Your Very Next Step newsletter for December 2009

Your Very Next Step newsletter for December 2009

“Let your mind start a journey thru a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be…Close your eyes let your spirit start to soar, and you'll live as you've never lived before.”

– Erich Fromm

The next adventure begins with your very next step.

“Your Very Next Step” newsletter, published by Ned Lundquist, is a cooperative community, and everyone is invited, no…encouraged, no…urged to participate.

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*** In this issue:

*** Guided Tour or “On your own?”

*** Travel News

– Has the Stripper-mobile traveled a pole to far?

– Five Ways To Score Better Airlines Seats For Holiday Travel

– Complaints Against Airlines Fall Sharply

– Is It the End of the Line for London’s Iconic Tube Map?

– Frommer's Top Destinations 2010

*** Trail ethics

*** Trail volunteer opportunities

*** Trekking poles: What do you think?

*** YVNS “Sport Ned Has Never Heard Of”

– Camel wrestlers take their humps

*** Ned reviews US Airways and US Airways Express (Okay, this is an encore presentation)

*** Ned reviews the Peabody Hotel (ne the Excelsior) in Little Rock

Here’s a couple of places to visit, if you can:

– Bula'bula Arts – Australian Aboriginal Art Centre, Central Arnhem Land, NT, Australia

– Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

*** Report-a-Poacher in Alberta

*** Travel, Outdoor and Adventure Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

1.) Internships, The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, Boulder, CO

2.) Adventure Guide, Highland Center, Appalachian Mountain Club, Bretton Woods, NH

3.) Caretaker Vacancies on the Appalachian Trail in Maine, Maine Appalachian Trail Club

4.) Communications Coordinator, Alberta Conservation Association, Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada

5.) Roving Ranger, Baxter Park Campground, Baxter State Park, The State of Maine, Millinocket, ME

6.) Membership & Development Director, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, Mahwah, NJ

7.) International Affairs Specialist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department Of The Interior, Arlington, VA

8.) Forestry Technician (hotshot/handcrew), USDA Forest Service, AUGUSTA SPRINGS, VA

9.) Executive Director, Massachusetts Association of Conservation Districts, Massachusetts

10.) Field Team Leader (14 positions), Northwest Service Academy – Mt Adams Center, Trout Lake, WA

…and much more…and it’s all FREE!!!

*** Do you have a travel adventure to share?

Send me your stories and I’ll post in the “Your Very Next Step” and on the YVNS website (

*** When visiting a new place, do you sign up for the guided tour, or strike out on your own?

Send your advice to Ned at for the next issue of Your Very Next Step. Subscribe for free by sending a blank email to Read the newsletter at

*** Guide or no guide, I’ll tear ‘em apart (with apologizes to the Cowardly Lion):

Depends on the point of my touring and the time I have.

I had no time to take the Westminster Abbey tour, but to stand in that

magnificent edifice and gaze down at Winston Churchill's marker was

sufficiently awesome and humbling, considering the millions of feet – and

whose feet – had trod those stones before me.

Striking out on my own with a map to sightsee for feature articles dozens of

interesting places in Japan was often more of an adventure than merely

boarding a train. It was also rewarding, considering I was writing a tour

guide for military and civilians to use.

On the other hand, there is something to be said for taking a guided tour,

such as the incredibly helpless feeling one might have sitting in the front

row on the upper deck of a bus hurtling through space in Paris streets

taking in the sights by wheel of the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Louvre!

I do prefer my own touring – thank you, huge folding maps and Fodor guides –

because you can linger where you will and leave when you have seen enough.

But given another chance, I will take the Abbey tour next time!

Gwyneth J. Saunders

*** I shoulda been a cartographa:

I'm a map junkie – I prefer to scope out the place via maps or guidebooks or Google Earth ahead of time and then strike out on my own. I should have been a cartographer/geographer…..

Mark Sofman

*** From Angie Anderson:

Hi Ned!

When I go to a new place, particularly one where I am not a fluent speaker, I go on one of those hop on/hop off bus tours. I usually get a several day pass.That way, I get an overall view of the city and some sense of direction. Then I go back on my own and discover things that interest me and my transportation is available for a few days. Paris, London and Madrid offer great tours like this. I would guess that the same might be true of larger cities in our country. Maybe next time I go to Philly, I'll do the same…it's in my back yard, but I've not done something like this in the US. Wonder why?

Maybe sometime, you can have readers share Couchsurfing stories. I have a few that are delightful!

Travel often, and safely!


Angie Anderson

Lancaster County, PA

(My daughter and I recently heard you speak in Harrisburg and were thrilled to meet you in person!)

*** Third Option:

Do I strike out on my own or take the easy tourist option? Neither

Option 1: I swore, decades ago, never to take another “tourist tour.”


The reason is in this bit of conversation gleaned from a running five hour dialogue between two clodhoppers from Iowa (I was an Iowan at the time, too and probably a clodhopper as well.) sitting behind me while while taking the obligatory one-day bus tour of Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland: “Look, DeWain, them there apple trees look just like the ones back in I'wa.” “Look, Maudeen, them there Guernseys is jest like the ones the Hoopers own.”

Option 2: I'm directionally challenged and easily distracted. Alone, one can get lost in the Louvre or British Museum or the flea market in Athens never to be found again.

Option 3: So, the BEST next step is to find yourself a wealthy (ca. 1980s) multinational corporation that still provides first class airfare for its workers traveling abroad, and make friends with your counterparts in other countries. They'll be pleased to escort an interested American — note the modifier; it's really, really important — on a private — again, the modifier — tour of THEIR world. The best sites with the least number of folks from home; the best restaurants; the best secret shopping; the best of the best in their world.

Oh, for the glory days.

Mike Scott

*** When in Rome:


Assume you are talking about recreational or tourist type trips.

We (wife & I) prefer doing it ourselves. Always have (like backpacking

in Italy, etc.) but we are also now getting to the age (early 70s)

with health and energy concerns. Hence, we would now seriously consider

tours/cruises–something we have always regarded with some distaste,

We also 'discovered' some tips: e.g. in Italy, take the Panoramic

Buses–not the express; the former take twice as long, but you meet

the real people of the country side you are traveling through. On the

latter, well, freeways all look alike!

