Tagged with " travels without miranda series"
Dec 2, 2009 -

Travels Without Miranda, #4: Bailey and Windy Peak, Colorado

How I came to Colorado with a friend to represent Canada at an environmental youth summit is a rather long story featuring a famous anthropologist. Suffice it to say that it was the opportunity of a lifetime, one I had been told I would have to miss because there was no way I could come up with the necessary funds for the flight in the time I had. Readers of this blog should know by now that the best way to get me to do something is to tell me I can’t. 🙂

This trip happened the fall after I finished high school; I was seventeen. I squirreled away the prize monies I’d won upon graduation, including the $300 award for creative writing that I had no doubt would be mine, and worked all summer. It had been a very difficult September and this trip couldn’t have come at a better time. It was to be the first major life-changing trip of my life.

the Farmer's Union outside of Bailey, where we spent the first half of our Colorado adventure (http://nfu.org/about/education/education-center)

the Farmer's Union outside of Bailey, where we spent the first half of our Colorado adventure (http://nfu.org/about/education/education-center)

The five day adventure featured many challenges to surmount, one of which was standing before a crowd of thirty, including my hero, and talking about my accomplishments in the environmental field.

I was so scared; others had surely done bigger and greater things than I had. My accomplishments would seem insignificant when compared to that of the others. Surely, I had nothing to teach and I would be ridiculed for thinking that I had made any difference at all. To my surprise, the response to my speech was positive and I saw my hero glow with pride. She made it clear to me that I had something to give to the world and that I could be an inspiration.

Windy Peak outdoor school, a day's hike from the Farmer's Union, where we spent the second half of our trip

Windy Peak outdoor school, a day's hike from the Farmer's Union, where we spent the second half of our trip

Had that moment fallen flat, I might never have had the courage or self-assurance to blog about my life on the road, much less to publish my ebook Sorting It Out.

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Colorado, Travel, USA    1 Comment
Dec 1, 2009 -

Travels Without Miranda, #3: Flying from Las Vegas, Nevada, to the Grand Canyon, Arizona

My first morning in Las Vegas had me being driven down the Strip to McCarran airport in a stretch limo.

There, I climbed into a tiny helicopter that took me over the Mojave desert, within view of Mead Lake and the Hoover dam, all the way to the Grand Canyon. We landed within it and were given time to explore and enjoy a champagne brunch.

Let’s just say this was a more luxe experience than I normally go for. I was until then a backpacker, a camper, a youth hosteler, not someone who stays at a nice hotel and drinks fancy drinks by a pool lined with palm trees! And I most certainly was a frugal traveler, not one who would do such extravagant things as take a half-day helicopter ride from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. Nope!

I’m not sure what came over me during my planning of my southwest road trip. I’ll plead mental exhaustion, what with the stress of having lost my dad earlier that year. I needed to be pampered and catered-to, to do things just for fun to reawaken my zest for life. I didn’t know if I’d ever come back to that part of the US and I was so close to the Grand Canyon. The helicopter jaunt sounded like the perfect way to see the Canyon with the time I had available to me. It just about broke my budget, but it is now one of my most cherished memories.

Rather than taking photos during this jaunt, I made full use of the video setting on my camera, so the following images are stills from my movies, explaining the poor quality. Unfortunately, the second half of my Grand Canyon recordings have been lost due to reshuffling between several computers. I have managed to save a picture of me at the bottom of the canyon, proof enough that I was there even if someone did tell me that the image seems to be photoshopped. 😀

Sometimes you end up in a place where you get the chance to experience an incredible adventure. Do it and @%@$ the budget. I applied this lesson when I decided to hike the Chilkoot Pass at a time when I financially had no business doing so.

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Alaska, Arizona, British Columbia, Canada, Nevada, Travel, USA    3 Comments
Nov 30, 2009 -

Travels Without Miranda, #2: Alcatraz Island, California

Alcatraz Island is breathtakingly beautiful in a barren and desolate sort of way, architecturally graceful ruins blending in perfectly with scrub grasses, trees, and various flowers. Birds abound and, in fact, most of the island is white with guano. It is a stark, foreboding place, but truly beautiful. Some might think me crazy to find that place so pretty, but it is if you like ruins that blend in so thoroughly with their natural surroundings that you could not possibly imagine one without the other, then Alcatraz is the place for you.

I spent a sunny day touring the ill-famed Rock. Even though it houses one of the most notorious US jails and was the site of native protests, today the island is a peaceful bird sanctuary that belies the supposed horrors that went on between the crumbling walls of the prison.

The architectural details of the place are striking, showing an aesthetic that belies the purpose of the building. Add the surprising mint green and baby pink colour scheme and Alcatraz does not even remotely look as you would expect it would.

As it turns out, the prison’s reputation was not entirely warranted. I learned there that inmates actually tried to get transferred to Alcatraz as it was a more comfortable prison with some of the best food in the penal system. This is not to say that some of the stories that have come out of Alcatraz are not true; it was a brutal place housing hardened criminals, but there was a softer side to the Rock.

I had expected that I would return from my day on Alcatraz completed drained rather than refreshed, and instead learned that I should never assume anything, a lesson I applied during a humbling visit of the town of Banff.

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Alberta, California, Canada, Travel, USA    3 Comments