Archive for June, 2015
Part of the wonder of Bandon Dunes lies a few miles north of the golf courses. Bandon Beach seems to always produce fabulous seascapes. After a day of mediocre golf this is a pretty serene end of the day:
It seems as though on every Bandon trip I end up playing the Old Macdonald and Trails courses on the same day. It’s a pretty demanding effort: Old Mac is just so expansive with long holes and distances between the tee boxes while trails is the hilliest of the Bandon Dunes tracks. Curiously, Old Mac has become my favorite course here in spite of its difficulty and unique truly links layout. I had my best round ever at Old Mac this morning with an 86. And I was holding my own on Trails –my nemesis course here– until I just wore out and carded triple bogeys on 16 and 18 for a final score of 94.
I can’t seem to stay away from this place no matter how mediocre my golf game is. And with the current heat wave in North Bend I had more than enough incentive to head south for the third time this year. What’s not to like with views like this one looking north from the 16th tee at the Bandon Dunes course.
And here’s a panorama of the 16th fairway, one of the most beautiful golf holes in America (tee box on the right, green between the ocean and those dark green shrubs on the left).
For the record, I shot very poor rounds of 95 (Bandon Dunes) and 98 (Pacific Dunes), two of my worst score here ever.
The drive from North Bend to Bandon was an odd one. It was nearly 80 degrees when I left but I drove through rain, bright sun, and overcast. It’s only in the 60s in Bandon and very cloudy. Even in the nine o’clock fog, Bandon Beach is eerily lovely.
Really enjoyed this one. There are lots of odd instruments and the varied geometry made searching for pieces interesting.
It’s amazing that we started the day in Denali and ended up some 14 hours later back home.
Again it was a pretty easy trip. We bused from Denali to the Anchorage airport with marvelous scenery the whole way. Then it was first-class seats for the flight home with a luscious dinner and stunning views of the Canadian coast along the route.
In the morning we took a bus tour into Denali National Park then had lunch at the Park visitors’ center.
In the afternoon, we we’re in the air again on another helicopter flight; this one just as thrilling as the previous ones.
I’m struck by how different each glacier has been. Today we were in a bit of a snow squall so the surface was wet snow with few of the craggy features we see so many other places.
The seven hour train ride from Anchorage to Denali was an endless string of incredibly beautiful vistas: forests, mountains and mountain meadows, rivers and lakes, beaver dams. With all the wonderful scenery and breakfast and lunch service the hours passed very quickly,
I’ve always enjoyed helicopter tours but today’s was one of the best. We landed on one glacier, flew over several others and then spent an hour or so on still another glacier where a large group of sled dogs spend the summer keeping cool and in shape for winter races.
It’s impossible in a photo to capture the sense of space, the magnitude of the vistas on this trip. Here’s a photo of one of the sled dog teams on the glacier, several thousand feet up in the mountains, sixty-some miles from Anchorage.
And of course there are puppies:
An epic travel day! We took the 7:00 am train from Anchorage to Seward, shuttle bus to the ship, spent six hours on board, then did it all in reverse to finish the day, arriving back at the hotel around 11:00 pm.
Traveling via the Gold Star service on the Alaska Railroad was a treat. We had comfortable seats, very good meals, and the views are terrific. Here’s a famous vista from the train: Bartlett Glacier:
The cruise into Kenai Fjords National Park took us out into the Gulf of Alaska where the choppy seas and eight-foot swells made for a dicey trip. We didn’t get seasick but we did skip the big salmon lunch buffet. The scenery was relentlessly stunning with countless waterfalls and massive glaciers, each one unique and breathtaking.
Wildlife seems to cooperate with the Alaska tours; like this whale that decided to show off a bit near the ship on our way back to Seward.
After skipping lunch we were pleased to end our hectic day enjoying a tranquil meal aboard the train with great views of the sunset over Turnagain Arm.