogs rule…

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