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After the first meal or two, your beverage stewardess will remember your preferences. All ship's announcements are in both German and English, and separate versions of the daily newsletter are published for Deutsch- and English-speaking guests. Overall, Casanova and Peter Deilmann Cruises offer a more cosmopolitan atmosphere than you'd find on a vessel that caters primarily to U.

With Deilmann, you feel that you're in Europe when you're aboard the ship, not just when you go ashore. Whether that's good or bad depends on your tastes and whether you prefer mingling with the locals or sticking with fellow foreigners. In these 16 staterooms, the queen-size beds have separate mattresses, each with its own duvet when the stewardess removes the bedspread at night.

This means you can snuggle or maintain separation, depending on whom you're traveling with. These 30 cabins have twin beds on opposite walls. One berth converts into a sofa during the day. There are just two junior suites, both on the lower or Rialto deck.

They have queen-size beds and are slightly larger than the standard queen and twin cabins. Rooms on the Verdi or upper deck have cleverly designed French doors overlooking the water.

Open the left half, and you have a floor-to-ceiling screen to keep bugs at bay. Open the right side, and you can lean out to take pictures, check the passing landscape in more detail, or get a feel for the weather. All staterooms are attractively decorated with generous expanses of wood paneling, drapes, pictures on the walls, etc. Casanova's designers gave a lot of attention to details, as the inset photo of a ceiling light will show.

The gold-trim motif is also used on the custom cabin furniture, which includes built-in closets, nightstands with storage space, and a desk with minibar. I did notice one small oversight: Casanova's duvets are filled with a thin polyester batting instead of down. The bathrooms are extremely well-designed, with luxury touches such as glass shower enclosures, marble and ceramic walls, wooden toilet seats, brass faucets, and sinks that have marble countertops in a beautiful brown-red marble above a wooden storage cabinet and shelves.

There's a retractable clothesline in the shower stall, and you'll find plenty of racks and hooks for towels and dressing gowns. Your stewardess will supply bathrobes on request. Casanova also has closed-circuit movies several times a day in both German and English. Germans have a reputation for taking their food seriously, and the quality of hotel and restaurant food in Germany tends to be much better than in the United States or Britain. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Peter Deilmann's Casanova lives up to its five-star ambitions in the dining room.

Breakfast consists of a buffet with fresh fruit, cereals, rolls, dark German breads, croissants and other pastries, cheeses, cold cuts, herring, smoked salmon, etc. Waiters are on hand to serve beverages, whisk away dirty plates, and take orders for fresh-cooked eggs or daily specials.

Mineral water and sparkling wine, which you pay for at lunch or dinner, are free at breakfast. Nicole, our beverage stewardess, told us that some guests like a glass of Prosecco to wake up in the morning. I tried a quarter-glass as a test but decided to stick with coffee.

My son was pleased by the hot chocolate, which was excellent. Lunch is a choose-your-own-adventure affair where you can fill up a plate from the buffet or have a full meal served course by course.

On gala nights, a sorbet precedes the main course. The restaurant's wood-and-marble buffet table is laid with a salad bar with the term "salad" encompassing such luxuries as shrimp and fish , which is replaced by a selection of cheeses and fruit at the end of the meal. Deilmann doesn't skimp on ingredients: High-quality fish is on the menu at nearly every midday or evening meal, and we were served lobster, large shrimp, lamb, veal, and duck at various times during the cruise.

Baked goods are also excellent--most notably the cakes and other desserts, which are baked on board by a full-time pastry chef. If sightseeing leaves you hungry for more than three square meals a day, you can top up your tummy with boullion at 11 a.

On our voyage, Jozef--the Casanova's excellent pianst and vocalist--offered musical accompaniment during afternoon tea, the 6: Coffee, tea, ice water, and fruit juices are free. Other drinks cost extra at lunch and dinner, although complimentary sparkling wine and Kir Royale are served and replenished generously on gala nights.

If you order a bottle of wine or mineral water in the dining room, your waiter will mark the bottle and save it for future meals. Drink prices are in line with what you might expect on a European luxury vessel: Casanova has an unusually large staff for a river ship that carries only 96 passengers.

Peter Deilmann claims a passenger-to-crew ratio of 2. The multilingual restaurant, bar, housekeeping, and reception staff were a hardworking bunch during our cruise, and they were also highly-trained professionals. Our waiter, Mladen Tomljanovic, was a nine-year veteran of cruise ships, and our beverage stewardess, Nicole Hoppe, had three years of professional education and apprenticeship before joining Peter Deilmann Cruises.

Mladen, Nicole, and other members of the restaurant and beverage staff worked together as an efficient team, delivering service on a par with what you'd expect on a luxury cruise line or a five-star hotel. I was also impressed by the crew's warmth, friendliness, and overall good cheer. One evening, the younger staff were kind enough to invite my year-old son to join them at a nightclub that was popular with riverboat crews.

I resisted the urge to play chaperone, spending the evening with a Donna Leon mystery instead. Tips for bar purchases should be made at the time of service, since the person who serves you a drink may not be your regular beverage stewardess or waiter.

This German-built river boat from Peter Deilmann Cruises launched in and was refitted in She sails with up to 96 passengers on a wide variety of itineraries along the Rhine, Moselle, Main and Danube rivers from mid-March to early November. This slim, trim triple-decker is an all-white ft beauty with red trim. She has a width of 32 ft and a draft of 4 ft and shows a classical profile.

Peter Deilmann founded this German company a quarter century ago, first with oceangoing cruise ships and then riverboats. His two daughters carry on the tradition from the company headquarters at Neustadt in Holsetin, Germany operating eight high-end riverboats and the cruise ship Deutschland.

North American and German speakers come aboard in varying numbers depending on the itinerary and departure. Most are 50 and older. Very few children are found aboard, and there are no special facilities for them. The riverboat crew is fully bilingual, so there are no language problems.

The Casanova used to sail on the River Po in northern Italy, and now she is found plying many different itineraries lasting from 7 to 14 days. Her most ambitious cruise is a pair of sailings between Amsterdam and Budapest, Hungary, via the Rhine, Main, Danube and connecting canal. Some shore excursions are included in cruise-tours but not for cruise-only fares. A money-saving tour package can be bought for most itineraries. Depending on the numbers, the buses may be separate for each language or bilingual, and the same goes for the guided walks.

The panoramic restaurant has a stately Italian Provincial elegance with classic highback chairs and cherry accents, a circular compass rose of yellow glass on the ceiling and a buffet station. The room can accommodate all passengers at a single sitting. No one has time to get hungry, with breakfast, morning bouillon, lunch, tea, dinner and midnight snacks. Excellent multicourse luncheons and dinners feature Continental fare and wines of many countries.

Evening meals can feature nine courses on some nights, so expect to spend a lot of time at the table. English-speaking passengers are seated together at reserved tables and single sitting. Evening wear often sees men in jacket and tie. The tastefully furnished lounge brings passengers together several times a day, with its plump sofas and armchairs, panoramic views, well-stocked bar, and nightly entertainment and dancing.

Announcements, menus, and daily programs are all provided in English and German. The sun deck topside has plenty of deck chairs and blankets, and a doctor is onboard.

Standard cabins are sq ft, with two minisuites of sq ft, all beautifully appointed with desks, TVs, phones, radios, closets, and baths with showers, hair dryers and robes.

Beds are twins and queen-sized, and the upper deck cabins have French doors. Bedding is European-style with duvets and feather pillows, but synthetic materials are available upon request.

We had a two hour drive to Sylvan Lake last weekend across the prairies. After seeing miles and miles of nothing we suddenly dropped upon this fascinating and unique place. Sylvan Lake is a town in central Alberta, Canada. It is situated on the southeast edge of Sylvan Lake, a 15 kilometres 9. The lake is a popular destination for tourists from around Alberta, with over 1.

Popular tourist activities include sunbathing, swimming, water-skiing, and visiting the local Wild Rapids Waterslides. Arriving in from Michigan, Alexandre Loiselle and his family originally homesteaded the quarter section that later became the west side of today's Main 50th Street and the businesses and homes immediately to the west.

The early twentieth century saw groups of Estonian[3] and then Finnish settlers moving to homesteads to the south and west of the fledgling settlement at Sylvan Lake. With their arrival came the early business community, a general store, a blacksmith, a hardware store, post office, barber, restaurants and more.

The completion of the Canadian Northern line to Rocky Mountain House and Nordegg in and the parallel Canadian Pacific in opened the west country to settlement and resulted in the incorporation of Sylvan Lake in under Mayor E.

Grimson, a local hardware store owner. The anniversary of the founding of the town is celebrated every year in Sylvan Lake as " Days. Farming quickly became a mainstay in the area and in an Alberta Pacific grain elevator was built on the CPR line immediately north of what is now Cottonwood Estates. The elevator was torn down in the s and the CPR line was abandoned in and subsequently removed. Since then, the right of way has survived as a natural area and walking path through Sylvan Lake.

Elevators were also constructed along the CN line and were used by local farmers in the mid-century decades. They were torn down in the late s. Even prior to the building of the railways, Sylvan Lake was quickly becoming a summer resort for families in Red Deer. With the coming of the trains, "the Lake" quickly became a favorite of families from both Edmonton and Calgary.

Initially the summer visitors camped in tents, but soon the "Cottage Area" east of 46 Street and in "Lower Camp" on the southeast shore began to fill with summer cottages.

In the s and s people also began arriving by car and the areas around Norglenwold, Sylvan Lake Provincial Park and Jarvis Bay Provincial Park began to fill up with summer visitors. The influx of summer residents and visitors also brought businesses and services that catered to the ever increasing number of tourists.

A large boathouse was constructed in , allowing visitors to rent a boat, canoe, swimsuit, or buy ice cream and pop as well as many other items necessary to a summer day at the lake. Regatta's were also held on the lake for a number of years beginning in In , the Dominion Government, assisted by the Sylvan Lake Women's Institute, built the long pier that jutted out into the lake from the bottom of Main Street.

This pier was connected to the earlier WI Pier and formed a square area used for swimming and mooring boats. The first "waterslide" at Sylvan Lake was also part of this facility.

The piers were prone to ice damage over the winter and were finally replaced by the existing "landfill" that now hosts beach volleyball tournaments and dragon boat racing as well as the entertaining lake tour on the "Zoo Cruise. In , Sylvan Lake found a replacement for its original waterslide in the construction of Wild Rapids Waterslide, which has become the largest facility of its kind in western Canada.

Another byproduct of losing the piers and later the government boat launch, was the construction of the Sylvan Lake Marina, home of many of the permanent boats on the lake, boating facilities, as well as a lake view restaurant and the Sylvan Lake lighthouse. I originally took this double-exposed photo with my Smena 8M earlier this afternoon.

With this version, I fired up Photoshop, cropped it, moved the main elements together to form a square and played with the levels ever so slightly to add some contrast while maintaining the hues. Here is a link to the original. I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised with the quality of my Smena 8M, considering its age. Thanks goes out to Mika at moscowphoto for selling me this camera.

After you turn off the main road it is approx 15 miles down to the very short Lower Lewis River Falls trail head. Vinny, Dene and I decided to make the journey down to the falls this morning hoping for a little residual ice left over from the recent cold snap. The road started off easy enough.

There was about 2 inches of slushy snow and one vehicle had already driven a path down the road so we cruised along for about 3 miles before the snow started getting deeper and even in Vinny's 4 x 4 Nissan we were beginning to slip and slide just a little.

To pass the time on the way down I played a little game called Do You? As we rounded the next corner, I told Dene and Vinny that if things got rough out here I was going to have to eat one, or both of them. They kind of laughed and then the car grew silent.

Just so you know I would never joke about eating people. One more turn and our trip was abruptly halted by a fallen tree. We could not get around it. We were discouraged that we had come this far only to be stopped in our tracks. We actually considered walking the remaining 10 miles down to the falls and were doing the math on if we could get back to the car before dark. That was when the Rednecks arrived. Out of nowhere like an oasis in the desert, a 3 truck caravan of real Washington Rednecks rolled up with trucks full of chain saws, crossbows, shotguns and gasoline.

The lead truck, a Toyota 4 x 4 with a two foot lift kit, tires taller than Vinny and a Squirrel skeleton for a hood ornament pulled up and they cut the tree down and then offered to take the lead and blaze a trail down to the falls for us.

I don't think I have ever met such pleasant Rednecks. Around the corner there were more of them. Rednecks over here skinning a deer, Rednecks over there drinking a keg out of the back of the truck.

It was like Mad Max beyond Thunder-dome. I felt like a freaking geek when one of them asked us what WE were doing down here and I said It sounded so square as I said it that I am sure that no upstanding Redneck would ever let me in their club after that. After Vinny white knuckled the last 8 miles in snow that had now risen to 10 inches or more in spots we wondered how we would ever get back out of here, but none of that mattered.

A beautiful Winter Wonderland of snow and ice awaited us and we were excited to get there! Finally we arrived and walked the trail down to the lower portion of the falls. Dene and I had waders but Vinny was going to have to freeze to death. We were all going in. It was very unnerving being down there. The entire time the cliff above our heads was dropping chunks of ice and snow and at one point a section of ice that was a third the size of a car broke off from the cliff and crashed against the rocks less than 20 feet from where we were standing.

We knew the chances of us getting back here in conditions like this again were very slim so we made the best of it and then hiked back out..

Vinny drove like a champ. We survived and brought home the goods. It was an epic adventure that I was not sure we were going to get out of on our own. Now we have a list of items to throw in the back of the truck. Rope, a spare tire, some chains and some water in case we run into trouble. Now that photography has become more or less my main focus…our family trips take on a bit of a different feel.

We do mostly the same…. Honestly, most of our vacation locations are picked based on photograhp-i-cability. This actually works out better in some cases. This area of the coast is amazing. If I miss sunset I suck to be around. Due to her awesomeness at executing our plan…and some frantic packing on my part…. Cutting it close…but still very respectable. However, as we age, our kids get older, and more difficult to corral and keep clean….

The wives approved of a bathroom as well. Lord knows I could just stink forever and not be too out of sorts. Alright I am kind of proud of my endurance to stench and dirt. We knew this place was smallish…but had no idea just how small until we arrived. The home was situated in Westhaven…. We passed chickens, a noose hanging from a tree, and various other odds and ends…that appeared out of place. Nobody in the car really spoke much as we drove down this road.

Before we left town we had confirmed that this home had one bedroom with a queen, and single bed, and one futon in another room that made into a king bed. We were hoping that the layout provided enough area for some privacy and places for the kids to sleep as well.

Seeing the house for the first time as we rounded the final bend in Deliverance road was both comfort and concern. The house looked quaint, and nice. There was a large deck full of patio furniture, and the area was surrounded by a lush garden and redwood trees.

Downstairs it had a tiny kitchen and a tiny living room with a futon. Upstairs was a small bedroom. The bathroom was little…and faced the living room.

It had a glass door with a see-through curtain. Privacy was going to be an issue. I took the whirlwind approach to unpacking, which consists of taking everything from the van into the house and dropping it on the floor. I looked at the clock, it was 7: I grabbed my gear, and set out. I arrived at Luffenholtz Beach after a 5 minute drive the real one…not Houda Point and the sun was just starting to sit on the horizon…or what would have been the sun if it were actually visible and not foggy.

Fog, in this case was very welcome…. Even though I planned on shooting sunset…. When I got to the beach there was a lady pretending she was Michael Vick. Meaning, she was smoking pot and watching her dogs fight. She was surprised to see me…and quickly tried to hide her reefer. I had on waders…. Was I going to simply wander out knee deep in the water and sit there? I told her I WAS going to go wade….

I just sat on a rock in my rubber boots and watched waves…. I think I took 3 photos. At one point I watched as Ms. Back at the house Pecos and his family had arrived…and everyone was getting the house in order. We had the larger family so we would take the upstairs. Pecos and his family would take the bottom floor. Even though the first night of vacations are usually hectic with unpacking, and winding down from a long day of work and driving Pecos and I tried to make the most of our vacation by building an outdoor fire and having a few vacation ales before heading to bed.

I also went with a square format which I enjoy as well time to time. There are only 2 spaces left for the Fall Yosemite workshop…. This crock pot is leaving town. The more people we have the more fun we have…and if we get too many we might need TWO crock pots…can you say cook-off!

Facebook Page I View on Black. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. This was from our mini adventure-climbing old cars, bulldozers, broken branches, throwing leaves, being spied by a stray cat and playing with water-well Diane waddled in the water and threaten to throw some at us Life's simple pleasure-being around with good friends on one's natural habitat- to laugh with, share insights, talk and talk and talk The lake and the surrounding wetlands are nestled between the Kerkini Mountains to the north and the Marvovouni Mountains to the south.

The lake occupies an area of about 50 to 73 sq km, depending on water levels. Kerkini Lake is an artificial reservoir. The lake was created on site that previously was an extensive marshland. As the time went by, the river substances were washed up, so the rising of the banks a new dam construction took place in , which gave the lake its present look. Although the human intervention in the nature usually takes a harmful action against the natural development, Kerkini Lake is an atypical example where the human intervention had an opposite effect, since after the construction of the dam on the river the hydro-biosphere entirely changed.

Today it has a reputation as one of the best places for birdwatching in Greece due to its position. It is considered a miracle of nature with thousands of birds, fish variety, more than ten amphibian species, nineteen reptile species, five snail species, hundreds of butterfly species along with riverside forest, variety of water lilies and a great diversity of insects which play an important element in the food chain and contribute to the biological diversity of the Kerkini Lake.

The hydro-biosphere of the Lake Kerkini is of great international importance — the water level of the lake is valuable as a hydro-biosphere for thousands of water fowls, variety of fish and other species and it has a great agricultural function alike.

The Kerkini lake area is also an important recreational area and nice vacation spot. Besides birdwatching, other available activities on the lake include hiking nearby mountains and forests, lake boating, cycling or horse riding. Lake Kerkini is a real paradise for bird watchers. The lake hosts more than sorts of birds, including non-migrants species, including some endangered species and species that migrate every year. There are also two endangered non-migrating species, the Pygmy Cormorant and the Dalmatian Pelican that can be observed here.

