When you’re exploring a beautiful new location, the last thing you want to think about is your feet. That’s why NOW is the time to check out the many different footwear options available to you, choose the shoes that work best for you, and put a few miles on them before your big trip.
Here are a few things to think about when deciding which shoes to pack for your Austin Lehman Adventure. If you need help, call any of our retail stores and ask to speak with one of our specially trained Foot Gurus who can answer all your questions and guide you to the perfect pair of shoes.
All about insoles
Whether you’re looking to get more comfortable miles out of your current shoes or you want to maximize your new shoe investment, Superfeet premium insoles can make a huge difference in your overall comfort and performance. There are Superfeet for all kinds of situations and the impact can be life changing in terms of improved ankle support, relief from knee pain, and freedom from blisters.
The reason for this is when it comes to footwear, the majority of your investment goes to the quality of the sole and midsole, not the insole which can be flimsy at best. In fact, many footwear manufacturers add little more than sock liners into their shoes because they recognize the importance of custom insoles like Superfeet.
Hiking Boots vs Hiking Shoes
Gone are the days when a hiker’s options were limited to burly leather boots that were either heavy weight or medium weight. Support is not exclusively defined by a six inch upper that locks your ankle in place. Advances in outsole technology and midsole materials deliver exceptional support with minimal weight in a package that’s as comfortable as your favorite pair of sneakers.
PHOTO: Merrell Women’s Moab – consistently one of our top customer-rated hiking shoes
A good pair of hiking shoes may be all you need for your Austin Lehman Adventure but it really depends on how aggressive your hiking will be, what the terrain is like, how much weight your carrying and what your personal preferences are. If you’re pushing hard on steep terrain, a more traditional pair of hiking boots like the Asolo TPS 520 GVs may be in order.
For the record, these are the only boots I’ve hiked in for the past 12 years. I use them for everything because I like the feel, security and do-anything versatility. I never have to worry about debris getting in my boots which can happen with hiking shoes.
Cycling to Hiking
Looking to go from your bike to the trail without changing shoes? Helen from our Peterborough, NH store recommends the Teva Forge Pro Event Hiking Shoes.
They’re for standard pedals only but they’re the perfect hybrid for adventure on two wheels and two feet.
If you’re not wiling to compromise the power and efficiency of your SPD pedals, but you still want to be able to do some off-bike rambling, the Pearl Izumi X-Alp Seek shoes do it all.
They clip into your SPDs and when it’s time to hit the trail, the carbon rubber lugged outsole grips the trail and cushions your heel.
There are lots of options available in this category. Sandals with a rubberized toe are by far the most comfortable but when hopping in and out of a raft, bracing yourself in whitewater and exploring dry land, you might want something with a little more protection. In addition to the full coverage of synthetic leather, the Merrell Waterpro Manistees have a perforated foodbed as well a mesh upper for exceptional water drainage.
One final piece of footwear advice before you start packing for your trip–DON’T SKIMP ON SOCKS. You can drop $300 and up on a pair of top-quality hiking boots but if you wear a $5.99 pair of cotton socks you WILL end up blistered and miserable. Plan on bringing two pairs of merino wool socks for every day on the trail and a few extra pairs to be safe. Nothing makes your feet happier than pulling on a clean pair of socks after a big day outdoors. And like I said, great adventures begin with happy feet. Have fun out there!
When you’re exploring a beautiful new location, the last thing you want to think about is your feet. That’s why NOW is the time to check out the many different footwear options available to you, choose the shoes that work best for you, and put a few miles on them before your big trip.
After talking with hundreds of people about adventure vacations, I believe there are basically two types of travelers: those who prepare weeks or even months in advance and those who throw a few things into a suitcase the day before a trip. Personality probably has a lot to do with which type of traveler you are, but everyone can benefit from a little thoughtful preparation before travel. Not only will you enjoy your adventure vacation more, but you will gain more from the entire experience if you spend a little time getting ready to go. Here are a few suggestions...
Prepare Your Body:
Getting physically prepared doesn't mean you have to run a marathon before you're ready to hike and bike on your Austin Lehman adventure. If you sit at a desk most of the day and you don't work out often, you will want to take it up a notch. Go for a walk four or five days a week, or hop on a bike (regular or stationary) every few days. I spoke with a woman last week who walks every day during her lunch break. She's headed to the Canadian Rockies this summer and I'm confident she will be adequately prepared for hiking those awe inspiring mountains.
Prepare Your Mind:
Make it a point to read about the area you will be visiting. The first time I went to Costa Rica I was not prepared for the differences in culture and environment. I hadn't read much and I was overwhelmed with all of the new sights and sounds. Austin Lehman provides a reading list for each of our adventures. If you are traveling with children, show them pictures of the area you'll be visiting. Photos help them to build a mental picture and it allows them to join in your excitement about the adventure. Looking at a map of the area will help you to orient yourself with your surroundings once you’re on your journey.
Immunizations (if traveling outside the US):
It's very important to check with your physician and the Center for Disease Control website before you travel outside of the U.S. Some areas of the world have immunizations that are required, and some immunizations are only necessary in certain seasons. You will want to be aware of which immunizations are recommended and make informed decisions about which ones you want to take and which ones are not necessary. This is a decision that your doctor (or the doctor at your local travel clinic) should be able to help you make.
What to Pack:
Whenever someone asks me what type of clothes they should pack, I always say, "layers". It doesn't matter if you are traveling to Alaska or Nicaragua... layers are important. All of those layers should be breathable, non-cotton materials. Equally important would be a good pair of light-weight hiking shoes. I almost ruined my last backpacking trip with my son because I was trying to eke out a few more miles in my old hiking boots before forking up the dough for new ones. If you purchase new shoes before you travel, make sure to give your feet ample time to break them in. If your feet hurt, your whole body hurts. (Keep an eye out for next week’s blog from EMS’s Jim Darroch on how to choose the right footwear.)
A good rain jacket can be your best friend on any vacation. Unfortunately, Austin-Lehman can't control the weather, so it’s important to be prepared for an occasional wet day. Many outdoor clothing companies make a light-weight, packable rain coat that can also step in as a wind breaker, if needed.
Another important item to bring is a camera. No matter what camera you own, make sure you have the protective gear you need to keep it dry and dirt free. There's nothing more disappointing than missing that perfect shot because your camera lens has taken in moisture. A good case can usually solve this, but even a zip lock bag makes a big difference. Make sure to be smart about when you take out your camera too; don’t use your brand-new $2000 camera in a rain storm if you don’t have the accessories to keep it water free.