Also, e.g. in Rome, my wife dictated we would pick the furthest away

point of what we planned to see that day, bus to that point, then walk

back to the accommodation.

Maybe a follow up or section on what people dislike about tours

would be worthwhile.

Also, of course it depends on the destination….safety can be a

concern in some spots as you well know!


tom carney Texada Island B.C. Canada

(Is there another kind?)

*** It depends:

Great question. A constant traveler, I'll give my two cents:

As with everything in life…IT DEPENDS! On how much there is to see, how long you are visiting for, etc. In general, I'm happy to go with a cheap walking or bike tour…particularly the increasingly frequent ones in which the cost is technically free and the guides work solely for tips. Those can be great for orientation, for quick synopsis of “check in the box” (you can always go back to ones you really like), and for exercise.

Happy travels,

Dan Huvane

*** Vectoring in on 96 and 97:

i travel around the globe, and prefer to hike out on my own and discover the wonders and niches of the new place. i will be going soon to Malta and tunisia, making them the 96th and 97th countries I have trotted. Just 95 to go to get to every country on earth. A tour in a civilized city is better than trying to figure out how to vector the histories and archeological/anthropological sites most efficiently, but in wild country, it is preferable to go on one's own or with friends.

marion ds dreyfus

*** Something old and something new:

Hey Ed,

Here's my advise:

Everything depends on timing:

If it's a micro visit (only a day or part of a day) — hit a local museum

If you have a couple of days, I like to take a 3 hour tour of the area to get my bearings and to decide what to see/do. Tips from the guide often help pinpoint areas of interest, or areas that I would not have considered.

If I have the luxury of a longer visit I head out on my own–the discovery is part of the fun.


Tomi Holt

Tomi Holt Enterprises Public Relations

*** Gotta see them Jack-a-lopes!

I strike out on my own. It is so much more fun to discover things/places as opposed to being led there…

If I do not have any prior knowledge of a place, I head to a post card kiosk to get a sense of the “must see's”.

W Enright

*** From Gloria Walker:

Hi Ned,

When visiting a new place I generally strike out on my own because I've done some research into where I'm going and what I want to see. On occasion I've done a guided tour of a specific site in order to take advantage of all the information presented by the guides. In Florence I took guided tours because there was so much to learn about what I was seeing and the guide was an art historian who was wonderful. In Bangkok and Vietnam I've visited different places, usually with someone who knew the area, but toured the sites on my own. Many times what's on the guided tour isn't what I want to see and visiting on your own is much more of an adventure.



*** Travel the trail less touristed:

Ideally, some of both unless I've had the time to do alot of research beforehand.

I hate those “stupid American tourist” buses you often find in Euro capitols, but some are actually worthwhile in terms of what you can see, time saved, and costs relative to non-themed & guided public transport that would take you to the same places.

And once you have a good overview, you can then delve into the places that interest you with that much more knowledge and awareness.

That said, a good map, an open mind, and comfortable walking shoes will almost always take you to those same places (not to mention others that will probably be even more interesting by being less touristed), and often more quickly and cheaply.

So make a friend, ask questions, and meet the locals. After all, if you didn't want to, then why did you even go…?

Bruce Blake

(The road less touristed. I like it.)


Viva Via Vuoto! 🙂

*** Favorite off-season place to be:

(What’s your favorite “off season” destination? Send to Ned at

*** Ned is offering free 95×600 pixel .jpg banner ads at the YVNS website for conservation organizations (Ned will decline this offer to organizations that conduct or promote illegal activities). Contact Ned at for details. Well, actually, those are the details. 95×600 pixel .jpg. And free.

*** Here’s the YVNS Travel News for December:

*** Has the Stripper-mobile traveled a pole to far?

*** Five Ways To Score Better Airlines Seats For Holiday Travel

*** From Bernie Wagenblast’s TCN newsletter:

Complaints Against Airlines Fall Sharply

Critics say the reason isn't better service; it's that frustrated passengers have given up voicing grievances.

Link to Tribune Newspapers article:,0,421005.story

Link to Air Travel Consumer Report from US DOT:

Is It the End of the Line for London’s Iconic Tube Map?

Link to article in the Guardian:

*** Frommer's Top Destinations 2010. As in years past, they represent a mix of emerging spots, under-appreciated cities, and places we think you need to experience before they're overrun by tourist crowds. Click through to find out where the Frommer’s authors, editors, and readers are looking forward to visiting next year.

Ned has been to six of the ten. How many have you been to?

*** Trail Ethics:

YVNS wants to hear your perspectives and expectations on trail and camping ethics. What is appropriate behavior? A lot of people go far off the beaten path to do as they please, only to find somebody else there who complains about them. Others make a considerable effort to go far off the road to carry their coolers of beer, then lightening their load considerable by leaving their beer cans where they drank them (okay, maybe throwing them some distance first). Some want to enjoy a peaceful walk on a crisp autumn day only to be shot at by hunters. Some want the solitude of camping in the wilderness only to find themselves parked next to an R/V with floodlights, stereo, and a noisy generator. Some go camping with the family to find themselves camped next to an all-night party with sex, drugs and rock and roll.

This next issue of YVNS will look at differing view of proper behavior and outdoor etiquette. We'd like to hear your thoughts on the issue, and examples where you have been in unusual or unacceptable situations, and what you did about them.

Send your contributions to Ned at

Here are some interesting views on the subject:

*** Ethics & Low Impact Camping

As backpackers hiking in the back country, we practice the Outdoor Code, and follow the principals of “Leave no Trace.” My backpack has a tag on it with these reminders from Philmont Scout Reservation with survival tips, the Outdoor Code and the principals of 'Leave No Trace.”

Philmont Wilderness Pledge

Philmont is a magnificent wilderness camping area with an immense network of trails and camps tied together by service roads designed for service and protection of both campers and land.

Since 1938, thousands of young people have enjoyed the great scenic beauty of Philmont's mountain terrain and experienced the unique and memorable programs of its staffed camps. However, in the past, a number of inconsiderate and impolite Scout campers employing improper camping methods have marred certain areas of this magnificent land. Consequently, Philmont asks all campers and their advisers to commit themselves to good Scout camping and genuine wilderness understanding.