Birdwatching tours regularly include walking tours around the lakeside as well as hiking into the hillside and lake boat rides. Almost every season of the year is good for birdwatching in this area, but you may prefer to visit Lake Keriki at certain times of the year, depending on what do you want to see. If you want to see migrating of the birds than the April is particularly good month for visiting the lake. On the other hand, if you are interested in birds breeding, than you should plan your visit for May and June.

And if you would like to see different non-native birds that migrate to this area, you should plan a winter trip to the Lake Kerkini. Lake Kerkini is located in Northern Greece, some 20km from Greek-Bulgarian border and it stretches on an area of approximately 50 to 73 square kilometers.

Kerkini Lake is an artificial water reservoir fed by Strymon River, created in s. Today, Kerkini Lake area is well-known among nature lovers for its biodiversity and it is one of the major wetlands in Greece of great biological importance.

It is also considered the best birdwatching spot in the country. It is famous due to its position on a migratory way that birds follow to the Black Sea, Aegean Sea, Balkan region and Hungarian steppes. Lake and its surroundings has been popular over decades among birders from country and abroad because of its biodiversity with hundreds of bird species, variety of fish, diversity of snail species, more than species of butterflies, insects and diverse flora in the lake area and nearby mountains as well.

Lake Kerkini itself is very dynamic bird environment with thousands of migrating and non-migrating bird species. It usually takes two or three weeks to see all this area has to offer and if you are planning your birdwatching trip to Lake Kerkini, the best would be to set aside at least a week or two of your vacation for this.

But the main reason why lots of people visit this area every year is recreational birding and enjoying in observing the spectacular diversity of breeding or wintering bird species. No wonder this lake is considered an authentic paradise for birdwatchers and photograph lovers alike. It is home to more than Non-migrating bird species include some endangered species like Pygmy Cormorant and the Dalmatian Pelican.

Kerkini Lake provides shelter to a large number of waterfowl, thousands of Night Herons, several hundred pairs of Squacco and Grey Herons, Purple Herons, few hundred pairs of Pygmy Cormorant, more than two thousand pairs of Cormorants, about one hundred pairs of Spoonbil, Glossy Ibies, hundreds of Dalmatian and white Pelicans, Black Storks, Ferruginous Ducks and many other species.

Large numbers of waders and other raptors on passageway could also be observed early in spring. You can enjoy birdwatching activity in Lake Kerkini during the whole year. Migration begins in early March, with the arrival of pioneering Garganey and Osprey.

White Storks arrive towards the end of the month. Migration continues through April into beginning of May. Glossy Ibis are expected and thousands of both species of Pelican can be seen. There are some great accommodation alternatives available nearby Kerkini Lake with excellent services offered to birders, to fully enjoy your birdwatching experience in Greece.

It is also historical capital of Bohemia proper. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1. Prague has been a political, cultural, and economic centre of central Europe with waxing and waning fortunes during its 1,year existence.

Founded during the Romanesque and flourishing by the Gothic and Renaissance eras, Prague was not only the capital of the Czech state, but also the seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and thus then also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. The city played major roles in the Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years' War, and in 20th-century history, during both World Wars and the post-war Communist era.

Prague is home to a number of famous cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of twentieth century Europe. The city boasts more than ten major museums, along with countless theatres, galleries, cinemas, and other historical exhibits.

A modern public transportation system connects the city. Also, it is home to a wide range of public and private schools, including Charles University. Its rich history makes it a popular tourist destination, and the city receives more than 4. In , Prague was the sixth-most-visited city in Europe. Marina Bay Sands is situated on The iconic design has transformed Singapore's skyline and tourism landscape since it opened on 27 April, The property has a hotel, convention and exhibition facilities, theatres, entertainment venues, retailers, and restaurants.

The two resorts aimed to meet Singapore's economic and tourism objectives, and have year casino licenses, exclusively for the first ten years. They liked that the hotel towers were set back from the waterfront to open up expansive views of the city and the entire Marina Bay, making the skyline for Singapore's downtown more attractive and distinctive. Construction of the property commenced in early and was expected to be completed by LVS submitted its winning bid on its own.

CDL's CEO, Kwek Leng Beng said his company's pullout was a combination of factors — such as difficulties in getting numerous companies he owns to comply in time, as well as reluctance of some parties to disclose certain private information in probity checks required by the Singapore government.

However, Kwek was retained as an advisor for Sands' bid. Las Vegas Sands declared the undertaking as "one of the world's most challenging construction projects and certainly the most expensive stand-alone integrated resort property ever built". Half a million gamblers passed through the casino in June In the third quarter of , the revenues of the Marina Bay Sands fell almost 28 per cent from a year earlier. Moshe Safdie was approached to lead the design on this massive project.

Taking inspiration from the form of card decks, led to the unique design of the three hotel towers. Other key structures of the property include the ,square-foot 19, m2 ArtScience Museum, The Shoppes, Expo and Convention center and the casino.

During the resort's planning and construction phases, feng shui consultants, the late Master Chong Swan Lek and Master Louisa Ong-Lee were consulted in regards to divination.

In spite of their experience in constructing challenging designs, the Marina Bay Sands project was described as the 'most difficult to carry out in the whole world' due to the amount of integration of the varied and advanced technologies needed to complete the project. The Marina Bay Sands hotel has three story towers with 2, luxury rooms and suites, which is capped by the Sands SkyPark, which offers degree views of Singapore's skyline.

The SkyPark is home to restaurants, gardens, a metre vanishing edge and the world's largest public cantilever housing an observation deck. This architectural marvel stands at the height of metres and boasts 12, square metres of space. To help the Skypark withstand the natural motion of the towers caused by wind, engineers designed and constructed four movement joints beneath the main pools, each possessing a unique range of motion.

The total range of motion is millimetres In addition to wind, the hotel towers are also subject to settlement in the earth over time, hence custom jack legs were built and installed to allow for future adjustment at more than points beneath the pool system. Thank you Joyce for the past 9 months! You'll see me soon enough and the camera won't be attached to my hand like some freaky surgical experiment!

As Project is saying goodbye to Joyce tonight, I figured why not put together a pretty damn cool shot to see her off. I found this road way back when we were traveling on our second trip. It appeared as if it was a deadend road up in the mountains of California that the highway trucks used to empty the paint in the line painting trucks.

At first thought you'd think the road crew were playing drinking games while on the job! I couldn't pass up the opportunity to capture this kick ass road. Tonight when thinking of a farewell image I came up with the idea of Joyce hitting the road. I've always loved the stick and handkerchief and thought it would really work well with tonights shot.

I wish I could accompany her on the drive to Nevada but I have a half dozen shoots and 2 holidays that I've never missed with my family. Joyce is prepared with plenty of Beef Jerky and Mountain Dew. We stocked her up on Wasp Spray just incase there is a sudden wasp attack while on the road!!

After miles of driving I'll bet she'll wish she had cruise control!! From any angle this old one room school house in the Goodnoe Hills, looks tattered, torn and neglected. Windows are broken out, curtains torn and flapping in the wind. Roofing and siding, layer after layer are falling off and blowing away with the strong winds that run the wind turbines on the hills to the north of it. But it is still standing ant the design and look of it fits the pattern of the numerous one room school houses that surround the area from Bickletwon to Goldendale, Washington.

With the strong winter winds most were built with the door facing east and most had some sort of enclose porch, like this one, at the front door. Think of all the kids who walked to this school, attended class here. A school that once echoed the sounds of young students is silent now..

I have made three "road trips" to the small proud farming and ranching town of Bickleton, Washington. The first trip in ; the second to attend the rodeo in , and the last one in There is a story that goes with each of the three visits. I you ever want to read about all my visits to Bickleton and how they relate to each other OR to see all the photographs of those three visits I decided to leave early and drive down to Goldendale, Washington. From there, depending on the weather, whims, and wildflowers I thought about driving west toward Mt.

This was actually my second attempt at this road trip. I had grabbed my cameras, a sack lunch, and cooler full of lime diet Pepsi the morning before and headed out early on the same trip.

But it hadn't worked out. In the middle of April the 16th to be exact I drove through sunshine into a snow storm while heading south on Washington highway 97 toward Goldendale.

The snow was weighing down and covering the newly blossomed wildflowers along the sage hills on either side of the road. The arrow-leaf balsam root sagged and the tight knit clumps of ground hugging phlox appeared un-phased. Near milepost 31, still four miles from the summit of Satus Pass I came to a long line of semi-trucks and automobiles parked along side the road installing chains.

I didn't think I need to chain up I had taken them out of my RAV when I thought winter was over , so I kept on driving and finally got to the front of all the vehicles. Up ahead I could see several state patrol vehicles with their emergency lights blinking and no more "tracks" on the highway. It was pretty evident that there had been an accident that had blocked the road no cars came over the pass from the other direction , so I waited about 20 minutes and then decided that the Goldendale trip could wait another day.

Now one day later the road over Satus Pass was snow free and I drove along with no problems at all. I saw a big "apple spill" along the highway where the jackknifed semi, hauling apples, had blocked the road the day before and allowed the heavy snow fall to pile up while the roadway was cleared. I got to Goldendale and decided that Bickleton would be my destination this day.

I had never traveled the "Bickleton highway" between Goldendale and Bickleton before and that appealed to me. I would end up spending the entire day enjoying a revisit to Bickleton and exploring back roads south of Bickleton. Here is the route I took A clockwise loop on paved and on gravel roads - - with a few out and back excursions thrown in for good measure:. It also takes you through the tiny town of Cleveland, Washington where the big annual rodeo with operating antique carousel, is held each year.

Local folks were in having a good meal, rolling dice to see who would get stuck with the meal tab, and just having a lot of fun together. I thought I recognized the owner Jennifer - - she has owned and operated the Market Street Cafe and Grocery for 15 years.

So I told her about my first visit there on the 7th of July in I told her first of singing the Johnny Horton song with her and she smiled, when she remembered that. Then I told her of the bib-overalled farmer who was crushed when she didn't have the ice cream flavor he wanted on that hot July day back in , and how I was impressed with the way she handled that. To protect his privacy we will stick with "Frank". Then the coup de grace: I said "I took a bunch of photos that day and on another visit in to see the th anniversary Pioneer Days and Rodeo".

Now Jennifer looked at me with that "I have almost connected all the dots" look - - and when I said "I posted the photos and the stories on my Oldmantravels Flickr site" - - Jennifer who I called "Witty" in my story, because she is smart and very quick shook her head and laughed out loud. Then as is her style she marched over to the table and bookshelf in the cafe containing reading material for her customers, and quickly grabbed a printed copy of my story and photos, which somebody had emailed to her.

She smiled as she showed it to me. On this visit and the one in , there is a basket of reading glasses at Jennifer's, for older folks like me , who might have forgotten their reading glasses. Now my mind started running a mile a minute. Jennifer plopped the story down on the table of local customers and told them a short version of "our story". Had I said anything that would have offended any of them? Oh, I hoped not, but then I remembered saying that I had opted not to go through the Carousel Museum in town in I was in a hurry to see a WSU classmate in town and hopefully visit the Whoop-N-Holler museum, outside of town.

I had written that up and now I was ten feet away from the nice woman, who runs volunteer , the Carousel Museum and had just invited me to stop by the museum after my meal. I knew Jennifer had quickly put the entire and complete story together in her head and knew I was the one who tagged her with the handle of "Witty".

I could only hope that Lynn wouldn't do the same before I had a chance to make amends by taking the time to visit the museum on this visit I did and left a generous "tip". It was absolutely well worth every dime I paid and more. They had a ranch in Blackfoot Indian country and over the years had collected hundreds of beautiful arrowheads, many made of obsidian, on their ranch. They had framed the arrowheads and had generously donated the collection to the Carousel Museum in Bickleton, Washington.

They were a wonderful, knowledgeable, warm couple and as I wandered through thee museum I got a chance to talk with them. The priceless wooden horses, that often receive a fresh coat of paint, are displayed around the perimeter walls of the museum. Since the building is multi-walled it gives you the feeling of walking the inside perimeter of a moving carousel, with the bright wooden horses circling about you.

It is really well done. Above the wooden carousel horses are the framed arrowheads from the Montana ranch in Blackfoot country. The whole set up of the museum is really done well. In the center are all the other old photos, musical instruments and other historic objects.

Once each June, the wooden horses, each with a name of their own, are moved with care to a historic and operational carousel at the rodeo grounds and brought back to life. The day before the rodeo they let folks ride the carousel for free, and some of my most treasured photographs from my visit, were of little kids, with straw cowboy hats and smiles a mile wide, riding those wooden horses I enjoyed my visit to the museum but once again was in a hurry to leave.

Serendipity had struck again. While talking with Jennifer at the cafe, I told her how disappointed I had been to find out the older folks, who operated the Whoop-N-Holler Ranch Museum, had closed it down, when I tried to visit it in Jennifer ever sharp and quick thinking , said "Lawrence and Ada Ruth will be opening their place up in May, but perhaps if I gave them a call, they might open it up and let you go through it".

That seemed like such a nice offer, but I felt it might be asking too much. Besides it was cold outside, and I didn't want the Whitmores to be bothered. But Jennifer made the call and the Whitmores had told her that they would be happy to show me through.

Now that I had the invitation, I didn't want to stay at the museum too long and keep the Whitmores waiting. So off I went. Following Jennifer's directions I headed north out of Bickleton a short ways and turned right east on Roosevelt. Like most of the roads in this rural part of Eastern Washington, the roads are named for those who first came and lived in the area, establishing farms and ranches that would be passed on from generation to generation.

I turned left of East Road on the Whitmore Road and pulled into big farm house, where a smallish, black, overfriendly, overweight collie type ranch dog came out to greet me. The dog was by my side the entire visit. I rang the traditional farm bell on the side of the house. It was the kind of bell I was familiar with from my early days in Kansas. When that bell rang and you were anywhere doing a chore on the farm, you knew it was time to drop what you were doing and head straight for the house, if you wanted to enjoy a hot meal and be in good graces with the cook.

Lawrence came to the door. He is 85 and doesn't get around too well these days but he has a steady firm and friendly gaze and an equally firm and friendly hand shake. He called his wife Ada Ruth to the door to conduct the tour. Before the tour even began I knew I would want to pay generously as a small token of my appreciation but also not to pay too much so as to risk offending.

A little of everything and anything, but wonderfully displayed. You can't believe what all she has in that room and I we shared ideas about how it might be preserved. I suggested a University might be a good candidate to make certain none of it was lost or scattered. I even mentioned the genealogical collectors for the LDS church in Salt Lake City She had tried that an they were not interested - - which really surprised me. It wasn't all the historic and precious objects you see when you tour the Whoop-N-Holler Ranch The Whitmores named it that for all the commotion their kids made on the place as they were being raised.

It was the stories that Ada Ruth shared, that brought life to the objects, personalized them, and brought all kinds of emotions from pure joy to sorrow, as she told each story patiently and with feeling. In the old school house she was telling the story of some object and mentioned the town of "Marcola, Oregon". She asked me "Know where that is". I said no, but somehow the name of the town seemed familiar and I tried to both listen to her story about how it was named for a Mary Cole, who had a connection with the Whitmores, while trying to multitask in my mind, why the name Marcola, sounded familiar.

Finally I grasped a straw. Now it clicked and I asked her: I often add, drop, and re add Flickr contacts but always keep the number of contacts at or below 60 if I can. I can't follow the photos of more than that. But I have always enjoyed the historic photos and the information Curtis has supplied with this Flickr site, so he and I have "swapped" comments over the years, and I almost feel as though I know him.

From that moment on I must have heard a dozen times from Ada Ruth "Now you be sure to send Curtis a photo of this or tell him about that" and so forth. She especially wanted me to take a photo of a wooden shipping tub with "Isabel" stamped on it. She said "Curtis will like this one". Isabel is what they first called Marcola. The post office at this location was established in and originally called "Isabel" for early settler Isabel Applegate. About , a railroad was built through the Mohawk Valley and a station named Marcola was established near the post office.

Marcola was a name made up to honor Mary Cole, the wife of the town's founder, Columbus Cole. In , the post office name was changed to agree with the name of the station. After the tour I paid Ada Ruth. When I told her to invest the little more that I gave her on her archives, she liked that and only then accepted what I gave her. At the end of the tour, using the cold weather as an excuse, she suggested that I cut through their house to return to my car.

Inside I sat down and visited with Lawrence. After all the stories Ada Ruth had told on the tour, I honestly felt like I knew him and was an old friend. Both of us are almost stone deaf, so to anybody else it must have appeared as a shouting match, but the two of us found much common ground and clearly I admired and respected the 85 year old, who's wife had welcomed me into their home.

I left the "Whoop-N-Holler" with a bunch of mixed feeling. Sad, because I know their way of life is rapidly changing and in places, disappearing in the U. When I told Ada Ruth I would be posting some photos of my visit on a site on the internet, she said "Be sure to let anyone, who might like to visit us, know when we are open and if were not open to give us a call".

I was headed out to find one of the many old one room schoolhouses that dot the countryside, according to the display in the Carousel Museum. I drove through Cleveland a short ways then headed south on the Dot Road. At Glass Canyon, where a spring is shown on topo maps, and part of the reason the old school was located where it was I pulled over to photograph the Dot School.

I looked at where it headed Back toward Rock Creek Canyon and decided this is the kind of back road that I live, so off I drove. I will go back. The nine mile drive along this road through farm and lithosol canyon country was pure pleasure. I came to an old cowboy standing beside and holding the reins of his working horse, and a collie "sheep dog" stood at his side with that intent stare only a working dog can give in sizing up a stranger.

I couldn't tell whether the casual wave he gave me was a "hello" or "could you stop a minute I want to tell you something" wave, so I stopped. My window was already rolled down. He wore much used wool chaps and looked every bit the part of a long time hard working cowboy. He was tall and slender and looked to be in his forties. I looked down at his working dog and told his dog "Now you don't work too hard today" and the dog seemed to understand but not agree.

I'm certain that "working" is what cowboy, his horse and this dog I don't blame them. No office cubicle, small pasture, or dog pen for them. The basalt canyon walls were green with new grass and wildflowers, particularly the arrow-leaf balsamroot and phlox with a little desert parsley and wall flowers thrown in for good measure. I stopped to watch some wild turkeys cross the road and run into the cover along the canyon bottom. They seemed more nervous than usual. A short time later a pickup truck with turkey hunters passed me by windows down we talked.

