Iceland: Dramatic Viking Movie Set and Black Sand Dune Beach

Viking Cafe

Viking Cafe

Viking Village Panorama

Viking Village Panorama

Approach to Viking Movie Set

Approach to Viking Movie Set

Viking Long House

Viking Long House

Viking Turf Houses

Viking Turf Houses

Viking Catapult

Viking Catapult

Viking Hut with Horns

Viking Hut with Horns

Black Sand Dunes and Misty Vestrahorn Mountain

Black Sand Dunes and Misty Vestrahorn Mountain

Richard and Dunes for Scale

Richard and Dunes for Scale

Dune Covered with Green Grass

Dune Covered with Green Grass

Sideswept Dune

Sideswept Dune

Windswept Dunes

Windswept Dunes

Single Blade of Grass in Black Volcanic Sand

Single Blade of Grass in Black Volcanic Sand

Departure on Stokksnes Exit Road

Departure on Stokksnes Exit Road

Mist Flowing Down Mountain

Mist Flowing Down Mountain

Mist Flowing Over Mountain

Mist Flowing Over Mountain

Descriptive Map of Vestrahorn and Stokksnes Area

Descriptive Map of Vestrahorn and Stokksnes Area

Viking Cafe Map of Area

Viking Cafe Map of Area

An especially great place for photography in southeastern Iceland is Vestrahorn Mountain.  The 8-10 million year old gabbro and granophyre rocks are the remains of an ancient magma chamber of an extinct volcano.  To get to it, drive on Ring Road 1 about one hour east of Jokulsarlon and exit to Stokksnes (an old World War II NATO radar base).  The exit is just before the tunnel entrance east of Hofn.  Drive about 3 miles on the dirt road until you reach the remote family-owned Viking Café and pay a small entrance fee. 

A short hike through this stunning landscape leads to a former Viking movie set.  This Viking village was initially planned to be revived in 2017 to film the movie “Vikingr” by Universal Studios.  The movie is about epic Viking sagas by Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur.   An initial article about the movie in October 2014 is at:  http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-iceland-viking-movie-baltasar-kormakur-20141008-story.html   In a follow-up article dated September 2016 Kormakur says that he expected to start work and filming of the Viking movie in 2017:  http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/baltasar-kormakur-returning-iceland-oath-926795   An update in 2019 said that Vikingr is still under development by Universal Pictures.  

UPDATE:  In October 2019 it was announced that Baltasar Kormakur will begin production in 2020 on the supernatural volcano drama “Katla” for Netflix.  This eight part series “begins one year after the violent eruption of the subglacial volcano Katla….Mysterious elements that have been deeply frozen into the glacier from prehistoric times start to emerge from the melting ice and cause consequences that no one could have ever foreseen.”  Exciting!  Read more at:  https://grapevine.is/news/2019/10/10/baltasar-kormakur-making-supernatural-volcano-drama-series-for-netflix/

NEW UPDATE April/May 2020:  Filming for Katla will begin as soon as possible in Vik, Iceland.  The town is already being prepped for filiming by shoveling ash around buildings to similate fallout from the eruption.  Read more at:  https://www.vulture.com/2020/04/how-icelandic-director-baltasar-kormakur-lives-in-quarantine.html  and https://icelandmonitor.mbl.is/news/culture_and_living/2020/04/24/vik_i_myrdal_covered_in_volcanic_ash/  Filming in progress:  https://www.icelandreview.com/culture/baltasar-resumes-filming-of-supernatural-volcano-drama/

Continuing your exploration, drive a very short distance in the other direction from the Viking Village to the sea to photograph the black volcanic sand dunes and mist-covered mountains.  The dunes are shaped by the wind and topography.  This place is stunning and embodies the wildness and drama of the Icelandic landscape – the owners consider it “Heaven on Earth”

Iceland: Stunning Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon!

Stunning Jokulsarlon Ice Beach

Stunning Jokulsarlon Ice Beach

Wave Crashing onto Ice

Wave Crashing onto Ice

Blue Iceberg

Blue Iceberg

Stunning Blue Ice

Stunning Blue Ice

Close-up of Blue Ice

Close-up of Blue Ice

Iceberg on Black Volcanic Sand

Iceberg on Black Volcanic Sand

Rippled Ice

Rippled Ice

Ice with Fish-like Shape

Ice with Fish-like Shape

 

Ice with Cat-like Shape

Ice with Cat-like Shape

Ice Completely Full of Frozen Bubbles

Ice Completely Full of Frozen Bubbles

Close-up of Ice with Volcanic Sand and Pebbles

Close-up of Ice with Volcanic Sand and Pebbles

Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon

Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon

Striated Glacial Icebergs

Striated Glacial Icebergs

Long Exposure of Ice #1

Long Exposure of Ice #1

Long Exposure of Ice #2

Long Exposure of Ice #2

Long Exposure of Ice #3

Long Exposure of Ice #3

Long Exposure of Ice #4

Long Exposure of Ice #4

Jokulsarlon is one of those places you never forget.  The glaciers, icebergs, and crystalline ice on the volcanic black sand beach are stunning!  If the weather turns rainy, it only serves to make the blue ice even bluer (click on any of the images to enlarge).  If you visit Iceland, don’t miss this incredible place!   More info is at:  http://icelagoon.is/

California: Beautiful Catalina Island

View of Avalon from Hilltop

View of Avalon from Hilltop

Avalon Harbor

Avalon Harbor

Eagle Statue at Catalina Ferry Terminal

Eagle Statue at Catalina Ferry Terminal

Catalina Sea Life Tile Mural

Catalina Sea Life Tile Mural

Historic Catalina Tile Fountain

Historic Catalina Tile Fountain

Allen's Hummingbird

Allen’s Hummingbird

Vintage 1930s Catalina Luggage Label

Vintage 1930s Catalina Luggage Label

Catalina Island has been famous as an island getaway for southern Californians for over 100 years.  Early advertising boasted “In all the world, no trip like this!”  In 1957 the Four Preps sang “Twenty-six miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is a-waitin’ for me”.  Dick Clark dubbed it the first surfer song, and Brian Wilson said it was a major influence on the Beach Boys.  A fun LA Times article about the song is at:  http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-ca-socal15jul15-story.html.

The maritime distance from the Los Angeles mainland to Catalina Island is actually 22.3 miles, which is easily traversed these days by high speed ferry.  In 1894 messages were sent there via Carrier Pigeon Service.  Notes were printed on tiny oilskin squares, rolled up, and placed into little canisters on pigeon legs.  Within an hour a pigeon could complete the ocean crossing and deliver the message – twice as fast as steamships at the time!  By 1902 the service ended when wireless messaging became available.  We were charmed by the island’s beauty and landscape.  Visitor information is at:  http://www.visitcatalinaisland.com/.

