Neil's favorite destinations

Monument Valley

Monument Valley--My favorite scenic location in Northeastern Arizona and Southeastern Utah. This photogenic land is on the Navaho Indian Reservation. I consider it to be one of the most sacred places in all the U.S. It's so beautiful in spots that it seems unreal. My favorite viewpoint is the "Artist Window". The image can change from hour to hour with the lighting and cloud cover.

Jean Lafitte Swamp
Jean Lafitte Swamp,
Cajun country just south of New Orleans. The wildlife and scenery are outstanding but add the culture, unique music, unique food and this place becomes very special indeed.

Photos taken: 5/99

And a spot closer to home...........

Haystack Rocks

My private ruins
Ghost town remains

Haystacks, Ozette Beach and Cape Alava, Olympic National Park, Washington. This is a roadless area on the northwest coast of Washington state. Usually it means backpacking or taking a full day hiking trip.

Cape Alava is my favorite. It's an isolated stretch of beach that starts 3 miles from the trail head. You can't really appreciate it's beauty unless you hike as a 10 mile loop. As far as I'm concerned, it's in the same class as Monument Valley. If you're lucky enough to reach it on a warm sunny day, they'll have to drag you back home! It doesn't get any better than this.The Makah indians lived on this beach 2,000 years ago..........they certainly knew a good thing when they saw it. Lots and lots of wildlife in the area; Racoons, Bear, and Cougar in particular. The Racoons are so plentiful, you have to kick them out of your camp. Must Bear and Racoon proof food. One Racoon tried to crawl onto a backpack while it was still on Marsha's back!

It's been written up in Sunset magazine about a three years ago as the "best isolated beach hiking in the west", sooooo... it's discovered! Too bad. Try to avoid on a big holiday weekend as you'll miss one of the greatest assets of the area.........the back to nature solitude. Backpacking is by permit only.

The area is popular with ghost town explorers as their are several old abandoned settlements. I love finding new remains with the help of research and GPS mapping. Many locations are closely guarded secrets but the adventurious will be rewarded.

If you want solitude, Shi Shi beach to the north is a good choice but more difficult to reach.

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Last revised: 6/10/00