The turkey I had seen were alive because they crossed the road when they did. Ten minutes later, their fate would have differed. Where the Newell Road joins it, the creek hasn't got far to go before it joins the Columbia River.

I drove the five and half miles up Rock Creek Canyon to confirm its intersection with the Bickleton Road, then returned the way I came back down Rock Creek to the Newell Road, to continue driving the canyon and travel more roads I had never before traveled. It was time to head west, back toward Goldendale, to complete my loop and day of back road exploration. I spent quite a bit of time here. This was an area known as the Goodnoe Hills.

I could see a pretty beat up old school house, south of the intersection so I went down to photograph it. On the way back up to the intersection I stopped to scratch a big farm horse behind the ears and hand him some of the fresh green grass on my side of the fence. There was an interesting deserted farmhouse horizontal wooden siding nailed over the original diagonal version.

It sat without windows on the NE corner of the intersection. An old metal windmill stood behind the homestead and behind it on the ridge top was an array of those huge white, modern, wind turbines. All I could see was of interest and photo ops.

Hoctor Road was no doubt named for the Goldendale farmers, the Hoctors. In the late 60's I lived and worked in the Washington State University fire department on campus. We got room and board and a dollar a day for serving as ambulance drivers and fire fighters on campus and in support of the town of Pullman when required.

Kirby was from Goldendale and his family was farmers. Kirby and I spent a lot of time together and would often make the drive from Pullman to Goldendale, so Kirby could visit his high school sweetheart, Cindy Hoctor who he later married.

I would be willing to bet that Cindy Hoctor belonged to the Goldendale Hoctors, who's road I now followed back to complete my back road loop to Goldendale, where I had started the day's drive. A sandwich at the Subway at Goldendale, a stop to fill up with gas, and I was on my way back over Satus Pass on my way home.

Life should be filled with more days like this one. So much living and enjoyment and all in just one fine day. It was on that trip that my wife and I almost got to visit the "Whoop - N -Holler" but it was closed back then.

This was one of the last photographs I took at Upper Titcomb Lake. Here are the waypoints for where this photo was taken and where we had our camp in Titcomb Basin:. The second day of our backpacking trip, from getting up in the morning at our Seneca Lake camp until climbing into our sleeping bags under a full moon and short rain session at Titcomb Basin, everything was superlatives.

The hiking, the scenery, and photo ops, were the absolute best. All four of us hiked together from our camp to Upper Titcomb Lake to get a close view and good feel for the basin itself. Backpackers passing us on their way out on day one of our backpacking trip had reported high winds in Titcomb Basin, so when we arrived there we were overjoyed to find mill pond like conditions on Upper Titcomb, while we were there taking photographs.

Later clouds moved in quickly for a short time, right at nightfall, rain came down. I quickly put the rain fly on my tent and retreated to its warm wind and rain protected interior. I love to prowl used bookstores. History, travel and trail guide books always seem to find their way to my house. My wife buys shoes. I have a long standing habit of writing the date and place where I buy a book. Photographed by Paul Chesley. I paid two dollars for this little hard bound book. I knew that if I could find a way to do so…that I needed to go there.

So the research began. To see, experience and enjoy it, I knew it needed to be a backpacking trip. My favorite companion on road trips, hikes, and backpacking trips is my wife. We have been married over 40 years and love doing things together.

Here are links for my flickr photo site, to a few of the backpacking trips we have taken together:. My wife and I both quickly agreed that the Titcomb Basin backpacking trip was one that would be best if she skipped. So I set about planning the trip, with the thought of finding at least one backpacking partner to join me on it. I chose a narrow window in September the first two weeks to avoid too many people, too many mosquitoes, and to get the trip in before hunting season and any major snow falls, closed the area for the season.

The total elevation gain on the backpacking trip would not be that great, nor would the number of trail miles, BUT the hike begins at around 9, feet and stays mostly above 10, feet with a high point of 10, or so - - which met the nights could likely be quite cold and then there is the issue of backpacking at altitude. I would want to backpack light but make certain that I carried enough gear to be safe and comfortable.

I felt I could do the trip solo if needed but I really felt it would be smarter, safer, and more fun if I could get at least one other person with backpacking experience to go with me. Enter Sawtooth photography Fred of flickr fame.

Fred met us for lunch and it was the first time I had met him, though we had exchanged hiking stories and information, through flickr, for years.

He even sent me a book and a map a few years back, on the hiking there. So, knowing through Flickr, that Fred was an avid and capable backpacker, I brought the subject of Titcomb Basin in the Wind River Range of Wyoming, up during our lunch conversation. He was sold and now I had somebody to do the trip with.

The trip was on! I posted a photocopy of Titcomb Basin on the side of a bookshelf, next to my computer and kept looking at from March of , until the dream became reality.

We had a lot of good fortune all along the way. The date we chose for the four day backpacking trip 9. It was a four party team I felt very comfortable with and now my only worry about the entire trip became weather in the high country of the Wind River Range.

When it became obvious that we had hit a lucky weather window for our planned backpacking trip - the four of us headed for Pinedale, Wyoming. Fred drove solo from his home near Boise; JJ drove solo making the trip in two days from his house to Pinedale; and my brother and I car pooled in his Jeep Liberty, taking our time and three days to arrive in Pinedale, Wyoming elevation near 7, feet.

Once the team was set at four, the four of us started exchanging information, internet links, and thoughts on about the trip. One of the team members sent me a link about a sad story I had not come across during my trip research. Mike Turner had an ambitious route that involved some travel in a remote portion of the Wind River Range. Circumstances and one mishap cost him his life.

It reinforced my feeling that the Titcomb Basin trip for me would best be done with the company of at least one other experienced hiker. The Mike Turner story took place in August It was printed in Backpacker magazine in Here is the link should you want to read the Mike Turner story and reflect on it a bit as well:.

This backpacking trip started with a few pages of photographs in a two dollar used book, purchased toward the end of winter in the Pacific Northwest. I had dreamed of sleeping in my backpacking tent with this view, and my dream came true. A big thanks to Fred, my brother, and JJ, for the big part they played in making that dream come true for me. Packed a 30 year old Kelty Tioga external frame pack. Photographed with a Canon G9 and G Home in Eastern Washington. Probably in his mid 40s. Carried the heaviest load of any of us, in a Gregory internal frame pack.

Boldly slept in a light, but weatherproof Bivy sack. Packed professional grade and multiple cameras plus a small wooden pinhole camera; a point and shoot camera; and was caught at least once, taking photos with his cell phone.

Used a Kelty external frame pack. Slept in a new Sierra Designs Zolo 1 backpacking tent. Took memory keeping snapshots with a small. Became the pace maker for our hiking as he is an experienced backpacker with a perfect trail pace, that worked for us all.

We kept him up front. He slept in a custom made, super light, tough, trekking pole supported, one man backpacking tent. JJ kept his over all load the lightest of the four of us and used a Gregory internal frame backpack. Like Fred, he qualifies as a professional photographer. He brought his Canon professional grade camera on the trip.

My brother and I broke up our trip down to Pinedale into three bite size segments. After spending the night at my house, the two of us headed for Missoula, Montana on the morning of Tuesday September 6th, We took the slow, scenic route up the Clearwater River and over lovely Lolo Pass. We stayed the night in Missoula, where just by happenstance there resides a Cracker Barrel restaurant.

We had dinner there Tuesday night and a big breakfast there Wednesday morning. Looking on line and confirming with the Pinedale chamber of commerce, I booked a two bedroom cabin at the historic, rustic, well kept, owned and operated by efficient, fair and friendly people: The Log Cabin Motel.

JJ reserved a two bedroom cabin there as well, so the four of us all bunked in cabins at Pinedale on the night before the backpacking trip. I have read almost every book you could think of on the days of men of the fur trading times.

Jim Bridger is one of my heroes, though I would not have wanted to have lived the tough, dangerous lives that they did. The museum was a hit. Much bigger and more professional than I had imagined and all three of us enjoyed our time there.

Then the three of us split up. JJ a former high school coach and media teacher , dropped by the local high school to watch their football practice. My brother and I decided to take the 15 mile paved scenic drive up to the Elkhart Park trailhead, just to get the lay of the land. It was great for the four of us to all be in Pinedale, with all of our backpacking gear and a good weather forecast holding steady for the four days we would be in the Jim Bridger Wilderness, backpacking.

We ate dinner in Pinedale together then returned to our cabins to organize our gear and be ready for an early morning trip up to the trailhead. Here is a link to the mountain man museum in Pinedale. It was really something for me to see the rifle that was engraved and given to Jim Bridger in the museum.

I learned a lot from my visit to the museum and thoroughly enjoyed it. Stop by there if you are ever near downtown, Pinedale. Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale, Wyoming:. There are some new multi-story national chain motels in Pinedale these days and probably more will go up, but if you really want a fun stay I highly recommend the.

I will keep this portion of the narrative short and let the photographs I post, speak for themselves. Here is a rough outline of the backpacking itself:. Day One Friday 9. Start hiking at the Elkhart Park trailhead near 9, feet. We shouldered our packs at 8: No permit or registration required though we did fill out the voluntary registration at the trailhead. We hiked on to the north end of Seneca Lake, where we set up our camp for the first night. This is about nine miles from the Elkhart Park trailhead.

A nice store and knowledgeable helpful owner. We filtered our water from the lake and the two Jetboil stoves we brought had no problem with the altitude. Beautiful moon at night.

Day Two Saturday 9. Backpack around Little Seneca Lake then climb to the ridge overlooking Island Lake for outstanding views and one of the highlights of the trail for me. We took a photo ops break here, then on down to the S. The view of Titcomb Basin, when it first comes into view, after climbing up and out of the Island Lake bowl, far exceeded my expectations and my expectations were exceedingly high. We talked with a solo mountain climber, hiking out of Titcomb Basin one of the few hikers we ran into in the basin.

He had just succeeded, after three failed attempts, to summit Gannet Peak. He smiled at the external frame Kelty packs, which my brother and I were carrying.

It was on a rock granite outcropping that I found the place I had dreamed of camping. Fred reached for his camera gear instead. After the Lower Titcomb Lake camp was set up, the four of grabbed our cameras and took a day hike up to Upper Titcomb Lake. Here I got my favorite photographs of the entire backpack trip. Back at camp, it was filter water, cook dinner, and take more photographs. While the four of us were wandering about exploring the area in which we were camped, rain clouds spilled over Fremont Peak and it began to rain.

My brother and I hot footed it back to camp to put our rain flies on our tents. No worry for Fred with his bivy bag or JJ with his new lightweight single wall tent. I went to sleep that night with rain tapping on the tent fly, then the clouds would race away into the night and the full moon would totally light up the interior of my tent.

Coyotes howled for a short while I thought Fred was using his cell phone HA. What a place to spend the night. Day Three Sunday 9. My brother, who had a small thermometer with him, said it was 28 degrees. After some more photo ops we started backpacking our way back the way we came. I thought about Mike Turner when we passed the Indian Basin trail junction. We hiked all the way to Barbara Lake near Eklund Lake to make an early camp and spend the last night of our backpacking trip.

It was a little over 8 miles from our Lower Titcomb Lake camp to the place we camped at Barbara Lake. It was a relaxing evening around Barbara Lake, a forest and meadow ringed small lake, right along the trail. Day Four Monday 9. It was an easy 5. We shook hands at the trailhead then started sorting and organizing our gear for our trips back home. We were all back in Pinedale by noon, picking up our stored gear at the Log Cabin Motel, and getting ready to head our separate ways.

Fred headed off toward Boise. My brother and I had decided to cut through Yellowstone on our way home. JJ was going to Teton National Park for some specific photo opportunities. As it turned out all three of us ended up staying Monday night in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, so we were able to have a nice dinner together at The Bunnery, a place that JJ knew of and served excellent food.

My brother and I spent some time in Yellowstone on Tuesday morning, then on to Missoula to spend the night there. Wednesday I arrived home with a lot of great memories and I hope a few photographs to remember them by. I was very lucky to have had Fred, my brother, and JJ as quality company on this trip.

We each had different approaches to gear, camping methods, and photography priorities, but we all stuck together and covered a lot of fun trail miles together.

I sincerely hope some of you out there in flickr land enjoy my photographs of this backpacking trip and benefit it some small way from the narrative and photos, should you decide to plan a trip of your own to the rugged and scenic country. This was the first shot i took before the climb down to the lake!! August 4th, , was the Saturday before the Bank Holiday. A miner from Maerdy, at the head of the Rhondda Fach, decided to take his five-year-old son with him to visit the child's grandparents who still farmed near Brecon.

They arrived in the town by train at about six o'clock in the evening. From there they had to walk four miles to reach Cwm-llwch, the little farmhouse deep in the valley to the north of the Beacons. By about eight o'clock they had reached the Login today in ruins where soldiers were encamped for training at the rifle range up the valley.

It had been a warm walk, and though they had only a quarter of a mile further to go, William Jones was glad to stop for refreshment and buy little Tommy a pennyworth of biscuits at the canteen. By chance, within a few minutes the grandfather also arrived, with year-old Willie John, Tommy's cousin. Willie was sent back to Cwm-lIwch to warn the household of the arrival of visitors, and Tommy ran off with him up the valley.

They had to cross two rough plank bridges, one without a handrail. In the failing light, the streams and trees were perhaps frightening to a small boy brought up amongst closely-packed houses.

He may have been afraid of meeting farm animals also.

people think

As a result, it's smaller than many ships that cruise Central European waters, with a length of feet and a beam of 32 feet, or m by 9,70 m. The ship could be described as a "boutique vessel," since it accommodates only 96 passengers.

Most public rooms are on the Verdi deck, or main deck, which also has 26 of the the ship's 48 passenger cabins. A staircase leads down to the Rialto Deck, where a foyer separates the restaurant from the 22 lower-deck staterooms.

The Sundeck, an open area on the top of the ship, offers deck chairs, tables, and plenty of space along the railings for sightseeing and picture-taking. Passengers enter and leave the ship via the reception area, located amidships on the Verdi deck, which acts as a buffer between the public rooms and cabins.

Like other Peter Deilmann river vessels, Casanova serves a multinational audience. This makes it different from its leading competitors on the European river-cruising circuit, which operate separate vessels for the U.

The bulk of Deilmann's guests come from German-speaking countries, but a substantial minority are from the U. On our cruise, about a third of the passengers were American or Canadian, with one British couple on board.

Most of our fellow guests were in their 60s or older a fairly typical age range for European river cruises. The ship's ambience has a strong German flavor, but don't go looking for stereotypes from yesteryear: The waiters, stewardesses, and reception staff are more friendly than formal, and the dress code on most evenings is "smart casual.

After the first meal or two, your beverage stewardess will remember your preferences. All ship's announcements are in both German and English, and separate versions of the daily newsletter are published for Deutsch- and English-speaking guests.

Overall, Casanova and Peter Deilmann Cruises offer a more cosmopolitan atmosphere than you'd find on a vessel that caters primarily to U. With Deilmann, you feel that you're in Europe when you're aboard the ship, not just when you go ashore. Whether that's good or bad depends on your tastes and whether you prefer mingling with the locals or sticking with fellow foreigners. In these 16 staterooms, the queen-size beds have separate mattresses, each with its own duvet when the stewardess removes the bedspread at night.

This means you can snuggle or maintain separation, depending on whom you're traveling with. These 30 cabins have twin beds on opposite walls. One berth converts into a sofa during the day. There are just two junior suites, both on the lower or Rialto deck.

They have queen-size beds and are slightly larger than the standard queen and twin cabins. Rooms on the Verdi or upper deck have cleverly designed French doors overlooking the water. Open the left half, and you have a floor-to-ceiling screen to keep bugs at bay. Open the right side, and you can lean out to take pictures, check the passing landscape in more detail, or get a feel for the weather. All staterooms are attractively decorated with generous expanses of wood paneling, drapes, pictures on the walls, etc.

Casanova's designers gave a lot of attention to details, as the inset photo of a ceiling light will show. The gold-trim motif is also used on the custom cabin furniture, which includes built-in closets, nightstands with storage space, and a desk with minibar. I did notice one small oversight: Casanova's duvets are filled with a thin polyester batting instead of down.

The bathrooms are extremely well-designed, with luxury touches such as glass shower enclosures, marble and ceramic walls, wooden toilet seats, brass faucets, and sinks that have marble countertops in a beautiful brown-red marble above a wooden storage cabinet and shelves. There's a retractable clothesline in the shower stall, and you'll find plenty of racks and hooks for towels and dressing gowns. Your stewardess will supply bathrobes on request.

Casanova also has closed-circuit movies several times a day in both German and English. Germans have a reputation for taking their food seriously, and the quality of hotel and restaurant food in Germany tends to be much better than in the United States or Britain.

So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Peter Deilmann's Casanova lives up to its five-star ambitions in the dining room. Breakfast consists of a buffet with fresh fruit, cereals, rolls, dark German breads, croissants and other pastries, cheeses, cold cuts, herring, smoked salmon, etc. Waiters are on hand to serve beverages, whisk away dirty plates, and take orders for fresh-cooked eggs or daily specials. Mineral water and sparkling wine, which you pay for at lunch or dinner, are free at breakfast.

Nicole, our beverage stewardess, told us that some guests like a glass of Prosecco to wake up in the morning. I tried a quarter-glass as a test but decided to stick with coffee.

My son was pleased by the hot chocolate, which was excellent. Lunch is a choose-your-own-adventure affair where you can fill up a plate from the buffet or have a full meal served course by course. On gala nights, a sorbet precedes the main course.

The restaurant's wood-and-marble buffet table is laid with a salad bar with the term "salad" encompassing such luxuries as shrimp and fish , which is replaced by a selection of cheeses and fruit at the end of the meal. Deilmann doesn't skimp on ingredients: High-quality fish is on the menu at nearly every midday or evening meal, and we were served lobster, large shrimp, lamb, veal, and duck at various times during the cruise.

Baked goods are also excellent--most notably the cakes and other desserts, which are baked on board by a full-time pastry chef. If sightseeing leaves you hungry for more than three square meals a day, you can top up your tummy with boullion at 11 a. On our voyage, Jozef--the Casanova's excellent pianst and vocalist--offered musical accompaniment during afternoon tea, the 6: Coffee, tea, ice water, and fruit juices are free. Other drinks cost extra at lunch and dinner, although complimentary sparkling wine and Kir Royale are served and replenished generously on gala nights.

