48OE Blog  
Jan 14

Written by: 48OE Admin
14/01/2012 18:02  RssIcon

For those of you lucky enough to have travelled around North America, both the USA and Canada, you know why camping and hiking is so popular on this continent. Living in England we have no experience of the vast wide open spaces or the contrasts of desert scrub and tumbleweed, to snow ridges on a mountain range. Imagine driving from Oxford to Edinburgh and not seeing a large town and only meeting under 100 vehicles. This is North America once you get out of the large cities and into True Grit country.

Road and camping trips on this continent may only be once in a life time but they are oh so special! The distances are vast so time is one important factor but you will not be disappointed. I was lucky and did a trip in a Hummer through Colorado, Wyoming and Utah - real Cowboy & Indian country. Nothing could have prepared me for the vast canyons, mountain ranges and spectacular scenery. I have also made a visit to the Rockies in winter when snow changes everything. With the advent of the internet it is easy to work out a route that suits you, and get a sneak preview of what you want to see.

We wanted to stay in authentic log cabins, white water raft (be aware there are many different degrees of difficulty and risk attached to this sport!) and most importantly see some of the real west I remember from all the John Wayne films. The National Parks offer an unrivalled look at scenery and nature. Be prepared to hike as part of your expedition as there are many beautiful and historic sites that can only be reached on foot. I will never forget the moment I stood on a canyon edge and looked at a river one mile below me.

The great advantage about a visit to America is that just about everyone speaks English and the people away from the cities are some of the most polite and friendly you will ever meet.

As a result of the vast space available for all outdoor pursuits there are some of the best Outdoor Retailers in the world spread from coast to coast. Some are co-operatives like REI who offer exceptional value. Every imaginable piece of kit is available and there are some real artisans off the beaten track who make individual items to order. If you love the outdoors and are prepared to take the plunge I could not recommend a better place to visit. This is not a holiday for those that want a nightlife or love reading a book on the beach.

When you stop and look at extraordinary rock formations tens of thousands of years old towering above you and there is no one within 50 miles in any direction, just nature and silence, it is a special moment!

Live your dreams, everything is possible, I hope to see my first Rodeo this year and have a not too close encounter with a bear.