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Boots on Bridge at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

CAMPING GEAR GUIDES: NEWBIE

Camping can be a daunting prospect. It’s important to be able to tip your toes in the water before trying to swim upstream. We’ve composed an accessible gear list for the semi-agoraphobic that’s perfect for day trips, RV camping or hotel stays and light hiking or walking tours. If you’re Glamping and sleeping under a solid roof during your outdoors experience, this list is for you.

2×4 FROM TWO BY TOUR: CUENCA STREET ART PT. II

We both big admirers of graffiti, street art, public murals and the vibrant people and culture they represent. While our research into Cuenca, Ecuador had already let us know the city was known for its appreciation of the arts, the explosion of color and feeling that awaited us was a truly wonderful surprise.

ASSAULT ON OUR NATIONAL PARKS; PRESERVING A FRAGILE RESOURCE

Take heart, gentle traveler, for there is a way to mindfully take joy in the true national treasures of the United States. The men and women protecting our parks are fighting an uphill battle to protect us from ourselves, and we can help them. Follow the rules posted on the clearly posted signs. They are meant to protect both you and the wildlife. Place trash in proper receptacles. They’re everywhere. Adhere to the trails. The maps are free and comprehensive. Do not try to steal the limited, federally-protected nature. Basically, don’t be terrible.

NATIONAL PARKS GUIDES: BRYCE CANYON

While Bryce has educational exhibits and information on the geology and history of the region, the park is generally focused on hiking and the wilderness. The park’s emphasis on light pollution abatement allows for some incredibly stirring views of the night sky, while a battery of hiking options allow for enjoyment for a variety of skill levels.

The holiday market in Plaza El Otorongo, Cuenca, Ecuador

AIN’T NO PARTY LIKE A JESÚS PARTY

Ecuadorians’ adoration of fairs and festivals is only surpassed by their devotion to Catholicism. Subscribing to the Catholic credo that there ain’t no party like a Jesús birthday party, these passions intersect in a three-month celebration around the Christmas holiday that exceeds the birthday week excesses of the most self-indulgent sorority girl. Cuenca is the heart of these festivities, upstaging the larger cities of Quito and Guayaquil to draw people from all across the Andes.

NATIONAL PARKS GUIDES: NEW RIVER GORGE

The park was formed specifically to protect the area around the New River Gorge Crossing, and stretches for over 50 miles along the banks of the river from the Bluestone Dam to Hawk’s Nest State Park. Conservation of ecology, history and wildlife all play a major role in the park’s mission.