Thankful For – Loyal Clients, Poisonous Snakes, Bawdy Ladies of the Yukon, & Psychedelic Trees

vintage thanksgiving (11)
Hello everyone!
I’m so thankful for you, my loyal clients!

I’m also so thankful for travel!
Sit back with a cup of tea, beer, or wine and enjoy as you travel with me to strange and beautiful lands…

Take a little photo journey with me as I reflect on the places I’m grateful to have experienced this year. Click on the hyperlinks in the captions to get more information about why I chose the pictures and places I did. Nothing is random here, all have a back story and I have many more if you’re interested!
I’ve had some amazing experiences and I am THANKFUL!
Costa Rica, two weeks in Hawaii and two weeks in Alaska…
Next year, Ireland and then a river cruise through Europe.

All of these places will make you happy, trust me. How can I help?
Please let me know!

Gail Hummel
Burkhalter Travel

Royal Lahaina Luau
Me at the Royal Lahaina Myths of Maui Luau! The food and entertainment were wonderful! This is my home away from home. Get an ocean front room there during whale watching season and bring your binoculars. You’ll see many whales because they winter in the channel off the islands there.

Cabin in Fairbanks
That was one big polar bear! Outside of Anchorage, the Chena Indian Village had walking paths, living history cabins, reindeer, sled dogs, and presentations. The guides working with the Riverboat Discovery told a good story, but it was very much a tourist destination.

Skookum Jim’s cabin in Carcross, Yukon Territory. I would love to return! Skookum Jim and three others originally discovered gold on Bonanza Creek, thus creating the Gold Rush. The back story is very interesting!

Desserts Costa Rica
Fancy desserts in at Cafe Y Macadamia, Costa Rica. No, I didn’t eat either one of those, but I did buy some bee pollen there. To get from the Arenal area to Gunacaste, it is an hours long bus ride over roads not quite ready for prime time. Main roads are good, mountain roads not so much.

The psychedelic trees along the Road to Hana, more commonly known as Rainbow Eucalyptus.My headband matches. I bought it for the hike through the Bamboo Forest on the Pipiwa Trail. Have you been? This is in a different part of Haleakala National Park than people normally visit. If hiking is your thing, there is nowhere in the world like this Bamboo Forest.

Dinner at The Plantation
Dining at The Plantation House which overlooks the award winning Kapalua Golf Course. The food was incredible and so was the view. I also liked the Golf Shop and was disappointed it was closing as we arrived. Jordan Speith hangs out here. I’m impressed because he is awesome! If you like to golf and want the best Maui offers, let me send you here!

Building in Dawson City Yukon
A dusty street scene in Dawson, which is an incubator of history, talent, miners, and bawdy entertainment! Where else can you do a toe shot? No, didn’t do that either. Nope. I did find Dawson City to be one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been. Everyone is a character. I won’t tell you what that means. You have to let me send you and  find out for yourself.

Old Lahaina Luau guys getting the pig started
This is where the guys put the pig in traditional Imu at the Old Lahaina Luau. This is the most authentic luau on the island of Maui and also the hardest to get into. Make your reservations early! This is not just a luau, it is an award winning event and worth making the time for.

Dirty Gertie's in Dawson City
The ladies at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s are saucy and known to drag husbands up on the stage and make them cross dress. Once you’ve lost your dignity, head over to the nearest table and lose your poke. Miners still pay their tab with gold dust here.

Pods at Tabacon
If you stay at the Tabacon, you get to enter paradise, also known as the Shangri-La Gardens, this area is exclusive to resort guests. You will bask in the thermal pools, gazing up at Arenal. This place is a paradise that defies description. You need to go and I need to go back.

Kalaupapa Father Damien Settlment on Molokai
This view is overlooking Kalaupapa, the site of Father Damien’s colony that helped those ostracized by Hanson’s Disease (leprosy). To get there, it’s a mule ride down a steep hill. No, I didn’t do that either. I’m not fond of mule rides.But the view was incredible!