If you're traveling to a third-world country, you might want to consider bringing a few items to give away. Many of the people in other countries do not enjoy the standard of living we experience at home. Your travel experience can be greatly enhanced by bringing little gifts to give to children such as pencils, crayons, or small notepads. Pack for a Purpose is a great non-profit organization which can provide items needed in specific locations around the world, and can help you gain an idea of what to bring to other places.
Obviously, this list is not exhaustive. The more I travel, the more I learn about getting prepared - it can be part of the fun of travel. In case you were wondering, I am the type of traveler who likes to throw things in a suitcase at the last minute. I have to admit, it's not always the best choice but it does add to the adventure.
Eastern Mountain Sports is proud to be the official gear outfitter of Austin Lehman Adventures. All of us here at our Peterborough, NH headquarters and in our 68 retail stores throughout the northeast hope you have the time of your life on your upcoming trip and that you return home with stories that never get old. As your departure date draws near, chances are the only thing that could possibly dampen your excitement is worrying about what kind of gear to bring with you. Your expert guides at ALA will have some detailed recommendations for your specific itinerary, but the easiest way to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible on your epic trip is to follow the same golden rule for any outdoor adventure – dress in layers.
With the right layering system, you'll be comfortable no matter what the day brings.
Every layering system starts at your skin with a moisture-wicking base layer that moves sweat away from you to regulate your body temperature and dries quickly to keep you comfortable. In addition to synthetic options like our Techwick products, many adventures choose merino wool base layers from SmartWool and Icebreaker. If the thought of wearing wool in the summer time sounds crazy, you need to experience the remarkable breathability of merino wool, which has the added benefit of being naturally antimicrobial. On long trips like the one you’re planning where washing machines might not always be available, merino base layers are a nice option, for you AND your traveling companions! Whichever base layer option you choose, just remember: “cotton is rotten” because it retains perspiration and takes a long time to dry.
Once you’ve chosen your base layers, it’s time to add an insulating mid layer. Whether you go with a light or midweight fleece or a down jacket/vest or heavyweight fleece depends entirely on what conditions you expect. If I had to choose just one mid layer to bring with me on a multi day adventure, without a doubt, I would choose one of our Polartec Powerstretch products. I literally use my Powerstretch zip up year-round. I hike in it, bike in it, paddle in it and hang out by the campfire in it. Powerstrech keeps me warm by itself on 40 degree days and if I’m running, hiking or skiing on a 20 degree day, it’s still the only midlayer I need. On really cold days or nights where the temperature drops into the twenties, I’ll bring along a heavy weight fleece and I’m pretty much ready for anything.
A Powerstretch top and tights were all I needed to stay warm on a 24 mile ride to work on a 40 degree day last May.
I prefer to call the outer layer the “weather” layer because since I run hot, my shells only come out when it’s windy, rainy, or some other form of nasty to the point where I need some extra protection. Another year-round favorite for me is my Orion Jacket. I like it because it’s lightweight and comfortable enough to wear as a rain jacket in the summer and because it blocks the wind nicely in the winter. That said, if I’m cross country skiing and the forecast calls for light snow, I have no problem wearing a water repellent softshell jacket that gives me better range of motion than a hard shell jacket that’s waterproof.
EMS Orion Jacket
You’ve probably noticed that I’ve recommended a LOT of Eastern Mountain Sports brand products. Please know I’m not just a homer. EMS really is my go-to choice for all my outdoor gear and apparel. That said, you’ll find a lot of your favorite brands at all our stores and online at ems.com, including The North Face, Mountain Hardwear, and Marmot as well as all your favorite footwear and camping brands. On behalf of all of us at Eastern Mountain Sports, enjoy your trip!
Did you know that one of our country’s treasures is part of a disappearing act? Scientists are predicting that the last glacier in Glacier National Park will melt by 2030! Only open approximately 100 days a year, the time is ticking to visit this remote haven.
Lucky for us, there is still an opportunity to freeze time in Glacier on the Austin Lehman Montana Family Glacier National Park trip. Hotels will transform into living museums once you step inside. The “parketecture” of the lodges will take you back to a simpler time instantly. Unplug and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of a real vacation from days past.
From the rustic, quaint rooms of the McDonald Lodge after an antique red jammer bus ride up the iconic Going To The Sun Road, to the ultra-cushy Grouse Mountain Lodge, there will be plenty of memories to share around the dinner table long after you adventure is over.
There is just something special that happens when we disconnect – we really RE connect! It doesn’t get any better than relaxing on the shore of Two Medicine Lake, and truly leaving it all behind. The smiles and miles keep coming as we hike, bike and raft this International Peace Park.
Known as the ‘Crown of the Continent”, Glacier National Park is the only place in the lower 48 States to still see the original wildlife and predators that the first European settlers saw. As the weather continues to warm, and glaciers eventually melt, eco systems and wildlife will also be affected. Can’t you just imagine exploring the frontier and getting glimpses of the same beauty as our ancestors before us? The park also boasts one of the highest densities of grizzlies in the world, offering post card worthy pictures and legendary campfire stories if you are lucky enough to see to see one.
We hope you’ll take us up on our open invitation to join us for the adventure of your lifetime in Glacier National Park before its namesake is lost forever!
1. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States. Formed by a volcano that collapsed over 7,000 years ago, Crater Lake is almost 1,950 feet deep at its deepest point! You’ll see the lake for the first time from the caldera rim. As you stare into the stunningly blue waters, you’ll understand why this lake is world renowned as a scenic wonder.
2. Your kids can become Junior Rangers. Sign your kids up on day one and help them complete various park-themed activities throughout your vacation. At the end, they’ll be “sworn in” and become official Junior Rangers!
3. Hiking, biking, and rafting, oh my! Oregon’s natural beauty will be that much more enjoyable when you and your family are hiking around Crater Lake National Park, keeping an eye out for interesting flora and fauna, biking the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway, in the shade of verdant old forests, or rafting down the Rogue River, experiencing mellow class I rapids to exciting (but safe) class IV rapids.
4. The Food. Oregon is a foodie’s paradise (and a wine or beer lover’s paradise as well!) Delicious melt-in-your-mouth blue cheese from a local creamery, local game hen roasted with truffles, or fresh-caught pacific grouper. Add a glass of local Pinot Gris, or a pint of IPA from the closest microbrewery, and you’ve found the perfect way to unwind after a great day!
5. Crater Lake National Park is ALA’s Preserve a Park for 2013. That means, with each guest booked, we will donate $100 to the park and its historical association!
