“Choosing to live your life by your own choice is the greatest freedom you will ever have.” -Dr. Shad Helmstetter
Last year at this time, I was well on my way in to planning what was the best vacation I have ever taken. This year, not so much. And it’s not from lack of interest, just lack of time and the small detail of not having picked a destination yet. Pfft, details.
The good news is that I have figured out where I don’t want to go. The southeast US is out. I’ve seen everything there is to see there and many things I really never wanted to see in the first place. From palm trees to pines, from rednecks to rampant tourism, been there, done that.
So what IS on the list for the last year before the world ends? Well, I figure last year, as awesome as it was (and would repeat it in a heartbeat), was mostly desert backed. This year should be a little different. So without further delay…
Option 1: The Great American Road Trip Part Deux. This trip would involve a drive back across the country again, retracing my tracks from 2011 only to break off toward Yellow Stone National Park. I’d revisit Rocky Mountain National Park because I only got a half day there last trip. Then at Yellowstone, I’d spend a good deal there hiking and exploring, and truth be told, could easily spend my entire trip there. From there I’d head northwest towards the coast, passing through Idaho and on to Seattle for a little civilized tourism and hike Olympia National Park. Leaving Seattle I’d head south and drive down the coastline along highway 101 and then back east. If there’s time I’d head back to Zion National Park to FINALLY hike the Narrows. As you may recall that dream of mine still remains unfulfilled. Then back home retracing that drive of mine that I’ll never forget and the sunset the acted as my copilot.
Option 2: The Great North Atlantic Adventure. I’ve always said that I didn’t get enough time in Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor (one of my favorite places on earth). This time, with my kayak on top, I’d make my way back up the eastern seaboard toward Bar Harbor, ME, spend a few days in Acadia again to pick up the things I didn’t get to do last time. From there I’d head north to Baxter State Park to get my hiking fix and jump over to Allagash Wilderness Waterway State Park. From there, I cross the border in to Canada and
live out the rest of my life head to the coast through Fredericton with the goal of Nova Scotia. Then I’d ferry on over to St. John’s for views like this:
It’s true. I will probably request political asylum.
Option 3: Getting LOST in Hawaii. Without a doubt the most expensive option, but possibly the most rewarding. The plan involves visiting Pearl Harbor to pay my respects and then getting the hell away from everyone on the most unpopulated island and tracking down vistas that look like this:
Yeah, exactly. I’m not going to beat around the bush here. Drop me on this path and you may never see me again until they film Castaway 2. I’ve already purchased a volleyball. Other than exploring an active volcano, I have no interest in the commercialism of Hawaii. Just me and my rented Jeep are all I need.
So those are my top three choices for 2012. Knowing what it took to reserve the prime locations that I did for last year’s trip, I’m concerned that I’m starting my planning late. With Option 1, I’d have to research Yellowstone, figure out campsite, trails, and the same for the subsequent parks. Option 2, I could probably do on a much shorter notice and spend more time because it’s closer, and Option 3 is just a money sink, which again I’d need to do a lot of research on.
I have plenty of time before May rolls around, but I value my vacation time like nothing else, and so I put my all in to making sure I get the most enriching experience I can out of it. The goal to to try and top the previous year’s trip.
2011 set the bar pretty high.