Text Index: North America on the Matrix

North America Home Page:  A brief overview of each of the countries listed below. Slide shows focus on both the cultural aspects of the region and its magnificent landscapes.

Canada:  A brief and limited tour through this large and varied country. The photos all come from one winter trip through the Canadian Rockies and west to the Pacific coast. World-class scenery!

Niagara Falls:  The largest waterfalls in North America span the Canada-U.S. border. The spectacular falls draw millions of visitors each year.

Mexico:  Mexico is a country of great geographic and cultural diversity, with a history that includes the great pre-Hispanic civilizations of the Maya, Toltec, Aztec and others, as well as the modern development of the nation following colonization by Spain and eventual independence.

Copper Canyon:  Mexico's Copper Canyon (also known as Barranca del Cobre or Sierra Tarahumara) offers some of North America's most dramatic landscapes. One can see the deep canyons, rushing rivers and soaring mountains from the comfort of a first class train. Stopovers in Creel and Batopilas offer a closer view and a chance to meet the indigenous Tarahumara people.

Guanajuato:  Guanajuato is one of Mexico's most beautiful and well-preserved cities from the Spanish colonial era. It is also a lively university town with plenty to see and do.

Mexico City:  Mexico City is one of the world's great cities. It boasts wonderful, leafy parks, world-class museums, public art, fine restaurants, varied and interesting neighborhoods and Paseo de la Reforma, a wide and tree-lined boulevard that connects Chapultepec Park to the city's central historical district. I fell in love with the city!

Morelia:  Morelia is a grand city with a large historical district filled with formal and well-maintained buildings from the Spanish colonial era. It was an unexpected surprise!

Pátzcuaro & Day of the Dead:  The quiet colonial city of Pátzcuaro comes alive each Fall to celebrate Mexico's Day of the Dead, a time when tradition holds the dead can reunite with the living for one night a year. It is a colorful and boisterous festival.

Querétaro:  Querétaro is a visitor's delight, with beautifully maintained colonial buildings and a well-designed network of pedestrian walkways and plazas that make it a pleasure to stroll throughout this fine city. It is also a Mecca for history buffs.

San Miguel de Allende:  San Miguel is one of the most charming cities in colonial Mexico and a second (or retirement) home for a large community of Americans.

Tarahumara People:  The Tarahumara people retreated into the mountains of Mexico's Copper Canyon rather than submit to the Spanish. Today, they have managed to retain much of their traditional culture..

Taxco:  Clinging to the hillsides southwest of Mexico City, the whitewashed city of Taxco preserves its colonial look and its reputation for fine silver.

Xochimilco:  Once part of an intricate system of canals leading to the Aztec capital at Tenochitlán, Xochimilco is now known for its beautiful flowers and as a retreat where urban dwellers can float along the waterways on colorful boats. In addition, there is the Dolores Olmedo Patiño Museum that combines a grand hacienda with 20th century art and rare Xoloitzcuintle dogs.

Zacatecas:  During the colonial era, Zacatecas prospered as silver poured from the nearby mines. Visitors today will find many remnants of this prosperous era, plus have an opportunity to take a cable car to the top of Cerro de la Bufa for panoramic vistas, or venture deep into an old silver mine. Plus, there's hotel built around an old bull ring! How often do you get a chance to see that?

Pre-Hispanic Mexico:  Long before the arrival of the Spanish in the early 1500s, Mexico was home to some of the most advanced civilizations in the world and was one of only two places on earth where scholars agree that writing developed independent of outside influences. This pages offers a brief summary of the Olmec, Zapotec, Teotihuacán, Maya, Toltec and Aztec cultures.

Chichén Itzá:  Rising out of the monotonous flatness of Mexico's Yucatán peninsula, Chichén Itzá is one of the great, monumental cities of ancient Mesoamerica. It was a center of trade and spread its Maya and Itzá influences as far as ancient Tula, near present-day Mexico City. The magnificent structures that remain should be on every traveler's must-see list.

Teotihuacán:  The pyramids and expansive layout of the ancient city of Teotihuacán can only be described as overwhelming. Teotihuacán's inhabitants (about whom very little is known) built on a scale rivaled only by the great pyramids of ancient Egypt. The archaeological site is an easy day trip from Mexico City and should not be missed. Plus, you can climb the pyramids!

