Welcome to Travels with Nessie.
It's been awhile since we've taken Nessie or Clem out for a paddle--couple of years in fact. We've spent our time with long trips to several National Parks and other wonderful places in the US. I've also fallen well behind on updating the web site to describe the many places we've been. So I'll start with recent trips and try to work back from there.
Aztec National Monument, New Mexico
Aztec Ruins National Monument
I'll start with Aztec Ruins National Monument in New Mexico. This large complex of an Ancestral Pueblo site has nothing to to with the Aztecs in Mexico, but was misnamed by the first explorers to see the site who assumed that the ruins were from the Aztecs in Mexico.
The Aztec Ruins complex was built around 1100 by the Ancestral Pueblo and abandoned around 1300. It is an amazing place. The portion open to visitors, called the West Ruins, once had more than 500 rooms centred on an open plaza. It is about 2 miles long and 1 mile wide. There are four separate archaeological sites to the east that are unexcavated.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Great Sand Dunes National Park
I have always wanted to visit Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, but never had the chance until August 2018 when we took a road trip west. We've visited Jockey's Ridge State Park in NC, the tallest active sand dunes in the Eastern US, and we were expecting something similar in Colorado. We were not expecting the shear size of the sand dunes in the park. Jockey's Ridge covers 426 acres, whereas the Great Sand Dunes cover about 30 square miles and the tallest is about 750 feet high they are big.
Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park is not as well known as many of the other national parks in California. It is small and has a single short road inside the park. Plus when we were there in June 2016 some places were still closed due to damage from the 2015 fire. Even so we really enjoyed our visit.
Bear Paw Battlefield
Although the Bear Paw Battlefield is not as well known as the Little Bighorn Battlefield, the Bear Paw Battlefield is just as significant. This is the site of the last battle in the 1877 Nez Perce War. This was a 5 day battle and siege between the Nez Perce led by Looking Glass and other chiefs and the US Army. Continue Reading
Western North Carolina is best known for waterfall, mountains, and white water paddling. We've found numerous wonderful places for quiet water paddling with our kayaks Nessie and Clem. These paddles are peaceful alternatives to white water paddling and the hikes to waterfalls. Read More
As part of our 2013 journey from Durham, NC to Jasper Alberta Canada and back to Durham, we decided to drive from Great Falls, MT to the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park via the Beartooth Parkway. The Beartooth Parkway is not the quickest way to get from Great Falls to Yellowstone, but it is the most beautiful and scenic.
Beartooth Parkway Continued.
Wind Cave National Park
Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota is one of the less visited National Parks. The park is rather isolated and overshadowed by Badlands National Park and Mount Rushmore National Monument. However, it is well worth visiting for two major attractions--then Wind Cave and the largest remaining natural mixed-grass prairie in the United States.
Wind Cave Continued
Sunset over Frozen Currituck Sound
Frozen Currituck Sound January 2014
Because of much colder than normal temperatures in early January 2014 much of Currituck Sound was covered with a layer of ice. The whole sound did not freeze just the areas near the shore. Currituck Sound Continued
Sunset along the road
Driving Across the US
We've made several 6,000 plus mile driving trips exploring the US. Although these trips often involved long hours driving to where we eventually wanted to be, they also provide a unique opportunity to appreciate how big, varied, and beauty of the US. Driving across the country also allowed us to visit a few places that we would miss otherwise. We didn't stop and smell the roses as often as we would have liked, but we did stop occasionally.
driving across US Continued.
Mammoth Cave National Park contains the Mammoth Cave which is said to be the largest cave system in the world. The beauty of this national park is the shear size of the cave.Mammoth Cave Continued
When I first visited the Blue Ridge Parkway in 1972, I figured that my wife and I could drive the entire 469 miles from Cherokee, NC to the Skyline Drive in Virginia in two days (45 MPH speed limit means roughly 10 hours total drive leaving plenty of time for sightseeing). Well I was mistaken. It took us several years of trips to the Parkway before we had driven all of it.
Blue Ridge Parkway.Continued.
Our paddling interest is limited to quiet water--lakes, ponds, slow moving rivers, and coastal water. We seek out pretty and interesting quiet water and provide photos and descriptions of these paddles. We don't do whitewater. Lakes on windy days are rough enough for So if you're interested in quiet water paddling, check the Quiet Water Section .
Canyonlands National Park
If you're interested in the wonderful National Parks in the US, check out the National Parks Pages. Or just pick a page at random from the menus. The most recent additions to the National Parks pages are Mammoth Cave National Park, Cumberland National Seashore and Theodore Roosevelt National Park
We've been on many trips where we've had to leave the kayaks home. Many of these trips have been in North Carolina and you'll find information on them in the Exploring NC section.
We've also undertaken several major trips to visit national parks and other sights in the US. Descriptions of these trips can be found at Trip West for our trip west in 2008 and Southwest trip for our 2010 trip to the Southwest US. Both trips were over 6,000 miles long and took us to National Parks and many other interesting places. The trip pages provide photos and descriptions of some of the sights we encountered along, such as the Corn Palace in Michel SD, along the way as well as the national parks and other major attractions.
We have several pages of photographs to help us remember the beauty of the places we've visited and to share with others. We have photos on all the trip pages and we have photo galleries with more photos. You can find a list of galleries at Photo Galleries.
There are several books and web sites that we have discovered over the years that have been very useful to us.
Favorite Paddles Merchant's Mill Pond and Bear Creek Lake
If we had to choose our favorite paddling spots in North Carolina, we'd pick Merchant's Mill Pond in Eastern North Carolina and Bear Creek Lake in Western North Carolina.
We haven't paddled Bear Creek Lake for quite awhile.
Sea Gull and Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
Waterfalls from melting glacier College Fjord, Alaska
Linville Falls, North Carolina
Green River Overlook Canyonlands National Park
Reflection at Lower Yellowstone Prong Falls, Graveyard Fields Blue Ridge Parkway
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Please note that all photos on this site are copyright by us. If you wish to use any of our photos, please contact us for permission.
Thanks for visiting.
You can contact us using e-mail to webmaster at ncsparks.com.