World Traveler

My Irish Setter Erin taking a break from our walk on the Arno River in Florence, Italy. Anno 1985. Erin was 15 years old. I got him when he was 8 weeks old.

In his lifetime, Erin traveled the United States, North Africa, Japan, and Europe. Not long after this photo, he would be on a plane with us to Japan, then back to Germany in 1986, where he died of old age at 17.

He’s buried in a Hun burial ground in the forest behind our house there north of Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany. 

More stories and photos with Erin, the world traveler:

Travels With Erin

North Africa Diary – Lost in the Medina  

Media Plage – Aussies Go Walkabout

How we came to live in North Africa at Mehdia Plage

 

Relaxing at our 2CV camp site in a sand dune overlooking the Atlantic Ocean just outside of Agadir, Morocco.beach Africa

Visiting the stones at Carnac, Brittany, France.2cv-carnac.jpg

On the road, Costa del Sol, near Torremolinos, Spain.2CV theresa spain

The Design is in the Details

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Frustrated by all the people milling around while I was trying to take photos of iconic historical cars at the Kirkland Concours d’Elegance on the shores of Lake Washington, I decided to compensate by getting up close to the design elements on these elegant automobiles.  Here is a sample of that work, which sometimes drifts off to abstraction.

The Concours that year was a tribute to Carroll Shelby, featuring five unique Ford classes.  So I’ll begin with a couple minutes of the “GT40 Soundcheck.”  Yes, the ground was shaking.  Turn up your speakers if you want to experience the thunder.

 

A selection of my photos.  Please feel free to use with attribution.

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The Wild Pacific Trail at Ucluelet, British Columbia

Take a pictorial walk with me on The Wild Pacific Trail at Ucluelet, a tranquil village of about 2000 on the Ucluth Peninsula of Vancouver Island’s far west coast.  It’s about 288 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital, Victoria.

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Its location supports Ucleulet’s motto – “Living on the Edge” – as the peninsula is almost completely surrounded by water, making it more island than peninsula.  The Ucleulet Harbor provides easy water access to the ethereal mists of Barkley Sound to the south, featuring the Broken Group Islands of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.  To the west is the thundering Pacific Ocean.

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It’s on this western shore you can walk The Wild Pacific Trail, which clings to the coastline as you meander the trails and boardwalks amid an old-growth coastal rainforest – a labyrinthine wildwood of trees, ferns and moss.  Without warning, the trail bursts onto spectacular views from the rocky shoreline of the roiling Pacific Ocean, Barkley Sound, and the Broken Group Islands.

The trail is an easy, relaxing hike, with two large parking areas, easy access (including disabled), and well-signed trails.  When I was there, signs instructed you on what to do in the unlikely case that you found yourself sharing the trail with a bear.  Sadly, I didn’t see one.

Photography by S.W. Cosgrove.

Looking south from the far end of the peninsula, towards Barkley Sound and the Broken Group Islands.  In the mist on the other side of the sound is Bamfield, a tiny resort hamlet that is best reached by packet boat from Port Alberni or by float plane.

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Here is a very engaging Blue Jay, who decided to accompany me.  Chatty bird, and quite friendly.

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Hidden in the woods on the other side of the water is the lodge that I stayed at.

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Following is the view from the private patio of the studio apartment I rented in an elegant new wood-built lodge that a young couple shared with visitors.  It was in a very quiet location, situated just a few steps from The Wild Pacific Trail.  Reasonably priced, very comfortable, with an oversized soaking tub.

The last afternoon, a storm blew in and rain pounded windows and deck.  Then, a half hour later, the sun came back out and dried everything off.

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Ucluelet Harbor

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Photos: Ocean Shores coastal winter weather changes over one hour

This week before the Winter Solstice 2017, we spent a few days at Ocean Shores in the state of Washington, USA, to absorb the marine air off the mighty Pacific Ocean.

