Asheville, Whitewater Rafting

The free-flowing French Broad River that winds its way through the scenic Pisgah National Forest in Asheville is recognized as one of the most exciting white­water destinations in the country.

River currents range from easily navigated Class II – which are suitable for beginners – to thunderous Class IV whitewater – recommended for experienced rafters only.

And you don’t have to bring a thing to get in on the action. Local outfitters can set you up with rafts, instruction and experienced guides for an excursion that is appropriate for every generation of your party.

Tucson, Arizona

TUCSON Arizona: Experience uniquely Southwestern vistas

Tucson’s geography is a postcard image of cacti forests; rolling hills, and awe-inspiring mountains. Experience this phenomenal scenery at Saguaro National Park, home to the most recognizable cactus in the world-the majestic saguaro. You can choose a leisurely drive on one of the park’s scenic loops or see the park on foot. There are more than 150 miles of hiking trails, ranging from flat and easy strolls in the Sonoran Desert to steep and rugged hikes into the Rincon Mountains. Along the way, you have plenty of places to get out of the car and explore, whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just a casual walker.

Blue Ridge – Finding The Best Of The Fall Colors

Fall is the season when the Blue Ridge attracts the most atten­tion. Travelers, nature writers, photographers, and artists come to enjoy the visual display created by hardwood leaves changing from summer green to autumn gold, red, and orange in North Carolina and Virginia. Visiting here in the peak of the fall color season is a sight that few fail to appreciate.

Finding the right “window” of time and the perfect spot can perhaps be nothing more than good fortune, but keeping a few things in mind and exer­cising some patience can increase anyone’s chances of seeing the Blue Ridge in its autumn glory. Typically, the Parkway experiences the much anticipated change in fall foliage around the middle of October. Some years the color comes a bit early and other years it may be delayed a week or so. Many factors contribute to variations in when and where colors will peak, with moisture throughout the year and the colder temperatures being key factors.

The Parkway is 469 miles north to south and varies over 5,000 feet in elevation. The best plan for witnessing fall color is to drive some distance on the Parkway, changing elevations and north-south orientation. As is always the case with outdoor viewing, early morning or late afternoon light tends to bring contrasts of shadows that will brighten colors.

Whether you come to the Blue Ridge with camera, palette and brush, or simply to take in the richness from an overlook, a little planning and patience in mid to late October will yield at least some of the pretty color that we’re famous for.