From the category archives:

Nature

Want Your Share Of The New California Gold Rush?

by Alan Rider

There are certain moments in history I would love to have been present at.  Not the least of which is the frosty morning of January 24, 1848 when carpenter James Marshall found those first few gold nuggets just downstream from the sawmill he was building on American River.
That’s because it was this chance discovery that started the California Gold Rush.  An event that quite literally made the Golden State what it is today.
But you probably knew that already, didn’t you? Well here’s something you might not know:  There’s still plenty of gold in the cold, clear creeks of those Sierra Nevada foothills, just sitting there waiting for someone to [...]

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Sasquatch Sightings

by Alan Rider

Is it just me, or have there been a lot more Bigfoot sightings lately? From starring roles in television commercials to this guy who thought it’d be funny to don his Sasquatch suit and startle a few unsuspecting hikers, it seems like the legendary ape-man is getting more media exposure than he’s seen in decades.
While this famous footage definitely set the hook in me back in 1967, I’m not ready to declare that bigfoot exists.  That said, I’ve also spent enough time in remote corners of this country to believe there are still plenty of places where the big hairy lout could be hiding.
And it’s that sense of possibility that [...]

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These Volcano Tours Will Have You Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

by Alan Rider

While I don’t necessarily consider myself a thrill-seeker, I can’t deny that I occasionally find myself irresistably drawn to certain experiences that have at least some element of danger to them.
This character flaw may help explain why reading a short blurb on Volcano Awareness Month in Hawaii immediately sent me scurrying off to find out how I could live out my dream of getting up-close-and-personal with an active volcano.  Which is how I found the folks at Volcano Discovery, a group of trained volcanologists who organize tours to some of the world’s most active eruption zones.
If this sounds like fun to you too, you’ll find a complete list of their [...]

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Ten For '10: New Year, New Experiences

by Alan Rider

While other media outlets have been busy looking back at 2009, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks planning some of the great new feature stories I’ll be bringing you in the year ahead.
Now before we go any further, understand that the list below is by no means complete.  In fact, if my math is correct, you can look forward to reading about more than 100 truly remarkable once-in-a-lifetime adventures both here and on the pages of XTRORD.com in the next 12 months.
That said, here’s a quick preview of what I expect to be our 10 coolest extraordinary experience stories for 2010 (click on the links to see previous posts):
Throw [...]

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The One Creature Every Animal Lover Must Meet

by Alan Rider

Everyone thinks of Florida as all warm and sunny, all the time.  And while that’s largely true, the nights around the sleepy coastal town of Crystal River can get downright nippy this time of year.  Which is exactly why the next few months are such a great time of year to visit, especially if you’re an animal lover.
You see, those chilly evenings make the many warm springs around King’s Bay a magnet for manatees.  Because sea cows can’t take the cold any better than I can, they return from their daily foraging to spend the night here in waters as clear as any swimming pool.
Which is where my friends at [...]

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San Diego: 3 Ways To Stay

by Alan Rider

As someone who’s spent the night in thousands of hotel rooms over the years, I’m not easily impressed. So when I discover places that turn out to be more than just another generic place to lay my head at the end of a long day, I figure I ought to share the wealth.
Which brings me to these hot tips on three great lodging options I discovered on my recent visit to San Diego:
Marriott Courtyard/Liberty Station
Located on the grounds of the former Naval Training Center, this year-old waterfront hotel combines an ideal location with a super-friendly staff, surprisingly attractive and well-kept rooms and public spaces, and an on-site restaurant (serving up [...]

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A Real Wild Time—Part 2

by Alan Rider

In the previous installment, I pointed out that you don’t have to travel to remote corners of the globe to have an extraordinary experience.  Well, here’s another example of a genuine once-in-a-lifetime adventure hiding in plain sight at one of San Diego’s most-visited tourist attractions:

Let’s try a little word association.  When I say “San Diego,” you say what?
Anyone who’s ever visited America’s Finest City knows there’s no shortage of ways to fill in that blank.  But I’m thinking of one word in particular: Zoo.  After all, there are good reasons they call it the “World Famous San Diego Zoo,” not the least of which are some of the classic [...]

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