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Adventure travel

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Dinosaur National Monument offers scenery, adventure. Photo from Mitch Stevens.

Dinosaur National Monument offers scenery, adventure. Photo from Mitch Stevens.

Today we have a guest post from my friend Mitch Stevens, who leads hikes and adventure trips throughout the Southwest for the Sierra Club and as founder of Southwest Discoveries.

Mitch recounts a recent rafting trip along Utah’s Green River through spectacular Dinosaur National Monument. This family-oriented trip is perfect for multi-generational travel with grandkids. (And what kid doesn’t like dinosaurs?).

By Mitch Stevens

We hiked through a narrow defile carved through red sandstone. The foliage in the canyon was lush: Boxelder, grapevines, Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir trees all thrived in the moist environment. A clear stream murmured near the trail, contributing to the serenity.

We rounded a bend in the canyon and heard falling water in the distance. Soon our group came upon the source of the sound, a breathtaking waterfall tumbling 200 feet down a sheer… Continue reading

A boomer goes backpacking in Aria's Superstition Mountains. Photo from southwestdiscoveries.com

A boomer goes backpacking in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains. Photo from southwestdiscoveries.com

Is it time to hang up your backpack when you reach your 50s and 60s or even your 70s?

Certainly not — not if you don’t want to.

Sometimes carrying your traveling gear on your back can be easier than wheeling a suitcase through city streets as well as in the country.

So even if the term “backpackers” conjures up visions of 20-somethings bearing heavy loads of camping supplies and sleeping bags strapped on their backs, heading out onto forest trails or tramping around Europe or Australia, this article by Jenn Miller at Jen Reviews may change your mind.

Jenn provides a clearly written, comprehensive guide on how to pack for a backpacking trip, filled with practical tips and advice that will save you time, space, and help make your trip even more enjoyable.

Besides general packing… Continue reading

Mt. Hood with lake view. Photo by Bill Bens.

Mt. Hood with lake view. Photo by Bill Bens.

Today’s guest post is by my friend and fellow baby boomer Mitch Stevens, founder of Tucson-based Southwest Discoveries, where he leads tours throughout Arizona and adjoining states.

In this post, Mitch ventures out of his comfort zone into the great Northwest to tackle Oregon’s forbidding, snow-covered Mt. Hood. His entourage consisted of a hiking buddy and a drill sergeant-like guide — but it was his ill-fitting boots and unseasonably warm weather that proved problematic in the end.

By Mitch Stevens

The snow-cat rumbled to a stop amidst the barren rock and snowfields on Mt. Hood, Oregon’s iconic summit at 11,250 feet.

It was an eerie sensation to be grinding along in pre-dawn blackness. We had to start our journey at 12:30 am to avoid melting snow and ice-fall near the summit.

Bundled up against the chill, it was hard to… Continue reading

Here’s a handy and enjoyable Outdoor Adventure Guide infographic from the folks at Dickies, a Canadian clothing company that features outerwear, work clothing, and other apparel  for men, women, and kids.

The guide offers good reminders of what to bring on a camping trip, fishing trip, rock climbing trip, or when traveling abroad — including what to wear, of course, but also easy-to-overlook items like a universal power adapter for foreign travel and a headlamp for a camping trip.

As someone who once neglected to pack a coat for a cruise up the coast of Norway that traveled hundreds of miles above the Arctic Circle — brrrr — and once spent a few snowy days in Switzerland wearing only sandals on my feet — double brrr — I can appreciate reminders of what to wear in the outdoors as well.

Just in time to get out and enjoy that… Continue reading

We spent a recent milestone birthday on Milos, Greece. Photo by Clark Norton

We spent a recent milestone birthday on Milos, Greece. Photo by Clark Norton

Our family has long tried to celebrate milestone birthdays and anniversaries with a major trip.

I won’t specify which birthdays or anniversaries, but these celebratory trips have taken us to Paris, Alaska, Norway, Greece, and Antarctica, among other far-flung destinations.

Sometimes you just need a good excuse to travel. (Other times, not — whatever works.)

