Destination: Utah

‘A Walk in the Woods’ Premieres at Sundance

The long-awaited film adaptation of Bill Bryson’s travel classic, “A Walk in the Woods,” has landed—it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah last week. It stars Robert Redford and Nick Nolte as Bryson and Katz, and The Hollywood Reporter calls it “a fun, geriatric version of Wild.” Here’s reviewer Todd McCarthy:

Anyone expecting this epic journey to result in profound insights into the human condition will be disappointed; at a certain point, whether the men reach the physical end of the trail or just hop off when they feel they’ve done enough, the hike will end but life will continue. The film is equally unpretentious, not posing as something it isn’t but, at the same time, reminding that there are options, including temporary ones like a jaunt in the mountains, that can represent breaks from the routine and put you in a different place mentally as well as physically.

‘127 Hours’ Fan Rescued in Canyonlands National Park

Move over, McCandless pilgrims: With the success of last year’s 127 Hours, there just might be a new breed of death-defying travel movie fans on the block. The Guardian reports that a solo hiker was attempting to retrace Aron Ralston’s route through Little Blue John Canyon when he fell and broke his leg. The hiker, Amos Richards, hadn’t told anyone where he was going—he crawled in search of help for four days before being found by park rangers who’d noticed his abandoned campsite. Richards was treated at a hospital and has, thankfully, been released with all four limbs still attached. (Via Gawker)

Travel Movie Watch Update: ‘127 Hours’

Just under a year ago we noted that “Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle would soon be starting work on “127 Hours,” the true story of Aron Ralston‘s canyoneering accident and escape. The trailer is here, and—among other things—it makes me want to book a flight to Utah as soon as possible. The movie’s due out November 5.

(Via Gawker)

The Sounds of Zion

Interesting plans afoot at Zion National Park to protect the park’s natural soundscape. The “Soundscape Management Plan,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune, is the first of its kind.

Frank Turina, of Fort Collins, Colo., a planner with the natural sounds program for the National Park Service and project manager for the Zion document, said an area’s soundscape is as valuable as air quality and watershed although, unlike those resources, it is intangible.

“Sound has an inherent value to the park that we want to preserve and protect for the future,” Turina said in a telephone interview.

He said the new plan uses the science of acoustics to specify conditions under which park managers would need to act to protect and preserve the soundscape of Zion. That science gives the plan objectivity and credibility.

“It is a very interesting and new application of old science to protect natural areas in the park,” he said. “This (project) is on the cutting edge.”

Travel Movie Watch: ‘127 Hours’

It looks like “Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle may not be headed back to Mumbai right away, after all. Variety is reporting that Boyle’s next project is an adaptation of “127 Hours,” the true story of a mountaineer who was pinned under a boulder in Utah for five days and eventually amputated his own arm to make his escape. The rumor mill has Ryan Gosling playing the lead, but nothing’s been confirmed yet. Stay tuned. (Via Gawker)

America the Accessible

America the Accessible Photo by Rick McCharles via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Rick McCharles via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Fifteen years ago, when nobody else was really servicing the community, writer Candy Harrington ditched traditional travel writing and launched Emerging Horizons, a travel magazine for people with disabilities.

“Back then most of my friends and colleagues thought I was a few fries short of a happy meal for making such a drastic change,” says Harrington. Silly colleagues. Other travel magazines come and go but Emerging Horizons is still running strong, and Harrington also writes books, articles for magazines and websites, and a blog on the subject.

We checked in with her to find out about the state of accessible travel in America—and some of her favorite accessible travel adventures around the 50.

Read More »

Morning Links: The Zion Curtain, Pynchon and Baedeker, and more

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Morning Links: Lego Hotel, Strange Travel Jobs and More

Morning Links: Lego Hotel, Strange Travel Jobs and More Photo by Dawn Endico, via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Dawn Endico, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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Morning Links: Skycar, Disney Shanghai and More

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California’s Proposition 8 Fallout: Boycott Utah?

Supporters of gay marriage—angered by reports that members of the Mormon Church donated millions of dollars to back Proposition 8 on California’s November ballot—are calling for a boycott of travel to Utah, including the Sundance Film Festival.

Oil and Gas Drilling Coming to Arches, Canyonlands

Utah’s Bureau of Land Management has stirred the ire of the National Park Service by announcing its plan to expand drilling in eastern Utah to on or near boundaries of Arches National Park, Dinosaur National Monument and Canyonlands National Park, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.  “We’re not anti-oil and gas,” said one Park Service official. “But we’re very much pro-park.” Should drilling begin in these parcels of land—including sections dedicated as wilderness as well as Nine Mile Canyon—tourists may soon be seeing oil rigs pop up in their photos, a prospect that has wilderness outfitters concerned. Said one cycling guide, “It’s not a world-class outing if you can see oil wells.”

R.I.P. Wall Arch: ‘It Just Went Kaboom’

Photo of pre-collapse Wall Arch by MatthiasKabel (GNU Free Documentation License)

Utah’s Arches National Park—the most beautiful park of many beautiful parks in the American Southwest—lost one of its most visited arches last week. It’s believed the 71-foot-tall arch, which was the 12th largest in the park, collapsed under its own weight. “Not being a geologist, I can’t get very technical but it just went kaboom,” Arches Chief Ranger Denny Ziemann told the Salt Lake Tribune. The trail between Double 0 Arch and Wall Arch has been closed indefinitely.

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