North America

Vancouver Island

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Friday, 07 September 2018 04:43

An outstanding must to do on Vancouver Island is Whale Watching, especially with kids. We choose the company Orca Spirit Adventure in Victoria because they had four seat available on a little boat for Rosemarie, Alfred, Jay and Kuba. Jutta, Marion and Hermann took a larger and more convenient ship.

Three Astronauts in front of the litttle boat

 

The cruise to the tiny rocks of Port Angeles in USA was quite bumpy. Fortunately we had our warm and cozy Astronaut like gear with a good padding. There was no customs on the border because we had no passports with us. There we met the larger ship with Jutta, Marion and Hermann.

   

From Glacier / Waterton to Banff / Yoho Nationalparks

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Wednesday, 22 August 2018 19:52

On July 24th 2018 we crossed the border to Canada via the International Peace Park World Heritage Site Waterton - Glacier. Firstly we drove to Waterton Village to check the actual conditions in the Waterton National Park. It turned out that all streets and most of the trails were closed due to a huge fire last September. Still we were lucky because there was an impressive Pow Wow festival of the Blackfoot Indians, an unforgettable experience for us.

Indian Chiefs

 

There was dancing the whole afternoon including many kids supported by drumming. The costumes were very colorful and so beautiful.

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From Glacier / Waterton to Banff / Yoho Nationalparks

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Saturday, 18 August 2018 19:31

On July 24th 2018 we crossed the border to Canada via the International Peace Park World Heritage Site Waterton - Glacier. Firstly we drove to Waterton Village to check the actual conditions in the Waterton National Park. It turned out that all streets and most of the trails were closed due to a huge fire last September. Still we were lucky because there was an impressive Pow Wow festival of the Blackfoot Indians, an unforgettable experience for us.

Indian Chiefs

 

There was dancing the whole afternoon including many kids supported by drumming. The costumes were very colorful and so beautiful.

   

Wyoming - Bears and More

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Thursday, 19 July 2018 02:18

We saw incredible much wildlife in the beautiful mountains of Wyoming. This state is adored with two famous National Parks - Grand Teton and Yellowstone, and many wilderness areas like the majestic Absaroka, Bighorn and Windriver Ranges with the tallest summits of the Rocky Mountains outside of Colorado. There is no bigger city in Wyoming, just half a million people are living on 253,000 square kilometers (2/3 the size of Germany!).

Little brown Black Bear climbing on a tree trunk

 

Our first impression of Wyoming was Japanese because we were stopped on the highway close to Laramie by a twin of our car full of Japanese men. They were so excited seeing a European Volkswagen Camper based on EuroVan which is the US version of the European Transporter T4.


   

Sierra Madre Oriental

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Sunday, 26 March 2017 04:11

Majestic Sierra Madre Oriental stretches more than 1000 kilometers from the border with USA to northern Puebla in central Mexico. West of this range is the huge Chihuahua desert in its northern part, east are the Mexico's Gulf coast plains. Sierra Madre Oriental is famous for its rich biodiversity. Large pine-oak forests are found up to the highest mountains with more than 3700 meters sea-level. Limestone dominate its geology. Huge caves, sharp pinnacles and steep walls are common. Nearly in its center is the metropolis Monterrey, which is with more than 4.5 million inhabitants the third biggest city of Mexico.

Western view from 1482 meters high Cerro Toro, which is few kilometers northwest of Monterrey

 

Its tallest peak La Viga or Cerro San Raphael (3716 meters sea-level) is covered sometimes by snow in winter. It can be climbed up by a strenuous hike of 5 hours from the saddle east of the little village Los Lirios. We were very lucky because it started snowing when we returned to our car.

   

The highest peaks of the Rocky Mountains

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Saturday, 23 June 2018 04:43

In Colorado are the highest peaks of the Rocky Mountains, which are more than 4,800 kilometers long and mainly several hundred kilometers wide. The European Alps are tiny in comparison with the Rocky Mountains but have few slightly higher summits.

American people measure altitudes in feet, thus 14ers are important for them (more than 14,000 feet - approximately 4270 meters sea-level). All 58 14ers of the Rocky Mountains are in Colorado. More than 500 summits exceed 4000 meters sea-level. Its tallest point Mount Elbert (4401 meters sea-level) is the second highest summit of continental USA (without Alaska) after Mount Whitney in California.

