Galina and Alexei (Ikarushka) Premium user United States Chicago, Illinois

Marrakech highlights

The purpose of this album is to give a rough idea of what we saw in Marrakech – at most 2-3 pictures from each place. Galina spent four days there, and Alexei spent two.
Several (longer) descriptions to the pictures in this album were borrowed from . It's a useful and fun resource, which mostly reflects my impressions of the places I saw.


This is our route. Took 8 full days.

Canyon Del Muerto tour, Part 1

Pictures from our 4WD tour of the canyon, which forks to the north at the Junction. A couple of sites here (as well as all the rock art) cannot be seen from the rim.

Canyon Del Muerto tour, Part 2

Only full-day tours see this - all the way to Mummy cave.

Canyon de Chelly rim

It took us half a day to see the overlooks along the rim.
Canyon de Chelly National Monumen is considered one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in North America. Among its sites are several hundred Ancestral Puebloans villages built between 350 and 1300 A.D. Today the Canyon sits in the heart of the Navajo Indian Reservation and is still home to many Navajo who live there.

Canyon de Chelly tour

We toured the inside of the Canyon with Thunderbird Lodge Tours ( The tour took an entire day. This album shows only the sites in Canyon De Chelly (including those before the Junction). Some of those we also photographed from the rim (see the 2nd half of our rim album: There are separate two albums about the sites in Canyon Del Muerto.

Mountain trail map

This is the map of the mountain that we “conquered.” An interesting quest would be to find on the map our routes from the mountain albums. Since all the trails and lifts that we used are noted in picture titles or descriptions, this is a perfectly doable and entertaining task.

Steamboat's main skiing mountain-first run

We did not take the camera up on the first day (were scared), but our second day on the mountain was much nicer: bright and sunny. On our first run we went all the way to the top and slowly went down the easiest (green) trails.

Hot Springs

After a day of skiing, it is a special pleasure to take a dip in hot springs. After our first skiing day we went to Old Town Hot Springs in downtown Steamboat Springs, and the following day we met the sunset at much more secluded Strawberry Park Hot Springs.

Turtle nesting beach

This 23-mile-long beach hosts the largest green turtle rookery in the Western Hemisphere. Only official tours are allowed on the beach when turtles lay eggs at night, and photography is not permitted. I have found a video - – where you can see the process, and the album shows what one can see on the beach in the morning: turtle tracks, black vultures hunting for eggs, etc.

Silk Cayes: under the sea

We tried our best to identify the creatures we were swimming with. However, they were so abundant that we failed to figure out the names of several ones. If you know the names of those, your help in comments will be appreciated.
More info on the reserve:

Silk Cayes: above the sea

Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve is a protected marine reserve in the central part of Belize's Barrier Reef 22 mi off the coast of Placencia. The reserve contains some of the healthiest parts of the reef system due to its elevation and good water quality.
Gladden Spit is a promontory forming the southernmost tip of the sunken atoll. Three small cayes: North Silk, Middle Silk and South Silk, lie south of Gladden entrance.
It took us about an hour to get to these tiny cayes. Together with other tourist groups, we were based on the South Silk Caye, snorkeling around which was a lot of fun.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness 2016, Part I

No motor boats are allowed in this wild place, where we spent enjoyable four days.
The first album is about days one and two of the trip. We paddled towards our camp site on Alder Lake, set up a camp, and on our second day went to Johnson Falls.

Часах в 8-ми езды на север от Чикаго, прямо на границе с Канадой есть такое прекрасное дикое место с тысячей озёр. На этих озёрах запрещены моторные лодки, и каноэ из одного озера в другое носят на плечах. Вот мы тоже поносили. В этом альбоме - первые два дня нашего водного похода.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness 2016, Part II

We spent the third day on Alder Lake – fishing and cooking our catch. On the fourth day we headed back.

Третий день мы провели на озере Алдер, у которого стояла наша палатка – ловили рыбу, варили уху, любовались природой. На четвёртый день мы отправились назад и в самом конце попали под сильный дождь. Зато после дождя вокруг было очень живописно, даже радуга была!

