Malee Baker Oot

Malee is a freelance writer, outdoor enthusiast, and overzealous amateur photographer. She currently lives just outside Washington, DC with her sassy coonhound Cash.

6 Under-the-Radar Countries to Visit Now

In the age of social media, it almost seems as if no place on the planet has escaped the lens of a smartphone camera. But beyond the trending hotspots, there are places still overlooked by travelers. Countries that are overshadowed by bigger, more illustrious neighbors. Some far-flung spots that are deemed too remote and others that are inexplicably ignored. Fortunately, the planet is still studded with hidden gems. Here are six of the best under-the-radar countries to visit right now. The olde

An Insider’s Guide to Florida’s Beautiful and Unique Weekiwachee Preserve

A mosaic of marshlands, floodplain forests, shimmering lakes, and grasslands, the Weekiwachee Preserve is an outdoor oasis for nature lovers. Spread over the southwest corner of Hernando County along Florida’s Adventure Coast, the 11,206-acre ecological treasure also serves as a fantastic destination for hiking, biking, paddling, and birdwatching. Bounded by the Weekiwachee and Mud rivers to the north, the preserve also blends into an extensive network of coastal conservation lands extending nor

The Best African Safaris for Shutterbugs

For globetrotting photographers, it’s hard to beat an African safari for inspiration. From shooting leggy giraffes silhouetted by the setting sun to snapping dizzyingly intimate portraits of the continent’s big cats, Africa provides a lifetime’s worth of incredible images to capture. While the options are abundant, here are a few of the best safari destinations in Africa for traveling shutterbugs to get you started. At Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, photographers are treated to an arresting ba

6 Amazing Safaris That Aren't in Africa

The word safari usually conjures up images of the African savannah, with elephants nibbling acacia leaves, sunbathing lions sprawled on rocky kopjes, and leggy giraffes silhouetted by the setting sun. Sure, with destinations like the Serengeti, the Okavango Delta, and the Zambezi Valley, the continent is undoubtedly home to some of the planet’s most iconic safaris. But there are rich animal habitats all over the world, from the foothills of the Himalayas to the forests of Europe. Here are six o

Magnificent Masoala

Bouncing over a line of assailing waves, our boat speeds away from the riverine town of Maroansetra, bound for the lushly forested Masoala Peninsula. Nosy Mangabe clogs the horizon, a perfectly placed puff of cloud lending the 520-hectare islet the appearance of a smouldering volcano. I almost expect to see dinosaurs wandering the island’s liana-tangled flanks, but instead, snow-white cattle egrets dust the treetops. Casting waves toward fisherman in hand-wooden pirogues, we skirt Nosy Mangabe’s

Climate change could subtly drive Madagascar’s greater bamboo lemur closer to extinction

Rising temperatures have been charged with driving some of the planet’s most devastating natural disasters, but sometimes the impacts of climate change appear more subtly – as in the case of the greater bamboo lemur. Thought to be extinct in the wild just a few decades ago – until researchers discovered a remnant population in 1986 — Madagascar’s largest bamboo-noshing lemur still faces challenges like habitat loss and subsistence hunting. And now, climate change could gradually push the already

America’s national parks are hit harder by climate change than the rest of the country

Driving glacial retreat, sea-level rise, and loss of forest diversity, global climate change is already affecting ecosystems across America – especially in the country’s national parks. Now, a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters suggests America’s national parks are being more intensely impacted by climate change than the country as a whole, becoming both warmer and drier. Led by Patrick Gonzalez, adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley, the stu

The Most Chilling Legends of the Southeast—And How to Explore Them

From the Shenandoah Valley to the Great Smoky Mountains, the Southeast is brimming with spine-tingling lore. With mysterious disappearances, legendary creatures, and heaps of hauntings, the region has plenty of intrigue. These are a few of the most chilling legends still lingering in the Southeast. Check them out—if you dare. After sunset, when the ethereal glow of phosphorescent foxfire illuminates the dense forests and waterlogged thickets of the Great Dismal Swamp, the place can play tricks

