It’s time to
Jaunting is a special kind of travel. It is that honeymoon, a long weekend getaway, the bucket-list item, or the whimsical meandering road trip. It is the how the mature, upscale. and well-educated travel, where the adventure is not from the adrenaline, it is from the awe and thrill of being there. Jaunting takes us quickly from our everyday life to experiencing the amazing. Sometimes that amazing is snowcapped mountains. Sometimes it’s a wildflower growing among the rocks next to a diner that served pancakes that will forever be remembered as the best ever. Whether it’s a prolonged vacation or a Sunday drive into some unexplored corner of our own town, jaunting renews our spirits, sharpens our mind, and reminds us that there is always something out there new to discover. Join us in this issue when we go swimming with the peaceful jellyfish of Palau, wander along the Androscoggin River in Maine, and look at the amazing sights of Romania.
Issue Summer on the Androscoggin 6
Palau’s Peaceful Jellyfish 14 Where in the World? 20
Jaunting in Romania 24 Teens Traveling Solo 32
Jaunting Magazine 2 Barber Avenue Warwick, RI 02886 401.480.9355 www.jaunting.com Executive Editor Paul Pence Features Linda Eagleson All travel involves risk and conditions change. Always confirm directions and safety recommendations. Be aware of health alerts and other safety concerns. © 2021 by Jaunting Magazine Stock photography under Creative Commons license courtesy of Pixabay www.pixabay.com Cover courtesy of PPR 5
Summer on the
Story and photos by Paul Pence
Halfway between Bangor and Montreal, on the eastern edge of the White Mountains and well away from the craziness of city life, you may be lucky enough to find Bethel Maine. For a time, the town was a haven to the well-heeled and well-educated escaping from the frenzy of city life, but over the last hundred years Bethel has become a getaway that welcomes anyone with a love of nature.
The White Mountains Presidential Range is south and west from Bethel. Around these parts, the mountains are considered part of the Mahoosuc Range. Sweeping glaciersculpted valleys run between mountains that provide challenging climbs and amazing views for those who dare them. Ice-cold, crystal streams feed the fast-flowing Androscoggin River, a waterway that has shaken off its paper mills and returned to its pastoral roots. Bethel’s 2400 residents maintain the town’s inns, restaurants, schools, and attractions for year-around enjoyment. In the autumn, the town’s forests provide the scenery with displays of foliage, in winter visitors flock to the area for the Sunday River ski resort, and in the spring and summer the town hosts hikers, campers, and outdoorsmen of all stripes. Hiking is the most popular summertime area activity, with hiking trails through the mountains and throughout the many parks and conservation lands. It won’t take long into any of these hikes to spot distinctive Maine flora like the wintergreen and the trillium, to enjoy the scent of spruce needles, and to begin to notice the sound of the breeze in the trees. One short hike, just 12 miles 8
from the center of Bethel, is the Step Falls Preserve, only 24 acres with a nottoo-strenuous climb to the top of a series of waterfalls cascading into chutes and pools along the exposed granite that makes the mountains. More extensive hikes are just a little farther away in Grafton Notch State Park.
associated with other Maine rivers, the trips are typically easy paddling with just enough rapids and fast water to add a little thrill to talk about back home. Of course there are fish in the river, and a lot of visitors enjoy getting them out of the river. The same guides and outfitters who can provide canoes can also provide directions to promising stretches of the river for trout and smallmouth bass. Most canoers can’t resist at least dropping a line into the river as they paddle slowly along, admiring the woodlands and birds along the river.
With a river like the Androscoggin, visitors can’t possibly ignore the chance to get out onto the water. Local outfitters and guides can provide the equipment and expertise to spend the day on the river canoeing or kayaking. These trips are not the white-knuckle adrenaline-filled whitewater rafting
And for bird watchers, the ducks, loons, osprey, and eagles add a bit of excitement to an activity that normally focuses on sparrows, warblers, and thrushes. The bald eagles in particular can be exciting, with many fishermen reporting that the eagles take special attention to the fish that they catch and release.
numerous to list. From the days of oxen-powered carts and hand-driven drill bits, hard working men have extracted these minerals, but today the minerals are for hobbyist “Rock Hounds”. Rock hounds may scramble up and down the mountains or pan for treasure in the Androscoggin’s sand bars.
