GOING ON A TOUR WOULD NEVER BE ON MY AGENDA. Squeezed into a sardine can called a tour bus, travelers stare out the windows but see nothing up close and personal. They may pull over for a break and wander a few yards from the bus while the driver smokes a cigarette, but that isn’t enough for a truly curious soul. “A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles,” wrote Edward Abbey. I remember a day one late October, having reached the crest of the Golden Wall trail west of Bryce Nat’l Park at about 7,600 feet above sea level, when I had just fired up a sweet fragrant cigar by Drew Estate to accompany my high level, self-satisfied, half-exhausted contemplative rest upon a huge rock. Far off in the distance, I could see a short slice of the highway in which was a pullover and a tour bus that had disgorged its passengers. They stood around gawking up at the surrounding mountains and red rock bluffs, taking photos and stretching their legs before climbing back into the bus to continue on their journey. I am not knocking their choice of vacation transport. But I felt sorry for them. They would never see the flora or fauna that I was enjoying on my hike. They would miss out on all the hoodoos, the spires, the narrow quarter mile slot canyon where, much of the way, I could touch both sides at the same time while the sun beams angled off the sheer high walls of sandstone and glinted down to just above my head. Every so often, I would take a pull of the water I had in my CamelBak through the attached plastic hoselike straw. I couldn’t imagine any fine wine tasting better, unless I had hiked through a wooded wonderland to get to it.
I’m with you when it comes to a choice between walking and other, faster means of transport.
However, I would go even further and say that I observe even more when I ‘STOP and LOOK’;
So many of my most pleasant experiences have been when I have been perfectly still and quiet.
The wildlife soon get used to something they perceive as non-threatening and will provide entertainment for hours on end.
Mind you! I often need to do a bit of walking to get to the best places to stop.
| Bill wrote:
Stopping to sniff, inspect, touch, get a closer look... it's all important. I've always been a dawdler. On the few times when I've hiked with someone else, they've always had to stop to wait for me as I inspect something along the way that has caught my interest.
Hi Henry, I totally agree with you. I could never imagine myself enjoying a bus tour of anything. Let me walk, bike or hike to explore. The same applies (for me) to travelling on a cruise ship, to actually going to a specific destination and experiencing it like the locals. I have friends who "see the world" by cruise ship, and it just makes me shake my head. I don't want to spend a few hours walking around Stockholm just so I can tell my friends I've been to Sweden! I want to spend time in the country, shop in the stores, use the local public transportation, live in a local neighbourhood (Air B&B is great for that), eat in the restaurants, meet the locals, absorb the culture. THAT is travel to me. I know there are many who will disagree, but living on a luxury ship, having all my meals prepared by the same kitchen, all my needs catered to, then spending a few hours each day or so exploring another destination...just doesn't do it for me. I've been on one cruise in my life, and that was plenty. What is the point in going to another country without really experiencing it? Luckily for the cruise industry, there are many who think I'm nuts.