If you order a bottle of wine or mineral water in the dining room, your waiter will mark the bottle and save it for future meals. Drink prices are in line with what you might expect on a European luxury vessel: Casanova has an unusually large staff for a river ship that carries only 96 passengers. Peter Deilmann claims a passenger-to-crew ratio of 2. The multilingual restaurant, bar, housekeeping, and reception staff were a hardworking bunch during our cruise, and they were also highly-trained professionals.

Our waiter, Mladen Tomljanovic, was a nine-year veteran of cruise ships, and our beverage stewardess, Nicole Hoppe, had three years of professional education and apprenticeship before joining Peter Deilmann Cruises. Mladen, Nicole, and other members of the restaurant and beverage staff worked together as an efficient team, delivering service on a par with what you'd expect on a luxury cruise line or a five-star hotel.

I was also impressed by the crew's warmth, friendliness, and overall good cheer. One evening, the younger staff were kind enough to invite my year-old son to join them at a nightclub that was popular with riverboat crews. I resisted the urge to play chaperone, spending the evening with a Donna Leon mystery instead.

Tips for bar purchases should be made at the time of service, since the person who serves you a drink may not be your regular beverage stewardess or waiter.

This German-built river boat from Peter Deilmann Cruises launched in and was refitted in She sails with up to 96 passengers on a wide variety of itineraries along the Rhine, Moselle, Main and Danube rivers from mid-March to early November. This slim, trim triple-decker is an all-white ft beauty with red trim. She has a width of 32 ft and a draft of 4 ft and shows a classical profile.

Peter Deilmann founded this German company a quarter century ago, first with oceangoing cruise ships and then riverboats. His two daughters carry on the tradition from the company headquarters at Neustadt in Holsetin, Germany operating eight high-end riverboats and the cruise ship Deutschland. North American and German speakers come aboard in varying numbers depending on the itinerary and departure.

Most are 50 and older. Very few children are found aboard, and there are no special facilities for them. The riverboat crew is fully bilingual, so there are no language problems. The Casanova used to sail on the River Po in northern Italy, and now she is found plying many different itineraries lasting from 7 to 14 days.

Her most ambitious cruise is a pair of sailings between Amsterdam and Budapest, Hungary, via the Rhine, Main, Danube and connecting canal. Some shore excursions are included in cruise-tours but not for cruise-only fares. A money-saving tour package can be bought for most itineraries. Depending on the numbers, the buses may be separate for each language or bilingual, and the same goes for the guided walks.

The panoramic restaurant has a stately Italian Provincial elegance with classic highback chairs and cherry accents, a circular compass rose of yellow glass on the ceiling and a buffet station.

The room can accommodate all passengers at a single sitting. No one has time to get hungry, with breakfast, morning bouillon, lunch, tea, dinner and midnight snacks. Excellent multicourse luncheons and dinners feature Continental fare and wines of many countries. Evening meals can feature nine courses on some nights, so expect to spend a lot of time at the table. English-speaking passengers are seated together at reserved tables and single sitting.

Evening wear often sees men in jacket and tie. The tastefully furnished lounge brings passengers together several times a day, with its plump sofas and armchairs, panoramic views, well-stocked bar, and nightly entertainment and dancing. Announcements, menus, and daily programs are all provided in English and German. The sun deck topside has plenty of deck chairs and blankets, and a doctor is onboard. Standard cabins are sq ft, with two minisuites of sq ft, all beautifully appointed with desks, TVs, phones, radios, closets, and baths with showers, hair dryers and robes.

Beds are twins and queen-sized, and the upper deck cabins have French doors. Bedding is European-style with duvets and feather pillows, but synthetic materials are available upon request. We had a two hour drive to Sylvan Lake last weekend across the prairies.

After seeing miles and miles of nothing we suddenly dropped upon this fascinating and unique place. Sylvan Lake is a town in central Alberta, Canada. It is situated on the southeast edge of Sylvan Lake, a 15 kilometres 9. The lake is a popular destination for tourists from around Alberta, with over 1. Popular tourist activities include sunbathing, swimming, water-skiing, and visiting the local Wild Rapids Waterslides. Arriving in from Michigan, Alexandre Loiselle and his family originally homesteaded the quarter section that later became the west side of today's Main 50th Street and the businesses and homes immediately to the west.

The early twentieth century saw groups of Estonian[3] and then Finnish settlers moving to homesteads to the south and west of the fledgling settlement at Sylvan Lake. With their arrival came the early business community, a general store, a blacksmith, a hardware store, post office, barber, restaurants and more. The completion of the Canadian Northern line to Rocky Mountain House and Nordegg in and the parallel Canadian Pacific in opened the west country to settlement and resulted in the incorporation of Sylvan Lake in under Mayor E.

Grimson, a local hardware store owner. The anniversary of the founding of the town is celebrated every year in Sylvan Lake as " Days. Farming quickly became a mainstay in the area and in an Alberta Pacific grain elevator was built on the CPR line immediately north of what is now Cottonwood Estates.

The elevator was torn down in the s and the CPR line was abandoned in and subsequently removed. Since then, the right of way has survived as a natural area and walking path through Sylvan Lake. Elevators were also constructed along the CN line and were used by local farmers in the mid-century decades. They were torn down in the late s. Even prior to the building of the railways, Sylvan Lake was quickly becoming a summer resort for families in Red Deer.

With the coming of the trains, "the Lake" quickly became a favorite of families from both Edmonton and Calgary.

Initially the summer visitors camped in tents, but soon the "Cottage Area" east of 46 Street and in "Lower Camp" on the southeast shore began to fill with summer cottages. In the s and s people also began arriving by car and the areas around Norglenwold, Sylvan Lake Provincial Park and Jarvis Bay Provincial Park began to fill up with summer visitors.

The influx of summer residents and visitors also brought businesses and services that catered to the ever increasing number of tourists. A large boathouse was constructed in , allowing visitors to rent a boat, canoe, swimsuit, or buy ice cream and pop as well as many other items necessary to a summer day at the lake. Regatta's were also held on the lake for a number of years beginning in In , the Dominion Government, assisted by the Sylvan Lake Women's Institute, built the long pier that jutted out into the lake from the bottom of Main Street.

This pier was connected to the earlier WI Pier and formed a square area used for swimming and mooring boats. The first "waterslide" at Sylvan Lake was also part of this facility. The piers were prone to ice damage over the winter and were finally replaced by the existing "landfill" that now hosts beach volleyball tournaments and dragon boat racing as well as the entertaining lake tour on the "Zoo Cruise.

In , Sylvan Lake found a replacement for its original waterslide in the construction of Wild Rapids Waterslide, which has become the largest facility of its kind in western Canada.

Another byproduct of losing the piers and later the government boat launch, was the construction of the Sylvan Lake Marina, home of many of the permanent boats on the lake, boating facilities, as well as a lake view restaurant and the Sylvan Lake lighthouse. I originally took this double-exposed photo with my Smena 8M earlier this afternoon. With this version, I fired up Photoshop, cropped it, moved the main elements together to form a square and played with the levels ever so slightly to add some contrast while maintaining the hues.

Here is a link to the original. I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised with the quality of my Smena 8M, considering its age.

Thanks goes out to Mika at moscowphoto for selling me this camera. After you turn off the main road it is approx 15 miles down to the very short Lower Lewis River Falls trail head.

Vinny, Dene and I decided to make the journey down to the falls this morning hoping for a little residual ice left over from the recent cold snap. The road started off easy enough. There was about 2 inches of slushy snow and one vehicle had already driven a path down the road so we cruised along for about 3 miles before the snow started getting deeper and even in Vinny's 4 x 4 Nissan we were beginning to slip and slide just a little.

To pass the time on the way down I played a little game called Do You? As we rounded the next corner, I told Dene and Vinny that if things got rough out here I was going to have to eat one, or both of them. They kind of laughed and then the car grew silent. Just so you know I would never joke about eating people. One more turn and our trip was abruptly halted by a fallen tree. We could not get around it. We were discouraged that we had come this far only to be stopped in our tracks.

We actually considered walking the remaining 10 miles down to the falls and were doing the math on if we could get back to the car before dark. That was when the Rednecks arrived. Out of nowhere like an oasis in the desert, a 3 truck caravan of real Washington Rednecks rolled up with trucks full of chain saws, crossbows, shotguns and gasoline. The lead truck, a Toyota 4 x 4 with a two foot lift kit, tires taller than Vinny and a Squirrel skeleton for a hood ornament pulled up and they cut the tree down and then offered to take the lead and blaze a trail down to the falls for us.

I don't think I have ever met such pleasant Rednecks. Around the corner there were more of them. Rednecks over here skinning a deer, Rednecks over there drinking a keg out of the back of the truck.

It was like Mad Max beyond Thunder-dome. I felt like a freaking geek when one of them asked us what WE were doing down here and I said It sounded so square as I said it that I am sure that no upstanding Redneck would ever let me in their club after that. After Vinny white knuckled the last 8 miles in snow that had now risen to 10 inches or more in spots we wondered how we would ever get back out of here, but none of that mattered.

A beautiful Winter Wonderland of snow and ice awaited us and we were excited to get there! Finally we arrived and walked the trail down to the lower portion of the falls. Dene and I had waders but Vinny was going to have to freeze to death. We were all going in. It was very unnerving being down there. The entire time the cliff above our heads was dropping chunks of ice and snow and at one point a section of ice that was a third the size of a car broke off from the cliff and crashed against the rocks less than 20 feet from where we were standing.

We knew the chances of us getting back here in conditions like this again were very slim so we made the best of it and then hiked back out.. Vinny drove like a champ. We survived and brought home the goods.

It was an epic adventure that I was not sure we were going to get out of on our own. Now we have a list of items to throw in the back of the truck. Rope, a spare tire, some chains and some water in case we run into trouble. Now that photography has become more or less my main focus…our family trips take on a bit of a different feel. We do mostly the same…. Honestly, most of our vacation locations are picked based on photograhp-i-cability.

This actually works out better in some cases. This area of the coast is amazing. If I miss sunset I suck to be around. Due to her awesomeness at executing our plan…and some frantic packing on my part…. Cutting it close…but still very respectable. However, as we age, our kids get older, and more difficult to corral and keep clean….

The wives approved of a bathroom as well. Lord knows I could just stink forever and not be too out of sorts. Alright I am kind of proud of my endurance to stench and dirt. We knew this place was smallish…but had no idea just how small until we arrived. The home was situated in Westhaven…. We passed chickens, a noose hanging from a tree, and various other odds and ends…that appeared out of place.

Nobody in the car really spoke much as we drove down this road. Before we left town we had confirmed that this home had one bedroom with a queen, and single bed, and one futon in another room that made into a king bed. We were hoping that the layout provided enough area for some privacy and places for the kids to sleep as well. Seeing the house for the first time as we rounded the final bend in Deliverance road was both comfort and concern.

The house looked quaint, and nice. There was a large deck full of patio furniture, and the area was surrounded by a lush garden and redwood trees. Downstairs it had a tiny kitchen and a tiny living room with a futon. Upstairs was a small bedroom. The bathroom was little…and faced the living room. It had a glass door with a see-through curtain.

Privacy was going to be an issue. I took the whirlwind approach to unpacking, which consists of taking everything from the van into the house and dropping it on the floor. I looked at the clock, it was 7: I grabbed my gear, and set out. I arrived at Luffenholtz Beach after a 5 minute drive the real one…not Houda Point and the sun was just starting to sit on the horizon…or what would have been the sun if it were actually visible and not foggy. Fog, in this case was very welcome….

Even though I planned on shooting sunset…. When I got to the beach there was a lady pretending she was Michael Vick. Meaning, she was smoking pot and watching her dogs fight.

She was surprised to see me…and quickly tried to hide her reefer. I had on waders…. Was I going to simply wander out knee deep in the water and sit there? I told her I WAS going to go wade…. I just sat on a rock in my rubber boots and watched waves…. I think I took 3 photos. At one point I watched as Ms.

Back at the house Pecos and his family had arrived…and everyone was getting the house in order. We had the larger family so we would take the upstairs. Pecos and his family would take the bottom floor. Even though the first night of vacations are usually hectic with unpacking, and winding down from a long day of work and driving Pecos and I tried to make the most of our vacation by building an outdoor fire and having a few vacation ales before heading to bed.

I also went with a square format which I enjoy as well time to time. There are only 2 spaces left for the Fall Yosemite workshop…. This crock pot is leaving town. The more people we have the more fun we have…and if we get too many we might need TWO crock pots…can you say cook-off! Facebook Page I View on Black. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.

This was from our mini adventure-climbing old cars, bulldozers, broken branches, throwing leaves, being spied by a stray cat and playing with water-well Diane waddled in the water and threaten to throw some at us Life's simple pleasure-being around with good friends on one's natural habitat- to laugh with, share insights, talk and talk and talk The lake and the surrounding wetlands are nestled between the Kerkini Mountains to the north and the Marvovouni Mountains to the south.

The lake occupies an area of about 50 to 73 sq km, depending on water levels. Kerkini Lake is an artificial reservoir. The lake was created on site that previously was an extensive marshland.

As the time went by, the river substances were washed up, so the rising of the banks a new dam construction took place in , which gave the lake its present look. Although the human intervention in the nature usually takes a harmful action against the natural development, Kerkini Lake is an atypical example where the human intervention had an opposite effect, since after the construction of the dam on the river the hydro-biosphere entirely changed.

Today it has a reputation as one of the best places for birdwatching in Greece due to its position. It is considered a miracle of nature with thousands of birds, fish variety, more than ten amphibian species, nineteen reptile species, five snail species, hundreds of butterfly species along with riverside forest, variety of water lilies and a great diversity of insects which play an important element in the food chain and contribute to the biological diversity of the Kerkini Lake.

The hydro-biosphere of the Lake Kerkini is of great international importance — the water level of the lake is valuable as a hydro-biosphere for thousands of water fowls, variety of fish and other species and it has a great agricultural function alike.

The Kerkini lake area is also an important recreational area and nice vacation spot. Besides birdwatching, other available activities on the lake include hiking nearby mountains and forests, lake boating, cycling or horse riding.

Lake Kerkini is a real paradise for bird watchers. The lake hosts more than sorts of birds, including non-migrants species, including some endangered species and species that migrate every year. There are also two endangered non-migrating species, the Pygmy Cormorant and the Dalmatian Pelican that can be observed here. Birdwatching tours regularly include walking tours around the lakeside as well as hiking into the hillside and lake boat rides.

Almost every season of the year is good for birdwatching in this area, but you may prefer to visit Lake Keriki at certain times of the year, depending on what do you want to see. If you want to see migrating of the birds than the April is particularly good month for visiting the lake.

On the other hand, if you are interested in birds breeding, than you should plan your visit for May and June. And if you would like to see different non-native birds that migrate to this area, you should plan a winter trip to the Lake Kerkini.

Lake Kerkini is located in Northern Greece, some 20km from Greek-Bulgarian border and it stretches on an area of approximately 50 to 73 square kilometers. Kerkini Lake is an artificial water reservoir fed by Strymon River, created in s. Today, Kerkini Lake area is well-known among nature lovers for its biodiversity and it is one of the major wetlands in Greece of great biological importance. It is also considered the best birdwatching spot in the country. It is famous due to its position on a migratory way that birds follow to the Black Sea, Aegean Sea, Balkan region and Hungarian steppes.

Lake and its surroundings has been popular over decades among birders from country and abroad because of its biodiversity with hundreds of bird species, variety of fish, diversity of snail species, more than species of butterflies, insects and diverse flora in the lake area and nearby mountains as well. Lake Kerkini itself is very dynamic bird environment with thousands of migrating and non-migrating bird species. It usually takes two or three weeks to see all this area has to offer and if you are planning your birdwatching trip to Lake Kerkini, the best would be to set aside at least a week or two of your vacation for this.

But the main reason why lots of people visit this area every year is recreational birding and enjoying in observing the spectacular diversity of breeding or wintering bird species. No wonder this lake is considered an authentic paradise for birdwatchers and photograph lovers alike. It is home to more than Non-migrating bird species include some endangered species like Pygmy Cormorant and the Dalmatian Pelican.

Kerkini Lake provides shelter to a large number of waterfowl, thousands of Night Herons, several hundred pairs of Squacco and Grey Herons, Purple Herons, few hundred pairs of Pygmy Cormorant, more than two thousand pairs of Cormorants, about one hundred pairs of Spoonbil, Glossy Ibies, hundreds of Dalmatian and white Pelicans, Black Storks, Ferruginous Ducks and many other species.

Large numbers of waders and other raptors on passageway could also be observed early in spring. You can enjoy birdwatching activity in Lake Kerkini during the whole year. Migration begins in early March, with the arrival of pioneering Garganey and Osprey. White Storks arrive towards the end of the month. Migration continues through April into beginning of May. Glossy Ibis are expected and thousands of both species of Pelican can be seen.

There are some great accommodation alternatives available nearby Kerkini Lake with excellent services offered to birders, to fully enjoy your birdwatching experience in Greece.

It is also historical capital of Bohemia proper. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1. Prague has been a political, cultural, and economic centre of central Europe with waxing and waning fortunes during its 1,year existence. Founded during the Romanesque and flourishing by the Gothic and Renaissance eras, Prague was not only the capital of the Czech state, but also the seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and thus then also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.

The city played major roles in the Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years' War, and in 20th-century history, during both World Wars and the post-war Communist era. Prague is home to a number of famous cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of twentieth century Europe.

The city boasts more than ten major museums, along with countless theatres, galleries, cinemas, and other historical exhibits. A modern public transportation system connects the city. Also, it is home to a wide range of public and private schools, including Charles University.

Its rich history makes it a popular tourist destination, and the city receives more than 4. In , Prague was the sixth-most-visited city in Europe. Marina Bay Sands is situated on The iconic design has transformed Singapore's skyline and tourism landscape since it opened on 27 April, The property has a hotel, convention and exhibition facilities, theatres, entertainment venues, retailers, and restaurants.

The two resorts aimed to meet Singapore's economic and tourism objectives, and have year casino licenses, exclusively for the first ten years.