Bethel’s beauty is more than skin deep. In fact it goes deep into the earth. The geologic processes that created the mountains left behind veins of feldspar, beryl crystals, mica, rose quartz, and semiprecious minerals too
Recently, the historical Bumpas Mine has opened its doors to classes and groups interested in the history and geology of the area. A tour of the mine includes a presentation on the history of the mine
jewelry as they dig into the rock piles for more mineral specimens. The Bethel Outdoor Adventure & Campground is a pet-friendly campground for trailers and tents. It’s one of over a dozen area campgrounds that can make home bases for a Bethel adventure. That puts adventure right out the door.
and the use of the minerals extracted, a look at some of the machinery used, and an opportunity do don a hard hat and go into some of the excavations. Along the way, there is plenty of opportunity to pick up a chunk of mica or feldspar for the rock hound’s collection of mineral specimens. The folks at the Maine Mineralogy Expeditions have taken much of the sweat and labor out of mineral hunting by bringing truckloads of mineral-laden gravel to the Bethel Outdoor Adventure & Campground. From May to October, visitors can filter, wash, and pick through the gravel in search of minerals and interesting stones, all with the help of knowledgeable experts. Lucky rock hounds who find treasures worth bragging about can have them put into 11
The Bethel Inn Resort is an excellent home base for exploring the quaint town, from the brick buildings of the progressive Gould Academy prep school, through the historical downtown, and perhaps finishing up at the 1913 Dr. Moses Mason House maintained as a museum. In an afternoon’s walk, visitors can enjoy art, history, and a little bit of souvenir shopping, rounding out a nice visit to a friendly town in the middle of the Mahoosuc Range.
For those who want a more refined base camp, the Bethel Inn Resort has been offering a refuge from the stresses of daily life since 1913. The resort offers both luxury suites and condos for guests who enjoy pampering. The resort’s amenities include golf, health club, spa, and a lakeside cabin. It also features both casual and fine dining in the Millbrook Tavern and Grille, with attentive and friendly service. 12
For More Information: Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce www.bethelmaine.com
Bethel Inn Resort www.bethelinn.com
Mahoosuc Initiative www.mahoosuckinfo.org
Maine Mineral and Gem Museum www.mainemineralmuseum.org
Orion Outfitters and Guide Service www.orionoutfitters.net
Mahoosuc Land Trust www.mahoosuc.org
Locke Mountain Guide Service LLGray_76@yahoo.com
Maine Mineralogy Expeditions (MME) www.rocksme.biz
Mahoosac Pathways www.mahoosucpathways.org
Bryant Pond 4H www.umaine.edu/bryantpond
Bethel Historical Society www.bethelhistorical.org
Swimming with Palau’s
Story by Molly Blaisdell Jellyfish Photos by Lorry Heverly 14
“Swimming in warm, golden Jellyfish Lake, I’m surrounded by friendly intelligent jellyfish,” writes travel journalist and photographer Sharon Spence Lieb. “At first I’m afraid I’ll be stung. But these creatures are different: They caress my body and embrace my face. These gelatinous orbs seem downright curious. If I could laugh under water I would. Who would ever think jellyfish could be so harmless? I’ll remember this sensational wildlife encounter as one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. You’ve got to experience this for yourself.”
Lieb lives near the Atlantic Ocean and the beaches of Charleston, South Carolina. She knows that encounters with jellyfish can often end in pain. “I once got tangled in a jellyfish’s tentacles,” she recalls. “I was covered in painful welts. But Palau’s jellyfish don’t sting. They’ve evolved without predators, and they’re living peacefully in Palau. Maybe they’re official greeters. Jellyfish Lake is one of the reasons Palau is called the 8th Natural Wonder of the World as well as one of
The Seven Underwater Wonders of the World.” Most have heard of Palau as one of Planet Earth’s legendary dive and snorkel destinations. But for those who wonder where it is, you’re not alone. Located in the westernmost corner of Micronesia, Palau is an archipelago of over 586 islands. Only 20,000 people call this area home. But those willing to travel a to this remote paradise will swim in the translucent Pacific Ocean with over 1400 species of fish, 500 16
species of coral living underneath the stunning Rock Islands….and incredible jellyfish in Palau’s Jellyfish Lake.
