Category travel

Volunteers play key role in protecting sea turtles

Inspired by the celebration of World Sea Turtle Week, I’m sharing photos of volunteers monitoring sea turtles on Sanibel Island. The photos illustrate the important role that conservation organizations and volunteers play in protecting sea turtles and educating the public. The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation monitors 18 miles of beach, from the Sanibel lighthouse to Redfish […]

Eagle of Barcelona

The Beasts celebrate Catalan culture

We were looking at the artwork displayed in Placa del Pi, a neighborhood in the old section of Barcelona, when we heard the music. That distinctive Catalan music with drums and the somewhat shrill sound of grallas, a double-reed woodwind instrument. We hurried into the narrow streets to join the crowds (this was in pre-pandemic […]

Summer hiking – carry enough water

Water. That is one of the most important items for a successful hike – especially in the summer. Whether I’m hiking in the Grand Canyon or the Smokies, I’m amazed — and concerned — to see so many people carrying little or no water. A couple or a family may have only one 16-ounce bottle […]

The House of Umbrellas in Barcelona

House of Umbrellas in Barcelona

A rainy afternoon seems like a good time to write about the House of Umbrellas in Barcelona. The House of Umbrellas (Casa dels Paraigües) is located on Las Ramblas, the busy major thoroughfare and pedestrian walkway in the center of the city. The building is close to the popular market La Boqueria and just a […]

Olive oil tour in Catalunya, Spain

Olives and olive oil are a special part of Spanish cuisine. In visits to Barcelona, I’ve enjoyed seeing the colorful displays of olives in markets and sampling olives as tapas in cafés. Olive oil is part of many Mediterranean dishes, from pasta to pan con tomate (bread rubbed with tomato and seasoned with olive oil, […]

GSMNP Little River - photo by Julie Dodd

River views in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The sun was shining as we hiked the Little River Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on a cool fall day in a time before Covid-19. We carried tripods so we could try some slow motion water photos. Stepping from rock to rock, we walked out into the river. We set up our […]

National Public Lands Day logo

National Public Lands Day and every day — hike safely

National Public Lands Day, on Sept. 26, is one of the five days when admission to national parks is free. Thousands of people will be in the parks on National Public Lands Day and millions will be in the parks this year to enjoy nature and perhaps look for a boost in spirit in the […]

Portland Japanese Garden Peace Lantern - photo by Julie Dodd

Tranquility of Portland Japanese Garden

Join me in a peaceful stroll through the Portland Japanese Garden, located in the hilltops overlooking Portland, Oregon. I toured the Garden last summer and thought you might enjoy the calmness of these garden views that I photographed. The Portland Japanese Garden is 12 acres and contains eight different styles of gardens. The idea for […]

Clingsman Dome in GSMNP

Enjoy and support our national parks

The Fourth of July is a time for those of us living in the United States to think about what makes this country special. The 62 national parks certainly are one of the country’s greatest treasures. I was fortunate to grow up less than an hour’s drive to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hiking […]

Alum Cave At-Home Adventure finisher medal

Virtual hike to Mt. Le Conte in 2020 due to Covid-19

I’m taking a different approach to hiking to Mt. Le Conte this year because of Covid-19. Usually, I drive more than 500 miles to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, spend a few days in Gatlinburg, and then put on my hiking boots and hike to Mt. Le Conte, the third highest peak in the […]