On a National Park

Named after the French-Canadian fur traders that settled the area, Voyageurs National Park is a US National Park in northern Minnesota near the US-Canada border. The park is known for its vast lakes, abundant wildlife, and old geology. This Explore video, a relatively new release from National Geographic, offers a time-lapse look of this park – especially the skies.

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On an Italian Time-lapse

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One of my friends describes Italy as “one long museum.” The country offers so much that it is actually very hard to describe. Then again, being that my heritage is all Italian and with 4 first cousins and an aunt there, I admit being a bit biased. Enjoy with time-lapse of various parts of this beautiful country.

On a Fire that Isn’t

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The sky broke like an egg into full sunset and the water caught fire. (Pamela Hansford Johnson, critic)

During 2 weeks in February in Yosemite National Park, the light from a setting sun lines up to not only illuminate a waterfall and its mist, the light also gives the water a fiery appearance. Sit back and enjoy this spectacular natural phenomenon.

On Exploring Twinkles Through a Song

Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy. To do nothing and have it count for something. To lie in the grass and count the stars. To sit on a branch and study the clouds. (Regina Brett, journalist)
Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. (Stephen Hawking, physicist)
Things are as they are. Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations. (Alan Watts, philosopher)
Ye stars! which are the poetry of heaven! (Lord Byron, poet)

On a Tribute to a Regional Home

For many of the Explore posts I precede the video with reflective quotes that tie to the video – but not this time. Many readers here enjoy The Piano Guys. Although the music is theirs, the video is a tribute to their home.
Besides multiple occasions at the Salt Lake City airport, I’ve never been to Utah. It would seem to national parks like Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef would be quite the journey in itself … but I’m sure there is more to see. So, enjoy the music and visual tribute The Piano Guys give to the region they live and love – southern Utah.

On An Unexpected Cap

This Explore has nothing to do with a hat or cap because Cappadocia is a region in central Turkey. I first heard about this region around 2010 while watching a 60 Minutes segment about Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome – the head of the Orthodox Church throughout the world.

The segment captivated me in multiple ways because I don’t know much about the Orthodox Christianity or Turkey – but the part about Cappadocia and its role in early Christianity mesmerized me – especially the landscape and its history.

Today, hot air balloon rides are popular in this beautiful land of historical intrigue – the land whose rock sites are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Below the video are links to additional information about Cappadocia, including the 60-Minutes segment. Enjoy the journey and views courtesy of a drone.

More Informational Videos
Rick Steves segment with information and a balloon ride (3 minutes)
A travel promotion video (3 minutes)
60-Minutes segment that sparked my intrigue (14.5 minutes)

On Exploring the Driest

Our knowledge is a receding mirage in an expanding desert of ignorance. (Will Durant, historian)

You should not see the desert simply as some faraway place of little rain. There are many forms of thirst. (William Langewiesche, author)

No doubt about it – deserts are dry. Because all deserts are not created equal, where is the driest desert on our planet?

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Surely you didn’t guess the place in the image above, which is Death Valley in California. Besides, I’m confident the Atacama Desert quickly came to everyone’s mind.

Yes, the Atacama – a 600 mile (1,000 km) high plateau in Chile. The Atacama – sandwiched between the Andes Mountains to its east and the Pacific Ocean to its west. The Atacama – the land of stone, sand, and salt lakes. The Atacama – a land of unique flora and fauna that is sparsely populated by people.

Unlike previous posts in this series, today’s Explore provides two short looks at Atacama – an initial drive through the desert followed by the beauty of its night sky. Enjoy this journey to a land you may not have known until now.