Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

Bridgetown is Beautiful

Sunset at the port in Bridgetown, Barbados. 'Nuff said.

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My escape to a cabin just south of Atlin last week was a huge success. I read on the deck in the sun (in my sleeping bag – it’s not quite warm enough for sunbathing yet) by day, and wrote at night; I finished Jonathan Raban’s excellent Passage to Juneau and got a functional 4000-word story draft together. I don’t suppose I can burn half a tank of gas and spend two nights in tourist accommodation every time I have a story to write, but it’s certainly something I’ll plan to do again at some point.

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I’ve got a few odds and ends to catch up on.

First of all, I’ve had a handful of stories published over on the Matador Network in the past couple weeks: an introduction to a serious local ultra race — The Yukon Arctic Ultra: The World’s Toughest Race? — and two stories about my Alaskan beer adventures. Check out The Beer Frontier: Binge Drinking in Alaska and the accompanying Guide to Beer Drinking in Alaska.

Next up, a photo from my time at Slaven’s Roadhouse.

On my first night, we had 7 mushers and more than 75 dogs pass through, in addition to the 8 volunteers, the race judge and the veterinarian already camped out there. As you can imagine, the result was an awful lot of parkas, mittens, dog booties and other wet winter gear hanging up above the wood stove:

It’s been a busy few weeks, with nearly 5000 new kilometers added to the odometer in my Jeep, and as always I’ve come back from my latest trip to Alaska with more ideas than I know what to do with. I think I’m ready to settle down for awhile and do some serious reading, pitching and writing.

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So instead of retracing our steps from Anchorage up the Glenn Highway and along the Tok Cut-off to the Alaska Highway, we took a last-minute detour up the Parks Highway to Fairbanks, then headed south to Tok along the Richardson Highway. It was worth the detour: We had clear views of Mt. McKinley for much of the day’s drive between Anchorage and Fairbanks.

Here’s a shot I took at our lunch stop in Talkeetna:

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News and Waves

Some fairly big news on my end: Things are shifting around a bit at World Hum, and while I’ll be staying in my role as Senior Editor there, it’s no longer a full-time position. So, with my new-found free time, I’m going to be taking on new projects and doing more freelance writing than I have been over the last year or so. Updates coming on this front in the next few weeks!

In other news, I got back yesterday from an OVB-sponsored press trip to Hawaii. It was a surfing-themed tour of Oahu, and it was a really wonderful, well-organized event, a great introduction (it being my first time there) to the islands. I took a couple of surfing lessons, I shmoozed with the pros at the annual Surfer Poll awards, and I generally got thoroughly seduced by surf culture. I’ll aim to post a few more photos soon – meantime, there’s one I shot at Pipeline down at the bottom of this post.

What else?

If you happen to be in Whitehorse, I’m doing a reading next week – I’ll be a featured writer at Brave New Words on Monday, Dec. 13th. It’s from 7-9pm at Baked.

And lastly, here are a few more of the stories I’ve worked on at World Hum in the last while:

    • My Own Mexican Revolution – My friend Sarah Menkedick’s reflection on her struggles with machismo in Mexico, a really thoughtful read.
      Bare at the Baths: I’ve followed Conor Friedersdorf’s political writing for some time, so it was fun to publish this lighter travel piece from him.
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    My recent ATIA-sponsored trip was my first foray into Alaska proper — up to now, I’d only visited the panhandle towns of Skagway and Haines — and boy, was it something. The trip was an eight-day whirlwind: We visited seven cities, towns or settlements, two national parks and an array of isolated roadhouses and lodges; sat through five short-haul flights, one bus ride, one train ride and two long days in the car; and ate fresh local salmon on at least five occasions.

    I’m still absorbing the trip and sifting through the highlights (not to mention about 800 photos and several pounds of brochures), but I know one thing for certain: I was left wanting more. Here are a few of the future trips I’ve been daydreaming about:

    The Dalton Highway, seen from the air

    The Dalton Highway: The road north to Prudhoe Bay and the Alaskan oil fields has been on my To Do list for awhile now, but flying partway up its length on this trip has knocked it up a few priority notches.

    Hikers emerging from the Denali backcountry

    Denali National Park: My 24 hours in the park wasn’t nearly enough. I want to go back for at least a week and do some serious hiking.

    The Richardson Highway, south of Black Rapids

    The Richardson Highway: This road hadn’t previously been on my radar, but it’s a historic route lined with vintage roadhouses and great views. In particular, I’d like to get back and spend some time at The Lodge at Black Rapids, a beautiful family-owned spot where we stopped for a snack and a tour.

    The old copper mill in Kennicott

    McCarthy, Kennicott and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park: What a package deal. McCarthy’s got that small-town Alaskan hospitality, Kennicott’s a mining ghost town with history I could geek out on for days, and together they form the gateway to the near-endless backcountry of Wrangell St. Elias, the largest U.S. national park. More, please.

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    Last week I spent four days hiking the Chilkoot Trail, the old Gold Rush route that runs from Dyea, outside Skagway, AK, over the mountains and across the Canada-U.S. border to Bennett Lake, where the stampeders boarded boats to the Klondike.

    I’m hoping to write more about the trip at some point, but in the meantime here’s a shot from Day 2, just past the summit on the Canadian side of the border.

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    Waking Up in Jasper

    The sun went down just before I hit the mountains last night, so I drove the last hour or so into Jasper with only a vague sense of the dark, snow-smeared shapes rising around me. This is where I woke up this morning:

    Skytram Road, Jasper National Park

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    Out of Ontario

    Late yesterday afternoon, after nearly 24 hours of total highway driving time spread over three days, I crossed out of Ontario and into Manitoba. I’m headed to Saskatoon today, and will spend most of the weekend there before heading into the Rocky Mountains on Sunday!

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    I’m nearly two weeks into my Yukon visit, and so far I am loving it. (“Come back in winter,” people keep telling me when I say that. Maybe I just will.) I’ve already spent weekends in both Haines and Skagway, Alaska, and this weekend I’ll be headed into Kluane National Park for some serious hiking. Here’s a picture I took (with the auto timer – a major tech victory!) on the road from Haines Junction, Yukon, to Haines, Alaska:

    On the road to Haines

    On the road to Haines

    On the work front, there’s been a shake-up at World Hum and the end result, for me, is a lot more writing on the blog. Here are a few of my more notable posts from the last while:

    Quesadillas in the Sub-Arctic
    In Defense of British Food
    See This Now: ‘Give Peace a Chance’ (The first post from my Woodstock visit)
    Travel Movie Endings, Good and Bad
    Canadian Road Trip Candy: ‘One Week’ on DVD

    Over at Brave New Traveler, a photo essay I put together showcasing some of the world’s most spectacular houses of worship has also just been published.

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