Kirsten inherited her sense of wanderlust from her parents; her mother was in President Kennedy’s first class of Peace Corps volunteers (stationed in Lesotho) and then traveled throughout the African continent as a single woman. Having traveled to over thirty countries in less than three decades, Kirsten is particularly passionate about...

Kirsten inherited her sense of wanderlust from her parents; her mother was in President Kennedy’s first class of Peace Corps volunteers (stationed in Lesotho) and then traveled throughout the African continent as a single woman. Having traveled to over thirty countries in less than three decades, Kirsten is particularly passionate about Southeast Asia and South America, areas that share the appeal of vibrant cultures and history, genuine hospitality, savory cuisine and boundless opportunities for active adventures off the beaten path. A former program director at Wildland Adventures, Kirsten is now a professional guide.

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Be Moved by the Mountains

Be Moved by the Mountains
Being surrounded by raw natural beauty stirs the soul in ways that we as humans can feel and recognize but perhaps not accurately describe. Recent Wildland traveler Steve Fors, who embarked on our Machu Picchu Mountain Lodges Trek in March, very eloquently summed up his experience trekking through the Cordillera Vilcabamba.  “Our trekking guides Manolo and Darwin were off-the-chart fabulous in every way. My favorite moments for the trip were as follows; we went out on the upstairs deck at Salkantay Lodge, shut off all nearby lights and saw the most spectacular stars I have ever seen. While the sky above us was clear, there were thunderstorms nearby. The valley below lit up several times. Then lightning lit up Mt. Salkantay and its neighbors several times. When we hiked over Salkantany Pass, the mountain was obscured by clouds and fog. The next morning we awakened to clear sky, the first rays of...
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Why Shoulder Season Travel is Spectacular!

Why Shoulder Season Travel is Spectacular!
I recently returned from a trip to Peru with my brother to trek the Inca Trail and search for wildlife in the Amazon region of Tambopata. Our trip was in early March, just a few days after the Inca Trail opened for the 2014 season and right in the middle of Peru’s ‘rainy season.’  Traditionally, this is not thought of as an ideal time to go trekking since most people prefer not to hike in the rain. (Unless you live in the Pacific Northwest, then you are just used to it.)  Our timing wasn’t the best in that sense but we were just stoked to go so we packed the gortex, rain pants and ponchos and hoped for the best. It only rained on us twice in 16 days.  There were occasional wimpy sprinklings in the mornings but those didn’t even merit breaking out the rain jacket.  Mostly we had a...
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Jonathan Burnham
Great blog Kirsten, thanks for the info on the shoulder season! I really need to head south for my next adventure!
Friday, 04 April 2014 11:54
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Ballooning in Bagan for My Birthday in Burma

Ballooning in Bagan for My Birthday in Burma
Today in Seattle the sun is shining, robins are pulling worms from the ground and our cherry trees have erupted in their frothy, fleeting coats of pink and white blossoms. Given that the world outside is a resounding exclamation of ‘Spring!!’, I’m loathe to recall the dark and wet of January, quite possibly our most miserable month here in the Pacific Northwest.  But in reality it wasn’t that long ago that I fled Seattle for Southeast Asia and traded my intentions to learn to ski for three weeks of wandering around Myanmar (Burma.)   The trip was equal parts rediscovery of a country I met in a past life, an attempt to locate a friend and a little bit of indulgence to celebrate my 30 th birthday.  This last part mainly took the shape of finally embarking on a hot air balloon ride over the temples of Bagan, an experience that...
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Why do Macaws Eat Clay?

Why do Macaws Eat Clay?
Viewing a raucous and colorful macaw clay lick in the early morning hours is one of the highlights of a trip to Peru's Amazon . It is a spectacle prized by wildlife enthusiasts and photographers alike and one that is unique to Peru's Tambopata and Manu regions. Though Macaws range from Mexico to northern Argentina, only in Peru do they congregate in large numbers at colpas (Quechua for "salty earth") to eat clay. These are typically red earth cliffs eroded by rivers where the birds squawk, play and ingest the mineral rich clay alongside a variety of parrot and parakeet species. So why is this behavior only observed among Peru's macaws? Scientists at the Tambopata Research Center have been studying macaws since the late 1980s and have developed a theory that connects diet to reproduction and chick health. Macaw food sources in the Peruvian Amazon are naturally low in sodium compared...
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Trekking the Inca Trail with My Brother - Reflections on Family Travel

Trekking the Inca Trail with My Brother - Reflections on Family Travel
On Sunday I head south to Peru for two weeks to explore the Tambopata Rainforest and trek the Inca Trail . It's a special trip for me because for the first time, I'm able to share what I am lucky to do for a living with a family member; my 'little' brother, Eric, is trading his Sloan Kettering research scrubs and NYC subway commute for ancient Inca footpaths through the Andes and bushwhacking in the southern Peruvian Amazon. Amazingly, though we've both hopped around the world quite a bit and were even somewhere in Europe at the same time, we've never actually traveled together outside of the United States. Growing up Eric and I spent hours outside pretending to explore dense, fearsome jungle (the woods at the end of the street) or imagining we were on safari in Africa, flailing about in the backyard as we acted out the wildebeest stampede...
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Kurt Kutay
Have a great trip Kirsten and Eric! Nothing like getting away, off the grid and into the Andes and Amazon with a sibling for some ... Read More
Friday, 28 February 2014 22:17
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