Las Vegas

After celebrating a wonderful Christmas in Del Mar with the Jackson/Harrison clan, Bob, Eric and I drove to Las Vegas in our Jeep. It took almost 7 hours to drive there, and when we arrived on the Strip the traffic was not moving. Everyone and their Uncle was in Las Vegas for the holiday week. We stayed at the Tropicana Hotel on the Strip and walked down the Strip for dinner and then to the Beatles Cirque de Soleil show. What an amazing spectacular non-stop show featuring the Beatles music to acrobatics and light show. The next morning we stopped by the Jeep Dealer to look at the Rubicon 4-door Jeeps and to get a price for ours on a trade-in. Bob just happened to find a bright fire-cracker red 4-door Rubicon, so we took a test drive in it. Then it was on to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation about 17 miles west of Las Vegas where we did a short hike and enjoyed being away from the maddening crowd. Continue reading

Lady Musgrave Island

November 6th, Thursday, we drove north to the Town of 1770, built on the site of the second landing by Captain Cook and the crew of the HM Bart Endeavor in May 1770. On our way we stopped at Bundaberg for lunch and to enjoy their famous root beer. We stayed in a small cabin in the woods for two nights just outside of 1770 at the Captain Cook Holiday Village. Continue reading

Fraser Island

November 3, Monday, we headed north to Hervey Bay, about a 4 hour drive from Dicky Beach. It is a natural bay between the mainland and Fraser Island, and the local economy is based on tourism, primarily whale watching and access to Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world, that stretches over 76 miles in length and 13 miles at its widest point. Fraser Island beaches and sandy inland roads are suitable only for high clearance 4WD vehicles with low range capacity, so we could not take our car. We booked a two day tour leaving at 8am the next morning ready for another adventure in a 4WD tour bus carrying about 30 tourists from all over the world, a lot of Germans. Continue reading

Dicky Beach and the Sunshine Coast, Australia

October 26, Sunday, we left Brisbane on our way to Brad’s beach house at Dicky Beach on the Sunshine Coast. We took the scenic route along the Steve Irwin Way to the town of Maleny and saw a wonderful view of the Glass House Mountains from the Mountain View Road overlook. Then we drove to the Glass House Mountains Lookout, where we had a closer view of the eleven hills arising abruptly from the coastal plains, formed from cores of volcanoes 27 million years ago. These mountains were named by Captain Cook in 1770 because the peaks reminded him of the glass furnaces in his home county of Yorkshire. We continued on the loop road to Kenilworth where we had lunch at Nana McGinns, and on to Montville where we stopped to walk through the plethora of tourist shops. We arrived at Dicky Beach and met up with Brad at his house, we took a walk along the beautiful beach and saw the famous ship wreck. The area was named after the iron steamboat, the SS Dicky, which ran aground during heavy seas in 1893. Then we had dinner with Brad at the Dicky Surf Club. Continue reading

Sydney, Australia

October 13th, Monday, we left San Diego on our way to Australia for Bob’s 45th Reunion of the University of British Columbia Metallurgy Department. We decided to begin our adventure by taking the Amtrak from Solana Beach to LA; it is a beautiful scenic ride along the coast most of the way and much more relaxing than driving.  We then boarded a supersized jumbo jet (cattle car) for the 14 hour flight to Sidney. Continue reading

St Mary Falls Hike

Monday, Sept. 15th. Bob and I had a nice breakfast at St Mary Lodge and Resort before driving to the trailhead to hike to St Mary/Virginia Falls. The trailhead is located about 10 1/2 miles from the St Mary Entrance to the Park. We arrived about 9:30am and parking can be an issue now, and we were lucky to get the last parking spot for the trail. They are doing major work on the road on the east side of Logan Pass so there is a lot of construction and one-lane traffic. But when it is completed in 2016 it will be a first class road. We started down the trail and immediately had spectacular views of the surrounding snow capped mountains, the tallest Little Chief Mt at 9541 ft to the south. We passed through a canopy of dense forest and soon we could hear the thunder of water crashing over the rocks. Following this stream we came to St Mary Falls that drops 35 feet in three separate tiers. From the bridge over the St Mary River the two largest falls are easily photographed even in the shadows. The incredibly beautiful aqua-green color of the pools below the falls was spectacular and the water crystal clear. Continue reading

