Top 5 Spring Travel Destinations with Jeffrey Thrope
Jeff Thrope of outdoor lifestyle blog, Cold Splinters, is always on the road. His adoration for the outdoors has made him the avid hiker and camper he is today. For those in need of some Spring destination inspiration, look no further.
1) Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
There’s no shortage of outdoor things to do near-ish Brooklyn, but one of my favorite places in the area is the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Two hours in my car and I’m floating down a river in a canoe, staring at swooping bald eagles and spending the night on backcountry riverside campsites that are only accessible by boat. Spring is a great time to go as the crowds are smaller and it’s not blazing hot all day long. Though blazing hot is okay by me too.
2) Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
I went to college out in Colorado, not too far from Estes and Rocky Mountain National Park, so it’s safe to say that I’ve spent more time in that park than any other in the United States. It’d be impossible for me to omit it from any travel destination list, so here it lies. ROMO is as impressive as it gets, and at only two hours from DIA, it’s not a difficult task to get into the backcountry. If you’ll be climbing Longs in the spring, make sure to bring your ice tools.
3) Mojave Wildflowers
You have to plan this one right, but the early spring wildflowers in the Mojave are just about the most beautiful thing that our national parks have to offer. Sure, there are a few of you out there that might not agree with that sentiment, but I’ve always had a mild to strenuous obsession with desert flora. Spring in the Mojave really is the Great Show. Good thing I live in Brooklyn, right?
4) The AT
Since moving out east a few moons past, a large majority of my camping experiences have been spent in lean-tos on the Appalachian Trail. I haven’t hiked the entire things, but I’ve spent many days walking on that good ol’ White Blaze in North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. I don’t spend too much time on the trail during the winter months, so for me, the beginning of spring means AT season. If you’re living out east, you can’t be too far from the trail at any point, so grab your boots and get on it. And if you can remember, bring a couple boxes of Boston Baked Beans for the thru-hikers.
5) Tucson, AZ + Organ Pipe National Monument (Burrito)
Another Desert Rat excursion. Organ Pipes National Monument holds a very special place in my heart. I’ve been there several times, once by myself over Christmas vacation, which, I’ll tell you, was an extremely bizarre and lonely (the good kind) experience. The park is located on the border of Arizona and Mexico, so needless to say, it’s OUT THERE. And on the dangerous side. The park’s namesake, those towering organ pipe cactuses, have a lot of secrets to tell, so keep your eyes and ears open as the sun is coming up.
**Fly into Tucson, grab a car, and drive straight to Tania’s 33 before heading to the park. Eat a burrito and buy some extra homemade flour tortillas for your camping trip.
BONUS – Costa Rica
Is Costa Rica a cliche at this point? I know so many people who go there for vacation these days, so I suppose there’s something real special going on down there in Central America. I’ve been dying to get back there after spending a little time around Manuel Antonio a few years back. I didn’t get to explore the Monteverde Cloud Forest up north, and after this gray winter, my heart is set on a tropical camping adventure. And when the camping is done? Head to the beach for a few days with a few Imperials, a sack of rice and beans and a bucket of avocados.