Mar 19

8 Reasons To Visit The Mojave National Preserve!

Sunrise at Castle Peaks in Mojave National Preserve, California

Mojave National Preserve is a little gem set in Southern California’s Mojave Desert.  Here are just eight amazing reasons to visit:

Lava Tube, Mojave National Preserve

1. The Lava Tube

This hidden gem under the desert floor is an amazing and magical experience. The Lava Tube which can only be accessed by a 5 mile dirt road, is a great place to explore for all ages. The Lava Tube has three cave like rooms. The roof of the lava tube has three holes that allow light to shine down to the cave floor. The beam of light that cuts through the darkness creates a magical experience and photo opportunity.

El Mirage dry lake with sunset sky in California’s Mojave Desert

2. The Mojave Road

The Mojave Desert Road is known today as a 140 mile off road trail for 4 wheel drive enthusiasts, but what many people don’t know is how important the Mojave Road is to American history and the West. The Road stretches from the Colorado River in Arizona to the Mojave river in California. The trail which was originally used by Native Americans, became a way for foreign explorers and eventually American settlers to cross the great expanse of rough desert. The Mojave Road follows the many water springs that dot the dry landscape. The trail that is a staple of American history is now a fun way for people to access the deserts wonderful landscape.

A Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) in Mojave National Preserve, California

3. The Isolation

Sandwiched between Death Valley National Park to the north and Joshua Tree National Park to the south, The Mojave National Preserve gets over looked by most adventurers. Want many don’t know is that the Mojave actually holds a larger concentration of Joshua Trees than Joshua tree NP. With less trails, primitive campsites harder to access, and an expanse of unmarked territory, the Mojave gives you the isolation and seclusion we all search for in the wild! See the Joshua trees without all the people, take advantage of primitive and self issue camping, and explore an endless expanse of trails and unmarked territory.

Kelso Sand Dunes wilderness area at the Mojave National Preserve in Southern California

4. The Kelso Sand Dunes

The Kelso Sand Dunes are beautiful mountains of sand, some as tall as 650 feet tall, that stretch as far as the eye can see! The 45 square miles of sand dunes brings me back to the good old days as a kid playing in a sand box. Now this life size playground offers amazing photo opportunities and fun for the entire family. Hike, climb, or even snowboard your way around these rare dunes.

Lava rock forms the caves and natural windows at the Hole in the Wall section of Mojave National Preserve in California

5. The Caverns

Although currently closed to the public due to a lack of funding, water well, and the need for new generators, the state park systems claim The Mitchell Caverns will be reopened in the near future. The limestone caves sit nestled below the Providence Mountains. The caves were once used to dig further mines in search of silver and gold. The caves offer beautiful stalactites and stalagmites which drape the cave walls. The cave stays at a constant 65 degrees which is great relief from the desert heat above. Be on the look out for this hidden gem to be reopened!

Red Rock Canyon Milky Way Galaxy in Mojave Desert California

6. The Stars

Although located right in the middle between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, two of the busiest night life’s in the country, the Mojave National Preserve offers some of the darkest night skies in America. With small towns, roads, and civilization few and far between in this part of the California, this is easily one of, if not the best location to fall asleep under an endless night sky. On my last camping trip to Hole-In-The- Wall campground, I counted over a dozen shooting stars before I fell asleep. With the use of a 4×4 vehicle or a good pair of hiking boots, the Mojave allows you to escape even the minor glow of a neighboring campsite. Pull over on the side of the road or walk into the vast desert to find your own personal night sky!

Cholla Cactus

7. The Photography

The burnt orange and reds of this desert in the early morning and late evening provide perfect lighting for even the most novice of photographers. Wake up early and watch as the desert landscape comes to life with the early morning glow. The sunrise and sunsets silhouetted by the large mountain landscape dotted with Joshua trees are a photographers dream. Other than the last 6 reasons, the desert wildflowers, the wildlife, and historic landmarks are just a few of the endless opportunities to capture that wall hanging shot!

Historic Route 66 in the Mojave Desert

8. The Challenge

In today’s world we get so accustomed to the convenience of modern day amenities and true adventure seems an afterthought. The lack of convenience makes the Mojave National Preserve that much more desirable. The Mojave like most desert regions has very hot temperatures during the day and extremely low temperatures during the night. This kind of weather can be difficult on any person or machine. Taking on the challenge of crossing the Mojave Road or venturing out on foot to do some primitive camping, takes planning and preparation. The risk of venturing out into the wild expanse without the safety net of the park service or gas station just up the road, is what keeps that adventurous soul alive in all of us!

