African experiences in the wildWritten by Dirk Wessels
I love nature and being outdoors and have had a couple of interesting experiences in South Africa. My South African friends seem to find my stories pretty interesting and even so much more people I have met in Australia and other countries, so I thought Iíd put some of my experiences to paper.
Hyenas in Transkei
A friend and I went to Transkei years ago with intention of catching some fish for my marine fish tank. On arrival at Hluleka game reserve my friend took out beers and I went for a walk to see where I could snorkel. I found a little footpath running along side coast and just followed it for a couple of hours. I walked past a small waterhole, but there were no animals around and I did not give it a second thought. Eventually I realized that it was getting late, so I ventured on back to camp. By time I got back to water hole, it was starting to get dark and as I passed a couple of trees with water hole behind them, I got a sudden chill. It was strange because I donít believe I had seen anything yet, but I felt something was wrong. As I looked more closely into these trees, I noticed a blou wildebeest standing a couple of meters from me staring right at me. The only thing I could think was to continue as if nothing was wrong, so I kept on walking only to get a full view of water hole, which was now surrounded by animals. For most part it was a herd of blou wildebeest and a couple of buck/deer. But there were also a couple of hyenas on hill on other side of water hole and they seemed to be running towards me with their heads high in air. Every story I had heard about hyenas said that they are cowards, but Iíd also heard that they have second strongest set of jaws in world and I was not happy with them running towards me. Nonetheless, I knew that I was still a long way from camp and only thing I could do was to keep on walking, which I did with a renewed sense of urgency. Well, it only took a couple of steps before hyenas were right behind me. I donít think they ever came too close to me, though at time it felt like they were on my heels, and I also think they probably turned around after a couple of meters. But this did not help me, I had heard that you should not turn your back on hyenas, so for rest of way back to camp I continued turning around every few seconds to see if hyenas were still around. I got back to bungalow some time after 9:00pm and was truly exhausted from walking in bush in dark while trying to look behind me all time. My friend, sitting in his jocks with a beer in hand, was furious that I was away for so long and left him all alone in bungalow. Funny thing, coz I was pretty furious that he never told game ranger that I had been gone for more than 6 hours!! Needless to say, rest of weekend was spent in and around bungalow, drinking beer and eating crayfish!!
Arizona In All Its Colorful GloryWritten by Alicia Bankford
Arizona is one of most colorful places to vacation. Between enchanting sunrises and sunsets and colorful fields, pine forests with ever-changing climates and moutain ranges that seem to change colors by minute, it is art for eye.
There is much to do in Arizona. Vacation activities include golfing in world class courses, hiking, canoeing, and trout fishing. There are even areas where temperature is such that you can water ski and snow ski in same day.
A neat spot to sight see is Apache Trail, which was initially built in 1930s to support development of dams built by Salt River. The drive is a loop drive of 80 miles that is partially dirt. This section provides most amazing views of mountains with dense forestry. Along way, you will go by Fish Creek Canyon. RV companies do not allow their vehicles to be driven on this drive due to way road hangs on side of a very narrow, steep canyon.
Other destinations on Apache Trail are Goldfield Mining Town, which is a re-creation of an old west ghost town that was active over a hundred years ago. The Mammoth Mine produced three million dollars worth of gold in mining years between 1892 - 1896.
Park lovers will love The Lost Dutchman State Park for exploring mountains and hiking nature trails. There are a limited number of campsites and picnic facilities.