Good ole Jackson, Wyoming. One of the most b-e-a-utiful towns in the West. It’s surrounded by mountains with the Grand Tetons right up the road. Not to mention, Yellowstone National Park being just a little further up that road. This place is full of adventurous opportunities. You can raft the Snake River, hike multiple trails, go paragliding, kayak Jackson Lake and bike just about anywhere as this is one of the most “biker-friendly” areas you will ever see. Downtown Jackson is loaded with great shopping, unique restaurants such as Local or Thai Me Up, the elk antler arches in Towne Square and of course, the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.
Coming into town from the North you can’t help but notice the rather large and rather steep ski slopes in front of you. That is Snow King, which also offers some great hiking in the summer season. At the top you will have gained about 1,600 feet elevation with one of the best views you will ever see! On a clear day, just about the entire Jackson Hole area can be viewed. The Grand Tetons, Teton Village, the National Elk Refuge and the Gros Ventre Mountain Range, all before you in all their glory. The town of Jackson is already about 6,200 feet elevation so get ready for some huffin and puffin on your hike and don’t forget to bring some water with you. In case you’re not in the mood to hike, the ski lifts run all year.
So before or after you head onto your Yellowstone/Teton Austin Lehman Adventure, make sure you spend a few extra days in the wonderful town of Jackson, Wyoming.
Having spent the last 14 years in the adventure travel business you can imagine that I have had the chance to visit many a wonderful place!
Whether you’re looking for someplace to host a corporate retreat or a romantic weekend, when it comes to spas Red Mountain is my personal favorite, hands down. How can you beat the location! St. George, Utah is nestled in the vibrant red rock landscape, complimented by the bright blue sky. It's just a quick trip from Las Vegas, away from the daily hustle, and one can be as active or relaxed as they choose.
When the resort first opened it offered more of a medical concentration on health and wellness. As the years have passed, Red Mountain has evolved into a full on resort and spa. Among the amenities, guests will find several daily unlimited classes to choose from during their stay. The complimentary schedule includes Pilates, yoga, Zumba, cooking and nutrition classes. For those looking for more action they can hop on a bike and explore Snow Canyon.
For the outdoor enthusiasts, the resort’s “back yard” offers a plethora of convenient options: hiking, biking and photography. Red Mountain is happy to call many of the local State and National parks "neighbors," all of which showcase a natural display of desert animal life, unique botanicals and dynamic rock formations. In particular, Snow Canyon State Park is home to 7,000 acres of red rock canyons and cliffs, lava caves and two volcanic cones. St. George’s climate creates an ideal environment to enjoy outdoor adventures year round.
Additional services that are not included, but can be taken advantage of, range from health and wellness consultation, digital photography field classes, Anaszai pottery workshops, and canyoneering, just to name a few. Enjoy onsite dining in the Canyon Breeze Restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Guests can also get healthy options that are backpack ready at the Canyon Counter. If you forgot something, visit the general store on site for everything from powerbars to Chacos.
I have to confess, my last visit to Red Mountain was a little lazy. Our day started with sipping coffee on the balcony of our villa watching the sunrise. The next decision; which classes to take for the day? Still more decisions to make: which treatments to have at the Sagestone Spa. I look forward to my next visit this coming February when Dan and I will be hosting the couples wellness retreat February 10-15, 2013! We hope you join us!
Slowly I place one foot carefully in front of the other and moderate my breathing as I chug up the ancient steps walked by thousands of Incans far before my time. “I think we’re almost there,” my brother calls out, pausing to take a sip of water as we both stop to snap a photo of two stones perched at a narrow passage in the crevice of a mountain above us. “Don’t stop now!” our guide calls out, “you’re about to see something very special!” Keeping my head down and stepping upwards, I picture in my mind what I have been imagining for months now – a view of the “Lost City,” Machu Picchu from Intipunku, the Sun Gate.
Capturing your first glimpse of this UNESCO World Heritage site from the Sun Gate is perhaps the most memorable way of seeing Machu Picchu for the first time. Most people take a train into the “town of Machu Picchu,” Aguas Calientes and ride a bus 30 minutes up to the site, their first impression of this special place consisting of crowds, long lines, and bus exhaust (I would know – this is what I did on my second visit!) On our Peru: Machu Picchu Multisport Adventure, you ride a train to Kilometer 104. Upon disembarkation, you’re left with your guide to hike the last 8 miles of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu stopping along the way to visit sites like Chachabamba and Wiñay Wayna.
Machu Picchu is one of those sites where #1, you could spend days looking at all the ancient architecture, and #2, you need an educated guide to fill you in on the awe-inducing history of the place and the Incans who lived there. Machu Picchu is made of up of more than 150 buildings ranging from simply constructed houses to intricately constructed temples, the stones fitting so snugly together (without mortar) that not even a playing card can be inserted between the stones – and this was done without modern day tools! To discover the mystery of the site, you need to physically walk up a few of the hundred sets of carved stone stair cases, touch the smooth, precisely carved stone work, or stare wide-eyed at a 300 ton piece of granite that not even scientists can fathom how it ended up at the top of a mountain.
Even though nothing compares to walking in and among the ruins of this awesome Incan empire, I think one of the best (and truly thrilling) ways to take in the site as a whole is to “climb” up Huaynapicchu Mountain. I say “climb” here because you ascend stairs for a whole hour all the way to the summit, grabbing onto “side-of-the-mountain” cables and sometimes scrambling up ancient Incan stone stairs using only your hands on the steep step above you for balance. (Might I mention that you are also over 7,000 feet above sea level?!) The allowance of only 400 hikers a day on Huaynapicchu gives you a special experience that not many who explore Machu Picchu can say they’ve had the opportunity to do. The view from the top is spectacular and truly rewarding (as long as it’s not a foggy day)! Hiking up this mountain was truly a highlight for me, although I wouldn’t recommend it for those who fear heights!
To summarize, I’ve retained nothing but remarkable memories of my first visit to Machu Picchu – the incredible history of the place as a whole, the mysterious disappearance of the Incas from this well-planned site, and the idea that a past civilization built this masterpiece from the ground up without the use of tools, wheels, or the Internet is completely and utterly extraordinary! The best part about telling you about my trip is that this was only a fragment of our Peru Adventure – between rafting the Urubamba River, walking the colorful streets of Cusco, and mountain biking to ancient salt pools and mines, I wouldn’t know where to begin my story next!
Get out and explore!