So I was intrigued to come across this list of suggested milestone birthday celebratory trips from the folks at Wilderness Travel, which has been taking adventurous travelers to remote regions of the globe since 1978.  (It was named AFAR Magazine’s World’s Best Tour Operator for 2017.)

The company, known for their itineraries that delve deep into a region’s culture and cuisine, has suggestions for destinations perfect for a 40th, 50th, 60th and 70th birthday celebration.

Baby boomers have… Continue reading

Today’s guest post is from travel blogger Shawn Michaels, who loves to write about his outdoor travel experiences ans shop for hiking gear.  You can read his blog, which focuses on hiking boots, thesmartlad.com, here.

In this post, Shawn reveals his seven top hiking spots in Europe. Note that most of these are not exactly walks in the park — although one is just that, and another is relatively easy — but active  backpacking boomers can set their sights on some or all of them.

I was only familiar with a few of these, but the photos alone make me want to grab my hiking sticks and see how far I can go through some of Europe’s most enticing scenery.

Story and photos by Shawn Michaels

Plitvička Jezera: 

Plitvicka is a series of 16 adjoining lakes displaying emerald waters and waterfalls.

Plitvicka is a series of 16 adjoining lakes displaying emerald waters and waterfalls.

Croatia’s Plitvička Jezera (also… Continue reading

Dutch tulips: better than cave biking. Photo by Rachel Kramer on flickr.

Dutch tulips: better than cave biking. Photo by Rachel Kramer on flickr.

According to a recent survey of 40 countries around the globe conducted by motor home rental site SHAREaCAMPER, the Netherlands has the most adventurous people per capita, followed by Australia and Sweden.

The survey tabulated the number of online searches in each country for such adventurous activities as skydiving, bungee jumping, hiking, rock climbing, skiing, surfing, BMXing, and caravanning — the latter being what Australians (where SHAREaCAMPER is partially based) call traveling in RVs, campers, or motor homes.

Strictly in terms of sheer numbers of total searches, the United States placed first, but of course has a much higher population than the other countries. The U.S. finished ninth in the per capita rankings.

While the Netherlands was  outdone in skiing by Norway and Australia in surfing (no surprises there), Switzerland in… Continue reading

Like to ride a camel through the Hindu Kush? Contact Exodus Travels. Photo from Exodus Travels

Like to ride a camel through the Hindu Kush? Contact Exodus Travels. Photo from Exodus Travels

What’s the top experience that folks seek out after turning 50?

A new survey of 2,000 passport-carrying Americans aged 50 and up shows that traveling abroad is their number one choice for realizing their passions.

The survey, commissioned by Exodus Travels — a UK-based  adventure travel company with a substantial  presence in the U.S. and Canada — confirmed  what Exodus leaders say they had observed for a number of years: that Americans gain a new “lust for life” after age 50.

And that “second wind” translates most heavily into travel.

Asked “What led you to gaining a new passion/appreciation for life?“, one-third of respondents close “a travel experience” — which tied with “retirement” in that category.

The next question was key: “What have you done or do… Continue reading

You can Bicycle the "World's Deadliest Road" in Bolivia on this fun trip. Photo from Travel Supermarket

You can Bicycle the “World’s Deadliest Road” in Bolivia on this fun trip. Photo from Travel Supermarket

The infographic below from the UK-based TravelSupermarket.com came across my desk recently and I thought I would pass it along as a public service. It’s essentially a compendium of Extreme Adventures around the world that I can cross off my bucket list even before trying them.

Oh, I might try riding the Alpine rollercoaster in Austria or give the world’s fastest zip line in Wales a shot at pumping my adrenaline to warp speed.

But bungee jumping into a volcano in Chile, cliff camping in Colorado (yes, that means sleeping on the edge of the cliff), or riding a bike along Bolivia’s notorious Death Road?

Thanks, but I’ll leave those to another lifetime, which I would probably be starting soon if I succumbed to the temptation to try any of them, which… Continue reading

Hiking the Escalante | The Toadstools

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

Located along U.S. 89 in the Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument, the Toadstools trailhead leads to a series of mushroom-like formations… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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