Parks & Travel Magazine - Winter/Spring 2022

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CONTENTS 5. Editors Block PARKS & DESTINATIONS 6. Experience Alaska by Private Boat 16. Kitsap Peninsula, Washington 18. Explore Willamette Valley, Oregon 20. Road Trip in Siskiyou County, California 26. Kind Travel in Telluride, Colorado 32. Go to Grand County, Colorado 36. “Fort Windy” Endures Through Time 40. Only in Natchitoches, Louisiana 58. Surprising Coastal Mississippi 64. Acadia National Park THE ARTS 72. Dry Tortugas Artists-in-Residence 74. Hawai’i Volcanoes Artists-in-Residence 77. Artist Nancy Hershberger in Fort Union 78. Poet Lisa G. Samia in Manassas 80. Book News & Author Interviews CONSERVATION, TOURISM & HOSPITALITY 84. Sequoia Parks Conservancy 88. Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act 89. Transformational Travel 90. New California Employment Laws WINTER & SPRING PARK TRAVEL PLANNER 92. Pinnacles National Park 94. Joshua Tree National Park 96. Imperial National Wildlife Refuge 98. Saguaro National Park 100. Nevada’s Pony Express Trail 104. Pawnee National Grassland 106. Norfolk Broads in England PAGE 3

EDITORS BLOCK “If it weren't for the rocks in its bed, the stream would have no song.” Carl Perkins While it’s hard to swallow the fact that we’ve turned the page into another new year and the Coronavirus is still spinning its viral web, we must applaud the immense and tireless work that the medical community has physically and emotionally invested into the health of humanity. And while we travelers have itchy feet and souls that lust for adventure, the transportation, tourism, and hospitality industries have been fighting a non-stop battle of obstacles to accommodate us, diligently treading water to stay viable. Travel is possible, and thankfully it is happening. But yes, it’s different and full of detours … the stuff that builds character, creates memorable moments, and gives us those humorous stories to share later. As Jack London famously penned, “Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.” This issue of Parks & Travel Magazine takes us from a private boating adventure across Alaskan waters to hiking in Acadia National Park, the crown jewel of coastal Maine. The front cover story beckons you to explore historically rich and naturally beautiful Natchitoches, the oldest settlement in Louisiana. There are also stories and travel tips on experiencing the mountain magic and prairie country of Colorado, the lush Pacific Northwest and Northern California, the rugged and awe-inspiring Desert Southwest, and the surprising delights of Coastal Mississippi. We also feature interviews with park artists-inresidence, authors and, and tourism and hospitality industry experts. Happy Adventuring in 2022! Nancy J. Reid & Lisa D. Smith Big Blend’s mother-daughter team in park travel, publishing, and podcasting Keep up with our travel stories, news & interviews at Big Blend e-Newsletter

FRONT COVER IMAGE: Sibley Lake in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Story is on page 40. BIG BLEND MISSION STATEMENT: Big Blend is a company based on the belief that education is the most formidable weapon that can be waged against fear, ignorance and prejudice. It is our belief that education starts at home and branches outward. Education leads to travel, and travel leads to understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of cultures and customs different to our own, and ultimately to world peace. Our company is further based on the principle that networking, communication, and helping others to promote and market themselves leads to financial stability; thus paving the way to better education, travel, and the spirit of giving back to the community. This magazine is developed by Big Blend Magazine™, copyrighted since 1997. No part of it may be reproduced for any reason, without written permission from Big Blend Magazine. Although every effort is made to be accurate, we cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies or plagiarized copy submitted to us by advertisers or contributors.


By Linda Kissam, “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva”


My boat the Elbe in Alaskan waters. Once upon a time, there was a sea-loving man who longed to see Alaska by private boat. He’d been there as an officer on a large research ship as a Lt. Commander in his 20’s and on a cruise ship in his 40’s.

Linda Kissam on Big Blend Radio – Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

He longed to cruise Alaska in his own boat, searching out all the sights he had seen and the ones he didn’t see before. An experience of a lifetime was calling his name. It took 12 days of grueling cruising, often The dream was to take his own 48’ Ocean Alexander from Seattle, WA to Southeast Alaska. requiring 8+ hours of a day to transit Canada. Canada was still in the grip of the COVID-19 His wife, unfortunately, did not share his grand vision, but in the end, marriage is a compromise pandemic requiring we not get off of our boat or and the husband’s promise that she could bring stop any more than one night in any one place. Try that with a Scottish terrier, a man who likes her power-sucking espresso machine helped convince her to hop aboard. So on June 4, 2021, to fish, and a woman who needs her “urban land they left for a three-month adventure along with time.” Continued on Next Page… two other boats. PAGE 7

Ketchikan Bar Harbor South Marina

Alaska Continued… By now you may have guessed that the “man” in this story is my husband and I am the “wife” that reluctantly agreed to be part of this voyage. The Canadian crossing was pretty good. We sailed by miles of stunning trees, waterfalls, eagles, and bears. Very little rolling and rocking, although one day a wave hit us and things went flying. A bag of open dog food spewed everywhere and the salon table overturned. I also lost 3 of my treasured wine glasses. Lesson one. Nail down anything that can possibly move, and perhaps buying expensive glassware may not be the thing to do. We arrived in Alaska in good spirits and gigantic expectations. Because we were there for over two months we saw a plethora of sites. The gorgeous waterways, gigantic trees everywhere, secret bays and coves, small fishing villages, salmon spawning, bears foraging, dolphins skimming the water, soaring eagles, and whales of all kinds. There is no way to do Alaska justice in one article, so I’ve picked my top 4 favorite destinations.

Ketchikan I’ve been to Ketchikan twice before on a cruise ship. Visiting it by private boat is a whole different experience. This was the kick-off point to our June – August summer trip and the first bit of freedom off the boat in many days. Tongass Narrows is the lead-in to the bustling fishing village port. It’s a leisurely entrance of scattered waterfront homes leading into the main city. It is also a great place to purchase a sturdy pair of rain boots. Some have a bit of fashion to them, but most are beige-colored water stoppers. Ketchikan gets more than 150 inches of rain each year. Its driest month (July) is wetter than Seattle’s wettest month. That’s saying something. I used my boots throughout the entire trip. I was especially thankful for them as I trudged up many a wet slippery gangway on my way to various grocery stores and attractions.

We arrived before the cruise ships so the town was in a “sleepy” mode. Oddly, the floatplanes were in high form buzzing all around us…in the air and on the water. PAGE 8

There is nothing like seeing and feeling a fast arriving or departing floatplane drop directly in front of your boat or soaring up and over your boat. It’s hard not to want to “duck and roll” when you hear or see them coming. The cruise ship docks dominate the small slice of about 3 miles of waterfront land that makes up the town of Ketchikan. Ketchikan is a small town, something I hadn’t realized when I was on the cruise ships. I just assumed when I got off the ships that the dazzling large array of shops, sightseeing companies, and restaurants went on and on, beyond the place where the cruise ships moor. Not so much. Private boats like us sail down the waterway until they tie up at the Bar Harbor South Marina. This is a working marina where large fishing vessels stage waiting for the various fishing times to open. This tie-up is about one plus mile away Ketchikan Forget-Me-Not Chocolates from the cruise ships docks, a few blocks from Honestly, just riding the short loop around the supermarket center (which includes Ketchikan on the bus can give you a good view of McDonald's and Taco Time), a quick walk to affordable dependable bus service, outstanding village life. Continued on Next Page… ER services, and a marine (where fishing licenses are purchased) and hardware store. It is about Alaskan Totem Pole two miles from Walmart. All of these things may seem mundane, but when traveling by private boat, they are all your lifeline for repairs, restocking, sightseeing, and refueling. To get around the town you will walk, use the bus service or there are plenty of taxis to assist. To keep things in perspective, walking costs $0.00, a bus is $2.00 and a taxi can range from $8-15 each way. Ketchikan has several attractions to explore. Museums such as the Totem Heritage Center, the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, and the Tongass Historical Museum are fairly close to the marina. The Saxman Native Village and Tongass Trading Company are accessible by bus. Bear watching is available at Herring Bay in August and September. The cruise ship center where all the glitzy attractions and Creek Street arena are about a mile away and are best accessed by bus, but beware! No cruise ships in equates to reduced or closed shops and restaurants. PAGE 9

Alaska Continued… Three places I think you might like to visit are New China Restaurant on Dock Street, ForgetMe-Not Chocolates on Main Street, and Starboard Frames and Gifts on Dock Street. We would eventually visit Ketchikan three times during our trip. Once upon arriving in Alaska, once in the middle for major restocking, mail pick-up, repairs, and a brief visit to the ER, and then as a final staging area for the big trip back home to Seattle through Canada. It’s a great little town and can be best explored, in my opinion, via a private boat.

Anan Bear Lunch floatplane or private/commercial boat. Once in the harbor, a small boat or dingy is needed to get to the Anan trailhead. There is no sign or grand entrance. The Forest Service has kept the attraction as natural as possible. It is important to make reservations ahead of time if coming in by private boat as I did. The cost to get in is $10.00. If you come with a tour company, the cost is around $350.00 which includes a guide and transportation. Wear sturdy waterproof shoes. You will be walking on a combination of wood, gravel, dirt, and roots. The trail is fairly narrow.

Anan Bear and Wildlife Observatory Anan Creek is part of this attraction. It is the draw to get the bears to show up. It is one of the earliest & largest pink salmon runs (also called (humpies or humpback) in Southeast Alaska & provides ideal habitat for over 250,000 of them. That means the Anan Bear & Wildlife Anan offers a first-rate, once-in-a-lifetime Observatory is a paradise for bears. It is also one opportunity to view and photograph Alaskan of the few places in the world where black and wildlife in their natural habitat. A permit system brown bears share the same fishing spot. limits visitors to 60 per day. Tourists arrive via PAGE 10 The Anan Bear and Wildlife Observatory is a unique place to visit in Southeast Alaska, especially for travelers who are looking for an authentic Alaskan experience.

A raft of otters. Anan is located within the Tongass National Forest and has a special protected status for two miles on either side of the creek. Anan Bear & Wildlife Observatory is managed by the United States Forest Service (USFS). Upon arrival at the observatory trail head, guests are greeted by USFS interpreters who give a quick talk about proper visitor behavior in bear country. Once you agree to the terms, it is an easy to moderate, often single file, half-mile undulating 30-minute walk from the beach to the viewing platform. The trail to the observatory winds through the rainforest, along a lagoon on a boardwalk with steps. It’s not unusual to see bears on the trail as I did. Once you are waved onto the viewing platform you will see bears galore foraging for food from the fast-moving creel waterfall.

About 25 steps straight down from the observation platform there is a photo blind that gets tourists very close to the gushing water and the hungry bears. This is where the real pulse of the observatory is found and the best videos or pictures can be taken. It is an extraordinary experience for the senses. As you hear the roar of the waterfall in the background you are up close to bears catching and eating fish.

The bears carefully wade into the water where the fish pool together attempting to leap over the falls. During the salmon run, more than a hundred bears may come to the cold waters of the creek to eat as much as they can, and because the bears are interested only in the fattiest parts of the fish, there’s plenty left for other animals: bald eagles, ravens, otters, harbor seals, and more. The bears have adapted to human presence on the viewing platform, so they simply go about their business of eating, getting ready for the winter. Bears wade into the stream, grab a fish, and then come back ashore. PAGE 11

Continued on Next Page… Eagles are everywhere.

Fishing boat in Hydaburg

Alaska Continued… The interchange between the bears, eagles, and salmon brings a cacophony of wildlife spirit like nothing I have experienced before. There is a maximum time limit of 30 minutes inside the photo blind to allow everyone the opportunity to use it. From Ketchikan, Anan is accessible by flightseeing tours only because of the distance from Ketchikan (45 minutes by air). Latitude: 56.179023 / Longitude: -131.883574. It’s a 45 minute boat ride or quick floatplane trip from Wrangell.