Three of our Peru Guides, Santiago, Mauricio and Jesus, Share Their Favorite Parts from Their Country
It’s not about the destination...it is about the journey!! That’s all you need to know before starting on any trip I lead!! I am a guide on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The trail that was hidden for more than 400 years when my people escaped from the Andes into the jungle; where we are able to see beautiful views and the several sections of the trail in a pretty short amount of time; where people have once-in-a-lifetime experiences. It was with amazing effort that the Incas built one trail across the Andes. It is a trail that brings unforgettable experiences. People take on the challenge inspired by the beauty of the mountains, and with the protection of the Inca gods. I’ve hiked this path so many times that I lost count, but I still enjoy walking on a real 500 year old road, with all the experiences that it brings, and being able to see what the Incas saw so long ago!! Take this pilgrimage along the classic Inca Trail, and discover the heart of the Inca civilization, Machu Picchu. I’m sure it will be the trip of a lifetime. I am a guide on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu and I am proud of that!!
By Santiago Castelo
There are many countries around the world, but let me introduce you to what I believe is one of the most beautiful, Peru. Peru is a place where the mountains are consider protectors, and the local people are real descendants of the Incas. Let me describe a small village that’s located in the middle of the Andes. Maras is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, and is considered a world heritage site by Unesco. However, most tourists never get the chance to see the local farmers and how they live and work. If you come to this village, you can see the true miners of Inca salt, who continue to mine salt in the same manner as their predecessors. They use the same kind of tools, and even drink the sacred beverage of the Incas, known as chicha. On your Austin-Lehman Peru Machu Picchu adventure, you can understand what life is like in the countryside, and also understand what ancient Incan society was like.
Mauricio Gomez Rodriguez
A Great and Unique Adventure in the Land of Incas: Cusco, Peru
I’m so proud to be born and raised in Cusco. Cusco is the beauty of the world concentrated into one city. It has the history, cultural connections with local people, Inca sites, valleys, snow-capped mountain ranges, Machu Picchu, and much more. If Machu Picchu is on your bucket list, you’re in luck because it’s the highlight of Austin-Lehman’s Peru tour. It will be a breathtaking experience for you to be there.
Here in Cusco, we focus a lot on local culture. We follow an itinerary, but we will have extra, special experiences with local people. We will visit local markets, local houses, local chicherias (or bars.) All of these interactions with local people will be unique, memorable and unforgettable for you. Do not wait too long, come to Cusco, Peru and enjoy the best of Peru with the best company “Austin-Lehman Adventures.”
Personally, I believe that there is nothing better than traveling. I think it’s important to have not one, but several “trips of a lifetime.” However, as the best places to visit are often some of the hardest to get to, you will inevitably find yourself on planes, trains and automobiles, all of which can be overwhelming. Add that to visiting an unknown locale for the first time, and it’s understandable to see why people get stressed out when traveling. It’s time to let that stress slip away! Here are 10 tips for staying stress-free and healthy while exploring the world!
1. Think about your flight
While it’s sometimes hard to do, when you book your flight make sure you give yourself over an hour in between connections.Though this may make your travel day longer, it will definitely keep the stress down. Trust me when I say that there is nothing worse than flat-out sprinting through an airport you’ve never been to (or even one you have) to make a connection. It will give you some cushion for delays, and make sure your heart rate and breathing are normal when you finally do get to your departure gate.
2. Make a list
Being totally prepared before you leave will definitely make things run more smoothly. Don’t leave your packing until the night before, you will inevitably not pack everything you want. And, you’ll regret staying up until 2 am when you have to catch a 6 am flight. I love lists (as you can probably tell by the one you're reading right now.) I start a list at least a month before my departure of all the things I’m going to need on the trip. A week or two before my I leave, I gather all the items together and reassess what I actually need (and don’t.) This will help you keep your pack light, which (trust me) you’ll be thankful for. A few items I never travel without? A journal, my kindle, and a plastic folder with all of my important documents (itineraries, hotel details, emergency contact numbers, a copy of my passport, credit card company/bank phone numbers, etc.) Save your list and update it after your trip so that the next time around will be easier.
3. Know where you’re headed… and let others know too
If you’re headed out of the country, make sure you know whether you’ll need a power adapter (and if so, what kind,) and, if you want to use your cell phone, any information about an international plan for your phone. No matter where you're headed, let your credit-card company and bank know where you’ll be so that they don’t cancel your cards due to fraudulent activity. Check to see if your ATM card will work where you’re traveling and what kind of fee you’ll be charged, or how easy it is to exchange money. Finally, find out what time zone you’ll be headed to (it's always good to know these things.)
4. Make your carry-on count
If I am checking a bag, I always put toothpaste, a tooth brush, face wash and a travel towel in my carry-on.You will feel so much better after a long flight if you can freshen up a bit. Plus, if you get stuck somewhere, you’ll have a few essentials to help you through the delay. I also carry a small medical bag with stuff that’s great to have on hand when traveling (and may not always be easily accessible once you get there): Advil, Pepto Bismal, anti-septic wipes, band aids, Purell, and hand wipes (see #8 for more details on the last two.) Two other great carry-on additions (which I’m a recent convert to): an eye mask and a small travel pillow.
5. Water is your (best) friend
Most importantly of all- drink lots of water. Stay hydrated. Free alcohol on airplanes can be pretty enticing, but make sure you balance it out with plenty of water (if you choose to indulge.) Once you land, if you’re traveling to a country where you don’t feel comfortable drinking tap water, make sure you have a LARGE bottle of water with you at all times, and make sure you actually drink it!
6. Get yourself acclimated before you get there
Flying and spending time in airports, particularly on longer trips, is like being in some weird parallel universe. You lose all sense of time, and any rules you have for yourself typically go out the window. Try to keep a routine while traveling. I like to look towards my destination, and do my best to sleep more on a schedule in tempo with my new time zone, not my old one. I also eat lightly and often (carrying healthy snacks from home helps with this.) Remember, you don’t have to eat just because a stewardess says it’s meal time!
7. Get your stretch on!
Sometimes we forget how taxing it is on the body to be stationary for a long time. Take advantage of layovers, and trips to the bathroom on the plane. Stretch your body and move around! Ever take a yoga class? Don’t be afraid to do a little downward dog in the airport! Once in flight, you can sit in your seat and roll your head from side to side, rotate your wrists and ankles, and move your legs up and down (all without bugging your neighbor too much.) You’ll feel more rested, and your body will be happier, when you reach your destination.
8. Hand Sanitizer and Wipes… in moderation
Traveling to any new destination inevitably brings an onslaught of fears about germs, particularly if you’re traveling to a new country. Though often exaggerated, it’s not out of line to feel this way, because most new places have germs you’re not used to. So, whether hiking in the Rockies, or exploring the ancient streets of Istanbul, it’s important to have some hand sanitizer and wipes with you. Please note! It’s equally important not to over do it with them. Use these items as much as you would wash your hands at home (and not every time you touch something.) Some germs are good germs!
