TREKKERS FEEDBACK - Best of the East
Joanna Jackson, England
Hi I thought I would send a review of the trek I did in August 09- Best of the East. I had a great time on our trek - there were a real bunch of us from all over the globe, from the UK, different parts of Europe and as far out as New Zealand.
We all met at the hotel the night before and had a chance to catch up before we left. We headed straight to Washington DC which was a major highlight for me as I had always been strangely fascinated by seeing the White House! We had a good walk around and took amazing photos by different monuments at day and in the evening when everything was lit up including the US Capitol Building, the Pentagon, Lincoln Memorial and many more. A true experience was getting told off for taking a photo of the F.B.I building!
Next we headed for Shenandoah National Park where the first thing we did was feel the urge to have our photo taken with a park ranger! We took a hike up in the mountain which was interesting to say the least! Starting a hike at 5am in the dark with only head torches to go on was a true experience but we all seemed to find it greatly amusing! Reaching the top was a true experience especially after climbing a vertical cliff face- but we were met with wonderful once in a life time views to capture on camera. Be warned to watch out for possible bears roaming around though! Onwards to West Virginia where white water rafting was the ultimate experience. We carried our journey on to the Great Smoky Mountains where we spent far too long in the shop of the visitor centre trying on different cowboy hats and looking at different gifts to take home. We were fortunate enough to be driving through the national park when we saw a group of people pulled on on the side of the road who had found a few bears up a tree. Eagerly (too eagerly) we all ran out of the car to see what was going on to be told to back away by a park ranger- who knew bears could climb down massive trees in less than 5 seconds flat?! After slowly backing away we managed to get some great shots of the bears in the trees, and not get eaten :D
Onwards we went to Nashville, Tennessee, one of my absolute favourite places in the world. I officially own a pink cowboy hat bought there! From walking around what seemed very strange malls filled with cowboy outfits to going in the Wild horse saloon at night dancing to country songs on the dance floor with the locals watching, it truly was a great place to be and I would love to go back. Next to Indiana, where we visited the Jack Daniels whisky base, and got to walk through Amish towns- which was a bizarre to us, but great to see so many different sides of America.
Our next destination was Chicago- where we did a night bike tour of the city which was so much fun and we got to see most of the sights all in one go which stops to take photos on the way. Our bikes even had their own names so we got back on the same one! A few of us who were over 21 when up the Sears Tower to to the top floor restaurant for some spectacular views and somewhat expensive but worth it drinks which was followed by going to a local blues bar. We all went up the Wilis tower for some exceptional photos. Not forgetting Lincoln Park Zoo where we all became rather obsessed with looking at what appeared to be the world's largest gorilla!
With only a few days to go we carried our journey on to Ohio- home to Cedar Point- the world's biggest amusement park. Niagara Falls and the finger lakes were a spectacular finish to the trek- with yet more brilliant photos and memories, but make sure you have the right paperwork to take over the border to Toronto as I almost got stuck in Canada!!
The trek was so much fun and I would recommend it to anyone- everything from the people you are with, to sitting around a fire at night, generally being silly on trek, playing games in the trek van and of course seeing all the amazing places! I am ready to book my next trek- Pacific Dream which covers the west states for a month - can't wait!
14 days from NEW YORK AREA
USA East - Camping
Start amidst the corridors of power then veer off the tourist paths. DC, Chicago and NYC are fast-paced, but we even the balance with soaring peaks, Great Lakes and Niagara Falls. Add a soundtrack of blues, country & western and you've got the East covered.
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