 

For tips on Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, and Motivation for your next Adventure, follow me @adventure_upstream or http://www.adventureupstream.com

 

Feb 25

5 Reasons to Visit Big Bend National Park

Chisos Mountains at sunrise at Big Bend National Park

1. THE ISOLATION – Big Bend, which is in southwest Texas and includes the entire Chisos mountain range and a good portion of the Chihuahuan Desert, is 1,250 square miles, and about the size of Rhode Island. With around 300,000 visitors per year that breaks down to around only 821 visitors per day. That means every visitor could have 1.5 square miles entirely to themselves! Obviously people will congregate around certain parts of the park, but if you go on a backpacking trip, it’s not uncommon to go 3-5 days without seeing another human being! Be aware this parks isolation is serious! Mountain Lions, Bears and snakes are more common than visitors and the dry desert heat can be relentless. When you check in with park rangers to get your permit, be prepared for the ranger to ask detailed questions about where you will hike, camp and how prepared you are. The rangers will also take pictures of you, your gear and soles of your hiking boots. Too many unprepared hikers have wandered off into this beautiful land and never return. Don’t let that scare you, let that prepare you!

Panorama of the Sunset Over the Mule Ears, Big Bend National Park

2. THE NIGHT SKY – Certified by the International Dark-Sky Association as one of only 30 dark-sky parks in the world, and on the USA Today’s top ten list for darkest National Parks. Big Bend is quite possibly the darkest place in the lower 48. It’s not hard to notice the difference between the normal night sky and looking up while in Big Bend. You see more star light than darkness and shooting stars are as normal as breathing!

sunset in Big Bend National Park featuring bright orange Ocotillo blooms

3. THE SUNRISE AND SUNSET – It’s hard to beat the sunrise or sunset in Big Bend simply because of all the colors in both the sky and on the ground. The sky lights up the clouds in pinks and purples, while the light hitting the burnt orange and red desert landscape is surreal.

Donkeys in Big Bend National Park, TX

4. THE WILDLIFE – Obviously with the limited impact by man in the area, the wildlife thrives. Mule deer roam as normal as cattle, coyotes curiously scurry around, snakes bask in the warm sun, 14 species of scorpions call Big Bend home, Black Bears frequent campsites and Mountain Lion tracks were fresh on trail. This place sure offered a true wild side in a very short time. Wildlife still truly owns this part of our wild world!

Santa Elena Canyon and Rio Grande river at Big Bend National Park

5. THE RIO GRANDE – This wild, scenic and powerful river provides life to the desert and fun for visitors. Visitors can Swim, Canoe, Kayak, and White Water Raft the 69 miles of river inside the park. The river also cuts the dramatic Santa Elena Canyon with amazing 1500 vertical walls. The Santa Elena hike is short and offers great picturesque shots.

Road to Emory Peak, Big Bend National Park, Texas

Big Bend National Park may not be the easy National Park to access, but the sheer size and beauty of Big Bend is right on par with some of the best National Parks in the nation. I spent two amazing days trying soak up as much of the park as I could. I drove straight from New Orleans and made it as far as I could before sleeping in my truck on the side of the road. Just the drive itself before I even entered the park was full of coyotes and mule deer crossing the road and by far the most stars I’ve ever seen. No cell phone service and no ambient light for miles made it feel like the old west in history books. My plan was to wake up, make some instant Jet Boil coffee and get some great sunrise photos of the morning light hitting the beautiful Mountain peaks and the Rio Grande.

The Rio Grande River running through Santa Elena Canyon at Big Bend National Park in Texas.

Well my plan worked to perfection! I was able to capture some of the most dramatic and colorful shots I’ve ever taken. The red, and burnt orange mountains, silhouetting the horizon mixed with the perfect amount of clouds to add depth was breath taking. I was barely able to drive as I stopped nearly every mile to take a new shot of a mule deer or different break in the colorful clouds.

Night sky with stars at Big Bend National Park

I started the day at the window trail. This short 4.4 mile round trip hike is one of the easiest hikes in the park for the most reward. The hike is almost completely flat with a slight up hill on the way back. The trial cuts through towering peaks, cacti and an active river bed. Even though the trail starts at Basin Campground and is a very active trail, the trail is still very wild. The day prior, a warning sign was posted stating a Mountain Lion had been seen on trail and tracks were clearly visible the morning I hiked in. Fresh bear scat was also right in the middle of the trail only half a mile from the campground. The trail ends at what is called “the window,” a slice in the mountains gives you an unforgettable view of the valley 500 feet below. During sometimes of the year, the stream is flowing and cascades right off “the window.”

Chisos Basin at Sunset, Big Bend National Park

After stopping at multiple other great picturesque locations like the Mule Ears view point, Homer Wilson’s Ranch, and Tuff Canyon, I headed for the Rio Grande. All day I could see this massive rock wall in the distance but had no idea what it was. To my surprise as I drove closer the massive wall, I realized it was Mexico. The Rio ran below and had cut a huge, deep canyon (Santa Elena) in the massive rock wall. I took the best day trail in the park. This short 1.7 mile hike has a short gain but gives you access to the river to swim and canoe. The trail leaves the river and follows the deep cut canyon for dramatic views, before descending back to the water’s edge.

