Virgin Islands National Park

It was a day for wearing white and orange it seems. And why not? We were on vacation!

My wife is smart. After years of planning vacations she’s become really good at finding the right vacation destinations. In this case it was a Caribbean island which was conveniently a part of the U.S., had all the beach resort amenities that my ladies enjoy and lots of outdoor activities which I prefer.

The U.S. Virgin Islands is two thirds National Park! It has dramatically beautiful beaches, tremendous hiking trails, great undersea coral gardens, historic ruins and all on a compact  island. Seriously, there was plenty to keep me busy while they baked in the sun. Of the 20 official hiking trails within the park I hiked almost two thirds of them. One took Kelsey and me to the sea where we swam to cool off before returning to our mountain starting point.

We had a great time and may be where we head with grandkids … some day.

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Kelsey Graduates

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My little girl grows up and graduates from Holton-Arms high school!

An empty nest doesn’t usually happen in an instant. They leave and they return to the nest for what feel like moments of “how it used to be”. Regardless of this truism, there are moments which feel more like jolts, lurching the family dynamic in the direction and today was such a day.

There were many things of note today. Christine Legarde, the President of the IMF and first woman to ever hold that post, gave the commencement address. Big Sis Courtney was there and family came to participate from as far away as Connecticut. The day was spectacular, the setting gorgeous, and the benches hard. Oh well, it was nearly perfect. 🙂

We’re very, very proud of Kelsey. Congrats, girl!!!

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NYC in 29 Hours

The lights are bright on Broadway at Times Square!

A month ago Kelsey asked if I’d take her and Kristen to Manhattan. Having given whirlwind tours of The City on several occasions I agreed and these past couple of days were when I had to come through. The raw stats: 10 hours to and fro, 29 hours on the island of which seven were spent sleeping. That already sounds ambitious but that’s only the beginning.

We started with a walk up Broadway from 34th to 59th. We toured the south half of Central Park then caught a train back to 42nd Street to catch our Circleline boat tour around the island. When we got back we hung out in Times Square after dark then went to the Empire State Building to look out over The City at night. When we finally crashed at our hostel, sleep was not an issue.

The following morning we started in Rockefeller Center, took in a street fair along 10 blocks of Sixth Avenue, and walked over to catch the tram to Roosevelt Island where we meandered about. The subway got us first to Grand Central Station where we explored its cavernous interior and then to downtown where we visited Ground Zero, Wall Street, and Battery Park. Feeling plumb tuckered out we next caught a ride back to where we started.

As tours go, the pace of ours was fairly unrelenting. However, Kelsey had wanted to give Kristen the experience of a lifetime and I did my best to help her achieve that. As to whether we were successful I guess only Kristen can say. As for me, I had a wonderful time but am happy to now be sitting idle and typing this post. 😉

Highlights of our trip can be seen after the link.  Continue reading

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Old Rag with a Texas Gal

I have a dozen pictures of Kelsey at this spot, the first plateau of the Old Rag ascent. Today, we got one with Kristin too. Nice shot of two good friends during a wonderful hike on a smashingly good day.

It was wonderful to be reminded today how special Old Rag is through the eyes of Kristen, a friend of Kelsey’s from their month hiking in Alaska last year. The contrasts we heard to Texas are what drew Old Rag’s special nature to the surface. “There are so many trees! It’s so green!” True but not remembered. “The hills are so big! There are so many and they’re beautiful!” Why, yes! We’d forgotten. “From up here you can see so far!” True enough and worth being reminded of.

Kristen is here in D.C for an action-filled week. Kelsey is running her ragged and they’re having a blast. Friday morning we head to NYC to extend the experience to Manhattan.  On Saturday we return. On Sunday Kristen flies back to Houston. Sunday night I collapse.

It’s been a pleasure having her visit; Kelsey makes good friends.

There's the summit of Old Rag and then there's the extreme peak, atop the boulders on top of the summit. That's where these crazy young ladies could be found assuming Super Woman poses.

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