Marion and Alfred on top of Mount Elbert

 

   

Barrancas del Cobre and Chihuahua

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Thursday, 16 March 2017 04:36

Magical Copper Canyon - Barrancas del Cobre in the majestic Sierra Madre Occidental is the major attraction in northern Mexico. It is a mazy system of seven major canyons with a depth up to 1,800 meters. Grand Canyon in Arizona / USA is four times smaller and less deep! In its area live the Tarahumara people which are famous for their running endurance: Some are capable to run few hundred kilometers and more than 20 hours without a break!

Marion on a suspension bridge with the main canyon in the background

 

There is no street through the whole main canyon but a railway with 37 bridges and 86 tunnels which connects Los Mochis on the Pacific Ocean with Chihuahua in the desert with the same name. The train is called El Chepe after the first characters of Chihuahua and Pacific. Driving with this train through Copper Canyon is a must to do for tourists in northern Mexico.

   

Rocky Mountains - Ski Mountaineering and Denver

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Monday, 14 May 2018 19:33

End of March 2018 we came the first time to the Rocky Mountains via the highway Interstate 40 between Great Junction and Denver. We had taken our skies from Germany and we were eager to do some Ski Mountaineering. Unfortunately the conditions were everything but good because it was very stormy, cloudy and much to warm. In the year 2018 the southern Rocky Mountains received unusually little snow. Many ridges up to 4000 meters sea-level and more were without snow. However we did two nice tours in the Front Range close to the Eisenhower Tunnel and in the Vazquez Peak Wilderness Area.

Alfred in the valley behind the western entrance of the Eisenhower Tunnel

 

   

Central Pacific Coast

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Wednesday, 22 February 2017 00:10

Mexico's Central Pacific Coast is a marvelous piece of nature with a lot of pristine beaches, calm bays, little fishing villages and some dramatic landscapes. Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta are the largest cities, both with fabulous beaches and many tourists.

After sunset on the southern beach of Mazatlán

 

200 kilometers East of Puerto Vallarta is Mexico's second biggest city Guadalajara with more than 5 millions inhabitants. It is a bustling metropolis with a picturesque old town in its nice center.

   

Monument Valley, Petrified Forest and other treasures on Colorado Plateau

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Thursday, 05 April 2018 03:10

We came back again to the Colorado Plateau from the south via northern Arizona where some marvelous parks and areas are located. It is mainly the land of the indigenous Navajo Nation which is with more than 300,000 people the second biggest native tribe in USA. In this region we saw many stunning cliff dwellings of the ancient people built approximately 1,000 years ago. It is still a secret why most of them were left around 1300.

Thanks to Marlboro, many (western) movies and film stars like John Wayne Monument Valley is one of the most famous parts of North America. It is managed by the Navajo people and shows in addition to the overwhelming landscape actual and historical Navajo life in an impressive little museum.

West Mitten, East Mitten and Merrick Butte seen from the Visitor Center of Monument Valley

  

Remarkable are 400 Navajo Code Talkers which played a famous role during World War II by relaying radio messages using their own language, which the Japanese were unable to understand.

Our first stop was the beautiful Petrified Forest National Park with colorful specimens from small shards to massive trunks of a prehistoric forest in the arid Painted Desert.


   

Zapotepetl - Nevado de Colima and the state of Michoacán

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Friday, 13 May 2016 12:05

In central western Mexico is its most active volcano located: Volcan de Colima erupts several times every day. At the moment access to its top is more than life-threatening but its bigger brother, the more than 400 meters higher summit of Zapotepetl or Nevado de Colima (4268 meters sea-level) can be climbed with some easy rock scrambling. It is less than 6 kilometers away and it provides stunning views of the volcano.

Erupting Volcan de Colima

 

Before we came to Nevado de Colima we traversed the beautiful state Michoacán. We spent a weekend in the fabulous hot springs Balneario Erendira in its eastern part. A nice campsite is included in the hot springs (GPS coordinates: N19° 45.427' W100° 41.482'). Many younger Mexicans were with us - never ending party on Saturday night!

   

Grand Canyon and southern Arizona

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Sunday, 11 March 2018 02:22

Grand Canyon is one of Earth's most powerful inspiring landscapes overwhelming the senses. It's system of gorges created by the mighty Colorado River, 450 kilometers long, up to 27 kilometers wide and up to 1,600 meters deep. In addition to its beauty it's full of live, an island in an arid environment. People lived there for more than 12,000 years. Thanks to the high elevation change a wide range of plant and animal communities are found on its slopes.

Bad weather on the upper Bright Angel Trail

 

To avoid the usual crowd of visitors we came mid of February 2018 to the south rim of Grand Canyon. Sometimes it was a little chilly in the morning on the 2,200 meters high plateau (up to -9°C) and we enjoyed some snow.