The community is deep-rooted in tribal values and relies on historical and cultural relationships to the land and sea. Residents take great pride in their ability to harvest resources traditionally. A totem park was built in Hydaburg during the 1930s. New poles have been raised in the park in recent years due to a growing interest in preserving the traditions of the Haida people.

Hydaburg Hydaburg is a small fishing and cultural center on the southwest coast of Prince of Wales Island. It is accessible by floatplane, boat, or by driving the Hydaburg Highway. It is the most populous community of Haida Natives in the U.S. Hydaburg is home to artists, carvers, and weavers. Here, the restoration of rivers goes hand-in-hand with the restoration of cultural traditions. Beyond the Native culture, there are lots of trails to hike and explore. PAGE 12

Wrangle Jet Ski Tour

Fresh caught fried shrimp.

Alaskan Rock Fish Tacos.

The marina is small and built for local fishing boats. We were able to moor there for one night amongst the locals. As we pulled in and set our lines we saw a man coming down the ramp towards us. We thought it was the Harbormaster, but it turned out to be the village chief Sáádúúts (Robert Peele). He took us by the hand and gave us a personal tour of his village. It’s small, but walking with a local guide is always a treat. Highlights included the totem pole park. As he told, “Hydaburg is revitalizing its totem pole park, teaching the next generation to carve and winning back its culture.”

Prince of Wales. The mix of species in salt water and fresh water makes this place the serious fisherman’s have-to-go destination. Salmon is the most celebrated fish, but anglers’ targets range widely, from halibut hundreds of feet down in ocean depths to trout in high-mountain lakes, to rockfish, lingcod, and crab and shrimp. It’s a unique bounty that takes patience resulting in great tasting rewards.

Sáádúúts invited us to visit the annual Hydaburg Culture camp. The community comes together to teach Haida language, song, dance, carving, weaving, beading, and traditional food gathering and preparation. The camp is followed by Haida Festival. These events are usually in the last week of July. I truly wish we could have taken him up on his offer, but time was ticking and the salmon run was finally happening.

Why fish Alaska? Why travel so far just to go fishing? At least once in every person's life, they should do this once-in-a-lifetime trip. We had two months to explore, but I think you can catch the Alaskan spirit in 1-2 weeks. My husband was the fisherman. This was a “learning” trip from our knowledgeable boating partners. My husband was there to learn the intricacies of Alaskan waters fishing. He did catch fish, loving every minute of the process. My job was to cheer him on and occasionally drive the boat to troll for fish and clean the shrimp. Continued on Next Page…

Fishing Some of Alaska’s best fishing is on and around PAGE 13

landscapes, Native cultures, wildlife, and wild places. The deep green of the old-growth rainforest, the gorgeous blues of the rushing rivers, tranquil lakes, deep oceans, and ancient glaciers will test all of your senses. It’s got to be a bucket-list item for you. Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit Official wine of the 2021 voyage.

What fishermen come for. Alaska Continued… For those of you thinking of fishing in Alaska. I highly recommend hiring a guide. Why do you need a guide to fish? You’re probably thinking you should be able to catch fish on your own. That may be true, but I can attest to the act it might take quite a while to figure out how to do it. First, you need to know the Alaska sport fishing regulations and how to identify various species of salmon or trout. Next, you need the right equipment for the fishing situation, and the correct lure, fly, or quality bait to maximize your catch. You need to know where you can fish legally and where the hot spots are. You’ll have to know which lure or bait to the fish will entice the fish to bite. And finally, know how to successfully set the hook, fight and land that fish. You could save a lot of time, headaches, and disappointment by allowing a guide service to teach you how to fish successfully in this area. Then you can go at it on your own.

Be Inspired Alaska? Alaska is all you imagine and more. You should explore and get inspired by the massive PAGE 14

Visit Kitsap Peninsula, Washington

Kitsap Peninsula The Kitsap Peninsula is surrounded by 371 miles of shoreline and is officially part of the National Water Trails system, Washington State’s only such designation. Here one can experience an abundance of natural beauty with plenty of opportunities to enjoy safe and healthy outdoor recreational activities all year round. Experience the regional towns and cities, gardens, museums, art, naval heritage, waterfront strolls, and more.

This episode of Big Blend Radio features Beth Javens, Executive Director of Visit Kitsap who shares what there is to experience on the Kitsap Peninsula, which is just across from Seattle, and known as the Natural Side of Puget Sound. Watch her interview here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean.

Bainbridge Island is notable for its close proximity to Seattle. Downtown Winslow is filled with hip shops, restaurants, and galleries. Visit the world-famous Bloedel Reserve and the Japanese Exclusion Memorial.

restaurants and pubs. Bremerton, the largest city in the region, is famous for its historic Naval and Maritime Heritage including the USS Turner Joy.

Poulsbo, aka “Little Norway” is a favorite destination for visitors. Explore galleries, museums, and shops in Poulsbo’s growing Arts District, and eat & drink at one of the many Port Orchard features Bay Street, lined with PAGE 16

Point No Point Lighthouse shops, and dozens of great dining choices. shops and restaurants, the Mosquito Fleet foot ferry Carlisle II which runs between Port Orchard Attractions include the Harbor History Museum, boat building classes, and the Heritage Distillery. and Bremerton’s historic waterfront. Port Gamble, a historic 1850’s mill town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today this popular tourist destination is filled with gift shops, restaurants, a general store, museums, and a historic theater. It is also home to Olympic Outdoor Center which offers rentals for both kayakers and bikers to explore the miles of wooded trails and the picturesque waters of Gamble Bay.

The Kitsap Peninsula is rich in Native American tradition, maritime history, numerous events, and friendly port towns. It includes unincorporated communities of nearly 200,000 such as Kingston, Keyport, and Olalla, the independent communities of Suquamish and the Suquamish Tribe featuring the Suquamish Museum with its rotating exhibits, Old Man House, and grave of Chief Sealth. Little Boston is home to the S’Klallam Tribe. One of its most popular visitor attractions is Heronswood Nursery.

Hansville, located on the northern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula, affords sweeping views of Admiralty Inlet, Whidbey Island, and Puget Sound. Built in 1879, Point no Point Lighthouse is In 2014, the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails was designated as part of the National Water Trails one of the most photographed lighthouses and Alliance and the only trail in Washington. It is a is notable for its wildlife viewing. major destination for kayaking, SUP, boating, scuba, sailing, rowing, windsurfing, wind sailing, Kingston, a cozy waterfront community has a charming main street lined with shops, pubs with fishing and events. local brews, assorted restaurants, and waterThe Kitsap Peninsula is the literal embodiment front park. Kingston is served by the Edmondsof the Maritime Washington National Heritage Kingston WA ferry route and Kitsap Transit Area with federally recognized tribes, 2 counties, Passenger Fast Ferry. 5 incorporated cities, and several port districts, as well as innumerable harbors, inlets, Gig Harbor, “The Maritime City” historic peninsulas, island coasts, and parks. waterfront district, is lined with art galleries, For more information about the Kitsap Peninsula‘s many attractions, communities, events, things to do, and places to stay, check out: PAGE 17

A Sustainable & Regenerative Travel Experience in Oregon’s Famous Wine Country

Abique Falls in Willamette Valley Willamette Valley follows the Willamette River north to south for over 150 miles from the Mt. Hood Territory east of Portland to just south of Eugene. It is a quilt of cities and towns that offer unique experiences for everyone, from rural enclaves that pop up between expanses of farms and fields, to serene college towns with historic inns and classic main streets, to cities alive with culture and heritage, including the state capital of of Salem. It also has the largest concentration of wineries and vineyards in Oregon. More: This episode of Big Blend Radio's 2nd Tuesday "Food, Wine & Travel" Show features Dawnielle Tehama, the Executive Director of Willamette Valley Visitors Association, who discusses sustainable and regenerative travel in Willamette Valley, Oregon. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Spreaker or Podbean. PAGE 18

Willamette River

By Julie Diebolt Price


Dunsmuir Shops Mural

Siskiyou County is home to stunning Mt. Shasta in the Siskiyou Mountain Range and draws outdoor adventurers and nature lovers during all four seasons of the year. The county borders southern Oregon with wildlife and scenic landscapes that will take your breath away in Lower Klamath National Wildlife, Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and Lava Beds National Monument.

Julie Diebolt Price on Big Blend Radio - Watch her interview here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean.

Prime industries in Siskiyou County are wood products, agriculture, and cattle ranching. Add the beer trail, a distillery, along with terrific dining options, and you have an undeniable recipe for pleasure.

DUNSMUIR Dunsmuir is a walkable town complete with Ted Fay Fly Shop. A seemingly endless lure selection makes it hard to pick the best. They also provide guide services to eager anglers. The Sacramento River is close and accessible.

If you are looking for off-the-beaten-path destinations on your road trip, here are some things to do in Siskiyou County that will captivate you. PAGE 21

Continued on Next Page…

Castle Crags

Siskiyou Continued… Across the street is the landmark California Theatre built in 1926. This classic theater hosted many famous actors when they were on promotional tours by train in the day. The Dunsmuir Amtrak station is a key stop today on the Coast Starlight route between Los Angeles, California, and Portland, Oregon. Pops Performing Arts Cultural Center, named in tribute to Louis Armstrong, draws artists from the community and surrounding regions. Sacred Well is a popular spiritual guiding service downtown. The Kuan Yin Sanctuary behind the store is exotic and thought-provoking. The colorful mural is always open to the public.

railroading in Siskiyou County. Castle Crags State Park presents an easy trail to view the monoliths of towering spires and an adjacent view of Mt. Shasta. An easy scenic trail under Hedge Creek Falls leads to the Sacramento River and another stunning view of Mt. Shasta. Yaks on the 5 is a quirky and popular restaurant on the main road. The décor is Purple Rain and Prince – gaudy, attention-grabbing, and entertaining. When you place your order, you draw a name from a jar that identifies your order. It was hilarious to hear, “Hunk a hunk a burning love, your order is ready!”

Railroad Park Resort provides unique lodgings in ETNA IN SCOTT VALLEY Heading west of US 5, we slipped into Scott Dunsmuir. Twenty-three cabooses offer kingValley and the town of Etna on Highway 3. A sized beds and all the comforts of home, plus a climb-up cupola. For train lovers, this resort and profusion of purple lupine greeted us with striking blankets of spring wildflowers covering museum will fulfill your lust for railroad history. the valley floor between the Marble and Eddies Vintage railroad cars house the Dining Car Mountains in the Klamath Mountain Range. Restaurant and artifacts from the glory days of PAGE 22

Craft Beer and a light lunch. The list of Etna, California hotels is short. With a population of about 700 and off-the-beaten-path, we discovered Collier Hotel, once an old rooming house. An excellent place for groups and family vacations, the large veranda is a great place to gather and enjoy the tree-shaded backyard festooned with wisteria during the spring. You must visit the Grain Street Bakery and try their Kouign-Amman (pronounced “queen Amman”). It is a delectable, caramelized mélange of flour, butter, salt, and sugar. Patrons come from as far as Chico and Yreka specifically to get the Kouign-Amman. Forget about your diet when experiencing this pastry.

Originally used to store gold during the gold rush, the safe makes a wonderful climate to store spirits. Famous for its briskets and BBQ, Etna Brewing Co. is a craft brewery on the Siskiyou County Beer Trail in downtown Etna. Live performances and skill games keep the clientele entertained until 9 pm.

CALLAHAN The community of Callahan was named after M.B. Callahan, a rancher who opened the Callahan Ranch Hotel as a travelers’ stop in 1858. The hotel still stands and is for sale on eBay for $11.00.

