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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

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Hiking

Winnemucca Lake, Alpine County, California. Photo by Catharine Norton

What, a place in California where there are hardly any people — and yet is so strikingly beautiful that it’s been called the Switzerland of California?

OK, I’ll ‘fess up — I’m the one who called it the Switzerland of California, as I hiked recently along a mountain trail bordering meadows blanketed with wildflowers and sporting gorgeous views of 11,000-foot peaks that still displayed pockets of snow in early August.

And its very name — Alpine County — certainly evokes Switzerland as well, as does its semi-official nickname, the “California Alps.”

The area was first explored by non-native Americans when John C. Fremont and his scout, Kit Carson, passed through in  1844. Soon after came contingents of Mormon settlers and gold prospectors, and much later still vacationers and second-home owners.

Alpine County isn’t very large — it’s the eighth smallest… Continue reading

Gorgeous Milford Sound on New Zealand's South Island. Photo by Clark Norton

Gorgeous Milford Sound on New Zealand’s South Island. Photo by Clark Norton

New Zealand is one of my favorite destinations.

I’ve hiked along the Milford Track and through Abel Tasman National Park, marveled at gorgeous valleys and mountains that served as dramatic backdrops for the “Lord of the Rings” saga, made my way through an eerie glowworm cave, cruised through ice blue narrow passages of Milford Sound, enjoyed the urban amenities of Auckland and Wellington, and dined on lamb, lamb, and more lamb (though there’s much more to the diverse Kiwi cuisine — I just like lamb).

The country consists of three main islands: North, South, and Stewart (the latter is much smaller), and climate can range from warm and tropical in the north to cold and wintry in the south. Don’t forget that the seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere, so beautiful Fjordland in the far south can… Continue reading

The desert in bloom viewed along Tucson's Agua Caliente Hill trail.

The desert in bloom viewed along Tucson’s Agua Caliente Hill trail.

We’ve finally had a touch of winter here in Tucson, where temperatures reached into the high 80s in early February and it felt like summer back east.

At the end of February, while cooling rains pelted the parched city, snow fell atop 9,147-foot Mt. Lemmon in the Catalina Mountains just north of Tucson. Mt Lemmon is the site of the southernmost ski area in the United States. (Temperatures at the summit can turn 30 degrees colder than those in the city, which sits some 7,000 feet below.)

That’s good news for Tucson hikers and anyone who values the surprisingly rich life of the desert. With refreshing spring rains, dry creek beds turn into gushing waterfalls, wildflowers bloom and hikers and picnickers flock to newly lush surroundings.

As I write in my book 100 Things to Do in Tucson Before… 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

Dogs love water features along the trail. Photo from ruffwear.com

Dogs love water features along the trail. Photo from ruffwear.com

When I was growing up, I had a great dog named Tiger (full name: Tiger Pirate Furious Ferocious Double-Trouble Dirty Dog Norton).

Tiger was a pretty smart dog. When he was told to stay out of a particular room, he would back into it so that it appeared he was leaving. When my parents moved from Indiana to Maryland, he somehow managed to escape from his crate on the train and hung out at a Baltimore police station until my father was alerted to his presence there.

Why the police station and not a deli or a pet supply store? Only Tiger knew, and he wasn’t talking.  But it got him a write-up in the papers.

But I never took him on a long hike up a mountain, and now, reading this guest post from Sarah Jones, I regret… 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

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

Active travel like this European bike tour is loaded with health benefits for boomers

Active travel like this European bike tour is loaded with health benefits for boomers

Most of us probably don’t travel for our health — but generally speaking,  it’s a very good perk, especially for baby boomers.

Studies have shown that leisure travel can be good medicine.

There’s straight-up wellness travel, of course, such as visiting a health spa to lose weight.

But travel in and of itself can also do the job.

Here’s why:

  • Travel helps reduce stress and promote relaxation by taking a break from routine.
  • Travel usually results in greater physical activity, particularly walking. But you might also learn tai chi in China, practice yoga in India, or bicycle around Europe.
  • Travel promotes brain health by challenging us with new and different experiences and environments. It can potentially help ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  • Travel can also help ward off depression… Continue reading
Chinese New Year parade features the dragon dance.

Chinese New Year parade features the dragon dance.

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:

10. Top Bucket List Items: What’s Number One? and Top Ten Travel Predictions for 2016. (Tie)

Top Ten or Top Five lists (almost) always… 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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