Think you’re leaving no trace? Here’s something you might have missed

How cleaning your gear can prevent the spread of pests.

When backpacking in alpine environments, or anywhere for that matter, I’m a stickler for following Leave No Trace principles. Let me rephrase that, I’m a pain in the bottom about it. Yet until recently, I didn’t realize I was inadvertently violating one of those principles – Leave What You Find. I’ll explain. There is a […]






Orlando Wetlands Park: Trails, wildlife, and wastewater treatment

Orlando Wetlands Park-1

The first time I hiked at the Orlando Wetlands Park it didn’t fully sink in that the area was actually a 1,220-acre wastewater treatment project. I mean, it’s absolutely gorgeous and full of wildlife. This visit, I grew more curious as I noticed culverts directing water flow from section to section. In another area, I […]






Cantona Archaeological Site, Puebla, Mexico

Overlooking the ruins from the top of a temple. Note the unexcavated sections beyond the walls.

Treading silently along ancient roads where 80,000 people once passed engaged my imagination. I pictured the streets full of people going about their daily routines, never thinking their home would later be abandoned, encased in centuries of accumulated soil and plant growth. Cantona, a Mesoamerican archaeological site located roughly 58 miles from the city of […]






Robert Redford speaks on sustainable tourism at WTTC Americas Summit

Robert Redford and Chris Graves

It’s a viscous circle. Tourists seek unspoiled destinations but then threaten the very places they enjoy. Sustainable tourism is more than a public relations buzz-word, it’s industry survival. Celebrated actor, director and environmentalist Robert Redford, brought star power to this important issue at the recent Word Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Americas Summit. “Tourism is […]






Muddy TAG cavers support conservation

Photo-op in Limrock Blowing Cave

“Fire, fire, fire…,” chants the crowd, as a longhaired man wearing bat-print pajama bottoms launches a flaming arrow into the 20-foot tall bonfire. It lights with a loud ka-thump! About then, another lovely fellow wearing a red ball gown and blond wig allows me to take some glamour-shots of him before moving on into the […]






A close encounter with Florida’s manatees

Florida Manatee Swimming

As I slipped into the water, the cold took my breath away, but soon the wetsuit did its job and I felt better. At first, I couldn’t see anything due to disturbed silt, but then a large form materialized in front of me and there I was, just feet from an adult manatee. I stopped […]






Exploring natural Florida at Babcock Wilderness Reserve

Bus at Babcock Ranch

I’m exploring Charlotte County, Florida, this week thanks to the Charlotte Harbor Visitors and Convention Bureau. The reason I am so interested in this area is that it offers abundant adventure travel options. Our focus during this trip is birding and eco-tourism.  Today we visited the 90,000-acre Babcock Wilderness Preserve via a converted school bus run […]






Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo: Committed to conservation

Shoebill Stork Family

“We only exhibit animals that thrive in Florida’s climate,” explained Jason Davis, the Lowry Park Zoo’s marketing manager. “We also try to display only animals that need our protection, rather than just pleasing the public.” This zoo excels at serving the needs of animals, and in the process, it delights spectators as well.  In 2009, […]






One Day, Three Florida Springs

Diver in Devil's Den

Flowing under much of Florida is a subterranean river.  It is our water supply and the source of over 700 springs dotting the landscape.  Some of the springs feed large rivers such as the Rainbow River and the Wakulla.  Others are little more than small pools.  Occasionally springs connect to the underground aquifer via passages […]






Slippery When Wet – Caving TAG

Rappelling into Signal Light Cave

Enjoy this post on my favorite adventure sport, caving….   Flat on my belly, I was laying in an underground puddle trying to push myself under a collection of stalactites without causing damage.  The icy water soaked my coveralls and made the going easier. I think the saying is, “slippery when wet.”  Using my toes […]