In the midst of a world pandemic — and, in the United States, the culmination of a bitterly divided, exhausting election season — I can offer a few words of advice: Take a hike.
Hiking is an ideal way to get out of your cooped-up house into the fresh air and, certainly for less-crowded trails, is well suited to social distancing.
It’s a healthy activity and usually fun as well. (Some tougher trails aren’t always fun, but tackling — and conquering — them can be highly satisfying.)
But hiking right — meaning minimizing any risk of injury or other problem that may occur — requires adequate preparation and thought.
Guest writer Rebecca Brown lays out the key things to keep in mind for three different types of hikers: day hikers, overnighters, and multi-day hikers.
So lace up your boots, fill your water bottles, and don your backpack — but first,… Continue reading
Here’s something I hadn’t thought much about — but probably should have.
In case of emergency on a remote hiking trail, or on a lonely highway, or anywhere that your cell phone doesn’t get service, what do you do?
Guest poster Harding Bush of Global Rescue has a suggestion: satellite communications. And you can get it for not all that much money.
I do have satellite TV — but that wouldn’t help much if I encountered some Rutger Hauer (RIP) or Javier Bardem character out on that lonely highway. (If you haven’t seen The Hitcher or No Country for Old Men, check them out).
And, one hopes, I could reach AAA, a park ranger, a rescue service — or my favorite ER doc who makes remote trail calls. Well, hope springs eternal. But you get the idea.
By Harding Bush
Traveling near or far? Going with friends, family or… Continue reading
Congratulations to baby boomer reader Anita Walker of Arlington, Texas, for her winning entry in our Win a Pair of Comfortable Shoes for Travel contest that ended February 15.
Anita is taking a cruise in June to the Greek Islands and Italy, then spending some additional time in Rome and Sorrento, Italy, after the cruise.
The contest was sponsored by Therafit Shoe, which produces several series of comfortable, attractive, yet sturdy shoes — employing “technology built for foot pain relief” — that are ideal for traveling baby boomers.
The shoes come with arch support, a deep heel cup… Continue reading
Thanks to the hiking site Riders Trail for this informative and entertaining infographic on hiking safely with a dog.
Dogs need walking, of course, which provides exercise for both canine and human, but hiking with your dog can take the benefits of exercise to a new level, for baby boomers and younger generations alike.
Still, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind before you leash up your pet, and Riders Trail does a good job of highlighting them:
- Making sure your dog is suitable for hiking
- Finding dog-friendly hiking locations
- Preparing your dog for hiking
- Adhering to trail etiquette
- Carrying along the right supplies
- And dealing with potential threats
Plus, the dog pictures are downright cute. Even if you don’t have a dog, you may enjoy checking them out.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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