Asking you to relive 2016 may be asking a lot, but here at clarknorton.com we offer sheer escapism!
Well, maybe not quite — but travel can, we hope, help take your mind off other things.
So, in that spirit, we offer up Our Top Ten Blog Posts of 2016 as found on clarknorton.com and voted on, in effect, by your clicks.
Yes, this is purely a popularity contest, with no quality control whatsoever. (Kind of like an election.) And because there was a tie for the tenth spot, there’s a bonus post to check out, should you wish to seek penance for overindulging during the holidays.
Here they are in order, counting down to Number One:
Top Ten or Top Five lists (almost) always… Continue reading
Cotopaxi, a company that makes backpacks, jackets and other outdoor gear — and donates a percentage of its earnings to worthy causes around the world — has come out with an infographic in celebration of this year’s 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service.
It shows the top five U.S. National Parks in terms of annual visitation, plus five “Hidden Gems” that are far less visited.
The top five visited National Parks, in order, are Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains, Arizona’s Grand Canyon, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain, California’s Yosemite, and Yellowstone, which extends over parts of three states: mostly Wyoming, but also Montana and Idaho.
I’ve visited all of the most popular ones at one time or another, but have to admit I’ve never been to any of the Hidden Gens: Washington’s North Cascades, Florida’s Dry Tortugas, South Carolina’s… Continue reading
Note: This is the fourth in a series of “Hiking the Escalante” guest posts by Mitch Stevens, founder of the Tucson-based tour company Southwest Discoveries.
The series showcases some of the memorable adventures that await along the Escalante River Basin and its tributaries in southern Utah.
In this post, Mitch concludes the series with his visits to the Toadstools — which he describes as “a surreal and scenic experience that looks and feels as if it were taken straight from a science fiction movie” — and Calf Creek Falls, which he calls “awe-inspiring and mesmerizing.”
These hikes are well suited to adventurous, fit baby boomers with an appetite for great scenery and a side dish of geology. (Just don’t eat the Toadstools!)
By Mitch Stevens
Third in a Series
Note: In our first two guest posts from Mitch Stevens, founder of Tucson-based Southwest Discoveries — which runs guided hiking tours of Arizona and the Southwest — Mitch gave riveting accounts of “The Most Beautiful Hike in the Southwest” and “The Incomparable Stevens Arch.”
His Hiking the Escalante series that appears on his website focuses on the extraordinary Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument in southern Utah.
In today’s guest post, Mitch takes you into Dry Gulch, Spooky Gulch, and Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon.
The names alone are enticing, and if you’re looking for some adventure and what Mitch calls “spectacular solitude” deep in the heart of southern Utah’s no man’s land. you may want to add them to your life list.
As Mitch notes, though, these are not suited for hikers who are overly claustrophobic or with limited… Continue reading
In our previous post, guest blogger Mitch Stevens, founder of Southwest Discoveries, which runs hiking tours in Arizona and adjoining states, wrote about what he calls the most beautiful hike in the Southwest: Coyote Gulch in southern Utah.
Today he writes about what he calls perhaps the single most impressive natural feature in the West: Stevens Arch. It’s part of his “Hiking the Escalante” series and makes me want to fly/drive/hike to southern Utah right now (or maybe when it cools down a bit). Reading his description of the sometimes rough and tricky terrain, though, I think I would want Mitch to lead the way. Here’s Mitch:
By Mitch Stevens.
Today we have a guest post from Mitch Stevens, who runs a terrific Tucson-based company called Southwest Discoveries, which specializes in hiking tours in Arizona and elsewhere in the Southwest.
This is the first post in a series that Mitch has written about “Hiking the Escalante,” showcasing the beauty and splendor of the awe-inspiring formations created by the Escalante River in southern Utah. It will give you a good sense of hiking Coyote Gulch, what Mitch calls the “most beautiful hike in the Southwest.” (And that’s saying a lot.)
Not incidentally, Mitch welcomes — encourages — baby boomers to join his hiking tours. This one is for active, fit boomers who enjoy the best that nature has to offer.
By Mitch Stevens
Sheer cliffs, red rock walls, ancient geologic sculptures and dozens of tributaries await the adventurous trekker when… Continue reading
During our recent visit to Charlottesville, Virginia, where our daughter, Lia, lives and works, my wife, Catharine, and I had the chance to leave the city a bit and explore the attractions of the nearby region.
Since it was our third visit to Charlottesville, we had already toured Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, and the Jefferson-designed University of Virginia campus, sporting some of the country’s finest architecture. Both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Now it was time to see some of the nearby cities, take some scenic drives, negotiate some hiking trails, absorb some additional culture, visit some wineries, and even make a pilgrimage to the factory that produces my favorite potato chips. (Special thanks to Lia, her boyfriend, Mike, and their trusty Prius for chauffeuring us around.)
So here are my top… Continue reading
One of the best perks for turning 62 — if you’re a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident — is the “Senior Pass” that allows those aged 62 and over to enter any of the U.S. national parks, monuments, and recreation areas for all of ten bucks. Let me repeat that. That’s a “ten” with one zero.
And that’s not all, fellow baby boomers! The pass is good for life. It never expires until you do (and if you never expire, so much the better!).
And wait, there’s more! You can get your pass as you drive into many of those same parks and recreation areas. Just ask the attendant at the gate, show some proof of age (driver’s license is good), and you can usually get your pass on the spot. For $10.
Those under 62… Continue reading
In a previous post last summer, I wrote about how my wife, Catharine, and I liked to ride the Cape May-Lewes Ferry — which crosses Delaware Bay to connect northern Delaware and southern New Jersey — just for fun when visiting the Jersey Shore.
Unlike most passengers, who are actually trying to get somewhere — holding 100 cars and other vehicles, the ferry provides a relaxing alternative to traffic-choked I-95 when traveling up or down the East Coast — Catharine and I just enjoy being out on the water. So we’ve taken the 34-mile, nearly three-hour round-trip voyage from Cape May, New Jersey, across the bay to Lewes, Delaware, and back strictly as a day trip.
It’s essentially a “cruise to nowhere,” and on a beautiful sunny day it’s a delight to sit up on deck and just watch the… Continue reading
When I moved to Tucson in late 2015, one of the first people I looked up was Mitch Stevens, who runs a tour company called Southwest Discoveries, which specializes in hiking and walking tours in some of Arizona’s most spectacular scenic areas.
While Southwest Discoveries is relatively new, Mitch is an old hand at leading hikes and tours, with an extensive background at the helm of Sierra Club outings. He’s particularly interested in drawing baby boomers to his tours, which is how we originally connected.
Mitch has lived in Arizona for decades and is a walking encyclopedia in the geology, archaeology, history, and culture of the Southwest.
Arizona’s searing summer heat levels off in Autumn, with October and November ushering in perfect hiking weather that lasts throughout the winter and into spring.
Red Rock Country
Mitch has… Continue reading