Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dream Trip Photo Prompt - Espanol Edition

I've been more picky about responding to various writing prompts around the interwebs, but this was one was too easy.  I love to travel.  I'm only limited by time off and liquid capital in the pursuit of exotic places.  There are lots of places I'd like to go.  But only a few where I'd really be living the dream.  Those are:

1. Laguna Madre, Mexico
2. NW Costa Rica
3. Peru

Fly fishing the Laguna Madre.  Photo from lagunamadre.net

It's worth noting that I have been to one of those three places, am very close (another year or two) to traveling to another (if I don't balk, and travel back to the one I've already visited), and am nowhere near in good enough shape (physically, mentally, or financially) to visit and truly enjoy the third.

Ahhh, let's start in Costa Rica.  I've been. I loved it.  It was wonderful.  The fishing was pretty good.  The surfing was better.  The people were wonderful, as long as you attempted to speak to them in Spanish.  The women were beautiful. The beer was cheap, and the seafood was fresh, although the food was not as spicy as I might have preferred.  And according to the guys who had been visiting for decades "it's ruined."  Yeah right.  Try living in the Mid-Atlantic for a few years.  I am so glad I went.
                                                                    Me, at sunset, waiting for one last wave at Reef el Estero, NW CR

Next is Laguna Madre Sur, which is a very salty estuary that spans from South Padre Island far down into Mexico, finally emptying into the Gulf at Rio Soto la Marina.  The best way to describe this area's potential awesomeness as an outdoors dream trip is to mention that 50% of Texas' commercial fish come from this area, which, according to USGS, winters over 75% of the world's redhead ducks.  Inland, the largemouth fishing and quail hunting are absolutely legendary as well. 

Laguna Madre is recognized as an internationally significant wetland system and one of the most important bird habitats in the world.  Six years ago, the Mexican government protected the land (1.4 million acres of it) as a preserve. Yeah, I guess it's worth visiting.  My plans to visit there over the last few years have been chilled, to say the least, by the ongoing drug war in northern Mexico.  Hopefully they get that straightened out for their own sake.

Eventually I will make this trip.  I don't imagine it'll be vastly different from visiting Florida, the Carribean, or even coastal North Carolina,, other than the sheer remoteness.  And hopefully the excellent tequila.

Finally, my dream/nightmare trip.  The one that stands as an obstacle in so many ways right now.  It's so remote, and so far from home, that I refuse to go unless I'm sure I will enjoy it - for all that it is.  Peru.

Photo from Surf Peru

Peru is not messing around.  Peru is not laying around in an all-inclusive resort, waiting for your surfing/hunting/fishing guide to knock on your door when they have found conditions that will meet your exacting requirements. Peru, like Chile and Argentina, would love for you to come visit and find it yourself.
Peru's coldwater volcanic reefs make for some of the most consistent and reliable waves in the world,  But they are not warm, and the wind blows all the time.  Peru offers some of the world's most sacred places, like Machu Picchu, but it's either a 3 day hike or a day-long bus ride to get there. And a flatlander like me wouldn't have any trouble hiking to Cuzco, the Inca capitol, since it's merely 11,100 feet above sea level.  About 500 miles south of the Peru/Chile border lies Easter Island, a sub-destination of my dreams. 500 miles south but over 1000 miles offshore.  I probably don't have to mention that the cold waters of the Southeastern Pacific make for some insane fishing.

Yup. Peru would be the trip of a lifetime.  And in my current state, it might be the last trip of my lifetime, since I would probably not survive it, or at best, would end up like one of those Locked Up Abroad episodes when I run out of money halfway through my trip, and offer to mule 20lbs of gold, which of course turns into 90lbs of weaponized uranium, through security and customs at the airport.  Oh well!

Photo by Calderon de la Bruja

Sometimes, maybe it's good to think of dreams as being dreams.  What would really be so wrong with going back to Costa Rica (yes, that's me!)........

Or tackling some small waves in English-speaking Jamaica?
photo: John Pool 

Or perhaps fishing and surfing the also-quite-English Eleuthera, Bahamas?

The fact is this: any place can be your dream destination if it gets you those things that you've been longing for.  For me, it's warm air, "not freezing" water, and the opportunity to get out and pursue the outdoors in places where I am not limited by parking, work hours, beach tags, and 5am boat ramp backups.  Places where I can focus on being alive and noticing all the beautiful things around me.  What about you? Where's your dream destination?



Wow...too many beautiful places listed! It is hard to pick just one...Nice write up!

Unknown said...

Nice surfing skills! I'm jealous. Those are some great places. Peru is deffinitely on my list.

Kirk Mantay said...

RD - it was hard to not get carried away!

D - I have (had) my days. For several years there (roughly 1998 - 2004), a spectator would mistakenly think that I was skilled at surfing. Doubt that's the case anymore!

No Video Content For You

Over 12 years ago, I started this blog. There were very few conservation or outdoor blogs at the time, few websites with fast-breaking con...