Facing an off week with no pressing responsibilities, I plan to take my annual trek to places unknown. No, I will not be canoeing in the Amazon backwaters or hiking through the Kalahari; rather, I will follow the Mississippi into the Upper Midwest, visiting a number of wildlife refuges along the way.
While I have a general sense of the terrain, vegetation and wildlife that I will encounter, the Mississippi Valley north of Davenport will be new to me and, as all naturalists know, unexpected sightings are always a possibility. Since I have not arranged a particular schedule(other than a deadline for returning to Columbia), I will be free to travel off the beaten path and head for interesting sites on the map.
These 3-4 day road trips have been part of my life for several decades and were initially inspired by Edwin Way Teale's books on seasonal travel. One soon learns, as he revealed, that there is an endless source of fascination close to home and that expensive journeys to National Parks or International Preserves are not necessary to satisfy our natural curiosity. So I'll head up river this week and file a few reports when I return.