Category Archives: Travel

Charleston, South Carolina

I love where I am from. Charleston, South Carolina is a place by the sea where environment, culture and history have come together to create a very special place filled with a distinct charm all its own.

There have been many events and individuals that have shaped the character of Charleston. For instance, Charleston was once held hostage by the infamous pirate, Blackbeard. Almost one-hundred years later, the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, a structure that still stands sentinel in the mouth of the harbor. It is said that General Sherman spared Charleston from the match on his way to burn Atlanta because of his love for it.

My appreciation for Charleston, SC is only intensified by the fact that I live almost 3,000 miles away from it and for almost 10 years. Why do I not live there you may ask? Well, because Charleston lacks only one thing – mountains.

Still, I love to visit, and I just happened to find myself there this past week. I was able to get out in the boat to fish with my father, shoot clays in the country with my mother, and take in the city with long walks and runs down the slate-covered sidewalks.

For those that live far away from their place of birth, I suspect they  experience the same feelings that I do when they return. You cannot help but unearth memories containing emotions, experiences, and individuals that have played an integral role in who you are today.

On my last day in Charleston, my feet lead me to the very street and house that  I grew up in. Sounds cliche, but it was actually quite circumstantial considering the busy schedule I maintain when visiting. I have an extensive family and divorced  parents who live in different houses, so I generally do not have much time for these types of tangents.

Nevertheless, there I was looking over the wall, thinking it rather small in comparison to when I was a child. So much happened there, and yet it is all gone except for my memories and of those that shared them with me. How quickly your mortality can come rushing in like an uninvited guest. 

On a lighter note, I love the juxtaposition of these two pictures. My stepfather on the left in his skeet shooting attire, and my father out on his boat. Both pictures were taken within two days of each other.

Thanksgiving = Recreation in Reno + Culture in San Francisco

Started off Thanksgiving with an enjoyable mountain bike ride in Reno. Chose the well-known Galena Creek trail. Even though it was late in November, it was a beautiful day with most of the trail being fairly free of snow. I earned my turkey credits.

Did my duty as an American – consumed. Crashed in Incline Village, and then headed down to San Francisco to see my sister. Here she is doing her thang.

The highlight of the trip was definitely the de Young museum. A beautiful structure located within the Golden Gate Park, the de Young is an architectural work of art.

Because the former museum was heavily damaged by the earthquake, the new structure is quite insulated from future tremors. It sits within a bowl complete with breakaway zones. Once the ground begins to shake the de Young will happily roll around in its shock absorbing seat.

The shell of the de Young is quite extraordinary. Pocked metal panels make up the exterior of the structure, and because they are computer generated the artist was able to make each panel design unique.

As homage to the greater forces of nature, one of the first exhibits are man-made cracks or fissures that run the length of the entrance walkway. They snake their way through the bricks and continue through large stone blocks that are positioned around the atrium.

The interior is modern and cool, and the Gerhard Richter positioned just off from the main foyer immediately captures the eye. It is a representation of the atomic particle, strontium, and it is one of his larger works.

A visit to the de Young is not complete without a trip up into the tower. The views encompass much of the City and the Bay, and the only thing that detracts from the experience are the museum concessions within the floor space. My advice – confine that sort of thing to the gift shop.

The Ruth Osawa exhibit is notable. A graduate of Black Mountain University, Osawa developed a talent for creating unique shapes out of metal wire. Her hanging sculptures capture the light and cast shadows that are almost as impressive as the works of art.

Dined at Limon, Rose Pistola, and Citizen Cake for either dinner or breakfast. I would recommend each of them.

There is always something going on in San Francisco, even is unusual places. Here’s how to turn a tunnel into a very effective speaker.

Kauai & The Na Pali Coast

Na-Pali-Coast

I am no slouch. I hike, run, bike, kayak, ski, and when I am idle, mentally pace about thinking about what I am going to do next. I say this because, despite all of my activities, backpacking the Na Pali Coast was a significant challenge of which I will not repeat.

Kauai is the northern most developed island in the Hawaiian chain. It is mountainous and beautiful and famous for its rugged landscape.

Hanalei and Haena are the two primary towns on the north side, and they are close to the trailhead for the Na Pali Coast. While they are my recommended places to stay, keep in mind that it does rain here more often. If you are the type that prefers golf, resorts, and sun bathing you might like the south side more.

For the trip, I was joined by my wife, Julia, my stepbrother, Winslow and his wife, Katharine. We were all in shape and confident that we could tackle the 11 mile hike, which would lead us to the desired campsite situated at the base of fluted cliffs, ribbons of waterfalls, and the type of tropical scenery that one dreams about.

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Traveling the Yucatan


For many people the Yucatan represents Cancun, the Mayan Riviera, and Chichen-Itza. While each of these locations posses many positive attributes for the wayfarer, there are many other reasons to travel to the Yucatan. Most flights do culminate at Cancun, but there are also air services to Merida and Campeche on the Gulf side of the Peninsula if you prefer to start there.

As you approach the Cancun airport, the first striking characteristic is the relative flatness of the terrain. Thick vegetation commands the landscape in an even blanket that stretches in all directions. The only thing breaking the even green is a lonesome road or a foreboding electric tower appearing larger than it should be considering the surroundings.

The reason the Peninsula is so flat is because it is entirely composed of a limestone shelf jutting out into the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. The layers of limestone are composed of the life and death of compacted ancient coral reefs and sand, which serve as a metaphor for the multi-layered human history that chiseled its own existence into the surface of this even terrain starting more than 12,000 years ago.

Built on time, stone, and water, human habitation of the Yucatan has always relied on the geologic composition. At first glance, one would surmise that there is no fresh water available in this flat landscape. Surface lakes and rivers are practically nonexistent, for they lay predominately underground. The spongy limestone has been carved from underneath by the slow erosive properties of water and time, and it has created a vast network of cenotes (wells) and connecting rivers fed by rain and springs, which bring life. A trip to the Yucatan would not be complete without a visit to one of the countless cenotes that pock the landscape.

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Paddling in Peru

 

Here in the Tahoe region there are so many recreational opportunities at one’s fingertips. With the distinctive seasons, beautiful mountains, and close proximity to the coast or desert, it is a wonder that anyone has time to venture elsewhere. However, a vast world lies open for exploration with many different cultures and characteristics to amuse and amaze the curious mind.

Interestingly enough, a particular expeditionary company by the name of Bio Bio Expeditions operates right here out of Truckee, and their specialty is to guide those who seek to see foreign locales away from the fray of other tourists. It is this particular company that enabled me to experience Peru in a way that I will never forget. The mission was to navigate one of the deepest canyons on earth, the Cotahuasi.

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