Journeys with Sonia

My Travels Around the World

The Grand Teton National Park – Chapter 3

September 2021

The Grand Teton National Park

This is the third and last post from a trip my friend Debby and I took in September of 2021 to Yellowstone and the Grand Teton National Parks. We were traveling with Natural Habitat (Nat Hab) along with our guide Kurt Johnson and five other travelers, Joan, David, Erin, Chet and Travis. The last two days of our trip were spent in the Grand Tetons. I mentioned in my other posts that people come to Yellowstone to see the wildlife. In the Grand Tetons, it is all about the landscape views of the mountains.

The Grand Tetons are in the northwest part of Wyoming, just outside of Jackson Hole. It is most famous for the 40-mile long Teton Range of mountains, and mostly the mountain peaks. And not only are they long, they are tall, at 13,775 feet. And not only are they long and tall, they are old, the oldest in any American national park dating back as far as over 12 million years.

Yellowstone: Chapter 1 – Hot Springs and Geysers and More

Sept 2021

“However orderly your excursions or aimless, again and again amid the calmest, stillest scenery you will be brought to a standstill hushed and awe-stricken before phenomena wholly new to you. Boiling springs and huge deep pools of purest green and azure water, thousands of them, are plashing and heaving in these high, cool mountains as if a fierce furnace fire were burning beneath each one of them; and a hundred geysers, white torrents of boiling water and steam, like inverted waterfalls, are ever and anon rushing up out of the hot, black underworld.” John Muir, 1898

I don’t usually start my posts with a quote. But John Muir got it exactly right. “…hushed and awe-stricken…” “…huge deep pools of purest greens and azure water…” “…plashing and heaving in these high, cool mountains…” “…a hundred geysers…” “…boiling water and steam..”  That is exactly Yellowstone.

Uganda Wildlife: Chimps and Gorillas and Shoebills, Oh My!

December 2021

This chapter is all about trekking and wildlife that abounds all around Uganda. My friend Debby and I were traveling with Natural Habitat (Nat Hab), a company I have traveled with, and written about, before. We were joined by Matt M from Pennsylvania. The main raison d’etre for this trip was to see the mountain gorillas of Uganda, and that, in fact, is the main reason most tourists come to Uganda. We were originally scheduled  to do two treks in Uganda and two in neighboring Rwanda, but COVID shut down the border between the two countries, so we were to do 4 gorilla treks all in Uganda.

We started out in Entebbe, made our way to Kibale National Park, then Queen Elizabeth National Park, and then to the north and south of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

During the two weeks we also saw all sorts of beautiful birds and other wildlife. But first, we would get our feet wet (almost literally) by doing slightly easier treks to see the chimpanzees. The photographs are mine, but the videos are mostly Debby’s and sometimes Matt’s or Paul’s and every once in a while, mine.

Iceland Chapter 2: Iceland’s Unofficial Emblem – The Puffin (and other flying creatures)

July 2021

As mentioned in other chapters, I got to escape the COVID pandemic and travel to Iceland for 12 days with National Geographic and Natural Habitat on the Nat Geo Explorer in July of 2021. My good friend Marilyn joined me and we both saw this as an opportunity to get away and regroup. We circumvented the island of Iceland on the National Geographic Explorer in conjunction with Natural Habitat, stopping at many small islands and villages and seeing many, many waterfalls (please see the posts on each of these). But this post is about the birds of Iceland, in particular the Atlantic puffin.

Iceland: Love on the Waves  – Orcas X-Rated

July 18, 2021

In July 2021 I finally got to travel again after 1.5 years of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. My first foray was onboard the National Geographic Explorer on a 12-day circumvention of Iceland. I had been to Iceland twice before (see my older other blogs on Iceland), but this was both an opportunity to escape as most other destinations were not yet open for travel, and a chance to see parts of Iceland I had not seen before. This was a special trip as well as it was sponsored both by National Geographic and Natural Habitat – two companies I love to travel with. There will be lots of posts on this trip to Iceland, but this one is about orcas. But this is not your usual orca blog….

Colombia Part 13: Bogota

Bogota, Colombia

Summer 2018

Bogota is the largest city and the capital of Colombia. This was the last stop on our trip before heading back home, and it was a fitting end to a wonderful tour of Colombia. We flew in from Medellin and were picked up by our host and guide supreme for the next three days, Juan Camacho. Juan had been guiding for six years at that point and had a master’s degree in history. His plan was to one day return to the university and become a professor. After three days learning from him, I’m sure he would excel at that as well. [Update: since we were there a few years ago, he has indeed gone back to teaching.] Juan not only had the book learning about Bogota, his father was a high-ranking official and so he grew up with threats and guards – true first-hand experience of life in Colombia.

Karen and Tony Barone – Artists Supreme

April 2021

Those of you who follow Journeys With Sonia know that I write about places, not people. But in this time of the COVID-19  pandemic, anything goes.

I found myself back in the desert in April 2021. It was still the COVID-19 pandemic. No one was going inside restaurants. No one was seeing people. We were all masked. So it was time for another art tour/road trip. This time to see rabbits (well, it was almost Easter). But these were not just any rabbits. These weree nine aluminum rabbit sculptures by local artists, Karen and Tony Barone.

Desert X

March 14-15, 2021

Yes, still COVID, still not traveling the world and still writing about local sights. This time I am in the Palm Springs area in California. It is a beautiful desert surrounded by beautiful mountains.

Once a year there is an art exhibition called Desert X taking place all over the surrounding towns. I have never been before, so what better time than during quarantine. It is all outdoors, so safe for everyone. I masked up, got in my car, and off I went. There were ten exhibits and little did I know it would take about six hours.

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad

March 8, 2021

Well, it is still COVID season. All my scheduled trips abroad to new and exotic places have been falling by the wayside, one-by-one, like dominoes. So, I continue to search for new things to do and see locally, and places to practice my photography with my new Olympus Om D Em1 Mark III. One of the trips cancelled was to see the tulips blooming in Amsterdam. So, my friend Debbie K (who was going to join me on that trip) and I headed just up the road to the Flower Fields in Carlsbad. For those of you following my blog, this one is a short one with more pictures than words.

Western Grebe Pas de Deux at Lake Hodges

January 14, 2021

Those of you familiar with my blog know that I love to travel to places off the beaten track, the exotic, the hard to reach. My motto is get there before Starbucks does (although I love my Starbucks at home). But in this time of the pandemic, with Covid-19 nipping at our heals, with hundreds of thousands of people dying and with all the experts saying “Stay home,” there is no travel to be done. So we don our masks and make the best of it.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t safely explore our own surrounds. While I have traveled the world, it seems I have missed some beautiful sights in my own backyard. Luckily, I have a friend who also loves to shootpictures so we have been exploring, all at a safe distance and all while wearing masks.

Which is how I got to Lake Hodges. I had never been to Lake Hodges, although it is only 30 minutes from my home.

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