Sandstone Massifs, Secret Swimming Holes, and Stunning Wildlife: Exploring Madagascar’s Isalo National Park

I swear my kidneys are shifting as our van rattles over the dirt track running from the silken tarmac of the Route Nationale 7 to the southeastern edge of Madagascar’s Isalo National Park. Through the windshield, all I can see is an amber wall of rock, rising above the pockmarked road. After trundling through a coffee-colored stream, our beleaguered vehicle eventually shudders to a stop at the foot of a towering sandstone escarpment. Spreading morning sunlight illuminates ribbons of ochre, apric

8 Seriously Unique Ways to Experience the Wildlife and Ecology of Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

Overlaid by lush woodlands, rolling hills, wildflower-filled meadows, and, of course, the region’s namesake waterways, the Southern Finger Lakes region is truly unique. The area is a haven for wildlife, and an abundance of parks and natural areas provide endless options for nature lovers to explore. See this beautiful section of the country for yourself with these adventures that will take you on a tour of area’s wild side. The diversity of habitats encountered in the Southern Finger Lakes regi

How to Experience New York's Wine Country By Bike

Forget about driving—the forested foothills, plunging gorges, and pleasant pastures of the Southern Finger Lakes region are best admired on two wheels. The area has options for all sorts of cyclists, from rough-and-tumble singletrack seekers to road riders hungry for century circuits with jaw-dropping panoramas. Here are a few of the best ways to experience New York’s idyllic wine country by bike. The country roads lacing the Southern Finger Lakes region provide cyclists the opportunity to pie

The 9 Best Easy Day Hikes in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

With stunning gorges, gushing waterfalls, vast expanses of dense forest, and, of course, the iconic, glacier-carved lakes—the Southern Finger Lakes region in New York has plenty to entice visiting hikers. Even better, the area is also teeming with panoramic footpaths, from leisurely, lakeside loops to historical rail-trails to tree-covered pathways ideal for birders and wildlife enthusiasts. With so many options in the Southern Finger Lakes region, it’s tough to pick just one local trek. These

The Complete Guide to Water Sports on South Holston Lake

Lakes are scarce in the Old Dominion state, making watery expanses like Southwest Virginia’s South Holston Lake particularly precious. Spreading along the western edge of the Appalachian Mountains, the 7,850-acre lake is shared by Virginia and Tennessee, and is easily accessible from towns throughout Southwest Virginia, including Abingdonand Bristol. Besides being among Virginia’s more sizeable reservoirs, South Holston Lake is also one of the most picturesque. Almost two-thirds of the lake is f

How to Have an Uncommon Health and Wellness Getaway in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

With glistening glacial lakes, vast expanses of pristine forest, bountiful family farms, and charming towns, the Southern Finger Lakes region of New York is the ideal place for a one-of-a-kind health and wellness getaway. In the Southern Finger Lakes region, it’s easy to combine fresh air and exercise with fresh farm-to-table cuisine for serious relaxation. Slow down and spend a weekend soaking up the restorative serenity of this scenic region of the state. No visit to the Finger Lakes is compl

10 Unique Places to Stay in the Southern Finger Lakes Region

The landscape of New York’s Southern Finger Lakes region is anything but ordinary. The region’s gently rolling blue hills, shimmering lakes, wildlife-rich forests, and endearing towns offer a whole range of accommodation options, with something for every type of traveler—from off-the-grid adventurers to farm-to-table foodies to artistically inclined culture vultures. Break the mold and plan a getaway at one of these unique accommodation options in the Southern Finger Lakes region surrounding Cor

7 Unique Ways to Experience Virginia's Philpott Lake

Framed by the undulating foothills of the Blue Ridge, Southwest Virginia’s Philpott Lake is an idyllic escape, teeming with outdoor adventures. Located just outside Martinsville, Virginia, the sprawling 3,000-acre lake is cradled by 7,000 acres of mixed hardwood forests—it feels like a slice of pristine wilderness. But the lake’s proximity to Martinsville also means there are plenty of ways to pair outdoor exploits and cultural excursions, all while savoring the serene Blue Ridge backdrop. Here
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