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Posts Tagged ‘Alaska Museum’

Denali National Park ... Wikimedia Photo

Denali National Park … Wikimedia Photo

            “When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” – William Least Heat Moon

2006 Memories of a Non-Wandering Wanderer

After spending the night in the Red Room of a bed and breakfast, I shared the morning meal with a California couple whose daughter was attending school in Alaska to get a master’s degree in raptors. After that, on their recommendation, I toured the university’s Alaska Museum.

Many things at the museum impressed me, but I specially loved the photos by Michio Hoshino of polar bears and other Alaskan wildlife. My enjoyment, however, was diminished when I read that this magnificent wildlife photographer was killed in 1996 by a grizzly bear.

Coming Home -- Photo by Michio Hoshino

Coming Home — Photo by Michio Hoshino

The death of Hoshino,while doing what he loved, tickled through my little grey cells as I left Fairbanks and headed toward Denali on this bright sunny day. Hoshino was certainly not the first to be penalized for following his dreams, I knew. And while I mourned his death, I knew that I believed a well-lived life was one better based more on quality than on quantity.

It was the same thought I had in the 1990s when I made two trips paddling through the Grand Canyon and faced the tall and wild rapids of Lava Falls on the Colorado River.

At this point, in life, however, I have enjoyed both quality and quantity. And being privileged to visit Denali National Park, and to spend three nights in the park’s lodge during its last year of operation inside the park, covered both of those. Don’t you think?

Anyway, I checked into the Denali Lodge while there was plenty of light, which left me plenty of time to take a guided hike, and watch a slide show on wolves. What a great day?

Bean Pat: Anyway the wind blows http://tinyurl.com/zsctpad This is a blog by Pete Scully about sketching and is one of my favorite blogs.

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Life's "no problem" when you're cruising Jamaica's Black River. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 

“Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” Groucho Marx

Travels With Maggie

Lonely Planet’s lead article in this month’s newsletter (http://www.lonelyplanet.com/us) features one day itineraries for five cities: Barcelona, Toronto, London, Paris and Istanbul.

I wanted to both scream and cry at the audacity of such a notion. The thought of spending so few hours in these fabulous cities, which I’ve not yet visited, made me quite sad.

Then I thought about places I’ve visited when circumstances only allowed me a single day, like Jamaica, Guayaquil, Fairbanks, Glacier National Park and Nairobi. While each of these places deserved more than a mere day to explore, there would be some big holes left in my experiences if I had missed them.

George, the alligator that responded to the Black River boatman's summons. Honest! -- Photo by Pat Bean

In Jamaica, which I visited while on a Caribbean Christmas cruise, I spent several hours in a giggley-jiggly bus with a guide explaining the sights and Jamaica’s “no problem mon” attitude, then took a float trip down the Black River where egrets ganged up in mangrove trees and an alligator named George came at the boatman’s call. Honest.

Guayaquil was the Ecuadorian starting point for my trip to the Galapagos Islands. Here I was served chicken and watermelon for breakfast at the quaint Andaluz Hotel before taking a walk on the city’s beautiful Waterfront Parkway. That night I watched the stars come out from a rooftop restaurant that overlooked the Guayas River.

In Fairbanks, Alaska, I spent a night at a quaint bed-and-breakfast and then the better part of the next day at the fantastic University of Alaska Museum before moving on to Denali National Park .

Glacier National Park in Montana was a detour when I drove the Alaskan Highway. The main event here was simply driving the awesome and scenic 57-mile Going to the Sun Highway. The frosting on the  entrée was a grizzly bear that stopped traffic. Fortunately my halt offered a good view of this magnificent creature.

Nairobi, Kenya, was the starting point for my magnificent two-week African safari. Here I stayed in the same hotel favored by Ernest Hemingway, explored the grounds of the University of Nairobi, which was just next door, and toured the home (now a museum) of Karen Blixen, alias Isek Dineson and author of “Out of Africa.”

I guess if that’s all you have, one day is quite enough. But I sure hope that if I ever get to Lonely Planet’s big five that I have more than 24 hours to linger.

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