9. Bring a little piece of home with you
No matter where you travel to, it’s not your home. Because of this, it’s important to make sure you have a little something that will make you smile and cure any homesick blues. The longer the trip, the more important this is. Whether a picture of your dog, your significant other, or your favorite local haunt, it’s always nice to see something familiar.
The less you think about traveling being stressful, the more you’ll enjoy it. Don’t forget that you’re on this adventure to discover new and exciting things! Relax and take everything in. Write down your experiences in a journal! Most importantly, laugh and smile as much as possible!
Hope these tips helped! Know of any more? Share some of your own in the comment box below!
As I step out of the San Jose airport into the warm, humid air a feeling of peace and relaxation washes over me, much as it does every time I arrive in this tiny country in Central America, except this visit will be different than all of the others. This adventure will take me to the Osa Peninsula, one of the least visited areas in all of Costa Rica. Suddenly I see Carlos through the crowd of Ticos waiting for friends and family. Carlos knows his country well and I'm so grateful he is willing to spend the next few days showing me a part of Costa Rica I haven't had the chance to explore before.
We leave the airport and head south and west into the Talamanca Mountain range toward Cerro de la Muerte, the highest point of the Pan American highway in Central America. We stop briefly at a small typical Costa Rican restaurant to get lunch; beans and rice, homemade tortillas, and fresh fruit before heading up higher into an ecosystem called paramo about 3,300m above sea level (around 10,000 ft), which is only found in Costa Rica and a few areas of Panama. Many endemic species live in this unique habitat. As we get out of our vehicle and start to walk a short distance into the vegetation I'm struck by how much the dwarf shrubs and trees resemble the alpine ecosystems I've studied back home in the Rockies, the Cascades and the Olympics; small, waxy leaves with tiny, white bell shaped flowers. We spend the night in a quaint lodge nestled in a valley near Costa Rica's most recently established National Park, Quetzal National Park.
Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve and Spa
I rise early to try and catch a glimpse of the beautiful Resplendid Quetzal only to be informed by one of the garden keepers that the Queztal has already visited his favorite avocado tree near the small trout pond earlier that morning and moved on to other feeding areas. I hoped this was not a foreshadowing of my luck at spotting wildlife as we headed even further south toward Sierpe on the outskirts of Central America's largest mangrove forest.
In the small town of Sierpe we board a boat and begin our voyage through the mangroves toward the Pacific Ocean and Osa Peninsula’s, Drake Bay. The number of bird and other wildlife sightings increase as we travel down river toward the ocean; frigate birds, raccoons, macaws, and caimans. Soon we can see the open ocean and the waves lapping at the mouth of the Rio Sierpe. Our captain maneuvers easily through the surf and continues on toward the northernmost tip of the Osa Peninsula. As we draw closer to shore I realize there isn't a dock...we're going to get as close to shore as possible and wade the rest of the way. Porters come to carry our luggage ashore while the passengers focus on the beauty surrounding us. I feel like I've just stepped into a scene from Swiss Family Robinson.
Approaching the Osa Peninsula after leaving the mouth of the Sierpe River
Early the next morning Carlos and I start down a small footpath into the jungle. He begins to share with me his knowledge about the plants, birds and animals we see as we walk. We stop to look at some edible fruits that have dropped from the thick rainforest canopy when Carlos notices a small band of howler monkeys watching us from the branches above. A young monkey clings to its mother, and eyes us curiously. We walk a little further and pause to look at a large tree frog clinging to the trunk of a tree when I notice that the ground seems to be moving beneath my feet. I look down and discover the reason for the strange sensation; small crabs almost completely cover the ground where I'm standing. When I move, each crab quickly scuttles away.
Gladiator tree frog (Hypsiboas rosenbergi), trying to blend in to his surroundings
I grew up on the side of a mountain in Eagle River, Alaska, and even though I now live in Montana, one of the least populated states in the contagious U.S., I'm amazed at how wild and secluded the Osa Peninsula feels. It gives me the same sensation I get when hiking and camping in remote locations in Alaska - the environment is still pristine, untouched, untamed. As I look around me, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude that there are still places like the Osa Peninsula on this planet I call home.
A remote beach on the Osa Peninsula at high tide
Austin Lehman Adventures will be offering a trip to Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula this year. We'd love to have you join us on this life-changing adventure! Come experience some of the most beautiful and remote areas in Central America.
It’s hard to find a place more visually stunning or seemingly untouched than Patagonia, the region in the Southern Andes shared by Argentina and Chile. Home to the world’s third largest ice field, after Greenland and Antarctica, as well as staggering peaks and some of the most brilliant scenery on Earth, Patagonia is the ultimate adventurer’s paradise.
Though the mountains in Patagonia are not nearly as tall as their Himalayan counter parts, they are world renowned for their sheer faces, and are considered some of the most technically challenging mountains to climb in the world. If you’re not ready to rope up and give those a shot, don’t worry, you can still enjoy their majestic beauty as you hike through some of the region’s more friendly trails. As you hike your way to Lakes Torre and Capri, you will understand why the region is famed for its vistas as you come face to face with the regions two tallest peaks, Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy. At 10,262 and 11,168 feet tall, respectively, it’s easy to see why these giants have gained their reputations.
Another geographical feature which Patagonia is famous for are its ice fields. The Perito Moreno Glacier, a 97 square mile ice formation in the Los Glaciares National Park is particularly well-known. Perito Moreno is the world’s thirds largest reserve of fresh water, and one of one of the few glaciers in the world that is actually growing. It is “fed” by the Los Glaciares ice cap, which feeds 46 other glaciers, as well, and makes up the National Park. In order to truly get a feel for the glacier’s awesomeness, make sure you trek your way across it, allowing you to get up close and personal with its surreal peaks and neon blue crevasses.
It’s impossible to visit Patagonia and not be inspired, whether by the landscape, by what you’ve accomplished, or by what you’ve discovered. Make sure you bring your camera and your sense of adventure, because it’ll be the trip of a lifetime!
Hope to see you there!
John Ibach, Director of Outdoor Recreation at Red Mountain Resort, talks a little bit about some of the great opportunities that March brings to the resort.