California: Stunning Glass Church

Wayfarer's Chapel on Hill Overlooking Coast

Wayfarer’s Chapel on Hill Overlooking Coast

Garden at Front of Chapel

Garden at Front of Chapel

Round Window in Center of Chapel

Round Window in Center of Chapel

View Looking into Chapel

View Looking into Chapel

View Looking Up in Chapel

View Looking Up in Chapel

View Looking Out from Chapel

View Looking Out from Chapel

Chapel Wedding Picture in Visitor Center

Chapel Wedding Picture in Visitor Center

Chapel Bell Tower

Chapel Bell Tower

View Overlooking Foggy Pacific

View Overlooking Foggy Pacific

Black and White Image of Walkway Outside

Black and White Image of Walkway Outside

Beautiful Pink, White and Yellow Rose in Garden

Beautiful Pink, White and Yellow Rose in Garden

Colorful Bird-of-Paradise Flower in Garden

Colorful Bird-of-Paradise Flower in Garden

The Wayfarer’s Chapel is a beautiful church for people of all faiths in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.  A natural cathedral is formed by redwood trees arching over the chapel’s clear glass walls.  The chapel is a place of meditation with emphasis on the harmony of the natural world with the inner world of mind and spirit.  Only natural colors and materials were used in building the Chapel, such as sky blue on the bell tower, green on the floor, and local wood and stone.  The sanctuary and garden sit on a hill overlooking the foggy Pacific Ocean.  The overall effect is stunning!  This Swedenborgian church was designed by Lloyd Wright (son of Frank Lloyd Wright).  Wright believed in the principle of “organic architecture” – creating buildings in harmony with the environment, including repetition of patterns in nature such as those found seashells and trees.  The Chapel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a popular place for weddings.  One of the most famous Swedenborgians was Jonathan “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman, who distributed church literature while planting trees across the American Midwest.  Info about visiting the Chapel is at: http://www.wayfarerschapel.org/

New York: Inspiring Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Liberty Island

Liberty Island

Statue of Liberty on Pedestal Base

Statue of Liberty on Pedestal Base

Closeup of Crown

Closeup of Crown

Internal 22 Story Spiral Staircase to Crown (reserve crown tour months in advance)

Internal 22 Story Spiral Staircase to Crown (reserve crown tour months in advance)

Lifesize Replica of Face in Museum

Lifesize Replica of Face in Museum

Full Scale Replica of Foot

Full Scale Replica of Foot

Original Torch

Original Torch

Statue of Liberty Themed Clock

Statue of Liberty Themed Clock

Statue of Liberty Themed Menorah

Statue of Liberty Themed Menorah

Statue of Liberty Themed Plate

Statue of Liberty Themed Plate

Statue of Liberty Themed Glass Lampshade

Statue of Liberty Themed Glass Lampshade

Statue of Liberty Themed Coin

Statue of Liberty Themed Coin

Ornate Ellis Island

Ornate Ellis Island

Inside Ellis Island Immigration Museum

Inside Ellis Island Immigration Museum

The Statue of Liberty is magnificent close up!  It was a gift from the people of France in 1886.  Unless you visit, you may not realize that she has broken shackles of tyranny at her feet and she is stepping forward to freedom.  Miss Liberty has 7 points on her crown to signify each of the 7 continents.  She holds a torch to light the way, and her tablet is inscribed with the American Declaration of Independence (dated July 4, 1776).  Because of deterioration, the original torch was replaced in 1986 – just in time for the centennial celebration.  The new torch is covered with thin sheets of 24K gold leaf.  Live views from the Torch Cams are at:  http://www.nps.gov/stli/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm. The original 1886 torch has been restored and now sits on display in the museum in the statue’s base pedestal.  The width of the copper exterior of Miss Liberty is less than 2 pennies thick.  The copper’s green patina results from weathering and acts as a protective coating.  Her official name is “Liberty Enlightening the World”.  She is iconic in America, and an inspiring monument to freedom and hope to people around the world! If you would like to visit, more info is at:  http://www.nps.gov/stli/index.htm.

Miss Liberty was the first thing over 12 million immigrants saw when they came to America and passed through Ellis Island between 1892-1954.   The main building has been restored beautifully (1984-1990) into the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.  If you would like to research your own family history by searching the free passenger archives at Ellis Island, go to:  http://www.libertyellisfoundation.org/passenger

New York: One World See Forever Observatory

Reflective Glass Surface of Tower

Reflective Glass Surface of Tower

Looking Up at One World Trade Center

Looking Up at One World Trade Center

Glass Windows Looking Over Hudson River

Glass Windows Looking Over Hudson River

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in Distance

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in Distance

View North of Manhattan Skyscrapers

View North of Manhattan Skyscrapers

Sign Detailing Manhattan Landmarks

Sign Detailing Manhattan Landmarks

One World Trade Center in Skyline

One World Trade Center in Skyline

Memorial Pool and Waterfall within Footprint of Fallen North Tower of World Trade Center

Memorial Pool and Waterfall within Footprint of Fallen North Tower of World Trade Center

Remains of "The Sphere" which Stood at Original World Trade Center Site.  Endures as a Symbol of Hope.

Remains of “The Sphere” which Stood at Original World Trade Center Site. Endures as a Symbol of Hope.

Cool Globes Exhibit at Battery Park

Cool Globes Exhibit at Battery Park

Details of Children's Globe

Details of Children’s Globe

I couldn’t visit New York City without seeing the new One World Trade Center, which opened in October 2014.   Including the spire, the building is the tallest in the Western hemisphere and the sixth tallest in the world at 1,776 feet (a reference to the year the United States signed the Declaration of Independence). The glassed-in One World Observatory on floors 100-102 offers magnificent views of Manhattan, including the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in the distance. The See Forever Observatory opened on May 29, 2015, and the smooth elevator ride up takes only 60 seconds. Info on visiting is at: https://oneworldobservatory.com/

Florida: McKee Gardens During the Holidays

Florida Christmas Decorations at Historic Hall of Giants

Florida Christmas Decorations at Historic Hall of Giants

Natural Tree with Birdhouse Ornaments

Natural Tree with Birdhouse Ornaments

Presents with Natural Decorations (dried lotus pods and wasp nests)

Presents with Natural Decorations (dried lotus pods and wasp nests)