Big Bend National Park in Texas

After spending most of the day cooling off in the Rio Grande, I headed out for some of the more remote parts of the park only accessed by dirt roads. I wandered through miles of wild back country 4×4 trails. Mule deer and coyotes sightings were as normal as a household pet. As night fall came, I set up the tent near the side of the road and settled in for the night. The night sky was insanely beautiful. I counted over 45 shooting stars and was able to pick out every constellation I knew. The deep darkness surrounded me and not being able to see any artificial light on the horizon was very peaceful. It was the first time in a long time I truly felt off the grid! All night I didn’t hear any artificial noises or see any artificial light. Coyotes howling were the only music to my ears!

 

For more tips on camping, hiking, backpacking, gear reviews, or inspiration for your next adventure, follow my blog at http://www.adventureupstream.com or on Instagram @adventure_upstream.

 

Aug 29

Yellowstone National Park: The Top Ten Things To Do

Yellowstone National Park offers so many amazing things to see throughout its 2 million acres that it can be quite overwhelming. One of the biggest challenges that people are faced with while vacationing in Yellowstone Park is trying to determine exactly where to go and what to do. The following is a suggested list of the top ten things to do in this incredible park. This valuable information will help make your trip to Yellowstone National Park the vacation of a lifetime.

Please note that the order of this list is not based on “most favorite to least favorite”, but rather the order in which these attractions are found along the highway known as the Grand Loop.

Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming, USA

Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming, USA

1. Mammoth Hot Springs
Located just inside the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park, the iconic Mammoth Hot Springs is definitely a place to explore. The geothermal features are remarkable, as well as the amazing wildlife.

Tower Fall is the most popular waterfall in Yellowstone other than the Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon.

Tower Fall is the most popular waterfall in Yellowstone other than the Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon.

2. Tower/Roosevelt Area
The Tower/Roosevelt Area offers many worthwhile attractions, such as a beautiful waterfall known as Tower Fall, as well as an incredibly steep and narrow canyon cut out by the Yellowstone River. Roosevelt Lodge is another popular place to visit, where you can venture out on an authentic cowboy cookout via stagecoach or horseback.

The Tower/Roosevelt Area is also the gateway to the world-famous Lamar Valley, which is located directly between Tower/Roosevelt and the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone Park. Known as “America’s Serengeti”, the Lamar Valley is probably the best place in the park to see gray wolves as well as many other species of wildlife.

Dunraven Pass, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Dunraven Pass, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

3. Mount Washburn/Dunraven Pass
Mount Washburn (10,243 feet) has a fire lookout tower on its summit, and there is a very popular hiking trail that takes you to this lookout tower from the highway near Dunraven Pass. You can literally see the entire park and beyond from this breathtaking vantage point.

Brink of the Lower Falls on the Grand Canyon at Yellowstone

Brink of the Lower Falls on the Grand Canyon at Yellowstone

4. Canyon Area
The Canyon Area is one of Yellowstone Park’s “must see” attractions. This is where the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is located, and the view of the 308 foot Lower Falls from the overlook at Artist Point is one of the most famous scenes in the entire park.

Hayden Valley, Yellowstone

Hayden Valley, Yellowstone

5. Hayden Valley
The Hayden Valley is a broad, expansive valley that is teeming with wildlife such as buffalo, grizzly bears, wolves, otters and much more. The Yellowstone River meanders through this beautiful valley on its way to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake

6. Lake Area
The Lake Area includes Lake Village, Fishing Bridge and Bridge Bay, and is located along the northeast section of Yellowstone Lake. This enormous high mountain lake is the largest in North America, and the historic Lake Yellowstone Hotel rests on its shore.

West Thumb in Yellowstone National Park

West Thumb in Yellowstone National Park

7. West Thumb Geyser Basin
The West Thumb Geyser Basin is a small yet fascinating geyser basin that rests directly on the northwest shore of Yellowstone Lake. In fact, some of the geysers are actually “in” the lake, such as a geyser known as Fishing Cone.

Old Faithful

Old Faithful

8. Old Faithful Area
The Old Faithful Area is home to the most famous geyser in the world and one of the most famous lodges in the world. Watching Old Faithful Geyser erupt is without question the most popular “must do” in Yellowstone, as well as visiting the world-renowned Old Faithful Inn. These two national treasures are among Yellowstone Park’s most famous icons. The Old Faithful Area is also home to the fabled Upper Geyser Basin, Black Sand, Biscuit, Midway and Lower Geyser Basins.

