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
As frequent guest-poster and financial expert Jim McKinley points out in this piece, boomers on a budget can help realize their dreams of outdoor adventure — or any kind of travel, for that matter — by taking a number of relatively easy steps.
Tracking flight deals, accruing mileage points racked up by responsible use of credit cards, planning ahead, and saving on gear by finding coupons and promo codes online are all very doable.
And that list doesn’t even include camping or RVing to save on lodging (though maybe not your back). Or the great options now available on vacation rentals (airbnb, VRBO) that can make staying in a house more affordable than hotels, especially if you have other family or friends in tow.
Jim also provides a number of helpful links — so enjoy browsing through them, but… Continue reading
One of our frequent contributors to clarknorton.com, my friend Mitch Stevens, is kicking off our occasional series of first-person pieces on how various baby boomers got started traveling for a living.
Mitch’s odyssey led him from summer camp in Pennsylvania to the depths of the Grand Canyon to college field trips in Wyoming and eventually to Tucson in the (mostly) sunny deserts of southern Arizona, where’s he’s been leading Sierra Club hikes for years and more recently founded his adventure travel company Southwest Discoveries.
Like the intrepid cyclists who compete in the 100-mile El Tour de Tucson race each fall, Mitch’s long-distance hikes through the canyons and across the mountains of the Southwest provide inspiration to me as I sit here at my computer giving my typing fingers a thorough workout.
So lace up your hiking boots, grab… 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
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
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
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
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