Snowman on Luminaria Pathway

Snowman on Luminaria Pathway

Fabric Pandas Playing in Bamboo Forest

Fabric Pandas Playing in Bamboo Forest

Fabric Panda Standing Beside Bamboo

Fabric Panda Standing Beside Bamboo

Entrance Pond with Floating Flowers, Goldfish, and Bullfrog

Entrance Pond with Floating Flowers, Goldfish, and Bullfrog

Orange Fabric Goldfish and Flowers

Orange Fabric Goldfish and Flowers

Fabric Goldfish and Inflatable Bullfrog on Pond

Fabric Goldfish and Inflatable Bullfrog on Pond

Giant Inflatable Bullfrog on Pond

Giant Inflatable Bullfrog on Pond

Orange Fabric Goldfish at Pond

Orange Fabric Goldfish at Pond

Glass Ball Sculpture and  Floating Orange Fabric Flowers

Glass Ball Sculpture and Floating Orange Fabric Flowers

Floating Pink Fabric Flowers and Grasses

Floating Pink Fabric Flowers and Grasses

Purple Orchid and Pink Ginger

Purple Orchid and Pink Ginger

Balloon Plant

Balloon Plant

Zebra Longwing Butterfly on Red Salvia

Zebra Longwing Butterfly on Red Salvia

We always enjoy visiting McKee Gardens in Vero Beach, Florida, over the Christmas holidays.   The decorations are beautiful in December, and the flowers are always blooming!

Florida: Spectacular Sunset!

Florida Sunset Pink Sky

Florida Sunset Pink Sky

Florida Sunset Orange Sky

Florida Sunset Orange Sky

Our sunset last night was spectacular! Here in Florida we get the best sunsets after stormy weather. Afterward the frogs were busy croaking all night.

Joshua Tree National Park – A Favorite!

Cholla Cactus Garden Sign

Cholla Cactus Garden Sign

Close-up of Teddy Bear Cholla

Close-up of Teddy Bear Cholla

Sun Ring over Cholla Cactus Garden

Sun Ring over Cholla Cactus Garden

Mojave Mound Cactus

Mojave Mound Cactus

Joshua Tree Nicknamed the Telephone Pole

Joshua Tree Nicknamed the Telephone Pole

Bent Over Joshua Tree

Bent Over Joshua Tree

Large Joshua Tree

Large Joshua Tree

Jumbo Rocks

Jumbo Rocks

Close-up of Rock Formation

Close-up of Rock Formation

Joshua Tree Landscape in Infrared

Joshua Tree Landscape in Infrared

We always enjoying visiting Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert of California – it is one of our favorites! 

The spiny Cholla Cactus Garden is a wonderful place to take a careful walk (no sandals or flip-flops allowed). We got extra lucky when we visited because a sun ring formed in the sky above us – amazing!  More info on how sun halos form is at: http://earthsky.org/space/what-makes-a-halo-around-the-moon  

Joshua trees are fun to see because they come in so many shapes and sizes as a result of the environment. They are a member of the lily family. The rocky landscape is quite scenic, and is criss-crossed by multiple earthquake faults.  The San Andreas Fault forms the southern boundary of the park. More info about these faults is at: http://www.nps.gov/jotr/learn/nature/faults.htm   More info about visiting Joshua Tree National Park is at: http://www.joshuatree.org/

 

Anza Borrego: Galleta Meadows Sky Art

Grasshopper and Scorpion Pair

Grasshopper and Scorpion Pair

Infrared Grasshopper

Infrared Grasshopper

Infrared Scorpion

Infrared Scorpion

Merriam's Tapir

Merriam’s Tapir

Infrared Desert Landscape

Infrared Desert Landscape

Giant Tortoise

Giant Tortoise

African Elephant

African Elephant

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep

Gold Miner and His Mule

Gold Miner and His Mule

Willys Jeep

Willys Jeep

Sand Verbena

Sand Verbena

Flowering Opuntia Cactus

Flowering Opuntia Cactus

Epic Desert Flower Bloom in Spring 1998

Epic Desert Flower Bloom in Spring 1998

Sculpture Installation Map by Galleta Meadows

Sculpture Installation Map by Galleta Meadows

Every time we visit Anza Borrego Desert State Park, California, we always make time to see more of Ricardo Breceda’s metalwork creations at Galleta Meadows.  He carefully considers the placement of each statue in the landscape for best effect.  New “Sky Art” is constantly being added to the desert plain. 

A simple driving tour map is pictured above, and a detailed interactive Google map is at: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1Eh2KAR81FCa5sgPDCaGwoPcF-8g&hl=en_US&ll=33.255457461934164%2C-116.35907649993896&z=12   Maps are also available around town in Borrego Springs.  An interesting article is at http://www.desertusa.com/borrego/bs-art.html

All posts about the sculptures are at: https://naturetime.wordpress.com/?s=galleta

Desert wildflower blooms are usually best during an El nino year because rain comes to the desert.  The best desert wildflowers we’ve ever seen was the Palm Springs bloom of 1998.

Pink Florida “Snow”

Field of Pink Florida "Snow"

Field of Pink Florida “Snow”

Pink Large Flower Pusley

Pink Large Flower Pusley

Honeybee Flying to Large Flower Pusley

Honeybee Flying to Large Flower Pusley

Honeybee Sticking Head into Large Flower Pusley

Honeybee Sticking Head into Large Flower Pusley

Green Bee on Large Flower Pusley

Green Bee on Large Flower Pusley

Great Egret Sitting in Field of Pink Florida "Snow"

Great Egret Sitting in Field of Pink Florida “Snow”

Wood Stork Standing in Field of Pink Florida "Snow"

Wood Stork Standing in Field of Pink Florida “Snow”

Right now we see fields of pink “Florida Snow” when driving around town.  These fields are composed of Large Flower Pusley, which is also known as Mexican Clover (species Richardia grandiflora). The honeybees are crazy for it, so never run barefoot through these flowers.  We see bees sticking their heads far into the flower cups to drink the sweet nectar, and also collecting balls of white pollen.  These flowers are a delightful treat in winter!

