11/20/2010, Kodiak Alaska
It was my first flight in a Coast Guard C130. Walt didn't prepare me for what was ahead. He had been on plenty before. "Oh it has seats," he said as we boarded, pleasantly surprised. My first hint that this wasn't an ordinary flight was the passing out of ear plugs and the lack of a safety briefing which we had about memorized anyway from our last three flights getting to Anchorage. After waiting hours in the passenger terminal, we were instructed we would take off soon if the heavy winds abated and then try to land in Kodiak. If we were unable to land, we would return to Anchorage and try again the next day. We successfully made the flight without incident. The crates/pallets were unloaded full of packages from shopping and our luggage.
Certainly a great way to start our Alaskan adventure.
11/04/2010, Traveling in the USA
There's a new sport in America. Well, it's been there all along, but the rules have changed; there are no rules!! It's the new sport of eating. You can eat with abandon when, where and whatever you please.
Having been away from the US of A for two years, we were surprised there was a recession for there were long lines at our favorite restaurants. You would never guess that Americans should be tightening their belts literally and figuratively by the crowds that were still eating out. Remember when eating out was a treat and having a soda with dinner an extra special delight. Now it is the opposite; eating a home cooked meal is the novelty.
But how can one resist the temptation? There are buffets to beat the band!! All you can eat lobster and endless New England Ipswich clams. Gosh how can one refuse? There is French cuisine, Italian pastas, Mexican burritoes, Chinese lo mein, giant beef burgers on almost every corner, and those Bang Bang shrimp for $5 on Wednesday night at the Bone Fish Grill are to die for. So ten pounds later our sporting event has come to a screeching halt. We won!!! It is time to quit before we explode or die of a coronary attack. So back to the standards we had set before; eating small portions, fresh fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, no sugar, less breads, and closing our eyes and holding our noses when going through the Fresh Market grocery store. It will take longer to take off the added pounds than it was to put them on of course, but we played to win, to score, and to indulge. We won't play again, our bodies can't take this sport.
On a positive note, we are headed to Kodiak Island, Alaska, to see the grandkids and with our added winter blubber coats, we'll be warmer and feeling like bears ready to hibernate. We'll survive the cold northwest I'm sure. Send us warm messages. Love Walt and Honoree
09/14/2010, Exeter High School 40th reunion
What fun we had!!! Thanks everyone for making the effort to come, especially those travelling so far. You all made it so special. It was terrific sharing in your sucesses, talents, travels, adventures, and pictures of grandkids. It saddened me to hear of the sorrows, tragedies and the classmates we have lost. I hope that sharing the burden lightened the load and lifted a heart. I'm proud of the camaraderie we share, the great "class" we have and the accomplishments we've all made. How amazing some of us have been friends since first grade. Go Newfields!!!
We missed those of you unable to attend. Know that your names were mentioned and hoping you'll make the next gathering.
Thanks again June for getting us all together. Thanks Jim for the music; you had real records, not cds!!! Wow!! Thanks John for the grace before dinner, your kind words and all that you do for our veterans. Sorry the hike didn't happen Stan, so we'll see you in Homer for a hike. Sue MacDonald I swear you haven't changed a bit, how do you do it??? Some of you, it was your first reunion since high school, what a thrill to see you!!!
Well, until next time, enjoy the pictures.
Honoree and Walt
Arrived in sunny Florida, Fort Lauderdale to be exact. Spent the day with Richard, my brother going to the Packard Museum, the zoo and eating.
Leaving Bocas was exciting for we had to fly off the island because of striking banana workers. They blocked the road on the mainland by felling trees, throwing rocks, and burning buildings. They only earn 1.50 an hour.
Visiting more family in Sarasota, then off to North Carolina. Enjoy the photos of leaving Panama and the memorabila at the Packard Museum.