The golden jellyfish found only in Jellyfish Lake are called “Mastigias Papua Etpisoni.” Living in their tissues are zooxanthellae, which are symbiotic dinoflagellates. Theirs is a special relationship: the jellyfish rotates in a circle and swims around Jellyfish Lake, making sure the zooxanthellae get enough sunlight for photosynthesis. In exchange, the zooxanthellae provide their jellyfish with energy and nutrients.
“Jellyfish Lake is a well-known tourist destination,” says Yositaka Adachi, Governor of Koror State. “To swim among millions of harmless jellyfish is an unforgettable experience. Our government is vigilant about conserving and managing our ecological integrity. We are devoted to preserving our natural environment as part of our heritage and culture.”
The jellyfish capture tiny organisms for food, with stinging cells inherited
from their ancestor, Mastigias Papua. But they did not evolve to eat large vertebrates like humans. They bob peacefully in the sun and are completely harmless to snorkelers exploring beautiful Jellyfish Lake.
throughout the day, the jellies turn and swim towards the west shoreline, again stopping to bob at the shadow line. Like sunflowers, and tourists snoozing on the beach, Palau’s jellyfish are ardent sun worshippers.
These unusual jellyfish swim in a migratory pattern seen only in Jellyfish Lake. At sunrise, they swim towards the east shoreline, stopping at the shadow line formed by overhanging trees and rocks. They hover there in the sunlit seawater. As the sun arcs overhead
“For twenty years, I’ve traveled the world, publishing articles about my intense encounters with wildlife,” says travel journalist Sharon Lieb. “I’ve kayaked with orca killer whales, snorkeled with beluga whales, swum with forty foot long whale sharks and
photographed wild Canadian polar bears. But, never in my life have I been lovingly touched by a creature that is supposedly dangerous. Their curiosity and intelligence is humbling. Holding a jellyfish in your hand is a real The Twilight Zone moment. I suspended my fear, and floated into the Fourth Dimension, where all creatures share the joy of being alive. Open your heart for this life changing experience.” Located in the westernmost corner of Micronesia, Palau is an archipelago of more than 586 islands with about 20,000 inhabitants. Consistently ranked as one of the world’s best dive destinations, Palau is the ultimate paradise for the adventurous traveler, boasting some of the most spectacular water features and beaches as well as the world-famous Rock Islands and Jellyfish Lake. With more than 1,400 species of fish and 500 species of coral, some have called Palau the “8th Natural Wonder of the World”, while others have identified Palau as “One of the Seven Underwater Wonders of the World.”
For more information Palau Tourism www.visit-palau.com. 19
Where in the
Where in the world is this? Clue #1 –Those mountains in the distance are west of this lighthouse. Clue #2 – The lighthouse guides ferries across saltwater. Clue #3 – It’s just a short drive north of a major US city.
You’ve found Mukaltio Light Station, a half-hour’s drive north of Seattle, Washington. It was built in 1906, but the light’s powerful Fresnel lens was made in 1852, a year before Washington became a state.
Visit the light and surrounding park when waiting for the ferry across Puget Sound to Whidbey Island. The light station is maintained by the Mukaltio Historical Society www.mukaltiohistorical.org
Photo Essay: Jaunting in
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Story by Wiggins Photos Courtesy of Adventures Cross-Country
Having an independent teen can be tough on the nerves. Your teen may be highly capable, reliable, and adventurous, but the only way to even have a chance of sleeping is to make sure that he is as fully prepared as you can make him. “There are so many things parents can do in advance of a trip to help things go smoothly,” says Scott von Eschen, President of Adventures Cross-Country (ARCC).
