these colors don’t run

They explode. Click the image for greater detail and you’ll understand why the Cabot Trail is considered one of North America’s great scenic road trips.

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a highland fling

The headlands and cliffs of Cape Breton Highlands National Park are a sight to be seen. Home to the famous Cabot Trail – Canada’s answer to Monterey’s 17-mile drive – the park on the northern tip of the island is blessed with a dramatically deciduous landscape. Completed in 1932, it joins a handful of previously isolated fishing villages along an approximate 300 km loop. Today the Trail connects eight major communities with intriguing histories, ranging from the Acadian Region, to Irish and Scottish settlements. At the tail end of the foliage season it’s almost deserted, too, which turns out to be a bonus for anyone seeking little more than silence and sweeping views.

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liberty in high-def

Today is the Statue of Liberty’s 125th birthday and as a gift it’s being equipped with five high-def webcams, according the AP: Through the webcams, Internet users around the world will have four views, including a high-quality, 180-degree stitched panorama of the harbor with stunning views of Ellis and Governors islands. They will be able to watch as ships go by Liberty Island and observe as the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center goes up floor-by-floor in lower Manhattan. They can get a fish-eye look at the torch itself as it glows in the night. The five cameras, which will be on 24 hours, seven days a week, were donated to the National Park Service by Earthcam Inc., a New Jersey-based company that manages webcams around the world. [Today’s] ceremony also will be marked by a water flotilla, actress Sigourney Weaver reading Lazarus’ poem and a naturalization ceremony for 125 candidates for citizenship representing over 40 countries. The public is invited to attend the ceremony, with ferry service available between Manhattan and Liberty Island. The interior of the statue — from the pedestal down to the museum base — will close after the 125th celebration for up to a year so that stairwells, elevators and mechanical systems can be upgraded. The park itself will remain open to visitors.”

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in search of redwoods

Anyone who saw Ken Burns’ documentary on America’s National Parks knows the pioneering name of John Muir.  The Scottish-born naturalist was a tireless adventurer and early advocate of wilderness preservation, particularly in the mountains of California.  He devoted most of his life to saving the great Western forests, founding the Sierra Club and petitioning the US Congress to create a National Park Service that would protect the Yosemite Valley and create Sequoia National Park.  He wrote about nature with a fervor that bordered on religious ecstasy, moving beyond the transcendentalism of his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson to a biocentric perspective on the world – one which challenged the enormous conceit of mankind.

About the area just north of San Francisco that’s since been named in his honor, Muir wrote: This is the best tree-lover’s monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world.  He wasn’t exaggerating.  Muir Woods is one of the world’s last remaining ancient coast redwood forests and to spend a day hiking the trails here is to connect to nature with an unavoidable reverence – and imagine the infinite.

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