Monday, August 30, 2010

The joys of travel

by Clare Langley-Hawthorne

Well here I am at Tucson airport getting ready to fly to LAX and then on to Melbourne, Australia. After such a long time on the road my family and I are looking forward to being in the one spot for more than a few days but in many ways we all regret the end of such a fabulous journey. While I could blog for hours on the greatness of the national parks I will spare you that and resort instead to a top 5 least for today.

Best family experience

Hands down our wagon train experience was the best. We all got to have a tiny taste of what it must have been like on the wagon trails moving west. My boys also got to ride horses, throw tomahawks and learn how to lasso...great skills for us urbanites don't you think!

Best camping site

The north rim of the Grand Canyon just created a new-tent only camping site loop, and we got to put up our tent less than a hundred yards away from the rim and one of the best views imaginable. Only downside, was the 'mum-fear' factor as twin five year olds were like "how cool is this"!

Best wildlife viewing experience

Now this is a tricky we go for the bison who calmly strolled through our campground in Yellowstone or the view of the grizzly bear across the river in the Lamar Valley? Or do we go for the view of the two black bears strolling along just past our campsite in Sequoia national park (actually this one was really just another mum fear factor moment). I think I have to go for the unexpected view we had of the alpha male of the Phantom Springs wolf pack as he bounded across willow flat in Grand Teton national park. Shadowed by two lesser wolves he was huge and could easily be seen by the naked eye. It was such an awesome surprise and, for a wolf lover like me, a wonderful moment.

Best 'Jaw Dropping' View

The first glimpse of Yosemite valley still cannot be beat...though there were lots of close runners up...

Best Americana moment

Attending the Caribou County fair in Grace, Idaho and watching my sons' expressions as they watched their first rodeo. It was a classic, non-touristy event that made us all appreciate the real cowboys of the west.

So just an initial taste of some of our travels...apologies for no photos as yet but that is beyond my technical capacity at this time...and we are now onto our next adventure (though we have to endure a long haul flight before then!) I will hopefully be checking in once I arrive so post me a comment and let me know some of your top 5 camping experiences.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. I'm in awe of your journey. Thank you for sharing with us!

  2. I've only been camping once, as a kid, and I mostly remember trekking from the tent to the "facilities" in the early morning in bare feet, feeling sure that I was about to step on a snake or some icky thing. I would try camping now, as long as the name of the place includes the noun "resort," lol.

  3. You saw some of the great sights, Clare. I've camped several times at the Grand Canyon, and hiked Yosemite up and down. Where should I go in Australia?

  4. Clare, what a great experience and opportunity for you and your family. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Well now I am officially here...bleary and well worn but here! Next week I will have to blog about the great Aussie sights I am looking forward to visiting!

  6. Sounds like a fabulous trip! As for Australia, we went there on our honeymoon. The fairy penguins are cool if you get to see them.

  7. What a wonderful experience for your kids.

    Living in Alaska we sometimes get dulled a amazing scenery. But I am still awe struck when an eagle or a moose crosses our path. I recently took a train ride from Anchorage to Seward followed by a SeaLife sight seeing tour. I am still surprised by how much beauty there is that even after spending most of my life here I am meeting anew. Between beluga whales that swim just off the highway, moose calves & mom taking a nap on my lawn, or brown bears that pick through the trash it is always stunning to meet the real Alaska. Then of course there is the Aurora Borealis, like watching God paint the sky to smooth music, I've seen grown men (loggers no less) cry at the site.

    The best memory I have though was about ten years ago at Worthington Glacier near Valdez. It was a very hot day (hot for Alaska, probably 70 in the sun). Walking along the visitor trail I noticed movement at the base of the glacier. Several young men came out of a small cave with "oohs & ahhs". We, my son and teen niece and nephew walked across and entered the little cave. A stream trickled over smooth round rocks beneath our feet as we walked into the opening. As soon as we stood inside all of us were dumbstruck. It was like being on another planet. The bluest blue I have ever seen. Like the old Superman movie but real.

    I felt I had entered a secret domain, that I touched the center of the cosmos.

    We didn't stay long, only enough to snap a couple pictures. I was afraid our presence, or a stray noise from the teens, might bring it all crashing down on us and we would be buried beneath hundreds of feet of thousand year old ice. The pictures turned out nice, but there was no way to capture the scene.