From the category archives:

Nature

Lewis And Clark: 3 Extraordinary Expeditions Let You Walk A Mile In Their Moccasins

by Alan Rider
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Standing atop a steep sandstone bluff overlooking a broad expanse of central Montana’s still-wild Missouri River, it’s not hard to understand why the journals of Lewis and Clark’s Corps Of Discovery are filled with entries that convey a sense of wonder:

“This senery already rich, pleasing, and beatiful was still farther hightened by immence herds of buffaloe, deer, elk and antelopes which we saw in every direction.”
— Merriwether Lewis,  September 17, 1804

To put these wide-eyed moments into perspective, you have to remember that the vast swath of land known as the Louisiana Purchase was little more than a blank spot on the map when Merriwether Lewis and William Clark set off [...]

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Tooth Or Dare? Where To Swim With Crocodiles

by Alan Rider
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Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to get into the water with some pretty amazing wild creatures, from playful manatees to spouting beluga whales. Now, however, there’s a new interspecies encounter I’m eager to add to my list of extraordinary experiences—swimming with giant saltwater crocodiles!
Much like shark diving, participants are separated from these toothy 20-foot-long beasts by protective enclosures. While these devices add a margin of safety, being submerged in either the clear acrylic “Cage Of Death” at Darwin, Australia’s Crocosaurus Cove or the metal basket used in the Croc Cage Diving Encounter at Oudtshoom, South Africa’s Cango Wildlife Ranch is still bound to get your heart [...]

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Birdwatching Bonanza: How To Add 800 Species To Your Life List In One Trip

by Alan Rider
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If you’re one of the millions of serious birders in North America, sooner or later you’ll find yourself running out of new indigenous species to add to your life list. When you reach that point, you’ll want to check out the mind-boggling array of global birdwatching expeditions put on by the nice folks at Birdquest.
This 30-year-old British operation offers tours to just about any exotic birdwatching destination you can imagine, and a few you probably can’t (seriously, how many people do you know who’ve been birding in Djibouti?). They bill their outings as “The Ultimate In Bird Tours” and, with regularly scheduled expeditions to all seven continents, it’s [...]

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Extraordinary Ecotourism: How To Make This An Earth Day To Remember

by Alan Rider
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Sitting here on the eve of Earth Day’s 40th anniversary, I know you’re already being bombarded with endless suggestions on how to mark the occasion, from local Earth Day celebrations designed to raise awareness of the planet’s plight to simple environmentally-friendly lifestyle changes you can make to show Mother Nature some love. Unfortunately, based on prior experience, I also know that most of our friends and neighbors are likely to have forgotten all about the subject by this time next week.
Which is why I’m suggesting that you spend just a few minutes on this Earth Day considering a handful of once-in-a-lifetime adventures that offer the opportunity to feel [...]

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Hot Lead & Lipstick: Becoming An Outdoors-Woman Weekends

by Alan Rider

While I’m open to all kinds of once-in-a-lifetime adventures, there are some I’m just not physically cut out for.  Like these Becoming An Outdoors-Woman weekends, for example.  Fortunately we were able to persuade special correspondent Christina Newton to attend a recent two-day B.O.W. program and bring us this report:
Looking down the barrel of my 20-gauge shotgun, I track the fluorescent-orange disc streaking across the blue California sky.  Without hesitation I pull the trigger and—BLAMO!—the four-inch clay target is blown to smithereens.  As my classmates erupt in a spontaneous round of applause, all I can think is  “Dang, this is fun!”
You might wonder what an ordinary minivan-driving mother is doing [...]

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Amazing Astronomy: Three Extraordinary Stargazing Experiences

by Alan Rider

While wandering around aimlessly online last night, I discovered that today is the 446th birthday of Galileo Galilei, the guy widely considered to be the father of modern astronomy.  Which got me to thinking about some of the amazing stargazing experiences I’ve had over the years.
My all-time favorite has to be the weekend we spent at Benson, Arizona’s Astronomers Inn.  This four-room bed-and-breakfast located an hour southeast of Tucson isn’t much to look at.  But its amenities—including an in-house observatory where your own personal astronomer will roll back the roof and take you on an eye-opening tour of the galaxy using one of their eight telescopes—made for one of [...]

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Welcome To The Jungle: These Survival Classes Include Lots Of Tasty Grub(s)

by Alan Rider

While searching out and reporting on novel once-in-a-lifetime adventures is both my passion and my profession, there are honestly some experiences I’m all too happy to leave to someone else.
Like my friend and fellow travel writer Bob Howells, for example, who decided it might be fun to spend a week learning traditional survival skills from a native guide in the depths of the Amazon jungle.  The results were equal parts amazing and amusing as the hero of our story, equipped with little more than a machete and a smile, slowly came to understand what the brochure actually meant when it promised “rustic accommodations and lots of tasty grubs” (see [...]

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