Here are my photos of just one hour of coastal weather change from the vantage point of Protection Island, or Damon Point State Park, a 544-acre natural area adjacent to the Washington State Game Preserve.  A sand spit best crossed on foot at low tide connects the island with the mainland.

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Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
 I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
~ Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now

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Walking on the Western Edge of North America – the Washington Coast.

It’s autumn, when the Pacific Ocean coastal skies may be sunny or turn dark, ushering in the magnificent storm season.  Either way, it’s a perfect time to explore the westernmost edge of the North American continent.

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So my German Shepherd, Jack, and I headed out from our home on the Puget Sound to spend a week in the historic seaside resort town of Moclips, which was originally a village of the Quinault Indian Nation.  Spaniards were the first Europeans to come ashore here at Santiago beach, adjacent to the Moclips River, which runs to Point Grenville.

Moclips was homesteaded in 1862, and in 1905 it officially became a town when the western most terminus of the Northern Pacific Railway was completed at Moclips and the first Moclips Beach Hotel was completed.  Vacationers came to the beach by the thousands on the Northern Pacific.  No trains run to Moclips these days and most remnants of the the railway’s existence have faded away.  Click the photo below for more Moclips history.

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Today Moclips is a sleepy little seaside town with pristine beaches that stretch to the horizons.  The Moclips River flows from a natural riverine rain forest on a bed of agate rock.  You can see the remains of the train bridge trestles in my photos.

I stayed at the Hi-Tide Ocean Beach Resort, a peaceful and well-maintained collection of very comfortable, fully furnished and tastefully appointed condos with patios facing the ocean, the river and the setting sun. Hi-Tide welcomes dogs!  You can arrange rental on the Hi-Tide Resort website. 

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During our visit, we had a full compliment of weather: sun-drenched shorts and sandals weather at the beginning of the week, with marine air moving in, then darkening skies, wind picking up and rain by the time we left.  It was, in a word, a perfect autumn week on the Pacific Northwest coast.

Here are some of my photos of the journey. If you use them, please attribute.

Hello from Jack!

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Pacific Ocean Cabins With a View

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All photos by S.W. Cosgrove

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At the north western edge of the continental United States, with the Pacific Ocean at your feet, lie a handful of cabins – Iron Springs Resort.  They are arranged on a bluff overlooking a vast horizon that stretches westward to the edges of what is visible, then dissolves into what is not visible to mere mortals.

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As you walk at the edge of the pounding surf, the sandy shores seem to stretch to infinity from north to south.  Keep walking – for hours if you like – and you’ll never reach the end.  The sand, the surf and the springs and estuaries that feed into the ocean recede and dissolve until they exist only in your memory.  As the tides come in and go out at the resort’s Boone Creek, where fresh water meets salt water, you can watch the fresh water rise up over the more dense salt water, while the salt water beneath pushes its way upstream along the bottom.  But as you walk, beware the incoming high tide, or you may find it difficult to return to where you began.

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The sounds of the savage ocean shore are primal, as if from a dream.  The sea birds, screaming at your thoughtless interruption of their dining routine.  The winds, from gentle to so harsh they’ll blister your skin.  And the rhythmic symphony of the great ocean beast itself as it moves ever towards the shore, changing from swells to white capped waves to crashing surf, ending the cycle as a churning but ever thinner sheet of water conforming to the irregular nuance of beach, fragmenting into barely visible ripples that disappear, pulsing and absorbed into the sand, only to reform as rivulets of salt water retreating to the ocean to begin the journey again.

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This is the endless world.  The ocean.  From the beginning of time through eternity.  We have the privilege of being part of the world but for a short time, less consequential than a grain of beach sand that has existed for millions of years.  In comparison, our lives are an almost impercipitible flash of energy, barely noted, lasting an immersurabley short time.

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So you might as well take advantage of it.  Find a place like Iron Springs Resort, with about 25 cabins perched on a bluff stained orange from the iron-filled cliffs, with ruddy cinnamon waters from the nearby Boone Creek staining the beach.  In the 19th century, the area was considered to be a medicinal soaking place.

