pueblo bonito, chaco culture national historical park

Chaco Culture National Historical Park – Day 1

Chaco Culture National Historical Park features many Chacoan ruins from 1,000 years ago.  President Theodore Roosevelt designated the area as a National Monument in 1907 and it became a National Historical Park in 1980.  Chaco Culture National Historical Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, gaining the designation in 1987.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park is located in the middle of nowhere New Mexico.  It is surrounded by Indian land and as a result, the drive through the high desert fields to get there is sparse.  The park may be reached from the south or the north.

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Things to Do Near Alamosa, Colorado

Located in the San Luis Valley, Alamosa is the largest city in south-central Colorado.  With a population of just under 10.000, the county seat of Alamosa County is the commercial center for the area. 

Alamosa is home to Adams State University and as a result, the city features many restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores and other amenities.  It certainly serves as a hub to the surrounding communities, small towns about 20 miles in every direction.

Once a railroad town, now Alamosa caters to tourism.  It is the gateway to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and is a mecca for outdoor activities.

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50th in coeur d'alene

Top Things to Do in Coeur d’Alene

History of Coeur d’Alene

Coeur d’Alene is located east of Spokane, Washington in Northwest, Idaho.  With a population of 50,000+, it is the largest city in Idaho’s northern region and is the county seat of Kootenai County.

Coeur d’Alene was named after a Native American Tribe who lived along the rivers and lakes in the region.  The city began as a fort town when Fort Sherman was constructed on the north shore of the lake.

Thereafter, it morphed into a mining town when silver was discovered in the Silver Valley.  With the arrival of the railroad in 1883, Coeur d’Alene expanded further.  In 1920, the discovery of white pine transformed the town into a logging community.

Coeur d’Alene relied heavily on logging for decades.  It wasn’t until the 1980’s that its economy became more balanced with an influx of tourism.

Currently, Coeur d’Alene is known for its premier golfing, the nearby Silverwood Theme Park, the Ironman Triathlon Event, one of the largest holiday light shows in the USA, and for the surrounding ski mountains.

There are many other things to do Coeur d’Alene as well, and we made the most of our three-day stay for my 50th birthday.

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fall hikes near vail

Fall Hikes Near Vail

Vail, the largest ski mountain in Colorado, is a very popular mountain town located approximately 2 hours from Denver.  The ski mountain is known for its hotels, dining, and events.  While I’m not part of the winter ski attractions, I find Vail and the surrounding area to be an excellent place for fall hiking.  Below is a limited list of falls hikes near Vail. Directions to each hike can be found on AllTrails.com.

HAPPY HIKING!

Things to Do in Salida

History of Salida

Salida is located in central Colorado and is the county seat and most populous municipality of Chaffee County.  It was first called South Arkansas when the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad made the area a stopping point.  Due to the lovely view from the train upon leaving the Arkansas River canyon, it was renamed Salida, (exit in Spanish).

Salida became a big railroad town with the largest train repair facility between Denver and Salt Lake City.  It also boasted many smelters as gold and silver mining in the vicinity became more prevalent.  As these industries faded, farming took over.

Now Salida, Colorado’s largest historic district and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a tourist town.  It is a gateway to the outdoors providing excellent fishing, rafting, hiking and more.  Below are a few things to do in Salida.

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Hikes Near Buena Vista

Buena Vista is located 2.5 hours outside of Denver near the Collegiate Peaks.  It is a mecca for the outdoors and popular among hikers trying to bag 14ers.  While Colorado’s famous 14ers are magnificent, there are plenty of wonderful trails in the area for those who want an easier feat.

Below are a few hikes near Buena Vista with lovely scenery. All directions to these hikes may be found on AllTrails.

HAPPY HIKING!
ranger lakes near walden

Five Hikes Near Walden

The town of Walden is located off Highway 14 in Jackson County.  The town of a little over 1,000 has two gas stations, a Family Dollar, a handful of restaurants, a beautiful courthouse, an interesting museum, and many motel type places to stay. 

It sits on a glacial plain called North Park, also known as the moose viewing capital of Colorado.  Nearly 80% of the surrounding land is public.  As a result, hiking, hunting, and fishing opportunities abound.

HAPPY HIKING!
leopard in south luangwa national park

Kenya vs. Zambia

Many people ask me, “What’s my favorite trip?”

To a degree, that is hard to answer, but in the end, I prefer trips with wildlife.  As a result, I have now been on three safaris. My first was to Tanzania over ten years ago. 

At the time, as much as I wanted to go to Africa, I was frozen like a deer in headlights.  I asked everyone I knew that had been on safari about their experience and where they went.  Each said, “It was the best!  You have to go to ____.”  Fill in the blank: Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa.  I couldn’t pick, and I was so afraid I’d be disappointed with my high expectations and wish to see a kill.

GO ON SAFARI!

South Luangwa National Park

For my third safari, I scheduled a trip with friends to Zambia.  We spent a week in South Luangwa National Park.

South Luangwa National Park

South Luangwa Natioinal Park is located in Eastern Zambia, with the closest airport being in Mfuwe.  Known to locals as “the South Park” it was established in 1904 as Luangwa Game Park.  It was converted to a game reserve in 1938 and declared a national park in 1972.

South Luangwa National Park is approximately 9,000 square kilometers, and its natural borders include the Luangwa River and the Muchinga Escarpment.  Inside the park, the topography varies from grassy plains to mature woodlands.

WATCH THE WILDLIFE!

Flatdogs

Some of my readers may be wondering what the heck is a flatdog?  A squished mutt? Others that have been Zambia, however, may know that it is the local nickname for crocodiles.  Both the protective dogs and crocodiles in Zambia can be aggressive, and of course, crocodiles are relatively flat, thus the name.

GO ON SAFARI