Gibbon Falls near Madison Junction in Yellowstone National Park

Gibbon Falls near Madison Junction in Yellowstone National Park

9. Madison Junction Area
The popular Madison Campground is located at Madison Junction, as well as the Firehole River Drive and the always entertaining Firehole River Swimming Area. The road that heads west from Madison Junction towards the West Entrance follows the Madison River through the breathtaking Madison Canyon, and is always an enjoyable drive.

Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park

Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park

10. Norris Geyser Basin
The Norris Geyser Basin is the hottest and most volatile geyser basin in Yellowstone. Steamboat Geyser, the world’s largest, is located here as well as many other fascinating geothermal features.

 

Visit the author’s website http://www.EnjoyYourParks.com/ for detailed information on Yellowstone Park’s top ten things to do, suggested itineraries and much more.

About The Author: David Zebulon Dalton (pen-name) is a semi-retired eye doctor as well as a sixth generation Montanan who has spent his entire life exploring Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. David and his wife Shannon, founders of EnjoyYourParks.com, each have over 40 years experience in these parks, and spend over 220 days each year further exploring them.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Aug 28

Top 10 Resorts in Ranthambore National Park

Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India

Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India

Ranthambore National Park, situated in North India is one of the most renowned and biggest National Parks. It is in southeastern Rajasthan’s Sawai Madhopur district and is around 130 kilometers from Jaipur. It is every wildlife photographer and enthusiast’s dream. In fact the time spent here watching tigers roaming, birds chirping and the verdant greenery is truly worth it and priceless for being explored once in a lifetime. Below are some top resorts, which will make one’s stay all the more memorable.

Top 10 resorts

Pugmark Resort- This is a unique and truly beautiful place to spot the various creatures in the Reserve. The Pugmark Resort is the right merge of modern structural design and natural beauty. In total the resort has 33 rooms that are well furnished and equipped with excellent facilities for making the stay of the guests pleasurable and commendable. Right from food to facilities everything here is just perfect.

Cheetal deer drinking water in Ranthambore forest

Cheetal deer drinking water in Ranthambore forest

Ranthambore Forest Resort- The right union of beauty and elegance, this resort welcomes guests to an environment where supreme luxury resides. The Ranthambore Forest Resort’s proximity, to the national park has made it a highly preferred place for spotting the rich fauna and flora. The resort has 46 rooms in total and is equipped with modern facilities such as attached washroom, TV, verandah, closet and coffee/tea maker. Its multi cuisine restaurant serves international and Indian cuisines to suffice the craving of every guest.

Ranthambore National Resort- This resort is very close to the national park and is a very comfortable place for accommodating on the way towards the Park. The cordial hospitality, the Aravalli Hills’ backdrop and the green well-manicured lawns are the key attractions of Ranthambore National Resort which grabs travelers from the world over. The rooms are equipped with modern facilities such as private bathroom facilities, satellite television, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and more. When it comes to delicacies, their in-house restaurant offers Continental, Chinese and North Indian food.

Ankur Resort- This resort has 15 furnished rooms equipped with carpet that is wall to wall and attached toilets having cold and hot running water as well as the full electronic EPABX system. It offers 10 decorated cottages that offer lush green lawn and full privacy which will offer people a relaxed feeling. Ankur Resort has a spacious dining hall with a soothing atmosphere and serves mouth-watering cuisine, including Continental, Chinese and Indian.

Nilgai Antelope in Ranthambore in Rajasthan, India.

Nilgai Antelope in Ranthambore in Rajasthan, India.

Vatika Resort- This resort is situated on the Ranthambore Road and comprises of 8 cottages along with a private garden. The Vatika Resort is 5 km from the Sawai-Madhopur station and before Vanya Vilas. It is surrounded via nature. Every room has been furnished tastefully and has attached bathrooms. The food served is excellent and the services are highly personalized.

Sanctuary Resort- This resort has a host of modern amenities such as 24/7 cold and hot water, good electricity back up, courteous and personalized room service, heating arrangements during winter amid others. Guests can enjoy a cultural evening where local artists will perform near the lawn or surrounding the swimming pool. Early morning tea will be served in the room and a healthy English breakfast will be served soon after and will include bread, cheese, eggs and fruit. Lunch and dinner will be lightly spiced while room service and snacks will be accessible throughout the day.

Heritage Haveli Resort- This is amid the most preferred resorts in Ranthambore. It is a majestic property that has been carefully built considering the comfort and luxury of the guests that are offered different facilities and warm hospitality to make the guests feel at home. The Heritage Haveli Resort has 6 homely cottages and 11 furnished rooms featuring different facilities such as comfortable beds, private sit out, private bathroom, TV and more. Not only this, it also has a green garden and an outdoor pool with a nearby snack bar that serves majestic culinary delights.