They liked that the hotel towers were set back from the waterfront to open up expansive views of the city and the entire Marina Bay, making the skyline for Singapore's downtown more attractive and distinctive. Construction of the property commenced in early and was expected to be completed by LVS submitted its winning bid on its own.

CDL's CEO, Kwek Leng Beng said his company's pullout was a combination of factors — such as difficulties in getting numerous companies he owns to comply in time, as well as reluctance of some parties to disclose certain private information in probity checks required by the Singapore government. However, Kwek was retained as an advisor for Sands' bid. Las Vegas Sands declared the undertaking as "one of the world's most challenging construction projects and certainly the most expensive stand-alone integrated resort property ever built".

Half a million gamblers passed through the casino in June In the third quarter of , the revenues of the Marina Bay Sands fell almost 28 per cent from a year earlier. All I could see was of interest and photo ops. Hoctor Road was no doubt named for the Goldendale farmers, the Hoctors. In the late 60's I lived and worked in the Washington State University fire department on campus. We got room and board and a dollar a day for serving as ambulance drivers and fire fighters on campus and in support of the town of Pullman when required.

Kirby was from Goldendale and his family was farmers. Kirby and I spent a lot of time together and would often make the drive from Pullman to Goldendale, so Kirby could visit his high school sweetheart, Cindy Hoctor who he later married. I would be willing to bet that Cindy Hoctor belonged to the Goldendale Hoctors, who's road I now followed back to complete my back road loop to Goldendale, where I had started the day's drive.

A sandwich at the Subway at Goldendale, a stop to fill up with gas, and I was on my way back over Satus Pass on my way home. Life should be filled with more days like this one.

So much living and enjoyment and all in just one fine day. It was on that trip that my wife and I almost got to visit the "Whoop - N -Holler" but it was closed back then. This was one of the last photographs I took at Upper Titcomb Lake. Here are the waypoints for where this photo was taken and where we had our camp in Titcomb Basin:. The second day of our backpacking trip, from getting up in the morning at our Seneca Lake camp until climbing into our sleeping bags under a full moon and short rain session at Titcomb Basin, everything was superlatives.

The hiking, the scenery, and photo ops, were the absolute best. All four of us hiked together from our camp to Upper Titcomb Lake to get a close view and good feel for the basin itself. Backpackers passing us on their way out on day one of our backpacking trip had reported high winds in Titcomb Basin, so when we arrived there we were overjoyed to find mill pond like conditions on Upper Titcomb, while we were there taking photographs.

Later clouds moved in quickly for a short time, right at nightfall, rain came down. I quickly put the rain fly on my tent and retreated to its warm wind and rain protected interior.

I love to prowl used bookstores. History, travel and trail guide books always seem to find their way to my house. My wife buys shoes. I have a long standing habit of writing the date and place where I buy a book. Photographed by Paul Chesley. I paid two dollars for this little hard bound book. I knew that if I could find a way to do so…that I needed to go there. So the research began. To see, experience and enjoy it, I knew it needed to be a backpacking trip.

My favorite companion on road trips, hikes, and backpacking trips is my wife. We have been married over 40 years and love doing things together. Here are links for my flickr photo site, to a few of the backpacking trips we have taken together:. My wife and I both quickly agreed that the Titcomb Basin backpacking trip was one that would be best if she skipped. So I set about planning the trip, with the thought of finding at least one backpacking partner to join me on it.

I chose a narrow window in September the first two weeks to avoid too many people, too many mosquitoes, and to get the trip in before hunting season and any major snow falls, closed the area for the season. The total elevation gain on the backpacking trip would not be that great, nor would the number of trail miles, BUT the hike begins at around 9, feet and stays mostly above 10, feet with a high point of 10, or so - - which met the nights could likely be quite cold and then there is the issue of backpacking at altitude.

I would want to backpack light but make certain that I carried enough gear to be safe and comfortable. I felt I could do the trip solo if needed but I really felt it would be smarter, safer, and more fun if I could get at least one other person with backpacking experience to go with me. Enter Sawtooth photography Fred of flickr fame. Fred met us for lunch and it was the first time I had met him, though we had exchanged hiking stories and information, through flickr, for years.

He even sent me a book and a map a few years back, on the hiking there. So, knowing through Flickr, that Fred was an avid and capable backpacker, I brought the subject of Titcomb Basin in the Wind River Range of Wyoming, up during our lunch conversation.

He was sold and now I had somebody to do the trip with. The trip was on! I posted a photocopy of Titcomb Basin on the side of a bookshelf, next to my computer and kept looking at from March of , until the dream became reality. We had a lot of good fortune all along the way. The date we chose for the four day backpacking trip 9. It was a four party team I felt very comfortable with and now my only worry about the entire trip became weather in the high country of the Wind River Range.

When it became obvious that we had hit a lucky weather window for our planned backpacking trip - the four of us headed for Pinedale, Wyoming. Fred drove solo from his home near Boise; JJ drove solo making the trip in two days from his house to Pinedale; and my brother and I car pooled in his Jeep Liberty, taking our time and three days to arrive in Pinedale, Wyoming elevation near 7, feet.

Once the team was set at four, the four of us started exchanging information, internet links, and thoughts on about the trip. One of the team members sent me a link about a sad story I had not come across during my trip research. Mike Turner had an ambitious route that involved some travel in a remote portion of the Wind River Range. Circumstances and one mishap cost him his life.

It reinforced my feeling that the Titcomb Basin trip for me would best be done with the company of at least one other experienced hiker. The Mike Turner story took place in August It was printed in Backpacker magazine in Here is the link should you want to read the Mike Turner story and reflect on it a bit as well:. This backpacking trip started with a few pages of photographs in a two dollar used book, purchased toward the end of winter in the Pacific Northwest.

I had dreamed of sleeping in my backpacking tent with this view, and my dream came true. A big thanks to Fred, my brother, and JJ, for the big part they played in making that dream come true for me.

Packed a 30 year old Kelty Tioga external frame pack. Photographed with a Canon G9 and G Home in Eastern Washington. Probably in his mid 40s. Carried the heaviest load of any of us, in a Gregory internal frame pack. Boldly slept in a light, but weatherproof Bivy sack. Packed professional grade and multiple cameras plus a small wooden pinhole camera; a point and shoot camera; and was caught at least once, taking photos with his cell phone.

Used a Kelty external frame pack. Slept in a new Sierra Designs Zolo 1 backpacking tent. Took memory keeping snapshots with a small. Became the pace maker for our hiking as he is an experienced backpacker with a perfect trail pace, that worked for us all. We kept him up front. He slept in a custom made, super light, tough, trekking pole supported, one man backpacking tent. JJ kept his over all load the lightest of the four of us and used a Gregory internal frame backpack.

Like Fred, he qualifies as a professional photographer. He brought his Canon professional grade camera on the trip. My brother and I broke up our trip down to Pinedale into three bite size segments. After spending the night at my house, the two of us headed for Missoula, Montana on the morning of Tuesday September 6th, We took the slow, scenic route up the Clearwater River and over lovely Lolo Pass. We stayed the night in Missoula, where just by happenstance there resides a Cracker Barrel restaurant.

We had dinner there Tuesday night and a big breakfast there Wednesday morning. Looking on line and confirming with the Pinedale chamber of commerce, I booked a two bedroom cabin at the historic, rustic, well kept, owned and operated by efficient, fair and friendly people: The Log Cabin Motel. JJ reserved a two bedroom cabin there as well, so the four of us all bunked in cabins at Pinedale on the night before the backpacking trip.

I have read almost every book you could think of on the days of men of the fur trading times. Jim Bridger is one of my heroes, though I would not have wanted to have lived the tough, dangerous lives that they did. The museum was a hit. Much bigger and more professional than I had imagined and all three of us enjoyed our time there. Then the three of us split up.

JJ a former high school coach and media teacher , dropped by the local high school to watch their football practice. My brother and I decided to take the 15 mile paved scenic drive up to the Elkhart Park trailhead, just to get the lay of the land. It was great for the four of us to all be in Pinedale, with all of our backpacking gear and a good weather forecast holding steady for the four days we would be in the Jim Bridger Wilderness, backpacking.

We ate dinner in Pinedale together then returned to our cabins to organize our gear and be ready for an early morning trip up to the trailhead. Here is a link to the mountain man museum in Pinedale. It was really something for me to see the rifle that was engraved and given to Jim Bridger in the museum.

I learned a lot from my visit to the museum and thoroughly enjoyed it. Stop by there if you are ever near downtown, Pinedale. Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale, Wyoming:.

There are some new multi-story national chain motels in Pinedale these days and probably more will go up, but if you really want a fun stay I highly recommend the. I will keep this portion of the narrative short and let the photographs I post, speak for themselves.

Here is a rough outline of the backpacking itself:. Day One Friday 9. Start hiking at the Elkhart Park trailhead near 9, feet. We shouldered our packs at 8: No permit or registration required though we did fill out the voluntary registration at the trailhead. We hiked on to the north end of Seneca Lake, where we set up our camp for the first night. This is about nine miles from the Elkhart Park trailhead.

A nice store and knowledgeable helpful owner. We filtered our water from the lake and the two Jetboil stoves we brought had no problem with the altitude. Beautiful moon at night. Day Two Saturday 9. Backpack around Little Seneca Lake then climb to the ridge overlooking Island Lake for outstanding views and one of the highlights of the trail for me.

We took a photo ops break here, then on down to the S. The view of Titcomb Basin, when it first comes into view, after climbing up and out of the Island Lake bowl, far exceeded my expectations and my expectations were exceedingly high.

We talked with a solo mountain climber, hiking out of Titcomb Basin one of the few hikers we ran into in the basin. He had just succeeded, after three failed attempts, to summit Gannet Peak. He smiled at the external frame Kelty packs, which my brother and I were carrying. It was on a rock granite outcropping that I found the place I had dreamed of camping. Fred reached for his camera gear instead.

After the Lower Titcomb Lake camp was set up, the four of grabbed our cameras and took a day hike up to Upper Titcomb Lake. Here I got my favorite photographs of the entire backpack trip. Back at camp, it was filter water, cook dinner, and take more photographs. While the four of us were wandering about exploring the area in which we were camped, rain clouds spilled over Fremont Peak and it began to rain. My brother and I hot footed it back to camp to put our rain flies on our tents.

No worry for Fred with his bivy bag or JJ with his new lightweight single wall tent. I went to sleep that night with rain tapping on the tent fly, then the clouds would race away into the night and the full moon would totally light up the interior of my tent. Coyotes howled for a short while I thought Fred was using his cell phone HA. What a place to spend the night. Day Three Sunday 9. My brother, who had a small thermometer with him, said it was 28 degrees.

After some more photo ops we started backpacking our way back the way we came. I thought about Mike Turner when we passed the Indian Basin trail junction. We hiked all the way to Barbara Lake near Eklund Lake to make an early camp and spend the last night of our backpacking trip. It was a little over 8 miles from our Lower Titcomb Lake camp to the place we camped at Barbara Lake.

It was a relaxing evening around Barbara Lake, a forest and meadow ringed small lake, right along the trail. Day Four Monday 9. It was an easy 5. We shook hands at the trailhead then started sorting and organizing our gear for our trips back home.

We were all back in Pinedale by noon, picking up our stored gear at the Log Cabin Motel, and getting ready to head our separate ways. Fred headed off toward Boise. My brother and I had decided to cut through Yellowstone on our way home. JJ was going to Teton National Park for some specific photo opportunities. As it turned out all three of us ended up staying Monday night in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, so we were able to have a nice dinner together at The Bunnery, a place that JJ knew of and served excellent food.

My brother and I spent some time in Yellowstone on Tuesday morning, then on to Missoula to spend the night there. Wednesday I arrived home with a lot of great memories and I hope a few photographs to remember them by. I was very lucky to have had Fred, my brother, and JJ as quality company on this trip.

We each had different approaches to gear, camping methods, and photography priorities, but we all stuck together and covered a lot of fun trail miles together. I sincerely hope some of you out there in flickr land enjoy my photographs of this backpacking trip and benefit it some small way from the narrative and photos, should you decide to plan a trip of your own to the rugged and scenic country. This was the first shot i took before the climb down to the lake!!

August 4th, , was the Saturday before the Bank Holiday. A miner from Maerdy, at the head of the Rhondda Fach, decided to take his five-year-old son with him to visit the child's grandparents who still farmed near Brecon. They arrived in the town by train at about six o'clock in the evening. From there they had to walk four miles to reach Cwm-llwch, the little farmhouse deep in the valley to the north of the Beacons. By about eight o'clock they had reached the Login today in ruins where soldiers were encamped for training at the rifle range up the valley.

It had been a warm walk, and though they had only a quarter of a mile further to go, William Jones was glad to stop for refreshment and buy little Tommy a pennyworth of biscuits at the canteen.

By chance, within a few minutes the grandfather also arrived, with year-old Willie John, Tommy's cousin. Willie was sent back to Cwm-lIwch to warn the household of the arrival of visitors, and Tommy ran off with him up the valley. They had to cross two rough plank bridges, one without a handrail. In the failing light, the streams and trees were perhaps frightening to a small boy brought up amongst closely-packed houses.

He may have been afraid of meeting farm animals also. At any rate, when the two of them had got about half way , Tommy started to cry and wanted to go back to his father. So the two boys parted. Willie completed his errand and was back at the camp within about quarter of an hour of leaving it - but Tommy had not returned. Father and grandfather immediately started looking for him. Soon perhaps about twenty minutes later they were joined by soldiers from the camp: At midnight the search was halted, but at 3 o'clock on the Sunday morning it started again.

Police and the general public joined in and the net spread wider. But no sign of the boy was discovered that day. So it continued through the following weeks. Every day search parties of police, troops, farmers and other volunteers combed the area systematically. The tall bracken was cut, the woodland ransacked, It was at one point suggested that Llyn Cwm-lIwch should be dragged, but it was thought unlikely that the boy could have gone as far up the mountain as that.

It seemed more probable that he had fallen off one of the footbridges into the stream, or had simply wandered straight on down the valley, instead of turning right to cross the second bridge to the camp. Thus the search was concentrated in the close and wooded country around the Login and down the valley as far as Brecon waterworks.

Inevitably, with the continued failure to find trace of the boy, theories of kidnapping gained favour. These now held the only hope that the boy might still be found alive, Kidnapping, at that time, meant gypsies in the first instance, and though they are rarely mentioned in The Brecon County Times of the period, it appears that there were numerous camps of them in Breconshire and neighbouring counties.

All were unceremoniously ransacked by the police during the search, without success. The affair aroused national concern, and reports of the missing boy and suggestions for lines of enquiry came from all parts of the country.

The announcement of the reward was made, among other means, by the Brecon Town Crier. The Daily Mail also sent a special commissioner to Brecon, who during the time he was there won considerable admiration and respect for his indefatigable work on the problem. It was under his influence that the gypsy theory lost ground, and abduction by a childless woman or couple thought more likely.

He also mentioned the possibility of murder, but dismissed it in the very same sentence. Only after several weeks did Tommy's father yield to the pleas of friends to return home to Maerdy. But he was soon back again, and was one of several people who climbed to the top of the Beacons in their despairing searches.

It was not he who made the discovery. Hamer, a gardener's wife at Castle Madoc, some miles north of Brecon, having read accounts of the search, is said to have dreamed of the very spot where Tommy was to be found.

She spent a couple of restless days before finally persuading her husband to borrow a pony and trap on Sunday, September 2nd, to take her and some relatives to the Beacons - which they had never climbed before. Hamer did not believe that they would succeed where so many had failed. But later that day he was to be able to lay claim to the reward.

Hamer, who was a few yards in front of the others, started back with an exclamation of horror, for there in his path lay the remains of a body. At the inquest on the Tuesday the jury had no difficulty in bringing in a verdict of death through exhaustion and exposure. But no one managed to explain how this little five-year-old, 'short and stout of his age', tired and hungry after a long day and the walk from Brecon, had managed to reach the spot where his body was found.

It was 2, ft. Certainly it had not been considered worthwhile to make a systematic search of high ground. The father must have passed within a dozen yards of the body a few days before its discovery, but by this time it would have looked much like a boulder in the long grass. Various people with detailed local knowledge had suggested that Tommy might have wandered uphill to the left of his path when he started to return to the camp, or that he crossed the first footbridge, but not the second just below the junction of the two streams and lying at right-angles to the first; both have now disappeared, though the ford beside the first remains in use.

In retrospect, the latter seems the more likely explanation. If he turned left here instead of right he would soon have started up the side of Pen Milan, following what was presumably the most direct route between the soldiers' camp and the rifle range. Alternatively he might have continued downstream a little further and then veered to the left on the path towards Llwyn-bedw. In either case, he probably joined the track which zig-zags up Pen Milan, climbing steeply to high ground.

Perhaps by this time, confused and panic-stricken in the failing daylight, he hoped he was returning uphill to his grandfather's farm, not realising until later how hopelessly lost he was. We only know with certainty how far his stamina and courage took him. For many years his family kept the sailor suit with collarette which he had been wearing, the new light boots with pathetically worn soles; and the whistle which he had carried on a string round his neck.

Could this have saved his life if he had thought to use it while he still had energy? Today the spot where Tommy's body was found is marked by an obelisk. The jurors at the inquest gave their fees to start a fund for this memorial.

They were joined by Mr. By July the following year the inscribed stone was ready, and was hauled on a horse-drawn sledge up to the ridge. Since then thousands of walkers must have paused beside it, and been reminded of the small boy who fell victim to the Beacons through exhaustion and exposure. Ninety years old Mrs. Martin of Hitchen, Hertfodshire sends her recollections of the tradegy: He even got the local farmers to cut down the shoulder-high bracken in some parts to help the search.

Also the South Wales Borderers had a search party daily. Coke Memorial Wesleyan Chapel, Lion Street, and the service had just finished when a tremendous outcry went up.

He was 16 years old at the time and interested in amateur photography. Hands at the rear. My father was so concerned that the photograph showed him smoking a clay pipe, for smoking on duty was definitely against the rules.

It was I who supplied the information that a farmer at the scene had given him this to counteract the odour which prevailed. I remember my father got the negative from Jack Clark and scratched the pipe out on the glass plate so that no further prints would show it, but this made the fact more noticeable and the negative was destroyed.

