Travel Tales From North America
Steve Grace shares his tale of early wanderlust that drew him to explore America. An integral member of the Grasshopper Adventures team, he has drawn on these experiences to inspire his design of our North American tours. Read on for what awaits while exploring North America, a home rediscovered.
I started wandering North America in high school; biking, hiking and thumbing my way across the U.S. and Canada at every opportunity, learning to climb, kayak and camp the old-fashioned way; one mistake at a time.
School breaks found me out the door with a map and backpack, heading off on a new compass point. One of seven kids, my mom offered a long leash. In return, I promised a postcard every week. Looking back at those times I cherish her faith in me to travel alone and return safely. Back in St. Louis she loved hearing my stories at dinner and was ever curious what I planned for the next school break. There truly was no place like home.
Schooner Head, Acadia National Park, Maine [Photo credit: Visit Maine]
As we are all aware, the Covid pandemic has interrupted travel, perhaps nowhere more so than Asia. To fill the void and keep our teams doing what they love best, Adam and I have returned to our roots. New tours are coming to Australia and I agreed to help design a few North American programs; for starters Alaska & the Yukon, Maine and the southern tip of Florida.
Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska
Alaska & The Yukon
My daughter Perrie and I spent an adventurous few weeks in Alaska exploring the inland passage above Juneau. At the time she was 12, I was early 50s; father/daughter bonding at it’s best. I’ve also wanted to return to explore new territory, the inspiration for the tour.
Our Alaska & Yukon program cycles the route of the Gold Rush, canoes the Yukon River and offers an optional day kayaking to the face of Mendenhall Glacier. Along the way we’ll introduce you to some of the characters who call ‘the last frontier’ home.
We’ve included lots of activity on the tour but it’s all do-able. Truth be told you’ll be catching your breath more for the scenery and the Northern Lights, You might need middle-of-the-night wake up call for a clear viewing but it’s so worth it.
Camden Harbor, Maine [photo credit: Visit Maine]
My first trip to Maine convinced me I should one day live aboard a sailboat. Nice to have friends with boats, as I had never experienced such a dramatic setting and being on the water only heightened the sensation.
Inspired by a coastline as beautiful as any in the world, our tour includes 4 days of cycling, kayaking a secluded bay, a short hike to an iconic peak and a sunset cruise on a classic schooner. Maine language lessons optional!
I kept the promise and spent a year on a retired yacht in Redondo Beach, California, the weather a bit easier to take. Tight quarters, noisy seagulls and a friendly harbor seal made for an interesting housing sabbatical. Looking ahead, I’m long overdue to revisit Maine and relive those earlier adventures.
Dry Tortuga National Park, Florida
And finally, Florida.
A phone call with my cousin in Miami convinced me that we ‘must’ include the Everglades and Key West our inaugural year. Within days I was introduced to artists and naturalists and quickly understood the reasons why Florida fit the Grasshopper mold.
Our Everglades, Key West & Dry Tortuga itinerary connects America’s most remarkable ecosystem, an iconic town reached by cycling over the sea and an island National Park of coral reefs that will leave you spellbound. The tour departs from our normal pattern of point to point cycling by taking advantage, is led by an expert naturalist and includes some unusual and exciting means of transportation.
There is so much to see and learn it’s amazing we fit it all into five days! And if we all behave, my cousin and her family in Coconut Grove just may invite us for a drink.
North America, we’re coming home.