Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for May, 2022

To the Heights in Korea

By Linda Tancs

Near Chungju-si (where a martial arts festival takes place each year), Woraksan National Park in South Korea is a hiker’s paradise. The highest peak (at 3,600 feet) is Yeongbong, a steep ascent aided by stairs with railings bolted to boulders. Ma-aebong Peak is just below at 3,150 feet. It’s called a false summit because it’s commonly mistaken as the ultimate peak, but there’s nothing fake about its glorious vistas. While you’re in the park, keep an eye out for the nodding lily, an indigenous species with leaves like pine tree leaves.

To the Heights in Colorado

By Linda Tancs

Just 60 miles west of Denver, Colorado, Mount Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved road in North America. The starting point is Idaho Springs. From there the route offers 9,000 feet of elevation gain, from the high plains of Denver through five climate zones to the 14,264-foot summit of Mount Evans. It’s one of 54 peaks in the state that soars to a height of 14,000 feet or above, known collectively as the “fourteeners.” Because of snow, the entire journey to the summit is open only from Memorial Day to Labor Day. A national forest information center at Idaho Springs has maps and information on hiking trails and road conditions.

Cape Doesn’t Disappoint

By Linda Tancs

Washington State’s Cape Disappointment is a fabled headland staring into the mouth of the Columbia River. Its odd name is said to derive from British trader John Meares, who named it “Cape Disappointment” because he mistakenly believed that the mouth of the Columbia River was only a bay. Once deemed strategically significant, military fortifications were based there during the Civil War and World War II. The decommissioned bases, and North Head Lighthouse, now encompass Cape Disappointment State Park. Named to the National Register of Historic Places, Cape Disappointment is a High Potential Historic Site on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Perched on a 200-foot-high cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center tells the story of Lewis and Clark and their journey from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean.

100 Years of Ice Cream

By Linda Tancs

Located across Eagle Harbor from Peninsula State Park, Ephraim, Wisconsin, is a small, European-style village. Settled in 1853 by Norwegian Moravians, it has retained much of its European character through careful preservation of more than 30 historical sites, 11 of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. You can experience much of it by taking a guided or self-guided historic walking tour. A sure stop is Wilson’s, an ice cream parlor that’s stood in the heart of the village since 1906. Opening season begins this month.

The Gorge of Samaria

By Linda Tancs

Open for hiking from May to October, Crete’s Samaria Gorge is the focal point of Samaria National Park in Greece. Although strenuous and rugged, the 10-mile hike offers rewarding mountain views and 16 endemic species, most notably the feral goats (kri-kri, the park’s official icon). You’ll find plenty of like-minded adventurers on a bus from Hania to a region called Xyloskalo, where the trail begins.

The Road in the Ocean

By Linda Tancs

Opened in 1989, Atlantic Road is Norway’s answer to Florida’s Ocean Highway. Dubbed “the road in the ocean,” the 22-mile scenic route hugs the Atlantic Ocean, connecting islet with islet over seven bridges. Along with great ocean views, the journey presents the fertile cultural landscape of the coast across moorland to windswept crags. You’ll find ample opportunity for sightseeing along well-marked trails and elevated paths. Eldhusøya is the largest rest area along the way and is located on a scenic spot at the ocean’s edge. The road runs from Kårvåg to Bud.

Whale Watching in Québec

By Linda Tancs

You’ll find some of the best whale-watching sites in the world in the maritime regions of Québec, Canada. One of the best locales is Tadoussac, a small village at the confluence of the Saguenay and Saint Lawrence rivers. Minke whales, humpbacks, fin whales and blue whales arrive from May to October to feed over the summer, and beluga whales can be spotted year round. You can opt for a whale-watching cruise in the comfort of a large sightseeing boat or take an excursion in a Zodiac or sea kayak. Onboard naturalists will often signal the perfect time to take that money shot, but be sure to use a camera adjustment that allows for rapid shooting. Multiple excursion packages are available from Québec City.

Iceland’s Basalt Gully

By Linda Tancs

Studlagil is a ravine in eastern Iceland in the Jökuldalur Valley. It’s best known for its towering basalt rock columns, reportedly the largest collection in the country. It isn’t a usual stop on the tourist trek, so getting there may be a bit challenging. You’ll need to head north on the Ring Road and pick up road 923 to Jökuldalsvegur. Although the terrain is loose in some places, there are hiking trails around the canyon. Watch out for pink-footed geese, who lay their eggs along the gorge in May and June. 

Georgia’s Golden Isles

By Linda Tancs

The Golden Isles are a group of islands in Georgia between Savannah and Jacksonville, Florida. The area comprises the port city of Brunswick and the barrier islands St. Simons, Little St. Simons, Jekyll Island and Sea Island. They’re known for their marshes and beaches, a favorite not only with tourists but also with the area’s mascot, the sea turtle. You can learn all about them at Jekyll Island’s Georgia Sea Turtle Center. You can spot them from May through August, when bales of sea turtles flock to the shores of the Golden Isles for nesting season. During the day, it’s very common to see sea turtle tracks leading from the ocean to the dry patch of sand where their nest has been constructed. If you want to get close to their nests safely, then take a guided evening tour offered in June or July by sea turtle experts from the Turtle Center.

The Pig Trail

By Linda Tancs

Arkansas boasts over 600 native wildflowers. Spring is a good time to watch them explode, especially along scenic byways like the Pig Trail. It’s a 19-mile stretch of State Highway 23 that passes through Ozark National Forest. The Pig Trail takes its name from fans of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks, who traditionally used it as a shortcut through the mountains to “Hogs” games in Fayetteville. The razorback (feral hog) is not only the university’s mascot but also a wild animal found throughout the state.

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