Archive | December, 2013

A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

As great as it was to be back in New York City (we really do Love NY), we have to admit that this time, it was equally good to get away. Over the past four years of travel we’ve mostly managed to avoid winter and, in the process, have become hot-house-flowers of sorts. Last weekend’s storm gave us enough snow and ice to keep us stocked up on winter weather for the foreseeable future.

And for all the bitching we always do about air travel – the ridiculous undressing for security, the cramped coach seats, the inevitable delays – we really owe it a big, fat round of applause. Thanks to modern aviation, we spent only a half a day getting from Central Park’s winter wonderland to Southern California’s bikini beaches. 

After spending two weeks in the cold, returning to the sun and palm trees we’d otherwise have taken for granted felt like vacation. It is nothing short of a holiday miracle. 

Kayaking Blackstone Bay: Glaciers and Waterfalls

Blackstone Bay Glacier Kayak

There were two big things we wanted to do while in Alaska. The first was a glacier trek. Check. The second was to do some glacier kayaking. For that, we made our way down to Whittier, Alaska, where we hooked up with the Prince William Sound Kayak Center for gear, guide, and transportation.

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Denali, Bad and Good

Denali National Park Landscape

We had a stormy relationship with Alaska’s Denali National Park; turbulent at first but then growing into a kind of appreciation and fondness.

Things would have gone smoother had we understood Denali peculiarities from the beginning. Even under the best of circumstances, visitors may find Denali to be a bit of a mixed bag. But forewarned is fore-armed, as they say. So here’s what you can expect from America’s third largest park.

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Mount McKinley, Denali National Park

Mount McKinley Denali National Park

Going to the Dogs at Denali

Alaskan Sled Dog, Denali National Park

They look more like lovable mutts you’d find frolicking in backyards rather than elite canines. That’s because the dogs of Denali National Park weren’t bred for a particular look but for traits crucial to their unique role, like large paws, long legs, and double-thick coats to withstand sub-zero temperatures. Another important quality: a strong desire to run and pull.

Denali is the only national park whose staff includes sled dogs, or Alaskan huskies. Furry, four-legged rangers of a sort, they play an important part in maintaining and protecting the park—patrolling acres of wilderness off limits to motorized vehicles, hauling supplies and humans such as wildlife researchers, and performing other important tasks.

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