Although I am currently thousands of miles away in Thailand, I keep thinking of what an important transition it is in my life when summer turns to fall, and the desert, off limits due to the heat of summer for so many months, once again welcomes us to explore.
Though I frequently espouse the beauty and grandeur of the big-ticket destinations like J-Tree and Anza-Borrego, there are countless other unsung places that will welcome your thirst for adventure or solitude.
A more obscure region that will take a little more effort to access is Agua Caliente. Part of the San Diego County Parks system, it’s on the fringe of Anza-Borrego, out the Butterfield Stage Route along S2, and has hot springs to make the arduous journey worth your while. Stock up before the drive – it’s a desolate road. Spend the weekend, hike the trails, or tackle them on mountain bike, and be sure to soak in the pools. Discover the desolation and enjoy the millions of stars at night. Now you are initiated into desert life.
Oh, and they now have cabins if camping isn’t your thing.
Three weeks in Croatia was long enough to fall in love. I can’t say that I fully understand the place – the nuances are still a mystery. The language is foreign and for all I know there are hidden elements that I was never able to grasp. It made a hell of a first impression though.
The Trans-Siberian is one of my dreams, though in the current political climate it’s probably best to put it on hold. Truth is, I love all trains, local and long distance. If I had one to recommend, I would suggest grabbing the Amtrak that runs up the coast from San Diego or Los Angeles and take it all the way to Seattle.
There is something about the relaxing pace of train travel, the uninterrupted enjoyment of the passing landscape, the ability to roam around the massive moving structure and the chance meetings with complete strangers that is ultimately captivating, the epitome of slow travel.
If you haven’t the time, the money or are still leery of trains, start by moving up and down the SoCal coast on the Coaster where the stops are frequent and the scenery mesmerizing, or taking the MetroLink commuter from the Inland Empire to the beach. Surprisingly, after years of using Los Angeles as an example of how to build a city devoid of public transit, there is actually a pretty useful and functional lightrail system in place. It’s great for exploring. If I had to recommend a random stop, it might be Mariachi Plaza.
Enjoy this video of the Trans-Siberian Railroad trip.
There are two separate majors that can prepare you for environmentally-oriented careers: environmental science and environmental studies. In the midst of all of the other confusion you are bound to feel as you try to determine what to do with your life, this is an unwelcome addition. Let’s sort it out.
I have long been a proponent of the urban adventure, taking that kind of exploratory wanderlust that we normally reserve for the wilderness and directing it to our built environments. You can choose your own route, you can ‘map your walk,’ or you can follow one of many marked, designated, and otherwise outlined paths through the concrete jungles of the world. You’ll find surprises along the way for sure, maybe even meet a fellow trekker or finally at last discover that a slow pace helps you to discover a sense of place.
My own ongoing urban adventure follows the California Coastal Trail from Mexico to Oregon, covering a lot of pavement along the way. I’m taking a break from it while I’m abroad, but look forward to resuming the walk when I return to the West Coast.
Read more about hiking urban environments in this Outside Magazine article.
Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring as she was battling cancer. It would become a seminal book on humanity’s misguided propensity to undermine its own well-being through the widespread use of chemical poisons. It would also become recognized as the starting point of the modern environmental movement. It’s no small irony that I had never read it despite having introduced it to countless audiences of introductory environmental science students.
When a drunk driving accident happens we have no problem implicating alcohol, even though there are countless other elements of the situation that may have contributed. We all agree though that drunkenness enhances the likelihood of the event. So we punish drunk drivers.
The climate change ‘debate’ is still focused on the claim that individual weather events can’t be linked to human activites, which, as it turns out, is false. Scientists are making great progress in understanding the connection. What follows from this is that eventually it may lead to accountability; industries being held to blame for death and loss of property. No wonder there is a ‘war on science.’
Read how scientists are building a body of evidence to attribute individual weather events to climate change here.