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Nik & Whitney, 2008
Koh Phangan, Thailand.
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Whitney, 2016
Watching the sun rise from Whitney's veranda. Sao Sebastiao Wildlife Sanctuary, Mozambique.

Oregon State University, 2006
Whitney's cats enjoying college life.

Whitney, 2011
More flora. Mindo, Ecuador.

Eclipse!!

The Great Solar Eclipse of 2017 crossed the continent, from Oregon to South Carolina, and gave millions of people the chance to witness one of the most awe-inspiring events in the natural world.


Nik's photo of the August 21 eclipse, photographed from Glendo, Wyoming. The star, Regulus, is barely visible to the lower left of the solar corona.
But you had to be within the "path of totality", a narrow band across the earth's surface several thousand miles long but only about 70 miles wide. Outside that band you would only see a partial eclipse, not a total eclipse.

And there is no such thing as a "partial total eclipse", despite the impression blogs and the news media might give. I honestly think that's why so many people misunderstand the utter beauty of the spectacle; they may have seen a partial eclipse in the past that was total somewhere else, and even though they weren't in the path the news kept gushing about it being a total eclipse, so they assume they must have seen a total eclipse and just didn't find it all that impressive.

Posted by Dan 08/29/2017, revised 09/06/2017

(Our kids have grown and are no longer posting blog stories here. Here now, below, are some highlights from past posts.)

Waterfalls, cliffs, and caves of beautiful Laos

We've been in Laos for about a week and a half now, and we have seen some amazing works of nature! Laos truly is a gem of a country, land-locked between the more-traveled Thailand and Vietnam. It is a country of dramatic limestone mountains and cliffs, gorgeous green valleys, and beautiful, simple villages of happy people.


Dramatic limestone mountains and gorgeous green valleys... didn't I tell you?

While the country of Laos is a bit further off the beaten trail, the backpacker trail that does exist through Laos has very deep ruts - fewer people travel here, but the ones that do generally follow a very similar route at a very similar pace. It sort of feels like getting caught in a swift current of a narrow river. If you just let the flow take you, you will keep seeing the same people that were on the boat with you for 2 days from the border crossing, and you'll see them in every single town every single day the whole way through Laos. So you have to work a bit to get out of the current, but once you do, it's a gorgeous country to travel!

Nik and I have managed to do and see some amazing stuff in the time we've been here! In the otherwise-uninteresting tourist city of Luang Prabang, we met up with some friends and went out to the impressive Kuang Si waterfall, where we got to do a bit of hiking and swimming. In the next uninteresting-tourist city of Vang Vieng, we were able to rent some climbing gear and head out on our own to a nearby mountain to do some phenomenal rock-climbing! After a quick visit to the capital city of Vientiene (and a celebration for the future of our country!), we finally broke out of the swift tourist current to a lighter flow... that carried us straight onto a river through a 7-km cave!!


Kuang Si waterfall outside of Luang Prabang

It's been a rich experience thus far, and we're only just beginning our "off the beaten track" part of Laos!


Heading off the beaten track, through rice paddies, to the mountain for some rock climbing!

Posted by Whitney 11/09/2008, revised 11/09/2008

Laos Rocks.

Vang Vieng is a small town in Northern Laos which is unfortunately a stop on the backpackers beaten trail, destroying any charm it once had and turning it into a feeding frenzy for those looking to squeeze an easy buck from the ignorant travellers. We had to stop however because just outside Vang Vieng are incredible limestone cliffs and the only climbing sites in Laos. The weather was threatening to rain but we decided we couldn't risk missing the only chance we would have. We grabbed our shoes, rented the rope and harnesses we would need from a local shop and headed for the closest, driest site.

Eager to get some real climbing in


Posted by nik 11/15/2008, revised 11/15/2008

I'm Going With You

Splat would like to attend also.

Posted by Kim 01/03/2011