Florida: Spectacular Sunrise and Hole Punch Clouds

Spectacular Florida Sunrise

Spectacular Florida Sunrise

Purple Martin Gourds and Sunrise

Purple Martin Gourds and Sunrise

Hole Punch Clouds and Trail

Hole Punch Clouds and Airplane Trail

National Weather Service Satellite View and Explanation of Hole Punch Clouds

National Weather Service Satellite View and Explanation of Hole Punch Clouds

We had a spectacular sunrise here in Florida yesterday – the colors were amazing!  The peak only lasted a few minutes.  There were also “hole punch” clouds in the sky.  They form when an airplane passes through a supercooled cloud layer. Since the cloud’s water droplets are chilled even more by passing over the wings, the droplets freeze into ice and fall out of the sky (thus leaving a hole if the plane punched through the cloud layer, or a trail/tunnel if it flew through it).

Iceland: Magical Landscapes

Stunning Low Altitude Rainbow in Landscape

Stunning Low Altitude Rainbow in Landscape

Low Altitude Rainbow Close to Ground

Low Altitude Rainbow Close to Ground

Close-up of Low Altitude Rainbow

Close-up of Low Altitude Rainbow

Glacial Mountain with Field of Lupines

Glacial Mountain with Field of Lupines

Close-up of Fragrant Lupines

Close-up of Fragrant Lupines

Farm with Hay Bales in Field (looks like giant marshmallows), Northern Iceland

Farm with Hay Bales in Field (looks like giant marshmallows), Northern Iceland

Dalvik Peninsula Mountains with Glacial Stream, Northern Iceland

Dalvik Peninsula Mountains with Glacial Stream, Northern Iceland

Tabletop Mountain Formed When a Volcano Erupted Under a Glacier, Northern Iceland

Tabletop Mountain Formed When a Volcano Erupted Under a Glacier, Northern Iceland

Old Volcanic Plug, South Coast

Old Volcanic Plug, South Coast

Volcanic Cone, Northern Iceland

Volcanic Cone, Northern Iceland

Bjarnaflag: Country's First Geothermal Power Station, Northern Iceland

Bjarnaflag: Country’s First Geothermal Power Station, Northern Iceland

Volcanic Moonscape Used for Training Apollo Astronauts, Near Reykjavik

Volcanic Moonscape Used for Training Apollo Astronauts, Near Reykjavik

Three Rock Pillars Said to be Trolls Turned to Stone at Sunrise, South Coast

Three Rock Pillars Said to be Trolls Turned to Stone at Sunrise, South Coast

Laufskalavarda: Tradition Calls for Travelers to Pile Up Rock Cairns to Bring Good Luck on Journey, South Coast

Laufskalavarda: Tradition Calls for Travelers to Pile Up Rock Cairns to Bring Good Luck on Journey, South Coast

Isolated Home with View of Snowy Mountains, Northern Iceland

Isolated Home with View of Snowy Mountains, Northern Iceland

Reykjavik Harpa Concert Hall

Reykjavik Harpa Concert Hall

Close-up Reykjavik Harpa Concert Hall Windows

Close-up Reykjavik Harpa Concert Hall Windows

Departure:  Fly-Over Greenland's Glaciers

Departure: Fly-Over Greenland’s Glaciers

Iceland is one of the top places we have ever visited – we can’t wait to visit again someday!  We were constantly surprised by the stunning natural beauty of this magical land.  And the people are truly wonderful too – they have been voted the friendliest in the world.  It was a great trip all around!

Iceland: Best Bird Sightings

Puffin with a Beautiful Colorful Bill

Puffin with Colorful Bill

Puffin Pair on Water

Puffin Pair on Water

Arctic Terns (baby eel in bill)

Arctic Terns (baby eel in bill)

Arctic Tern Calling

Arctic Tern Calling

Arctic Tern Flying

Arctic Tern Flying

Arctic Tern Chick

Arctic Tern Chick

Black Tailed Godwit

Black Tailed Godwit

Greylag Goose and Buttercups

Greylag Goose and Buttercups

Male Eider Duck

Male Eider Duck

Female Eider Duck with Chicks

Female Eider Duck with Chicks

Red Shank on Post

Red Shank on Post

Red Shank and Lupines

Red Shank and Lupines

Oystercatcher

Mating Pair of Whooper Swans

Mating Pair of Whooper Swans

Whooper Swan Sitting on Nest

Whooper Swan Sitting on Nest

Golden Plover

Golden Plover

Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit

Redwing

White Wagtail on Volcanic Rock

White Wagtail on Volcanic Rock

Great Auk Memorial (stands 5 feet tall)

Great Auk Memorial (stands 5 feet tall)

Birds on Roadway Caution Sign

Birds on Roadway Caution Sign

We visited Iceland the last 2 weeks of June, and the bird watching was incredible! Over half of the world’s Atlantic puffins breed there in summer. One of the easiest ways to see puffins is take a short boat ride out of Reykjavik Harbor to a nesting colony offshore. Arctic terns are abundant along the coast. The 4 ounce birds have the longest annual migration of any animal. They travel from the north to south poles round trip every year – over 40,000 miles!  Arctic terns live up to 34 years, so they travel a tremendous distance over a lifetime.  A website about arctic tern migration is at: http://www.arctictern.info/  Golden plovers are famous among Icelanders for heralding spring.  Many bird sightings can be made simply in the course of driving around. This country is a must-do for bird watchers!   A handy website on the most commonly seen Icelandic birds is at: http://www.iceland-nh.net/birds/background_birds.html  

