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Hiking

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Oh Canada!

The favorable exchange rate for the American dollar not only extends to Europe. If you haven’t looked lately, $1 US will now fetch $1.25 in Canada. I haven’t seen an exchange rate like that since I was at an Expos game. If the exorbitant flights to Europe limit your options to the continent, especially if you want to travel as a family, head north. I’m already planning to go to Nova Scotia in early June and Montreal and the Eastern Townships in October. I’m also heading to the Canada Media Marketplace next week in New York, where I’ll be learning about all the new travel opportunities in the country. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively around Canada, biking around Niagara-on-the-Lake and Prince Edward Island, hiking in Cape Breton and the glorious Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland, savoring the charming town of St. Andrews in New Brunswick and the resplendent beauty of Salt Spring Island in BC, going on such memorable adventures as whitewater rafting down the Klinaklini River in BC, a multi-sport vacation with the family in the Canadian Rockies, or canoeing through Ontario’s remote Wabakimi Wilderness, and loving my time in the cities while vintage shopping in Toronto and eating my way though Vancouver. If you need me to point you in the right direction, I’m happy to help! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/15/15 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, November 13, 2015

Top 5 Caribbean Adventures, Hiking to Boiling Lake, Dominica

Devastated by Tropical Storm Erika in late August, the island of Dominica is bouncing back and needs your support. All you do is travel there and hike its lush interior to understand the allure. Around every bend is another raging waterfall, a serene swimming hole nestled in the thick bush, or a hidden hot springs to rest your weary body after a day in the outdoors. Ken’s Hinterland Adventure Tours will take guide you on a 7-hour round-trip hike inside Morne Trois Pitons National Park to the crater known as Boiling Lake. You’ll hike through a dense forest of tall gommier trees, staring at the iridescent purple-throated hummingbirds as they keep you company. Relax your muscles afterwards in the natural hot spring at Papillote Wilderness Retreat. Owner Anne Jno Baptiste first came to the island from the States in 1961. Eight years later, she bought a 7-acre chunk of land enveloped by the rainforest that she would cultivate into a flower-rich botanical garden and one of the Caribbean’s first eco-resorts, using Dominica’s wealth of fruits and vegetables for her meals. 

 
I’m off to St. Lucia next week to sample all the exciting adventures there. Please follow along on this blog, Twitter @ActiveTravels, and Facebook. Enjoy the weekend and keep active! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/13/15 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, November 16, 2015

St. Lucia Week: Hiking Pigeon Island

A perfect introduction to the lush volcanic island of St. Lucia, especially if you’re staying at one of the resorts at the northern end of the island, is to simply take a hike at Pigeon Island National Landmark. Once surrounded by water, a causeway was built in 1972. Pay the $7 admission fee and soon you’re walking in the shade under a row of casuarina trees. As you climb the hillside, the beaches and resorts on Rodney Bay come into view. There was a slight drizzle when I took the walk yesterday and the tropical vegetation smelled ripe with humidity. The high-pitched calls of birds greeted me to the walls, ramparts, and cannons still standing at Fort Romney. The 18th century fortress perched atop the promontory was an important chunk of land for the British trying to hold off the French in their many battles over the island. I walked past an intrepid group from the resort, BodyHoliday, who were rappelling down the cliffs before sea kayaking back to the property. Then continued to climb up the rocky path to the top of Signal Peak. To the north, I could see the ridges of the long island of Martinique. To the south, I could make out the two jagged volcanic peaks on St. Lucia known as the Pitons, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  
 
Then it was back to my private plunge pool at my resort for the first two nights, Windjammer Landing. Known for its villas that climb a hillside offering spectacular views of the sunset, the resort is popular with families. They feature a Kids Club, long sloping shallow beach, and spacious villas with full kitchenettes. Judging from all the people carrying around scuba gear, tennis racquets, and golf clubs, the resort is also known as a playground for adults. I took full advantage of the opportunity to take out a Hobie Cat in the sheltered bay. So far, it’s been smooth sailing in St. Lucia, my friends. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/16/15 at 05:00 AM
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Friday, January 08, 2016