Tiger Den Resort- This is a truly marvelous resort which offers a unique and excellent wildlife tour experience. The Aravalli Hills’ awe inspiring beauty offers complete peace of mind. Every room is equipped with essential facilities which will truly surprise people. The Tiger Den Resort is the finest places to reside for those scouting for undisturbed privacy away from the city life’s noisy environment. Coming for food, they offer the finest Chinese, Continental and Indian cuisines and having different drinks sitting beside the bonfire will offer an outstanding experience.

Gray langur (Semnopithecus dussumieri) with a baby sitting at Ranthambore Fort, Rajasthan, India

Gray langur (Semnopithecus dussumieri) with a baby sitting at Ranthambore Fort, Rajasthan, India

Hammir Wildlife Resort- This resort provides well furnished, nicely decorated, clean rooms and cute cottages and are available in both non AC and AC facilities for the guests’ comfort. People can enjoy their stay within the well-equipped cottages and room. Every room has a traditional and rich Rajasthani ambience making it a tourists’ comfort hub. It has sprawling lawns both in front and at the back and is apt for morning breakfasts during winter and to laze around amid all the hectic activities at the park. Its terraces are huge and provides a beautiful view of the Sawai Madhopur town. To sit here during the evenings with refreshments will work wonders in taking away the tiredness that occurs from the full action packed days. Hammir Wildlife Resort possesses a beautiful terrace having a wonderful view. They arrange on demand and time to time entertainment and activities like Village Safari, Puppet Show, Rajasthan Dance, Camel Ride and Camp Fire. Besides all these, another regular feature here is the local sightseeing. Above all, people can relish the exotic oriental and Rajasthani cuisine.

Jungle View Resort- This is a budget-friendly resort which offers a convenient location to Ranthambore National Park visitors for enjoying the different glorious spectacles of the park while ensconced cosily in comfortable accommodation as well as pampered by the friendly and warm hospitality. Some of the facilities that they offer include local sight seeing, village safari, guide service and jungle safari. On request the Jungle View Resort can arrange bonfires too. The food served is truly sumptuous The Ranthambore National Park is the ultimate place for nature lovers that desire in feeling and living the raw settings of this renowned Tiger Reserve. So make your booking today and enjoy a splendid trip.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Aug 28

Tadoba National Park Birds

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve

Tadoba National Park is situated in the center of India, at Chandrapur district in the state of Maharashtra. The name of the reserve is – Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, it is the biggest Tiger reserve forest and largest National park in Maharashtra. Andhari is named after the Andhari River that flows through forests and thereafter it was named as Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.

Orange-headed Thrush

Orange-headed Thrush

Tadoba reserve is said to be the biggest dense forest in Maharashtra, considering the density of the jungle it is called as the perfect destination for birding in the National Park. The whole park with its magical tweeting and chirping of birds starts from dawn continues till the dusk.

Indian Pitta

Indian Pitta

As per the records, it is found that there are many species of birds including the migrating birds such as the Orange headed thrush, Indian Pitta, Crested treeswift, Stone curlew, and many more. The park is densely covered with bamboos, grasslands, trees, and soiled lands with small ponds, which comprise entire forests wildlife and birds. There is also a wide diversification of birds and raptors and also water birds and endangered species. Major attraction for any tourists or travellers is tigers. Tourists from all over the country arrive in the National Park for the sightseeing of different species in the Tadoba wildlife reserve. Tiger is mostly seen around the lake side and coincidentally in the channel of roadways; tigers mostly resides inside the dense forest and occasionally pays visits outside to the visitors.

Crested treeswift

Crested treeswift

Resorts in the Tadoba National Park are very beautifully built for the tourists and provides luxurious rooms for the halt after excursions around the forest. The resorts in the national park are very well organised by the authorities with proper butler facilities and services of cater and other important necessities. The resort is well maintained with multi-cuisine restaurant serving your taste buds right with the delicacies as per the menu.

Stone Curlew

Stone Curlew

Tadoba reserve has initialised an online source for booking of wildlife safaris and the resorts with special packages all together for the tourists. The resort is fully loaded with modern amenities and standard class with defined services provided to the guests. The tourists have to book online for the jungle wildlife safari tourism and also for the stay in the rooms before hand or before arrival in the park.

The most important characteristic of the wildlife sanctuary is that, the whole forest is surrounded by rivers and lakes, which therefore provides the different wildlife species and birds to take shelter. Tadoba National park is one of the distinguished bird sanctuaries for both wildlife and birding in India.

Jharana Jungle Lodge

Navegaon Gate, Tadoba National Park

District: Chandrapur

State: Maharashtra

Pin Code: 442903

Contact No.: (+91) 9028269571

Email: reservation@jharanajunglelodge.com

http://www.jharanajunglelodge.com/

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Jul 31

Grand Lake, Colorado – Not to Be Missed When Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park

Sunrise on Grand Lake

Sunrise on Grand Lake

Many tourists who visit Rocky Mountain National Park only experience the town of Estes Park on its eastern side. But for those lucky travellers who take the Trail Ridge Road (U.S. 34, the highest continuous motorway in the United States, with more than eight miles above 11,000 feet) 48 miles across Rocky Mountain National Park westward, they land in the charming Town of Grand Lake, Colorado.