Iceland: Beautiful Historic Churches

Vidimyrakirkja (Turf Church), Northern Iceland

Vidimyrakirkja (Turf Church), Northern Iceland

Vidimyrakirkja Entrance

Vidimyrakirkja Entrance

Glaumbaejarkirkja (Glaumbaer Church), Northern Iceland

Glaumbaejarkirkja (Glaumbaer Church), Northern Iceland

Glaumbaejarkirkja (Glaumbaer Church) Inside

Glaumbaejarkirkja Inside

Glaumbaejarkirkja (Glaumbaer Church) Wooden Pipe Organ

Glaumbaejarkirkja Wooden Pipe Organ

Thingeyrarkirkja (Stone Church), Northern Iceland

Thingeyrarkirkja Stone Entrance

Thingeyrarkirkja Historic Altar

Thingeyrarkirkja Blue Ceiling with Gold Stars

Hallgramskirkja, Reykjavik

Hallgramskirkja, Reykjavik

Kalfatjarnarkirkja, Near Reykjavik

Kalfatjarnarkirkja, Near Reykjavik

Kalfatjarnarkirkja View of Whale Bone and Coast

Kalfatjarnarkirkja View of Whale Bone and Coast

Utskalakirkja, Near Reykjavik

Utskalakirkja, Near Reykjavik

Utskalakirkja Cemetery Ship's Propeller Memorial

Utskalakirkja Cemetery Ship’s Propeller Memorial

Utskalakirkja Cemetery Ship's Wheel Memorial

Utskalakirkja Cemetery Ship’s Wheel Memorial

Hvalneskirkja, Near Reykjavik

Hvalneskirkja, Near Reykjavik

Hvalneskirkja Entrance

Hvalneskirkja Entrance

Strandarkirkja (Beach or Miracle Church), South Coast

Strandarkirkja (Beach or Miracle Church), South Coast

Strandarkirkja Inside

Strandarkirkja Inside

Strandarkirkja Star Patterned Ceiling

Strandarkirkja Star Patterned Ceiling

Strandarkirkja Beaded Angel Tapestry

Strandarkirkja Beaded Angel Tapestry

Strandarkirkja Foot-High Elf Houses

Strandarkirkja Foot-High Elf Houses

Lava Gravestone with Birds in Cemetery at Strandarkirkja Church

Vikurkirkja, South Coast

Vikurkirkja, South Coast

Every town in Iceland, no matter how small or isolated, seems to have its own historic church. Usually it is perched high on a hill or overlooking the water. We loved the attention to detail and beauty of these unique churches. Some of the buildings are made of concrete or colorful corrugated iron to withstand the harsh weather and winter wind; others are made of stone or turf (sod).  Christianity was adopted in this country around 1000 AD, and 80% of the population is Lutheran. That said, Icelanders are free thinking and embrace people of all faiths.  “Kirkja” at the end of a word means “church” in Icelandic.   Click on any of these pictures to bring up further details and traveling advice.

Iceland: Colorful Lighthouses

Siglufjordur (Seal Fjord) Lighthouse on Arctic Ocean (North Iceland)

Siglufjordur (Seal Fjord) Lighthouse on Arctic Ocean (North Iceland)

Nordurgardi (North Mole) Reykjavik Harbor Light

Nordurgardi (North Mole) Reykjavik Harbor Light

Stafnes Lighthouse. Reykjanes Peninsula near Reykjavik.

Stafnes Lighthouse. Reykjanes Peninsula near Reykjavik.

Engey Lighthouse on Engey Island in Reykjavik Harbor

Engey Lighthouse on Engey Island in Reykjavik Harbor

Gerdistangi Lighthouse on Private Property Behind Old Stone Wall. Reykjanes Peninsula near Reykjavik.

Gerdistangi Lighthouse on Private Property Behind Old Stone Wall. Reykjanes Peninsula near Reykjavik.

Reykjanes Lighthouse. Iceland’s Oldest Lighthouse near Reykjavik.

Reykjanes Lighthouse. Iceland’s Oldest Lighthouse near Reykjavik.

Reykjanes (Smokey Point) Lighthouse Sits on Hill Overlooking Gunnuhver Gothermal Area

Reykjanes (Smokey Point) Lighthouse Sits on Hill Overlooking Gunnuhver Geothermal Area

Close-up of Reykjanes Lighthouse

Close-up of Reykjanes Lighthouse

Grotta Lighthouse (west of Reykjavik Harbor)

Grotta Lighthouse (west of Reykjavik Harbor)

Sea Glass Collected on Grotta Lighthouse Beach

Sea Glass Collected on Grotta Lighthouse Beach

Lighthouses in Iceland sit in incredibly scenic locations. Over 100 lighthouses and harbor lights can be found along the country’s rocky shores. Although some of the lighthouses are painted classic white, many are painted bright orange or yellow to contrast best with the black volcanic landscape and white snow in winter.  Another post about Icelandic lighthouses is at:  https://naturetime.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/iceland-best-climb-up-a-lighthouse/

Iceland: Best Climb Up a Lighthouse!

Pair of Gardskagaviti Lighthouses (the “brothers”).  Reykjanes Peninsula near Reykjavik

Pair of Gardskagaviti Lighthouses (the “brothers”). Reykjanes Peninsula near Reykjavik

Gardskagaviti Lighthouses and Old Fishing Boat

Gardskagaviti Lighthouses and Old Fishing Boat

Looking up Gardskagaviti Tower (Iceland’s tallest lighthouse)

Looking up Gardskagaviti Tower (Iceland’s tallest lighthouse)

Key to Gardskagaviti Tower (says ­­­­­"Thanks for Your Support" in Icelandic)

Key to Gardskagaviti Tower (says ­­­­­”Thanks for Your Support” in Icelandic)

Richard at Bottom of Stairs

Richard at Bottom of Stairs

Gingko Leaf Circle

Gingko Leaf Circle

Leaf Art Design

Leaf Art Design

Row of Saved Thermometers

Row of Saved Thermometers

Richard Unlocking Trapdoor Bolt to Top of Tower

Richard Unlocking Trapdoor Bolt to Top of Tower

Pam Climbing onto Viewing Balcony

Pam Climbing onto Viewing Balcony

Fresnel Lens in Gardskagaviti Tower

Fresnel Lens in Gardskagaviti Tower

Coastal View Looking East

Coastal View Looking East

Coastal View Looking South

Coastal View Looking South

View from Tower of the Older Red and White Striped Gardskagaviti Lighthouse

View from Tower of the Older Red and White Striped Gardskagaviti Lighthouse

Older Red and White Striped Gardskagaviti Lighthouse

Older Red and White Striped Gardskagaviti Lighthouse

One of our favorite experiences of our trip was visiting the pair of Gardskagaviti lighthouses on the Reykjanes Peninsula (near Reykjavik).   The taller lighthouse of the pair (known as “the twin brothers”) was built by U.S. servicemen who were rescued from a sinking Coast Guard ship. It was presented as a gift to the Icelandic people for saving their lives. At the museum next to the lighthouses we were given a key to climb up to the top of the tower (the tallest in Iceland). As instructed, we unlocked the door, went in, and then relocked the door behind us. We had the entire place to ourselves! The acoustics were incredible – the tower is essentially a giant tube that acts like an echo chamber. I remember reading once that lighthouse keepers often sang inside their towers because the sound was so amazing.

As we climbed up we enjoyed art displays on the walls and a display of saved thermometers. The top of the tower was especially unique. Richard had to unscrew a bolt to unlock the trap door leading to the balcony surrounding the Fresnel lens. What a view!

Afterward we locked everything back up and turned in the key. The smaller and older red and white striped lighthouse beside the tower was once used for bird migration studies.  Birds commonly seen at rocky Gardskaga Point include eiders, turnstones, gannets, red shank, and sanderlings. This lighthouse experience was one-of-a-kind and great fun!

