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Multnomah Falls is the most-visited site in the Columbia River Gorge. It's the second-tallest waterfall in the United States at about 620 feet. It plunges from underground springs up by Larch Mountain, then comes down in a single line, falls into an upper-plunge pool and finally into a lower-plunge pool.

"I think the sound of a waterfall is a very incredible feeling," said Beth Kirschhofer of Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. "And when you close your eyes and listen to a very powerful waterfall, especially in the springtime, it's almost like the sound of a freight train coming through."

Kirschhofer said that the volume of the waterfalls change depending on the season. Sometimes, they overflow and create new waterfalls that are only visible for a few months, other times they are dried up. They each have their own unique character.

May 7, 2006

While Louisville, Ky., is famous for the derby, it's Lexington that's known for its horse country.

"I think when you first come to Lexington you're surprised at the openness of the landscape," said Sandy Hatfield, the stallion manager at the Three Chimneys Farm. "We have lots of undulating hills, our paddocks and fields with rolling green grass, lots of black fences, beautiful farm houses and barns. It's amazing... it's like driving through a natural park."

Ted Bassett of Keeneland Race Course said that Kentucky's natural resources make it the perfect place for horses. Within the city's 25-mile radius, there are 450 thoroughbred breeding farms, and horse lovers flock there from all over the world.

"This is very much an international business," said Dan Rosenberg, president of Three Chimneys Farm. "Thoroughbred horses are an international currency, if you will."

People also come to Lexington to get a peek of famous past winners like Smarty Jones, who now lives at Three Chimneys Farm.

"It's a great place for people who love horses and love green grass and sunshine to come to," said Hatfield. "I think it's a great place for people to visit. And once they come here they come back year after year."

To see a video of Lexington, click here.

April 30, 2006

Whittier, Alaska, calls itself the gateway to Prince William Sound, which has amazing wildlife, including orcas and sea otters. The remote town of Whittier was "built by the military for the military," said Peter Denmark of Alaska Sea Kayakers.

In 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in the sound, causing a massive oil spill. The environment there is beginning to recover, but the beauty never died. Whittier's coastline, with its fjords and tidewater glaciers, is a must-see for lovers of natural beauty.

April 23, 2006

Santa Fe, N.M., with its gorgeous mountain range views, has long attracted artists, including the legendary Georgia O'Keeffe.

"Artists are drawn to New Mexico for a variety of reasons," said Barbara Buhler Lynes, curator of Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. "The light is very unusual, very specific, and the clarity of the contours in the landscape is very appealing."

Once the artists come, it's hard to leave such a rich natural environment, where they can even use the soil and clay as paints.

"Sometimes I like to say New Mexico is like your wife," said Juanito Jimenez, an artist. "You fall in love with her and she's never gonna let you go, and I look upon New Mexico like that too."

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