The Inner Passage of Alaska is a prime place to see whales – especially humpbacks and, if fortunate, orcas. We hade a fortunate time on this cruise as we saw both – in abundance.
The 27 mile Tracy Arm fjord is a bigger, better and more dramatic natural gem than Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. The inlet is very narrow – at times no more than half a mile wide – with cliffs that rise more than 3000 feet on either side, and waterfalls that cascade down the steep rock walls. The arm is locates some 45 miles south of Juneau. North and South Sawyer glaciers mark the end of the fjord, and are among the most dramatic ice fields in Alaska.
We like to do a little off-roading in Colorado in our Jeep. The roads taken include Kebler Pass and Paradise Divide near Crested Butte, Boreas Pass in Breckenridge and Cinnamon Pass from Lake City to Silverton. These are certainly not the toughest trails, but they do include their share of bumps, narrowness, shelf roads and so on. Most recently we drove Last Dollar Road from Telluride to the Ridgeway road.
Last Dollar Road we named as an alternative to Million Dollar Highway from Silverton to Ouray. It is 13 miles long, very scenic, and runs through stretches of ranchlands and the San Juan Mountains. On the south end it offers spectacular vistas including Mt. Wilson. The drive almost requires four wheel drive in sections, and takes about 2-3 hours. The drive is particularly attractive in the summer wildflower season and during the fall color changes in the aspen groves along much of the road.
The Telluride-Ridgeway-Ouray area offers many other off road adventures, including Imogene Pass, Yankee Boy, Ophir pass and so on. These tend to be somewhat more challenging, and definitely require four wheel capability. Down the road for us!
If you are driving north on Colorado route 7, about 12 miles south of Estes Park in Allenspark keep an eye out on your left for Chapel on the Rock. This pretty little chapel is well worth a 15 minute stop. It is a nearly 100 year oldfunctioning Catholic church built atop a riveting rock formation. It is operated by the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver.
The Chapel was first conceived in 1916 by Monsignor Joseph Bosetti, who happened across the rocky area where the church would later be built and was inspired by Mathew 16:19, which states “upon this rock I will build my church.” Monsignor Bosetti did just that, though lack of money delayed construction.
After 20 years of struggles the land was donated to the monsignor by Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Malo, after whom the chapel was named. Construction finished in 1936, and in 1999 Boulder County officially designated it a historical landmark.
In 1993 Pope John Paul II visited the Chapel while touring Denver. He prayed inside the church and blessed it afterwards before hiking in the surrounding forest.