Denny Bar Co., the only distillery in Siskiyou In addition to the hotel, Callahan, the population County, is a hip spot that has successfully of about 50, lays claim to a post office, the combined contemporary spirits-making and Callahan Emporium, a convenience store, and a artisanal food while preserving the building’s bar that is wallpapered with one-dollar bills history. Once housing a school downstairs and a signed and dated by visiting patrons. brothel upstairs, Denny Bar Co. owners have kept the original room-sized safe intact. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 23

Yakes on 5

Miner Mike

The eccentric character I dubbed Miner Mike sitting on the veranda attracted my attention. Decked out in an old miner’s hat, black leather jacket, and black chaps, at first glance, I thought he was one of those wooden carved statues that you come across at old-time emporiums. A fascinating collection of tools attached to his belt in curious ways was remarkable.

Shasta View Lodge is a comfortable, spacious, and centrally located hotel in McCloud. It’s within walking distance to downtown, where you can pick up a book in the little lending library or enjoy a homecooked breakfast at White Mountain Café, at the corner of the historic Mercantile Building on Main Street.

Siskiyou Continued…

GAZELLE Continuing on our journey to Gazelle, we discovered the magnificent view overlooking Scott Valley that the locals recommended. We spotted a ring-tailed cat and a lynx along the way. Recommendations by the locals afforded unexpected rewards for this road trip off the beaten path.

For more years than I can remember, I have always wanted to explore Siskiyou County. Awed by Mt. Shasta as we drove through to Oregon destinations, this was the year to make my wishes come true. Plan your Siskiyou County Adventure at

Julie Diebolt Price is a professional photographer, educator, travel writer, and journalist. She helps MCCLOUD The McCloud River is divided into two sections by corporations and solo entrepreneurs establish their brand with imagery and business training. She the McCloud Reservoir. The Upper McCloud is educates and mentors aspiring photographers. As a popular with anglers and kayakers and boasts journalist who loves to travel, she creates three magnificent falls – Upper, Middle, and memorable experiences and shares them with Lower. All three falls are easily accessed by the words and pictures. Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, Highway 89, and offer lookouts at each fall. PAGE 24

by Debbie Stone


Telluride, a mountain village. It’s hard to keep me away from Colorado. The state’s diverse and dramatic landscape is a commanding draw and its magnetic and dynamic | attraction is strong. Whether it’s a National Park, Old West mountain town, archaeological site, or unique geological formation, Colorado offers plenty of choices for all vacation appetites.

Travel writer Debbie Stone on Big Blend Radio – Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean.

Take Telluride for example. The town’s allure is in its iconic peaks, storied past, well-preserved historic buildings, and charming ambiance. It’s an outdoor recreation mecca with year-round adventures, from world-class skiing to mountain biking, hiking, paddling, and fly fishing, where you can easily recreate a scene from “The River

Runs Through It.” There are 4x4 tours, hot air balloon rides, whitewater rafting trips, and more. And yes, there are ample opportunities for retail therapy, too.


Continued on Next Page…

Telluride Continued… As I visited this quintessential alpine destination in late summer, hiking was foremost on my list. Trails that lead to a scenic reward, such as a waterfall or lake, are my favorites. Even though it’s the journey, not the end, that’s supposed to matter – and it does – I like having a tangible goal when I set out. In Telluride, Bridal Veil Falls and Bear Creek Falls are both popular hikes. At 365 feet, spectacular Bridal Veil Falls are the tallest free-falling falls in the state. It’s at the end of a box canyon that offers expansive views overlooking the town. This treasure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Bear Creek Falls, a slightly longer hike (2.5 miles one way versus 1.8 for Bridal Veil), is also very photogenic.

Hope Lake important, as I love the opportunities for peace and solitude. As you climb what seems like endless switchbacks, you’ll be able to see Trout Lake and the Lizard Head Wilderness. You’ll cross creeks and go through verdant forests to reach this high alpine lake, but it’s worth the effort. Catch your breath, while you revel in the sight of this crystal, green-blue body of water surrounded by 13ers as its sentinels. If you’re lucky, marmots will be your only company.

Outdoor activities tend to work up an appetite, but I never worry about finding healthy, delicious food in Telluride. The town’s culinary scene is impressive, with a wide variety of restaurants and cuisine. Here’s where you’ll want to try the Another day, I trekked to Hope Lake. You have to Rocky Mountain trout, elk and/or bison, as they drive a little way to reach the trailhead of this are specialties of the region. I’ve had memorable one and having an SUV is helpful, as the section meals at Allred's at the top of the gondola ski lift, from the main road to the parking area is rocky 211 South Oak, The National, The Marmotte and rough. The hike is about 5.5 miles round trip, (housed in a 125-year-old ice house), and Siam. and as always, I got an early start to avoid the Accommodations in Telluride run the gamut masses. Having most of the trail to myself is PAGE 28

Hot Tub at Lumiere with Inspirato

Chef’s Kitchen at Lumiere with Inspirato from luxury lodges and vacation homes to cozy inns and rustic cabins. On this trip, I stayed at Lumiere with Inspirato, a boutique upscale property in nearby Mountain Village. The place is conveniently located, steps to restaurants, shops, watering holes, and most importantly the chairlifts and gondola. Hop on the gondola for a breathtaking, panoramic, twelve-minute ride into the heart of Telluride. It beats the driving and parking hassles, especially during peak times.

really appreciated the washer and dryer, and deck with picture-perfect mountain views. And when it got chilly at night, the gas fireplace was an added boon.

With only eighteen residences, Lumiere with Inspirato exudes intimacy, yet it has all the amenities of a five-star hotel. Take your pick of a Studio Deluxe or one-bedroom suite. Need two or three or four bedrooms? No problem. There’s even an exclusive five-bedroom, five-bath penthouse, boasting 3,715 square feet of living space.

Additional property amenities include an outdoor hot tub, warm plunge and cold splash pools, sauna, small fitness center, and lounge/bar. I took full advantage of the pools and hot tub after hiking, going from one to another in Finnish thermo therapy tradition.

The light color palette décor, natural fabrics, and contemporary design were soothing and easyon-the-eyes. The place was airy and sunlit, and I immediately felt a sense of balance and harmony in the surroundings.

I was also very impressed with the hotel’s concierge and staff. They were friendly and hospitable and were a font of ideas and suggestions for all things Telluride and the surrounding area. They’ll make reservations for you, book tours, massage treatments, and

My 1,050-square-foot, one-bedroom residence felt palatial, with ample sitting and dining areas, a chef’s kitchen (stocked with a basket of breakfast goodies and an acclimate kit), king bed, spacious bathroom (the LATHER body care products are a nice touch), and an additional half bath. I PAGE 29

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Telluride Continued… private yoga sessions, ply you with maps and directions and local insider tips – and best yet, they do it with a smile. Though these are all wonderful benefits to staying at the Lumiere with Inspirato, there’s another notable reason to make this property home base during your time in Telluride. You can have a positive impact on the local community when you reserve your room through the hotel booking platform, Kind Traveler. Founded by Jessica Blotter and Sean Krejci, “Kind Traveler is the first socially-conscious Give + Get hotel booking and media platform that empowers travelers to positively impact the communities and environment in the destinations they visit.”

Lumiere with Inspirato an internationally recognized leader in sustainable tourism and has received recognition and awards for its commitment and efforts in this arena. How it works is simple. When you book a stay on the platform at one of its many properties, you can give a $10 or more donation to the local charity beneficiary or a charity of choice on Kind Traveler. One hundred percent of your donation goes to the charity, unlike in many other organizations where administration and other costs reduce the amount of money that actually has any direct connection with the cause.

The company’s select collection of properties includes boutique, independent, and lifestyle The company launched in late 2016 with twenty hotels that have a sustainable policy and are hotel partners and fifteen charity partners based working to advance individual wellness, in the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean. Today, it environmental sustainability, and community works with 140 hotels and 90 charities in 22 impact. In Lumiere with Inspirato’s case, all countries. Kind Traveler has gradually become donations go to the Telluride Foundation to help PAGE 30

Rocky Mountain Trout at the National provide emergency medical care to local families in need. In addition to the feel-good aspect of this program, travelers are also eligible to unlock exclusive rates and perks from the many Kind Hotels. And who doesn’t like those bennies? If you go: Debbie Stone is an established travel writer and columnist, and regular contributor for Big Blend Radio and Big Blend Magazines, who crosses the globe in search of unique destinations and experiences to share with her readers and listeners. She’s an avid explorer who welcomes new opportunities to increase awareness and enthusiasm for places, culture, food, history, nature, outdoor adventure, wellness and more. Her travels have taken her to nearly 100 countries and to all seven continents. Fresh, seasonal salad at 221 Oak PAGE 31

By Nancy Mueller


Rainbow Bridge, Grand Lake, Colorado When seeking a destination where wilderness, wonder, and wildlife take center stage, it’s hard to top Grand County, Colorado - especially when views of surrounding peaks reach dramatic elevations over 14,000 feet. By car or boat, on foot, skis, or snowmobiles, skyscraping vistas attract nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Nancy Mueller on Big Blend Radio – Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

Our grand three-day weekend getaway begins in the town of Grand Lake, also known as the “Western Gateway” to Rocky Mountain National form a continuous waterway fed by the Park. Settled in the late 1800s, Grand Lake offers headwaters of the Colorado River and runoff plenty of family-fun activities. For starters, opt from the Continental Divide. Go for a leisurely for a room with a view of the town’s star boat tour of lakeside homes and wildlife via attraction, Grand Lake herself, at Western Riviera pontoon boat, or try your hand at landing a where most condos and cabins are set at water’s rainbow or brook trout from a fishing boat. Boat edge. Recognized as the largest and deepest rentals, including kayaks, paddleboards - even a natural body of water in Colorado covering more Tiki boat- are available at nearby Trail Ridge than 500 surface acres with depths of 265 feet, Marina. Grand Lake and neighboring Shadow Mountain Continued on Next Page… PAGE 33

Grand County Continued…

Grand Lake, Colorado, view from the Western Riviera

Grand Lake also features a historic wooden boardwalk perfect for strolling over 60 boutique shops, galleries, and eateries that line the walkway. Blue Water Bakery, just steps away from the Western Riviera, serves breakfast wraps, bagels, and scrambles while Sagebrush BBQ and Grill highlights a hearty Wild Game Combo (think buffalo, bear, and elk sausage) and The Chuck Wagon (country fried steak smothered in sausage gravy) among its many menu selections.

It’s one thing to admire spellbinding views of the from the vantage of Grand Lake; it’s quite another to head off into the heart of those views in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). Established in 1915, with most of the park’s 416 square miles proclaimed protected wilderness in 2009, RMNP features a fragile alpine tundra landscape, lava cliffs, pristine lakes, waterfalls, and open meadows. Grand Lake Lodge Dining

For dinner, Rockies on Grand Avenue offers pub fare ranging from burgers and fries, salads and sandwiches, to pasta and pizza. Or enjoy a Grand Lake Paloma or Huckleberry Lemonade cocktail and fine dining at Huntington House Tavern at Grand Lake Lodge. Follow up your dinner with the best seats in town at the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre, which in our case, featured a foot-stomping performance of Ring of Fire, The Music of Johnny Cash. PAGE 34

Lower East Inlet Trail, Rocky Mountain NP

River Run Resort

Visitors require a timed entry-reservation to experience the park, including such recreational adventures as camping, biking, and over 355 miles of hiking trails, three of which lead directly from the town of Grand Lake. We chose one of the most popular routes, Adams Falls, which offers easy access from the East Inlet Trailhead for our venture into the park. The hike features an elevation gain of 113 feet that passes through pines and aspens, the Adams Creek Meadow (perfect for picnicking), and an overlook of the 55-foot waterfall that runs through a narrow rock gorge.

On-site amenities include a sports complex, community center, pool and playground areas, Event Center, and SunFit Wellness Center. In town, be sure to stop by Never Summer Brewing for a pint, flight, or growler of cold, handcrafted beers like the earthy Up Your Kilt Scottish Ale or silky smooth Jackstraw Oatmeal Stout.