The month of March in Southern Utah is a time of anticipation, looking forward to a long spring and anticipating the warm months ahead. The mornings and afternoons are perfect for the outdoor activities that our corner of Utah is so famous for. Hiking and biking in Snow Canyon the Santa Clara River Valley and Zion National Park are at their best. Whether you choose to hike in the mornings or take a longer afternoon excursion with us you will find our knowledgeable and experienced guides a pleasure to be with. The average daily temperatures are in the high 60s Fahrenheit, perfect for outdoor activities.
March is also the time we look forward to the desert bloom. Marigold, spectacle pod, snake weed, four-o’clock, and others make their appearance in March giving new life to the desert, this yearly bloom contrasts with the red rocks and blues skies that we are famous for and gives the desert a look that happens only once a year.
No matter if you are looking to kick start your physical fitness program or are looking for a once in a life outdoor challenge you will find our unique blend of outdoor recreation adventures at Red Mountain Resort to be just the thing. Our expert guides will challenge you on every hike and leave you with a feeling of accomplishment. You will also come away with a deeper understanding of the environment you have hiked through and why we feel such a special attachment to our desert environment. March is indeed a special time in the desert. Red Mountain Resort and Austin-Lehman Adventures are here to help you make the most of this incredible experience!
Imagine yourself surrounded by the kind of scenery that most people only visit in their dreams: 22,000-foot, snow dusted peaks; valleys filled with soft rows of grape vines; and beautiful, cloud-speckled blue skies. Now, imagine that you are holding a tantalizingly good looking glass of Malbec. You breathe in the tannins and take your first sip. It is balanced, smooth, easy to drink, and, most importantly, delicious. Not only is it amazing because you are sitting at the very vineyard that the wine comes from, but also because you just completed a stunningly picturesque bike ride in the foothills of the Andes. Now that you can practically taste the wine on your lips, imagine nine days of blissful moments like this one. With ALA’s Chile and Argentina Wine Country Adventure, you will wine, dine, hike, bike and horseback your way from Mendoza, Argentina to Santiago, Chile.
Located in the heart of the Andes, Chile and Argentina are world-renowned for both their beauty and their wine. Grapes were first introduced to the regions in the 16th century, when Spanish conquistadors brought vines over during colonization. Today, Chile is the fifth largest exporter of wine in the world, while Argentina is the fifth largest producer. During your South American wine adventure, you will visit wineries in both countries. While there you will learn the history of the vineyard, as well as how they produce their wine. And, obviously, you will taste some truly spectacular vintages!
While the wines maybe the highlight of this trip, we can’t forget about the spectacular scenery, which elevates (no pun intended) this adventure to a whole new level. Whether you are biking along endless rows of grape vines, or taking in the views of Mt. Aconcagua (the tallest peak in the Western and Southern Hemispheres) from Lake Horcones while enjoying a delicious picnic lunch, you cannot help but have your breath taken away by the landscapes surrounding you.
After nine days of fabulous food, wine and vistas, you can’t help but return to the “real world” a relaxed and changed person. With mountain air in your lungs, and tannins still tickling your tongue, you’ll be raising a glass to your Chile and Argentina Wine Country Adventure for months to come.
Warm water beaches, volcanoes, jungles and amazing surf. Costa Rica has become known as the adventures paradise and there is little mystery as to why. With pristine beaches providing perfect lefts and rights on the Pacific Coast, and miles of crystal clear blue snorkeling waters on the Caribbean side, this Country is literally filled with adventure from coast to coast! No matter what activity the adventurer in you is searching for, your Costa Rica Adventure Tour is sure to have it. Austin-Lehman Adventures even upped the anti and recently just added a new Costa Rica Tour to the menu!
Costa Rica Family adventure tour travels from the stunning and famous Arenal Volcano and rainforest and brings you along to Manuel Antonio, which offers nothing less then magnificent sights with its’ luxurious white sand beaches stretching straight up to the lush green rainforest’s edge. Arenal Volcano is a great place to hike and see some of the playful wildlife that Costa Rica is known for. From monkeys, and wild cats, to butterflies and tropical birds. Enjoy nature’s playground as you walk through the treetops on the hanging bridges. Once you get your fill of natures beauty you can dive into some of the natural hot springs, and allow yourself to truly unwind on your tropical vacation. The natural springs are thought to have healing properties due to the different mineral compositions. Even so just the feeling of relaxation with the lush green ambiance surrounding you is enough to help you unwind and enjoy a soak in the warm pools.
The pace will speed up a bit as you arrive in Manuel Antonio. A surf lesson is the perfect activity to get your heart pounding and try something new. The beautiful beaches of Costa Rica offer surf breaks to please a beginner, a moderately skilled, or even a lifetime expert surfer. The warm waters and nice weather provide a great experience to allow optimal surroundings to get you up and surfing in no time. After you master the art of surfing, you can dive below the water and see what lies underneath the surface. The white sand beaches of Manuel Antonio provide great viewing opportunities for snorkeling, one of the few locations on the Pacific side that allows such clarity. Explore the forests edge by kayaking along the shoreline keeping an eye out for monkeys, sloths, iguanas, squirrels, and lizards.
If you were looking for a different adventure then what Manuel Antonio provides you could also book a Costa Rica tour that travels from Arenal to Tortugero. Still offering the beautiful jungles of Arenal and the relaxation of the springs, but switching gears a bit to voyage down a class III to class IV level river. The Pacuare River is rated one of the top 10 rivers in the world to raft down, and what better time then now to test your abilities. Afterwards you can slow down a bit and kayak the canals of Tortugero National Park and explore the wild as you search for monkeys, caimans, and crocodiles. Add a little more adrenalin pumping excitement as you repel down a waterfall and shoot through the air on a zip line. An adventure tour designed for the kid in all of us, for thrills and adventure you have only ever dreamed of check out a Costa Rica Adventure Vacation from Arenal to Tortugero.
And now for the moment you have all been waiting for. The reveal of a brand new, never been seen before, Costa Rica Austin-Lehman Adventure Tour releasing dates in 2013: We will be overing this tour: (3/17-23, 7/14-20, 12/15-21)! From Osa Peninsula to The Savegre Cloud Forrest. This tour has been added to experience some different sights and sounds that Costa Rica has to offer. This seven-day adventure takes you from coast to mountainous interior exploring the Sierpe River through the mangrove wetlands, to the jungles of Corcovado National Park. This forest is named “one of the most biologically intense places on earth” by National Geographic. Experience tapirs, jaguars, and scarlet macaws during the day and retreat to your relaxing and luxurious hand picked accommodations at night. The activities and cuisines are just as amazing and magnificent as the rest of Austin-Lehman Adventures traditional vacations, so try your hand at something new visiting the private nature reserve in the Savegre Cloud Forrest and the exclusive Osa Peninsula only reached by boat.