Iceland: Whale Watching Near the Arctic Circle

Scenic Dalvik Marina

Scenic Dalvik Marina

Arctic Ship with Snowflake Design

Arctic Ship with Snowflake Design

Wooden Boat in Harbor

Wooden Boat in Harbor

House Nestled in Valley

House Nestled in Valley

Fjord's Snowy Mountains

Fjord’s Snowy Mountains

Humpback Tail

Humpback Tail

Humpback Surfacing

Humpback Surfacing

White Beaked Dolphins

White Beaked Dolphins

Icelandic Whales Poster

Icelandic Whales Poster

Icelandic Fish Poster

Icelandic Fish Poster

Iceland is a great place for whale watching in summer!  Marine wildlife commonly seen includes humpback whales, minke whales, white beaked dolphins, and harbor porpoises. We went whale watching out of Dalvik in late June (at the edge of the Arctic Circle – 30 miles north of Akureyri).  The day of our tour seemed to be one of the best weather days of the year – temperature was 65°F with sunny skies, calm winds, and flat seas.

The humpback whales were impressive to see!  Interestingly, humpbacks are widely known for protecting other animals from orcas.  Between 1951-2012 there are 115 scientifically documented cases of humpbacks shielding from killer whale attack various species including Weddell seals, gray whale calves, dolphins, sea lions, and ocean sunfish.   There is even a documented case of a humpback protecting a diver from a shark.  Dolphins are also well known for aiding other species.  The sea holds many secrets and surprises! 

After watching humpback whales and white-beaked dolphins in the fjord, we stopped to fish on the way back. Within 10 minutes there was enough pollack and cod to feed everyone on the boat. That fresh-grilled fish dripping in butter back at the harbor was unbelievably delicious!  This area was one of our favorite places of the entire trip – it is unbelievably scenic!  Info on Arctic Sea Tours is at:  https://www.arcticseatours.is/

Iceland: Stunning Crystalline Ice on a Volcanic Black Sand Beach!

Crystalline Ice on Beach Across from Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon:  Ice 1

Crystalline Ice on Beach Across from Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon: Ice 1

Ice 2

Ice 2

Ice 3

Ice 3

Ice 4

Ice 4

Ice 5

Ice 5

Ice 6

Ice 6

Ice 7

Ice 7

Ice 8

Ice 8

Ice 9

Ice 9

Ice 10

Ice 10

Ice 11

Ice 11

Ice 12

Ice 12

Ice 13

Ice 13

Ice 14

Ice 14

One of the most amazing sights we saw in Iceland was crystalline ice on a volcanic black sand beach at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.  The ice floats out to sea with the tide from the lagoon, and some of it washes onto the volcanic black sand shoreline.  The interplay between ice, light, waves is ever-changing.  Nature’s beauty here is stunning!  Do you have a favorite?

Iceland: Glaciers in “The Land of Fire and Ice”

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Blue Ice Streaked with Black Volcanic Sand

Blue Ice Streaked with Black Volcanic Sand

Vatnajokull Ice Cap

Vatnajokull Ice Cap

Small Iceberg Floating Downstream

Small Iceberg Floating Downstream

Couple Viewing Icebergs in Lagoon

Couple Viewing Icebergs in Lagoon

Arctic Terns Flying Over Ice

Arctic Terns Flying Over Ice

Iceland contains the largest glaciers in the world outside of Greenland and Antarctica. This “Land of Fire and Ice” has 11% of its landmass permanently covered in ice.  Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon on the country’s south coast is especially beautiful. The icebergs in this lagoon come from the Vatnajokull ice cap (jokull at the end of a word means “glacier” in Icelandic).  The colors and beauty of this area are stunning!  A live webcam is at: http://www.livefromiceland.is/webcams/jokulsarlon/

Iceland: Volcanoes in “The Land of Fire and Ice”

Kerid’s Volcanic Caldera

Kerid’s Volcanic Caldera

Blesi Hot Spring

Blesi Hot Spring

Strokkur Geyser’s Blue Bubble (nicknamed “The Churn”)

Strokkur Geyser’s Blue Bubble (nicknamed “The Churn”)

Strokkur Geyser Erupting

Strokkur Geyser Erupting

Seltun Volcanic Basin

Seltun Volcanic Basin

Graenavatn Explosion Crater Lake

Graenavatn Explosion Crater Lake

View from Bridge Between the Continents – Rift Between the North American Plate (left) and Eurasian Plate (right)

View from Bridge Between the Continents – Rift Between the North American Plate (left) and Eurasian Plate (right)

Iceland sits on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at the intersection of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.  This “Land of Fire and Ice” has 30-40 active volcanoes and a major eruption about every 5 years.  A new island named Surtsey formed after an eruption in 1963-1967.  Homes on the offshore island of Heimaey were suddenly covered up by lava and ash in 1973 (thus giving it the nickname “Iceland’s Pompeii”).  A new volcano museum named Eldheimar opened there in May 2014 (http://eldheimar.is/en/).  Worldwide air travel was disrupted for days by the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010.

All of this volcanic activity means that there are numerous places to see geysers, mud pots, fumaroles, and volcanic calderas in Iceland.  Our favorite geyser was Strokkur outside of Reykjavik.  It makes an unbelievable blue bubble for a split second before the water gushes up.   The English word “geyser” comes from Iceland’s original “Geysir” (which means gusher).  All of the places pictured are within an easy day trip from Reykjavik.  An Icelandic web page with links at the top to current earthquakes and earthquakes in 3-D is at:  http://en.vedur.is/   A live webcam at the Bardarbunga Volcano, which became active in August 2014, is at:  http://www.livefromiceland.is/webcams/bardarbunga-2/   A great fly-by video of the Bardarbunga Volcano is at:  http://www.ruv.is/frett/eldstodvarnar-i-holuhrauni-myndband  An incredible video of the Bardarbunga Volcano at night on September 4, 2014, is at:  http://vimeo.com/105365343

Iceland: Spectacular Waterfalls!

Seljalandsfoss in South Iceland

Seljalandsfoss in South Iceland

Seljalandsfoss Vertical View

Seljalandsfoss Vertical View

Seljalandsfoss Sheets of Falling Water

Seljalandsfoss Sheets of Falling Water

Massive Skogafoss in South Iceland

Massive Skogafoss in South Iceland

Unnamed Waterfall in South Iceland

Unnamed Waterfall in South Iceland

Gullfoss (Golden Falls) near Reykjavik

Gullfoss (Golden Falls) near Reykjavik

Close-up of Gullfoss Gorge

Close-up of Gullfoss Gorge

Godafoss (Waterfall of the Gods) in North Iceland

Godafoss (Waterfall of the Gods) in North Iceland

Unnamed Waterfall in North Iceland

Unnamed Waterfall in North Iceland

Waterfall and Farm in South Iceland

Waterfall and Farm in South Iceland

Iceland has been called the “Land of 10,000 Waterfalls”. Although the actual number is unknown, waterfalls are numerous due to abundant rainfall and glacial ice melt in summer.  “Foss” at the end of a word means waterfall in Icelandic.  These waterfalls are spectacular!

