Monday, February 11, 2013

I [heart] ND

Valentine's Day is soon approaching, and all this talk about love has me inspired to share some pictures of a place I love very much....North Dakota :)  I am unabashedly bias, but being one of the least populated states, I do what I can to be a good ambassador!

I mean come on, the thrill of the open prairie, the badlands, the's fabulous!

Prarie Dog on the lookout.

And oh how I wish I could include the smell with this picture...if you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to experience it first-hand.

My dad carrying the canoe he made over 40 years ago.

Cruising down the Little Missouri near Medora.

They may not be majestic mountains, but ND's not completely flat.

This valley looks great for a picnic!

For those of you who may be wondering, I am not getting paid for this :)  But if you happen to want any more information you can check out ND Tourism.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Honduras - Copán

While heading back to Guatemala from Belize, Molly and I decided to take a day to visit the Copán ruins in Honduras.  Ever since I was enamored with Indiana Jones as a child, I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting archaeological sites around the US and the world, and this trip proved no different.  It made such a contrast to Tikal, surprising us with its artistic beauty, and our guide, Fidel, took it upon himself to explain every hieroglyph in sight!

For those who don't know, Copán was a Mayan capital city of a major Classic period kingdom from the 5th to 9th centuries AD.  It is located in western Honduras, close to the border with Guatemala, and was inhabited for more than two thousand years!  Its peak population was at least 20,000, covering an area of over 100 sq miles. Unfortunately a considerable portion of the acropolis was eroded away by the Copán River, until it was diverted to prevent further damage.  In 1980 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It was well known for its stelae, sculptures, and carvings.  Some interesting things I remember: a notorious ruler known as Eighteen Rabbit, a large Mayan ballcourt, and a room full of vampire bats where they would put enemies or traitors...such friendly folks.  I believe our guide compared Copán to the Paris of the Mayan world (with art and temples covered in some sort of white plaster), whereas Tikal was the New York of its time (with tall pyramids stretching to the heavens).

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Costa Rica

Last week I posted pictures from Belize, in a somewhat vain attempt to feel warmer!  These days that chill in my bones is returning and today I'm sharing pictures from that same trip, but of Costa Rica.  Back in 2005 I spent a semester studying there and lived with a wonderful family.  Besides visiting them, Molly and I also traveled about to see some beautiful sites.

Dear friends on a hike around the Volcano Poas.

The crater at Poas.

My favorite turtle- Cecilia!  I'm pretty sure she's older than I am :)

Julian has the best green thumb I know of!

Molly and I with part of my old host family.

They even made my favorite- egg rolls from scratch!

Heading out in to the tree tops.

And what do we see....the national bird of Guatemala, the Quetzal!

 So many birds, we loved it!  Somos puras pajareras.

Looking up bird names.

The infamous straggler fig.

On a different kind of walk in the woods.

Climbing up on the inside of a straggler fir.

Surprise surprise, lots of clouds in the cloud forest!

And then we ran in to some newborn baby birds!

What I wouldn't give now for some blue skies and green vegetation...

And of course it's Costa Rica so you're going to run in to some waterfalls.

Fabulous trail to wander looking around at the plants, animals and such....sigh.

Our guide :)

And here we were off for more adventures!