Taxonomy term

kathrina szymborski

Travels in Geology: Adventuring in upstate New York and remembering a life cut short

Adam and I splashed through the water to avoid the pricker bushes along the banks of the East Branch Mohawk River. The water was frigid — it was late in the fall. We were hiking about a kilometer from Adam’s family’s cabin in New York’s Finger Lakes region, in search of a cascade spilling from the surrounding hills. Adam promised that the waterfall was just around the next bend, as he’d done already five times that morning. “Wait up!” I yelled as I bent over to pick a rock out of the water. “I found another fossil!”

30 Apr 2013

Getting There and Getting Around New York

The Adirondack and Finger Lakes region is roughly equidistant from New York City, Montreal and Boston. By far the most scenic way to get there from New York City is by train. The northbound Amtrak from New York City follows the Hudson River at least until Albany. From there, some routes continue toward Montreal and others veer westward toward Rochester. If you snag a window seat on the left side of the train, you can spot waterfalls and birds of prey through your window. There are daily trains between New York and Montreal; trains from Boston, however, require a nonsensical transfer in New York.

 
30 Apr 2013

The Skeleton Coast

The Skeleton Coast, part of the Namib Desert, is named for the whale bones and the hundreds of broken ships that litter its beaches. Many a sailor lost his life after being run aground in the Skeleton Coast’s thick fog. Those who made it to land often succumbed to starvation and exposure in the coast’s harsh climate. 

 
06 Nov 2012

Getting There and Getting Around Namibia

The best time to visit Namibia is in the dry season, from April to December. In particular, the dry season offers the best game-viewing in Etosha National Park. Water scarcity draws the animals to the park’s springs.

 
06 Nov 2012

Travels in Geology: The desert geology of Namibia: A writer and her father explore otherworldly dunes, oases and meteorites

Any minute now a giant sandworm will burst out of the ground and devour me, I thought as I collapsed on the sand. Just like in Frank Herbert’s book, “Dune,” about an alien desert planet. 

06 Nov 2012

Visiting Virunga's gorillas

Every day, Virunga rangers bring up to eight visitors to see one of six semi-habituated gorilla families. Hikers stumble through dense jungle along a narrow path forged with machetes, warding off excruciating fire ant attacks and trying to avoid stinging nettle. My traveling companion Frances can attest to the horror of the fire ants. When we visited the gorillas after hiking the volcano, she stepped on an ant mound. It took three of us 20 minutes to pick off all the ants, some an inch long with pincers up to a third the length of their bodies. Some East African communities, including the Maasai in Kenya and Tanzania, use them as natural sutures.

 
04 Feb 2012

Getting There and Getting Around Africa

Virunga National Park may be more easily accessed from neighboring Rwanda. It is quite difficult to travel around the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and there are fewer reliable flights into Congo than into Rwanda, where carriers from all over the world fly into Kigali, the capital, every day. Rwanda is beautiful, safe and accessible, making it easy and worthwhile to combine with a trip to Virunga.

 
04 Feb 2012

Travels in Geology: Hiking Mount Nyiragongo in Virunga National Park, Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is not widely known for its geological wonders or natural beauty. Civil war has dominated headlines about the sprawling central African country for decades. Now, after several years of relative peace, visitors are finally trickling in to explore Congo’s untarnished wilderness. Chief among the attractions is Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. In Virunga, active volcanoes and mountainous ice fields loom over savannas, swamps and forests.

04 Feb 2012