Sunday, March 10, 2013

Random Photographs from Trips Past

What does one do on a weekend in March ruined by illness?  Well, for starters, it being tax season, they look for things to do other than filling out tax forms.  If it was a bit later in March, I (T) could be watching March Madness, but since the NCAA tournament has not started yet, I took some time to do something semi-constructive.  I went back through some of the travel photographs we have taken over the past several years and while taking in the memories of these trips, it occurred to me that many are worth sharing, particularly when we have not done much in the way of travel as of late.  So, sit back and take in part one of some pics from a variety of places both near and far that H and I have traveled to over the past several years.

The cellar of an old winery in the Burgundy region of France; heaven for a wine enthusiasts.
The vines of Alsace at harvest.  Field after field of vines line this picturesque valley.
Dream come true for H. A tour of the Gander Linen factory in Muttersholtz, Alsace led by Mr. Gander himself.
Gates of the Mountains, Montana.  Here on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains, where the plains meet the rugged highlands, the Missouri River cuts through the limestone to create these magnificent cliffs.  The Gates were given their name by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805.  Wrote Captain Lewis, "this evening we entered much the most remarkable clifts that we have yet seen.  These clifts rise from the waters edge on either side perpendicularly to the height of 1200 feet. ... the river appears to have forced its way through this immense body of solid rock for the distance of 5-3/4 Miles ... I called it the gates of the rocky mountains."

Mann Gulch, Montana.  Part of the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness.  Mann Gulch was the scene of a firefighting disaster in 1949 when 13 men lost a desperate race with a massive fire that roared up this valley towards you.  Norman Maclean wrote of this story in his fabulous Young Men and Fire. More on this in a later blog.
One memorable summer about five years ago now, H and I spent about a week in the Canadian Rockies driving and hiking through some of the most glorious scenery we've had the pleasure of experiencing, including the Columbia Icefields along the Banff-Jasper highway.

 Lake Louise in Banff National Park.  The waters of the lakes in the Canadian Rockies are amazing.  I love H's description of Lake Louise as "an uncut emerald dunked in milk."

Victoria Glacier and the Plain of the Six Glaciers, located at the head of Lake Louise.

Hiking back down from Victoria Glacier to Lake Louise.

Morraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks, also in Banff NP.

Eiffel Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks.  Simply stunning.
One of our most memorable hikes together was the Iceline Trail in Yoho National Park, Canada.  The trail climbs some 2,000 feet from the bottom of the glacier-fed waterfall in the center of the photograph to the ridge in the foreground.  We hiked nearly 17 miles that day, much of it on top of deep snow and alongside glaciers.  It was hot, and we were sunburned and exhausted at the end of that very long, but rewarding day.  This particular photograph of H and our beloved husky Harley is probably my favorite of the two of them together.

Every year, we drive out to our cabin in Idaho and when time permits, we stop off at different places.  If you recall, one year it was Indian War sites.  Another year was devoted to Laura Ingalls Wilder.  This is her house in Mansfield, Missouri. 

It is a beautiful piece of property in the Ozark Mountains.
And on to the prairies of South Dakota, where many of the later books were set.
The Ingalls homestead claim outside De Smet, South Dakota.
In an earlier blog entry H wrote at length about her fascination with Laura Ingalls Wilder and her books. You can find it here.

After the visit to the Ingalls home place, we drove through the Badlands of Western South Dakota on a windy, bleak day. Talk about atmosphere.

As a thank you for helping put our wedding together, we took my parents to France for a week in Normandy and Paris.  Much of our time in Normandy was spent walking the beaches and battlefields of the Allied invasion of Occupied France in 1944.

The right flank of Omaha Beach.  The view the men of the 29th Infantry Division and the 2nd Ranger Battalion would have had on 6 June 1944. 

And that of their German antagonists.

Pont du Hoc.  US Rangers assaulted these positions on D-Day.

Ever the Band of Brothers (the Stephen Ambrose book and the HBO series) fanatic, H was thrilled when we were able to find Brecourt Manor, the site of a famous D-Day action involving the 101st Airborne Division and her World War Two hero, Major (then Lieutenant) Dick Winters.
The fields of Brecourt Manor. 

Church in Sainte Mere Eglise, another famous 101st Airborne Division site.   Hanging from the spire is a dummy American soldier, representing an actual paratrooper who hung from this very spot in the wee morning hours of 6 June 1944.  From this perch, that paratrooper, John Steele, watched his brother soldiers fight the Germans below.  He would hang there for two hours until captured.  Cornelius Ryan's 1959 book The Longest Day and the 1962 movie of the same name depicted his story.  Check out the Hollywood version here.

Mont Saint Michel, near Avranches, France. The island has held fortifications since ancient times, and since the 8th century has been the seat of the monastery from which it bears its name. 

During the drive back from Mont St. Michel to our B&B, we stopped off at this 14th century castle somewhere in Normandy.   The sun was setting, and there was not a soul there, but the gate was open, so the four of us wandered  the grounds and the ruins for nearly an hour before darkness fell. 
Cool graffiti H discovered as we explored the old castle.

Our B&B; a renovated 16th century manor.

It was a beautiful place.

Part 2 of random photographs from trips past coming out soon.


  1. A very enjoyable post. I totally see where Heather is coming from with her description of Lake Louise.

    You will have to come to Cornwall and see our Mount St Michael.

  2. Thank you, Nicola. A trip to Cornwall sounds very nice about now...