Situated on the shores of Grand Lake, Colorado’s largest and deepest natural body of water, the Town of Grand Lake and its surrounding area has welcomed visitors for years. Prehistoric people, followed by Utes, Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes made their way annually to the region to fish and hunt. Trappers and hunting guides, eventually, found the area. But it was in the 1870’s, when miners flooded into surrounding settlements such as Lulu City, that the town became a bustling outfitting and supply point.

Nowadays, despite the town’s small year-round population, there are an amazing array of activities the area offers. Consider renting a kayak or paddle boarding across the waterway. There are publicly and privately operated marinas, and public boat docks on the lake. Interestingly, Grand Lake is home to the world’s highest registered yacht club, hosting sailing races, and the nation’s highest altitude golf course. Furthermore, Grand Lake is considered the snowmobile capital of Colorado with 125 miles of groomed trails. Of course, Rocky Mountain National Park, which surrounds the town and lake on three sides, offers hiking and fishing, but, in particular, is a great area in the park for moose sightings. Some even wander onto local streets. And if all of the above is not enough, the town has a summer stock theatre producing musicals from June to August and frequent festivals and parades. Wow.

But let’s talk about the town itself. Expect to find horses sharing parking spots outside a variety of shops and restaurants along the boardwalk. Cascades of the Rockies offers not only books, but gourmet food items. At night, enjoy live music in a local saloon.

The only potential downside to visiting Grand Lake, depending on your perspective, is the area has been hit much more heavily than Estes Park, by the pine beetle. Although the forests are revitalizing, there are dead trees everywhere. Personally, although I found it sad, it was also enthralling in the extent of damage and would not let it deter a visit to this wonderful area.

 

Mountain Track Publishing has recently released “REACHING ROCKY MOUNTAIN JIM” by Kari August. The book details the life of James Nugent, a trapper who lived in Colorado during the 1870’s, and his compelling relationship with English author Isabella Bird, while fighting to save Estes Park from Lord Dunraven’s land scheme. The novel is available on Amazon books and at Macdonald’s Bookshop in Estes Park. Author Kari August also writes a blog about What to do in Estes Park, the town adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park at http://wtdep.blogspot.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Jan 10

Canadian Camping Goes Beyond Tents

Canadian CampingCamping has changed a lot over the past 50 years, but one thing that has remained the same is the wonderful memories families make together during their outdoor adventures. In Canada’s national parks and other hidden gems including several national historic sites, campers can reserve a variety of accommodations, as basic as a rustic tent-only site, a fully equipped campsite, a roofed accommodation such as an oTENTik, a cabin, or even a tipi.

Seeking a more urban escape?

Look no further than the new camping accommodations offered along Ontario’s historic waterways. “Parks Canada has introduced new programs and activities for new and seasoned campers alike,” explains Dale MacEachern, external relations manager for the Ontario Waterways. “The Rideau Canal and Trent Severn Waterway national historic sites are ideal getaways from the hustle and bustle of city life without having to load up on camping gear and refill the gas tank.” This year, the Rideau Canal is adding cabins along its shores for the perfect level of comfort for those travelling through the historic locks by canoe or kayak or if you want to drive just outside of the city for some piece of quiet.

Looking for a cowboy adventure?

Visitors can now book their getaway at Grasslands National Park in southern Saskatchewan. This often underrated gem in Canada’s national park system offers one main campground with amenities plus the option of booking one of their four tipis for a truly unique camping experience under the stars.

Dreaming of heading west?

Fort Langley National or Fort Rodd Hill national historic sites in British Columbia offer unique settings where you can stay in an oTENTik and immerse your family overnight in Canadian history. “The oTENTiks are definitely a family favourite here,” says Melissa Banovich, manager at Fort Langley National Historic Site. “When the other visitors have left the grounds for the day you really have the run of the place. Kids have so much fun they won’t be asking for screen time while they’re here.”

Willing to take the road less travelled?

Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve is well worth the trip. Renowned for its unique islets and reefs, this is truly an out of this world landscape. After being gently lulled to sleep by the soft sounds of the sea, you’ll be ready to explore the region.

More information to find your next adventure is available at www.pc.gc.ca/eng/voyage-travel/reserve.aspx.

www.newscanada.com

May 08

U.S. National Parks, Stunning Beauty and Variety

Dream Lake at the Rocky Mountain National Park

Dream Lake at the Rocky Mountain National Park

It’s impossible to completely convey in a single article the stunning beauty and variety of the U.S. National Parks.

They range over the moonscape-like areas of the Badlands in South Dakota and the Petrified National Forest in Arizona to the lush greenery of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee or Crater Lake, Oregon.