Each camper and adviser will be asked to sign the Philmont Wilderness Pledge, which declares that he or she will do everything possible to preserve the beauty and wonder of the Philmont wilderness and facilities through good Scout camping. It is expected that Philmont campers will carry this pledge to all camping areas that they might visit throughout America.

Wilderness Pledge

The major areas of emphasis involved in the Philmont Wilderness Pledge are:

Litter and Graffiti

Each camper should make sure that all trails and campsites are left neat and clean, including Camping Headquarters shower and tent areas.

While litter can be picked up, graffiti often permanently defaces BSA property and detracts from the Philmont experience. Do not contribute to this problem.


Respect Philmont's wildlife and livestock. Follow all guidelines regarding food handling and trash disposal. Never feed or harass wild animals.


You are in a land where water is scarce and very precious. Conservation and wise use of water have been practiced since the first person entered this land. Use water properly; never bathe or do laundry or dishes in or near a spring or stream. Do not disturb or throw rocks in springs, or touch any solar pumps. They are easily damaged and the flow of water can be disrupted. Everyone needs water, and you should leave each spring and stream as clean as you found it.


Pledge to respect Philmont trails. Do not cut green boughs or trees, or mark on them. Do not cut across switchbacks, and do not alter or change trail signs.


Each crew is responsible for leaving a neat and orderly campsite, whether it be in Camping Headquarters, staffed camps, or non-staffed camps. Your campsite should be left litter-free with its latrine and sump clean. Fires, if permitted, must be left DEAD OUT and then cleaned of debris before you leave. Do not trench tents; pitch them on high ground. You should respect the feelings of those crews camping near you and those that will come after you.

Philmont serves over 20,000 Scouts, Venturers, and leaders each year. Consequently, some trails and camps are subjected to heavy use. Nevertheless, it is not the wear of so many pairs of boots that mars Philmont. It is the carelessness and thoughtlessness of inconsiderate campers. It is our sincere hope that through your commitment to the Philmont Wilderness Pledge, Philmont will always remain a beautiful and clean place to enjoy high adventure.


Philmont is a natural outdoor biological, geological, archaeological, and historical laboratory and museum. Countless varieties of rocks, plants, and animals are found here, as well as abundant evidence of past human habitation from prehistoric Indians (arrowheads, pot shards, grinding stones, etc.) to old mining camps (bottles, cans, equipment, cabins, etc.).

Specimens of plants, animals, or artifacts, such as mentioned above, are to be observed and left where you discover them, not collected and removed from Philmont. Reports of discoveries are helpful in reconstructing Philmont's archaeological and historical past. These should be put in writing and left at the Philmont Museum.

*** Leave No Trace

Plan Ahead and Prepare | Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces | Dispose of Waste Properly | Leave What You Find |

Minimize Campfire Impacts | Respect Wildlife | Be Considerate of Other Visitors

*** Ethics & Low Impact Camping

*** What do you think about taking your dog on a long hike or backpacking trek in the back country?

*** From Hwee Suan Ong:

my colleague's sister did this as a school project. she wrote the song and produced the video herself. i thot she is awesome.

*** Trail volunteer opportunities

*** Become a Crew Leader with Volunteers for Outdoor Washington:

VOW trains volunteers to be stewards of the environment, and partners with land managers to build trails, restore habitat, and preserve Washington State's rich heritage.

*** Help save the trees from invasive weeds on the Capital Crescent Trail in Maryland:

Help save the magnificent native trees along the Capital Crescent Trail. English ivy vines cover the trees, slowly killing the trees from the base upwards. The vines also harbor a bacterial leaf scorch that affects a wide variety of native and ornamental trees. Other invasive vines completely engulf the trees, shading them out and overburdening them with added weight, causing the trees to topple. Volunteers work on this trail every week, rain or shine. The Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail is an all-volunteer organization, with no paid staff and depends upon volunteers for all of its trail building and educational efforts.

*** Mountain bikers are people, too:

Mountain Bike organizations also seek to improve and maintain trails:

Santa Barbara Mountain Bike Trail Volunteers

*** Trekking poles:

I’ve threatened to get these many times. Some of my friends swear by them.

What do you think? Gimmick or essential gear?

*** Outdoor Gift Idea: an AMC trail sign

I saw this on the website.

Every year the AMC's White Mountain Trail Crew replaces weathered or out-of-date trail signs with new ones. The old signs are collector's items, having guided thousands of visitors for many years along celebrated paths throughout the Whites. All proceeds from the auction will support AMC's trail efforts in the Northeast.

The auction is closed for this year, but might make a gift to plan on next year, especially if you've been up on those trails.

*** The December YVNS sport Ned has never heard of:

Camel Wrestling Championship. January, 2010. Selcuk, Turkey

*** A place you should visit:

I stumbled across this artists cooperative and museum and was impressed enough to want to buy some of the Australian aboriginal art. Check this out for yourself:

Bula'bula Arts – Australian Aboriginal Art Centre

Ramingining is a small, remote community in Central Arnhem Land located some 400 kms east of Darwin and nearly 30 kms from the Arafura Sea. The tract of land upon which Ramingining township is built, is owned by the Djadawitjibi people of the Djinang group.

Their principal creative being is Garrtjambal, the Red Kangaroo. Travelling from the south-east in the Roper River region across the mainland and over to Milingimbi, Garrtjambal links all the land-owning groups in the region.

The name Bula'bula was selected in 1989 by local artists for their co-operative as it refers to the message embodied in the song-cycle of Garrtjambal's journey from Roper River to the Ramingining region. More literally, Bula'bula translates as the tongue, or voice of the kangaroo.

*** Here’s a place to visit, if you can:

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

*** A travel memory from JOTW 26-2001:

*** Well, three nights in the New York Hilton, and I’ve got enough shampoo and conditioner to last two weeks! Soap for a month! I always leave the shower cap so it doesn’t look like I’m cleaning them out…I don’t like the straight lye they give you at some hotels in Europe. And those European hotels often have little skinny towels that absorb nothing. Sometimes the shampoo is also the soap. You get a little foil packet of “Shower Douche” or something like that (here, that word means something else), which is dreadfully useless. And their electricity is all wrong. Any of you JOTW readers also “collect” the shampoos and stuff at hotels?…certainly not…And hotels in general, why do they put the towels in the shower? And what is “French Milled Soap?”