No matter which adventure tour you chose, Costa Rica is a guaranteed excitement filled excursion through a variety of different types of activities and locations. Water, sand, jungle, and flight, you will not tire of the diversity that Costa Rica has to offer. Book your Austin-Lehman Adventure today and see what new adventures nature has to offer. Check out some photos from our Costa Rica Adventure Travels on Pinterest.
Your friendly Costa Rica surfer,
Located in southwest Oregon, Crater Lake National Park is an extraordinary mixture of serene natural beauty, unspoiled alpine grandeur, and authentic National Park charm all with an intense volcanic history. It is a place of deep fascination for visitors and scientists alike.
Crater Lake is best known for its intense blue color and pristine water. This stunning lake was formed when the volcano Mount Mazama collapsed after an enormous eruption. This collapse formed a deep caldera, which over time has filled with rainwater and snowfall. There are no rivers or streams that flow in or out of the lake, making its waters some of the purest in the world. Because of its location just 100 miles from the Pacific coast and in the heart of the towering Cascade Range, Crater Lake receives a huge amount of snowfall. This not only keeps the lake replenished but it has made Crater Lake the deepest lake in United States.
During the short summer season, recreational activities are endless in this mountain paradise. Spend an afternoon biking the 33 miles around the rim of the lake, taking it in from every angle. Hike through the diverse old growth forests or across meadows filled wildflowers. Climb to the highest point in the park on Mount Scott for breathtaking panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding peaks. While you are marveling at the extreme natural beauty of the lake keep an eye out for the Old Man of the Lake, a log that has been bobbing around in the pristine waters for over 115 years! You will also see the Phantom Ship which is a small, jagged island visible from several locations around the rim. This island acquired its eerie name because during foggy or stormy weather it looks like ghostly ship out on the water.
In addition to the National Park, southern Oregon has so much to offer the active traveler. With miles of rugged coastline, beautiful beaches, unspoiled rivers, lush forests and endless trails there is no shortage of adventure here. River and nature lovers alike will enjoy a day of whitewater rafting the gorgeous Rouge River which flows out of the Cascades to the Pacific Ocean. Just two hours from Crater Lake you will find the hip town of Ashland, Oregon. Most famous for its amazing Shakespeare Festival, Ashland has plenty of culture, nightlife and dining options to satisfy your vacation desires. The Shakespeare Festival runs an impressive eight months and preforms over 750 shows and allows visitors to experience classical Shakespeare as well as other amazing performances. 2013 offerings include The Taming of The Shrew, King Lear, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a Streetcar Named Desire, My Fair Lady and many more.
Whether it is the allure and curiosity of Crater Lake National Park or just an overall need for adventure and the outdoors, southern Oregon will satisfy your every desire. It is worth a visit!
Austin-Lehman will be offering the ultimate adventure to Crater Lake in 2013.
You friendly traveler,
This past July, my family- myself, my husband and our daughters ages 5 & 7, took our first family adventure vacation- the Montana Family Adventure. To say it was life-changing really isn’t far off. But beyond that, our terrific guides- Patrick, James and John- taught us quite a few things… About Montana, about nature and about ourselves.
If you’re lost in the woods, you should start liken’ the lichen
Not that we were in any danger of going hungry (see below), Patrick gave us all a nature lesson the first day about lichen, an edible fungus that, though not the most tasty of substances, is filled with nutrients. Just in case you’re lost in the woods without food. Of course, he also tricked us with mountain goat poo, it was a friendly prank, which tasted surprisingly like carob.
There are no poisonous snakes in western Montana
To say I don’t like snakes would be an understatement. I am terrified of them. So I was (very) nervous about hiking through the wilds of Yellowstone. In fact, one of my first questions was about snakes. Patrick immediately put my fears to rest when he told us that western Montana isn’t warm enough for poisonous snakes. (Yea!)
Don’t run from a griz
“Get your kids and start walking slowly backward towards the vans,” Patrick said.
We had stopped at a pullout- along with at least a dozen other people- due to a Grizzly sighting. As we stood safely at the edge of the road, hoping for a glimpse, others were walking up and over the hill to get an “up close and personal” look. And then Patrick saw one of the men come running back over the hill.
“I was sure we would see an attack,” Patrick told me later. “You never run from a Griz, they will chase you.” So, what should you do? Apparently, you slowly back away, hoping the bear is bluffing. If he does charge, curl in a ball and play dead. (Yeah, I think my “flight” instinct would overrule that, too!)
There’s flat… and then there’s “Montana flat”
We were prepared for most of our hikes. But there were a couple that we were told were flat. Of course, it was our guide John who told us that. What we didn’t take into consideration was that John had climbed Mount Everest, so a somewhat challenging hike to us, was flat to him. About half way through the week we knew to ask, “Is it really flat, or is it Montana flat?” meaning no really steep parts but still uphill.
Humans, though the most intelligent species on the planet, can be incredibly dumb
Not including the bear incident, we witnessed, first hand, the ignorance of people in the wild. I was sure we would see a young man get gored by a buffalo. Tip: stay in your car when a herd is crossing the road. We also saw entire families creeping way too close to Black Bear and quite a few adults walking within feet of a Bull Elk so they could get good photos with their iPhones.
The tales our guides shared put these to shame- and they didn’t end so well. “People can do really stupid things here,” James said. “It’s like they think the animals are tame and the rangers let them out every day for the tourists to see.”
It is possible to be pampered at 12,000 feet when you’re covered in dust
When you’re covered head to toe in dust, some of which is turning to cakey mud as rivulets of sweat trickle down your body, it’s difficult to imagine feeling pampered. And then your guides bring out silver trays of iced coffee. Or they bring you wet wipes followed by sliced apples with caramel dipping sauce. Not only do you feel pampered, but you are so thankful you didn’t have to carry it up yourself!
The Pied Piper is real
Though he wasn’t carrying pipes, Patrick managed to charm all the children on our tour. Wherever he was, they wanted to be. By mid-week the adults had termed him “the Pied Piper” as we knew that if our children weren’t with us, they would be near him.
Sometimes you have to work hard to see magnificence
Sure, you can see amazing things when you stay on the beaten path. But to see truly breathtaking sights, you need to work harder. This was truly driven home to us after we scraped and clawed our way up the steep hill behind the Grand Prismatic. Only 10% of visitors to Yellowstone see this view. It was worth every bruise and scrape.
You’ll never go hungry.
