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
Just about every travel publication, digital or print, now seems to start the New Year with a top ten list of “where to go this year,” counting down to the most irresistible spot on the planet.
One year, the hot ticket may be to Croatia, the next year to Colombia, the next year to Canada. (For my own facetious take on where Americans would be going in 2017 — with nearly half the country fleeing to Canada for extended vacations, the other near-half checking out the newly discovered charms of Russia, and the remaining in-betweeners headed to Cuba — check out my post from December 29, 2016. Seems so long ago…)
My own (rather cynical) theory about top ten lists of this nature is that they mostly reflect where editors of said publications want to… Continue reading
No more almost-free senior lunch at U.S. National Parks: The price of a lifetime America the Beautiful Senior Pass rises sharply from $10 to $80 on August 28, 2017.
The Senior Pass, available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents age 62 and above, has cost just $10 since 1994, making it one of the great travel bargains in the world.
At $80, it will still be a good deal, just not the steal it is now. If you already have one of the $10 passes, it will be honored for your lifetime.
Senior Passes provide access to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by six federal agencies:
- National Park Service
- US Fish & Wildlife Service
- Bureau of Land Management
- Bureau of Reclamation
- US Forest Service
- US Army Corps of Engineers
Senior Pass Benefits
The passes cover entrance and day-use recreation fees… Continue reading
National Travel & Tourism Week, which runs this year from May 7-13, is a time to celebrate the impact that travel and tourism have on the U.S. economy.
And it’s huge. According to the U.S. Travel Association:
- In 2016, domestic and international travelers spent a combined $683 billion on leisure travel in the U.S. When you add in business travelers, the total is almost $1 trillion — some $31,500 spent per second.
- That same trillion-dollar spending generated $2.3 trillion in total economic output in the U.S., factoring in an additional $1.3 trillion spurred in other industries, such as retail.
- The travel industry supports 15.3 million American jobs — 8.6 million directly in the travel industry and 6.7 million in other industries.
- One of every nine jobs in the U.S. is dependent on the… Continue reading
Most of us, when we travel to another country, probably have in mind at least one “must-see” attraction., usually an iconic structure, museum, historic site, or natural wonder.
Examples might be Machu Picchu in Peru, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the Giza Pyramids in Egypt, the Roman Colosseum in Italy, and the Parliament building in Budapest, Hungary.
Recently, TripAdvisor — which has propelled itself into the world’s leading travel site and travel data bank — released a map of Europe displaying the “one thing you must do in each country, according to tourists.” (I found it in the Huffington Post.)
For most countries, the results were pretty true to form: The Roman Colosseum in Italy; The Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium; the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Tallinn Old Town in Estonia; the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece; the… Continue reading
While I prefer the term “Life List” to “Bucket List” — it just has a more positive ring to it — Bucket List has become the generally accepted phrase for delineating those often-challenging, mostly travel-related experiences you want to do before you, uh, can’t do them any more.
As a baby boomer, I’m acutely aware that I won’t have as much time or perhaps physical capacity as a millennial to, say, climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, which has recently slipped off my Bucket List until I can work myself into better shape. A few more years on the treadmill should do it, if my knees haven’t collapsed in the process.
The good news is, Bucket List items don’t have to involve super-strenuous exertion. In fact, according to a recent TotallyMoney.com survey of 1,000… 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
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
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