*** And these notes from JOTW 26-2001 Add 1:

*** New York Hilton? I pipe my gripe.

Alright, I confessed to taking those little shampoo bottles. And, after

my first mini-pot of coffee, I might occasionally hold the other bag

(not the decaf) in case I need another pot sometime during my stay. I

had no idea they would charge me. Seems the second pouch of coffee is a

mini-bar item. My hotel bill had a $10.28 charge, and it was for the

coffee since I make it a rule never to unlock the mini-bar in my room.

I also used the phone to make toll-free calls to log onto the Internet.

No problem. I called the hotel Customer service” number, and they said

to just dial 9 first. But, I had no idea that after a while they double

the charge of the call, or triple it.

My third gripe is the concierge who, when asked about a close-by

restaurant for a reasonably priced light meal, sent me to a place called

Tino's. “Make sure you tell them the Hilton sent you.” When we

arrived, we were seated. We ordered a bottle of mineral water and

decided that the entrees were very pricey. So we settled on a nice

appetizer or a salad for each of us. “Is that all,” the waiter kept

saying, as if nothing like this had ever happened before. He was

incredulous. He went and reported the gross transgression to the Capo,

who summoned the Capo di Capo, who came over and said, “We have a

problem. We're a fine dining establishment. We can't have people

coming in here and ordering cake, and a cup of coffee.” I replied that

we had not ordered cake, but that we had asked the hotel to recommend a

nice place close to the Hilton where we could get a light meal that was

reasonably priced and this is where he sent us.” This did not matter,

as they simply could have people coming in and ordering cake, or a

salad. I laid it out. He had two choices. Serve us, or settle the

bill. He refused to serve us. I state for the record that it was late,

the restaurant was not very busy, and even our salad or appetizer would

have been more than $10 each, and they would have made a few bucks.

My friends from IABC Delaware, Irene Monley and Nancy Sherr, and I had

sushi in a little Japanese restaurant a few doors down, decorated with

fishing rods and completely empty, which is why we were seated on the

second floor all the way in the back. Upon returning to the hotel, I

wanted to report the discrepancy to the concierge, but his watch was

over. I told a few people in the bar about what had happened, and one

of them had said he had eaten at Tino's the night before (recommended by

the concierge) and a few of the people in the party wanted to split an

entree and were told that it wasn't allowed and that the wait staff had

been very rude.

Ned says: Only use one pot of coffee. Double check about the charges

for toll free calls if you are going to be connecting online for any

time. And don't eat at Tino's. After saying this in a somewhat public

way, I expect some guy named Victor to come to my house, but shame on

them, and shame on the hotel for recommending that place. And shame on

Victor for showing me and my family disrespect.

*** From JOTW 26-2001 Add 3:

*** Travel update

I’ve had several trips lately that were pretty good. Flights on time,

comfortable and maybe even get an extra bag of pretzels if I was nice to

the flight attendant. But you have good days and bad days, and last

Wednesday was one of those days. Here are my notes:

I took the Metro instead of driving to the airport today as there was

yet another colossal traffic delay today. The “Mixing Bowl” interchange

between Interstates 95, 395 and 495 and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge where

the Washington Beltway (95/495) crosses the Potomac River between

Virginia and Maryland, are notorious bottlenecks. Anything can cause a

massive jam in both directions, but occasionally you get a mess that is

truly memorable. Once I had to take a distant and slow detour to avoid

the Wilson Bridge because some guy was threatening to jump off of it.

He finally did. But it was too late to prevent one of the worst traffic

jams in DC history. It was worse than gridlock. I’ve seen gridlock,

and gridlock’s not half bad.. And who could forget the time truck full

of gunpowder overturned at the Mixing Bowl, causing backups in all

directions and evacuations of homes for several miles around. Today’s

super-snafu was an overturned tank truck carrying liquid tar. All over

the road!

This trouble was avoided, but my turn was coming.

My flight from Washington’s Reagan National Airport was okay. It was

listed as a snack flight. I got one bag of pretzels. That does not

constitute a snack in my estimation.

I grabbed some lunch in Charlotte because I knew there would be no

service aboard the commuter jet to Little Rock. Still no problem. It

began while I awaited the departure of my connecting flight to Little

Rock. This flight was supposed to be aboard a 50-seat Regional Jet,

departing from the commuter Terminal D, a small but cramped facility.

More like a cluster of temporary buildings. The Little Rock flight was

delayed arriving, but I felt that I had a pretty good margin of error to

still arrive in time for the meetings and reception I had scheduled for

later that day. When the aircraft did arrive, the gate agent announced

that the pilot was reporting problems with the aircraft’s air

conditioning, a fact she later gave added emphasis when she said that

the pilot refused to fly the plane unless the air conditioning was


I felt this was a good test of the new airline industry assurances that

they will be forthcoming on the status of delays. In this case, she

blamed the pilot. The departure was delayed again several times before

they suggested we go check with the customer service desk to arrange for

alternate routing.

We had to head back towards the main terminal. At the service desk,

those of us waiting to be rebooked guessed where we would be routed.

Atlanta, on Delta, one guy suggested. I thought Pittsburgh. The faces

of the agents betrayed no optimism. The people ahead of me were sent to

Kansas City. I got Nashville. Instead of getting in mid-afternoon for

my meeting today and reception, I’m now due in around 8:15. I called

the Excelsior Hotel and told them I’ll be arriving later. They reminded

me I already had a confirmed late arrival. I thanked them but wanted

them to make sure they knew I was still coming and would be late.