For drive-throughs of the park, Trail Ridge Road (noted as the highest continuous paved highway in North America) offers sweeping scenic vistas with several viewpoint stops along the way. The Alpine Visitor Center, the national park system’s highest visitor center, offers food and beverage, plus souvenirs, and direct access to The Alpine Ridge Trail, aka “Huffers Hill,” so-called for its short, but steep hike that gains more than 200 feet in only three-tenths of a mile.

What better way to cap off our fun three-day Grand County getaway than by making a beeline to Adventures Decanted in Winter Park for an ultimate wine experience? We sampled wines by the glass from over 60 selections through Enomatic wine dispensers — the first in Grand County — accompanied by a smorgasbord of menu favorites that featured local and imported cheeses, cured meats, flatbreads, and yummy chocolates. What’s not to love about Grand County Colorado? For more information, go to

Nancy Mueller is a Seattle-based freelance travel Beyond Grand Lake and RMNP, our three-day writer and photographer with an established media Grand County Colorado getaway took us to outlet at: nearby Granby for an overnight stay at the where she writes about "fun travel adventures for newly-opened River Run Resort. Here, adventures start with your choice of lodging. Will the young at heart." She’s snorkeled with sea lions you go for an RV site, villa or studio rental, or tent in the Galápagos Islands, sailed the Nile, paddled the Yukon River, and braved an overnight in camping? Maybe seasonal glamping in a Conestoga wagon, adventure tent, airstream, or Quebec’s Ice Hotel among her many adventures. Her bags are always packed for day trips, weekend yurt instead? Whichever option you choose, the getaways, and global escapes. property provides entertainment for all ages. PAGE 35

A Visit to Fort Union National Monument in Northern New Mexico By Eva Eldridge


Fort Union National Monument Located in the high plains to the east of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, on the old Santa Fe Trail, Fort Union endures despite an almost constant wind. The wind is so prevalent, the inhabitants called the place "Fort Windy."

On Big Blend Radio: Park Superintendent Lorenzo Vigil talks about Fort Union’s rich history and visitor experience. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean.

The morning I arrived at Fort Union, the first thing I noticed was the walls of adobe– covered bricks standing like jagged teeth in fields of grass. The second thing was the wind. Wind and water and missing roofs have made their presence felt on the buildings of the third incarnation of Fort Union.

Over time, the troops were plagued with bugs, leaking roofs, and falling rotting wood. The men ended up sleeping outdoors when weather permitted.

The first Fort Union, 1851 through 1861, was a collection of barracks built by unskilled enlisted men near the base of a bluff to the west of the The Civil War intruded on the New Mexico current site. The men, not knowing proper building techniques, used timber they harvested territory in 1861. It was decided the fort would not be able to stand up to an attack especially from the local Turkey mountains. They did not since it was built below a bluff and could be peel the bark from the timber nor let it cure. Buildings were haphazardly placed, and their Continued on Next Page… roofs were not water-tight. PAGE 37

Fort Union Continued… easily attacked from above. The second Fort Union was located about a mile from the first Fort and was earth-sheltered. It took about a year for the second Fort Union to be completed during which the Confederates marched up the Rio Grande. The second fort had a cannon with an arsenal and was designed to withstand an attack. Fortunately, in 1862, the Confederates were defeated south of Fort Union at Glorieta. The urgent need for a defensible fort was no longer needed and plans for a third fort began.

In 1876, the 9th Cavalry, the Buffalo Soldiers, arrived at Fort Union. They stayed for five years and served to patrol the Santa Fe Trail, worked on repairs and improvements to the fort, and assisted in conflicts with the Apache and Ute. In 1881, they were transferred to Kansas. The newest Fort Union had the best hospital in five hundred miles. It also had a vast quartermaster depot and stores to supply the other forts. Wagon trains stopped here to resupply on their way west. There was constant activity at the fort until the arrival of the railroad.

The third and last fort was designed and built to last longer than the other two. Proper building techniques using adobe, stone, and properly handled timber made the third fort much sturdi- With the arrival of the railroad, the supply depot wasn’t needed and Fort Union closed in 1891. By er. The major function of Fort Union was to be 1954 when the National Park Service acquired the central provisioning and command location for the string of military establishments through- the fort, the walls were still standing, but many things had changed. out the New Mexico territory and help protect the Santa Fe Trail. PAGE 38

Old wagons at Fort Union National Monument The glass from the windows, tin from the roofs, lintels, doors, and any other usable building materials were carted away overtime for other building projects. All that abandoned material was a great resource for the local settlers to the area and over time, the fort was stripped. It was a supply depot while it was active and still provided supplies after it was abandoned.

only half as tall as the original. The original pole was 120 feet tall. You would have been able to see it from quite a distance.

With all the protective material removed, the fort slowly melted. The stone foundations and flagstone sidewalks endured. The skeletons of the buildings with their brick chimneys stimulate the imagination on how active and alive the fort was in the past. Now it sits as a reminder of how we pushed our way west.

For more information see:

Fort Union National Monument is near Watrous, New Mexico, a short distance from I-25. Make sure you take a hat and some water because there is little shade on that plain and the wind blows.

Eva Eldridge is a contributing writer for Big Blend Magazines. Along with travel and lifestyle articles, she also writes fiction and poetry. Visit her at

On the current site, a 60-foot flagpole pokes the sky like the mast of a ship. This flagpole was built in the same manner as they would have built the flagpole in the 1860s, however, the flagpole is PAGE 39

22 Must-Do Expe By Lisa D. Smith and Nancy J.


eriences in Louisiana’s Oldest City! Reid, full-time travelers on the Love Your Parks Tour



Cane River Lake Riverfront On Big Blend Radio: Arlene Gould and Kelli West of Founded in 1714 by Louis Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau. Watch in the Juchereau de St. Denis, YouTube player or download/listen to the podcast on Natchitoches (pronounced Spreaker or Podbean. Nack-a-tish) is the original French Colony and oldest city in Louisiana. Celebrating a vibrant blend of French, Spanish, African, Native American, and Creole cultures, this charming city is part of the Cane River National Heritage Area and Louisiana’s No Man’s Land. It’s naturally beautiful with sprawling oak trees, flowers, and waterways, rich with historic and architectural points of interest, and offers a fantastic array of shopping and dining NATCHITOCHES HISTORIC LANDMARK opportunities, all sealed with the warm embrace DISTRICT of true southern hospitality. We recommend starting your Natchitoches We first visited Natchitoches in 2014 and return every chance we get. To whet your travel appetite, here’s our round-up of 22 must-do experiences that you’ll only find in Natchitoches Parish.

adventure in the downtown district. This 33block area runs along the beautiful banks of Cane River Lake, welcoming visitors into a mecca of historic sites and museums, art galleries and


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Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile PAGE 44

Natchitoches Continued…

Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame - Hel’s Angel Car

legendary Louisiana athletes, coaches, and specialty shops, restaurants, and boutique lodgings. It’s also the venue for many of the city’s sports figures. This spectacular $23-million museum complex is also home to the Northwest special events and festivals. Louisiana History Museum, a fantastic introduction to all the history and cultural 1. Walking Tour: One of the best ways to heritage you can experience in Natchitoches explore the district is on foot, whether selfParish. guided (maps are available at Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau), or on one of the 4. Shopping: If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind tours hosted by the Cane River National Heritage shopping experience, downtown Natchitoches Area. Buildings in the district are constructed in has a lovely collection of boutiques, antique several architectural styles that range from shops, and specialty stores. You won’t want to French Creole to Queen Anne, Italianate to miss all the colorful sugary goodness at the Cane Spanish Revival, Art Deco to Victorian. River Candy Company, nor the iconic KaffieFrederick General Mercantile. Established in 2. Riverfront Fun: The large amphitheater and 1863, Kaffie-Frederick is the oldest general store riverfront are host to many seasonal events, in Louisiana and the oldest business in including weddings at Beau Jardin Water Park & downtown Natchitoches. From hardware to Garden. It’s a beautiful place to stroll with kitchenware, folk art to toys and holiday décor, waterfalls, majestic live oak trees, seasonal this general store truly has something for flowers, and the historic Roque House. If you everyone! want to experience Cane River Lake, you can rent kayaks and paddleboards or go cruising on the The Art Guild is another downtown highlight Cane River Queen paddleboat. offering all kinds of art pieces from local artists including paintings, jewelry, gift cards, glassware, 3. Sports & Local History: Get your Louisiana and pottery. sports fix on at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame that showcases the achievements of over 300 Continued on Next page… PAGE 45


Brick slave cabins on Magnolia Plantation Natchitoches Continued… 5. American Cemetery & Historic Sites: Established around 1737, the American Cemetery is said to be the oldest cemetery in the Louisiana Purchase. Legend has it, that St. Denis, is buried somewhere on the grounds. Here you take a self-guided tour or go on the American Cemetery Walking Tour which is held the first Friday of each month. Other historic highlights include the Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site, Natchitoches Genealogy Library, Dr. John Sibley Historical Marker, and Jefferson Street Park that honors the historic Jefferson Highway that was built around 1910 for travelers to cross the heart of the country from Winnipeg, Canada to New Orleans, Louisiana.

HISTORIC PARKS, SITES & MUSEUMS From plantation living to military history and cultural traditions, Natchitoches Parish is a hub of history that continues to be honored, preserved, and interpreted at various sites throughout the Cane River National Heritage Area.

miles down the road Magnolia Plantation, these two French Creole cotton plantations are National Historic Landmarks. The 65 historic structures and over a million artifacts in this park have survived for 7-8 generations through good times, poverty, and war, and tell the stories of the plantation agriculture through the perspective of the landowners, enslaved workers, overseers, skilled workers, and tenant farmers who resided along the Cane River for over two hundred years. 7. Melrose Plantation: This National Historic Landmark shares the story of slave Marie Thérèse Coincoin and her ten Franco-African children with Thomas Pierre Metoyer, as well as the Isle Brevelle Creole community, the Civil War, plantation history, and Louisiana folk art. After 1884, under the ownership of John Hampton Henry and Miss Cammie Garrett Henry, Melrose Plantation became a haven for writers and artists, including famous folk artist Clementine Hunter, who was once a field hand and cook at the plantation.

6. Cane River Creole National Historical Park: Home to Oakland Plantation, and just a few PAGE 47

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Exhibit at Fort St. Jean Baptiste PAGE 48

Nachitoches Continued…

Goldman Thibodeaux at the 40th Annual Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival Natchitoches Continued… 9. Northwestern State University: Founded in 8. State Historic Sites: Showcasing life in 1884 as the Louisiana State Normal School, NSU Louisiana’s No Man’s Land (Neutral Strip), was the first school in the state to offer degree regional state historic sites to visit include Fort programs in nursing and business education. It is St. Jean Baptiste, Los Adaes, Fort Jesup, and the the venue for the popular Natchitoches-NSU Folk Louisiana Country Museum which is part of Festival which celebrated 40 years in 2019. (The Rebel State Historic Site. Today’s Fort St. Jean festival is currently a virtual event due to the Baptiste is a replication of the original Fort, pandemic). The campus is also home to the which was set up a few hundred yards away by Creole Heritage Center which is a central hub for Natchitoches founder Louis Antoine Juchereau the research, documentation, and preservation de St. Denis in 1714. Get a sense of French of the Creole Culture. The onsite Williamson Colonial life on a guided tour which is often led by costumed interpreters. Fort Jesup was built in Museum is the official repository for state and federal archaeological collections, and holds over 1822 to protect the U.S. border with New Spain half a million artifacts, with the exhibits prepared and to return order to the Neutral Strip. Los by student-faculty teams. Adaes was the capital of Tejas (Texas) on the northeastern frontier of New Spain from 1729 -1770. Continued on Next page… PAGE 49

St. Augustine Catholic Church & Cemetery PAGE 50

Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site Natchitoches Continued…

HISTORIC, CULTURAL & SCENIC ROUTES Natchitoches Mayor Robert “Bobby” DeBlieux One of the best ways to see the region’s historic sites, attractions, and cultural highlights, is by following its historic trails and scenic byways.

