Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

North American dreaming

3rd December 2016

While recent tidings from North America might have felt foreboding to many, virtual explorations of its wilder corners have been offering some solace in my life since the year began. In its early months, I considered some possibilities for car-free excursions from among America’s National Parks. That this is the centenary of the foundation of the the National Park Service over there, the pondering seems more apt. More recently, I began looking at the wilder corners of New York state like the Catskill Mountains and the Adirondack Mountains as well as the Finger Lakes and even Niagara. There may be an article elsewhere arising from those efforts too.

That is not complete and I even started to ponder Canadian escapades too. After all, you find National Parks like Banff and Jasper among the Canadian Rockies that line the boundary between the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. Both Vancouver and Vancouver Island have come to my notice too and Canada is going to suspend charges for entry its National Parks in 2017 as part of its sesquicentenary (150 years) of its founding. That has been enough to get it to the top of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel country list for 2017. The scenery looks stunning in any photos too so dreaming can continue.

Some travelling by television viewing has happened too, be it a BBC series on the Klondike Gold Rush or one travelling the American railways around eastern states of the U.S. or another following nature’s eruptions of beauty during a calendar year. Each of those could either quell or encourage dreaming as could details of logistical realities of North American explorations. Realising quite how wild some of these places are cause more than a little pause for thought, not just for their expanse but also about their wildlife with bears coming to mind.

Maps have accompanied such mental meandering and software from Routebuddy, Memory-Map and Avenza has facilitated virtual ambles over faraway countryside more easily than paper maps ever would. Along the way, my listings of map publishers and software providers have expanded and could have a use for explorations nearer to hand too. There may have time for virtual wandering but its real world counterpart offers more lasting memories. It can be good to dream without losing track of reality, especially during tumultuous years like the one we have had.

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