I go back to the trailer home terminal “building” containing gates D14

through 20. This is one of the US Airways Express gates. We’re talking

the gates for Florence, SC; Wilmington, NC; Charleston, WV; Jackson, MS

or NW Arkansas. I want to see if the plane is fixed and there was hope

for an earlier and direct flight. The atmosphere in that room was

oppressive. When they opened the doors for flights it let the noise and

the heat and humidity in. And half the time the alarms went off on the

doors. I enjoyed the people watching as I weighed the odds of my

luggage meeting me in Little Rock. The gate agent makes another

announcement for the Little Rock passengers. “We don’t know what the

problem is besides the air conditioning.” I still wait for the “C”

word. I sit next to three elderly ladies fanning themselves with their

ticket envelopes and across from two young doe-eyed girls, the older

(not by much) of which is wearing a tight top that says “Hottie.” At

3:20 p.m., they announce that the Little Rock flight is now cancelled,

and I proceed back to the customer service desk for a new boarding pass.

The airline was nice enough to give me a 22-unit phone card for my


The good news is that my flight to Nashville is aboard a 737. The bad

news is the connecting flight to Little Rock is aboard a Beechcraft

1900, a small airplane that makes up for it by being noisy and


On the flight to Nashville I discover a few of my colleagues are also on

this flight, and were from Washington to Charlotte although I never saw

them until now. I hear Eleanor Miller on the cell phone letting

everyone know about our delay, including the office, the rental car

company, the hotel and our hosts in Little Rock.

The flight to Charlotte was listed as a snack flight. The flight to

Nashville is not a snack flight, but I ask the flight attendant for two

bags of pretzels (actually some kind of “premium blended snack mix”) and

she gives me three.

In Nashville, we have about a two-hour wait. I had to get something to

eat. My friends, it turns out, had been given $7 food vouchers at

Charlotte and had eaten. I was not offered this, but I was given a 22

unit MCI WorldCom phone card in case I had to call the hotel to let them

know I would be late.

Hopes rise as we see a real jet at the gate we’ll be departing from.

When it came time to leave, however, if you looked hard, you could make

out the little commuter plane hiding behind the fuel truck.

The Departure monitor showed a ten-minute delay. I thought this was the

airline’s way of preparing us for something worse. Then, it turns out

they had 24 passengers booked on a 19-seat plane. They offer a ticket

and a later connection from Nashville to Dallas and on to Little Rock

that would get in at midnight. Since my day was already screwed up, I

gave it some thought. They then told us that if we had a full load of

passengers that the bags would have to follow later. This was a new

threat I hadn’t heard before. On the plane, the diminutive gate agent

came on to tell us that the pot had been sweetened to a free ticket and

a hundred dollars. “What about two free tickets?” asked a passenger.

“How about a Lincoln Town car?” I say. The gate agent went back out to

parley. The pilot turned around and told us that they would have to

pick a passenger to get off, and then there would be no compensation


This time a much bigger, sterner looking gate agent came on, read the

verdict and directed the “lowest fare paying passenger” to get off, and

go to Little Rock by way of Atlanta. “Will I get the ticket?” the

passenger asked? I never saw her again.

Good news, I saw my bag make it on the plane.

We arrived in Little Rock at about the end of my 19-seat aircraft

endurance. My bag was waiting for me when I got to the baggage claim

area and our rental car check out was a breeze and we were able to find

the Excelsior Hotel with just a few miscues. I informed the desk clerk

that I was checking in. I gave him my credit card, and he asked me for

my name. I thought that was one reason I handed him the credit card.

He told me they had no rooms. I told him I had a confirmed late

check-in and that I had called the hotel mid-afternoon to let them know

my flight was late. I asked to speak to the manager who was not much

more help. I told him I had a confirmed late registration and that I

had called to report my late arrival from Charlotte. There was no

pathos. He said they had a hotel we could stay at that was ten miles

away, or they could give us a room with a fold-out bed.

Okay, I said, expecting a big knock-down in the price (wrong). In the

room, I find the couch, but it’s new and the bed is strapped in. I

called the desk but there was no answer, so I go down there and arrange

to have housekeeping bring a knife so I can get the bed open. Some

sheets, blankets and pillows would be appreciated, too.

Meanwhile, the damn Coke machine won't accept my nice, flat dollar bill.

I have to go to another floor. I'm getting happier by the minute. But

the sleeper sofa isn't too uncomfortable and I sleep okay.

*** If you recall the fiasco in the NYC Hilton charging me for those

little bags of coffee, I avoided that problem in Little Rock by having

no coffeepot in the room. Which brings me to this question?

Can you get a real cup of coffee in Little Rock?

On Thursday morning, I decided to get my 20-minute workout by walking

around Little Rock looking for a nice cup of strong, black coffee.

Never mind that it was raining. I set out, walking past the Old State

House and down what I though was one of the main streets. Broadway.

Turns out this was one of those Funky Broadways. I saw the Alpha Plasma

Center, next to the Ace Check-cashing, then the Minuteman Hamburgers.

This is known as the Arkansas Trifecta. I looked for the inevitable

liquor store that would complete the cycle, but didn’t see it. Crossing

the street, there was a bronze plaque. “On this site was erected the

first Minuteman Hamburger stand in 1947.” This must be Little Rock’s

answer to Plymouth Rock or the Alamo. Hallowed ground. I took off my

hat for a minute of reverence, then moved on. I really needed coffee.

I turned towards the big buildings. They were big enough so that you

couldn’t see their tops in the mist. No Starbucks. No Seattle’s Best.

Nothing. What about the smart people. They drink coffee. I briefly

wonder if there was a brain drain when Governor Clinton took his friends

to Washington, but I ruled that out.

Finally, I see “Your Mama’s,” but it wasn’t open. Then the Blue Plate

Special. I was their first customer of the day. One of the women there

was grinding something that looked like carrots. Yes, they were open,

and yes, they had coffee. I watched her pour the transparent brew into

my Styrofoam cup. Oh no, she said, “We ain’t got nothing like that

here,” when I asked about Starbucks. I thought briefly about following

up on her new “Wild Child” tattoo that she had screaming from her left

arm, but my discretion suddenly overcame my impulsiveness. I took my

coffee out into the rain and walked back past the hotel and down by the

riverfront. No fishermen, I noticed. In fact, I realized that I hadn’t

seen any homeless people. Maybe they took their plasma check, cashed

it, and had a Minuteman burger, then went home.