(2008), “For Sale By Owner” starring Kris Kristofferson (2009), and the 2016 artist documentary “Clementine Hunter’s World.”

10. Natchitoches Film Trail: Natchitoches hit 11. El Camino Real de los Tejas National the big screen when the 1989 movie “Steel Historic Trail: “The Royal Road of the Tejas” Magnolias” was filmed in and around the city. (Indians), is a trail that runs from Laredo, Texas The story comes from local Robert Harling who to Natchitoches, Louisiana, and will take you to lost his sister to diabetes in 1985. He turned that over 30 historic sites and lead you through over experience into the iconic stage play “Steel 300 years of Louisiana and Texas frontier Magnolias,” which was then adapted into the settlement and development. Local highlights famous film directed by Herbert Ross, starring include Fort Jesup State Historic Site, Los Adaes A-list actors Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Shirley State Historic Site, Fort St. Jean Baptiste State MacLaine, Dolly Parton, Olympia Dukakis, and Historic Site, plus, the Annual Sale on the Trail, a Daryl Hannah. The Natchitoches Film Trail 111-mile yard sale shopping extravaganza along incorporates the already established Steel the El Camino between Natchitoches and Magnolias Tour of Filming Sites, as well as Nacogdoches, Texas. locations featured in other locally filmed movies such as “The Horse Soldiers” starring John Wayne 12. Cane River National Heritage Trail: This Louisiana Scenic Byway runs along Cane River (1959), “The Man in the Moon” starring Reese Lake, and links to the Isle Brevelle Trail, and El Witherspoon (1991), “The Year Without a Santa Claus” starring John Goodman (2006), “The Continued on Next page… Garden Club” based on the book by former PAGE 51

Kisatchie National Forest PAGE 52

Natchitoches Continued…

Melrose Plantation on the Cane River National Heritage Trail

Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail, with Longleaf Trail and Kisatchie National Forest on the outskirts. The trail encompasses numerous historic sites including Melrose Plantation, Cane River Creole National Historical Park, and St. Augustine Church which is recognized for being America’s first Roman Catholic Church and the second oldest created by and for the people of color in Louisiana. 13. Longleaf Trail Scenic Byway: Known for being one of the most scenic drives in Louisiana, this beautiful byway takes travelers through the unique and diverse scenery of Kisatchie National Forest, offering direct and indirect access to several popular recreation spots and trailheads. NATURE & OUTDOOR ADVENTURE From bird watching, wildflower walks, and forest hiking, to boating, kayaking, and canoeing, Natchitoches offers some of Louisiana’s finest places to reconnect with nature and get outdoors for fresh air, sunshine, and adventure.

longleaf pine forest and flatwoods, bogs and prairies, lakes, and rivers. The forest is home to approximately 155 species of resident and migrant birds, 48 mammal species, 56 reptile species, and 30 amphibian species, and plant species that range from orchids to carnivorous plants, azaleas, and wildflowers. 15. Caroline Dorman Briarwood Reserve: Visit the birthplace and home of Caroline Dorman, a world-renowned naturalist, author, artist, and the first woman to be hired by the US Forest Service. This beautiful preserve continues the work she started by preserving wildflowers native to the south and educating the public on how natural forest ecosystems work. People from all over the world visit Briarwood to enjoy the birds and wildflower meadows, forest trails, Louisiana iris bog, and the iconic ancient longleaf pine “Grandpappy.”

16. Grady Erwin Nature Area: If you’re looking for an easy-to-reach nature fix in Natchitoches, this lovely forested tract of preserved land has three different trails to walk, run, or bike. It’s also 14. Kisatchie National Forest: Encompassing an NSU Biology Department study area, so if you 604,000 acres, Kisatchie is the only National see what may look like debris (sheets of tin, etc.) Forest in Louisiana. A mecca for outdoor near a trail, please do not disturb it as it may be enthusiasts, there are 40 recreation sites and part of a study. over 100 miles of trails. The beautiful and Continued on Next page… diverse landscape is made up of ancient caves PAGE 53

Authentic Mexican fare at El Patio PAGE 54

Natchitoches Continued…

Meat Pie at Lasyone’s

TASTE NATCHITOCHES All that exploring and adventuring is bound to work up an appetite and Natchitoches sure has something for everyone, along with some regional specialties. 17. Natchitoches Meat Pie: The life of the Natchitoches Meat Pie evolved from its Native American roots back in the 1700s, to the Spanish adding some spice, and then local families adapting this empanada-style recipe into their own. It’s Louisiana’s State Meat Pie and it is celebrated with an annual festival, and served at numerous restaurants and eateries, most notably Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant, an authentic soulful Creole Cuisine experience not to be missed!

Serving freshly made-from-scratch meals, Legacy Café is part of the Ben D. Johnson Educational Center's Workforce Development Program that focuses on transforming lives and building community through food. 19. Gas Station Eats Food Trail: Yes, gas stations! The Trail includes an introductory 21 stops in the seven parishes that make up Louisiana’s No Man’s Land. Delicacies in these roadside stops include meat pies, tamales, salads, burgers, pies, cookies, boudin, smoked meats, ice cream, and much more. One of our favorites stops is the French Market Express which is conveniently located next to many of the area’s brand hotels and serves traditional Natchitoches Meat Pies, plate lunches, and their famous yam cakes.

18. Dining Destinations: With Natchitoches being such a culturally diverse community, it shines as a culinary destination and there’s 20. Sip It Up! If you love craft brews, be sure to something for everyone’s palate. Along with stop by Cane River Craft Brewery that’s housed Lasyone’s, some of our recommendations in a refurbished cotton gin building that is nearly include Merci Beaucoup Restaurant for their a century old. There’s also the annual fall flavorful Cajun and Creole fixings, Papa’s Bar & TappedTober Craft Beer & Wine Festival that Grill for sumptuous steaks and cold brews, raises funds for local charity. And, Natchitoches Maglieaux’s Riverfront Restaurant that serves up has drive-thru daiquiri shops, the perfect frozen a delicious blend of Italian and Creole cuisine, El treat for those warm summer days. Patio Mexican Grill that cooks up fabulous southof-the-border fare, and nearby Grayson’s BBQ for Continued on Next page… some down-home southern pit barbecue. PAGE 55

Natchitoches Continued…

Treasure found at Lost Treasure Mining Company PAGE 56

FAMILY FUN Natchitoches is most certainly a family destination. While the historical parks are educational, they also put fun into the mix for kids to enjoy their experience. Plus, there are the outdoor activities, family-friendly shops, restaurants, hotels, and some awesome attractions and events not to be missed! 21. Dark Woods’ Lost Treasure Mining Company: Here kids (and parents) can become treasure hunters and experience the fun and excitement of mining for lost treasure including crystals, gemstones, shark's teeth, and fossils from around the world. 22. Celebrate Natchitoches! Any reason to celebrate and Natchitoches will make it happen! From car shows and music festivals to the annual Christmas Festival of Lights, Mardi Gras, and the Dark Woods Haunted Experience, there’s always a fun and festive event to enjoy with the whole family. See the full calendar at

PLAN YOUR VISIT Centrally located in Northwest Louisiana, Natchitoches is just than 300 miles from New Orleans, Dallas, Texas, and Little Rock. Lodgings run the gamut from RV and camping resorts to brand hotels, quaint bed & breakfasts, boutique inns, and vacation rentals. Some of our recommended accommodations include Sweet Cane Inn, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Best Western Inn, and Hampton Inn. To learn more about the area’s attractions and events, lodging establishments, shops, and restaurants, visit and be sure to get maps and guides at their Visitors Center in downtown. For more about the Cane River National Heritage Area, visit and go to their Grand Ecore Visitor Center that offers beautiful views of the Red River and has great exhibits showcasing the region’s history. Learn more about Louisiana’s No Man’s Land, the Neutral Strip, see PAGE 57

Cane River Candy Company


Lisa Evans on Big Blend Radio - Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean.

Pascagoula River Audubon Center © Lisa Evans PAGE 58

Snowy Egret at Pascagoula River Audubon Center © Lisa Evans

Coastal Mississippi – I've not heard of that,

The Pascagoula River Audubon Center serves as some might say. Where is it, and what is there to the portal to the largest free-flowing river in the lower United States. Here you can kayak in the do? Many years ago, the above sentence could easily have been something I might have uttered. river, watching the osprey and eagles overhead. Maybe a snowy egret is hunting for its next meal. Then a funny thing happened. I visited the area Perhaps attend their Hummingbird Festival in once and fell in love. Ten years later, I relocated the autumn. You might also get lucky as I was and have spent close to the last ten years in my and get to touch these beautiful birds and feel adopted home. Allow me to tell you why. their heartbeat.

Natural Beauty and Outdoor Adventure - Coastal Mississippi is the

Maybe take the ferry service out to Ship Island, part of the Gulf Shores National Seashore. 'landmass between Louisiana and Alabama.' Wander about the island, swim in the warm While that is indeed the truth, it is so much waters, tour Fort Massachusetts, or see a ghost more. It is an area located on the Mississippi crab. Board an actual shrimping vessel and learn Sound, part of the Gulf of Mexico. It is an area about the diligent crews that bring in the Gulf that has some of the most beautiful sunrises and shrimp everyone loves. The possibilities are sunsets you can imagine. It is an area that has a endless! multitude of attractions and unique places to visit. It is affordable with much diversity. It is the Museums and History - Has anyone ever Secret Coast. If you love outdoor adventure and told you about the Mad Potter of Biloxi? Have discovering nature, we've plenty to keep you you ever seen a fabulous painting by someone busy. With sixty-two miles of Coast and twelve named Walter Anderson? Are you a history buff cities to choose from, you will find plenty to keep and want to learn about the Confederacy? the nature lover in you satisfied. If boating, Perhaps you enjoy music history and are fishing, or kayaking is your joy, we have an interested in learning more? You'll find all that abundance of rivers, bayous, and open water to here in Coastal Mississippi. satisfy your spirit. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 59

Coastal Mississippi Continued… George Ohr was the Mad Potter mentioned above, and you can see and learn all about him at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art. Walter Anderson, as well as his accomplished brother Peter, were natives of this area. The Walter Anderson Museum of Art is a stunning showcase of Walter Anderson's work, and Shearwater Pottery does the same for his brother. Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library, is a historic site honoring the first and only president of the Confederacy.

George Ohr Pottery © by Lisa Evans James were. I did so, and I can tell you it was incredible.

Unique attractions, fun, and festivals Coastal Mississippi has fun things to do for all ages and varied interests. If you love gaming but not the hustle and bustle of more prominent, more well-known gaming destinations, give us a try. Within the boundaries of our area, we have eleven different casino resorts. Casinos also bring world-class entertainment, spas, fine dining restaurants, and renowned golf courses and tournaments.

If you admire music and its history, you will thoroughly enjoy exploring points along the Are you looking for something for the whole Mississippi Blues Trail, like 100 Men Hall. Once family? The Mississippi Aquarium is one of the one of the stops along the Chitlin Circuit, history area's newest attractions. Overlooking Jones seeps from these walls. Imagine standing on the Park and the Mississippi Sound, you will not only stage where legends such as BB King and Etta be able to see, and sometimes touch, a variety of PAGE 60

100 Men Hall © by Lisa Evans sea creatures, there is also an outdoor aviary and other outdoor exhibits. You may like to try a Mystic Ghost Ride or Krampus Creepy Christmas out on the water. A Twisted Tiki Boat ride through the Sound. See an actual rocket launcher at INFINITY Science Center. Head to Ocean Adventures Marine Park. Try Axe Throwing or miniature golf. Laser Tag or Go-Cart racing. The list goes on and on and allows visitors to try numerous experiences. Coastal Mississippi is widely known for its festivals. There is always something going on. For Winter, try the Gulfport Harbor Lights Festival, which has over a million lights throughout Jones Park. Springtime brings the annual Crawfish Music Festival at the MS Coast Coliseum. Summertime brings July 4th celebrations throughout the Coast along with the Seafood Festival. For Fall, the annual Cruisin' the Coast car show brings over 10,000 classic cars to our area. You can also catch the Peter Anderson Festival along the streets of Ocean Springs. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 61

Jefferson Davis Presidential Library, © Lisa Evans Mississippi Aquarium © by Lisa Evans

Mississippi Aquarium Aviary © by Lisa Evans

Shrimper on the Water © by Lisa Evans

Coastal Mississippi Continued…

Food You cannot speak about Coastal Mississippi without talking about food. With our proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, we have quite literally the best and freshest seafood available. One cannot describe how beautiful a picture it makes to drive along the beach on the opening day of the season and see the shrimpers and their hardworking crews dotting the landscape of the water. If you feel like eating something other than seafood, be assured we can accommodate. Southern BBQ, Asian, steakhouses, coffee houses, Mediterranean, Mexican, and farm-totable restaurants. Whatever you wish for, you can find somewhere along the Coast. All served with a smile and Southern hospitality.

