Right up my alley. Any object with the world on it. Mine please!
National Geographic came out with an interesting article a few days ago on the best cities for hiking in the US. At first, I read the list and laughed a bit…seriously, Vegas? But then I read through it and the hikes actually sound quite spectacular!
1. Salt Lake City, Utah
Get Hiking: From the Brighton Ski Resort, follow the Brighton Lakes and Lake Mary trails to some of the wildest scenery near any American city: high-altitude wildflower meadows, three serene alpine lakes, a ring of ragged peaks surrounding the valley, and, if you make it just more than five miles to Sunset Peak, views over the canyons surrounding Salt Lake.
2. San Francisco, California
Get Hiking: Even though it’s within biking distance of the city, parts of the seven-mile loop on the Matt Davis, Steep Ravine, and Dipsea trails can feel nearly as pristine as they must have felt when Miwok Indians walked here centuries ago. That is, of course, until you get to the panoramic views of the coast, city, bay, and beaches from the top of the 2,571-foot namesake peak.
3. Portland, Oregon
Get Hiking: Try Triple Falls, a three-mile walk from the Horsetail Falls Trailhead that takes hikers through a wooded canyon with views over the Columbia River. The payoff is a stunning three-pronged waterfall—all told, a mere 30 miles from Portland.
4. Las Vegas, Nevada
Get Hiking: Try the strenuous five-mile round trip to Turtle Head Peak from Sandstone Quarry. You’ll hike 2,000 vertical feet through flats covered in blackbrush, Joshua trees, and yuccas; along a ridge; and finally to the 6,300-foot summit with a hawk’s-eye view over Sin City.
5. Seattle, Washington
Get Hiking: This popular four-mile hike has a large measure of challenge (3,700 vertical feet of climbing) with an equal payoff (views of Mount Rainier, Seattle, and the Olympics on a clear day). The journey isn’t so bad either: Along the way, hikers pass classic Pacific Northwest conifer and fir forests, streams, and views over the valley.
6. Phoenix, Arizona
Get Hiking: Park at the Pima Canyon Trailhead and wander a nest of well-mapped trails, or tackle all or part of the 14.3-mile National Trail, which leads to spectacular lookouts on South Mountain over Phoenix and Camelback Mountain, another classic local summit hike.
7. Washington, D.C.
Get Hiking: Check out the kayakers from a lookout over the falls, then keep ambling south to shake off the majority of the visitors. A three-mile loop on the River, Ridge, and Matildaville trails leads along the craggy Mather Gorge, up steep climbs, and through serene forests of oak and ash.
8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Get Hiking: Pick up a map at Valley Green Inn, then head up the yellow trail to a nest of less-frequented loops through evergreen and deciduous forests frequented by deer, fox, and some 125 species of birds.
9. New York, New York
Get Hiking: Despite the weekend crowds, the view from the top of Bear Mountain is worth the 1,100-vertical-foot climb. The four-mile loop on the Appalachian and Major Welch trails leads past a vista of the Hudson River, Iona Island, and the verdant hills of Westchester far below. It’s also the perfect spot to pick out your next hike—perhaps Anthony’s Nose, right across the river.
10. Austin, Texas
Get Hiking: The park’s Wolf Mountain Trail is one of the region’s most beloved hikes, winding past fern-lined canyons, the ruins of a settler’s house, beautiful views over the Pedernales River Valley, and finally to the mother of all Hill Country vistas at the peak.
11. Chicago, Illinois
Get Hiking: Happily, there’s little reminder of nearby urbanity on the 4.5-mile loop (trails two, ten, and nine) that winds through forests, wetlands, and the 200-foot-tall dunes that have formed over millennia.
12. Miami, Florida
Get Hiking: Try the Long Pine Key Trails, a seven-mile nest of paths through pine forest and saw palmetto, haunted by birds, lumbering alligators, and even the elusive Florida panther.
