Yesterday in the high Sierras, today on scenic Lake Tahoe.

Sunrise woke in South Lake Tahoe, circled the lake northward – day’s first stop:  Emerald Bay.  Mix of tall redwood & pine – HUGE evergreen – line California’s largest freshwater lake.  Bay tinted green (emerald green) where it hugs shore.

$10 to the Park Ranger.  Successfully secured parking (kinda a big deal in California).  Stared long/hard at the Lake horizon, before starting the short steep hike DOWN to Vikingsholm on tourist-heavy Tahoe – HIKE day ❤


Vikingsholm…this magnificent “castle” is a unique blend of nature’s spectacular beauty and man’s architectural ingenuity.


The Vikingsholm foundation was laid in 1928, but the building was constructed in 1929 by 200 workers. Vikingsholm was built by Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight as a summer home. Before starting construction, Mrs. Knight and her architect traveled to Scandinavia to gather ideas for the construction of the house. Some parts of the structure contain no nails or spikes, as a result of old-fashioned construction methods. Most of the building was made from materials found at Lake Tahoe.


Mrs. Knight is best known for building Vikingsholm, but she and her husband Harry, a businessman were primary backers of Charles Lindbergh’s non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927.


Followed the steep one-mile path DOWN DOWN DOWN to Vikingsholm.

White granite canyons, HUGE forest’d trees.  Snagged 2 enormous pine cone for my Colorado mantel.

Interesting well-preserved residence, Vikingsholm, but didn’t purchased a ticket to tour inside.  I trail-hiked DOWN to see California redwood, to enjoy the all-consuming scent of pine.  Not disappointed, WOW!

Dipped both hands into Lake Tahoe before trekking back UP.  UP UP to Hwy 89, the local northbound highway I’d travel lake-circumference.  Tahoma, Tahoe City, then lunch.  3 more hours to play ‘til my return flight home from Reno.

89 North to Truckee, diverted left on Squaw Valley Road.

Squaw Valley, California – site of the 1960 Winter Olympics.  Gotta/hafta/must STOP, right?  Team USA won first-ever hockey GOLD; Americans [David Jenkins & Carol Heiss] topped both figure skating podiums.

The Games’ spirit, the OLYMPIC FLAME stays lit 24/7, 365 days/year.  Pretty neat.  I was here.





4 weekends marathoning – this Saturday: kick around, do laundry?  Heck no – road trippin’ SD: “Great Places, Great Faces”.

Ended Friday work week with my final father-daughter dance lesson.  Too far/too late to reach South Dakota – but how ‘bout Lusk? [Wyoming of course 🙂 ]  Small but clean digs, free buffet breakfast.  Short hour-half drive to Custer State Park, car-dodging buffalo by 9am.  FAAANNNTASTIC!  Native to the U.S.A, our American bison – BIG, STRONG, MASSIVE.  Personal fave of the animal kingdom.

20 minutes west thru Custer, 20 minutes north to Crazy Horse Memorial.  Had heard mixed reviews ‘bout the Monument.  Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear commissioned the project in 1939 – Crazy Horse’s massive 87ft face wasn’t completed ’til 1998.  Current work is focused on Crazy Horse’s hand, finger & his horse’s mane.  Timeline?  Long after my life span.

Paid an extra $10 to school bus-ride near the base of the Mountain.  Felt a bit nickel-n-dimed but WOW – gotta say, being so close to something so massive, was well worth the $$.  Wrong time to be short-sighted with cash.  Once completed Crazy Horse will rival nearby Mt. Rushmore.  Sculpted to ‘honor the culture & heritage of all North American Indians’.   Just WOW.

Didn’t leave the Memorial Museum for almost 2 hours.  LOVE LOVE LOVED!  Native American artifacts, photographs, sculptures, paintings.  Completely unexpected.  WELL WORTH GOING!

Wait, wait – the day’s not over.  Next up: Mount Rushmore.  Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt & Lincoln – literally carved IN the Black Hills of South Dakota.  Short-hiked up-n-down the Presidential Walk.  Fave spot?  Rushmore’s ‘Walk of Flags’ entrance.  Every state, every U.S. territory represented.  Left beaming USA pride.  Bought an ice cream recipe’d by Pres. Thomas Jefferson himself ❤

Sleeps in historic Deadwood.  Dinner above the saloon where Wild Bill Hickok was killed, tomorrow visiting his marker.




After three days of rain, woke Wednesday to SUNSHINE.

Skipped my morning run, opting for an afternoon harbor trek in nearby Oamaru.  Easy coastal drive on New Zealand’s Highway 1.  Cool morning temps.  Rural, flat.  No traffic, landscape void of the Island’s Southern Alps.

right, Moeraki Boulders.  left, Trotters Gorge.  1030am – how ‘bout both?

One hour rainforest jaunt toward the Gorge.  After multiple days in ‘civilization’, GREAT to be outside again & hiking.  Sounds of cicada, giant ferns wet with moisture – LOVE LOVED this morning.  Cave explored, then rental car’d another 2 miles north to the Boulders.  $5 in an ‘honest’ jar, then descended on Koekohe Beach using stairs created by the gift shop.

The Moeraki Boulders are unusually large and spherical boulders lying along a stretch of Koekohe Beach on the wave-cut Otago coast of New Zealand between Moeraki and Hampden.  They occur scattered either as isolated or clusters of boulders within a stretch of beach where they have been protected in a scientific reserve.


Local Māori legends explained the boulders as the remains of eel baskets, calabashes, and kumara washed ashore from the wreck of Arai-te-uru, a large sailing canoe.

Wonder of nature.  Like giant fossilized sea turtle eggs, pushed up/eroded from the sand.  Precisely spherical, randomly dropped/isolated on NZ’s Pacific shore.  Walked an hour up & down the beach – enjoying the ocean breeze, soaking up Vitamin D.

whatta sunrise – WOW!

Lunch & an ice cream bar, then road-warrior’d 45 minutes further to Oamaru.

Hotel check-in, harbour-walked past old rotting bridges covered with sea birds – to tonite’s adventure destination: Oamaru’s Blue Penguin Colony.  Purchased our VIP tickets (worth every dime) – laced up/got my afternoon run on.

Penguin Crossing sign (don’t see THAT every day), then switchback’d UP, UP, UP.  Climbed Cape Wanbrow Reserve, trail-ran high above Oamaru – WOW views of the mighty Pacific below.  Last long run before Saturday’s Kirikiriroa Marathon.

Dusk.  Nature guides kept eyes on the ocean while ‘paying customers’ quietly huddled in a small outdoor amphitheatre (unfortunately, no pics allowed).  Pods of 6, 10, 15 small penguins banded together, beached, then waddled uphill past our premium seats.  Man-made boxes constructed on shore would act as the birds’ evening home – returning back to the ocean early pre-dawn.  WOW WOW WOW!

South Island, super sad to say goodbye.  Glaciers, waterfalls, rainforest.  Jetboated the Waimakariri, cruised Doubtful Sound, climbed to the top of Larnach Castle & witnessed magic – the world’s smallest penguins returning home after day-fishing the Pacific.

Next up: Hamilton, on New Zealand’s tropical North.



Koekohe Beach, NZ



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