Category Archives: Photo Essay

The Outer Banks – Sun, Sand, and Sea

For centuries, people have been coming to the Outer Banks on the coast of North Carolina. The Indians that lived there, the colonists that disappeared, and the pirates that roamed the waters all understood that life on these islands could be brief.

Fortunately, that is no longer the case. Even in the Spring, the beach is still alive with birds, sea creatures, and people. We wanted to see for ourselves what the fuss was all about. Why do so many people flock to these shores every year?

Our visit was just one week. Our plans were to visit the Wild Horse Refuge near Corolla, play a few rounds of golf, and visit the four lighthouses that define the Outer Banks.

We were successful.

Wild horses on the beach

Backcountry Safari Tours provided us with a Wild Horse Safari by Segway that was a blast.

Having some experience with Segways, we were ready to go quickly. Soon we were driving on Highway 12 – on the beach road. Suddenly we came across a small herd of horses on the beach.

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These horses are descendants of Spanish mustang ponies left here centuries ago. They live here wild – so you can’t get too close.

We headed to the refuge and unloaded the Segways. Soon we were zooming around the dunes through the refuge.

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Ready to go!

We saw plenty of hoof prints, but no horses in the refuge.

We did leave the refuge and ride the Segways around the area and did find a few horses grazing alongside the road.

They ignored us.

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Ignoring the humans taking pictures.

Contact Backcountry Safari Tours for more information on the Wild Horse Safari trip.


Our other goal, besides playing golf, was to visit all four of the famous lighthouses in the area: Bodie Island,  Cape Hatteras, and Ocracoke Island, and Currituck Lighthouse.

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Bodie Island Lighthouse
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Ocracoke Lighthouse
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Cape Hatteras Lighthouses
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Currituck Lighthouse

We walked each lighthouse except Ocracoke. There are no stairs in that lighthouse any longer.

We really enjoyed North Carolina. For us in the Rocky Mountain West, the sun, sand, and sea were a wonderful change of pace.

Costa Rica photo essay – Doka Estate Coffee Plantation

I love Costa Rica – the sun, the beach, the jungle all speak to me. This last trip, we spent time at the Doka Estates Coffee Plantation. Here are some of the pictures from that tour.


The Doka Estate is in Alajuela, Costa Rica. It’s about a 40-minute drive up the mountain from downtown San Jose.

There is plenty to do at the Estate once you’ve gotten your coffee fix.

The tour begins with a quick growing lesson. All the plants at the Estate are started and nurtured by hand on-site.


Eventually, the plants are big enough to go into the fields and produce coffee cherries.


All the work is done by hand. Each coffee picker fills this basket with coffee cherries to earn around $8 U.S. per basket.


After separating and drying the beans, they are bagged and shipped to various brokers throughout the world.


Here’s what coffee looks like when it’s drying.

Costa Rica

After the tour, relax on the balcony and enjoy the view!