Seafood Festival - Shrimp Po’ Boy © by Lisa Evans

Twister Tiki Boat © by Lisa Evans

Coastal Mississippi is truly the Secret Coast. Don't pre-judge the area because of something you may have seen or heard. Once you visit for the first time, you will realize - as I did - this area transcends any stereotype and has so very much to offer. Put Coastal Mississippi on your radar for a future visit – we'll welcome you and make sure you'll want to visit again. More at Lisa Evans is a freelance travel writer and photographer. She has always enjoyed the outdoors and nature and often includes them in her writing and photography. History is another passion – every place has a story to tell if only you find it. This love of history, along with her admiration for beautiful, poignant photographs pushes her to author stories and take photos to instill a desire in her readers to explore the world and discover new places. Lisa is a member of TravMedia, IFWTWA, and Travel Writer’s University. She has written for various publications. More: PAGE 62

The Crown Jewel of Coastal Maine

by Debbie Stone PAGE 64

Enjoy Popovers on the lawn of the Jordan Pond House The popovers at the Jordan Pond House in Maine’s Acadia National Park are famous. But until you try them, you might be skeptical of their reputation. After all, they’re popovers. How good could they be? It only took one bite of my Jordan Pond House popover to know that the glowing accolades were true. I was an instant convert. The muffinlike baked treat was light and fluffy with a delicious buttery flavor and served piping hot. Of course, I slathered it in butter and strawberry jam. A glass of blueberry lemonade made the Popovers and Blueberry Jam at the Jordan perfect accompaniment, as did the beautiful Pond House view of Jordan Pond and the Bubble Mountains. And when the server asked if I wanted another built the original farmhouse on the property. The popover, I eagerly replied, “Yes, please!” place became a restaurant in the early 1870s, which is when the custom of serving tea and The Jordan Pond House traces its history from popovers outside on the lawn overlooking the 1847 when settlers established a small mill near pond was established. the foot of the pond. As to its name and that of Continued on Next Page… the pond, credit goes to the Jordan family, who PAGE 65

Thunder Hole Acadia Continued… With an average of 3.5 million visits a year, Acadia is one of the top ten most-frequented national parks in the U.S. It boasts the highest rocky headlands along the country’s Atlantic coastline (oh, those jagged pink granite formations!), a rich cultural heritage, and an abundance of diverse environments. There are 27 miles of historic roads, 158 miles of hiking trails, and 45 miles of unique carriage roads in the park. Acadia encompasses nearly 50,000 acres, including Mount Desert Island, Schoodic Peninsula, Isle au Haut, and other outer islands. Most of the park is located on Mount Desert Island, the largest island off the Maine coast. And this is the area where most visitors opt to spend their time.

dramatic views and access to notable highlights, as well as to various hiking trails. It winds through forests, past lakes and mountains, and along the shoreline of this natural paradise. One of the highlights of Acadia is Thunder Hole, a natural rock formation that is affected by sea conditions. Big, crashing waves move into the hole and cause a thundering boom and a boisterous splash. Time it right – about two hours before high tide – for the most impactful experience. Sand Beach is another point of interest. The beach is primarily made up of crushed shells. You can swim here, and “polar bears” do, but know that the warmest water temps are between 55-60 degrees in August. Brr!

Don’t be disappointed if you’re not able to spot The Park Loop Road is an effective way to get sea otters at Otter Point and Otter Cliffs. There around this part of Acadia by vehicle, as it offers PAGE 66

View from Cadillac Mountain are none here, nor anywhere in Acadia. It’s possible these places were actually named for river otters. Wildlife aside, both these locations offer spectacular views and make rewarding stops. At impressive Otter Cliff, the granite formations rise way above the water. Take the trail further on to Otter Point, where you can laze on the rocks and explore tide pools. Monument Cove is known for its namesake pillar, which is the result of storm wave action over centuries. This stalwart sentinel has stood in its current form for 500 years, guarding the cove from above. Nearby is the unofficiallynamed “Boulder Beach,” where you’ll see a section of shoreline covered in bowling ball-sized rocks. Hiking trails range from easy to challenging, depending on the terrain. Some go through forests or along the coastline, while others loop around lakes. You can also scale cliffs to reach

mountaintops for dramatic panoramas. Favorites include Gorham Mountain, Beehive Loop, Beech Mountain South Ridge Loop, Cadillac North Ridge, and Bubbles Nubble Loop. At 1,530 feet, Cadillac Mountain is the highest point in the park and on the eastern seaboard. It’s the first place you can see the sunrise in the U.S. from early October to March. If you’re short on time or don’t want to hike up to the summit, you can always drive to the top and get the same awe-inspiring vistas. Biking is another popular activity at Acadia, particularly on the rustic carriage roads. We have John D. Rockefeller Jr. to thank for the construction of this system. The famed philanthropist was an adept horseman, who wanted to travel on motor-free byways via horse and carriage into the heart of Mount Desert Island. Continued on Next Page…


Acadia Continued…

Cycling along the Carriage Road. Photo: Courtesy of Visit Maine

His efforts resulted in Acadia’s beloved carriage roads. Check out the handsome stone bridges – all seventeen of them! And the large, cut granite stones lining the road are called “Rockefeller’s teeth.”

Along the way, they’ll also point out any wildlife that choose to make an appearance, including seals, eagles, seabirds, and harbor porpoise.

It was surprising to learn there are over 4,000 islands off Maine’s coastline. Amusingly, more than thirty of them have “sheep” in their name. For another view of the park, I suggest taking a boat trip, where you can see Mount Desert Island Mount Desert Island is the largest in the state and the second-largest of the U.S. outside of and the shores of Acadia from the water, along with lighthouses and landmarks of Frenchman Hawaii and Alaska. Only Long Island is bigger. Bay. Bar Harbor Whales offers several seasonal Interesting to note is that Cadillac Mountain was excursions that you can board at the docks in the named for French explorer Cadillac. Though not town of Bar Harbor – the gateway to Acadia. born of nobility, he convinced the King at the time that he was of royal blood. He devised his People come from all over, not only to own Coat of Arms which you can still see on the experience this popular tradition and walk the hood of Cadillac cars. trail around picturesque Jordan Pond, but to explore the rest of glorious Acadia National Park. I loved hearing about “Millionaire’s Row” and I took the Somes Sound, Lighthouses & Acadia Park Cruise, which provided a thorough overview of the area. You’ll ride in a state-of-the-art catamaran, with knowledgeable guides and crew, who’ll regale you with details about the history, geology, wildlife, and more of this special place.

gazing at some of the more notable residences. Kenarden, for example, belongs to the Campbell Soup family, and during the summer, they fly a flag that is white with a big red tomato on it. Another, the High Seas Estate, was built for a professor from Princeton. Story has it that he constructed the house to entice his


Bar Harbor. Photo: Courtesy of Visit Maine fiancé to move here from Europe and marry him. The good news – she agreed. The bad news – he booked her on the Titanic! In Seal Harbor, the lifestyles of the rich and famous are on display. Martha Stewart’s home, “Sky Land,” which is set on 63 acres, was originally built in 1925 by Edsel Ford. During the summer, you may see her wooden picnic boat in the water. The estate on the Point is called “The Anchorage.” Nelson Rockefeller was the first owner, but it was later sold to Edsel Ford. The last T-bird made was delivered here to this house and given to Josephine Ford, greatgranddaughter of Henry Ford. The most expensive house on the island is now owned by a venture capitalist. It’s worth a mere $40,000,000.

Our guide told us about the rigors of a lighthouse keeper’s life, which was full of rules, regulations, and inspections. They were busy from morning to night caring maintaining the upkeep of the tower, the keeper’s house, and all the buildings and grounds, while ensuring that the light operated properly through the night. They made about $1 a day and were not given pensions or compensation for injuries. The powers in charge at the time encouraged the keeper to have lots of kids to help with all of the chores. Staying in Bar Harbor makes the most sense when you visit Acadia, as it’s mere minutes to the park. This charming community has a colorful harbor scene, numerous shops and eateries, and options galore when it comes to accommodations.

As for the lighthouses, we saw several of these romantic icons, including my favorite, Bass If you want to be steps from all the action, I Harbor Light. Widely regarded to be one of the recommend staying at the Harborside Hotel, Spa most photogenic lighthouses in the country, it & Marina. This highly rated resort is a relaxing dates back to 1858. Some say it’s haunted at retreat with all the bells and whistles, including night by the ghost of a construction worker who disappeared during the construction of the site. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 69

Harborside Hotel Acadia Continued… oceanfront swimming pools and hot tubs, fitness facilities, a spa for some personalized pampering, and a private marina. Accommodations in the newly-renovated property are spacious and elegantly appointed with natural wood touches, plush bedding, and a lux marble bathroom with upscale bath products. The hotel also has its own onsite restaurant. La Bella Vita is a cozy Italian trattoria, complete with copper pots, Italian mosaics, and picture-perfect harbor views. Authentic Old-World recipes are the mainstay here with brick oven pizzas, antipasti, and pastas. Specialties include chicken piccata, chicken parmigiana, grilled rib-eye, surf and turf, East Coast halibut, and a Sicilian ocean stew that’s chockfull of mussels, clams, shrimp, lobster, and haddock. Save room for dessert and order the blueberry pie with lemon curd. It’s swoon-worthy! I’ve found that anything blueberry in Maine – blueberry pancakes, blueberry cobbler, blueberry fudge, blueberry beer – is a winner because the berries have such an intense flavor.

Blueberry Soft Serve Ice Cream bisque and stew, ravioli and omelets. I even tried lobster ice cream, which is the only form of lobster I discovered I didn’t like. Somehow, frozen lobster tidbits in vanilla ice cream… If you go: Acadia National Park: Harborside Hotel: Bar Harbor Whales: For all things Bar Harbor: Debbie Stone is an established travel writer and columnist, and regular contributor for Big Blend Radio and Big Blend Magazines, who crosses the globe in search of unique destinations and experiences to share with her readers and listeners. She’s an avid explorer who welcomes new opportunities to increase awareness and enthusiasm for places, culture, food, history, nature, outdoor adventure, wellness, and more. Her travels have taken her to nearly 100 countries and all seven continents.

In town, dining choices are numerous. Naturally, fresh fish and shellfish abound, with lobster the favored crustacean on the menu, but there are plenty of other choices if creatures from the sea aren’t your thing. Being a pescatarian and seizing every opportunity to eat Maine “lobstah,” I had it in every form possible, from simply steamed to stuffed in tacos and enchiladas, grilled cheese, PAGE 70

ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE Loggerhead Key in Dry Tortugas National Park A National Parks Arts Foundation Program

Lighthouse by Ian Wilson-Navarro

Dry Tortugas National Park is located almost 70 miles west of Key West. The 100 square mile park is mostly open water with seven small islands. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the park is known the world over as the home of magnificent Fort Jefferson, picturesque blue waters, superlative coral reefs and marine life, and the vast assortment of birdlife that frequent the area. Every first Friday of the month, Big Blend Radio hosts the “Toast to The Arts & Parks” Show featuring National Parks Arts Foundation artistsin-residence. Follows are the podcast interviews featuring artists who were awarded and experienced the unique, month-long NPAF Dry Tortugas National Park residency on remote, offthe-grid, Loggerhead Key. For more about Dry Tortugas National Park visit, and to learn more about NPAF’s unique artist residency programs visit PAGE 72

Gyotaku Prints by Austin Armstong in Dry Tortugas National Park

IAN WILSON-NAVARRO & AUSTIN ARMSTRONG Conservation photographer Ian Wilson-Navarro and traditional Japanese fish print artist (Gyotaku) Austin Armstrong discuss their art and their experience on Loggerhead Key.