Top 5 Travel Days of 2015, Hiking and Horseback Riding in the Colorado Rockies

In mid-October, I caught up with Dan Austin, owner of Austin Adventures, and his daughter, Kasey, as they were designing a new itinerary that took in all the mountain splendor and adventure found on the outskirts of Colorado Springs. Their primary focus was to introduce guests to “The Broadmoor Wilderness Experience,” two historic sporting camps high up in the mountains that have been recently renovated by the legendary Broadmoor resort. Standing 9100 feet atop Cheyenne Mountain is the former private retreat of Broadmoor founder, Spencer Penrose, and, as of last summer, home to a mountain lodge called Cloud Camp. In 1923, Penrose acquired a bucolic slice of heaven, ringed by 11,000-foot peaks, which this summer has been transformed into The Ranch of Emerald Valley.

 
One glorious day on this trip, I rose with the sun at Cloud Camp and walked up to the two-story Fire Tower Suite, built with the honeymooner in mind, replete with hot tub and bedroom with 360-degree views. No one was staying in the suite so I grabbed a rocking chair on the deck and watched Pikes Peak bathe in the morning light. After breakfast, Dan and Kasey led us on the 5.5-mile McNeil Trail descending into a forest of ponderosa pine, spruce, fir, and birch trees. Past midpoint, we connect with an old stage road that went straight to The Ranch at Emerald Valley.
 
At lunch, the GM at Emerald Valley mentioned to me that the mayor of Colorado Springs spent a week here with his wife after retiring and did very little but read books on their cabin front porch. Indeed, it’s hard to tear yourself away from the vista of pasture, trout ponds, and towering peaks. Only a 30-minute drive outside of Colorado Springs, you feel lost in the Western wilderness. That afternoon, we took full advantage of the majestic scenery to take a horseback ride on a ridge close to the jagged peak of Mount Vigel. Then I soaked my weary body into a cedar-lined hot tub while snacking on a favorite dessert at the ranch, peach-filled donut holes. This is what I call a dream day. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/08/16 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Trustees Sites Not To Be Missed, Bartholomew’s Cobble, Sheffield

At the southernmost point of the Berkshires, near the Connecticut border, you’ll find Bartholomew’s Cobble. Walking on the Ledges Trail, the Housatonic River snakes through dairy farms on the left while eroding limestone and quartzite rocks form the cobble to your right. Take a slight detour at Corbin’s Neck to get a closer view of the river and the cows resting on its banks. Then continue on the Tulip Tree Trail to stroll uphill through a forest of tall hemlocks before reaching a clearing. At a short summit, take advantage of the bench to sit and take in the views of Mount Everett and Mount Race, part of the Appalachian Trail. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/17/16 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, January 23, 2017

Arizona Week—Hiking Phoenix’s Piestewa Peak

I always bring hiking boots when traveling to Phoenix, because it’s arguably the best city in the country for day hikes. There are some 200 miles of trails in the Phoenix park system including short summits like Piestewa that are ideally suited for a 2-hour lunch break. We started our climb around 11 am and we were back at the trailhead at 12:45 pm. That’s not to say it wasn’t a thigh-burner, especially the last part of the trail which steeply ascends the craggy 2,608-foot peak (total elevation gain is 1190 feet). Even on a weekday, the trail was crowded as we made our way up the dirt and rock path past every type of cacti imaginable—tall saguaro, barrel, hedgehog, pincushion, jumping cholla, and prickly pear. Vistas of the Phoenix skyline opened up below us as we passed an ironwood tree. Soon we were up on the summit, eating lunch while enjoying the views of the surrounding ridges and the valley below. I once penned a series of stories for Health Magazine on Urban Adventures, the best workouts outside the gym in cities across America. Climbing Piestewa Peak would be a good option.

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/23/17 at 06:00 AM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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