Coke & Som Smith Photography & Travelogue

North America Travelogue

Be sure to visit our Photo Galleries for more spectacular images of our travels! (North America Pbase Galleries)





Southern New Mexico 2010!


During the early summer of 2010, I had the unique pleasure of traveling to Las Cruces New Mexico to attend and Advanced Placement Environmental Studies (APES) seminar conducted at New Mexico State University.  While my days were filled with productive work preparing for my upcoming assignment as the APES instructor at Shanghai American School, my mornings, afternoons and evenings were spent hitting the surrounding deserts and mountains searching for all that is natural!



Knight Inlet & BC Bear Country!



For this adventure, we ventured on one of the best wildlife-viewing trips I have ever been on in North America.  We spent one week in British Columbia's Knight's Inlet and Vancouver Island.  While the main emphasis was Grizzly Bears, we saw many other critters and had so many incredible experiences! 

California Road Trip 2010!

The spring of 2010 is our last spring for the for eseeable future in my home country of the United States.  By June we will be living in Asia  for an indefinite period of time.  So I decided to cram as many wildlife-watching, family-visiting road trips in to our short period here as possible!  Our first of which was to be a two-week sojourn down California’s north coast ultimately down as far as Los Angeles






Northern Illinois' Prairie Woodlands


Our swan song for our lives in the states was a visit to northern Illinois for a fantastic family reunion, the high point of which was seeing my father sing his last Beethoven concert with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  June 18-25, 2010 was spent also exploring some more of DuPage County’s phenomenal prairie woodland plant community.  During our explorations we visited McKee and Lincoln Marshes where we had some very good luck with birds (with several lifers!) and even some mammals (with two lifers!). 




Spring Sojourn To Baja California, Mexico

In the spring of 2009, the Smith's rented a car in San Diego and drove hundreds of miles deep in to Baja, Mexico to see one of nature's greatest spectacles - the birthing of the gray whales.  During our two week expedition to Baja California del Sur, we saw hundreds of whales and tons of other wildlife.  The deserts were in full bloom and we had amazing times trekking the landscape of Baja!

Eleven Year Expedition to Washington's Olympic Peninsula

What can I say...our life over the past eleven years here on the Olympic Peninsula has been like one great adventure.  The following pages are meant to be more of a natural history essay of the region and less of a travelogue.  Our lives here have been rich in nature for sure!

Puget Sound Washington

Although the greater Puget Sound is heavily populated, there is a wealth of wildlife and wild areas.  We have been fortunate to have lived and played in the Puget Sound, or Salish Sea, ecosystem for years now, and here are some of our stories of our life here.




Journey to the Channel Islands, California

California's very own Galapagos!  The Channel Islands are a spectacular destination, and Anacapa Island in particular is a great spot for studying island endemism and the California coastal ecology.  Our short expedition here was fantastic!



Amazing Yellowstone National Park

During my life I have spent countless weeks in Yellowstone and the greater Yellowstone region.  In 2004 I was able to share this amazing spot with my family during a short stay in the area.  This page represents a summary of my many trips there and my experiences with the flora and fauna.



Nature of California's North Coast, From Point Reyes to the Redwoods!

The coast of northern California has been a travel destination for me forever basically.  Filled with the most amazing forests anywhere on the planet, northen California has much to keep me coming back.  Here is a small sample of what my family and I have experienced in the area during our nearly annual trips up and down the coast!


Expedition to Eastern Washington State

So far in our decade+ long stay in Washington state, we have only been able to squeeze one two-week expedition to the eastern half of our state.  And what an amazing place it is!  Filled with great animals and ecosystems, the region makes one recall the great desert southwest of North America.


Spring Sojourn to the Forests of Northern Illinois

Visiting my family in Chicago is something we try to do at least every couple of years.  As much as I dread large cities these days, we try to gleen a bit of nature out of our stays.  Luckily the western suburbs of Chicago are rich in wildlife reserves (forest preserves) which protect molecules of the biodiversity that once were common in the midwest of North America.  So while we hare hangin' with the fam', we get some killer nature action too!


Spectacular Aransas, Texas!

During another wonderful family get-together in Texas, my family and I were able to steal some time away for an expedition of the Texas coast to the amazing Aransas Wildlife Refuge.  Here we spent some quality time with the rare whooping cranes as well as many other species like armadillos, white-tailed deer and peregrine falcons!  What a great spot.  Surprisingly, Texas still has a lot of them!