Here I had a tour with Jacamar Naturalist Tours at the Hanging Bridges area near Arenal,Costa Rica, I got in trouble for not wearing closed toe shoes that were specified in our travel documents. We saw two poisonous snakes, a poisonous frog, and Howler Monkeys trying to kidnap a baby Spider Monkey. This place was literally a jungle.

Boarding the plane on Molokai
This plane ride offered the opportunity to have your weight yelled out by the pilot that was flying the plane as you were waiting to board. Some chunky people got their own seat to balance the weight on the plane. Oh joy. On the upside, the flights between Molokai and Maui typically run at about $60 per person, one way and run twice a day.

Farmer's market on Molokai
The Farmer’s Market in Molokai is a very interesting place! It’s obvious you are not a local because everyone knows everyone. They are happy to have customers, with only 7,345 residents. I love that little island of heaven. I’d like to send you there, too!

Mark Ellman and I at Honu on Maui
Here I am trying to get some fame to rub off on me by hugging famous chef, Mark Ellman. I can’t even think about his crab sandwich right now because my mouth waters and I get a little mad that Honu is so far away. If you are ever on Maui and you don’t make it to one of his restaurants, you should probably have just stayed home. He runs the restaurants with the help of his wife and daughters- they are very busy and the food is very, very good. Mala Ocean Tavern, Frida’s Mexican Beach House. Honu Seafood and Pizza. All of these places deserve your attention and money. This guy is a phenomena for a reason.

Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center Alaska in Haines Alaska
Tribal dancers share their deep heritage at the Jilkaat Kwaan Cultural Heritage Center. I visited as an excursion from a Holland America Cruise when overnighting in the port of Skagway. This was an experience full of cultural treasures and guided by a native Alaskan that had some good bear stories.

Yukon gold rush paper
Tucked into the hillside in Dawson City is what is fondly referred to as Author’s Row. It consists of Robert Service Carrier’s Cabin and a little jaunt away, Jack London’s Cabin. These literary giants had tales to tell and stories told about them. I highly recommend reading some of their works before making the trip here.

Lahaina snorkeling trip with Trilogy excursions.
There’s nothing like snorkeling off an unspoiled beach off Lanai and then having a tour by local Aunties to show you all about the tiny island of Lanai. I long to return here. A special end to our excursion by Sail Trilogy Tours was locating a large passel of spinner dolphins that led us back to the harbor in Lahaina. I’ll never forget that day! Another special moment was when they unfurled the sails and cut the engines and we were sailing, take me away….
Klondike Dredge sign at Bonanza Creek Dawson City Yukon
To really understand the Gold Rush, take a tour of Gold Dredge Number Four. Our driver knew the old and new history of the mining operations that are still evident in the Dawson City area. We were taken right down to the bend in Bonanza Creek where the Gold Rush started. I was impressed, but then my grandpa’s brother was part of this Gold Rush, so I enjoyed imagining him with his stake, heading into the area and well, he actually struck it rich and went to Pomona, CA and bought land right downtown. That carried him the rest of his life.

Moody atmosphere as we arrive into Juneau     Me being welcomed to Juneau by a great wooden sign
Approaching Juneau, we were met with the eeriest of weather. Smoke trails enhanced the unusual atmosphere and it felt like we were entering a strange new land. Alaskans are not kidding when they refer to anyone from the lower 48 as outsiders. This is a different world, one I am grateful to have seen, and one I long to return to.

Banyan Tree Park - Lahaina

Banyon Tree Court Park in Lahaina on Maui is a favorite. I am a dendrophile (tree lover), so this is a spot that draws me. Local musicians and artists ply there trade here, tourists wander and wonder.. and the tree reigns. If you’ve never experienced a tree that can cover most of a city block, I can get you there. You’ll never forget it.

In all of my travels, the feeling I carry most is fresh of breath air gratitude to be able to experience the newness of a place I’ve never been, or dive deeper into everything a place I am returning to has to offer. I am thankful. I am grateful. I am hopeful that as 2018 approaches, you and I will be busy crafting new adventures that reinforce a deeper appreciation of all the world has to offer.

I am thankful for you because as we work together, you widen my world as we mark the path. I hope the memories made are ones you carry with you!

Warm regards,
Gail Hummel


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