The Oculus

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The Oculus was renamed The World Trade Center Transportation Hub when it opened in March of 2016. It was built to replace the PATH station destroyed in the terrorist attacks of 9-11.

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Originally, it was the Hudson terminal, opened in 1909 by the H&M  Railroad Company. H&M went bankrupt and the Port Authority bought them. When the Twin Towers were built in the 1970s, Hudson Terminal was demolished and replaced with the World Trade Center PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson) station.

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I used to go through the PATH station when I worked in lower Manhattan. I happened to be off the day in February of 1993 when a car bomb exploded in the parking garage, damaging the WTC station. It was up and running a week later, but in 2001, the North Tower collapsed into the station, destroying everything.

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Santiago Calatrava’s Oculus cost a staggering $4 billion to build and is supposed to resemble a bird taking flight. Modifications were made to the design for safety reasons and some say it now resembles a dinosaur. I prefer to think of it as a phoenix, rising from the ashes.

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I visited the station with a photography group just before the it became fully operational. We had the place to ourselves and it was clean enough for us to lie on the floor to take pictures of the ceiling! It looks very different today, with kiosks and art displays in the center.

Location: Church St, New York, NY 10006

Designation: Transportation Hub

Date designated or established: November 13, 1966

Date of my visit: August 24, 2018

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Byodo-In Temple State Landmark

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The Byodo-In Temple is at the foot of the Ko’olau Mountains in Valley of the Temples Memorial Park on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.

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It is a replica of the 950-year-old Byodo-in Temple in Uji, Japan. At 11,000 square feet, it is big, but half the size of the original.

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It  was built in 1968 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.

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The Temple is a non-practicing Buddhist temple…it doesn’t house monks or host a congregation. All faiths are welcome here.

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The main structure is Phoenix Hall…there is a Phoenix carving on the roof. Inside is an 18 foot statue of the Lotus Buddha. You must remove your shoes to go inside.

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Outside is a three-ton, brass peace bell which we were encouraged to ring, releasing our negativity.

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We bought some food from the gift shop to feel the koi and black swans in the large koi ponds that surround the temple.

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Oahu Posts:

  • Kahanamoku Beach
  • Fort DeRussy Beach Park
  • Green World Coffee Farm
  • The Dole Plantation
  • Anahulu River
  • Waimea Falls
  • Hau’ula Beach Park
  • Tropical Macadamia Farm
  • Byodo-In Temple
  • Polynesian Cultural Center (coming soon)
  • Aloha Tower (coming soon)
  • Diamond Head (coming soon)
  • Iolani Palace (coming soon)
  • King Kamehameha Statue (coming soon)
  • Aliʻiōlani Hale (coming soon)
  • Pearl Harbor (coming soon)

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Location: 47-200 Kahekili Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744

Designation: State Landmark

Date established/designated: June 7, 1968

Date of my visit: April 11, 2019

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Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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We visited the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park to help break up the long drive from Capitol Reef to Las Vegas. This park is home to ancient sand dunes created by the wind blowing eroding Navajo sandstone through a notch between the Moquith and Moccasin mountains. The red sandstone results in the unique pink color of the sand in this area.

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We stopped by the visitor center first to pay our nominal entrance fee and looked at their collection of sands from around the world.

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Next, we parked by the viewing platform. If you don’t like sand in your shoes, you can get a good view of the dunes just standing on the boardwalk area. This park is at an elevation of 6000 feet and the dunes are estimated to be between ten to fifteen thousand years old.

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We took the short trail through the dunes from there, with signs along the way about the geology of the dunes, the vegetation that grows there and a rare indigenous beetle.

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There were people driving ATVs up and down the dunes further out. These dunes can shift up to 50 feet per year because of the constant wind.

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The Coral Pink Sand Dunes have provided the backdrop for several movies, including The Greatest Story Ever Told and Arabian Nights. There have been over 170 movies and television episodes filmed in and around Kanab.

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We stopped in the nearby town of Kanab for a bite to eat before continuing on our journey. We walked down the street until we found Houston’s Trail’s End. This was a nice diner with a Western vibe to it (a lot of the movies filmed in Kanab were John Wayne movies.)