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The cabins have ocean-facing decks, almost all with stunning sunset panoramas.  The resort has been there for decades, but all the cabins have been extensively renovated, incorporating the original stone fireplaces, with a generous supply of firewood included.  Though the cabins retain their rustic persona, they are equipped to the highest standard for your stay, whether it’s for the night or for the week.  Kitchens are well equipped, with granite countertops and modern appliances, including a dishwasher.   A full complement of cookware and dinnerware is in the cabinets, and there is a nice sharp set of cooking knives – a nice touch.  Fresh linens and towels are included, as well as dog towels to wipe your best friend’s feet.   Iron Springs Resort not only allows dogs, they love dogs.  When I arrived for my first visit, I brought my German Shepherd, Jack, with me the office to check in and they spent more time talking to him than me, letting him pick out a nice tennis ball from the bucket to take to the beach.   Oh yes, dog dishes are also supplied in the cabins.

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The ambience at Rust Springs Resort is serene and congenial.  The cabins are set apart so that privacy is ensured.  Several people I met were repeat visitors, and I later found that many have used Iron Springs Resort as a touchstone for family getaways, reunions, bonfires and clam digs for generations.  There seemed to be a dog or two in every cabin, with everyone respectfully keeping their buddies on the leash.  The exception is the friendly resort dogs, who quite understandably are free to go where they like.

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But once you take the five-minute walk to the beach, off comes the leash, and your dog will enter unrestrained cosmic canine bliss.  Feel free to do so, as well!  My GSD Jack takes off like a shot, with a rooster tail of flying sand behind him, until he gets to the water where he splashes around barking at the waves and chasing gulls.  When he finally slows down, somewhat later, we walk and walk and walk.  By the time we get back to the cabin, he’s ready for chow and a nice laydown, and so am I.  Click here or photo below for video link.

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There is no finer end to the day for me than sitting out on the cabin deck with a glass of wine, watching the sun slip into the ocean.  Every cabin has a barbeque grill on the deck, if you’re in the mood.  If it’s windy or rainy, you just move inside, prop your feet up and enjoy the same view through the expansive glass windows and door.

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In addition to the Pacific Ocean beach on your front doorstep, there are hiking trails in the second growth forest behind the resort, with “wolf trees” that must get their name from the branches that look to me like wolf teeth.  There’s also fishing, shell fishing, bird watching, as well as marine and rainforest parks.  The razor clams are famous.  The Hoh Rain Forest, a world heritage site, is not far away.

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Iron Springs Resort is an easy two and half hour drive from Seattle.  Head west through Olympia towards Aberdeen and then follow the road north to Ocean Shores.  Ocean Shores will be your last chance for grocery and other shopping, and then you keep going north on Washington 109N about another 15 minutes.  After you cross the Copalis River Bridge, keep watch for the large overturned lifeboat on the left, then turn into the parking lot.  Check out of your hectic life and check into ocean time.

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For more information on Iron Springs Resort, including the history of the area and resort, go to their website at http://www.ironspringsresort.com/  There, you will find out one unusual feature of the resort, which is that the beach in front is home to Copalis Beach Airport.  It is the only known beach airport in the contiguous United States and the only stretch of Washington State beach where it is legal to land a plane.  Timing is everything, in case you plan to fly in – the runway and airplane parking area are under water at high tide!  Click here or the photo for the Washington Department of Transportation Copalis Airport link.

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Kalaloch in Winter

I now live in the Pacific Northwest on Puget Sound.  One of my favorite places is the Kalaloch Lodge in the Olympic National Forest, at the western edge of the continent, directly on the Pacific Ocean.  Kalaloch has a rustic luxury lodge and several cabins directly on the ocean shore where you go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning to the pounding surf.  I prefer to visit in winter, when there are fewer people and the storms come rolling in, blackening the sky and sending mountains of water crashing to the beach.

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Here are some photos from my last trip.