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

In between the two extremes there is Glacier Park in Montana. Filled with dense forests, icy lakes and breathtaking mountains, it offers every kind of outdoor adventure. It’s joined in that opportunity by other western regions, like the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. With peaks as high as 14,000 feet, hiking takes on a whole new dimension here.

In the opposite direction, tourists looking for adventure can visit Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. Dozens of miles of underground trails in huge caverns offer endless excitement. Bat caves that house thousands of the flying mammals alternate with views of glowing stalagmites 10-stories high.

Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns

The Grand Canyon in Arizona provides one more of nature’s spectacular ‘sculptures’, this one a nearly 300 mile long gash in the Earth 4-18 miles wide and over a mile deep. The bands of colored stone that form the cliff walls provide a stunning backdrop to the birds of prey that hover nearby.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Sometimes, nature likes to provide moving works of art.

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park houses several examples, including Mauna Kea. Filled with active volcanoes and continuing lava flows, the park is an ash-laden wonderland. Steaming vents spew forth sulfur dioxide over the scenery.

Lower Falls, Yellowstone

Lower Falls, Yellowstone

Other steaming vents gush forth in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Hiking trails and horseback riding paths let visitors get a close-up look at these most amazing of nature’s fountains. The Grand Teton National Park not far away provides still another fascinating look at the variety produced by natural processes. Carved over eons, the park provides some of the country’s best whitewater rafting trips down the Snake River.

For a more placid look at the landscape of the west, head to Zion National Park in Utah. Here, visitors can find narrow canyons topped by stone arches, some of which span over 300 feet.

The Watchtower at Sunset - Zion National Park

The Watchtower at Sunset – Zion National Park

Animal-watching is a big part of many of the parks. That’s nowhere more true than The Everglades in Florida. Situated at the southern edge of the state, it houses alligators, stingrays and dozens of species of bird like the Great Blue Heron.

Crater Lake in Oregon also gives lots of chances to see nature’s abundance. The massive lake is surrounded by high mountains, covered with dense forests. That landscape provides a home to soaring hawks and bears. There are lots of trout, too, for those who want to combine sport with sightseeing.

Everyone will have his or her favorite of the parks, and a favorite area within one. But for millions, the crown goes to Yosemite National Park.

Yosmite Valley in Winter Fog

Yosmite Valley in Winter Fog

With the largest granite outcropping on the planet (El Capitan), it reaches out to both rock climbers and those who are simply awed by the mammoth sight. Huge waterfalls splash down the mountains through dense forests with miles of trails. Those paths provide hikers and backpackers with more land than they could ever hope to cross in a lifetime. Horseback rides provide one of the best ways to see some of them.

Whichever type of terrain or outdoor activity you seek, in whatever part of the country you want to go, there’s a U.S. National Park that will far exceed your highest expectations.

Apr 17

Top Five Reasons Rocky Mountain National Park Is Our Most Unique Park

Sunrise at Bear Lake in Colorado Rocky Mountains

Sunrise at Bear Lake in Colorado Rocky Mountains

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most beautiful places on earth. With a rich history and rare wildlife, the park has more to offer than just outstanding views. Below are the top five reasons Rocky Mountain National Park is unique.

Hallett Peak - Rocky Mountain National Park

Hallett Peak – Rocky Mountain National Park

One: RMNP is one of the oldest parks in the United States. In fact, 2015 denotes the park’s one hundredth year anniversary. As with other national parks, the formation of RMNP was not without its controversies. Land valued for mining, logging and cattle ranching, besides containing private properties, did not easily become a national park without a battle.

Alpine lake in Colorado Rocky Mountains

Alpine lake in Colorado Rocky Mountains

Two: The rare boreal toad and “special” trout exist in the park. Once considered extinct, a population of greenback cutthroat trout was discovered in the Big Thompson River of RMNP in the 1950’s. Now Colorado’s state fish, an effort to repopulate Colorado’s lakes and streams has been underway for years. Okay, there have been some mishaps and confusion surrounding the greenback. In fact, recent genetic research has revealed that the only true population of greenback trout live in a creek southwest of Colorado Springs. Luckily a hotel owner in the 1880’s stocked the waterway for tourists with the species. So now the trout in RMNP might be reclassified. But the park still plays host to a variety of unusual flowers and fauna, such as pikas who cannot survive at temperatures above seventy.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado: Travelers view elk on Trail Ridge Road, part of US HIghway 34. This road is the highest contiguous highway in the United States and is closed during the winter and spring until the snow pack clears. In this photo, snow is still evident at the end of June.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado: Travelers view elk on Trail Ridge Road, part of US HIghway 34. This road is the highest contiguous highway in the United States and is closed during the winter and spring until the snow pack clears. In this photo, snow is still evident at the end of June.