*** Before I went downstairs to meet my colleagues, the phone rang.

“Ms. Shirley?”

“No,” I said. They hung up. It rang again.

“Ms. Shirley, is that you?”


“Who is this?

“What room are you calling?”


Phone rings again. I pick it up. “Ms. Shirley?”

“Yes, Honey?” I reply.

“We’ll meet you in the lobby.”

“Okay, darling. I’ll be right down,” I say in my best Ms. Shirley



We both won.

*** Report-a-Poacher:

The Alberta Conservation Association Report A Poacher (RAP) Program and is delivered in partnership with SRD.

Report A Poacher

Created in 1990 as a community-based program, the Report A Poacher (RAP) Program provides Albertans with an opportunity to help protect Alberta’s wildlife, fisheries and the habitat in which they live by providing a toll-free phone number (1-800-642-3800) in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week to report suspected illegal activity.

In addition, RAP promotes both the value and importance of conserving Alberta’s wildlife and fisheries and a positive image of resource users.

*** Travel/Adventure/Outdoors employment opportunities:

1.) Internships, The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, Boulder, CO

2.) Adventure Guide, Highland Center, Appalachian Mountain Club, Bretton Woods, NH

The year-round Adventure Guide is responsible for the delivery of all Highland Center programs and activities as well as other specialty programs at AMC destinations. The Adventure Guide will act as an interpretive and informational resource to guests at the Highland Center, providing high-quality customer service during non-program times. The Adventure Guide will hold a leadership role in the AMC programs department, assisting in training, supervision, and evaluation of seasonal Adventure Guide staff. The Adventure Guide will report to the Adventure Programs Manager and work with fellow staff and volunteers to develop and implement high quality educational and recreational programs for guests and visitors. The position is a year round, non-exempt hourly position reporting to the Adventure Programs Manager. This position comes with a very competitive benefits package including but not limited to: paid vacation, paid holidays, retirement program, health insurance, and paid sick time. Compensation will be based on experience.


•Deliver outdoor and indoor education and/or recreation related programs in and around the Highland Center throughout the day, on topics ranging from natural and cultural history to backcountry safety and resource conservation

•Lead outdoor programs, including but not limited to: ½ day to full day and overnight hikes in the area in all types of weather.

•Deliver special programs, including but not limited to:

◦Themed weekend events at the Highland Center.

◦Family Adventure and 50+ Adventure Camp Programs

◦Holiday week premium programming during holiday vacation weeks.

◦Day long and multi-day overnight trips in the backcountry for groups.

◦Interpretive programs at the Bretton Woods Resort.

◦Teambuilding programs for groups

◦Outdoor skills programs including: map & compass, orienteering, camping, firemaking, and Leave No Trace.

◦Winter-specific programs including: Nordic ski clinics & tours, snowshoe clinics & tours, and winter camping/survival.

•Deliver short informative presentations daily to guests at breakfast and dinner.

•Assist in developing and maintaining passive educational materials, including program manuals, on-site libraries and games, self guided activities, posters and displays.

•Act as an interpretive resource for guests, visitors, volunteers, and staff when on duty.

•Prepare and submit all program reports and assignments as instructed. Cross-train in order to support other departments at the Highland Center, including front desk staff.

•Act as a leader in the Highland Center Programs Department, assisting in the training, supervision, and evaluation of seasonal staff.

•Assist with new program development, including designing weekend workshops and writing lesson plans for daily programs.

•Perform all other duties within the AMC as assigned.

Employment Standards

•At least 2 years of related program leading experience, including solid backcountry skills and experience, and demonstrated ability to lead groups in the outdoors.

•Practical and academic background in environmental education, natural history, or recreation is required.

•Strong leadership experience is required.

•Experience with curriculum or program development is required.

•Certification in WFR is required; WEMT is desirable. Ability to develop and lead all programs at all AMC destinations is required.

•Physical ability to travel to all AMC destinations in all weather conditions is required, carrying loads of up to 40 pounds in a backpack, hiking on unimproved trails.

•Strong organizational and written/verbal communication skills.

•Excellent guest service skills and a demonstrated commitment to AMC goals. W

•Willingness to work weekends, holidays, and evenings.

Benefits of Working With the AMC

The AMC offers a great benefits package! Here is a partial list that highlights some benefits offered for our regular full-time employees. Benefits may vary based on position.

•Group Health Plan, 75 percent employer paid.

•Group Life Insurance, 100 percent employer paid

•Long-Term Disability Insurance, 100 percent employer paid

•Vacation, three weeks accrued each year

•Holidays, 13 paid holidays/year

•Use of AMC Facilities, free and discounted rates

•Free AMC membership

The Appalachian Mountain Club is an Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes diversity in the workplace.

To Reply: Please send resume and cover letter to:

Sara DeLucia, Adventure Programs Manager

Highland Center at Crawford Notch

Route 302 Bretton Woods, NH 03575

603-278-3827 email:

3.) Caretaker Vacancies on the Appalachian Trail in Maine, Maine Appalachian Trail Club

Piazza Rock

Gulf Hagas


Horn's Pond

Caretaker Job Description:

To teach Leave No Trace principles to groups and individuals

To model and promote environmentally sensitive practices to the hikers on the AT

To manage high use camping sites on the AT

Specifically, the Caretaker will:

Live at camp sites near the AT

Meet, greet, register and provide information to hikers on the Appalachian Trail

Impart Leave No Trace information on backcountry practices on where to camp, how to protect water sources, water treatment, dish washing, fire regulations, etc.

Deliver educational presentations at campsites to hiking groups

Maintain a composting privy system and general site maintenance

Ridge run – hike north and south of the caretaker’s camp site on overnight trips – to perform the same tasks at other areas


A desire to teach Leave No Trace knowledge, skills and ethics

Responsible and enthusiastic individual with backpacking experience

Excellent communication and people skills

Good physical condition – able to hike with a 40 lb. backpack

Desire to live and work outside

Comfortable working and living alone

Reliable transportation and own arrangements for days-off housing

Dates: The position’s start dates vary from late May until early July. The end dates vary from early September to mid-October. Caretakers and Ridgerunners work either 10 days on/4 days off or 5 days on/2 days off. All positions work on weekends and holidays, days off are mid-week.

