It is early on the seventh day of March as the rising sun filters through the tangle of trees, a mix of Pacific madrone and lowland conifers on the East CrossTown Trail, one of many forested local trails in the Newcastle Trails system. This trailside seating just off the CrossTown Trail has a lovely view of a small madrone grove. It is officially known as Eagle Scout Aerie, named by the Newcastle Trails Association. Pacific madrone, Arbutus menziesii, is a broadleaf evergreen that often leans out from the south facing coastal slopes in search of light. Its gnarly twisted trunks and distinctive orange-red flaking bark make it visually arresting, always worthy of closer examination. Its gnarly twisted trunks and distinctive orange-red flaking bark make it visually arresting, always worthy of closer examination.
The United States is one of the most diverse countries on earth, jam packed full of amazing sights from St. Patrick's cathedral in New York to Mount Hollywood California.The Northeast region is where it all started. Thirteen British colonies fought the American Revolution from here and won their independence in the first successful colonial rebellion in history. Take a look at these rolling hills carpeted with foliage along the Hudson river here, north of New York City.The American south is known for its polite people and slow pace of life. Probably they move slowly because it's so hot. Southerners tend not to trust people from "up north" because they talk too fast. Here's a cemetery in Georgia where you can find graves of soldiers from the Civil War.The West Coast is sort of like another country that exists to make the east coast jealous. California is full of nothing but grizzly old miners digging for gold, a few gangster rappers, and then actors. That is to say, the West Coast functions as the imagination of the US, like a weird little brother who teases everybody then gets famous for making freaky art.The central part of the country is flat farmland all the way over to the Rocky Mountains. Up in the northwest corner you can find creative people in places like Portland and Seattle, along with awesome snowboarding and good beer. Text by Steve Smith.