If I win the lotto/Bill Gates is funding it…I’d love to start back up around where I grew up in Colorado, and travel up to the badlands again. Basically spend 2-3 years exploring natural areas in the high plains and eastern slope of the rockies. Have to get in better shape for it–terrain and climate there are no joke.
I also feel amazingly lucky to have visited magically beautiful Bhutan. The country really cherishes both it’s natural and cultural treasures. (Sometimes, I wish I’d never come back.)
Yes, but for that biodiversity I don’t even need to travel much there. :D But, when I will go I will try to connect with people working there as I have some contacts, probably visit Kunashir Is., my #1 destination in that region is Wrangel Island Reserve.
How hard it was to get there? I read they have strict rules for visiting.
There were some different requirements for traveling in Bhutan, but it was all handled by the tour group I went with (World Wildlife Fund). We had Bhutanese guides and drivers, who were just awesome people. There are travel options for Bhutan, but not so much as an independent traveler (at least back when I went). Many people speak English and most signs are also in English. There were many tours offered by special interest tour groups (I recall reading about tours offered by mycologists, WWF, National Geographic, adventure travel companies).
Nobel Travel was the Bhutanese travel company WWF worked with at the time, and it was genuine privilege. You can get more information from their website:
I the 90s, I worked on a project in the White Sea with the Russian Marine Mammal Council. We were planning to do a walrus project that would have included working on Wrangel. I ended up leaving the organization that was partnering with the MMC. My biggest regret about moving on was that I never got to Wrangel Island.
For me there was an actual tour itinerary available for Hong Kong residents to visit so my family and I took that opportunity. I didn’t think it took that long for the visas to process either, mostly because the tour company handled most of the processing. They were also working with a Bhutanese travel company whose name I cant remember now, unfortunately. The trip itself was more culture-focused, but there was one large hike we did and the other times I was just grabbing every opportunity to document the fauna.
Edit: I think it is https://www.facebook.com/happinesskindgom/, after some digging into my tour guide’s fb profile (whom I befriended in fb and hopefully in person too).
Thank you! Will keep those links, love tha country since participation in google maps’ birding, it seemed all local birds were exposed and loved to sit near roads.)
I’d love to come back to White Sea too, I completely ignored flora and entomofauna when I was there.
I was mostly there in winter. One of the great natural spectacles on Earth is the harp seal pupping aggregation in the Gorlo of the White Sea. We travelled by helicopter to the ice and the Mi-8s we used were too big to sit on the floes so they went to shore while we surveyed. My assistant, who is an ironic sort and hard to impress, had never been to the ice. When the choppers were gone and I was sorting through gear to get ready I heard her say in a small voice, full of wonder, “It is soooo beautiful.” I stood up and looked around. The winter sun on the ice fields, dotted everywhere with adult and whitecoat seals, the sound of the wind and drifting snow, the grinding of the ice floes against each other, the calling of the seals in an otherwise perfect silence devoid of human presence other than us all combined to make an unforgettable moment. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s possible for most people to experience it. If you get the chance I recommend it. The summer aggregations of belugas around Solovki are pretty cool too.
Well, I’m going to spend next year in and around Karelia, so we will see! Only saw adult seals plus a group of belugas with a calf in the summer while we were searching for nest sites of eiders.)