The MATC is a volunteer, not-for-profit, public service organization responsible for management, maintenance and protection of the Appalachian Trail in Maine.

Pay: Ranges from $10-$12/hour depending upon experience. Back packing and camping gear are provided for the season.

To Apply: Send your resume, cover letter and references to: Bill Millis/421 Azalea Lane Sidney/ME/04330; or by email to; phone (207) 465-7038. Applications accepted until the positions are filled with preference given to those received by January 15, 2010.

Winter employment, National Park Service, various locations

Winter employment with the National Park Service offers opportunities in the Western, Southwestern, Midwestern, Southeastern, and Mid -Atlantic regions, which all have active winter seasons. Among the parks offering wintertime employment are Death Valley, the Everglades, Joshua Tree, and the Virgin Islands.

4.) Communications Coordinator, Alberta Conservation Association, Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada

5.) Roving Ranger, Baxter Park Campground, Baxter State Park, The State of Maine, Millinocket, ME

Scope of Work

This is maintenance, public relations and personal services work responsible for meeting the public and performing various tasks necessary to properly maintain and protect land, buildings, facilities and the natural resources within Baxter State Park at a specific campground, gatehouse, visitor center or surrounding areas. A person in this position will provide flexible and instant coverage for personnel who have illness, medical appointments, family scheduling conflicts – personnel who resign mid-summer to accept other positions, full-time employment or are terminated.

Typical Duties

Cleans toilets, patrols for litter.

Performs minor and routine maintenance on campground facilities.

Assists campers to find assigned sites.

Collects visitor use fees and accounts for same.

Patrols trails in vicinity of campground.

Trains/supervises other employees in connection with the operation of the campground.

Prepares facilities in the spring for season.

Drains water lines, puts shutters on for winter.

Assists visitors in deciding appropriate activities.

Assists Baxter Park Ranger I in other functions as assigned.

Assists in search and rescue operations and fire suppression.

Required Knowledge and Abilities

Considerable training and knowledge of people/resource management.

Considerable experience in camping, fishing, hiking, backpacking and other pedestrian recreational activities.

Ability to perform manual labor tasks, such as splitting and stacking wood, carrying injured persons in difficult terrain.

Ability to communicate effectively with Park visitor and fellow employees.

Ability to learn the use of a two-way radio system.

Ability to learn minor repair and maintenance procedures.

Ability to evaluate information from visitors in order to recommend appropriate recreational activities.

Knowledge of recreational opportunities and facilities in Baxter Park.

Knowledge of and familiarity with equipment required for different recreational activities in Baxter Park.

Ability to hike.

Knowledge of first-aid procedures.

Minimum Qualifications

High school diploma or equivalent and one (1) year experience in park maintenance and operation or equivalent.

Preferred Qualifications

Three years/seasons of training/education/experience in recreation management or related field; AND one season of practical work experience in the operation of a wilderness recreation facility; AND considerable work experience which involved significant direct contact with the public.

Housing Information

Housing consisting of a primitive log cabin which is provided at no cost to the employee, which will be shared with other employees, staff and occasional volunteers, and which may or may not be at the actual work site. The employee furnishes his/her own food and propane. (Propane available through the Park.)

JOB CODE: 9425


SALARY: Hourly: $10.74 Bi-Weekly: $859.20 (Effective July 1, 2006)

Value of State-Paid Health and Dental Insurance: $310.74 bi-weekly.

Value of State's Share of Employee's Retirement: 18.54% of base pay.

Get an Application (PDF- requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Supplemental Questionnaire-required with Application (HTML)

The State of Maine does not discriminate against individuals with disabilities in the provision of services, programs, activities, or in employment. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), any qualified individual with a disability is eligible to participate in or benefit from any service, program or activity provided by the State, or any of its departments or divisions. Likewise, the ADA requires equal employment opportunities for qualified individuals with disabilities.

Minorities encouraged to apply. Baxter State Park is an equal opportunity employer.

Send your application to:

Baxter State Park

Attn: Human Resources

64 Balsam Drive

Millinocket, ME 04462


6.) Membership & Development Director, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, Mahwah, NJ

7.) International Affairs Specialist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department Of The Interior, Arlington, VA

8.) Forestry Technician (hotshot/handcrew), USDA Forest Service, AUGUSTA SPRINGS, VA;jsessionid=a13a53d930d521b960feedd24ccfbe1881312af560e3.e38PaNaKcheMbi0Ma3yTaxiLa34Pe0?vacancyIds=220164589

9.) Executive Director, Massachusetts Association of Conservation Districts, Massachusetts

10.) Field Team Leader (14 positions), Northwest Service Academy – Mt Adams Center, Trout Lake, WA

NWSA Mission: This position is in partnership with the Northwest Service Academy (NWSA), an AmeriCorps program of ESD112. NWSA's mission is to preserve and restore the natural environment, and to develop community leaders through service and community partnerships.

Project Location: 2453 Hwy 141, Trout Lake, WA 98650

Position Summary: The Field Team Leader position is often described as the hardest job you will ever love. It requires the ability to work well with people, the aptitude to learn and teach new skills and the willingness to put the needs of the group ahead of your own. The Mt. Adams Center (MAC) employs a co-leader model with 2 leaders on every 6-person team. Leaders are responsible for creating a strong and collaborative team that can complete projects in a safe and efficient manner.

Leaders must be able to communicate well and be capable of creating respectful relationships with peers. Given that teams live and work together for the duration of the season, Leaders must also be able to uphold the standards of the program at all times and separate their personal lives from the professional.

This position is an opportunity for personal and professional growth. The initial 3 months of the program is dedicated to training and preparation for the main project season (Jun-Oct). Leaders participate in trainings on Wilderness Advanced First Aid, defensive driving, outdoor living skills, team management and professional communication. 6 weeks of the training will be spent in California gaining trail construction and maintenance skills. By the end of training, Leaders will be assigned a partner and a project site for the season. The next 6 months of service include member training, implementing projects and providing oversight. During this period the teams will operate independently from the MAC.

