Tag Archives: escape

In Jackson Hole, Sleigh Bells Ring.

Feel the call of the wild at Spring Creek Ranch, WY.

Feel the call of the wild at Spring Creek Ranch, WY.

The holidays are staycation time for me. Like most people, it gives me a chance to catch up with old friends  or check out festive things happening in and around the town.  It’s like a  “time out” of sorts to indulge and maybe even be a bit lazy but when I heard about Spring Creek Ranch, I found myself wishing I could jump on a plane with a few friends tonight.

Sign me up and giddy up. (Photo: Spring Creek Ranch)

Sign me up.  (Photo: Spring Creek Ranch)

Located just 10 minutes from Jackson Hole in Wyoming, conditions are cream of the crop when it comes to skiing. As someone who learned to ski on the black ice of Vermont’s Killington Mountain, being able to glide across fine, white powder is like dreaming on a goose down mattress after chasing sleep on a hardwood floor. Any opportunity to ski in those conditions is a gift but it’s their wildlife and natural history safaris that caught my attention.

Muledeer.  (Photo:  Spring Creek Ranch)

Muledeer. (Photo: Spring Creek Ranch)

Being smack in the middle of a winter wonderland on a horse-drawn sleigh surrounded by herds of elk sounds like a plan to me. Another ride takes you over to East Gros Ventre Butte, a mountain summit with one of the most spectacular views in the country. Afterwards, you can warm up with a hot toddy or a lovely meal at The Granary and marvel at the views of the Grand Tetons. A snowshoe hike will get your cardio going a bit while you follow tracks set by local wildlife. There’s dog-sledding, tubing, and ice-skating, too. If you’re into winter sports, Spring Creek Ranch offers unique experiences to enjoy these activities and absorb the stunning and natural environment that surrounds you. They even have a photo safari led by a professional photographer. For anyone who likes to bliss out behind a camera, this one’s for you.

View from The Granary. (Photo:  Spring Creek Ranch)

View from The Granary. (Photo: Spring Creek Ranch)

People often associate the term “safari” with far off places but the truth is there are plenty of safari experiences to be had in the US. The ones Spring Creek Ranch offers are calling my name.

Named “2014’s Best Overall Resort In North America” by Ski Magazine, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort offers by far some of the best conditions on the planet for enjoying the white stuff.   If frolicking in the cold isn’t your idea of a good time, there are loads of activities in the spring and summer.  From horseback riding, to balloon rides, to white water rafting, it’s an adventure travelers dreamscape.  Even better, the airport, the only one located within a national park, has direct flights from most major cities in the US.

As I compile my list of where to go next year, it looks like this is falling within the top ten. So many places to go and so much to see.

It’s the holidays, I can dream, can’t I?

Fall Into It.

Nankoweap Rapid is mile 52 along the Colorado River.

Nankoweap Rapid is mile 52 along the Colorado River.

If summer’s about escapism then autumn is all about back to business. But for many, fall is the time of the year when a lot of us hightail it out of here.   The crowds are gone, the roads are clearer and we can have places more to ourselves. But what’s travel without a good book? More specifically, without a good book about travel?

Depending on the direction you’re headed, some travelers prefer total immersion. And as most travelers know, any good travel tale is not without its fair share of ups and downs.  With that in mind, here are a few recommendations for all you travel advisors and travelers to inspire travel reading, travel writing, but mostly…travel.

theoldwaysI like a guy who likes to walk so I’m looking forward to The Old Ways: A Journey On Foot by Robert McFarlane. Shortlisted for the 2013 Warwick prize for literature makes it another good reason to pick it up. A literature professor, McFarlane leads us along the paths of the British Isles in England and Scotland, where he meets people and learns the history of these places. Step by step, he experiences the meditative bonus of walking, the thinking that goes with it and shares how exploring a country on foot is one of the best ways to enjoy travel. For anyone who’s hooked on their Kindle app and can’t get away, or for travel advisors who want to check things out, you can use Google Earth to track his path and see what he saw as you read along. Pretty cool.

Collection-of-Sand-Essays-Pe“…the most important things in the world are the empty spaces,” writes Italo Calvino. In one way or another, the 38 essays that make up A Collection of Sand focus on Calvino’s visual experiences and how they inform travel. Around his pleasures and fascination of maps and books and how certain places, in this case Japan, Mexico and Iran led to contemplation on space and time and civilization. Beautiful writing.

 

robberofmemoriesSeems only fitting that since there’s a chill in the air that you should have something chilling in your hands, or on your iPad. In which case, The Robber of Memories: A River Journey Through Columbia may be right for you, especially if you’re heading in that direction. Michael Jacobs takes us with him on his adventure up Magdelena, a river that runs through the heart of Columbia where he charts its course geographically and emotionally. Like most first-world travelers who go it alone, he sheds himself of life’s modern comforts. His journey is challenging and dangerous but his tale, where South America is the central theme, serves up a different perspective altogether.

alexandriaEgypt might not be the first place you think of going to these days but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a taste of what it once was. A long time ago, in a land far away, an old flame turned me on to The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell and this masterpiece has stuck with me ever since. Made up of four small novels, it’s a lush and seductive tale of friends and lovers in Alexandria before WWI. Its central theme is love conveyed across the different viewpoints and experiences of the characters that make up these stories and whose common ground is the city.

BehindBeautifulForeversBehind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Slum by Katherine Boo. I suppose the title pretty much sums up it up but don’t let that get you down. Boo won numerous book awards for this story and any traveler worth their salt knows that the closer to the bone you get to living in a country, the sweeter the meat. A journalist for the New Yorker, Boo takes us into the slum of Annawadi and its underworld of characters that make up the citizens who do what they can to make a life for themselves and their families who live on the other side of life in the shadows of shiny corporate hotels.

urbancircusAnother glimpse into the lives of others, The Urban Circus: Travels with Mexico’s Malabaristas by Catriona Rainsford takes you on a wild and wacky ride. Rainsford joined a group of young, itinerant street performers on a two-year journey across the country where she learned to live hand-to-mouth with them. If you’ve ever been to Mexico, this true story will give you a chance to see beyond the tourist zones and into the everyday lives, genuineness and character of Mexicans.

If you’re into adventure travel, or have customers who live for it, then this gripping and heart-stopping story is the perfect companion. The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History through the Heart of the Grand Canyon by Kevin Fedarko is the harrowing tale of three guides who ride the Colorado River through the heart of the Canyon.  Check it out:

There’s loads of stuff out there. Are you reading any good travel stories these days, fiction or otherwise? Let me know, I’d love to hear about them.