Tag: photography

Backyard Discoveries: Indiana Medical History Museum

Well, hello! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I haven’t forgotten about Backyard Discoveries, dear readers, even if this particular discovery is a little belated (by say, oh, maybe three months or so).

I visited Indiana in October, and one of the places I found on a list of must-sees was the Indiana Medical History Museum. I enjoy the weird and the historical, so this seemed like a perfect place to stop on a soon-to-be-rainy afternoon.

Indiana Medical History Museum

Things to Know Before You Go:

  • The museum is only about three miles west of downtown Indianapolis – stop by on your way to or from downtown!

  • If you visit, it’s through guided tour only. Which you’ll want anyway, because how else would you learn about the building and its history? Our docent was an absolute delight and firecracker. They were super knowledgeable about the museum, and also about the medical field – being a former nurse and current nursing professor.
    • No need to reserve a tour (unless you’re a larger group or perhaps need special accommodations),  as you can just show up. Tours are given every hour, on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays.
    • Admission is per person, but only $10 for adults and less for seniors and students. Might I also remind you that the museum is a non-profit and these fees help with funding (and so do donations, so feel free to give more if you feel so inclined).
  • Lastly and importantly, in case it wasn’t clear, this is a MEDICAL history museum. There are specimens. There is talk of cadavers. There is an autopsy table (pictured below). This building also was once part of the larger campus of a psychiatric hospital. If the thought of any of these things makes you or anyone in your party uncomfortable, do yourself and them a kindness and perhaps check out another Indianapolis attraction like the canal walk downtown instead!

The guided tour delves into the museum’s history, from the building’s inauguration in 1896 to its use as a place to study mental illness as a part of the former Central State Hospital.

You’ll get to see and learn about each room in this former pathological department, from a lecture amphitheater, to labs and even a photography room.

Not to be missed is the relics of their studies – slides, specimens and more. If you’re looking to see a slice of brain in a box or perhaps a full skeleton, this is the place for you.

That’s a wrap for this installment of Backyard Discoveries. And hopefully, it’s given you another idea of how to cure your little travel bug. See you next time!

Just what the doctor ordered,
Katie

Take a Trip on the TSS Earnslaw: Queenstown, NZ

If I learned anything during my trip to New Zealand last year, it’s that even in what’s supposed to be the beginning of summer, its weather can be pretty unpredictable. Especially in Queenstown, a town in NZ’s South Island, where one day it could be pleasant and sunny and the next, snowing.

We had planned a trip for Milford Sound, a nature cruise in a fjord renowned for its beauty. But as our luck would have it, bad weather had closed the only road in. No tours were running – no buses, no boats or helicopters. We woke up that grey and drizzly morning feeling deflated. All the articles we Googled recommended activities that were inside and we didn’t want to waste our last day. As we lamented over breakfast, our lovely Airbnb host offered us the perfect solution – a trip on the TSS Earnslaw.

The TSS Earnslaw is a nautical marvel – a steamship built in 1912 (the same year as the Titanic) that’s still running today. You do have a book a tour to get on the boat, but it’s worth it, and I would 100% recommend the Walter Peak Farm Tour package (roughly $66 U.S.).

It’s general seating inside the ship, and most of the boat is free to explore. It was EXTREMELY chilly on the day we boarded, especially when the ship got moving across Lake Wakatipu, but being outside the main cozy seating cabin meant spectacular views and some seriously fresh air. (My advice: If it’s cold, layer up and bring gloves and a hat!) Plus, if those teeth start chattering, you can pop into the toasty steam room (think coal, not sauna) where you can actual see the ship’s staff shoveling coal to keep the boat running.

Refreshments also are available inside the cabin, but if you chose the farm tour, save your appetite for the delicious tea and snacks that await you when you dock. Though I love tea, the highlight of the visit for me was getting to MEET and FEED the farm animals. Never before have I seen such an adorable combination of ducks, sheep, cows and more. You also get to see a truly impressive sheep herding demonstration by the herding dogs who work right there at the farm.

On the way back across the lake, enjoy the ride while a charming gentleman plays familiar piano tunes and other ship-goers sing along.

New Zealand is definitely one of my all-time favorite travel destinations and I can’t wait to go back. If it’s not on your list yet, it should be!

xo,
Katie

Backyard Discoveries: Liberty Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

Just south of the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is Liberty Wildlife – a hidden gem, nestled away from the hustle and bustle of traffic and planes flying overhead.

