Eco-Cultural-Travel Archive

  • Pristine beauty, danger, and wild risk make Whitewater River Rafting on the Middle Fork of the American River a must-face-death for paddlers. Despite a healthy Sierra Nevada snowpack, this free-flowing river stretch brings up questions of  water sustainability and the zombie Auburn Dam proposal, among others. Why is dam removal an important movement? And what about the folly of plans to build 3,700 new not-so-clean hydroelectric dams across the world?

    On Wild Rivers, Hydroelectric Dams, and Whitewater Rafting the American

    Pristine beauty, danger, and wild risk make Whitewater River Rafting on the Middle Fork of the American River a must-face-death for paddlers. Despite a healthy Sierra Nevada snowpack, this free-flowing river stretch brings up questions of water sustainability and the zombie Auburn Dam proposal, among others. Why is dam removal an important movement? And what about the folly of plans to build 3,700 new not-so-clean hydroelectric dams across the world?

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  • Surrounded by volcanoes, coffee plantations, and picturesque villages, the once-ruined former colonial capital, Antigua Guatemala, remains the most charming city in the Republic, a vibrant and somewhat overly commodified mix of Ladino-Spanish, Kaqchikel-Maya, and multinational Gringo cultures coming together.

    Volcanoes Loom Over Vibrant Colors of Antigua Guatemala

    Surrounded by volcanoes, coffee plantations, and picturesque villages, the once-ruined former colonial capital, Antigua Guatemala, remains the most charming city in the Republic, a vibrant and somewhat overly commodified mix of Ladino-Spanish, Kaqchikel-Maya, and multinational Gringo cultures coming together.

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  • Morro Bay, the bounty of sea, dune, bay, and estuary ebb and flow against the sacred Nine Volcanic Sisters, the rocky Morros. Small town charm coexists with protected parkland and one of the few remaining functioning wetland estuaries in overpopulated California, a direct counterpoint to its channelized and endlessly pumped and polluted waterways. The landscape invites migrating birds and tourists, fosters endangered plants and animals, and allows fish populations to thrive.

    Morro Bay Estuary and Its Nine Volcanic Sisters

    Morro Bay, the bounty of sea, dune, bay, and estuary ebb and flow against the sacred Nine Volcanic Sisters, the rocky Morros. Small town charm coexists with protected parkland and one of the few remaining functioning wetland estuaries in overpopulated California, a direct counterpoint to its channelized and endlessly pumped and polluted waterways. The landscape invites migrating birds and tourists, fosters endangered plants and animals, and allows fish populations to thrive.

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  • On a recent visit with the Outdoor Writers Association of California to the Sierra Nevada town of Auburn, the dark and light of the gold rush history sparkles its brick-faced brilliance in a stroll through Old Town.

    Old Town Auburn, Portrait of a Gold Rush Town

    On a recent visit with the Outdoor Writers Association of California to the Sierra Nevada town of Auburn, the dark and light of the gold rush history sparkles its brick-faced brilliance in a stroll through Old Town.

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  • Big Bear in the San Bernardino Mountains has year-round outdoor attractions, including skiing, hiking, boating, and fishing. Yet long before the resorts, the area was called Yuhaviat, or "Pine Place" by the original inhabitants, the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, with their sacred site of snow quartz called the Eye of God.

    Eye of God: Big Bear’s Sacred Site of Creation

    Big Bear in the San Bernardino Mountains has year-round outdoor attractions, including skiing, hiking, boating, and fishing. Yet long before the resorts, the area was called Yuhaviat, or "Pine Place" by the original inhabitants, the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, with their sacred site of snow quartz called the Eye of God.

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  • Though the Rim Fire of 2013 was the third largest conflagration in California's history, it improved the ecological health of the forest and the majority of the iconic landscapes of Yosemite National Park remained unscathed. A salvage logging plan approved by the US Forest Service put in danger the regenerating effects of the fire.

    Yosemite: An Ecosystem Nourished By Wildfire

    Though the Rim Fire of 2013 was the third largest conflagration in California's history, it improved the ecological health of the forest and the majority of the iconic landscapes of Yosemite National Park remained unscathed. A salvage logging plan approved by the US Forest Service put in danger the regenerating effects of the fire.

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  • Historically a roadless fishing port with little development nor electricity, Puerto Lempira has transformed into a boom-town, host to drug traffickers, nearby military bases, and oil and gas development. In an effort to overcome this adversity, we participated in a blessing for the people and their land and culture in transition, directed by a local Miskitu sukya, or healer, and members of the community.

    Blessing for La Moskitia, A Culture and Land in Transition

    Historically a roadless fishing port with little development nor electricity, Puerto Lempira has transformed into a boom-town, host to drug traffickers, nearby military bases, and oil and gas development. In an effort to overcome this adversity, we participated in a blessing for the people and their land and culture in transition, directed by a local Miskitu sukya, or healer, and members of the community.

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  • Puerto Lempira lies on the shore of the sweetwater Laguna Caratasca, just west of the Caribbean in La Moskitia, Honduras. The largest Miskitu town in the region, with an ailing lobster industry in an atmosphere of post-coup insecurity and governmental corruption, many turn to drug trafficking for income.

