Nothing excites me as much as having travel plans! So I am excited to announce my plans for this spring. With limited vacation time, I am squeezing in trips to Boston, Atlanta, Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon – all before June 1! While I would love to be heading overseas again too, I am excited about the prospect of checking out some brand new parts of the United States.
First up is Boston in February. I am going there officially for a conference on annual giving for work, but since the conference is Monday through Wednesday, I figured I would fly out on Friday night to enjoy the weekend there before the conference starts. I did the tourist thing in Boston way back in 2004 but that was a long time ago and all I really remember is that I walked the Freedom Trail. My trips there last year were just quick jaunts for job interviews. So in addition to meeting up with a few friends while in Boston, I really want to do some more sightseeing.
Next up will be Atlanta toward the end of March. I have only been to Atlanta once before and that was back when I was a lawyer and I flew in and out the same day. Doesn’t really count. I’ll be arriving late on a Thursday night so I’ll have two days to explore before I run the Georgia Marathon on Sunday, March 23. The Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau is providing me with a CityPass to make it easier for me to check out some of the city’s best attractions:
- Georgia Aquarium
- World of Coca-Cola
- Inside CNN Studio Tour
- Zoo Atlanta or the Atlanta History Center
- Fernbank Museum of Natural History or the High Museum of Art
Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon
Finally, over Memorial Day weekend, I will be heading to Flagstaff, Arizona on my way to the Grand Canyon! This will be a big check off my “14 Before 40” list and I am so excited! And I won’t just be visiting the canyon, I will be hiking down to the bottom. I have booked a four-day, three-night Rim to Rim trek with Wildland Trekking Company. I will start with a free day to explore Flagstaff before setting out on the trek. We will start on the North Rim of the canyon, which is allegedly only visited by about 10% of canyon visitors, and then spend two days descending a total of 5,600 feet in altitude and hiking about 14 miles total. On Day 3, we will start heading back up to the South Rim, hiking 4.5 miles that will take us up 1,500 feet. Finally, on the last day we’ll hike the last 5 miles out of the canyon, going up the popular Bright Angel Trail. An hour and a half later, we’ll be back in Flagstaff for a much-needed shower!
I have to admit, the trek makes me a little nervous. Sure, I survived two weeks of trekking in the Himalayas at much higher altitudes. And sure, I completed a three day hike into Peru’s Colca Canyon in 2009, which is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. But this will be a bit different. For one, I will have to carry a 25-30 pound pack with all of my stuff plus a share of the group’s food. In Nepal, I only had to carry a much lighter day pack and in Peru, I just carried three days’ worth of clothes. Training will be key and I will especially be focusing on strengthening my legs and back.
So there you have my spring travel plans. I have already been thinking about summer, but I also don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. While I entertained the idea of heading to Iceland in late June to run a midnight half marathon with some law school friends, I am now leaning against that so I can save those vacation days for a larger trip at the end of the summer – a trip that would involve checking another big item off “14 Before 40” list. More on that later…
Have you been to Boston, Atlanta or Flagstaff? Any recommendations for me?