Grand Teton lake from the best pictures“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”

It’s an impossible task to catalog a year of travel by choosing ten of the ‘best pictures.’ So these are drawn from several favorite destinations in the Americas that I was blessed to visit during the past twelve months. I hope you enjoy them!

A personal, ten best pictures from 2015
San Carlos Raptor hunting from cactus, top ten pictures

San Carlos Raptor hunting.

San Carlos, Mexico

My travel buddy, Dave, needed to check on a fish farm in Magdalena Bay and I tagged along to help with driving. From La Paz, we drove through Federales checkpoints on the narrow road to the coast. Just before rolling into the village of San Carlos, we spied noble raptors nesting on poles and hunting from cactus trees.

Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis


It was a last minute trip but I jumped at a chance to visit Minneapolis with my 90 year old Aunt Fawnee for a family reunion. Over a few short days I toured the Twin Cities with a dear friend and fell in love with the riverfront. This view across the river was taken from the Mill City Museum. More about the adventure.

Abalone harvest in the years best picturesFort Bragg, California

Dave and his son, Jeff, spent a morning free diving for Abalone off the rocky coast near Fort Bragg. Braving the frigid water, they soon pried their limit from the rocks. Diving, pounding and prepping the meat is a lot of work but what a feast we had! Read the whole story here.

Grand Teton National Park, top pictures

Grand Tetons National Park, photo: Dave Rudie

Grand Tetons National Park

Getting the kid’s car to their new home in Philadelphia took us through 8 National Parks this summer. Dave’s picture gives a glimpse of the macro and micro beauty of Grand Tetons Park. It’s hard to pick a favorite National Park, but I’d return here in a heartbeat.

hunter in grand tetons national park

The Hunter

During a lakeside hike I heard a squirrel squealing. Turned out that he was dodging this creature in a life and death chase. Luckily, the pursuit stopped long enough for this shot before the predator loped away. I captured this in Glacier National Park.

Catalina Island

Catalina Harbor from Banning House, best pictures

Watching the light shift from this vantage point at Two Harbors’ Banning House never gets old. For his birthday, Dave wanted to return to the spot where his company was born. This is Catalina Harbor. Agar Canyon, where he would dry his seaweed harvests, is in the middle on the right.

New Orleans

Red in Horn's New OrleansThis year I my sister and I finally visited New Orleans. We exhausted ourselves over four days of walking through the different districts. I spied this gentleman in Horn’s Cafe off Frenchman Street. In a soft drawl he said, “They call me Red, because my beard used to be so.” Read more about our discoveries in New Orleans.

Fort Lauderdale

sunrise Fort Lauderdale
Nothing could have prepared me for the sunrises in Fort Lauderdale. On my first morning of a travel blogger’s conference, I woke, jet lagged and still on West Coast time. Checking my phone, I noticed a glow on the wall and turned to see this unfolding. Every day was a revelation. More of the story.

Jelly fish, Looe Key best pictures of 2015

Looe Key Reef, the Florida Keys

We wrangled two dives in the Florida Keys before the winds kicked up and a small craft warning kept us landlocked. Off Ramrod Key we dodged jelly fish floating near the surface. I was so glad to be diving instead of snorkeling! A Goliath Grouper was hanging out under the boat on our last return.  Picture: Dave Rudie.

corner at wynwood neighborhood, best pictures
Wynwood Walls, Miami

This is just one corner in the Wynwood District of Miami. An international group of mural artists have transformed the industrial neighborhood. It was the last trip before we escaped the steamy heat to happily spend the holiday season at home in San Diego.

Elaine and Dave in Yellowstone, best picturesIt’s an honor to be able to travel often for work and to tag along with my travel buddy and the love of my life, Dave Rudie. I hope you enjoyed this collection of my best pictures from the past year and hope that you too have many travels and discoveries throughout this beautiful planet we call home.

Grand Tetons from the best picturesIf you love great travel blogs join me in exploring this linkup.