Personal Journeys


November 30, 2003|By Special to the Sun

A Memorable Place

Sweet rewards of arduous journeys

By Linda Middlestadt


Last July, 33 adults and teen-agers associated with Franklin High School in Reisterstown flew to Hawaii. We toured the many natural wonders of the Big Island -- a still-active volcano, the rain forest and beaches. Two of our treks were most notable.

First, we hiked across a black lava field to see red-hot lava flowing. It was more than 100 degrees that afternoon, and the wind blew off our sun hats. The terrain was rugged, and a slip meant getting abrasions from the razor-like surface.

Our group stayed close together at first, but soon we were strung out across a bleak moonscape. It took us three hours to reach our destination.

The younger people in the group were already examining the glowing rock when I arrived, but I just wanted to rest. I sat down and devoured the crunchiest granola bar and sweetest, juiciest orange I've ever tasted.

After we returned from the volcano hike, I told our guide this was the limit of my endurance and asked him about the coming hike up the Waipio Valley. As usual, he answered vaguely and half-jokingly.

Two days later, we were trekking up a streambed, through the rain forest, across boulders. At one point, we were up to our chins in the stream. Heat was not a problem, but footing was. We used walking sticks and helped each other over the toughest spots.

We made the nearly six miles to the 1,100-foot-tall sheer cliff and the Hiilawe waterfall, one of the highest in Hawaii. I waded into a clear, cold pool and plunged into the most exhilarating swim of my life, under the spray from the falls.

This trip, a present to myself for my retirement after 30 years of teaching, confirmed a long-held truism: The harder the journey, the sweeter the joy in the end.

Linda Middlestadt lives in Sparks.

My Best Shot

Alan L. Caplan, Baltimore

Russia's fabulous Hermitage

During a cruise of the Scandinavian capitals, the most interesting city for my wife and me was St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1764, Catherine the Great purchased a considerable collection of paintings, laying the foundation for the State Hermitage Museum. Today, the Hermitage ranks among the most prestigious museums in the world. I can look at this picture again and again and be reminded of this fabulous place.

Readers Recommend

Lamb Holm, Scotland

Phyllis Wilson, Ellicott City

While on a trip to Scotland, I took the ferry to Orkney and visited the Italian Chapel on Lamb Holm, a small island attached to Orkney by a causeway. During World War II, POWs constructed barriers of concrete blocks between the islands to protect the British fleet. Some of the POWs were Italian, and growing homesick for their native land, they constructed a house of worship.

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia

Patricia Ann Tracey, Baltimore

Peggy's Cove is one of the most popular tourist spots in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia is surrounded by water, and it's not hard to see how lighthouses played an important role in guiding fisherman and cargo ships to shore. Nova Scotia has many trails along ocean cliffs, lakes and wooded areas -- everything to keep the adult hiker interested.

Let Us Hear From You

We want to know about your travels, your experiences, your pictures. Here's how to participate in this page:

* My Best Shot -- Send us a terrific travel photo with a description of when and where you took it. (Cash value: $50.)

* A Memorable Place -- In 500 words or less, tell us about a travel experience that changed you, about the nostalgia a certain place evokes, about the power of a favorite beach, the mountains, a city cafe. (Cash value: $150.)

* Readers Recommend -- Briefly tell us about places you've recently visited that you'd recommend to other readers. (50 words or less; photos are welcome.)

Because of the volume of responses, photos and manuscripts cannot be individually acknowledged or returned. Submissions from all categories may be used for Readers Recommend, and upon submission become the property of The Sun.

Send by fax to 410-783-2519, or write to: Travel Department, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278, or e-mail to Be sure to include your name and phone number.

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