Tula:  The ruins at Tula, near Mexico City, are all that remains of the once-great Toltec capital known as Tollán. Tula shares many common influences with the Maya city of Chichén Itzá, hundreds of miles away. Today visitors will find a very well-preserved pyramid topped with colossal warrior figures, plus other remnants of the ancient city.

Tzintzuntzan:  Tzintzuntzan was the capital of the ancient Puépecha (Tarasca) Empire, one of the few able to resist the Aztec juggernaut. The ruins at Tzintzuntzan include very unusual, rounded pyramids known as "yácatas." It's a small site, but worth seeing if you are in the Pátzcuaro area.

The Tropics:  Photos from a week-long sailing trip through the U.S. and British Virgin Islands in 1982. Some underwater shots are included.

United States:  The western states of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming offer some of the most magnificent scenery in the world. In addition, the U.S. is home to both modern and ancient Native American cultures. The slide shows here attempt to capture both the cultural and scenic views of the American West, plus some quick views at other areas of the country.

Arizona:  The Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley and Meteor Crater are among the most magnificent splendors of the American West. You'll find them all in Arizona, plus more!

California:  California has the most diverse landscape of any state in the Union. It includes the lowest spot in the western hemisphere (Death Valley, 282 feet below sea level), the highest point in the lower 48 (Mt. Whitney, 14,494 feet above sea level) and almost unimaginable variety everywhere else. It's great cities, the long and scenic coastline and the magnificent Yosemite National Park add to California's reputation as a must-see destination.

Colorado:  Colorado is best known for the soaring Rocky Mountains that run through the state, and justly so. The western two-thirds of Colorado is among the most beautiful places on earth (and offers some of world's best skiing).

The Dakotas:  A quick trip through eastern North Dakota and western South Dakota provided a chance to see American Bison, the Badlands and Mt. Rushmore.

The Everglades:  An air boat tour in the Everglades National Park offered views of the expansive "river of grass" and some of its most well-known residents, alligators.

Michigan:  A drive up the eastern coast of Michigan offered views of Lake Huron, Mackinaw City and an opportunity to drive over the Mackinac Bridge – the ninth longest span in the world (and the third longest in the U.S.) – to Michigan's upper peninsula.

Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument:  Much of the awesome destruction caused by the 1980 eruption of Washington's Mt. St. Helens can still be seen today. A new lava dome is building and someday we will hear from the volcano again.

New England:  This series presents a few photos from scenic Rockport, Massachusetts, plus a look Barre Vermont's Hope Cemetery, where generations of Italian stone cutters have left a legacy of elaborate (and sometimes amusing) tombstones carved from the area's hard granite.

North Carolina:  The Outer Banks of North Carolina are one of America's most scenic beach areas.

Oregon Coast:  The rugged coast of Oregon is the perfect place to escape the summer heat while enjoying magnificent scenery and great seafood. Oregon is also home to the stunning Crater Lake, set in a volcanic caldera.

New Mexico:  When you visit New Mexico, you know that you've arrived in a place different from any other place in the U.S. Pueblo style architecture, expansive landscapes, soaring mountains and the prominent influences of the State's Native American and Hispanic communities all contribute to New Mexico's distinctive allure. In addition, there's the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge and, even cooler, Lowriders!

Utah:  Visitors to Utah's Bryce Canyon, Arches or Canyonlands National Parks may think they have landed on another planet. These other-worldly landscapes, plus the magnificent expanse of Zion National Park and other areas, make Utah a dream for photographers, hikers, mountain bikers and anyone drawn to unusual landscapes.

Wyoming:  Wyoming is home to the spectacular Yellowstone Park, the Grand Teton Mountains and Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area.

Native Americans:  Native American culture is very much a part of modern life in many parts of the U.S., particularly the southwest. This page provides a glimpse of the annual Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, NM, which draws Indian tribes from across the U.S. and Canada, as well as some of New Mexico's Native American pueblos (villages) that have been inhabited since pre-Columbian times. For past cultures, see: Canyon de Chelly, Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde

North America Information:  At the moment this page includes only information based on a Fall 2003 trip to Mexico, as well as a few general tips for travelers.

North America Regional News:  Recent news from North America, primarily Canada and Mexico.