New Zealand!

My mom and I have been talking about taking a girls bonding trip for who knows how long. Since I finally have a couple months to relax after my last job in Woods Hole and before I start Graduate school, we decided to carpe diem! We arrived a bit worse for the ware but happy nonetheless yesterday afternoon in San Jose Costa Rica. After a little confusion with the taxi driver we grabbed a shuttle to Jaco where we will spend the next few days doing yoga, surfing, and many other activities.  

On the way up we learned all about the coffee bean; the plants grow rampantly here. The beans are hand picked, peeled, and then roasted. During the drive we also saw a tornado over the ocean. It was fairly brief, but we watched as a definite funnel developed from a foreboding wall cloud and then elongated down to the water.

Click on the images above to see a few of the photographs I took during our trip!

Toolik Lake, Alaska

The tundra in Alaska is home to a suprisingly wide variety of flora and fauna.  During my various field seasons doing research in Alaska, I always try to pause to capture the variety unique organisms of the Arctic!

Cloud Berries, (technical name: Rubus chamaemorus), are similar to rasberries or blackberries but are native to higher latitudes and mountainous regions.  These are quite delicious, I loved picking and munching on them as we hike! 

Wild Lupinus (a.k.a. lupin or lupine) in northern Alaska.  These flowers can be found throughout the world, but I believe are more common in mountainous regions.  I find the flowers of this plant just gorgeous!

Old World Swallowtail Butterfly basking in the sun to dry their wings after a rain storm.  These butterflies appear similar to the Canadian Tiger swallowtail and may be identified based on the thicker black markings near their body.  You can learn all about these creatures at:  http://www.turtlepuddle.org/alaskan/butterfly12.html