Fall around Fairbanks

Above: The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute, with a satellite-receiving dish on the roof, sits tucked among trees as a runner makes her away along trails far below, visibly only by a bright blue jacket. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game the boreal forest, that which is found around Interior Alaska, is largest terrestrial ecosystem on earth. 

Interior Alaska’s fall comes fast, and leaves even faster. With only a small variety deciduous trees we don’t get a large variety of color, but the bright yellow leaves among dark green spruce still make dramatic scenes. It can take less than one week for trees to shed their leaves if a hard frost is followed by a strong wind or rain. 

Advertisements

Fairytale castles and grand views in Bavaria

Above: Neuschwanstein Castle, in Bavaria, southern Germany, sits on a hill high above farmland, lakes and small villages. 

Neuschwanstein was the castle of “Mad” King Ludvig II, a reclusive Bavarian King. It’s not an ancient castle like many situated throughout Europe. Construction began in 1869, and Ludvig never saw it’s completion, he died a suspicious death one day after being disposed of the throne. Immediately after the castle was opened to the public for tours, and can now accommodate 6,000 people a day. 

The castle has played a role in everything from Disney movies to a storage house and retreat for Nazi SS. It sits on a dramatic hill, overlooking Ludvig’s father’s castle, sprawling farms and bodies of water. Fussen, Bavaria, is the closest town.

A hill behind the castle offers the most dramatic views.

 

Beautiful Burgundy Region Bike Ride – part one.

Above: Vineyards near and far in the Saint-Aubin town of Bourgognes, France. 

The bike left from Beaune, Bourgognes region of France, on a scalding July 17, 2013 – perhaps high eighties by early afternoon. But it was très beau! Blue doors on brick houses, vineyards near and far, wheat fields, and small towns continually supervened by smaller towns – even one with a castle. 

This is part one-of-three and it it only gets better. So please, stay tuned. 

Cool blues and greens on the brick house contrasted the hot mid-July temperatures.

Cool blues and greens on the brick house contrasted the hot mid-July temperatures.

This brick house comes complete with a creek.

This brick house comes complete with a creek.

On a very smooth bike path. One of many small towns in the background.

On a very smooth bike path. One of many small towns in the background.

Beginning of Ski Season – Weekly Photo Challenge

Above: A quiet and foggy beginning to the 2013-2014 season at Skiland. December 7, 2013 at 10:12 a.m.

December 7, 2013, marked the start of the downhill season at Skiland – the farthest-north chairlift in North America. Opening day is often a mad dash; wake up after a party; corral people, some gear, and grub; then try to get there for first run at 10 a.m., because last run comes quick at 2:30 p.m.

This year was relaxed, waxed boards the night before and went to bed at a reasonable time. The next day lots of clouds made visibility difficult, but unseasonably warm temperatures – over 10 degrees fahrenheit – complemented  a snowpack that hide reasonable numbers of rocks! 

Not much lifts the spirits in dark and typically cold December then an early opening at the downhill. Here’s a few examples of rapidly-changing light from the chairlift. 

Beaune, France.

Above: Chatting on church steps at sunset. Beaune, France.

Tucked away in Burgendy region, southeast of Paris, is the peaceful small town of Beaune. Fantastic food and wine may be Beaune’s mainstay – they are both salubrious – but the proximity to vineyards, vistas, and ancient architecture offer adventure galore. One of the most enjoyable days in Europe was spent bicycling 22 miles on smooth, paved paths through the small villages surrounding Beaune. I will feature that in a future post.

Today is a brief overview of Beaune.

Train Station Stretch

One fantastic aspect of Europe is train travel. A chance to relax, watch country side whisk by, and wonder if you going the right direction. Some of the most magnificent sights are seen on trains, and people often present a more relaxed persona. Though much like any long transportation so much sitting can ache the legs – ergo it was perfect one of my first sights riding a train was companions doing a hamstring stretch in the station. 

Taking time to stretch at a train station in Versailles, France, July 15, 2013.

Taking time to stretch at a train station in Versailles, France, July 15, 2013.

Colorful Seattle Streets

Above: Walking the docks at sunset in Washington Park Arboretum.

It’s time for a few more pictures form the streets of Seattle, featuring some fantastic fall colors. Not much to say about these – just an exercise in editing and blogging!

Vibrant leafs expand across the frame as a couple enjoys a walk near the Ballard Locks.

Vibrant leafs expand across the frame as a couple enjoys a walk near the Ballard Locks.

Canoeing around - Washington Park Arboretum, Oct. 13, 2013.

Canoeing around – Washington Park Arboretum, Oct. 13, 2013.

Old yellow stables at Discovery Park.

Old yellow stables at Discovery Park.

Taking a sunset run on the docks at the arboretum.

Taking a sunset run on the docks at the arboretum.