Trail Talk Blog

For Public Consumption

In this age of social media, with millions of people posting their innermost thoughts on Twitter or Facebook, in blogs, or some other internet outlet daily, we tend to think that writing for mass public consumption is something new. So I was somewhat startled to hear recently that Abraham Lincoln’s… read more >

Hiding in Plain Sight

People are funny. You can quote me on that if you’d like. As a travel professional I have frequent opportunities to indulge my passion for people-watching as I mingle with visitors at America’s great natural wonders and attractions. It’s both enlightening and useful. It can also be frustrating. The misconceptions… read more >

New Year’s Open House

The custom of paying New Year’s calls originated in New York, or as it was then styled, New Amsterdam, where the Dutch held open house on New Year’s Day and served cherry bounce, olykoeks [doughnuts] steeped in rum, cookies, and honey cakes. (Notice that these treats are all sweet, not… read more >

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I have been writing a regular monthly blog now for the past four years. It has been both challenging and rewarding. But it is also time-consuming, and as I so often protest, I am a tour operator, not a professional blogger. If my writings produce more business for my tour… read more >

History Lite

If you have ever surfed the upper reaches of the cable channels in desperate search of semi-literate diversion, you have probably run into the numerous channels which seem to be determinedly devoted to “history lite”. You know the ones I’m talking about. They feature shows called “Ten things you didn’t know… read more >

The Day I Climbed Spirit Mound

I should probably preface this by stating that “climbed” is a definite overstatement of what I did last August.  More accurately, I “strolled”, or maybe even “ambled”.  Spirit Mound is not exactly Mount Everest.  No climbing gear was involved, no harnesses, no spiked boots, no rappeling ropes, not even a… read more >

Circling the Wagons

At a recent history conference I learned – among other things – that the stereotypical movie depiction of circling the wagons against an imminent Indian attack (a plot device used in countless Hollywood movies and TV westerns), originated not on the Oregon Trail but with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show…. read more >

Following the Lewis & Clark Trail

I have been leading modern-day explorers over the Lewis & Clark Trail more or less regularly since 1997, and as you read this I have embarked with another enthusiastic group on our own great journey west. As I prepared for this year’s expedition and found myself growing more and more… read more >

Deer Trails

There are well-worn deer trails in my back yard. For some reason it’s important to me that as I look out beyond my deck – although I’m not exactly in the country – it’s not the city either. One side of my wraparound deck overlooks a large valley dotted with… read more >

Can Money Buy Happiness?

Confucius didn’t think so. Neither did Gandhi nor Mother Teresa. Of course, taking a vow of poverty kind of takes money out of the equation. (Confucius didn’t actually take any vows of poverty that we know of, but as a teacher he probably still qualifies.) My point is that it’s… read more >

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Happy Trails!