He also suggested that the obelisk should be erected a little distance from the actual spot where the body was found, to be in a more visible position. David's, finding the obelisk was in very poor condition, went up with a family party armed with buckets and brushes and cleaned the stonework and Walter re-lettered the inscription. He lost his way between Cwmllwch Farm and the Login on the night of August 4th After an anxious search of 29 days his body was found on September 2nd. Nor does it mean sepia-toned photos.

Neither will be accepted. Here is what Roger has to say about this exciting Member's Choice theme: Most of the favorites are of family and pets, but none are macros, even though macro photography is now my favorite kinda photography. This troop welcomed him with open arms and actually bridged him from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.

Our troop is very active. They meet at the local Elks Lodge weekly and they camp once a month. They often volunteer for community service, civic projects, and local events such as running the kid's games at the annual county fair. Curtis has been a huge support for Dominic and for the troop; he has accompanied Dominic on most of the camping trips and is always one of the adults helping with events.

Dominic will be make Eagle Scout by the time he's a freshman or sophomore in high school. One of the highest honors a scout can achieve is being nominated, voted, and accepted into the Order of the Arrow OA. The OA exemplifies the very best of scout oath and law. Just being nominated is a big deal Then the nominees are voted in by their peers.

The troop votes on a set of criteria that each scout must meet before they can be accepted into the OA. Curtis and I found out a couple of months ago that Dominic was voted and accepted into OA and we were told when the induction ceremony would be held Bear Creek is where our troop went to summer camp last summer and it's about 2 hours away. Curtis invited his dad, Curt, to come down and go with him and Dominic for the trip.

Curt participated in Scouts as a young man and had gone with Curtis and Dominic on a few camping trips before. Dominic had no idea that he would be inducted into the OA this weekend.

I decided to drive out there for the ceremony and surprise him. There were scouts and adults in attendance at this weekend's campout, all from the Alamo Area Council.

They had a group gathering Saturday evening for storytelling and skits. They shared stories of famous Mountain Men from the past. Then they had the group break into five smaller groups for the OA ceremonies. Our smaller group gathered and we were instructed that we were to remain totally silent on the walk to the site, during the ceremony, and on the walk back. No photography was allowed. It was very solemn. The air was charged with anticipation. We could hear a drum beating far off in the distance, then we saw fire.

As we got closer, we saw people gathered in full Native American garb inside of a fire circle. At least 20 small fires were set in a circle around the Chief and his tribe with a larger fire in the center. There was a ring of tiki torches on the outer edge of the circle where everyone gathered. Once everyone had arrived and it was completely still, the scribe began calling names.

Another tribal council member left the center of the ring to guide the boy to the Chief. The Chief would then firmly pat the boy's shoulder once on the right and twice on the left in a rhythmic pattern. Then the boy would be led to the Chief's wife for another welcome, then he would be led to the back of the circle behind the fire to stand in line and wait.

The tribal drum continued to beat throughout the entire ceremony, it was so powerful. Name after name was called. Then they got to our troop. Three boys were accepted into the OA this year from our troop, and when Dominic's name was called, I felt such a surge of pride that I cannot adequately put it into words. I can't imagine how surreal it felt for him After all of the boys were called, the Chief spoke.

He talked of honor, integrity, and duty. He instructed us to remain completely silent and to go back to the main area. The boys stayed behind. It was so weird walking away and leaving our son behind. I could see a few other moms struggling to leave also.

We didn't know what to expect or when or where our children would be returned. It was late, after The stars were brilliant, shining down on us. The air was crisp. It was completely still and quiet. The drumming had stopped. Once we got back to the main area, we waited with our troop for the boys the return. We talked in hushed tones. Finally we saw Dominic. I hugged him and whispered, "Congratulations! Curtis asked him how long he had to be silent, and Dominic indicated the sun rising with his hands We walked to the car and I drove the boys off back at their campsite then headed home.

Wow what a night! Curt, Curtis, and Dominic came back late Sunday morning and I noticed the dirt under Dominic's fingernails. I thought of the stories we had heard the night before about the famous Mountain Men of years gone by. I asked Dominic if I could take a macro picture of his hardworking hands for this week's theme, thinking it would be a perfect symbol of this weekend's festivities.

Sometime in the next couple of months, Dominic will go through the Ordeal. The Ordeal is a process in which Dominic will leave the other campers for hours, work on camp improvement projects, and sleep alone. He has to remain completely silent during this process and will only receive a small amount of food and water.

It's a rite of passage into manhood, similar to a vision quest. Once he's completed this process, he will achieve the first level of OA. After Ordeal, the next two levels are Brotherhood and Vigil. I am incredibly proud of Dominic. He hasn't always had the easiest time with his peers because of his ADHD and quirks.

Being nominated and accepted into the OA not only exemplifies the scout oath and law, it validates that his troop accepts him, honors him, and values him.

I'm also incredibly proud of my husband. Curtis has been there every step of the way, cheering Dominic on and encouraging him to step out of his comfort zone.

Curtis really is showing, by example, how to be a good man. I can already see glimpses of the man Dominic will be. Before the slate industry developed, the area now known as Blaenau Ffestiniog was a farming region, with scattered farms working the uplands below the cliffs of Dolgaregddu and Nyth-y-Gigfran.

Much of the land was owned by large estates. During the s and s the slate industry in Blaenau Ffestiniog went through a large boom. The quarries expanded rapidly, as did the nascent town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. The town gained its first church and first school, and saw considerable ribbon development along the roads.

By , the town's population had soared to 11, The boom in the slate industry was followed by a significant decline. The s saw several quarries lose money for the first time, and several failed entirely, including Cwmorthin and Nyth-y-Gigfran.

Blaenau Ffestiniog hosted the National Eisteddfod in Although the slate industry partly recovered from the recession of the s, it never fully recovered. There was a short post-war boom, but the long-term trend was towards mass-produced tiles and cheaper slate from Spain. Despite this consolidation, the industry continued to decline.

The Second World War saw a further loss of available workers. In , the Ffestiniog Railway closed. The slate quarries continued to decline steadily after The remaining quarries served by the Rhiwbach Tramway closed during the s and s.

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Beds are twins and queen-sized, and the upper deck cabins have French doors. Bedding is European-style with duvets and feather pillows, but synthetic materials are available upon request. We had a two hour drive to Sylvan Lake last weekend across the prairies. After seeing miles and miles of nothing we suddenly dropped upon this fascinating and unique place.

Sylvan Lake is a town in central Alberta, Canada. It is situated on the southeast edge of Sylvan Lake, a 15 kilometres 9. The lake is a popular destination for tourists from around Alberta, with over 1.

Popular tourist activities include sunbathing, swimming, water-skiing, and visiting the local Wild Rapids Waterslides. Arriving in from Michigan, Alexandre Loiselle and his family originally homesteaded the quarter section that later became the west side of today's Main 50th Street and the businesses and homes immediately to the west. The early twentieth century saw groups of Estonian[3] and then Finnish settlers moving to homesteads to the south and west of the fledgling settlement at Sylvan Lake.

With their arrival came the early business community, a general store, a blacksmith, a hardware store, post office, barber, restaurants and more. The completion of the Canadian Northern line to Rocky Mountain House and Nordegg in and the parallel Canadian Pacific in opened the west country to settlement and resulted in the incorporation of Sylvan Lake in under Mayor E.

Grimson, a local hardware store owner. The anniversary of the founding of the town is celebrated every year in Sylvan Lake as " Days. Farming quickly became a mainstay in the area and in an Alberta Pacific grain elevator was built on the CPR line immediately north of what is now Cottonwood Estates.

The elevator was torn down in the s and the CPR line was abandoned in and subsequently removed. Since then, the right of way has survived as a natural area and walking path through Sylvan Lake. Elevators were also constructed along the CN line and were used by local farmers in the mid-century decades.

They were torn down in the late s. Even prior to the building of the railways, Sylvan Lake was quickly becoming a summer resort for families in Red Deer.

With the coming of the trains, "the Lake" quickly became a favorite of families from both Edmonton and Calgary. Initially the summer visitors camped in tents, but soon the "Cottage Area" east of 46 Street and in "Lower Camp" on the southeast shore began to fill with summer cottages. In the s and s people also began arriving by car and the areas around Norglenwold, Sylvan Lake Provincial Park and Jarvis Bay Provincial Park began to fill up with summer visitors.

The influx of summer residents and visitors also brought businesses and services that catered to the ever increasing number of tourists. A large boathouse was constructed in , allowing visitors to rent a boat, canoe, swimsuit, or buy ice cream and pop as well as many other items necessary to a summer day at the lake. Regatta's were also held on the lake for a number of years beginning in In , the Dominion Government, assisted by the Sylvan Lake Women's Institute, built the long pier that jutted out into the lake from the bottom of Main Street.

This pier was connected to the earlier WI Pier and formed a square area used for swimming and mooring boats. The first "waterslide" at Sylvan Lake was also part of this facility. The piers were prone to ice damage over the winter and were finally replaced by the existing "landfill" that now hosts beach volleyball tournaments and dragon boat racing as well as the entertaining lake tour on the "Zoo Cruise.

In , Sylvan Lake found a replacement for its original waterslide in the construction of Wild Rapids Waterslide, which has become the largest facility of its kind in western Canada.

Another byproduct of losing the piers and later the government boat launch, was the construction of the Sylvan Lake Marina, home of many of the permanent boats on the lake, boating facilities, as well as a lake view restaurant and the Sylvan Lake lighthouse.

I originally took this double-exposed photo with my Smena 8M earlier this afternoon. With this version, I fired up Photoshop, cropped it, moved the main elements together to form a square and played with the levels ever so slightly to add some contrast while maintaining the hues. Here is a link to the original.

I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised with the quality of my Smena 8M, considering its age. Thanks goes out to Mika at moscowphoto for selling me this camera. After you turn off the main road it is approx 15 miles down to the very short Lower Lewis River Falls trail head.

Vinny, Dene and I decided to make the journey down to the falls this morning hoping for a little residual ice left over from the recent cold snap. The road started off easy enough. There was about 2 inches of slushy snow and one vehicle had already driven a path down the road so we cruised along for about 3 miles before the snow started getting deeper and even in Vinny's 4 x 4 Nissan we were beginning to slip and slide just a little.

To pass the time on the way down I played a little game called Do You? As we rounded the next corner, I told Dene and Vinny that if things got rough out here I was going to have to eat one, or both of them. They kind of laughed and then the car grew silent. Just so you know I would never joke about eating people.

One more turn and our trip was abruptly halted by a fallen tree. We could not get around it. We were discouraged that we had come this far only to be stopped in our tracks. We actually considered walking the remaining 10 miles down to the falls and were doing the math on if we could get back to the car before dark.

That was when the Rednecks arrived. Out of nowhere like an oasis in the desert, a 3 truck caravan of real Washington Rednecks rolled up with trucks full of chain saws, crossbows, shotguns and gasoline.

The lead truck, a Toyota 4 x 4 with a two foot lift kit, tires taller than Vinny and a Squirrel skeleton for a hood ornament pulled up and they cut the tree down and then offered to take the lead and blaze a trail down to the falls for us. I don't think I have ever met such pleasant Rednecks. Around the corner there were more of them. Rednecks over here skinning a deer, Rednecks over there drinking a keg out of the back of the truck. It was like Mad Max beyond Thunder-dome.

I felt like a freaking geek when one of them asked us what WE were doing down here and I said It sounded so square as I said it that I am sure that no upstanding Redneck would ever let me in their club after that. After Vinny white knuckled the last 8 miles in snow that had now risen to 10 inches or more in spots we wondered how we would ever get back out of here, but none of that mattered.

A beautiful Winter Wonderland of snow and ice awaited us and we were excited to get there! Finally we arrived and walked the trail down to the lower portion of the falls. Dene and I had waders but Vinny was going to have to freeze to death. We were all going in. It was very unnerving being down there. The entire time the cliff above our heads was dropping chunks of ice and snow and at one point a section of ice that was a third the size of a car broke off from the cliff and crashed against the rocks less than 20 feet from where we were standing.

We knew the chances of us getting back here in conditions like this again were very slim so we made the best of it and then hiked back out.. Vinny drove like a champ. We survived and brought home the goods. It was an epic adventure that I was not sure we were going to get out of on our own. Now we have a list of items to throw in the back of the truck. Rope, a spare tire, some chains and some water in case we run into trouble.

Now that photography has become more or less my main focus…our family trips take on a bit of a different feel. We do mostly the same….

Honestly, most of our vacation locations are picked based on photograhp-i-cability. This actually works out better in some cases. This area of the coast is amazing. If I miss sunset I suck to be around. Due to her awesomeness at executing our plan…and some frantic packing on my part….

Cutting it close…but still very respectable. However, as we age, our kids get older, and more difficult to corral and keep clean…. The wives approved of a bathroom as well. Lord knows I could just stink forever and not be too out of sorts. Alright I am kind of proud of my endurance to stench and dirt. We knew this place was smallish…but had no idea just how small until we arrived.

The home was situated in Westhaven…. We passed chickens, a noose hanging from a tree, and various other odds and ends…that appeared out of place. Nobody in the car really spoke much as we drove down this road. Before we left town we had confirmed that this home had one bedroom with a queen, and single bed, and one futon in another room that made into a king bed.

We were hoping that the layout provided enough area for some privacy and places for the kids to sleep as well. Seeing the house for the first time as we rounded the final bend in Deliverance road was both comfort and concern. The house looked quaint, and nice. There was a large deck full of patio furniture, and the area was surrounded by a lush garden and redwood trees.

Downstairs it had a tiny kitchen and a tiny living room with a futon. Upstairs was a small bedroom. The bathroom was little…and faced the living room. It had a glass door with a see-through curtain. Privacy was going to be an issue. I took the whirlwind approach to unpacking, which consists of taking everything from the van into the house and dropping it on the floor. I looked at the clock, it was 7: I grabbed my gear, and set out.

I arrived at Luffenholtz Beach after a 5 minute drive the real one…not Houda Point and the sun was just starting to sit on the horizon…or what would have been the sun if it were actually visible and not foggy.

Fog, in this case was very welcome…. Even though I planned on shooting sunset…. When I got to the beach there was a lady pretending she was Michael Vick. Meaning, she was smoking pot and watching her dogs fight.

She was surprised to see me…and quickly tried to hide her reefer. I had on waders…. Was I going to simply wander out knee deep in the water and sit there? I told her I WAS going to go wade…. I just sat on a rock in my rubber boots and watched waves…. I think I took 3 photos. At one point I watched as Ms. Back at the house Pecos and his family had arrived…and everyone was getting the house in order.

We had the larger family so we would take the upstairs. Pecos and his family would take the bottom floor. Even though the first night of vacations are usually hectic with unpacking, and winding down from a long day of work and driving Pecos and I tried to make the most of our vacation by building an outdoor fire and having a few vacation ales before heading to bed. I also went with a square format which I enjoy as well time to time.

There are only 2 spaces left for the Fall Yosemite workshop…. This crock pot is leaving town. The more people we have the more fun we have…and if we get too many we might need TWO crock pots…can you say cook-off! Facebook Page I View on Black. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. This was from our mini adventure-climbing old cars, bulldozers, broken branches, throwing leaves, being spied by a stray cat and playing with water-well Diane waddled in the water and threaten to throw some at us Life's simple pleasure-being around with good friends on one's natural habitat- to laugh with, share insights, talk and talk and talk The lake and the surrounding wetlands are nestled between the Kerkini Mountains to the north and the Marvovouni Mountains to the south.

The lake occupies an area of about 50 to 73 sq km, depending on water levels. Kerkini Lake is an artificial reservoir. The lake was created on site that previously was an extensive marshland.

As the time went by, the river substances were washed up, so the rising of the banks a new dam construction took place in , which gave the lake its present look. Although the human intervention in the nature usually takes a harmful action against the natural development, Kerkini Lake is an atypical example where the human intervention had an opposite effect, since after the construction of the dam on the river the hydro-biosphere entirely changed. Today it has a reputation as one of the best places for birdwatching in Greece due to its position.

It is considered a miracle of nature with thousands of birds, fish variety, more than ten amphibian species, nineteen reptile species, five snail species, hundreds of butterfly species along with riverside forest, variety of water lilies and a great diversity of insects which play an important element in the food chain and contribute to the biological diversity of the Kerkini Lake. The hydro-biosphere of the Lake Kerkini is of great international importance — the water level of the lake is valuable as a hydro-biosphere for thousands of water fowls, variety of fish and other species and it has a great agricultural function alike.

The Kerkini lake area is also an important recreational area and nice vacation spot. Besides birdwatching, other available activities on the lake include hiking nearby mountains and forests, lake boating, cycling or horse riding. Lake Kerkini is a real paradise for bird watchers.

The lake hosts more than sorts of birds, including non-migrants species, including some endangered species and species that migrate every year. There are also two endangered non-migrating species, the Pygmy Cormorant and the Dalmatian Pelican that can be observed here.

Birdwatching tours regularly include walking tours around the lakeside as well as hiking into the hillside and lake boat rides. Almost every season of the year is good for birdwatching in this area, but you may prefer to visit Lake Keriki at certain times of the year, depending on what do you want to see. If you want to see migrating of the birds than the April is particularly good month for visiting the lake.

On the other hand, if you are interested in birds breeding, than you should plan your visit for May and June. And if you would like to see different non-native birds that migrate to this area, you should plan a winter trip to the Lake Kerkini. Lake Kerkini is located in Northern Greece, some 20km from Greek-Bulgarian border and it stretches on an area of approximately 50 to 73 square kilometers.

Kerkini Lake is an artificial water reservoir fed by Strymon River, created in s. Today, Kerkini Lake area is well-known among nature lovers for its biodiversity and it is one of the major wetlands in Greece of great biological importance.

It is also considered the best birdwatching spot in the country. It is famous due to its position on a migratory way that birds follow to the Black Sea, Aegean Sea, Balkan region and Hungarian steppes.

Lake and its surroundings has been popular over decades among birders from country and abroad because of its biodiversity with hundreds of bird species, variety of fish, diversity of snail species, more than species of butterflies, insects and diverse flora in the lake area and nearby mountains as well.