Team Summary: Mt. Adams field teams are composed of four members and two Team Leaders. Teams will be engaged primarily in trail restoration and construction projects but may also participate in additional projects which may include campground maintenance, native habitat restoration and forest fuel reduction. Teams work and travel throughout Washington, Oregon and California over the course of their term. Successful leaders enter the program with an open mind and eagerness to learn. Below are examples of field teams (all teams are subject to change for the 2010 season):

The Pacific Crest Trail Team works from northern California to northern Washington doing trail work exclusively on the PCT. Throughout the season, the team hosts volunteers and work with them on the trail.

The Mt. Hood Team works in the Zig Zag Ranger District of the Mt. Hood National Forest. The team lives in a historic Forest Service cabin and works on a variety of trails in a front country setting.

The Gifford Pinchot (GP) Team splits its time working on the Pacific Crest Trail and its feeder trails in both the Mt Adams District and the Cowlitz District of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Residential Summary: Teams are either based out of the Mt. Adams Center in Trout Lake, Washington or at other satellite locations. Satellite teams will spend the majority of their term away from the Mt Adams Center, either camping at project sites for weeks at a time or living in housing located near their project site for the entire term. These teams may stay at the Mt Adams Center intermittently during training days or between projects. All team members assist with residential chores such as meal preparation, cleaning and recycling, both at the center and at camping sites.

General Responsibilities (to include, but not limited to):

1. Provide leadership and direction while serving alongside team members on projects.

2. Serve as a vital communication link between the Mt. Adams Center staff, project sponsors and field team members.

3. Troubleshoot logistical and personnel challenges with the support of the Mt. Adams Center staff.

4. Coordinate project and spike camp logistics with the support of the Mt. Adams Center staff.

5. Organize project related paperwork, including time sheets, project reports and receipts.

6. Encourage and empower team members' personal and professional growth through their service and member development activities.

7. Communicate program policies and procedures to members as needed and assist with program evaluation and development.

8. Facilitate and participate in regular meetings and trainings with team members and Mt. Adams Center staff.

9. Promote a sense of community, collaboration and cohesion among team members.

10. Develop, participate in, and motivate a diverse, hardworking team.

11. Assist in the planning and coordination of Mt. Adams Center events and service days.

12. Analyze projects and train members in appropriate safety practices.

13. Assist with residential chores such as meal preparation, cleaning and recycling, both at the center and at camping sites.

14. Complete and submit all necessary NWSA/AmeriCorps paperwork and reports in a timely manner.

15. Attend and complete all NWSA/AmeriCorps training and service requirements including orientation, trainings, team meetings and national service days.

16. Wear an NWSA uniform and/or appropriate identifiers and required safety gear while performing service or attending official events.

Position Requirements:

1. Capable of handling physical nature of the projects, from lifting up to 50 pounds to working on your feet outdoors in rugged terrain for 8+ hours a day.

2. Capable of safely driving a four-wheel drive vehicle.

3. Ability to work, communicate and interact well with people of various populations in a positive professional manner.

4. Open minded and eager to learn and teach a wide array of skills and procedures.

5. Participate in all aspects of the residential program, including living at the established site(s), completing household chores and helping create a positive, healthy living environment.

6. 21 years of age or older, at beginning of service term.

7. U.S. citizen, national or lawful permanent resident.

8. Possession of a high school diploma or equivalent, or commit to earning one prior to receiving an education award.

9. Ability to commit to the full term of service for which they are applying.

10. Must successfully pass a fingerprint criminal history background check provided through NWSA and/or Project Sponsor Agency.

11. Regular and reliable attendance.

12. Have not previously served two terms in an AmeriCorps*State or National program. Members may serve up to three terms in a National Service Program, but only two terms may be within an AmeriCorps*State or National program. Members are only eligible for an education award for their first two terms of service, regardless of the type of term (full or part-time) and regardless of the successful completion of that term.

Preferred Qualifications:

1. Valid driver's license, with a clean driving record.

2. Demonstrated leadership ability.

3. Evidence of successful experience with similar programs and/or job functions. These may include: working with groups of youth or adults, facilitating programs of outdoor education, recreation, experiential learning, volunteer service or environmental issues.

4. Demonstrated ability to work with diverse groups of people.

5. Desire to gain outdoor recreation and leadership skills.

6. Highly motivated self starter.

7. Personal/professional experience in backcountry wilderness travel.

Member Benefits Include:

1. A total taxable living allowance (before taxes) of $11,400. Please note: each month a program fee of $476.00 is deducted from this amount to cover food, training and field trip expenses.

2. Upon successful completion of a term of service, eligible members/leaders receive an education award of $4,725.

The education award can be used to repay qualified student loans, for further education in an accredited institution of higher learning, vocational or trade schools. The education award is taxed in the year that it is used.

3. Loan forbearance (after successful completion of a term of service, AmeriCorps will pay the accrued interest on qualified loans, which is taxable).

4. Basic medical insurance (covers members only, not dependents; vision and dental not included).

5. Child care allowance for those who qualify.

6. Residential living accommodations are provided for this position, which may include bunkhouses, Forest Service housing, and front and backcountry campsites.

7. Wilderness Advanced First Aid Certification.

8. Chain saw Certification (class A and B).

9. Pro-deals on outdoor gear.

Transportation Information:

1. Organizational vehicle is available for service activities.

How to apply:

Step 1 – Complete your application in one of the following two ways:

Online at the AmeriCorps website AmeriCorps Application

If you do not already have a username and password, you must Create A Profile

-Once you have logged in, create an application by clicking “Applications” under the “My AmeriCorps” menu.

-To apply to this specific position, click “Search Listings” under the “My AmeriCorps” menu and search for program name Northwest Service Academy-MAC.

-Select the position listing and click “Apply Now” at the bottom of the page.

Step 2 – Send resume and cover letter to Amanda Green at

Questions? Contact Amanda Green at 509-395-3465.

For more information please visit

Application Deadline: Will occur as qualified applications are received.

NWSA Center: Mt. Adams Center

Interviews: Will interview as qualified applications are received.

Type of position: Field Team Leader

Service Dates: February 22, 2010 – November 22, 2010

Length of Term: 1700 hours

“A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles”

– Tim Cahill

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