07/01/2010, Bocas Del Toro
The Ngöbe Buglé Indians are a large cultural entity here in the Bocas Del Toro (Panama) archipelago, reaching their villages only by boat. So you can well imagine the logistics of medical help, supplies, building, power sources, and education. Talking with a Peace Corp volunteer from a nearby village she told of the children going to high school paddling a half hour and then walk another half hour through the rain forest to another village's school. Classes are cancelled when it rains; and they are living in a rain forest! Education is a gift.
Be thankful for the opportunities in your world as you view these photos.
Have you ever seen a glass-winged butterfly? It's a small butterfly, perhaps two inches in size with clear wings that look like stained glass windows. How about a Hercules Beetle? Neither had I until taking a night trek through a rain forest. The Hercules Beetle is most famous and the largest of the rhinoceros beetles. Said to be the strongest creature on Earth for its size. The beetle is able to carry 850 times it's own body weight. Now I've done the math which means a large 120 gram (1/4 lb) beetle can carry 224 lbs., definitely a Hercules. If you had it's strength you could lift a 65 ton object. How about seeing a violet saber-winged hummingbird? They are the largest hummingbird in Costa Rica between five and six inches in size. Imagine 40 feeders, the bulbous ones with red bottoms, hanging about chest high and perhaps four feet apart. Now imagine standing amongst them with hundreds of hummingbirds darting all over. Probably 20 different species, the violet saber-wing, king of them all flying by with ease. That's the scene at LaPaz Waterfall Gardens, Poaz, Costa Rica.
Rainbows, I know you've seen one of those. But how about a rainbow eucalypts tree or a rainbow billed toucan? They are both something to behold. National Geographic has dubbed Costa Rica the most biodiversified ecosystem on the planet. Hiking through Cahuita (cow-hee-ta) National Park on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, we spotted a baby sloth, three bright yellow eyelash viper snakes and a Jesus Walks-on-Water lizard. At the Jaguar Rescue Center we even got to hold a baby sloth. They are cute, cuddly creatures. Then over to the Pacific Coast on the Osa Peninsula, we hiked to another National Park, Corcovado. There we listened to the squawking scarlet macaws. They sounded like they were fighting, but probably mating. At least fifty bight colored birds lined the beach trail. Wal spotted a family of spider monkeys jumping from tree to tree; it was a busy day in the rain forest.
Off we go to Chirripo (cheer-ree-poe) the highest peak in Costa Rica at 12540 ft. Our first mistake was opting to carry 23 lbs each for the nine mile trail. The second mistake was assuming there would be switchbacks. The trail was virtually straight up and if there were switchbacks they were ever so slight, hadly enough to catch your breath and rest your weary bones. Porters carried the food and cooking supplies for the two night, three day trek. We saw the porters running back down the trail. The record, for there is a contest each year for assent and decent, is 3 hours and 14 min. In the women's category, the record last year was by a pregnant woman who didn't realize she was pregnant until sometime after, was for 3 hours and 40 min. Our time was 8 hours up and for us the descent was more difficult taking us eaually as long. Everyone was on the look out for the resplendant Quetzal, the national bird and treasure of Costa Rica. We heard it's call several times but never did see her. However we did see a broad billed mot-mot, which is equally as brilliant.
Upon arriving at the base camp, just missing a down pour and totally exhausted, people were talking about getting up at 3:00 am to tackle the summit in order to see the sunrise should it be clear. Well, we decided we had seen enough sunrises to last a lifetime and opted for the 8:00 am version. It was another three hour hike to the summit where the view was of the Pacific and the Caribbean at the same time. We were on top of the world.
Costa Rica is alive with volcanoes. Poaz, another National Park, has the remains of one. But even more dynamic is Arenal (r-n-l) whcih periodically spews off gas. This is something to witness. There are hot springs abound to partake in to rest those sore muscles. At night one can watch the hot rocks exploding down the mountain, giving off an effect of lava cascading down the sides. But in order to view this spectacle the weather has to be clear, no cloud cover, which is difficult somethimes for you are in a cloud forest.
Enjoy the photos.....in the gallery.