Archive for April, 2009

Take a Trip to the Philippines!

Fishing Boat Moored on the Beach, Palawan, Philippines

Visit a few of the 7,107 islands known as the archipelago of the Philippines and you’ll soon find out why the area is known as one of the most ecologically diverse areas of the world. Active volcanoes like the Taal Volcano provide unique contrast to the rainforest below, and the impressive coral reefs that lay just offshore.

Resort on El Nido Miniloc Island, Philippines

Lensmaster The_Bard has taken the time to point out some of the best resources, websites, beaches, and destinations within the Philippines on his lens Trek-Philippines. It’s full of colorful pictures of the islands, tips on where to find the best reefs, some background and statistics on the marine biodiversity, and information on the cities and culture of these beautiful islands of the South Pacific.

Bacult Archipelago Islands at Dawn, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

The Philippines shares part of the “coral triangle,” making it one of the most popular diving destinations on the planet. Offshore shipwrecks remain from World War II at Sangat Island Reserve and Coron Bay, while other islands offer an array of underwater creatures like barracuda, sharks and rays.

Shipwreck on Tubbataha Reef

El Nido Pangulasian Island at Dusk El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Soft Corals of Many Hues Cover a Reef, Malapascua Island, Philippines

Pair of Mandarinfish Swim Close Together Prior to Spawning, Malapascua Island, Philippines

The Philippines is a very active zone seismically and volcanically. In 2001, Mount Mayon erupted, and in 1991, Mount Pinatubo famously erupted after some 500 years of being asleep. Intrigued? Check out the The_Bard’s lens on The Philippines for more information on this incredible vacation destination!

Mount Pinatubo eruption

Some of this information was found on Wikipedia.

Books on the Philippines:
Philippines Travel Guide
Culture Shock! Philippines: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette
Philippines: The Land (Lands, Peoples, and Cultures)
Authentic Recipes from the Philippines (Authentic Recipes Series)

April 23, 2009 at 11:55 pm 1 comment

Travel to Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens, today
Mount St. Helens, as it looks today. It’s recovered quite well.
Photo by Skedonk on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

The world never experienced a volcano erupting and exploding live on TV before the Mount St. Helens eruption of May 18, 1980. The incredible power of mother nature was realized, as it claimed 58 lives and devestated surrounding forests. The sheer height of Mount St. Helens even decreased by 1,300 feet!

Mount St. Helens

Lensmaster MobyD chronicles some of the eruption day’s events, and has some interesting photographs of the devestation caused within the blast zone on his Mount St. Helens lens. If you’re planning a visit to the area, there are useful tips on when to go, what else is in the area, directions on how to get there, and information on the admission prices. This will certainly give you some ideas and trip planning material for your trip to this monument of Washington state.

More Mount St. Helens Resources and Books:

Ryan Lake and Some of the Millions of Trees North of Mount St. Helens Flattened by the Eruption

April 21, 2009 at 3:31 pm 2 comments

Zion National Park — Hiking the Narrows

Zion National Park

One of the most challenging and most interesting hikes in the United States can be found in the amazing Narrows section of Zion National Park. A Woman Walks Along a Narrow Slot Canyon in the Park, Zion National Park, UtahIn the southwestern portion of the state of Utah, in appearance, Zion is a long, forested canyon, with the beautiful Virgin River running through the middle. As the river gets slimmer in parts of the canyon, the walls also get closer together. This is where the challenge of hiking the Narrows becomes so difficult and interesting. The Narrows aren’t accessible during the entire year. You’ll have to stop by the Visitor’s Center to see if the current conditions are acceptable for hiking, which usually occurs in the late summer months as the river becomes less active and forceful.

Be prepared on your hike up the narrows, as you’ll
need a good set of Outdoor Water Hiking Shoes to get you through the canyon. The deeper you progress into the canyon, the slimmer the crevice becomes (at some points being only 30 feet wide!). Expect to swim short distances where the water becomes deep (you thought I was kidding about those challenges?). You’ll be rewarded with the stunning scenery that the Narrows offers, and an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience you can look back on and be proud of.

Wondering what else you might need for the trip? Here’s a few things that are necessary and useful:

Zion SinawavaIn 2005, I was lucky enough to stay overnight in Zion. Right outside the park in Springdale, there are a number of beautiful accomodations in the midst of the canyon, and right outside the gate of the park. Only one hotel is within the park boundaries, a rustic lodge that’s been open since the early 1900’s. Here’s a list of recommended hotels in Zion, like the Cliffrose Lodge and Bumbleberry Inn.

April 20, 2009 at 8:03 pm Leave a comment

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

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If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t heard of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. This deep, vast canyon is over 40 miles long in the southwestern corner of Colorado. The closest well known town is Aspen, to the northeast. The canyon plummets over 2,000 feet in some places, with beautiful black marbled granite rock. The descent is nearly vertical, making a giant gash in the surface of the earth dating back to 1.7 billions years ago.

It’s an intriguing place that’s rather isolated, but upon closer research, the area has some beautiful scenery all around it. For one, Grand Junction. This town near the border of Utah has wineries…

Black Canyon of the Gunnison postcard

…yes wineries! Surrounded by the Rockies, these lush, green mountains provide the perfect temperature to grow wine. The “playground of the rich,” Aspen, is located to the northeast. A popular ski destination, this town has boomed in the past two decades, with average home prices now in the millions. Directly to the west, the town of Moab offers Utah’s best selection of tightly packed National Parks for your buck. Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Arches are all within just a few miles of each other. Monument Valley is to the southwest, and New Mexico directly south. Some of these destinations may not be all that close together, but they would make an incredible road trip experience.
Here’s more information on the area around Black Canyon:

Arches National Park
Things to Do in Denver

April 6, 2009 at 2:32 pm Leave a comment


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