Watch here in the YouTube player or download / listen to the podcast on Spreaker or Podbean. See Ian’s photography:

DRY TORTUGAS ARTISTS PANEL DISCUSSION This episode features a reunion conversation partner Gavin Mulvay; and Shannon Torrence – with Dry Tortugas artists including: Tanya Ortega Florida based painter, the Flying Tortuga – Founder of the National Parks Arts Foundation; Brothers duo. Watch here in the YouTube player Anna Glynn – award-winning contemporary, or download / listen to the podcast on Spreaker multi-media Australian artist; Carter McCormick or Podbean. & Paula Sprenger – filmmakers and founders of Habitat Productions; Matthew & Julie ChaseDaniel – Santa Fe based husband-wife visual and literary artist team; Denesa Chan – filmmaker and photographer with her wind flight engineer PAGE 73

HAWAI’I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK A National Parks Arts Foundation Program

Photo by Zoё Schlanger Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park showcases the results of at least 70 million years of volcanism, migration, and evolution in the Hawaiian Islands. Created to preserve the natural setting of Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, the park is also a refuge for the island’s native plants and animals and a link to its human past. Research by scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory makes Kīlauea one of the best understood volcanoes in the world. This park boasts over 150 miles of hiking and biking trails, Crater Rim Drive, Chain of Craters Road, Jaggar Museum, Thurston Lava Tube, lush tropical rainforests, spectacular views, and rich Hawaiian traditions.

NPAF’s unique artist residency programs visit

Every first Friday of the month, Big Blend Radio hosts the “Toast to The Arts & Parks” Show featuring National Parks Arts Foundation artistsin-residence. Follows are the podcast interviews featuring four artists who were awarded and experienced the month-long NPAF Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park residency. For more about Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park visit, and to learn more about PAGE 74

Photo by Zoё Schlanger

ZOË SCHLANGER: JOURNALIST, WRITER & AUTHOR Acclaimed freelance writer and journalist Zoë Schlanger discusses her writing and research work that focuses on plants, the environment, and how humans relate to the ecosystems they inhabit. Zoë also talks about her nonfiction narrative science book titled “The Light Eaters,”

which will be published in 2023 by Harper Collins. Watch here in the YouTube player or download / listen to the podcast on Spreaker or Podbean. More about Zoë Schlanger:

SAM NESTER: MUSICIAN, COMPOSER & EDUCATOR Award-winning Australian born trumpet player create music and corresponding light cues. Sam Nester leads a diverse career as a Watch here in the YouTube player or download / performer and educator. Hear about his music listen to the podcast on Spreaker or Podbean. career, travels, artist residency at Bruny Island, More about Sam Nester: plus his Arcadia interactive sound and light installation that uses the biorhythms of plants to Continued on Next Page… PAGE 75


RICK SAN NICOLAS: MASTER FEATHERWORKER Kumu Hulu Nui (Feather Master of Ancient Hawaiian Featherwork) Rick San Nicolas discusses the cultural roots and traditions behind ancient Hawaiian Featherwork as well as his career that spans over 25 years. Rick shares his work through teaching, public exhibits, and

on display in museums around the world. Watch here in the YouTube player or download / listen to the podcast on Spreaker or Podbean. More about Rick San Nicolas:

CHIHSUAN YANG: MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST & COMPOSER Grammy nominated and award-winning musician Chihsuan Yang discusses her global musical journey. Chihsuan is known for her skill and eclectic versatility with the violin, erhu, and piano. She has performed with Yo-Yo Ma, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, and David Foster, and

played for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Watch here in the YouTube player or download / listen to the podcast on Spreaker or Podbean. More about Chihsuan Yang:


Artist-in-Residence at Fort Union National Monument This episode of Big Blend Radio's 1st Friday "Toast to The Arts & Parks" Show features fiber artist Nancy Hershberger, who talks about her experience as the National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF) artist-in-residence in Fort Union National Monument in Northern New Mexico. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Spreaker, PodBean, or SoundCloud. Fort Union was the largest frontier military post Nancy Hershberger is an art quilter and and supply center of the southwest. It also was instructor based in rural Pennsylvania. She the hub of commerce, national defense, and creates with fabric and thread with a little bit of ink, oil and acrylic paints. Her quilts are made to migration at the final stretch of the Santa Fe Trail. be viewed on a wall, like paintings. Nancy's art Follow Nancy's art here. quilts have been shown in exhibitions in the US and internationally and she has been accepted More about the National Parks Arts Foundation and served as artist in residence for five residencies in units within the national park service, the most recent one being Fort Union. PAGE 77

Artist-in-Residence at Manassas National Battlefield Park

Manassas Battlefield by Lisa Samia Originally set aside as Bull Run Recreational Demonstration Area on November 14, 1936, Manassas National Battlefield Park became part of the National Park Service on May 10, 1940. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. This historically significant park in Virginia preserves the site of two major American Civil War battles - the First Battle of Bull Run (First Battle of Manassas), and the Second Battle of Bull Run (Second Battle of Manassas). It's also where Confederate General Thomas J. Jackson acquired his nickname "Stonewall".

YouTube player or download the podcast on Spreaker, or Podbean. Manassas National Battlefield Park is located in Manassas, Virginia. More:

Focusing on the civil war history of Manassas National Battlefield Park, this episode of Big Blend Radio's "Way Back When" History Show Photos by poet and author Lisa Samia. More at features poet-in-residence Lisa G. Samia and park ranger Liz Hokanson. Listen here in the PAGE 78

From South Africa to the Everglades, and from Following the Monarch Migration to Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, Four Authors Discuss their Fiction & Non-Fiction Stories on Big Blend Radio …

ELSA VAN DER BYL: HIPPOS, HOTSPOTS & HOMELANDS called homelands, experiencing student revolts, Travel writer, author, tour guide, and educator college closures, and being held hostage by Elsa van der Byl discusses her new memoir students. She also shares her experiences, "Hippos, Hotspots, and Homelands: An moving from the city to country towns, and Educator’s Journey in South Africa during Apartheid and Beyond." This compelling memoir finally living in the “bush”. Watch here in the YouTube player or download/listen to the describes Elsa’s life in South Africa during podcast on Spreaker or Podbean. apartheid, the transition to democracy, and the transformational period. As an educator, she Visit: worked with various cultural groups in the soPAGE 80

LORI MCMULLEN: AMONG THE BEAUTIFUL BEASTS Author and writer Lori McMullen discusses her new novel, “Among the Beautiful Beasts.” Set in 1920s Miami, the book reveals the remarkable untold story of Marjory Stoneman Douglas – the woman who saved the Everglades. Buoyed by a growing sense of independence and an affair with a rival journalist, Marjory embraces a life lived at the intersection of the untamed Everglades and the rapacious urban

development that threatens it. When the demands of a man once again begin to swallow Marjory’s own desires and dreams, Marjory sees herself in the vulnerable, inimitable Everglades, and knows she must choose between a life of subjugation or a leap into the wild unknown. Watch here in the YouTube player or listen to the podcast on Spreaker or Podbean. More:

SARA DYKMAN: BICYCLING WITH BUTTERFLIES Sara Dykman discusses her book, “Bicycling with She covered about 60 miles per day, with rest Butterflies: My 10,201-Mile Journey Following the stops to give presentations at schools and Monarch Migration,” that recounts her nature centers. At night she camped or stayed inspirational ride alongside the monarchs as she with all sorts of people. Listen here in the follows unmapped roads in Michoacan, México, YouTube player or download the podcast on through the United States, into Ontario, Canada, Spreaker or Podbean. and back, again, to Mexico. Sara’s entire trip was More: made on a beat-up bicycle weighed down with Continued on Next Page… everything from camping to video equipment. PAGE 81

Books Continued…

JIM OSTDICK: WALKS FAR MAN Jim Ostdick talks about his latest book, “Walks Far Man: In Step with History on the Pacific Crest Trail.” The memoir tells the story of his 20-year PCT section hiking experience from Mexico to Canada while also sharing stories about the Native American peoples who lived on the land he walked through. There were more than 30 tribal bands that lived in the area traversed by

the trail. The Native people had trails all through the area that the later settlers and expeditioners used. This is Part One of our Pacific Crest Trail podcast series with Jim. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Spreaker or PodBean. More:


HIKING & OUTDOOR ADVENTURE BOOK LIST Check out our online bookstore on that supports authors + local & independent bookstores. From hiking and camping to cycling and kayaking, these books are all about park and outdoor adventures. All authors have been interviewed on Big Blend Radio and featured in Big Blend Magazines.


Hospital Rock in the Foothills This episode of Big Blend Radio features Gary Rogers, Communications Director for the Sequoia Parks Conservancy, the official nonprofit partner of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and Lake Kaweah, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Watch here in the YouTube player or download / listen to the podcast on Spreaker or Podbean. One of the first parks in the country, Sequoia National Park is famous for its giant sequoia trees and black bears. Visit the General Sherman Tree (the largest living organism and tree in the world), climb Moro Rock, take in spectacular views of Mt. Whitney (the highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states), and hike through glacial canyons, and oak woodlands. The scenery is spectacular, offering a rich diversity of bird, plant and wildlife. Covering 404,064 acres, there are hundreds of streams, ponds, rivers, creeks, and lakes, and over 200 marble caverns to explore.

remaining natural grove of giant sequoias in the world. Sequoia Parks Conservancy works hand-in-hand with the National Park Service to support projects including trail improvements, educational programs for the public, and the protection of wildlife and their natural habitat. Their efforts have been critical in the conservation of wild, beautiful landscapes for the enjoyment and inspiration of generations of visitors.