I can’t remember this owl’s name and I feel like he’s judging me for it.

Liberty Wildlife is wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center, that specializes in avian, reptile, amphibian and small mammal species. Though they are kept busy caring for animals seven days a week, they open to the public on Wednesday, Saturdays and Sunday for us curious visitors.

This lil’ guy had part of his left wing amputated. 🙁 The hardest part of visiting Liberty Wildlife is hearing what happened to some of these guys before they arrived.

Tips to Know Before You Go to Liberty Wildlife:

  • As mentioned above, the visiting window is limited each week. The facility is open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Admission is very reasonable! Adult – $6, Seniors (65+) & Veterans – $5,   Children K-12 – $4  and Children Under 4 – Free admission.

A feeding demonstration with one of their Bald Eagles, Sonora.

  • Primarily, you’ll be seeing the birds that they are rehabbing or now live at their facility. They also have a couple big windows that let you catch a glimpse into the rescue rooms, where they work on and keep other animals that they take in.
  • If you visit earlier in the day, you have a better chance of catching their programs and feedings – where you get a closer look and learn more about the wildlife that they rescue.

Sonora was full of sass.

  • If you come upon an injured wild animal (no matter how small), you can call their Wildlife Hotline at 480-998-5550 for further assistance and information about animal drop-off and tours. The Hotline is manned to return calls from 8 a.m. until 8:30 p.m., 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • Consider them for your next creative event or party idea! They actually had a kids’ birthday party going on the day that we visited.

Aside from just enjoying seeing all the birds at Liberty Wildlife, I was impressed by how knowledgeable the staff and volunteers are and how good they are with the animals. You can tell that they truly care about conservation and their work.

Having a bit of an afternoon snooze.

It’s worth noting that they are a non-profit and could use your support in a number of ways! Check out their website for more information on how you can donate, visit their facility, attend one of their upcoming events or even volunteer.

This is a Golden Eagle adorably puffing up her feathers so they lay back down in a way that would impress her audience of admirers, said a staff member.

Be good to each other!

xo,
Katie

Backyard Discoveries: The Tucson Rodeo

tucson rodeo

La Fiesta de los Vaqueros (or Celebration of the Cowboys) is a time-honored Tucson tradition. What started at just three days of events and competition all the way back in 1925, has grown to a nine-day celebration every February, with its main draw being the Tucson Rodeo.

tucson rodeo

La Fiesta is such a large part of Tucson culture that the schools close for two days just so Tucsonans can go to the rodeo! After hearing that, Nightborn Travel had to check it out.

tucson rodeo

Tips to Know Before You Go:

  • You’ll want to visit the Tucson Rodeo website – there you’ll find a detailed schedule of events and a way to purchase your tickets online.
  • We went on Saturday of the opening weekend and were able to get cheaper general admission tickets (meaning you could sit anywhere in the stands) – we think it was because these were only qualifying rodeo events. You could always call their box office to be sure.
  • Seats are basically open bleachers, meaning that it might get a little toasty if the weather is nice and sunny. Bring hats/sunglasses and sunscreen. We also saw some very smart and prepared people who brought blankets/cushions to sit on.
  • Basically any bag larger than a wallet or clutch isn’t allowed in, UNLESS it’s a clear bag. If you think they’re joking about bag size, they’re not, so you can find a full list of DOs and DON’Ts here.
  • In our humble opinion, you don’t need to know anything about rodeo sports to enjoy it, but it sure helps.
  • In addition to the rodeo, there’s the Tucson Rodeo Parade, which apparently the world’s longest non-motorized parade.

tucson rodeo

Gates at the rodeo don’t open until 11 a.m., so if you make it down to Tucson next year for La Fiesta and the rodeo, we humbly suggest that you give this hike at Tanque Verde Falls a try in the morning and then reward yourself with some tasty lunch at Guilin.

tucson rodeo

Keep Tucson weird!

xo,

Katie

Backyard Discoveries: Travel Tips for a Jaunt in Jerome, AZ

Greetings, travelers! Knowing our love for ghost towns, it was just a matter of time before we made it to one of Arizona’s most popular historic mining towns, Jerome.