13. Boston, Massachusetts
Get Hiking: The 3.7-mile Rock Circuit Trail can take over four hours to complete thanks to its rugged forest terrain and steep rocky scrambles. Just when you’ve forgotten your proximity to the city, you’ll top out at Pinnacle Rock, which has views over the Boston skyline and the tree-speckled New England landscape.
14. Los Angeles, California
Get Hiking: One must-do hike, the six-mile Mishe Mokwa loop, climbs 1,400 vertical feet to the top of Sandstone Peak, the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains, where hikers gaze over the Pacific Coast, the Channel Islands, and the sparkle of Los Angeles far below.
15. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Get Hiking: Tick off an out-and-back on any part of the state forest’s 31 miles of trail—the scenery is similar between sections—to see a glimpse of the vestiges of prehistoric America.
My pick? I would go for Portland or Seattle. I really want to visit those cities, and I can just imagine how spectacular the views would be on those hikes.
This photograph makes me so happy. It was taken in Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park on a bright and balmy July afternoon.
All of a sudden I feel like running up a hill and rolling down….into the brown grass filled with dead leaves….oh I can’t wait for summer!
Since it has been a few months since I have actually packed up my bags and went on a traveling adventure, I find that this blog has helped me to “travel without moving”. Check out my theme song these days:
I am in another Indian food mood. And I do love my soups and stews, so I am going to attempt to make this lentil stew, Indian style, as I have too many bags of lentils sitting in my pantry. Wish me luck!
This authentic North Indian Lentil Stew was discovered on the way to New Delhi in a well hidden spot known only to the local cabbies. Savoured for generations, this dahl delight is simple to prepare yet overflowing with richness and flavour. Indulge your senses with Indian music, dress your table with brightly coloured silks, dim the lights and relish the true spirit of Crossing Cultures in your own home.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: see recipe
|1/4 cup butter or olive oil
1–3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, diced
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tomato, cubed
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground ginger
|1 cup urad dahl, washed and checked for stones
½ cup channa dahl, wash and checked for stones
5 cups water (more if needed)
salt and pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
- Heat butter or oil in large wok or soup pot.
- Sauté garlic, onion, and cumin seeds until slightly brown.
- Add tomato, cook until soft, adding a little water if necessary.
- Add dry spices: turmeric, garam masala, coriander and ginger, heat for 2 minutes.
- Add lentils, water, salt and pepper to taste, mix well.
- Cook 25–35 minutes in pressure cooker
- OR 2 hours on a stove
- OR 10 hours on low in a crock pot, (7 hours on high).
- Add cayenne pepper to taste (optional).
- Garnish with fresh cilantro (optional).
- Serve over rice or with Indian Naan.
- Freezes well if needed.
Keepin it in the country this week, as I fantasize about all the beautiful things I could see at Grasslands National Park, in Saskatchewan Canada.
Here’s my fantasy agenda:
1. View the Stars
Grasslands National Park is pleased to receive the designation of a Dark Sky Preserve. The Grasslands National Park Dark Sky Preserve is one of the largest and darkest in Canada! It is an excellent place to star gaze and to enjoy the beauty of the night sky. For astronomers, this is one of the best places to observe deep sky objects.
2. Back-country Camping
Back Country Camping is a wilderness camping experience, where campers can randomly set-up tents within the park and enjoy the native prairie landscape with no services. Visitors are expected to park their vehicle on a gravel pull-off and set-up camp out of view – approximately 1km off- road or away from former ranch sites.
3. Back-country Hiking
A wilderness hiking experience for the free-spirited hiker! Hikers randomly explore and enjoy the native prairie landscape without the constraints of trails, markers or limits! Remember to bring your GPS, map and compass!
4. Photography (the right way)
All wild animals experience stress when crowded by humans. This is hard on the animal and dangerous. Wildlife behaviour is unpredictable, especially when females are with young and males are defending territory during the mating season.