Spanning 461,901 acres, Kings Canyon National Park is made up of mostly wilderness, forests, In the evening of September 9, 2021, a lightning and spectacular canyons, with Kings Canyon storm came through Sequoia National Park. Fire itself being one of the deepest canyons in the erupted and national park firefighters United States. The park is known for being home responded to local ignitions. By September 14, to the General Grant Grove of giant sequoia there was a mandatory evacuation of Ash trees, the famous General Grant Tree, and the Redwood Mountain Grove which is the largest Continued on Next Page… PAGE 85

Sequoias Continued… Mountain, Lodgepole, Wuksachi Lodge, and Three Rivers, CA. Through the KNP Complex Fire Recovery Fund, the Sequoia Parks Conservancy has a goal of raising $1 million to help fund efforts to rebuild trails, protect sequoia groves and meadows, safeguard cultural and historic features, reestablish access to Crystal Cave, restore wildlife habitat, and more. Sequoia National Park

SEQUOIA PARKS CONSERVANCY PROGRAMS & EVENTS: Note: Access to Sequoia National Park and the Giant Forest remains limited and weatherdependent. In the case of a closure, Sequoia Parks Conservancy will do its best to notify participants of the closure and issue refunds as quickly as possible. After the Fire: Exploring the Kaweah - Public group 1-hour day hike along the Middle Fork Road above the Kaweah River​. Held winter and spring, on Fridays and Mondays at 10am and 1pm. Walk Among the Giants - Public group 2-hour day hike through the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park. Held year round, with winter hikes being done in snowshoes. Wonders of the Night Sky Astronomy Program - Public group astronomy program held year-round for 1 hour in Sequoia National Park. Winter trips are in the Foothills. The 2022 Dark Sky Festival - Scheduled to take place at various locations across Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks on September 23, 24, and 25, 2022. Learn more about Sequoia Parks Conservancy including its online shop, programs, and the KNP Complex Fire recovery Fund, at Plan your visit to California's Sequoia Country at


Fire and the giant Sequoia Trees

Bighorn Sheep in Eagle Rock Lake in Carson National Forest, NM Every year in the U.S., an estimated 1 to 2 million collisions occur between motorists and large animals, resulting in 200 human deaths and 26,000 injuries – costing the U.S. 8 billion dollars annually. In addition to transportation routes, structures such as walls, fences, and dams immensely affect and impede migratory routes, cutting off food and water supplies, and otherwise disrupting important wildlife habitats. Our surface and water transit routes are important to the American way of life, but they also represent physical barriers that can be Marking a significant step for wildlife insurmountable for wildlife and dangerous for conservation, in 2021 the Wildlife Corridors everyone. Conservation Act along with $400 million for projects to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, With one in five species in the U.S. at risk of passed the United States House of extinction, bio-diversity loss and the disruption Representatives as part of H.R. 3684, the INVEST of natural wildlife habitats are among the in America Act. These important provisions will nation’s greatest conservation challenges. safeguard bio-diversity while helping stimulate Connecting habitats by protecting corridors and the U.S. economy, mitigate climate impacts, and building highway crossing structures for wildlife reduce highway fatalities. enables species to migrate, access resources for survival, and better adapt to changing This episode of Big Blend Radio features Kate landscapes and climate. A new report from a bio- Wall, Senior Legislative Manager at the diversity and climate change workshop coInternational Fund for Animal Welfare, who sponsored by the Intergovernmental Sciencediscusses the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Policy Platform on Bio-diversity and Ecosystem Act. Watch here in the YouTube player or Services (IPBES) and the Intergovernmental download / listen to the podcast on Spreaker, Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calls for Podbean. Learn more here. corridors as part of an integrated strategy to address climate change and bio-diversity loss. PAGE 88

Bush Point on Whidbey Island

Whidbey and Camano Islands in Washington State Located in the heart of Puget Sound, Whidbey and Camano Islands are an easy drive from Seattle. A great antidote for big city pressures, these rural islands feature wide-open beaches, scenic vistas, outdoor adventures, great art, fine dining, and more. On this episode of Big Blend Radio, Sherrye Wyatt shares what to experience on Whidbey and Camano Islands, as well as their new focus on becoming a transformational travel destination. Watch here in the YouTube player or download/listen to the podcast on Spreaker or Podbean. More about Whidbey and Camano Islands: Transformational Travel, Whidbey and Camano Islands


Cycling, Whidbey and Camano Islands

This episode of Big Blend Radio's features San Diego employment attorney Ward Heinrichs who outlines the new California employment laws for 2022 that affect the tourism and hospitality industries. These laws include COVID-19 regulations, the California Family Right Act, salary and minimum wage, wage theft, garment manufacturing which could include uniforms and brand merchandising, settlement agreements, and more. Watch below in the YouTube player or download/listen to the podcast on Spreaker, and PodBean.

Read Ward's article about the laws on our sister website:

Based in San Diego, California the Employment Law Office of Ward Heinrichs represents both employers and employees in almost all areas of labor law. He and his firm litigate cases that have been filed in many different parts of California. Visit PAGE 90


Pinnacles National Park

Stay and Play in San Benito County Located along the San Andreas Fault in Central California, Pinnacles National Park is of geological significance. It’s known for a disparate landscape that stuns visitors with seasonal meadows, meandering creeks, wildflowers, and springs and waterfalls that are all set within a spectacular maze of rock spires, monolithic boulders, cool caves, and rolling hills. The park’s giant boulders were formed from volcanic activity that occurred over 23 million years ago. Enjoy hiking trails, rock climbing, exploring caves, star gazing, camping and bird watching. Keep your eyes open for a lucky glimpse of a California condor, as this park also manages a release site for captive bred California condors. Boasting a Mediterranean climate, the park enjoys mild winters with moderate precipitation. Spring heralds the wildflower season. Depending on rainfall and temperature, flowers can begin opening as early as January and continue into June. It’s spectacular! More at

and part of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. Less than 2 hours from San Francisco and 4 ½ hours from Los Angeles, this picturesque region offers outdoor adventure, a wine tasting trail, a variety of dining options, boutique shopping, historic parks and museums. Plan your adventure by calling the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau at (831) 637-5315 or visit or

Located in central California, east of Monterey and Salinas, San Benito County is the eastern gateway destination of Pinnacles National Park PAGE 92


Joshua Tree National Park

Visit California’s Second Largest National Park Joshua Tree National Park is wedged between Riverside County and San Bernadino County in Southern California’s desert vast park region that runs from Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to the south, and Mojave Preserve, Castle Mountains National Monument, and Death Valley National Park to the north.

snow flurries. Keys View is a favorite destination within the park, for those seeking panoramic views of the Coachella Valley, the San Andreas Fault, and the high peaks of San Jacinto and San Gorgonio. More at

The park shows off rugged rock formations and stark desert landscapes against very dark, starry nights. Named for the bristled Joshua trees, the park encompasses both the Colorado and Mojave Deserts, with the Little San Bernardino Mountains along the southwest edge. Enjoy scenic drives, hiking, birding, horseback riding, rock climbing, mountain biking, wildflower viewing, stargazing, camping, and several nature walks. It is a photographer’s paradise – especially when it comes to sunrise and sunset. Spring is a fantastic time to visit to take in all the wildflowers, summer brings the dramatic monsoon storms, fall offers wide blue skies and cooler weather, and winter can sometimes bring PAGE 94

Ocotillos at sunset in Joshua Tree National


Imperial National Wildlife Refuge

A Southwest Desert Oasis of Wetlands, Wildlife and Winged Wonders A scenic desert drive (approx. 90-120 minutes) heading north of Yuma, Arizona, on Highway 95, the 26,000 acre Imperial National Wildlife Refuge sits adjacent to Lake Martinez. Established in 1941, the refuge protects a 30 mile stretch of the lower Colorado River, as well as 15,000 acres of designated wilderness area. Located within the northern range of the Sonoran desert, the refuge encompasses upland desert habitat, marshes, and the Colorado River backwaters. The river waterways and wetland habitats create a vibrant green oasis, beautifully surrounded by rugged desert mountains.

checklists. The visitor center is staffed by volunteers and the hours vary by season. Please call in advance at (928) 783-3371, and visit

From marsh birds to waterfowl and even wintering bald eagles, the Imperial NWR wetland areas are important resting, feeding, and nesting habitats for a variety of migratory birds and wildlife species, including desert big horn sheep, mule deer, black-tailed jack rabbits and muskrat. Refuge activities include bird and wildlife watching and photography, fishing and boating, hiking, kayaking and canoeing. The Refuge Headquarters and Visitor Center has a birding observatory deck and desert pupfish pond, and also offers maps, brochures and PAGE 96

Egret in Imperial National Wildlife Refuge


Saguaro National Park

See the Sentinel of the Desert in Tucson, Arizona A symbol of the American west, the Saguaro Cactus only grows naturally in the Sonoran Desert. Known as “The Sentinel of The Desert,” the Saguaro is the largest cactus species in North America and is also Arizona’s state flower. Saguaro National Park is home to approximately 1.6 million individual saguaro plants. Saguaro National Park has two separate areas to the east and west of Tucson. A stop on the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historical Trail, the western Tucson Mountain District is home to the popular Signal Hill Trail that leads to petroglyphs of the ancient Hohokam people. Desert sunsets, coyotes, deer, tortoise, rabbits, and quail are common in the desert scrubland.

home to a fascinating collection of native cactus and wildflowers that bloom from early spring through late fall. The park has numerous hiking trails for all levels of fitness, as well as nature tails connected with the visitor centers. Other highlights include wilderness hiking and backcountry camping, scenic drives, and picnic spots. More at

In the eastern higher elevation Rincon Mountain area of the park, you may see black bear, Mexican Spotted Owl and white-tailed deer. This area is more woodland and pine forest. Javelina, bobcat and mountain lions also reside in the park, but are harder to spot. Besides the saguaro cactus, the park is also PAGE 98

Signal Hill Petroglyph Site

EXPLORING THE PONY EXPRESS TRAIL Follow Historic Highway 50 in Northwest Nevada

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Pony Express Trail, Nevada Stops

From April in 1860, young men once rode horses to carry mail from Missouri to California in the unprecedented time of only 10 days. This relay system was the most direct and practical means of east-west communications before the telegraph just 19 months after the Pony Express Service began.

NEVADA PONY EXPRESS HISTORY ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Nevada State Park Ranger Kristin Sanderson shares some of the Pony Express history that occurred at Fort Churchill and Buckland Station. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Spreaker or Podbean.

Today you can follow the Pony Express National Historic Trail that covers the Pony Express route in eight states, (California, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming), and includes auto-touring, interpretive sites, hiking, biking, or horseback riding trail segments, visiting museums and historic sites, and much more.

Carson City to Dayton, Virginia City, Sand Mountain, and Cold Springs. If you head towards Yerington, (turn off Hwy 50 and head down ALT Hwy 95 between Stagecoach and Silver Springs), you can visit Fort Churchill and Buckland Station. Both the fort and the station are stops on the Pony Express National Historic Trail and the California National Historic Trail. Continued on Next Page…

Northwest Nevada Pony Express sites, markers, and ruins, can be found by traveling historic Highway 50, famously known as America’s Loneliest Highway, from Genoa west through PAGE 101

Pony Express Continued… Fort Churchill is now a Nevada State Park, which includes Buckland Station. Buckland Station was a way station for the Overland Stage Company and became a remount station on the Pony Express Route. Even though Fort Churchill was built mainly as a show of force, and there were never any battles fought there, it was built as a permanent installation and was an important supply depot for the Nevada Military District (especially during the Civil War), a Pony Express stop, and a base for troops tasked with patrolling the overland routes.

Buckland Station For more information on the Pony Express National Historic Trail call (801) 741-1012 or visit Follow the Love Your Parks Tour Pony Express Trail Map on

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Pawnee National Grassland

A Weld County Wonderland in Northeast Colorado Spanning 193,060 acres of short grass plains, Pawnee National Grassland is one of Colorado’s two National Grasslands and is a popular bird watching and recreational destination. The Grassland is an internationally recognized birding area that supports a variety of species including lark buntings (the Colorado State Bird), mountain plovers, burrowing owls, raptors and birds of prey. Keep your eye out for the wildlife species that make their home in this unique prairie, including pronghorn, mule deer, coyote, swift fox, snakes and prairie dogs. Outdoor recreation opportunities include hiking, camping, picnicking, horseback riding and stargazing. Pawnee National Grassland is located about 35 miles east of Fort Collins, and 25 miles northeast of Greeley in Weld County, Colorado. This public land is managed by the US Forest Service, and you can learn more about Pawnee National Grasslands and the nearby Araphao and Roosevelt National Forest at: PAGE 104


Norfolk Broads, 100 year old Wherry Located in East Anglia, the Norfolk Broads is a network of waterways which were formed by the flooding of medieval peat diggings. It’s a real haven for birds and wildlife, thanks to the protection which comes with being a park. This is a great area for birding, sailing, photography, painting, and writing, as well as walking and many other pass-times which involve peace and quiet and the enjoyment of the natural world. Along with all the natural wonders, there are also stunning ruins, amazing Churches, and lovely little villages to explore. Enjoying a pint in the garden of a pub while listening to the water lapping on the side of the riverbank is one of the best ways to spend a summer’s evening. Glynn Burrows is the owner of Norfolk Tours in England. Read his full story about England’s National Parks on or visit his tour company and travel website PAGE 106

Norfolk Broads Wind Pump

The relationships between nature and conservation, history and preservation, culture and the arts, all walk hand-in-hand.

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