Even though mining in Jerome ended in 1953 (after 77 years!), the town is still a thriving tourist destination and artistic community with plenty of fun things to do and see.

Traveling Tips

The drive: The charming hillside spot is only about a two hour drive up north from Phoenix. There are spots to fuel up and stop along the way, but because the I-17 reduces to two lanes as you head toward Flagstaff (and unfortunately, as you head back) traffic can get kind of hairy, with REALLY long delays depending on what’s happening (holidays, ski/snowboarding season, etc.), so I would recommend filling up to a full tank of gas before you go.

IMG_2920

When to visit: Because it’s hopping tourist destination, Jerome stays pretty busy year-round. It helps that even during the hot summer months, it’s a few degrees cooler being farther up north. I know that we always stress getting somewhere in the early a.m., but it’s really true if you want to avoid the crowds and have the run of the town for yourself! Holidays are often the busiest, as well, but I think we lucked out because we got to Jerome just a bit after 10 a.m. – by the time we left around 2 p.m., the place was poppin’.

IMG_2905.JPG

If you like to hike: We recommend Dead Horse Ranch, a state park just 20 minutes away from Jerome. Don’t let the name throw you off, it’s a pleasant and expansive state park with a lot to offer. There are sites for campers, lagoons for fishing, areas for picnicking, and even a small river with a river walk. There are also, of course, hiking trails – I think we ended up hiking about 3 miles along their Lime Kiln trail. I would say this trail is easy to moderate, depending on your hiking experience – nothing too steep and no climbing required. Just always make sure that you a) have enough water (it doesn’t hurt to bring snacks for energy, either), b) know what trail you’re on and stay on it and c) know your limits.

IMG_2835

IMG_2830

IMG_2847

What to see: This is really traveler’s choice! We basically just walked around the town with no set agenda, but other travelers recommend the Douglas Mansion or Gold King Mine. Just remember that this is a hillside town, so you will be doing a LOT of walking upwards (and then blessedly, downwards).

Notable places we found on our stroll –

Jerome Grand Hotel

It wouldn’t be a ghost town without the ghosts. The Jerome Grand Hotel has a history of haunts – it was originally a hospital during the town’s mining days.

IMG_2879.JPG

Also fascinating, the hotel still has steam-powered heating and an OTIS elevator from 1926.

Holy Family Catholic Church

This church has been standing for more than 100 years. Visitors are welcome, and though it’s no longer an active parish, they do hold mass every third Saturday of the month.

IMG_2889.JPG

IMG_2899.JPG

La Victoria Studio

IMG_2912

Even if you’re visiting and the studio isn’t open, it’s still housed in a very cool structure.

From what we could tell and from what I’d heard from a family member, this is a pottery and glassblowing studio. Open hours seem… flexible. If you do manage to catch them when they’re open to the public, apparently they do pottery and glassblowing demos.

Getting your grub on: We ate at the Haunted Hamburger, and no, the burgers aren’t haunted, but the building supposedly is. Also, their outside patio offers a great view of the town below. There are plenty of other food stops to choose from, but they fill up FAST once they open (another reason to get there earlier rather than later).

IMG_2864.JPG

Anyone who knows us would not be surprised that Rickeldoris Candy and Popcorn Company was our very first stop in Jerome. It’s just as much of a treat for the eyes with a colorful selection of candies in jars, bins, boxes and an old-fashioned feel.

IMG_2855.JPG

We followed the delicious smell of kettle corn. I bought too much taffy, but I regret nothing.

Certainly, there’s plenty more to explore, but hopefully this will be a good starter guide for you.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

With much affection,
The Nightborn Travel Team

 

jerome pinterest.png

 

Adventuring in Haiti: A Photo Essay

 

As I have mentioned previously, Haiti has alot of bad press that it really doesn’t deserve. I think one of the best ways to share the reality of traveling to this amazing country is through photos, so I wanted to try my hand at a photo essay covering my journey to and from the Land of Many Mountains.

 

img_2120-copyThis is me when I first got to Haiti. The bus ride was so stressful, but the hotel in Port-au-Prince was a little paradise, and I couldn’t believe that I was actually there, in the country I had read about for so long.

img_2126

 

My first dinner in Haiti. This fish was unbelievable; and the plantains were the best I have ever had.

img_2130-copy

The tiny plane that we took to Cap-Haitien. I love tiny planes.