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To see my other posts from this Utah trip, please click below:

Location: 12500 Sand Dune Road, Kanab, UT 84741

Designation: State Park

Date designation declared: 1963

Date of my visit: 4/14/2017

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Philadelphia City Hall

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Philadelphia City Hall was constructed from 1871 to 1901 and was designed to be the tallest building in the world at 548 feet. By the time it was finished, it had been surpassed by the Washington Monument and the Eiffel Tower.

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With 700 rooms and 22-foot supporting masonry walls, it is the largest municipal building in the United States. It houses all three branches of the city government.

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The 37 foot statue of city founder William Penn tops the tower and is the largest statue on top of any building in the world.

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Fun fact: The construction of One Liberty Place ended the decades-old gentlemen’s agreement to limit the height of other city buildings to William Penn’s hat brim. This was said to have cursed the Philly sports teams until another Penn statue was erected on the Comcast building just before the Phillies won the World Series in 2008.

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The clock faces in the tower are 26 feet in diameter, three feet larger than London’s Big Ben. There is a small glass-enclosed observation deck just below the base of the statue which we have never been able to visit since it’s only open during business hours. We did get to the top of One Liberty on our last visit for views of City Hall and the rest of Philadephia.

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Location: 1400 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Designation: National Historic Landmark

Date designation declared: 1976

Date of my visit: August 11, 2017

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Mount Hood National Forest: Timberline Lodge

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We took a day trip with Sea to Summit Tours & Adventures that traveled the Columbia River highway stopping at numerous waterfalls, vista point, a dam and salmon ladder, an orchard and other picturesque places, culminating with a stop at the Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood.

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Timberline Lodge was built during the Great Depression by the Works Progress Administration. It sits on the south side of Mount Hood, within Mount Hood National Forest. The lodge was dedicated in 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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Timberline Lodge is publicly owned and privately operated. We briefly looked around inside the historic hotel which has some museum-type displays. The lodge was the setting for The Shining and you can ask at the concierge desk to see the ax supposedly wielded by Jack Nicholson.

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We skipped that and used our short time before heading back to Portland to explore the outdoors. Mount Hood National forest is one of the most visited National Forests in the US. It contains many developed recreational sites, including Timberline.

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We were there in August and people were skiing! Mount Hood is Oregon’s highest point at over eleven thousand feet and is home to 12 glaciers. I believe the one we could see from the back of the lodge is the Palmer Glacier.

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Mount Hood is a potentially active volcano and is considered the Oregon volcano most likely to erupt. This made us a little nervous, hearing that as we approached the mountain, though the odds of an explosive eruption happening within the next 30 years is actually pretty low. Scientists estimate it at a 3-7% chance.

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Mount Hood is in the Cascade Range. From the patio of Timberline Lodge, we could see several other mountains in the distance.

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Location: 27500 E Timberline Road, Government Camp, OR 97028

Designation: National Forest, National Historic Landmark

Date designation declared: 7/1/1908, 12/22/1977

Date of my visit: August 2016

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Happy 103rd Birthday, NPS!

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

 

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On August 25th, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act, establishing the National Park Service as an agency of the Department of Interior. Though President Wilson is known more for his foreign policy (WWI took place during his administration,) he left an enduring conservation legacy. Aside from The NPS, Wilson also established several national parks including Hawaii Volcanoes, Rocky Mountain and the Grand Canyon.

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Happy birthday to the National Park Service!

Zion National Park: Lower Emerald Pool

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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After we checked into the Zion Lodge, we had enough time for a short hike before dinner. We headed to the trail head for the Emerald Pools, right across the street from the hotel.

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We crossed the footbridge over the Virgin River and followed the paved path upriver. This is a very popular trail due to its accessibility. In the late afternoon, it was way too crowded for our taste.

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After about a half-mile of dodging obnoxious tourists, we arrived at Lower Emerald Pool. Waterfalls spill over an overhang here and the path continues behind the falls to Middle and Upper Emerald Pools. We took a few photos at this point and decided to turn back because of the crowds.

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Zion Park Posts:

  • Kolob Canyons Section
  • Zion National Park
  • Kolob Canyon 5-mile Drive
  • Timber Creek Overlook Trail (Coming Soon)
  • Emerald Pools (Coming Soon)
  • Canyoneering (Coming Soon)
  • Hidden Canyon (Coming Soon)
  • Scout Lookout (Coming Soon)
  • Angel’s Landing (Coming Soon)
  • Pa’Rus Trail (Coming Soon)

Location: Springdale, UT

Designation: National Park

Date designated/established: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 9, 2017

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