Three: The longest, highest altitude highway in the United States is in Rocky Mountain National Park. Trail Ridge Road, built in the 1930’s as part of Highway 34, spans approximately fifty miles between the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake through the park. With an elevation reaching over 12,000 feet, it winds its way through tundra and crosses the continental divide. Closed in the winter due to snowdrifts sometimes exceeding twenty feet, the road is a delight for summer visitors. A few words of warning if you plan to drive the road. Leave early, at least before ten, during heavy tourist months and do not go if breathtaking heights and views make you squeamish.

Waterfall in Rocky Mountain National Park

Waterfall in Rocky Mountain National Park

Four: RMNP respects the sounds of silence. One just has to love the local League of Women Voters who pestered the federal government relentlessly until finally in 1998 touring aviation over the park was banned. In fact, RMNP is the only national park where tourist choppers and small planes are not allowed to intervene with the sounds of nature. Only higher flying commercial aviation is allowed over the park. This is a big deal. Consider the fact that places such as the Grand Canyon can have hundreds of tourist trap flights per day, disturbing the animals and visitors on the ground.

Moose cow and calf crossing Colorado River

Moose cow and calf crossing Colorado River

Five: RMNP has been a tourist destination for about ten thousand years. Hey, modern man wasn’t the only one who thought this place was great. In fact, researchers believe there were regular seasonal visits to the park for hunting and camping, with primitive man arriving from the surrounding regional meadows and valleys, packing projectile points in their “backpacks.” More recently, as in the last three hundred years, the Utes and Arapaho enjoyed the park’s setting. And what better recommendation than that can you give.

 

“REACHING ROCKY MOUNTAIN JIM” by Kari August details the life of James Nugent, a trapper who lived in Colorado during the 1870’s, and his compelling relationship with English author Isabella Bird, while fighting to save Estes Park from Lord Dunraven’s land scheme. The novel is available on Amazon books and Macdonald’s Bookshop in Estes Park. Mountain Track Publishing will be releasing the next novel by Kari August, “THE ARRIVAL OF RICHARD III,” June, 2015. Medieval and modern man comically clash in Estes Park in this romping tale in which Richard III returns to the twenty-first century to repair his damaged reputation. Kari August also writes a blog about What to do in Estes Park, the town adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park at http://wtdep.blogspot.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Jun 08

Yellowstone

Yellowstone

Buffalo in Yellowstone National Park

The oldest park in the U.S. National Park system, Yellowstone was established in 1872 and it covers almost 3,500 square miles (9,000 km²). But, those dry facts don’t begin to convey the magnificence of this heavily forested, geyser-strewn land in Wyoming.

It’s no accident that nearly three million visitors enjoy the park every year. There are Grizzly bears and herds of buffalo to view. There are trout streams off the Yellowstone River the like of which can be found in few other places. Then, there are the famous geysers, over 300 in all.

Yellowstone Emerald Pool

Yellowstone Emerald Pool

The most famous of all – Old Faithful – fully deserves its name. Erupting in a two-story stream of hot water every half hour to two hours, you couldn’t set your watch by it. But you never have to wait too long to see one of nature’s wonders, either. It lasts anywhere from a minute to five minutes, so you won’t miss it if you glance away.

And how could you not look away with so many other fascinating things to see?

Along a fifty mile section of road you can visit the famed Mammoth Hot Springs, equally deserving of its name. The Terraces are among nature’s greatest gifts to park visitors. You can also enjoy the Biscuit Basin, Firehole Lake Drive and a dozen other outstanding sights. Stop at the Madison Museum in Madison Junction and learn all about the area.

In the winter it’s possible to actually ski among the geysers. You can take a ride in the snow coach to the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and then off you go. The geysers spout off below you, as indifferent to you as are the nearby buffalo.

Castle Geyser erupting in Yellowstone

Castle Geyser erupting in Yellowstone

In the summer you can switch to horseback riding. As you clomp along you’ll see some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. The elk may not be impressed by the view, but you will be. Nothing will block your view of the Absarokas to the east or the Wind River Range to your south, either.

Wander over to Lookout Point or Inspiration Point and take a look at the river below. Above it, gliding near the orange canyon walls you can see ospreys on the wing looking for food. At a different angle you can easily make out the white caps of the Yellowstone River, dropping over 300 feet into the canyon.

Cinammon Cub

Cinammon Cub

You can visit Yellowstone Lake, but don’t expect to visit all of it. It has over 100 miles of shoreline. The area is flush with dozens of native species, including some that seem to be permanent fixtures, like the fishermen here. Permits required. But you might also spot one of the 600 grizzlies, a bison, or the occasional wolf.

Nearly all the over 2.2 million acres lies in Wyoming with small parts in both Montana and Idaho. The park is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined. But those are just more dry facts. When you visit, your reaction will be anything but academic.

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