Port-au-Prince from the air (c) ABR 2016

img_2146

 

My first introduction to Cap-Haitien, and the realization that Haiti has so much to offer, if only the government services and infrastructure were improved for the locals.

img_2148-copy

Once known as the Venice of the Caribbean, Cap-Haitien has lost some of its flare, but there was still something elegant and beautiful about the way it stretched over the hills.

img_2153

There was intricate art everywhere in Cap-Haitien (and all around Haiti).

img_2177

 

You rarely see pictures of Haiti’s beaches, but they are just as much “paradise” as anywhere else in the Caribbean.

img_2194

 

Of course, there were reality checks while we were there. Unfortunately, Haiti’s government wasn’t taking care of the trash in Cap-Haitien. The Haitian people deserve better, and so does their lovely country.

img_2197-copy

I had dreamed about seeing Le Citadelle ever since I read about it, and there it was, standing watch over the coast from out of the mist.

img_2298

 

Few people ever mention that Haiti is home to come of the most spectacular historic structures in the region. Here is San Souci Palace; its beauty once rivaled Versailles. Personally, I think it maintains its mystique and charm.

img_2310-copy

Some of the best rum in the world comes from Haiti, and much of it in small places similar to this.

img_2365-copy

This beautiful mosaic was made by the local kids!

 

img_2385

A post office in Jacmel!

img_2412-copy

Bassin Bleu! One of the top attractions in the Land of Many Mountains. It did get busy here, so I had to snap this picture from around the corner before people jumped in.

img_2427-copy

Heading out from Bassin Bleu, we had to drive through the river, following the precise directions of our guide. Unfortunately, Creole and Spanish are similar in that their terms for “right” and “straight” sound alike.

img_2536

 

The gate protecting the Grotto of Marie-Jeanne.

img_2537

 

Climbing down into the cavern. Alot of caves on Hispanola have openings like this one.

img_2584

 

The menu at a Haitian fast food restaurant in Port-au-Prince, complete with an add for the national beer, Prestige.

img_2625

 

I captured this beautiful scene in Port-au-Prince from inside a gallery that we visited on our last day.

img_2631

 

The beautiful Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince. Supposedly, this is called gingerbread architecture- I’ll buy it.

img_2653

 

The city from the observatoire in Port-au-Prince.

img_2676

 

Driving back over the border into the Dominican Republic; these pictures stress me out because I hated the border so much.

Good-bye, Haiti!
Note: All pictures above (c) ABR (Nightborn Travels), please do not use without permission.

hello, neighbor.

greetings and salutations, dear readers!

13923581_10153627174341196_4368527984708656535_o

kartchner caverns, benson, az: CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? GOOD.

my name is katie, and i plan to be a regular contributor around these parts. i’m an almost arizona native with a penchant for movie theater popcorn and photography.

img_9039

kaleidoscope, lowell observatory, flagstaff, az: a universe within a universe

what you can expect from me:

local flavor (events, food and other fun stuff)
art and architecture (artitecture?)
weird blog and hash tags

img_9398

mission san xavier del bac, tucson, az

and much more! so stick around and explore with me.

 

Off Traveling- No Post, But Have Some Pictures!

I am currently in Puerto Rico, doing a Spanish immersion. So, I will not be posting my normal blog post this July 15th. Instead, please enjoy a link to my travel photography Tumblr: http://nightborntravels.tumblr.com/

There will be more pictures posted there soon, but right now there is lots from Japan for everyone to enjoy. 🙂

Danger, Nature, and Social Conflict in the Desert: Organ Pipe National Monument

Map of the Organ Pipe National Monument

In 1937 President Franklin D. Roosevelt created Organ Pipe National Monument in order to protect its namesake, and the rugged Sonoran ecology of the Ajo, Puerto Blanco, and Sonoyta Mountains. Early on, the park struggled to balance its protective duties with the needs of miners and ranchers, both of which continued using the land there until the 1970s. These competing needs were eventually decided by the declaration of the United Nations in 1976 that designated the national monument as an International Biosphere Reserve, at which point alternative uses of the park ended (Reference).

