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Archive for ecotourism

Loons in New Hampshire

By Linda Tancs

It’s high loon season. No, we’re not talking harried travelers; we’re talking waterbirds, like ducks and geese. Their closest relatives, however, are penguins and albatrosses. The common loon is the most widespread species. Marveled at for its yodels, hoots and hollers, the Granite State has about 280 pairs of loons to delight visitors at most lakes. Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, New Hampshire, is a particular favorite of locals and tourists. The seasonal boat cruise is a great way to learn about the natural history of the lake and its popular wildlife. You’ll also view locations where the movie On Golden Pond was filmed.

The Great Divide

By Linda Tancs

The Continental Divide is an epic hydrological divide separating the watersheds draining into the Atlantic Ocean from those draining into the Pacific Ocean. In the United States, its route is over 3,000 miles long, extending from the Canadian border with Montana to the Mexican boundary in southwest New Mexico. Following this course you’ll find the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, part of a series of national trails established by Congress in recognition of their natural beauty. The Continental Divide trail in particular passes through 25 national forests, 21 wilderness areas and three national parks, providing access to spectacular vistas in some of the most scenic places left in the world. The highest point is in Colorado at Grays Peak (14,270 feet) and the lowest is along Waterton Lake in Glacier National Park in Montana (4,200 feet). The long winter season along the Divide (September through May) is now over. Why not plan a hiking or camping trip! From backpacking to family day trips, there’s something for everyone.

The Land of Surfing Hippos

By Linda Tancs

Situated on the Equator, Gabon occupies part of the Atlantic coast of Africa. Needless to say, given its location, it’s hot year round.  So it shouldn’t be surprising to think of hippos body surfing in the Atlantic. Or elephants, buffalos, gorillas and leopards meandering among savanna, beach, forest and mangroves. Yet that’s what they do in Loango National Park, hailed as “Africa’s Last Eden” and the “Land of Surfing Hippos.” Conservation is sacrosanct in this western African nation, where 13 national parks cover 10 percent of its land mass. Loango includes part of the Iguéla Lagoon, the only western African lagoon system that is protected within a national park.

Where America’s Sun Sets

By Linda Tancs

In the heart of Polynesia, America’s sun sets.  And no, it isn’t Hawaii (although America’s 50th state does constitute one of three points of the Polynesian triangle).  It’s American Samoa, an island territory in the South Pacific comprising five volcanic islands and two atolls.  Its national park is one of the most remote in the United States.  Covering three of the islands, the predominate land mass of the park is rainforest, promising lush views amid long, unhurried hikes.  This is a must-see for the ecotourist seeking an unspoiled, uncrowded destination.

Ouzo and Olive Oil

By Linda Tancs

Ouzo and olive oil.  Those are the two famous exports of the Greek island Lesvos.  Third largest in size behind Crete and Evia, the arguably lesser-known enclave near Turkey also boasts a petrified forest, one of the rarest natural monuments in the world.  Created 20 million years ago when volcanic materials covered and petrified the coniferous forests dominating the area at that time, the 37-acre preserve spans the Sigri-Eressos-Antissa area.  Take a break from the beach and enjoy a walk through the forest of silence.

Sand and Shingles

By Linda Tancs

Heather and gorse, shingles and sand.  That’s what you’ll find at Dunwich Heath, Britain’s gem on the Suffolk coast.  The scenery is bursting with color this time of year, not to mention enviable bird watching for the likes of the Dartford warbler, nightjar, woodlark and others.  During school holidays the ranger team provides child friendly activities such as pond dipping and bug hunting.  Geocaching is one of many new activities; you can borrow a free tracker pack at the information hut.

Take a Walk

By Linda Tancs

Writer Robert Louis Stevenson once remarked that the forest changes and renews a weary spirit.  That’s good news for England’s Midlands: the centre of England, once a hub for the Industrial Revolution, is being renewed and recharged with the dedication of 200 square miles to conservation.  Dubbed The National Forest, it embraces parts of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire.  And what better way to explore a forest than on foot!  This year marks the launch of the National Forest Way, a 75-mile waymarked path traversing the region.  Coinciding with the launch of the trail is the National Forest Walking Festival.  Taking place through 29 May, you’ll have over 70 walks to choose from as you ramble in the woodlands.


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