Here are a few tips to help make your teen’s adventures a little safer and your mind a little calmer.
where this pouch is and, if possible, keep it with you at all times. Make sure the Passport is valid for 6 months after the return date to the United States. Countries have become increasingly focused on this requirement in recent years.
Documents: Keep all important documents (passports, plane tickets, emergency contacts, etc.) organized together in a sealable plastic pouch. Always know
Make 2 color copies of the passport. Keep one copy at home and keep the other in a bag separate from the passport. These copies will be invaluable for getting a replacement if the passport is lost or stolen.
get a visa at the airport when you arrive at your destination. In others, (ex. China and Vietnam) you will need to get a visa from the nation’s Consulate in the U.S. in advance of departure. Sometimes this process takes weeks.
Confirm if the country your child is visiting requires a Visa for U.S. citizens. In some instances (ex. Cambodia and Egypt) you can easily
If your child has a serious allergy, carry an explanation of the allergy and warning in the country’s language so restaurants, first responders, etc. can be
informed. Select Wisely (www.selectwisely.com) is a service that prints such warnings on cards in multiple languages. Health Precautions: Visit the CDC for health information on your child’s international destination (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinati ons/list). Be especially aware of any immunizations required for entry into a country and for current outbreaks (e.g. Yellow Fever card is required to enter Tanzania). Be sure to do this well in advance of travel as some immunizations require a waiting period before they are active. Pack a mini-medical kit with BandAids, ibuprofen, motion sickness meds, “traveler’s stomach” remedies, electrolyte powders, etc. (consult your doctor for additional advice on what to pack). Send your child with prescription medications and back-up prescriptions packed in a separate bag. This is particularly important when travel is in remote locations. Educate your child about international water and food safety. 36
Remind that brushing teeth with tap water, drinks with ice (smoothies are notorious) and eating uncooked foods (salads) can lead to an upset stomach. Clothing and Equipment: Encourage culturally sensitive and appropriate dress. For example, short shorts and tank tops don’t travel well in most developing countries. Leave expensive and coveted items at home. Keep a low profile and don’t be the traveler that thieves want to target. Confirm which plugs and adapters you will need for any electronics you will be carrying. U.S. style plugs generally will not work in most countries. Do a “practice pack” to make sure everything can fit in your bag. No need for panic on the eve of departure. Communication: Confirm that a cell phone will work in the country where your child is traveling. Will they need to purchase a SIM card for their U.S. phone to work
when they arrive or is it better to buy an inexpensive local phone?
Print up a list of emergency phone numbers for your child. The list should show how to reach these numbers from outside of the United States (i.e. country code, etc.).
Turn off cell phone automatic roaming and data downloads to avoid excessive international charges.
Set up a communication schedule with your child. When and how often should you expect to hear from your traveler? Will it be on the internet or phone?
Register your child’s itinerary with the U.S. State Department’s “Step Program”. This alerts the local U.S. Embassy to the in-country presence of your child in the event of emergency. (step.state.gov/step/) 38
Open up a bank account attached to an ATM or sign up for a pre-paid debit card (such as Visa Buxx) that can be used internationally. ATM machines are almost everywhere these days and provide a safe and easy way to exchange U.S. dollars into local currency. This system precludes the need to carry large amounts of cash.
reflects von Eschen. “Many of their travel experiences are life-changing as students learn to be contributing members of our global community.”
Pack separately a small amount of emergency cash at the bottom of your main luggage “just in case”. Confirm flight times and travel days. Every year ARCC has a handful of students who mistakenly made flight reservations for one day before or one day after the trip begins.
For more information
Adventures Cross-Country advocates meaningful travel as the best way to inspire teens to become Global Citizens. “I am extremely proud of the lasting impact that ARCC students have had on people, on communities and on the environment around the world,”
Adventures Cross-Country’s 50page catalog details Community Service, Language Immersion and Multi-Sport programs in 21 countries on six continents for youth seeking a summer service learning experience, all while exploring cultures and communities off the beaten path. The full catalog in a digital version can also be viewed online: click here. To order a copy or to speak to a representative, call (415)332-5075 or visit online: www.adventurescrosscountry.com/