Tag archives for national park

My very first job out of high school was cleaning up roadkill, all along the highways and back roads in my county. It was very depressing. There’s nothing like picking up dead deer and smushed racoons all summer to convince a kid that going to college isn’t such a bad idea. It also had a…

After days and days of driving across some of the flattest terrain in America, I was keen to see the parts of Texas that are not flat, namely the highest point in the state. I should know by now never to plan a hiking excursion without leaving some extra days for weather contingencies, especially in…

The best travel drops us right next to the locals– –and in the Galápagos, the locals are mostly tortoises–GIANT tortoises. How giant are they? Almost 900 pounds when fully grown, but even the medium-sized tortoises move around like cumbersome coffee tables with pudgy, scaly legs. Though I’ve seen giant tortoises in zoos and other islands…

It began snowing sideways after midnight, and by dawn, the world was even whiter than the day before. Two inches of new snow lay on the ground, slopped upon the roofs and trees and mailboxes—even the dogs in the street shook their snowy dreadlocked fur and then playfully tumbled back into the drifts. My own…

Sixty-six below zero. That’s the coldest temperature ever recorded in Yellowstone: -66ºF at Madison, near the park’s west entrance at West Yellowstone, Montana. How cold is that? Cold enough to break the thermometer that made the measurement back in 1933. It was fitting then, that we should stop at this momentous site for a break…

Buffalo Jam

Never mess with a bison. Scientifically speaking, North America’s largest mammal may be just another bovine and therefore related to cows, however bison are not docile farm beasts that give us milk and butter. No, bison are hefty, undauntable creatures that are strong enough roll your car, should they ever have such an interest. Fortunately,…

Hot Spot

When I was 13 years old, I almost won the National Geographic Bee for the state of Ohio. In other words–I lost. I came mighty close though, and even now, I can remember all the questions I got right, as well as the one I got wrong. Sometime during those nervous hours standing on that…

“So, where do you go on vacation?” I get asked that question a lot. I guess people are eager to know where you travel “for fun” when you’re already traveling more than 200 days out of the year. Personally, I find that all travel is fun–even when it’s horrible–but not all travel is relaxing. To…

“How to survive a brown bear attack.” The video’s subtitles offered this one small hope—but only after having convinced me that as a human, I really didn’t stand a chance. At least the mandatory instructional video at Shiretoko National Park had subtitles. Without them, I would have only guessed at the ominous Japanese voiceover, listened…

After the excitement of Canada Day and the pastoral idyll of the farm, I turned my wheels westward and set off into the wild. Algonquin Provincial Park lies less than three hours from Ottawa. In fact, Algonquin is probably the most accessible wilderness area in Ontario, given that 12 million people live within a three-hour…