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California, USA

I am learning that California is pleasantly diverse and geologically quite remarkable.  From volcanoes - both active and ancient, to earthquake geology to fossil beds  to deep blue glacial lakes, scenic rugged coastlines, natural rock columns and towering granite domes and walls, California is one place I can spend many years exploring and still not be completely satisfied that I have seen it all.  Here are our explorations thus far....

United States of America (USA)

USA is an awesome place to explore.  Lacking much of the known history that Europe has, United States has a diversity of natural landscape that is hard to beat.  From red rock canyons to massive granite rock formations, to volcanoes, to rocky columns and towers, to amazing waterfalls, to fossil beds and amazing coastlines, United States has something for every nature lover, and every so often, a few things for a history lover.  Here are our recent explorations by state:

Bordeaux, Dordogne Caves (Ancient Cave Paintings, Cliff Dwellings, Stalactites/Mites) and Carcassonne

Bordeaux

Known as a famous wine-growing region, Bordeaux is an important port along the Garonne River.  Its streets are lined with stately buildings and many cafes.  Bicycles rule the roost here, both in Bordeaux and La Bastide, across the water.

Eastern France (Alps, Annecy, Dijon)

Pont de Peche to Lac Peclet Polset, Parc de la Vanoise (French Alps)

This hike was one of the best hikes I have done and one of the easiest 12-mike hikes I have done. The views of mountains, needle peaks, streams, several cascading waterfalls, blooming wildflowers and finally the blue lake at the end, kept me distracted.

Trona Pinnacles, San Bernardino County, California

If you are looking for an otherworldly landscape, this is the place for you. A skyline made up of about 500 tall tufa spires dotted the barren landscape as we walked in an ancient dry lakebed named Searle Lake. Searle Lake was one of many lakes filled with glacial meltwater connecting the Sierra Nevada to Death Valley as glaciers melted from the Sierra Nevada mountain range.  According to one of the information boards, half of  all of earth's minerals are found on this lake bed, one of which is trona, the park's namesake.