Lake Kerkini itself is very dynamic bird environment with thousands of migrating and non-migrating bird species. It usually takes two or three weeks to see all this area has to offer and if you are planning your birdwatching trip to Lake Kerkini, the best would be to set aside at least a week or two of your vacation for this. But the main reason why lots of people visit this area every year is recreational birding and enjoying in observing the spectacular diversity of breeding or wintering bird species.

No wonder this lake is considered an authentic paradise for birdwatchers and photograph lovers alike. It is home to more than Non-migrating bird species include some endangered species like Pygmy Cormorant and the Dalmatian Pelican. Kerkini Lake provides shelter to a large number of waterfowl, thousands of Night Herons, several hundred pairs of Squacco and Grey Herons, Purple Herons, few hundred pairs of Pygmy Cormorant, more than two thousand pairs of Cormorants, about one hundred pairs of Spoonbil, Glossy Ibies, hundreds of Dalmatian and white Pelicans, Black Storks, Ferruginous Ducks and many other species.

Large numbers of waders and other raptors on passageway could also be observed early in spring. You can enjoy birdwatching activity in Lake Kerkini during the whole year. Migration begins in early March, with the arrival of pioneering Garganey and Osprey. White Storks arrive towards the end of the month.

Migration continues through April into beginning of May. Glossy Ibis are expected and thousands of both species of Pelican can be seen. There are some great accommodation alternatives available nearby Kerkini Lake with excellent services offered to birders, to fully enjoy your birdwatching experience in Greece.

It is also historical capital of Bohemia proper. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1. Prague has been a political, cultural, and economic centre of central Europe with waxing and waning fortunes during its 1,year existence. Founded during the Romanesque and flourishing by the Gothic and Renaissance eras, Prague was not only the capital of the Czech state, but also the seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and thus then also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.

The city played major roles in the Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years' War, and in 20th-century history, during both World Wars and the post-war Communist era. Prague is home to a number of famous cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of twentieth century Europe. The city boasts more than ten major museums, along with countless theatres, galleries, cinemas, and other historical exhibits. A modern public transportation system connects the city.

Also, it is home to a wide range of public and private schools, including Charles University. Its rich history makes it a popular tourist destination, and the city receives more than 4. In , Prague was the sixth-most-visited city in Europe. Marina Bay Sands is situated on The iconic design has transformed Singapore's skyline and tourism landscape since it opened on 27 April, The property has a hotel, convention and exhibition facilities, theatres, entertainment venues, retailers, and restaurants.

The two resorts aimed to meet Singapore's economic and tourism objectives, and have year casino licenses, exclusively for the first ten years. They liked that the hotel towers were set back from the waterfront to open up expansive views of the city and the entire Marina Bay, making the skyline for Singapore's downtown more attractive and distinctive. Construction of the property commenced in early and was expected to be completed by LVS submitted its winning bid on its own.

CDL's CEO, Kwek Leng Beng said his company's pullout was a combination of factors — such as difficulties in getting numerous companies he owns to comply in time, as well as reluctance of some parties to disclose certain private information in probity checks required by the Singapore government. However, Kwek was retained as an advisor for Sands' bid. Las Vegas Sands declared the undertaking as "one of the world's most challenging construction projects and certainly the most expensive stand-alone integrated resort property ever built".

Half a million gamblers passed through the casino in June In the third quarter of , the revenues of the Marina Bay Sands fell almost 28 per cent from a year earlier. Moshe Safdie was approached to lead the design on this massive project. Taking inspiration from the form of card decks, led to the unique design of the three hotel towers.

Other key structures of the property include the ,square-foot 19, m2 ArtScience Museum, The Shoppes, Expo and Convention center and the casino. During the resort's planning and construction phases, feng shui consultants, the late Master Chong Swan Lek and Master Louisa Ong-Lee were consulted in regards to divination. In spite of their experience in constructing challenging designs, the Marina Bay Sands project was described as the 'most difficult to carry out in the whole world' due to the amount of integration of the varied and advanced technologies needed to complete the project.

The Marina Bay Sands hotel has three story towers with 2, luxury rooms and suites, which is capped by the Sands SkyPark, which offers degree views of Singapore's skyline. The SkyPark is home to restaurants, gardens, a metre vanishing edge and the world's largest public cantilever housing an observation deck.

This architectural marvel stands at the height of metres and boasts 12, square metres of space. To help the Skypark withstand the natural motion of the towers caused by wind, engineers designed and constructed four movement joints beneath the main pools, each possessing a unique range of motion. The total range of motion is millimetres In addition to wind, the hotel towers are also subject to settlement in the earth over time, hence custom jack legs were built and installed to allow for future adjustment at more than points beneath the pool system.

This jacking system is important primarily to ensure the infinity edge of the pool continues to function properly. The Sands Expo and Convention Centre has more than , square metres or 1.

The Sands Expo and Convention Centre has five floors of exhibition and convention space, with up to 2, exhibition booths and meeting rooms. It has hosted events ranging from banquets, theater-style conventions, to exhibitions and roadshows. Spanning 15, square metres over four levels of gaming, the casino features over gaming tables and 1, slot machines along with two noodle bars, The Nest and Tong Dim, and local Chinese eatery, Fatt Choi Express.

Other attractions within The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands include a canal which runs through the length of the Shoppes, in the same style as the Venetian in Las Vegas, two Crystal Pavilions, one housing renowned nightclubs — Avalon and Pangaea and the other the world's largest Louis Vuitton boutique. An indoor skating rink synthetic ice measuring 6, square feet m2 as well as the MasterCard Theatres, compromising of the Sands Theatre and Grand Theatre which seat 1, people and 2, people respectively can also be found at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.

Rahman's Jai Ho, located in the latter during their world tours. Visitors to the Event Plaza at The Shoppes can enjoy the nightly Wonder Full show, a minute light and water show featuring lasers, lights, water movements and graphics, set against the backdrop of Marina Bay Sands. It features an adjustable roof waterfall which uses rainwater collected when the roof is sealed in the day. The 11 art installations were commissioned to integrate seamlessly with Moshe Safdie's iconic architecture.

These art installations form the largest art commissions ever completed as part of an integrated architectual proccess. A balanced play of building, landscape and water, creates a new identity for the extended museum, emphasizing both the scenic character and the cultural-historic face of the city centre of Assen. The new exhibition wing covers square meters, all underground. Its staggered, organic roof consists of a public garden that connects the existing city parks.

Openings in the roof allow daylight to enter the exhibition spaces below. Its historic facade will be left untouched, but the entire building will be lifted off the ground and onto a spectacular glass plinth. During the day, the glass plinth allows light to enter the building.

At night, interior lighting highlights it in an elegant manner. The design by Erick van Egeraat won an international competition in , the project was completed in The reason, say military strategists, is that Itu Aba could one day be in China's hands should it ever take over Taiwan, which it regards as a renegade province.

While Itu Aba, also called Tai Ping, is small, no other disputed island has such sophisticated facilities. Its runway is the biggest of only two in the Spratly archipelago that straddles the South China Sea, and the island has its own fresh water source. The upgraded facilities on Itu Aba should be finished late next year or earlier, officials from Taiwan's defence and transport ministries said, replacing an existing wharf that can only handle small vessels.

That would give Taiwan a port able to accommodate 3,tonne naval frigates and coastguard cutters while improvements are being made to the 1,metre 3,foot long runway for its Hercules C transport planes, they told Reuters.

Officials said the new port was not just a demonstration of sovereignty but also a way to support a trade dependent economy while helping Taiwanese deep-sea fishermen and marine and mineral research in the area. China and Taiwan share claims to virtually the entire South China Sea, a legacy of the Chinese civil war when the Communists split from the Nationalists and eventually took control of the Chinese mainland in The Nationalists settled on Taiwan, and still claim to be the legitimate rulers of greater China.

While China-Taiwan ties have warmed since Ma Ying-jeou was elected Taiwan president in , there has been no political reconciliation or a lessening of military distrust. China has never ruled out force to bring Taiwan under its control. But if conflict ever broke out in the Spratlys, analysts and military attaches believe China would seek to protect Itu Aba as its own, strongly aware of its strategic value.

The Spratlys are one of the main flashpoints in the South China Sea, where military fortifications belonging to all claimants but Brunei are dotted across some of the world's busiest shipping lanes. China for example occupies eight shoals and reefs but its strategists have long bristled at Vietnam's two dozen holdings.

Manila occupies eight reefs and islands and Malaysia seven. Incidents at sea in recent years, such as ships getting rammed or attempted blockades, have usually involved China against the Philippines or Vietnam. France had occupied the island before the war as part of its colonial rule over then-Indochina.

The island, administered by Taiwan's coastguard, is some 1, km 1, miles southwest of Taiwan, out of range of its U. It lies between the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia. Taiwanese coastguard personnel and soldiers are routinely stationed on Itu Aba, served by regular military transport flights and protected by coastal defence weapons.

Unlike Beijing, Taipei is low-key about asserting its claims in the South China Sea and does not deploy naval or civilian fleets to the outer limits of the so-called nine-dash line that Beijing displays on its official maps and which reaches deep into maritime Southeast Asia.

The facility would provide services to any Taiwanese ships in the region, said Chen I-piao, acting chief engineer at the Taiwan Area National Expressway Administration Bureau, the unit responsible for building the wharf.

After the port is finished they'll be able to directly call at port. Diplomatically isolated, Taiwan found itself in the international spotlight earlier this month when mobs attacked mostly Taiwanese factories in Vietnam, enraged by China's deployment of a giant oil rig in waters further north that are claimed by Hanoi.

Many of the rioters mistook Taiwanese companies to be owned by mainland Chinese. Scores of Vietnamese and Chinese ships continue to square off around the rig, placed between the Paracel islands occupied by China and the Vietnamese coast.

While Vietnam and the Philippines have protested plans by Taiwan to upgrade the wharf, the construction is generating much less heat than Beijing's muscle-flexing in the South China Sea.

Days after China deployed the oil rig to the Paracel chain, the Philippines accused Beijing of reclaiming land on a disputed reef in the Spratlys to build what would be its first airstrip in the South China Sea. China has rejected a Philippine protest over the work on Johnson South Reef, saying it had the right to develop its territory.

Experts say any airstrip there would unlikely be a strategic game-changer because of the difficulty in building a workable runway on an atoll, unlike an island like Itu Aba. And as Itu Aba is the largest island in the Spratlys and the only one with natural water supplies, legal experts say this could help any future formal claim to a nautical mile exclusive economic zone and any fish and oil within it. Taiwan has not cooperated with China on the South China Sea despite the historical ties to each other's claims given the political mistrust between them, but also because of its need to maintain good relations with the United States, a vocal critic of Beijing's policies in the disputed waters.

For the most part, Taiwan has kept its head down, not wanting to upset China or claimants in Southeast Asia given its economic links to both. As the title says These colourful pedalos were photographed on my way to hear a brass band from my hometown in England play in Pierrefonds town square.

The main attraction is the castle used as the set for the Merlin Series. The lake was calm, with an almost mirror-like surface as I walked by and the bright colours caught my eye Legend and tradition have enriched the North Island of New Zealand with a wealth of knowledge concerning the history of the Maori before the advent of the white man. On the other hand there is perhaps not so much tradition connected with the southern Maori which enables us to follows his doings before the pakeha came.

This is due chiefly to the fact that the Maoris colonised the southern part of New Zealand a long time after their first arrival, and then only very sparsely on account of the more rigorous climate.

Then again, it is on record that the southern Maori was several times almost exterminated by his overpowering northern brother. Although little Maori history about Dunedin is known, tradition has recorded for us two outstanding episodes. The dog was by my side the entire visit.

I rang the traditional farm bell on the side of the house. It was the kind of bell I was familiar with from my early days in Kansas. When that bell rang and you were anywhere doing a chore on the farm, you knew it was time to drop what you were doing and head straight for the house, if you wanted to enjoy a hot meal and be in good graces with the cook. Lawrence came to the door. He is 85 and doesn't get around too well these days but he has a steady firm and friendly gaze and an equally firm and friendly hand shake.

He called his wife Ada Ruth to the door to conduct the tour. Before the tour even began I knew I would want to pay generously as a small token of my appreciation but also not to pay too much so as to risk offending. A little of everything and anything, but wonderfully displayed. You can't believe what all she has in that room and I we shared ideas about how it might be preserved. I suggested a University might be a good candidate to make certain none of it was lost or scattered.

I even mentioned the genealogical collectors for the LDS church in Salt Lake City She had tried that an they were not interested - - which really surprised me. It wasn't all the historic and precious objects you see when you tour the Whoop-N-Holler Ranch The Whitmores named it that for all the commotion their kids made on the place as they were being raised. It was the stories that Ada Ruth shared, that brought life to the objects, personalized them, and brought all kinds of emotions from pure joy to sorrow, as she told each story patiently and with feeling.

In the old school house she was telling the story of some object and mentioned the town of "Marcola, Oregon". She asked me "Know where that is". I said no, but somehow the name of the town seemed familiar and I tried to both listen to her story about how it was named for a Mary Cole, who had a connection with the Whitmores, while trying to multitask in my mind, why the name Marcola, sounded familiar.

Finally I grasped a straw. Now it clicked and I asked her: I often add, drop, and re add Flickr contacts but always keep the number of contacts at or below 60 if I can. I can't follow the photos of more than that. But I have always enjoyed the historic photos and the information Curtis has supplied with this Flickr site, so he and I have "swapped" comments over the years, and I almost feel as though I know him.

From that moment on I must have heard a dozen times from Ada Ruth "Now you be sure to send Curtis a photo of this or tell him about that" and so forth. She especially wanted me to take a photo of a wooden shipping tub with "Isabel" stamped on it.

She said "Curtis will like this one". Isabel is what they first called Marcola. The post office at this location was established in and originally called "Isabel" for early settler Isabel Applegate.

About , a railroad was built through the Mohawk Valley and a station named Marcola was established near the post office. Marcola was a name made up to honor Mary Cole, the wife of the town's founder, Columbus Cole. In , the post office name was changed to agree with the name of the station. After the tour I paid Ada Ruth. When I told her to invest the little more that I gave her on her archives, she liked that and only then accepted what I gave her.

At the end of the tour, using the cold weather as an excuse, she suggested that I cut through their house to return to my car. Inside I sat down and visited with Lawrence.

After all the stories Ada Ruth had told on the tour, I honestly felt like I knew him and was an old friend. Both of us are almost stone deaf, so to anybody else it must have appeared as a shouting match, but the two of us found much common ground and clearly I admired and respected the 85 year old, who's wife had welcomed me into their home. I left the "Whoop-N-Holler" with a bunch of mixed feeling.

Sad, because I know their way of life is rapidly changing and in places, disappearing in the U. When I told Ada Ruth I would be posting some photos of my visit on a site on the internet, she said "Be sure to let anyone, who might like to visit us, know when we are open and if were not open to give us a call". I was headed out to find one of the many old one room schoolhouses that dot the countryside, according to the display in the Carousel Museum.

I drove through Cleveland a short ways then headed south on the Dot Road. At Glass Canyon, where a spring is shown on topo maps, and part of the reason the old school was located where it was I pulled over to photograph the Dot School.

I looked at where it headed Back toward Rock Creek Canyon and decided this is the kind of back road that I live, so off I drove. I will go back. The nine mile drive along this road through farm and lithosol canyon country was pure pleasure. I came to an old cowboy standing beside and holding the reins of his working horse, and a collie "sheep dog" stood at his side with that intent stare only a working dog can give in sizing up a stranger.

I couldn't tell whether the casual wave he gave me was a "hello" or "could you stop a minute I want to tell you something" wave, so I stopped. My window was already rolled down. He wore much used wool chaps and looked every bit the part of a long time hard working cowboy. He was tall and slender and looked to be in his forties. I looked down at his working dog and told his dog "Now you don't work too hard today" and the dog seemed to understand but not agree.

I'm certain that "working" is what cowboy, his horse and this dog I don't blame them. No office cubicle, small pasture, or dog pen for them. The basalt canyon walls were green with new grass and wildflowers, particularly the arrow-leaf balsamroot and phlox with a little desert parsley and wall flowers thrown in for good measure. I stopped to watch some wild turkeys cross the road and run into the cover along the canyon bottom. They seemed more nervous than usual. A short time later a pickup truck with turkey hunters passed me by windows down we talked.

The turkey I had seen were alive because they crossed the road when they did. Ten minutes later, their fate would have differed. Where the Newell Road joins it, the creek hasn't got far to go before it joins the Columbia River. I drove the five and half miles up Rock Creek Canyon to confirm its intersection with the Bickleton Road, then returned the way I came back down Rock Creek to the Newell Road, to continue driving the canyon and travel more roads I had never before traveled.

It was time to head west, back toward Goldendale, to complete my loop and day of back road exploration. I spent quite a bit of time here. This was an area known as the Goodnoe Hills. I could see a pretty beat up old school house, south of the intersection so I went down to photograph it.

On the way back up to the intersection I stopped to scratch a big farm horse behind the ears and hand him some of the fresh green grass on my side of the fence. There was an interesting deserted farmhouse horizontal wooden siding nailed over the original diagonal version. It sat without windows on the NE corner of the intersection. An old metal windmill stood behind the homestead and behind it on the ridge top was an array of those huge white, modern, wind turbines.

All I could see was of interest and photo ops. Hoctor Road was no doubt named for the Goldendale farmers, the Hoctors. In the late 60's I lived and worked in the Washington State University fire department on campus.

We got room and board and a dollar a day for serving as ambulance drivers and fire fighters on campus and in support of the town of Pullman when required. Kirby was from Goldendale and his family was farmers. Kirby and I spent a lot of time together and would often make the drive from Pullman to Goldendale, so Kirby could visit his high school sweetheart, Cindy Hoctor who he later married.

I would be willing to bet that Cindy Hoctor belonged to the Goldendale Hoctors, who's road I now followed back to complete my back road loop to Goldendale, where I had started the day's drive. A sandwich at the Subway at Goldendale, a stop to fill up with gas, and I was on my way back over Satus Pass on my way home. Life should be filled with more days like this one. So much living and enjoyment and all in just one fine day. It was on that trip that my wife and I almost got to visit the "Whoop - N -Holler" but it was closed back then.

This was one of the last photographs I took at Upper Titcomb Lake. Here are the waypoints for where this photo was taken and where we had our camp in Titcomb Basin:. The second day of our backpacking trip, from getting up in the morning at our Seneca Lake camp until climbing into our sleeping bags under a full moon and short rain session at Titcomb Basin, everything was superlatives.

The hiking, the scenery, and photo ops, were the absolute best. All four of us hiked together from our camp to Upper Titcomb Lake to get a close view and good feel for the basin itself. Backpackers passing us on their way out on day one of our backpacking trip had reported high winds in Titcomb Basin, so when we arrived there we were overjoyed to find mill pond like conditions on Upper Titcomb, while we were there taking photographs.

Later clouds moved in quickly for a short time, right at nightfall, rain came down. I quickly put the rain fly on my tent and retreated to its warm wind and rain protected interior. I love to prowl used bookstores.

History, travel and trail guide books always seem to find their way to my house. My wife buys shoes. I have a long standing habit of writing the date and place where I buy a book. Photographed by Paul Chesley. I paid two dollars for this little hard bound book. I knew that if I could find a way to do so…that I needed to go there.

So the research began. To see, experience and enjoy it, I knew it needed to be a backpacking trip. My favorite companion on road trips, hikes, and backpacking trips is my wife. We have been married over 40 years and love doing things together. Here are links for my flickr photo site, to a few of the backpacking trips we have taken together:.

My wife and I both quickly agreed that the Titcomb Basin backpacking trip was one that would be best if she skipped. So I set about planning the trip, with the thought of finding at least one backpacking partner to join me on it.

I chose a narrow window in September the first two weeks to avoid too many people, too many mosquitoes, and to get the trip in before hunting season and any major snow falls, closed the area for the season. The total elevation gain on the backpacking trip would not be that great, nor would the number of trail miles, BUT the hike begins at around 9, feet and stays mostly above 10, feet with a high point of 10, or so - - which met the nights could likely be quite cold and then there is the issue of backpacking at altitude.

I would want to backpack light but make certain that I carried enough gear to be safe and comfortable. I felt I could do the trip solo if needed but I really felt it would be smarter, safer, and more fun if I could get at least one other person with backpacking experience to go with me. Enter Sawtooth photography Fred of flickr fame. Fred met us for lunch and it was the first time I had met him, though we had exchanged hiking stories and information, through flickr, for years.

He even sent me a book and a map a few years back, on the hiking there. So, knowing through Flickr, that Fred was an avid and capable backpacker, I brought the subject of Titcomb Basin in the Wind River Range of Wyoming, up during our lunch conversation.

He was sold and now I had somebody to do the trip with. The trip was on! I posted a photocopy of Titcomb Basin on the side of a bookshelf, next to my computer and kept looking at from March of , until the dream became reality. We had a lot of good fortune all along the way. The date we chose for the four day backpacking trip 9. It was a four party team I felt very comfortable with and now my only worry about the entire trip became weather in the high country of the Wind River Range.

When it became obvious that we had hit a lucky weather window for our planned backpacking trip - the four of us headed for Pinedale, Wyoming. Fred drove solo from his home near Boise; JJ drove solo making the trip in two days from his house to Pinedale; and my brother and I car pooled in his Jeep Liberty, taking our time and three days to arrive in Pinedale, Wyoming elevation near 7, feet.

Once the team was set at four, the four of us started exchanging information, internet links, and thoughts on about the trip. One of the team members sent me a link about a sad story I had not come across during my trip research. Mike Turner had an ambitious route that involved some travel in a remote portion of the Wind River Range. Circumstances and one mishap cost him his life. It reinforced my feeling that the Titcomb Basin trip for me would best be done with the company of at least one other experienced hiker.

The Mike Turner story took place in August It was printed in Backpacker magazine in Here is the link should you want to read the Mike Turner story and reflect on it a bit as well:. This backpacking trip started with a few pages of photographs in a two dollar used book, purchased toward the end of winter in the Pacific Northwest.

I had dreamed of sleeping in my backpacking tent with this view, and my dream came true. A big thanks to Fred, my brother, and JJ, for the big part they played in making that dream come true for me. Packed a 30 year old Kelty Tioga external frame pack. Photographed with a Canon G9 and G Home in Eastern Washington. Probably in his mid 40s. Carried the heaviest load of any of us, in a Gregory internal frame pack. Boldly slept in a light, but weatherproof Bivy sack. Packed professional grade and multiple cameras plus a small wooden pinhole camera; a point and shoot camera; and was caught at least once, taking photos with his cell phone.

Used a Kelty external frame pack. Slept in a new Sierra Designs Zolo 1 backpacking tent. Took memory keeping snapshots with a small. Became the pace maker for our hiking as he is an experienced backpacker with a perfect trail pace, that worked for us all. We kept him up front. He slept in a custom made, super light, tough, trekking pole supported, one man backpacking tent.

JJ kept his over all load the lightest of the four of us and used a Gregory internal frame backpack. Like Fred, he qualifies as a professional photographer. He brought his Canon professional grade camera on the trip. My brother and I broke up our trip down to Pinedale into three bite size segments. After spending the night at my house, the two of us headed for Missoula, Montana on the morning of Tuesday September 6th, We took the slow, scenic route up the Clearwater River and over lovely Lolo Pass.

We stayed the night in Missoula, where just by happenstance there resides a Cracker Barrel restaurant. We had dinner there Tuesday night and a big breakfast there Wednesday morning.

Looking on line and confirming with the Pinedale chamber of commerce, I booked a two bedroom cabin at the historic, rustic, well kept, owned and operated by efficient, fair and friendly people: The Log Cabin Motel. JJ reserved a two bedroom cabin there as well, so the four of us all bunked in cabins at Pinedale on the night before the backpacking trip.

I have read almost every book you could think of on the days of men of the fur trading times. Jim Bridger is one of my heroes, though I would not have wanted to have lived the tough, dangerous lives that they did.

The museum was a hit. Much bigger and more professional than I had imagined and all three of us enjoyed our time there. Then the three of us split up. JJ a former high school coach and media teacher , dropped by the local high school to watch their football practice. My brother and I decided to take the 15 mile paved scenic drive up to the Elkhart Park trailhead, just to get the lay of the land.

It was great for the four of us to all be in Pinedale, with all of our backpacking gear and a good weather forecast holding steady for the four days we would be in the Jim Bridger Wilderness, backpacking. We ate dinner in Pinedale together then returned to our cabins to organize our gear and be ready for an early morning trip up to the trailhead.

Here is a link to the mountain man museum in Pinedale. It was really something for me to see the rifle that was engraved and given to Jim Bridger in the museum. I learned a lot from my visit to the museum and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Stop by there if you are ever near downtown, Pinedale. Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale, Wyoming:. There are some new multi-story national chain motels in Pinedale these days and probably more will go up, but if you really want a fun stay I highly recommend the. I will keep this portion of the narrative short and let the photographs I post, speak for themselves. Here is a rough outline of the backpacking itself:. Day One Friday 9. Start hiking at the Elkhart Park trailhead near 9, feet.

We shouldered our packs at 8: No permit or registration required though we did fill out the voluntary registration at the trailhead. We hiked on to the north end of Seneca Lake, where we set up our camp for the first night. This is about nine miles from the Elkhart Park trailhead.

A nice store and knowledgeable helpful owner. We filtered our water from the lake and the two Jetboil stoves we brought had no problem with the altitude.

Beautiful moon at night. Day Two Saturday 9. Backpack around Little Seneca Lake then climb to the ridge overlooking Island Lake for outstanding views and one of the highlights of the trail for me. We took a photo ops break here, then on down to the S. The view of Titcomb Basin, when it first comes into view, after climbing up and out of the Island Lake bowl, far exceeded my expectations and my expectations were exceedingly high.

We talked with a solo mountain climber, hiking out of Titcomb Basin one of the few hikers we ran into in the basin. He had just succeeded, after three failed attempts, to summit Gannet Peak. He smiled at the external frame Kelty packs, which my brother and I were carrying. It was on a rock granite outcropping that I found the place I had dreamed of camping.

Fred reached for his camera gear instead. After the Lower Titcomb Lake camp was set up, the four of grabbed our cameras and took a day hike up to Upper Titcomb Lake.

Here I got my favorite photographs of the entire backpack trip. Back at camp, it was filter water, cook dinner, and take more photographs. While the four of us were wandering about exploring the area in which we were camped, rain clouds spilled over Fremont Peak and it began to rain. My brother and I hot footed it back to camp to put our rain flies on our tents. No worry for Fred with his bivy bag or JJ with his new lightweight single wall tent.

I went to sleep that night with rain tapping on the tent fly, then the clouds would race away into the night and the full moon would totally light up the interior of my tent. Coyotes howled for a short while I thought Fred was using his cell phone HA. What a place to spend the night.

Day Three Sunday 9. My brother, who had a small thermometer with him, said it was 28 degrees. After some more photo ops we started backpacking our way back the way we came. I thought about Mike Turner when we passed the Indian Basin trail junction. We hiked all the way to Barbara Lake near Eklund Lake to make an early camp and spend the last night of our backpacking trip. It was a little over 8 miles from our Lower Titcomb Lake camp to the place we camped at Barbara Lake.

It was a relaxing evening around Barbara Lake, a forest and meadow ringed small lake, right along the trail. Day Four Monday 9. It was an easy 5. We shook hands at the trailhead then started sorting and organizing our gear for our trips back home. We were all back in Pinedale by noon, picking up our stored gear at the Log Cabin Motel, and getting ready to head our separate ways. Fred headed off toward Boise. My brother and I had decided to cut through Yellowstone on our way home.

JJ was going to Teton National Park for some specific photo opportunities. As it turned out all three of us ended up staying Monday night in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, so we were able to have a nice dinner together at The Bunnery, a place that JJ knew of and served excellent food.

My brother and I spent some time in Yellowstone on Tuesday morning, then on to Missoula to spend the night there. Wednesday I arrived home with a lot of great memories and I hope a few photographs to remember them by. I was very lucky to have had Fred, my brother, and JJ as quality company on this trip. We each had different approaches to gear, camping methods, and photography priorities, but we all stuck together and covered a lot of fun trail miles together.

I sincerely hope some of you out there in flickr land enjoy my photographs of this backpacking trip and benefit it some small way from the narrative and photos, should you decide to plan a trip of your own to the rugged and scenic country. This was the first shot i took before the climb down to the lake!! August 4th, , was the Saturday before the Bank Holiday. A miner from Maerdy, at the head of the Rhondda Fach, decided to take his five-year-old son with him to visit the child's grandparents who still farmed near Brecon.

They arrived in the town by train at about six o'clock in the evening. From there they had to walk four miles to reach Cwm-llwch, the little farmhouse deep in the valley to the north of the Beacons. By about eight o'clock they had reached the Login today in ruins where soldiers were encamped for training at the rifle range up the valley.

It had been a warm walk, and though they had only a quarter of a mile further to go, William Jones was glad to stop for refreshment and buy little Tommy a pennyworth of biscuits at the canteen. By chance, within a few minutes the grandfather also arrived, with year-old Willie John, Tommy's cousin. Willie was sent back to Cwm-lIwch to warn the household of the arrival of visitors, and Tommy ran off with him up the valley.

They had to cross two rough plank bridges, one without a handrail. In the failing light, the streams and trees were perhaps frightening to a small boy brought up amongst closely-packed houses.

He may have been afraid of meeting farm animals also. At any rate, when the two of them had got about half way , Tommy started to cry and wanted to go back to his father. So the two boys parted.

Willie completed his errand and was back at the camp within about quarter of an hour of leaving it - but Tommy had not returned. Father and grandfather immediately started looking for him.

Soon perhaps about twenty minutes later they were joined by soldiers from the camp: At midnight the search was halted, but at 3 o'clock on the Sunday morning it started again. Police and the general public joined in and the net spread wider. But no sign of the boy was discovered that day.

So it continued through the following weeks. Every day search parties of police, troops, farmers and other volunteers combed the area systematically.

The tall bracken was cut, the woodland ransacked, It was at one point suggested that Llyn Cwm-lIwch should be dragged, but it was thought unlikely that the boy could have gone as far up the mountain as that.

It seemed more probable that he had fallen off one of the footbridges into the stream, or had simply wandered straight on down the valley, instead of turning right to cross the second bridge to the camp. Thus the search was concentrated in the close and wooded country around the Login and down the valley as far as Brecon waterworks. Inevitably, with the continued failure to find trace of the boy, theories of kidnapping gained favour.

These now held the only hope that the boy might still be found alive, Kidnapping, at that time, meant gypsies in the first instance, and though they are rarely mentioned in The Brecon County Times of the period, it appears that there were numerous camps of them in Breconshire and neighbouring counties.

All were unceremoniously ransacked by the police during the search, without success. The affair aroused national concern, and reports of the missing boy and suggestions for lines of enquiry came from all parts of the country. The announcement of the reward was made, among other means, by the Brecon Town Crier.

The Daily Mail also sent a special commissioner to Brecon, who during the time he was there won considerable admiration and respect for his indefatigable work on the problem. It was under his influence that the gypsy theory lost ground, and abduction by a childless woman or couple thought more likely.

He also mentioned the possibility of murder, but dismissed it in the very same sentence. Only after several weeks did Tommy's father yield to the pleas of friends to return home to Maerdy. But he was soon back again, and was one of several people who climbed to the top of the Beacons in their despairing searches. It was not he who made the discovery. Hamer, a gardener's wife at Castle Madoc, some miles north of Brecon, having read accounts of the search, is said to have dreamed of the very spot where Tommy was to be found.

She spent a couple of restless days before finally persuading her husband to borrow a pony and trap on Sunday, September 2nd, to take her and some relatives to the Beacons - which they had never climbed before. Hamer did not believe that they would succeed where so many had failed. But later that day he was to be able to lay claim to the reward.

Hamer, who was a few yards in front of the others, started back with an exclamation of horror, for there in his path lay the remains of a body. At the inquest on the Tuesday the jury had no difficulty in bringing in a verdict of death through exhaustion and exposure.

But no one managed to explain how this little five-year-old, 'short and stout of his age', tired and hungry after a long day and the walk from Brecon, had managed to reach the spot where his body was found.

It was 2, ft. Certainly it had not been considered worthwhile to make a systematic search of high ground. The father must have passed within a dozen yards of the body a few days before its discovery, but by this time it would have looked much like a boulder in the long grass.

Various people with detailed local knowledge had suggested that Tommy might have wandered uphill to the left of his path when he started to return to the camp, or that he crossed the first footbridge, but not the second just below the junction of the two streams and lying at right-angles to the first; both have now disappeared, though the ford beside the first remains in use.

In retrospect, the latter seems the more likely explanation. If he turned left here instead of right he would soon have started up the side of Pen Milan, following what was presumably the most direct route between the soldiers' camp and the rifle range. Alternatively he might have continued downstream a little further and then veered to the left on the path towards Llwyn-bedw. In either case, he probably joined the track which zig-zags up Pen Milan, climbing steeply to high ground. Perhaps by this time, confused and panic-stricken in the failing daylight, he hoped he was returning uphill to his grandfather's farm, not realising until later how hopelessly lost he was.

We only know with certainty how far his stamina and courage took him. For many years his family kept the sailor suit with collarette which he had been wearing, the new light boots with pathetically worn soles; and the whistle which he had carried on a string round his neck.

Could this have saved his life if he had thought to use it while he still had energy? Today the spot where Tommy's body was found is marked by an obelisk.

The jurors at the inquest gave their fees to start a fund for this memorial. They were joined by Mr. By July the following year the inscribed stone was ready, and was hauled on a horse-drawn sledge up to the ridge. Since then thousands of walkers must have paused beside it, and been reminded of the small boy who fell victim to the Beacons through exhaustion and exposure.

Ninety years old Mrs. Martin of Hitchen, Hertfodshire sends her recollections of the tradegy: He even got the local farmers to cut down the shoulder-high bracken in some parts to help the search. Also the South Wales Borderers had a search party daily. Coke Memorial Wesleyan Chapel, Lion Street, and the service had just finished when a tremendous outcry went up. He was 16 years old at the time and interested in amateur photography. Hands at the rear.

My father was so concerned that the photograph showed him smoking a clay pipe, for smoking on duty was definitely against the rules. It was I who supplied the information that a farmer at the scene had given him this to counteract the odour which prevailed.

I remember my father got the negative from Jack Clark and scratched the pipe out on the glass plate so that no further prints would show it, but this made the fact more noticeable and the negative was destroyed. He also suggested that the obelisk should be erected a little distance from the actual spot where the body was found, to be in a more visible position.

David's, finding the obelisk was in very poor condition, went up with a family party armed with buckets and brushes and cleaned the stonework and Walter re-lettered the inscription. He lost his way between Cwmllwch Farm and the Login on the night of August 4th After an anxious search of 29 days his body was found on September 2nd. Nor does it mean sepia-toned photos.

Neither will be accepted. Here is what Roger has to say about this exciting Member's Choice theme: Most of the favorites are of family and pets, but none are macros, even though macro photography is now my favorite kinda photography. This troop welcomed him with open arms and actually bridged him from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.

Our troop is very active. They meet at the local Elks Lodge weekly and they camp once a month. They often volunteer for community service, civic projects, and local events such as running the kid's games at the annual county fair.

Curtis has been a huge support for Dominic and for the troop; he has accompanied Dominic on most of the camping trips and is always one of the adults helping with events. Dominic will be make Eagle Scout by the time he's a freshman or sophomore in high school. One of the highest honors a scout can achieve is being nominated, voted, and accepted into the Order of the Arrow OA.

The OA exemplifies the very best of scout oath and law. Just being nominated is a big deal Then the nominees are voted in by their peers. The troop votes on a set of criteria that each scout must meet before they can be accepted into the OA. Curtis and I found out a couple of months ago that Dominic was voted and accepted into OA and we were told when the induction ceremony would be held Bear Creek is where our troop went to summer camp last summer and it's about 2 hours away. Curtis invited his dad, Curt, to come down and go with him and Dominic for the trip.

Curt participated in Scouts as a young man and had gone with Curtis and Dominic on a few camping trips before. Dominic had no idea that he would be inducted into the OA this weekend. I decided to drive out there for the ceremony and surprise him. There were scouts and adults in attendance at this weekend's campout, all from the Alamo Area Council. They had a group gathering Saturday evening for storytelling and skits. They shared stories of famous Mountain Men from the past.

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