Iceland! Arrival and Blue Lagoon

Swimming in the Blue Lagoon's Steamy Water

Swimming in the Blue Lagoon’s Steamy Water

Water Outflow Entering Lagoon through Volcanic Pumice Stone

Water Outflow Entering Lagoon through Volcanic Pumice Stone

Blue Lagoon's Milky Blue Water within Black Volcanic Landscape

Blue Lagoon’s Milky Blue Water within Black Volcanic Landscape

Blue Lagoon and Clouds

Green Moss-Covered Lava Field

Green Moss-Covered Lava Field

We recently spent 10 days in Iceland – what a beautiful landscape!  This tiny island is one of the top locations in the world for nature photography. It was voted Best in Travel in 2012 and 2013 by Lonely Planet.  It was voted World’s Best Travel Destination in 2012 by National Geographic, and a world top destination by CNN in 2016.  It has also been voted friendliest country to travelers. It is one of the “greenest” countries in the world because of its use of geothermal power – the air and water are crystal pure. Tourists can expect to see black sand beaches, glaciers, waterfalls, volcanoes, geysers, and boiling mud pots. Every town has its own geothermal-heated swimming pool. Whales are abundant in the waters offshore (activity peaks in June). It is one of the top places in the world for seabirds (half the world’s puffin population nests in this region May to June). Purebred Icelandic horses and sheep graze in the meadows. It is a photographer’s paradise!

Our first stop of the trip was the Blue Lagoon – the number one tourist destination in Iceland (near Reykjavik).  The lagoon’s steamy blue water is popular among bathers for both recreational and therapeutic purposes. The water starts off in superheated form beside a lava flow over a mile below the surface. A geothermal power station vents it from the ground, and the steam is used to run turbines to generate electricity, and to provide heat for the municipal water system. The power station’s outflow of water is released into the Blue Lagoon. The water contains fine white silica silt that is used for spa treatments and beauty products, and is said to be especially beneficial to the skin. A soak in this 99 degree water is exactly what is needed after a long flight.   The landscape’s colors are especially striking – milky blue water, black lava rocks, and green moss. Mosses account for half of all vegetation in Iceland.  Many more posts are coming!

California: Return to Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree and Rocky Landscape

Joshua Tree and Rocky Landscape

Each Joshua Tree Has a Unique Shape

Each Joshua Tree Has a Unique Shape

Flowering Joshua Tree

Flowering Joshua Tree

Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus

Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus

Claret Cup Hedgehog Cactus

Claret Cup Hedgehog Cactus

Joshua Tree is one of our favorite national parks (near Twentynine Palms, California). The trees are giant members of the Yucca family. The largest tree in the park is 42 feet tall, 34 feet wide, and has a trunk 9 feet around. Although trees start off growth as a single stalk, each one quickly develops its own unique shape due to damage to the growing tips. Joshua trees have a very important role in the Mojave High Desert ecosystem. This beautiful landscape has been featured in many movies and TV shows. More info is at: http://www.nps.gov/jotr/naturescience/jtrees.htm   A previous post is at: https://naturetime.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/joshua-tree-national-park/

Anza Borrego: Native Palm Oases and Carizzo Badlands Overlook

Native Palm Groves Sign

Native Palm Groves Sign

Pygmy Grove Oasis

Pygmy Grove Oasis

Washington Fan Palm with Skirt of Dead Fronds

Washington Fan Palm with Skirt of Dead Fronds

Cholla Cactus Growing on Mica-Studded Granite Rock Slopes

Cholla Cactus Growing on Mica-Studded Granite Rock Slopes

Barrel Cactus Surviving with Few Roots

Barrel Cactus Surviving with Few Roots

Flowering Barrel Cactus

Flowering Barrel Cactus

Panorama at Carizzo Badlands Overlook (click on picture to enlarge)

Panorama at Carizzo Badlands Overlook (click on picture to enlarge)

Carizzo Badlands Landscape

Carizzo Badlands Landscape

Close-up of Carizzo Badlands and San Jacinto Fault Zone

Close-up of Carizzo Badlands and San Jacinto Fault Zone

The southern region of Anza Borrego Desert State Park contains many treasures. We especially enjoyed hiking on Mountain Palm Springs trail, which leads to several native palm oases.  The oases here form where groundwater seeps up to the surface along the Elsinore fault zone. The trail begins up a dry wash leading past cholla and barrel cactus.  The landscape’s white granite rock contains mica that sparkles in the sun.  The first group of palms encountered along the trail is the Pygmy Grove. The “skirts” of dead fronds on the palms provide shelter to owls, bats, snakes, and many other creatures. In Fall and early winter, animals feast on the palms’ sweet sticky dates.

A little further south is a spectacular vista overlooking the Carizzo Badlands. As you look out at the Coyote Mountains, you are looking at the active San Jacinto earthquake fault zone. These mountains are rich in fossils of mastodons, camels, zebras, and sabertooth tigers from a million years ago. What was really amazing was that no one else was around when we visited – the only sound we could hear was the wind. Not a car, not a plane, only silence. It was magical. More info about the geology and natural history of Anza Borrego is at: http://www.abdnha.org/anza-borrego-desert-geology.htm

 

Anza Borrego State Park: Sculptures in the Desert

Statue of Extinct Horse in Local Fossil Record

Statue of Extinct Horse in Local Fossil Record

Statue of Ancient Gomphotheres (related to elephants) in Local Fossil Record

Statue of Ancient Gomphotheres (related to elephants) in Local Fossil Record

Statue of Nonlocal Allosaurus Dinosaur from Jurassic Era

Statue of Nonlocal Allosaurus Dinosaur from Jurassic Era

Statue of Nonlocal Spinosaurus (spiny lizard) from Cretaceous Period

Statue of Nonlocal Spinosaurus (spiny lizard) from Cretaceous Period

Statue of Nonlocal Utahraptor Dinosaur Guarding Nest of Eggs (Jurassic Era)

Statue of Nonlocal Utahraptor Dinosaur Guarding Nest of Eggs (Jurassic Era)

Fanciful 350-foot-long Dragon Serpent with Rattlesnake Tail (road runs through middle of sculpture)

Fanciful 350-foot-long Dragon Serpent with Rattlesnake Tail
(road runs through middle of sculpture)

Head of Multi-Part Dragon Serpent

Head of Multi-Part Dragon Serpent

Sculpture Installation Map by Galleta Meadows

Sculpture Installation Map by Galleta Meadows

Visitors at Anza Borrego State Park, California, can’t miss the metal sculptures at Galleta Meadows. Over 100 statues by Ricardo Breceda dot the desert landscape. Some statues are based on local fossils found in the area, and others are more fanciful. All are fun to see!