    Miskitu Portrait: Lobster and Life on Laguna Caratasca

    Puerto Lempira lies on the shore of the sweetwater Laguna Caratasca, just west of the Caribbean in La Moskitia, Honduras. The largest Miskitu town in the region, with an ailing lobster industry in an atmosphere of post-coup insecurity and governmental corruption, many turn to drug trafficking for income.

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  • On a recent trip to the Kruta River near Cape Gracias a Dios on the Honduran Caribbean and the Nicaraguan Border, life without roads and little electricity proceeds slowly, detached from the world at large. Yet, drug trafficking is changing the economy and the culture of the Miskitu People, and due to overfishing, local people can only turn to harvesting jellyfish for China as an honest source of revenue.

    Miskitu Coast of Honduras: Harvesting Jellyfish at the Rio Kruta

    On a recent trip to the Kruta River near Cape Gracias a Dios on the Honduran Caribbean and the Nicaraguan Border, life without roads and little electricity proceeds slowly, detached from the world at large. Yet, drug trafficking is changing the economy and the culture of the Miskitu People, and due to overfishing, local people can only turn to harvesting jellyfish for China as an honest source of revenue.

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  • On a recent trip to the Kruta River near Cape Gracias a Dios on the Honduran Caribbean and the Nicaraguan Border, life without roads and little electricity proceeds slowly, detached from the world at large. As sea levels rise, already economically-marginalized coastal villages in the mangrove swamps are slowly being inundated by the rising tides.

    Miskitu Coast of Honduras: Village Life in Tide-Flooded Kruta

    On a recent trip to the Kruta River near Cape Gracias a Dios on the Honduran Caribbean and the Nicaraguan Border, life without roads and little electricity proceeds slowly, detached from the world at large. As sea levels rise, already economically-marginalized coastal villages in the mangrove swamps are slowly being inundated by the rising tides.

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  • Baja California, despite proximity to the US and recent rampant growth, remains a wild and untamed coastal desert. Behind the charming pueblitos and peaceful resorts lies a varied history where conquest and development have moved both slow and fast. Following a recent trip to the Gulf of California town of Loreto, this first in a series of articles attempts to define what makes the place special, as well as what the future holds for this (mostly) hidden resort region.

    Baja California: An “Earthly Paradise” in the Desert

    Baja California, despite proximity to the US and recent rampant growth, remains a wild and untamed coastal desert. Behind the charming pueblitos and peaceful resorts lies a varied history where conquest and development have moved both slow and fast. Following a recent trip to the Gulf of California town of Loreto, this first in a series of articles attempts to define what makes the place special, as well as what the future holds for this (mostly) hidden resort region.

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  • Twenty five hundred years ago, a group of peoples settled Tikal, surrounded by the lowland rainforests of the Petén Basin of northern Guatemala. Their descendants would create a remarkable civilization that populated cities and villages across much of southern Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Today, it has returned to the jungle.

    Maya Ruins at Tikal: A New Beginning at Winter Solstice

    Twenty five hundred years ago, a group of peoples settled Tikal, surrounded by the lowland rainforests of the Petén Basin of northern Guatemala. Their descendants would create a remarkable civilization that populated cities and villages across much of southern Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Today, it has returned to the jungle.

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  • I am on the trail of John Muir, intending to walk into the wild high country, his "range of light," inspired by the vision of Ansel Adams who once said: “Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film. Your bright eyes and easy smile is your museum.”

    Wilderness of Minarets: On the Coyote Trail of Muir and Adams – By Jack Eidt

    I am on the trail of John Muir, intending to walk into the wild high country, his "range of light," inspired by the vision of Ansel Adams who once said: “Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film. Your bright eyes and easy smile is your museum.”

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  • Set in a wild forest near the Skärsjön Lake, the Kolarbyn Eco-Lodge is Sweden’s most primitive hotel, offering twelve electricity-free "nature huts" allowing communion with the Swedish landscape without actually camping.

    Wild Eco Lodge: Sweden’s Primitive Kolarbyn

    Set in a wild forest near the Skärsjön Lake, the Kolarbyn Eco-Lodge is Sweden’s most primitive hotel, offering twelve electricity-free "nature huts" allowing communion with the Swedish landscape without actually camping.

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  • Following the footsteps of Willis E. Pequegnat, a biologist from the 1930s who explored the wild Santa Ana Mountains in Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties, this video field journal logs the wonders and threats to this thriving resource.

    Santa Ana Mountains: Vestige of Wild Coastal Southern California

    Following the footsteps of Willis E. Pequegnat, a biologist from the 1930s who explored the wild Santa Ana Mountains in Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties, this video field journal logs the wonders and threats to this thriving resource.

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  • The BBC documentary swims deep into the mythological underwater world of the "cenote sagrada" of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.

    Swimming into Xibalba: Secrets of the Maya Underworld

    The BBC documentary swims deep into the mythological underwater world of the "cenote sagrada" of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.

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  • Since the time of the Louisiana Purchase, the people of the United States have worked to tame the Bitteroot Mountains of Idaho and Montana, but the rushing rivers and wandering wolves still retain the air of the wild.

    Idaho: Wolves and Wilderness Persist in the Bitterroot Mountains

    Since the time of the Louisiana Purchase, the people of the United States have worked to tame the Bitteroot Mountains of Idaho and Montana, but the rushing rivers and wandering wolves still retain the air of the wild.

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