Beware the Everglades Vultures — Or Not?

12976923_10209026225443546_5324216423253001197_o

Black Vultures can pose problems for unsuspecting visitors in the Everglades

When I first began to plan this road trip I actually laughed out loud when I read reports about the vultures that were eating the rubber off of cars in the Everglades. I thought that someone was pranking me, even though there was a huge warning about the mischievous birds on the official National Park Service website. So I did what I usually do when I need the most accurate information – I went local. And indeed several of my Florida hiker friends indicated that this was a big problem, and more than a few folks shared their tales of woe with me about having to replace their windshield wiper blades after an Everglades day trip. Continue reading

Florida State Parks Offers Great Deal for Veterans

Charles with his Florida StatePar Pass

Charles with his Florida StatePar Pass

If a trip to Florida is in your future and you are an honorably discharged veteran, then the good folks at Florida State Parks have a money-saving deal for you. All veterans – no matter when they served – get a 25% discount on a Florida State Parks Individual Annual Pass or a Family Annual Pass; while veterans with a service-connected disability are eligible to receive a free lifetime Military Entrance Pass (which offers the same benefits as the Family Annual Pass). Continue reading

Power Beach Wheelchairs Available on Alabama Beaches

beach-chair-1

Power Beach Wheelchair Available for Rent in Gulf Shores, AL

I first discovered power beach wheelchairs in my home state of California, and immediately I thought they were super cool. These motorized chairs with balloon tires allow wheelchair-users independent access to the beach, and independence is a very good thing if you’re a wheelchair-user. After all wouldn’t you rather navigate the coastline on your own, instead of being pushed around by somebody else? Suffice it to say I was very impressed with the whole concept. Continue reading

Rail-Trails Guides Highlight Accessible Trails

Rail-Trails Washington & Oregon, from Wilderness Press

I’m a big fan of Rail-Trails, as a large number of these former rail beds have been converted to wheelchair-accessible trails. I was thrilled to discover that Wilderness Press has a whole series of official Rails-to-Trails Conservancy guidebooks; and since I travel through the Pacific Northwest a lot I decided to check out their “Rail-Trails Washington & Oregon” title.

Continue reading

National Park Etiquette

Grand Canyon National Park

After spending several weeks in our national parks doing some final research for my next book, I’ve encountered what can only be called some “less than stewardly behavior “ by my fellow national park visitors. Although this isn’t the be-all-and-end-all list on national park etiquette, it’s a good starting point. And since today is National Public Lands Day, I thought it’d be a good time to share it with the world. Continue reading

Five Survival Strategies for Visiting Zion on Holiday Weekends

A two-hour wait for the Zion Canyon shuttle bus on Labor Day weekend

Summer weekends mark peak season in Zion National Park, but Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day holiday weekends bring even more crowds into this Southwestern Utah national park. Although nothing kills the natural experience like standing in a shuttle bus line for two hours, there are ways to make the most of your visit if you absolutely must come on a holiday weekend. Continue reading

Five Fun Accessible National Park Finds

Accessible trail to the base of Lower Yosemite Falls

OK, I admit it, I’m a national park junkie. I love visiting them and writing about them; in fact, I’m currently working on my third national park title. One of the great things about our national parks is that even though many of them are rugged, they still offer accessible options for wheelchair-users and slow walkers. And so with the 99th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS) coming up on August 25, I thought I’d share some of my favorite accessible sites in America’s national parks Continue reading

Mono Lake Access Update

Mono Lake

Winters are hard in the rugged Eastern Sierras, and with the spring thaw Mother Nature always leaves a few surprises in her wake. With that in mind I made a weekend visit to one of my favorite Eastern Sierra haunts — Mono Lake — to check out how the accessible features had survived the winter. Continue reading

Adaptive Kayaking in Baja California

If you like to kayak, or maybe just think you’d like to give it a shot, then have I ever got a trip for you. Environmental Traveling Companions (ETC) just announced their 2015 schedule, which kicks off with a cool week-long kayaking trip in Baja California. And the folks at ETC are the experts in adaptive paddling, so you couldn’t be in better hands. Continue reading