A simple driving tour map is pictured above, and a detailed interactive Google map is at: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1Eh2KAR81FCa5sgPDCaGwoPcF-8g&hl=en_US&ll=33.255457461934164%2C-116.35907649993896&z=12   Maps are also available around town in Borrego Springs.  An interesting article is at http://www.desertusa.com/borrego/bs-art.html

All sculpture posts are at: https://naturetime.wordpress.com/?s=galleta

California: Return to Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Sign

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Sign

Rotating Aerial Tramway Car

Rotating Aerial Tramway Car

View Looking Down

View Looking Down

View Looking Up

View Looking Up

Viewing Platform at Mountain Station

Viewing Platform at Mountain Station

View of Coachella Valley

View of Coachella Valley

Mount San Jacinto State Park Forest at Top

Mount San Jacinto State Park Forest at Top

Old Style Tram Car at Base

Old Style Tram Car at Base

One of our favorite things to do in Palm Springs, California, is to ride the aerial tram car up to Mountain Station near the top of Mount San Jacinto (8,516 feet).  The distance between the mountaintop and the desert floor is over 2 miles one way, and the journey takes about 15 minutes.  The circular rotating tram cars are state-of-the-art and were built by Switzerland.  The temperature difference between the top and bottom is quite dramatic.  There aren’t many places where you can hike beside cactus and play in the winter snow – all in the same afternoon!  More info is at: https://www.pstramway.com/about-us/history/  A previous post from 2012 is at: https://naturetime.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/palm-springs-aerial-tramway/

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park in Spring

Prairie Wetlands

Prairie Wetlands

Alligator Sunning on Bank

Alligator Sunning on Bank

Pond Turtle

Pond Turtle

Green Heron Fishing

Green Heron Fishing

Green Heron Plunging for Fish (yes he pulled himself back up on perch)

Green Heron Plunging for Fish (yes he pulled himself back up on perch)

Crayfish Burrow

Crayfish Burrow

Spanish Moss Draped Oak Tree

Spanish Moss Draped Oak Tree

Pickerelweed in Pond

Pickerelweed in Pond

Duck Potato

Duck Potato

Pearl Crescent Butterfly on Daisy Fleabane

Pearl Crescent Butterfly on Daisy Fleabane

Open land stretches to the horizon at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park (south of Orlando, Florida). Spring is an especially good time to visit. If you look closely, you can see all kinds of wonderful plants and animals. A previous post about this special park is at: https://naturetime.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/florida-kissimmee-prairie-state-park/     More info is at: http://floridabirdingtrail.com/index.php/trip/trail/Kissimmee_Prairie_Preserve_State_Park/

Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park: Spectacular Mountain Scenery!

Spectacular Tetons in Fall

Spectacular Tetons in Fall

Snowy Tetons and Rustic Fence

Snowy Tetons and Rustic Fence

Tetons and Snake River

Tetons and Snake River

Frozen Jackson Lake

Frozen Jackson Lake

Snowy Teton Peaks

Snowy Teton Peaks

Snow-Covered Trees

Snow-Covered Trees

Bare Aspen Trees in Winter

Bare Aspen Trees in Winter

Orange Aspen Trees in Fall

Orange Aspen Trees in Fall

Preserved Reed Moulton Barn and Tetons

Preserved Reed Moulton Barn and Tetons

Lonely Reed Moulton Homestead on Historic Mormon Row

Lonely Reed Moulton Homestead on Historic Mormon Row

Preserved Thomas A. Moulton Barn on Mormon Row (100th anniversary in July 2013)

Preserved Thomas A. Moulton Barn on Mormon Row (100th anniversary in July 2013)

Elk Antler Arch over Bench in Jackson

Elk Antler Arch over Bench in Jackson

Grand Teton National Park is famous for its spectacular mountain scenery!  The views are stunning and ever-changing throughout the year. The Teton mountains rise over a mile above the valley floor, and make quite an impression.  The pristine ecosystem contains numerous bodies of water, including the Snake River and Jackson Lake.  Historic churches and Mormon settlements are also located within the park.  There is much to see and do, and we highly recommend a visit to this beautiful place!  A live webcam of downtown Jackson and its famous antler arch is at:  http://www.alltravelcams.com/jackson_hole_wyoming/town_square.php

Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park: Scenic Historic Churches

Chapel of the Transfiguration and Rustic Fence

Chapel of the Transfiguration and Rustic Fence

Chapel of the Transfiguration Entrance

Chapel of the Transfiguration Entrance

Chapel of the Transfiguration Interior

Chapel of the Transfiguration Interior

Chapel of the Transfiguration Altar Window in Fall

Chapel of the Transfiguration Altar Window in Fall

Chapel of the Transfiguration Altar Window in Spring

Chapel of the Transfiguration Altar Window in Spring

"Winter" Stained Glass

“Winter” Stained Glass

"Summer" Stained Glass

“Summer” Stained Glass

Chapel of the Sacred Heart Entrance

Chapel of the Sacred Heart Entrance

Chapel of the Sacred Heart Interior

Chapel of the Sacred Heart Interior

"Sacred Heart" Stained Glass

“Sacred Heart” Stained Glass

Quaking Aspen

Quaking Aspen

There are two historic churches within Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, Wyoming.  The Chapel of the Transfiguration is an Episcopalian church that is located near the main Visitor Center for the park.  It was built in 1925 out of lodge pole pines, with pews made of quaking aspen that was cut in the valley.  The window behind the altar perfectly frames the Cathedral Group of the Teton mountain peaks.  The beautiful stained glass windows featuring winter and summer were created by artist Jessie van Brunt.  This church is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Chapel of the Sacred Heart is a Roman Catholic church that is located on the south shore of Jackson Lake.  It was built in 1937 and features a rustic wood interior with a stained glass window of the Sacred Heart.  Both historic churches are popular places for weddings and photography.

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