Despite the increased amount of physical activity, you will never feel a hunger pang during your AL vacation. Between the filling breakfasts, fabulous lunches, morning and afternoon snacks on the trail, “just in case” munchies in the vans, and local specialties for dinner each evening, hunger doesn’t stand a chance.
You can trust someone you just met with your kids in less than a week
At the beginning of our trip, we kept near the girls as we hiked. By mid-week we kept them in our sights. By the end of the week, as we were hiking through an area where bears had been sighted only the day before, our girls were separated- one in front of us and one behind- each so far away we couldn’t see or hear them. As Doug and I walked along, we commented on the fact that we weren’t worried at all. We knew that our youngest was at the front of the pack with John, while our eldest was tagging along at the end with Patrick. And we knew that both were completely safe.
Our family so thoroughly enjoyed our Austin-Lehman vacation that we are hoping to do another one next summer! We’re thinking the Yellowstone/ Tetons trip… unfortunately it has no horseback riding- which is a “must” for my youngest, who fell in love with her four legged guide this year.
Jody Halsted is a writer specializing in family travel. You can follow her family’s adventures at FamilyRambling.com.
See Jody's photos from her Austin-Lehman Adventure: Montana Family Adventure Photos
If you are anything like me, the thought of checking luggage for a trip adds another layer of stress that seems unnecessary for a vacation! Are they going to charge me? Are they going to lose my bag? Who might be going through my things? Will my bag end up with big black stains on them (which I still haven’t figured out how to remove)? So, now I try to always travel with only carry-on luggage (I just purchased a Briggs and Riley Bag, and think it might be perfect)!
This becomes a little more challenging in the shoulder seasons when you need to prepare for a multitude of weather conditions, but with these tips you will be packing lightly and efficiently for your next fall or spring get away.
1. Light Layers: This is the key to packing light; be prepared to pack items that can be ‘stacked’ on. By bringing a base layer (I like The North Face, mid weight base layers), and a medium weight sweater or fleece pull over, along with a good quality rain jacket (mine is a Marmot) you don’t have to worry about packing a parka for chilly days. Don’t forget a nice pair of thin, but wind proof, gloves and a light hat and you will be set for anything!
2. A Pashmina: These things are so versatile, and if you have read my blogs before you know they have a myriad of purposes. They can be a scarf if you are cold, a head covering if you need to go into a Mosque, a blanket on a cold plane, a makeshift picnic blanket, a bathing suit cover up, and they can also be worn as a shall to dress up a dinner outfit. With a neutral pashmina, you’ll look like a true Parisian as you stroll along the Seine. This is a serious must for all lady travelers.
3. Socks: Not just socks, but moisture wicking socks, like wool. (My favorite is Smartwool). This is an all year item, as wool will keep you warm in the cold and cool in the heat. I recommend not only bringing short socks for hiking or biking, but also a few pairs of knee high socks to help keep your legs warm. This pairs with:
4. Undies: A good pair of long underwear bottoms. I know we talked about base layers for the top half, but having a good quality bottom base layer will keep you warm as you take in the sights of Prague, of any city, on a rainy day! You don’t need to be relegated to museums or shops if the weather gets ugly.
5. Color: Lastly, to keep packing to a minimum, try to color coordinate the items that you pack. Choose one neutral color (black, grey, brown, or navy) and build your wardrobe around that. Make sure that everything matches everything else, and that way you will end up having more options (and fewer shoes).
I hope this helps condense your travel items as you plan your next European Vacation or Yellowstone Tour. By packing thoughtfully you will save space as well as time and money as you traverse through airports.
Your Friendly Travel Expert,
Summer is beginning to wind down, which means fall is right around the corner! If you’re looking for the perfect vacation to ease the transition, check out our Bryce/Zion Adventure. Located in Southwest Utah, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks are geological treasure troves.
Though temperatures in Zion National Park can be in the low 90s well into September, you won’t have to worry about staying cool… hiking the Virgin River Narrows will do the trick. Zion Canyon is 15 miles long, and winding through it is the Narrows, a stretch of the Virgin River that cuts through reddish-tan sandstone cliffs that were formed by erosion long ago. Zig zagging in and out of the river as you hike, you’ll see waterfalls, natural springs, and hanging gardens, all while being surrounded by cliffs up to a half mile high.
Bryce Canyon National Park is more like a giant crater than a canyon. The highest point on the rim of Bryce is over 9,000 feet in elevation, while the lowest part of the park is just above 6,600 feet. In between, the park is home to plenty of “hoodoos,” or sandstone rock formations that were created over 60 million years ago by erosion. With high temperatures in the mid-70s in September (and mid-60s in October), you’ll be completely content hiking through the red, white and orange hoodoos, and taking in breath-taking views at the top of the park (sometimes you can see as far as Arizona and New Mexico)!
The beauty and majesty of both Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks will leave you breathless. Long after you return home, you will be thinking about the spectacular views, unbelievably unique rock formations, and fabulous picnic lunches provided by your excellent guides.
Hope to see you there!
Harvest time is coming to California’s wine country! This means there is no better time to plan your California adventure vacation and experience amazing cycling tours through the Napa region. Not only is the weather fantastic in Napa in the fall, but there is a special energy in the air. The excitement and anticipation of great wines to come is all around. The grape leaves are beginning to change color only adding to the breathtaking beauty of the area. The days are still warm and the evenings are cool making it the perfect time to explore all that the region has to offer.
The annual grape crush begins in late August and continues until October, which makes the fall an extremely exciting time to be in wine country. This is the perfect time to see the area in the full swing of wine production. The flurry of activity picking grapes starts before dawn and the grapes are whisked away to the crusher as quickly as possible, yet the smell of freshly picked grapes lingers in the air all day. It is a time for festivity and to celebrate the harvest, wineries offer rare barrel tastings, special production tours, unique wine pairing dinners and opportunities to blend your own wine. During this exciting time you can even find a few places that offer you the opportunity to participate in an idyllic barefoot wine stomp. You will find the small towns are buzzing with cooking classes, workshops, special events and festivals.
Fill your days with the perfect combination of hiking, biking, kayaking and winery tours and tastings. There is no better way to explore wine country than by bicycle. It allows you to slow down and take it all in. An afternoon of hiking and exploring historic Jack London State Park will take you back to the simpler time of Jack London’s adventures. Stroll along the beach after a morning kayak until you find your perfect seashell souvenir. End your perfect day in wine country with a farm fresh dinner and a glass of local wine.
A few days in wine country will leave you relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to plan your next visit. Come celebrate the finer things in life with the people of California’s wine country this fall!
Your friendly wine loving travel consultant,