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Getting the flavor of...A warship’s new life

Today, the 366-foot warship is part of an artificial reef off San Diego known as “Wreck Alley.”

A warship’s new lifeMore than a decade ago, I watched the Yukon, a Canadian naval destroyer, being prepared for burial at sea, said Brian Clark in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Recently I returned to pay my respects, wearing scuba gear because the 366-foot warship is today part of an artificial reef off San Diego known as “Wreck Alley.” As I began the 100-foot descent with a group of other divers, “the water became green and dark.” Soon, though, the outline of the ship became clear, then “a ladder, a round window, and gun turrets.” More striking still were “foot-tall, flower-like white giant plumose anemones” blooming all over the ship. The Yukon had landed on its side when it was scuttled, so “the deck had become a 40-foot wall.” As we swam alongside it, we saw rockfish, cabezons, gobies, blacksmiths, surf perch, and “a large crab hiding in a ladder.” In just 11 years, “the Yukon had changed from a rusting hulk into an undersea garden.”

Attempting seven peaks in one dayThe Grand Traverse in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park is perfect “for those who like a challenge,” said Michael Ybarra in The Wall Street Journal. This complex 14-mile climb touches seven peaks—including the 13,770-foot Grand Teton itself—and it can be done in a single day by a climber who travels light and avoids myriad dangers, like unpredictable weather. I got underway at 4 a.m. recently and by noon had logged two summits. “The ridgeline was crazy—a wild, undulating thing,” but the climbing mostly proved fun until I fell near the top of the Grand Teton. “Luckily, there was a ledge 4 feet below me,” beyond which was “3,000 feet of air.” Shaken, I soldiered on, but it wasn’t until 6 p.m. that I reached peak four. It would have to be my last, so I paused to enjoy the view. “The sun was sliding toward the horizon, throwing beautiful but alarming alpenglow on the mountains and valleys below.” I’d have to race to get back to my car.

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