Fyllis Hockman

Denali National Park is larger than the state of Massachusetts and tenderly watched over by Mt. McKinley (called Mt. Denali — “the high one” — by the locals), at over 20,000 feet the highest mountain in North America. Here’s a peek inside.

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The road to Hana traverses the northern coast of Maui in Hawaii, from the rustic village of Paia to its destination at the eastern tip. Fyllis Hockman takes us on a tour of this lush oceanside drive.

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As we traveled from one medieval village to another, we heard stories of church intrigue and love stories, military battles and religious controversies, mysterious anecdotes of priests and royals and other local residents over the centuries that brought the towns to life in a very tangible way.

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I am a hiker. But at home, no one uses a machete to blaze the trail prior to walking on it as Souza, our Amazon guide, did, creating a path in the overgrown rainforest step by step. Slicing, swatting, swooping, chopping, no branch, bush, vine or twig was safe. The hike was one of four daily activities during our 8-day adventure exploring Amazonia.

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In Utah, five mystical worlds have been created over millions of years by the movement of the earth, water and wind, rain and draught, freezes and thaws and, especially, erosion. Even today, these same elements continue to change the face of the parks. After more than 150 million years, they are still works in progress.

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Few people would think that Michelle Obama and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas have much in common but they would be wrong. Both are part of the small but unique Gullah community, primarily residing in South Carolina and Georgia but whose roots extend from Wilmington, North Carolina to St. Augustine, Florida, descendants of slaves from the early 18th century who share a common language, culture, history and food.

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Heels down. Toes out. Squeeze with calves, not knees. Lighten up on the reins. Sink your butt into the saddle. So began my first riding lesson at the Arizona Cowboy College in Scottsdale which was followed by instructions in grooming, shoeing, advanced riding techniques and roping.

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In the 1992 movie Indochine, credited with putting Ha Long Bay on the map, Catherine Deneuve describes it as “the most remote outpost of Indochina.” Today, the bay still retains that end-of-the-Earth, Lord-of-the-Rings-on–water quality.

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Cameras and binoculars consistently point at where the whale just was in hopes of catching him there when he reappears, like paparazzi shooting a celebrity.

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Immediately as we entered the park, a handsome water buck sprinted across the road followed by an assortment of other antelopes and a number of elephants standing around oblivious to the clicking of cameras around them. Shortly thereafter, we were immersed in baboons, cape buffalo, giraffes, warthogs and the occasional hyena.