Our Icelandic self-driving tour book described, “a little water adventure:…by walking carefully on rocks in a stream, you can avoid getting your feet wet and see a waterfall.” Yes! I steadied my rickety knees with a hiking stick and tackled the rocks. Falling into the shallow stream wouldn’t have killed me. I’d likely have been hurt though, so I struggled along testing every step, setting my stick, grappling the canyon wall for grips, stopping to revel in the beauty. The canyon walls soon narrowed to a slot with scenery so gorgeous I groaned. Passing hikers warned that the rocks ahead […]
A fellow traveler to China’s Himalayan foothills explained his disinterest: “I’ve seen mountains.” That was ten years ago, and I’m still horrified. Why did the man, who’d surely seen most everything there is to see, bother to wake each morning? As a native Coloradan and avid camper/traveler/hiker, I’ve seen some mountains. Many of them over and over, again and again. They still wow me with their wiles. The mere rumor of a waterfall sucks me in like a riptide. Before I toured China’s Jiuzhaigou National Park, I may have seen a thousand falls, but I’d never seen one that moved […]
The water cascades off in knots as if the drops wait for reinforcements. Courageous en masse, they loft, catch-air, then sheet down in the extended train dubbed Bridal Veil–or Horsetail, depending on who you ask. Horsetail Falls/Bridal Veil is a symphony of tens of thousands of tiny falls foaming over a tumbled rock face. The pictures don’t begin to do them justice. Waterfalls are a full-body experience, the spray, the rush, the power. An ultimate commune-with-nature place.
Much as we Coloradans love our Rockies, Alaska’s mountains have ways of kicking infinite majesty up a notch. Cloud boas, shimmering falls, and glacial bling are de rigueur for Alaskan summits. Add lush wilderness settings, and there’s just no contest. Sadly cruise ships often miss the best mountain views. We found stunners in Haines, Valdez, and Hyder, but cruise ships seldom pass their way. Cruisers who take the Denali extension will get great views, but Mount McKinley itself is likely to be shrouded in clouds. If diva mountains are a priority for you, book a cruise that includes the Kenai Fjords. OMGs guaranteed.