Frustrating start

Very bad timing to get sick :(.

Here’s hoping this will get me back in hiking shape soon.

I guess it’s true what they say — life is what happens when you’re making other plans. I was looking forward to a spectacular kickoff for this national parks road trip with a sunrise hike in Acadia National Park, but the flu bug apparently had a different idea. The way I’m feeling now, I’m not up for a 13-hour drive in bad conditions to Maine, let alone a several-hour pre-dawn hike in sub-freezing temperatures through a foot of snow, so I’m going to plan to travel to Acadia later in the year when the park is more accessible and I’m in a condition to enjoy it.

If I’m up for it on Friday, though, I might schlep over to the North Country National Scenic Trail for a shorter New Year’s Day hike — it meanders through a few counties near me in western Pennsylvania on its seven-state path from New York to North Dakota. How will you spend the first day of 2016? On TV, this year’s Rose Parade celebrates the National Park Service’s Centennial celebration with the theme “Find Your Adventure,” so there’s something to do even if the weather doesn’t cooperate. However, there are tons of outdoor events happening at national, state and local parks all over the country, including a number of ranger-led First Day Hikes, so take advantage of the day away from the office and get a jump start on your New Year’s resolutions!

I may have to cheer you on from the couch this time, though :(. Send me your pics from your adventures!


Categories: National Parks road trip | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Kicking off a new year of adventure

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

In addition to icons like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, the National Park Service also oversees lots of amazing places that many people don’t know exist. For example, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve features a 19,000-acre dune field high in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of southern Colorado.

A few years ago, Subaru ran a commercial in which a group of friends travels to the easternmost point of the U.S. each December 31 to be the first in the country to ring in the new year. That idea has stuck with me since then, so with 2015 rapidly drawing to a close, I did some research and learned that the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park is the very first spot in the U.S. where you can see the sunrise in winter. As it turns out, that works perfectly with the adventure travel plans I’ve been developing for next year.

August 25, 2016 marks the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the National Park Service Organic Act and the founding of the National Park Service, an action that unified the nation’s existing parks under one umbrella and laid the groundwork for the preservation of America’s future federal lands. To celebrate this Centennial, and frankly to bring to life a dream I’ve had for years, I’m going to spend 2016 roadtripping to all 59 national parks and as many of the national seashores, monuments, battlefields, historic sites, parkways, preserves, recreation areas, scenic rivers, and other National Park Service sites as possible. Continue reading

Categories: Adventure, National Parks road trip, Outdoor Recreation, Parks, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Things are about to get interesting

In the summer of 2009, Paxton and I hit the road for a month and trekked all over the country.

In the summer of 2009, Paxton and I hit the road for a month and trekked all over the country. There are more stories out there than one person could ever write in one lifetime, but I’m aiming to tell as many of them as I can.

A few days ago, I saw a tweet celebrating Robert Frost’s famous poem The Road Not Taken, which was, according to the article, published 100 years ago this month. The timing struck me as particularly apt, because I’ve recently decided to take an unconventional path of my own. When I look back on my life in 50 years and consider the choices I’ve made, I hope this will be one that “made all the difference.”

For six years now, I’ve worked as a magazine editor, and although writing articles has always been part of my job, I’ve had to devote less and less time to writing as my career has chugged along. Although I’ve enjoyed learning about and handling the other tasks necessary to put out a magazine every month, my main passion is researching new subjects and interesting people and sharing what I’ve learned through the written word. Continue reading

Categories: Adventure, Personal, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Team Dirk and Danielle: Backpacker National Park Scouts

Earlier this year, adventure junkie and National Geographic Germany explorer Dirk Rohrbach and I applied as a team for Backpacker magazine’s job of National Park Scouts, noted as the “Best Job Ever” in the initial job announcement. The application asked for a link to my portfolio, but to share more background on the two of us, I linked to a (now-deleted) page with the below content instead. The job went to another great team, but Dirk and I each have big plans for new adventures this year. Stay tuned :).

Oh good, you found our page full of extra information on Team Dirk and Danielle. How clever/resourceful/sneaky of us :). If you just want to review some of my published work like you probably thought you’d find when you clicked on this link, click on “Clips” at the top of this page. But if you have a few minutes, Dirk Rohrbach and I wanted to take the opportunity to further detail our qualifications for this position and explain why we would make the best team of National Park Scouts for the Best Job Ever (uh, yeah — we agree). Continue reading

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My cheap travel resolution for 2015

Two weeks ago while walking away from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston, I saw a young woman standing in a median who reminded me of me. While hundreds of other people around her walked by in a rush to get back home and out of the cold, she stood there quietly, looking in her Lonely Planet guidebook and pondering her next move.

Her clothes and shoes looked European in fashion, and she wore a large backpack like you often see on travelers in hostels. She was alone, and had I been from the area or at least known it a little better, I probably would have asked if she needed any help. I often travel solo and have many times depended on the kindness of strangers to find my way around or get local advice on somewhere to go, so I know the value of a friendly person in unfamiliar territory. As it was, I wouldn’t have been any help to this person in this place, but I realized she represented an opportunity to incorporate travel into my daily life. Continue reading

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