It has come to my attention that what started as a “travel” blog has morphed into a “nature” blog. This is because I have been traveling primarily locally – to those who don’t live here, it is probably just as interesting as anything else, but for me it has lost the zing! of “something new.” Rather than focusing on the specifics of my routes, my campsites, the novelties witnessed, I’ve been looking a little more closely – at the flowers in bloom, the curious insects that cross my path, the riffles of water babbling over bedrock. Now that the flush of spring and the annual “newness” of nature is fading into the laziness of summer, I’m going to turn over a new leaf (so to speak), and profile my travels a little more. To kick it off, on this rainy day, I’m going to do a little dreaming about my next vacations – some shoe-ins (I already have the plans in place), some a bit more of a stretch (might be years down the road). I heartily welcome tips for travel to these locales, features not-to-be-missed, and ideas for great road food along the way!
1. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – Upper Penninsula of Michigan. Natural wonders, backpacking trails, and if it’s timed right, swimming in Lake Superior! I hope to get there in mid- to late-August of this year, when the water is as warm as it’ll get (though it still takes my breath away)!
2. The Everglades, Florida. I wanted to see it before the wetlands were consumed by the rising sea levels, but it appears that the Burmese Pythons have beat climate change to the destruction of this global treasure. The sooner the better, to see the amazing flora and fauna of these swamps. I hope to schedule a trip this winter for a 7-10-day exploration of the area – at a time when the heat is at a minimum!
3. Central America. At this point I’m thinking of the Dominican Republic, to combine some eco-tourism with Caribbean beaches and tasty Latin food, plus exercising my Spanish a little bit. Can I do the Everglades and the Caribbean in one winter? I doubt it, but we’ll see!
4. Sawtooth Mountains and Salmon River, Idaho. I loved this place from the first moment I saw it – and I got to see it for a full 24 hours, because my car broke down and needed some new electronics installed in Ketchum (in 2001!). I’ve been working on finding the time to head back there, plus a partner for a wilderness backpacking trip, ever since. I’m ready to actually put some energy into it now, and am hoping to get something in place for next summer.
5. The Carolinas. North or South, it doesn’t much matter at this point, because I’ve never been to either… working on that quest to hit All 50 States. Plus I have heard they are beautiful. Suggestions very welcome for this one!
6. Ashland, Wisconsin and the Bayfield Peninsula. Until a year ago, I had never been to this cool town and awesome natural areas surrounding it and jutting out into Lake Superior. Then I went for a day for work, and whetted my appetite. I hope to get back this summer or fall for a long weekend, maybe to take in some music at the Big Top Chautauqua or just camp, hike, swim, and check out the historical and cultural attractions in the area.
7. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Milwaukee? Yes! Every time I go there, I have fun and get to see something new. I want to spend a good 2-3 days there and have some a couple nights on the town. It has all the culture, history, and charm of an old industrial Midwestern city, but it isn’t quite as big and bustling as Chicago! Great food, great beer, lovely lakeshore, good music, museums, and baseball!. I already have plans to head there in July, so keep watching for updates! Recommendations on favorite restaurants are particularly welcome here – I have loved the Comet Cafe every time I’ve been (you should try their bacon pancakes -delish!), but want to try something new!
8. Louisiana. I went to New Orleans for the first time a few years ago, to visit my sister and explore the town. It was great fun, but I want to explore some of the natural areas in the vicinity a bit more. I’ve always wanted to go to Tab Benoit-sponsored Voice of the Wetlands concert – blues all-stars uniting for the preservation of Louisiana’s bayous and traditional culture. I’d love to rock out to great blues music, dine on oysters, and explore the amazing natural treasures on our southern coast! If not this year, then next!
9. Is it #9 already? Man, what to choose? Or, more specifically, what not to choose? Can I cop out, and make this spot into a whole category? Well, sure I can – it’s my blog, I make the rules! So I’m going to choose “Places I want to revisit” – and include Berlin, Germany; south-central Alaska; and the southwest desert all in one! Since I don’t have any of these vacations even mentally in the works yet, they’ll have to get separated out more once a few more of the destinations above get knocked off. I’m looking forward to it, though!
10. A new continent. Yes, another cop-out. Technically, I have never been to most continents. But if I can get to one new one in the next 5 years, it’ll make me happy. Asia and Antarctica top my list of potentials, but I wouldn’t sneer at a free trip to Africa or Australia, either! It appears that I only have “A” continents left in my never-visitied category…
How about you ? Where to next? Or must-see places that I left off my list?