The peace in Organ Pipe National Monument was short lived, however, as the park became the stage of drug and border conflicts between the United States and Mexico beginning in the mid-1990s. During this time, US policies concerning illegal immigration and drugs were tightened, and smuggling systems of varying complexity for both people and drugs have developed along the US-Mexican border. Popular border crossings along this border have experienced increasing security measures since this time, and these developments forced smugglers to look to the wilderness for ways in the United States. (See Back Again Cait’s No More Deaths post to learn more about the US border issues).

DSCF6167

(c) AB Raschke

Organ Pipe became an increasingly frequented highway for these activities, as its borders were protected only by flimsy chain-linked fences, or concrete walls that could be destroyed by smugglers with relative ease. Impromptu roads began to crop up in the desert, trash and trails from trekking immigrants cracked the ancient bacterial crust of the Sonora, and reports of illegal activities grew in numbers, as did the armed conflicts between smugglers and the National Monument personnel.

This struggle culminated in the death of ranger Kris Eggle in 2002, when he was shot to death while pursuing drug cartel members through the park, attempting to protect his country from criminals that were already known to have murdered several victims in Mexico. At this time, the inadequacies of the Organ Pipe border were realized, and the dangerous nature of the situation that had developed there was finally grasped. Organ Pipe was dubbed “the most dangerous park in America,” and more than half of the National Monument was closed to visitors for their own safety. Plans were also drafted for the building a stronger border wall to replace the failing barriers, and the visitor center was renamed in honored of the park’s fallen ranger (Reference One; Reference Two.

DSCF6157

(c) AB Raschke

As for me, I didn’t know about the real history of the park until I was thinking about visiting. I was aware, however, about its danger through stories that I heard from other Phoenicians. One in particular, involved a friend of a friend who was out hiking in the park, and just so happened to see smugglers dropping off contraband in a camouflaged, underground stash. According to the story, or the version that I remember, this particular friend of a friend ended up being pursued by the criminals, but I think that the general reputation of Organ Pipe may have created some embellishment in my mind.

At any rate, in 2014 the park reopened much of the area that had been closed after Eggle’s death, and I figured that this indicated that things had improved, and in fact, things had. The US government had expanded its border wall across the park’s boundary, and increased its patrols in the area. With this in mind, I thought it would be good to pair a trip down to Puerto Penasco with some exploration of Organ Pipe.

DSCF6163

The Arch (c) AB Raschke

The most friendly, helpful rangers that I have ever met manned the visitor center here. There was also a great gift shop where I scored some prickly pear candy and mesquite flour (which made some great scones, by the way), and a nice little museum. Of course, the gift shop wasn’t the draw, and after learning about the lay of the park from the rangers, we decided to explore the Ajo Mountain Drive.

As its name suggests, this road runs right up to the Ajo Mountains, which had made for some of the most stunning landscapes on the drive from Phoenix to Rocky Point for the several years that I had been driving that way. I was giddy with the thought of seeing the mountains up close and hiking them. The drive didn’t disappoint, but I was surprised that the road was mostly unpaved. Luckily we were in a Honda Element, and the track was nice enough for us to travel it easily.

DSCF6158

A hill covered in Organ pipes (c) AB Raschke

The desert here was breathtaking. I’ve lived in Arizona my entire life in both Phoenix and Tucson, and I have driven through much of the state. Even so, the rugged cliffs of the Ajo Mountains and the brilliant mix of Sonoran plants here seemed particularly perfect. We couldn’t help ourselves and kept stopping on the way to take pictures. About half way down the road we stopped at the Arch Canyon Trail, and hiked for about an hour. Much of the trail, as its name suggested, ran along the southern edge of a canyon in the shadow of a great stone arch that was formed along the side mountain cliffs. This path was just slightly inclined, and well maintained. Besides stopping to snap pictures of the arch all down the trail, we also spotted a centipede and plenty of beautiful desert birds among the varied plants that gathered along the path. Towards the end of the trail, where we turned around, the path twined its way of the stone side of the mountain and lost much of its demarcation. By the looks of it, it worked its way up to the arch, but we didn’t have the proper footwear to check it out.

At any rate, between the drive, the hike, and the friendly rangers, I wasn’t at all disappointed in our stop at the park, and it definitely felt like Organ Pipe had made good progress since being labeled the most dangerous park in the United States.

And if you have any questions about Organ Pipe or my travels feel free to leave me a comment. 🙂

My next update will be on December 15th, about the Torrey Pines State Reserve in San Deigo, CA!

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén