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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday list are my favorite places that I have visited so far in our beautiful world. Note that I have seen about 3% of our earth, so that’s not saying much, but I’ve lived in Oregon, Alaska, Massachusetts and Oklahoma; six months in England; traveled around much of Western Europe, Great Britain and Ireland; traveled extensively on the west coast of the United States and Canada; traveled much through New England and the Maritime Provinces; and have been to a few places in between.
1. Hatcher Pass, Alaska. Probably my most favorite place in the world. My dad, brother and I hiked here a lot when we were young and it’s the one place I go to every single time I am home. Beautiful flowers, mountains and streams, and wildlife–though since they paved the road to the top, I haven’t seen a bald eagle or moose up there like I used to.
2. Zurich, Switzerland. I spent Easter 1998 in Zurich, and walked up to James Joyce’s grave. Best pretzel I ever had was at the train station there. It is a beautiful city, where just about every language is spoken.
3. Pacific City, Oregon. Beautiful beaches and Haystack Rock–this was a favorite place to get away on a weekend from college. I saw the most amazing sunset here–and the second after the sun set, the fog rolled in so fast we could not see where we were going within a minute. It was incredible.
4. Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine. Complementing #3, this is where I have seen the most amazing sunrise–the earliest you can see the sunrise in the United States. Beautiful hikes, stunning views–and the town of Bar Harbor is a New England seaside town at its best (great ice cream!)
5. Arches National Park, Utah. I decided to just pick one of the fabulous national parks Utah has to offer. Canyonlands, Zion, and Arches National Monument are also great places to see–but really, what just amazes me is how ancient the land is. Most scientists believe there was once an inland sea, which is why you can find fantastic fossils. Down in the canyons and looking up at the beautiful arches and bridges, you can really see it–once this place was an ocean, from a time long before most of the stories of our Bible take place. Incredible.
6. Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. We spent part of our honeymoon here in 2005. Right on the bay of Fundy, the Acadian culture is felt all around, and the wildlife on the coast is incredible. You must watch the tides come in and drive along the coast as much as possible!
7. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, California. My best friend Carol used to work here and was married near here in 2007, so JC and I took a few days after the wedding to explore the park. Being among trees that were seedlings in the time of Christ, dwarfing everything in site is just awe-inspiring. Beautiful dayhikes and scenic drives–and beware of the bears! We had a black bear follow us down a mountain for almost a mile!
8. York, England. One of the oldest intact city walls, you can walk along the wall and be lost in time. In the cathedral you can cover 700 years of Christian history in England. Great food, great people, in a historic city out-of-time.
9. Cliffs of Moher, Ireland. Don’t stand too close to the edge–the wind might push you in! But they are breathtaking. My favorite movie of all time, The Princess Bride, used these cliffs as The Cliffs of Insanity. It is insane, and beautiful at the same time. Geology at its finest, rock carved out of the eroding Atlantic waves.
10. Woody Island, Kodiak, Alaska. This is where I went to summer camp. From the island, looking back at Kodiak Island you can see the mountains of the Three Sisters and Pyramid Mountain; looking out over the Gulf of Alaska on the other side, you see the brilliant ocean. I have seen killer whales less than 50 yards from the coast, bald eagles perched above Canoe Lake, and sea lions near the docks. I have wonderful memories there, too, which makes it personally special.
Limiting to ten was hard–I did not mention the White Mountains of New Hampshire, or Cape Cod, or Seattle, or the Redwoods or Yosemite, nor anyplace in Wyoming or Colorado, Oklahoma or West Virginia or Tennessee; nor did I mention Salsburg or Berlin or Barcelona–the list goes on and on and on. But these are probably the ten places that stick out in my head when I think back on good memories and beautiful scenery, and often the people I experienced those places with.