The following distances are applicable in most instances. However, it is your responsibility to watch for defensive warning signals and react accordingly by pulling back or leaving the area entirely. In general, stay back:
- 100 metres from bison (unless you are inside a vehicle);
- 30 metres from all other large species;
If you spot the following defensive warning signals, pull back even more or leave the area:
- Bison is shaking his head, short charges towards you, loud snorting, raising of the tail;
- If you see or hear a rattlesnake.
5. Wildlife Viewing
Prairie dogs are scurrying about their business and short-horned lizards are sunbathing on rocky slopes. It is mating season for the bison herd, and they are often looking for a place away from visitors for some “privacy.”
With any luck, this summer, with my plans in the works I will be able to give this beautiful national park a visit!
I’ve been blogging now for over 6 months, and would like to thank all of you for checking in and listening to my warble on about my travel dreams and viewing some of my attempts at photography. You probably know my interested pretty well, but I thought I would throw out 5 little known facts about myself.
1. I can tuck in my left ear. (WHAT does that mean you ask?!). When I was a little girl, instead of a soother to help comfort myself, I would play with my left ear and fold it in on itself. Over several years of doing this when I was a little wee one, my ear cartiledge became so flexible, I can still, to this day, fold my ear into my ear cavity and have it hang out like that for a few minutes. (I still do this sometimes when it is really cold out, to prevent the air from irritating my ears).
2. My first airplane flight occurred when I was in third year university (about 22 years old). Shocking for a travel lover, huh? It was to Cuba, and I certainly enjoyed those spectacular white sand beaches and reggaeton tunes blaring every which way I went.
3. I did a stint as a photo lab technician. Wow, what pictures I saw when I developed my towns photographs when in high school. Some of those memories are burned to the back of my eyeballs. Yuck!
4. I have never seen any of the following movies: The Godfather, Rocky, Back to the Future, Gone with the Wind, and just saw Ghostbuster for the first time this Halloween! Basically any acclaimed movie on IMDb’s top 250 list (excluding Star Wars and Lord of the Rings – my fav!).
5. I have never cooked a meal beyond Kraft Dinner, oatmeal, or Lipton’s Chicken Noodle Soup until I was 27. Now look at my recipe posts right and left!
This picture might be the funniest thing I have read in recent times. My apologies…
Alas, this wonderfully natural, Canadian phenomenon was not selected. But some great new wonders were chosen:
1. The Amazon
The Amazon Rainforest, also known as Amazonia, the Amazon jungle or the Amazon Basin, encompasses seven million square kilometers (1.7 billion acres), though the forest itself occupies some 5.5 million square kilometers (1.4 billion acres), located within nine nations. The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests and comprises the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world. The Amazon River is the largest river in the world by volume, with a total flow greater than the top ten rivers worldwide combined. It accounts for approximately one-fifth of the total world river flow and has the biggest drainage basin on the planet. Not a single bridge crosses the Amazon.
2. Halong Bay
Halong Bay is located in Quáng Ninh province, Vietnam. The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes. The bay has a 120 kilometre long coastline and is approximately 1,553 square kilometres in size with 1969 islets. Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves, other support floating villages of fishermen, who ply the shallow waters for 200 species of fish and 450 different kinds of mollusks. Another specific feature of Halong Bay is the abundance of lakes inside the limestone islands, for example, Dau Be island has six enclosed lakes. All these island lakes occupy drowned dolines within fengcong karst.
3. Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls, in Iguazu River, are one of the world’s largest waterfalls. They extend over 2,700 m (nearly 2 miles) in a semi-circular shape. Of the 275 falls that collectively make up Iguassu Falls, “Devil’s Throat” is the tallest at 80 m in height. Iguazu Falls are on the border between the Brazilian state of Paraná and the Argentine province of Misiones, and are surrounded by two National Parks (BR/ARG). Both are subtropical rainforests that are host to hundreds of rare and endangered species of flora and fauna.