Tortuguero village

Tortuguero means 'turtle seller' in Spanish. In the past the community made a living selling turtles, a self-preserving, stay-fresh source of meat. Nowadays hunting turtles is not allowed, and tourism is the principal industry of the village. Tourism has grown due to the creation of the Tortuguero National Park in 1972. There are more than 100 local guides to attend to the visitors that come to the area. The villagers do a great job keeping their village colorful and inviting. There are no roads in the area and the village, hence boats are the main means of transportation. More on the history of the community:

Laguna Lodge

This eco-touristic lodge is built on a narrow strip of land, 650 feet wide, between Tortuguero´s main lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. Animals roam free on the lodge’s grounds.

Tortuguero National Park

We took two tours: early in the morning we went north along Penitentiary river and further into Caño Palma with its beautiful reflections.
In the afternoon we went south-west into Tortuguero river leading to Caño Chiquero/ Caño Mora aquatic trail.
Then we watched spider monkeys from the main Tortuguero canal, and after that went all the way to the lagoon’s outlet into the sea.

Canal de Tortuguero

Tortuguero canal (built in 1966-74) offers the longest water way to the National park – 65 miles (106 km). A non-stop speed boat ride would take 2.5 hours one way, but with wildlife viewing stops it took us 3.5 hours. There are actually four canals that connect natural rivers, which were there initially, so sometimes you are in a narrow canal, and sometimes – in a river. Wild life is so-o-o abundant! The pictures of the animals are in the order we saw them, so sometimes a certain kind shows up twice.

19 Views of Volcán Arenal

Inspired by Hokusai's “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji.” (The original spelling of the volcano’s name has been preserved.)
I could only get roughly ½ of the number of views that Hokusai has, but this stimulates me to come back.
Note that during the high season people usually see clouds instead of the volcano, but September is the best month to see this natural wonder. We enjoyed its unobstructed view from our hotel room every morning (I got the room in the front row facing the volcano). And of course, we saw it from several other locations.

Starved Rock State Park

This is probably the most famous State Park in IL – see . We were there shortly after the major storm that devastated the park on June 30th to the extent that the majority of trails were closed. Only one trail – to French Canyon – was open near the Visitor Center, and consequently this canyon was pretty crowded. However, due to this trail closure, we decided to go to a remote Illinois Canyon (which we never visited before), and were happy that we did.
More on trail closure in the park:

Graceland Cemetery

Established in 1860 and designed by landscape architects, O. C. Simonds and H.W.S. Cleveland, Graceland is truly a haven in the city. Chicago's most famous people are buried here. The monuments and buildings designed by Sullivan, Holibird & Roche and McKim, Mead and White, among others are still viewed as primary examples of their work. This masterpiece of Midwest landscape architecture was awarded a medal of excellence at the Paris Exposition of 1900. Graceland was also honored by acceptance on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. Landscape historians regard Graceland Cemetery as "one of the most remarkable park-like cemeteries of the Western world."

Golden leaves and sandhill cranes at Jasper-Pulaski

It’s a nice area less than 2 hours south of Chicago, where one can have a pleasant walk amidst marshes that look more like connected small lakes. This is also an area where sandhill cranes stop on their way south, their numbers peaking in mid-November (up to 20 thousand cranes can be seen on one big field at that time). Beginning about one hour before sunset, flocks of cranes kite from all directions into Goose Pasture. They dance, gab, and socialize before returning to roosting marshes at dusk. You can see cranes in dynamics in my short video at , while static pictures in this album show them somewhat closer.

Glacier Gorge Trail to Mills Lake

I agree with Fodor's Travel Guide that Mills Lake is one of the park’s prettiest lakes. I am even glad that I walked to it under the rain for two hours (note that pictures of the trail were taken on the way back): no one else followed me past Alberta Falls, and I had the lake all to myself. The trail winds along Glacier Creek, and I could see elks, a golden-mantled ground squirrel, and could pick porcini mushrooms – enough for dinner.

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