Iceberg Lake Trail

Sunday, Sept. 14th, Pat and Harry left today and headed to Coeur d’Alene. And Bob and I drove over the Going-the-Sun-Road to Many Glacier one more time, to the Iceberg Lake hike, a 9.6 mile hike round trip. As we approached Logan Pass there was a lot of snow by the side of the road and on the mountains. The Going-to-the -Sun-Road was closed for several days due to the amount of snowfall lately, it opened up yesterday. On the Many Glacier dirt road there were cars stopped by the side of the road and as we got closer we could also see the most beautiful grizzly bear that I have ever seen. Probably the only grizzly I have seen. From the open roof of the jeep I was able to get a great video of this magnificent animal, who was perfectly content eating berries or leaves in the bushes. We continued on but soon we stopped again when we saw several black bears frolicking in the grass across the river. Continue reading

West Glacier, Whitefish and Bigfork, Montana

Saturday, Sept 13th. This is Pat and Harry’s last day with us before they head out on the road. Here are some photos of our campsites at the West Glacier KOA and our trip into West Glacier. We stayed at the KOA for two fabulous weeks from 9/2/14-9/16/14 and Pat and Harry were with us most of the time, on the site next to us. This is one of the nicest campgrounds we have stayed at, with paved pads next to large grassy areas, picnic tables and a large fire ring on gravel. They even serve breakfast in the summer months and have a BBQ in the evenings until mid September. Continue reading

Hidden Lake Glacier NP

Monday, Sept. 8th, Pat, Harry, Bob and I drove up to Logan Pass on the Going-to-the-Sun Road to hike to the Hidden Lake Overlook, 2.8 miles. The entire hike features panoramic views across alpine meadows and rugged peaks. From the west side of the Logan Pass Visitor Center we started the hike on asphalt and turns into a boardwalk through the alpine meadows known as the Hanging Garden with a carpet of wild flowers. Directly in front of us stood the impressive view of Clements Mountain, 8660ft, and hanging out on the slopes were several big horn sheep. In the opposite direction stood Mt Reynolds, 9125ft. Continue reading

Highline Trail, Glacier NP

Sunday, Sept. 7th, we got up early and left at 8 am with Harry to hike the Highline Trail. We drove to the Apgar Transit Center in Glacier NP and took the shuttle bus up to Logan Pass arriving around 9:30 am. The Highline Trail leaves from across the road at Logan Pass and follows the Continental Divide also known as the Garden Wall ridge for most of the way to Granite Park Chalet, 7.6 miles. We walked along the famous ledge of the granite cliff, hanging like a shelf on the Garden Wall only 4-6 feet wide and a drop of 100 feet or more down to the Going-to-the-Sun-Road way below. There are hand cables along this stretch of the trail incase you have a fear of heights. From here the Trail continues to hug the cliffs and slopes of the Garden Wall and with every turn there are spectacular panoramic views of the mountains, such as Mount Cannon, Mount Oberlin and Heavens Peak to the west. We rested in the beautiful glaciated-carved valley between Haystack Butte and the Garden Wall before beginning the climb up to Haystack Pass at 7,024 feet. What amazing scenery to sit and pause for awhile and enjoy the panoramic scenic beauty surrounding us. Bob saw a berry bush by the side of the trail and ate one of the berries thinking it was a Huckleberry, it tasted very bitter. Harry and I tried one as well, it was definitely bitter and unpalatable. I took a photo and showed it to the Park Ranger later, to find out that it is called Twinberry (Bracted Honeysuckle) and can be mildly toxic or poisonous to humans!  Beyond Haystack Pass the Trail continues a gradual climb along the Garden Wall reaching the highest point on the hike at 7,280 feet. Continue reading