America's Desert Southwest: Arizona, California & Nevada

For nearly a decade, I was priviledged to lead educational trips to many of the national parks and reserves in the desert areas of the southwest.  Here you will read about my expeditions to Joshua Tree, Anza Borrego, Mojave, Organ Pipe and other destinations in the desert!

Canyon Country of Utah & Arizona

Canyon country keeps drawing me back time and time again.  During the past 40 years, I must have traveled to the region at least 25 times - sometimes for a couple days and other times for many weeks.  The following pages represent my impressions of such amazing areas as the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Canyonlands and Arches National Parks.


Our Anasazi Pilgrimage

During the summer of 2004, Som, Cokie and I set out on a multiweek camping trip to search for the most remote Anasazi ruins in the desert southwest.  We visited Chaco, Hovenweep, Navajo, Canyon de Chelly, Mesa Verde and many, many more!  You don't have to go to Europe to see ancient culture!



The Great Rocky Mountains of Montana & Colorado

I have taken many trips to various regions of the Rockies.  This page summarizes these trips and includes impressions from my stays in Glacier and Rocky Mountain National  Parks as well as some of the surrounding areas.

California's Sierra Nevada

Living in central California for nearly 20 years allowed many expeditions up to the amazing Sierra Nevada mountains.  A vast wilderness that spans the backbone of the state, the Sierra are home to some phenomenal destinations.  Here you will hear about my trips to Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon National Parks as well as other areas.


Alaska: Wow!

In 1993, Lien and I took a two-month expedition to Alaska which covered over 15,000 miles of territory.  Camping with wolves, hiking with grizzlies and fishing with the puffins are some of the highpoints of the trip.  Sadly I did not take any serious images while there but that just means I need to get back there again!



California's Spectacular Big Sur Coast!

Any excuse to travel down Coastal Highway 1 in California!  Basically growing up camping along this stretch of California's coast, I have gained a great appreciation for its natural beauty and biodiversity.  This page summarizes many short camping trips to the region as well as longer two-week expeditions taken there in 1999 & 2000.  What a special place.

Yukon: Canada's Great White North

Canada's Yukon and Northwest territories are a home to some great wilderness.  In 1993, we had an opportunity to camp in the region for a couple great weeks - just long enough to make me realize that I will absolutely need to get back there again!


Two Weeks In Death Valley National Park (Seven Years in a Row!)

Every year for seven years, I was fortunate to lead 12-day educational expeditions to Death Valley National Park.  This page represents my musings on this wondrous wilderness.




North America's Great Plains

More than simply an area to blow past, the great plains of North America are home to an amazing assemblage of endangered ecosystems and species.  Although most of the habitat gone forever, there are still some wonderful places worth seeing. These pages represent summaries of multiple trips to such places as Devil's Tower, Chimney Rock, various grasslands, and many other locations.


Summer Trip 1972!

I was fortunate in that I came from a family that valued travel experiences.  Through my childhood there were many pivotal points during which I was forming my addiction to travel!  In 1972, my father, stepmom (Rose), sister and I traveled the United States for nearly three months on an amazing road trip around the country.  During this expedition, we traveled at least 23 states and even some of Canada!  We camped all over the country, had tons of wildlife experiences, and even visited many of the more historical parts of my country.  I very enjoyed spending time with my family in Virginia, Indiana and Maine as well!


Summer Trip 1977 (& 78)!

The summers of 1977 and 1978 were two more big family travel events!  In 1977, we drove across the country with mom, dad, and my bros and sisters!  It was one packed Chevy station wagon!  We had a great trip through Oregon, the Midwest and in Chicago with the fam.  We spent several weeks at Green Lake Wisconson doing all sorts of naughty things with the "good" kids from South Church!  We had a blast.  We also spent time with Dad and Rose camping in California during these fun summers.



Two Summers in the Sky Islands of Southeastern Arizona!


During the summers of '90 & '91, I was able to spend many months in the spectacular desert areas of Madera Canyon, AZ doing research for my graduate studies in biology.  These two months were spent reseaching the plants and insects of this amazing and diverse area of North America.


Be sure to visit our Photo Galleries for more spectacular images of our travels! (Pbase Galleries)