Category Archives: driving

On a Golden Ribbon from Shore to Shore: Lake Andes Wildlife Refuge

The beauty of burnished fall fields in South Dakota.

They don’t have the impact of the Grand Canyon, but South Dakota fields have a subtle beauty–especially in the fall.

When I took off from Lincoln this time, I decided to go north through South Dakota and North Dakota. Part of my goal was to visit a place I’d never been before: North Dakota. However, I also wanted to see more prairie. I love the prairie. It’s a subtle beauty, and I had studied Great Plains geography, history, music, and literature in college. I wanted to see where Per Hansa and his wife played out their pioneering lives in Giants in the Earth. I felt as though I could understand and appreciate it, even if most of the people I told about my destination thought it would be boring.

Golden South Dakota flora along the highway to Pierre.

The golds and browns of South Dakota in the fall have a calm, coming-home quality.

I wasn’t disappointed. As I traveled up through South Dakota’s capitol, Pierre, and then to North Dakota’s capitol, Bismarck, I saw beautiful autumn-golden fields—both pasture and crops. The colors were muted, because it was late in the fall. Bright yellow leaves still clung to the branches on the sparse trees, but instead of presenting as a mass of gold, they looked like lace, almost like mist surrounding the dark branches. Many of the trees had more leaves on the bottom than the top, which made the misty “leaf ring” around the trunk look like a netted tutu, with multiple graceful branches rising up from the skirt into the sky.

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Breathing Through Lillooet

IMG_4036 Cloud-topped Coastal Mountains overlook the town of Lillooet, B.C.

A wide view of Lillooet, B.C., reveals the Coastal Mountain range (I think that’s Mt. Brew) standing guard to the west. The town is in the rain shadow of the mountains, so its semi-arid climate offers temps from 41° in the winter to 100° F in the summer.

I was driving intently along Highway 99 with my eyes on the road, barreling down and buzzing up the canyon hills,  stopping only occasionally to get out and pay the beautiful terrain proper respect with dropped jaw and hastily snapped photo.  My destination was the Vancouver International Film Festival, and I was already late. Continue reading

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