4. Jeju Island
Jejudo is a volcanic island, 130 km from the southern coast of Korea. The largest island and smallest province in Korea, the island has a surface area of 1,846 sqkm. A central feature of Jeju is Hallasan, the tallest mountain in South Korea and a dormant volcano, which rises 1,950 m above sea level. 360 satellite volcanoes are around the main volcano.
ndonesia’s Komodo National Park includes the three larger islands Komodo, Rinca and Padar, as well as numerous smaller ones, for a total area of 1,817 square kilometers (603 square kilometers of it land). The national park was founded in 1980 to protect the Komodo dragon. Later, it was also dedicated to protecting other species, including marine animals. The islands of the national park are of volcanic origin.
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is located about 50 km north of the city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines. It features a limestone karst mountain landscape with an 8.2 km. navigable underground river. A distinguishing feature of the river is that it winds through a cave before flowing directly into the South China Sea. It includes major formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and several large chambers. The lower portion of the river is subject to tidal influences. The underground river is reputed to be the world’s longest. At the mouth of the cave, a clear lagoon is framed by ancient trees growing right to the water’s edge. Monkeys, large monitor lizards, and squirrels find their niche on the beach near the cave.
Table Mountain is a South African icon and the only natural site on the planet to have a constellation of stars named after it – Mensa, meaning “the table.” The flat-topped mountain has withstood six million years of erosion and hosts the richest, yet smallest floral kingdom on earth with over 1,470 floral species. Table Mountain boasts numerous rare and endangered species. It is the most recognized site in Cape Town, the gateway to Africa, owing to its unique flat-topped peaks which reach 1,086 m above sea level.
* all pictures from New7Wonders of Nature
The website also states that this is not the “official” finalists, and that the “official” results will be announced in early 2012. Perhaps a tiny glimmer of hope for Canada?
What an interesting place I just found on the internet this morning, as I sat down with my first (but not last) steaming cup o coffee.
Macau, part of the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (phew!) sounds quite unique and enticing to morning-dream about today. What is especially fascinating is the strong Portuguese influence in this area.
Here’s what my agenda would look like:
The island of Taipa is a busy, colourful place with interesting shops and colonial Portuguese offices in narrow streets and alleys, where many traditional crafts are still followed. The larger of Macau’s two islands, Colôane Island, is perfect for a day trip. Nature trails thread among the hills in Seac Pai Van Park, which also has a walk-in aviary. The best of the beaches is the black-sand Hác Sá. Enjoy spectacular views from the A-Ma Statue, which stands on the highest point on the island.
Macau’s colourful festivals include the Dragon Boat Festival in June; the International Fireworks Display Contest, which sees 90 countries competing for honours in September/October; and the Macau International Music Festival, which presents works in Chinese and Western styles throughout October.
Historic Old City
Ascribed UNESCO World Heritage status in 2005, the old city has eight squares and 22 historic buildings. The narrow lanes, markets and sloping cobbles combine the architectural drama of backstreet Porto and the bustling energy, cooking smells and Cantonese dialect of southern China.
The ruins of the Church of St Paul’s are probably the most famous sight in Macau. The church was originally built in 1602 and rebuilt in 1835 after a disastrous typhoon. The 40m-high (130ft) Gate of Understanding, which looms over Praia Grande Bay, is a symbolic structure representing the goodwill between China and Portugal. The finest expression of colonial architecture is probably the Largo do Senado Square.
Kun Iam Tong
Explore the complex of temples known as Kun Iam Tong, the biggest and wealthiest of Macau’s temples. It dates from the time of the Ming Dynasty, about 400 years ago, and contains a small statue of Marco Polo as well as other works of art.
Take a leap
Enjoy panoramic views – or bungee jump – from Macau Tower, an entertainment and convention centre situated on the waterfront on the Nam Van Lakes. The 338m (1,109ft) landmark is the 10th tallest freestanding tower in the world.
I think I will save this last adventure for a daydream, this morning dream does not feel like taking that leap just yet. Maybe another coffee will help…