Archive for the ‘Adventure Travel’ Category

Best Adventure Vacations in US

We all seek for some adventure in life, and what makes us seek this adventure is our human nature, to just for some time, hit the off road. Adventure vacations help us to bring out the wild side in us, which normally is under the wraps in some corner of our homes and offices. These vacations help you to embrace life, just as it is, without any liabilities and commitments in that moment. This vacation, discover adventures at these best adventure vacations in the US, and discover a new ‘you’. Adventure in general is very important for us to make our lives a tad more interesting and lively. There is always a need to do something that is not done everyday, and this gets us closer to these vacations. Like Helen Keller said, “life is either a great adventure or nothing”.

Planning an Adventure Vacation in the US

The definition of adventure varies for all of us. For some, it’s nearing the supreme power through meditation, and for some, it’s the experience of the adrenaline rush. Whatever maybe our expectations from these adventure vacation ideas, these 5 destinations will surely get you close to them. Let’s check out what these best adventure vacations in US have in store for us!

Grand Canyon, Arizona
River rafting through the Grand Canyon can be one of the best adventure vacations for you this year. You must have already heard stories of people going rafting on the Colorado river, which flows through the Grand Canyon. The gigantic beauty of the Canyon makes this adventure not only adventurous but a memory you’re bound to cherish your whole life. While you’re at the Canyon, you can also check out other adventure sports, such as rafting and paragliding, which are again common at the Grand Canyon. While you’re there, make the most out of it!

Scuba Diving, Hawaii
This is my personal favorite when it comes to the adventure vacations in America, and the entire world too. Scuba diving can be an experience in its own, and at the Hawaiian islands, it just gets better! Though there are more than a hundred islands in Hawaii, the ones visited most for scuba diving are Kauai, Oahu, Ni’ihau, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, Hawaii (the island) and Kahoolawe. Avoid the islands of Ni’ihau, Molokai and Lanai if you’re a beginner. The marine life at Hawaii is one of the most beautiful in the entire world. Scuba diving is done extensively at these islands, so you don’t have to worry about finding company. You can also visit Mt. Kilauea, globally the most active volcano.

Road Trip on the Pan American
Traveling through 14 countries and 2 continents does seem an adventure to live for, doesn’t it? If this idea interests you, you might want to make a road trip across the Pan American Highway, that starts in Alaska and ends in the southern parts of the South American continent. It isn’t a single highway as such, but a network of roads that measures approximately 30,000 miles in totality. It is known as the longest motorable road, globally. This can be a great adventure vacation for a group, or just for a couple too.

Death Valley National Park, California
Considered as one of the best family adventure vacations, the Death Valley National Park has much more to offer than its name suggests. The Ubehebe Crater which is 800m deep, and the Zabriskie Point, are two famous places to visit inside the park. Dante’s View and Badwater are other two such places, the former being 5475 feet above sea level, and the latter being 282 feet below sea level. Trained hikers can hike on the Telescope Peak which stands 11,000 feet tall. A visit to the dry lake called Racetrack Playa might even show you the Milky Way at night. The children would love to see that, won’t they!

Underwater Volcanoes, Caribbean
No no, I’m not asking you to actually visit an active underwater volcano. There are volcanic fissures in the Caribbean that you can safely visit and see some amazing forms of nature. In Champagne and Dominica, you can witness small bubbles that are released from the sea bed due to these volcanic fissures. Most of the Caribbean cruises will take you to a visit here. You might even be lucky enough to witness these through a submarine ride. A combination of scuba diving and visiting these volcanic fissures would work just great.

What to Take on a Safari

A safari reminds us of the dense forests of Amazon, the deserts of Sahara and the grasslands of Savannah. Isn’t it? So can you afford to miss out any important thing on a safari? The answer is definitely no. Your expedition is a few more days to go and you are just about to start packing. All the necessities lying helter-skelter on the floor and you haven’t yet decided what to take and what not to take on the safari. Unlike short term fun holidays, a safari entails travel, adventure, excitement, fun and hassles as well. Therefore, you should be well equipped with all those items that are essential on a safari to make it an awesome experience.

The goods that you will be packing in your luggage will depend on the place where you are heading on to and the duration of your trip. People usually tend to stuff their backpacks with lot of unnecessary materials that contribute to increasing the load of their bags. Thus, you need to make a list, that will contain only those things which would prove useful to you. So what to take on safari holidays? We explain you over here.

» A Medicine Kit
Whether it’s a journey of a night or a few days trip, you should never step out of home without medicines. To be on the safe side, you should carry medicines for fever, pain, vomiting, dehydration and other minor health complications. Stuff your medicine kit with antiseptic lotions, rehydrate powder sachets, pain killers, paracetamols, insect bite creams, throat lozenges, etc. People usually take vaccinations, which is sometimes mandatory for traveling to different countries.

» Clothes and Accessories
Carrying too many clothes is not at all feasible on a safari. You can pack two clothes per day. Pack casual and light weight clothes so that you feel comfortable throughout the trip. Shorts, pants, Ts and cargo are some good options for your dress code on a safari. You can shop for long and short sleeve blouses and a good pair of safari jacket. Cool cotton shirts with three fourth pants would perfectly suit the adventurous trip. Wearing jeans would make you feel uncomfortable when you indulge yourself into adventures.

You need not deck yourself up with loads of accessories while going on a safari. A safari hat and a UV protective goggle would be useful for you. Girls should avoid heels, instead they can wear sneakers, canvas or sport shoes. Two pairs of shoes would be enough for you. Keep an extra pair of floaters if required. You can wear high boots to protect your legs while are treading through jungles. This is a general guideline to your clothing and accessories. You should pack your clothes according to the weather conditions prevailing there.

» Food and Drinks
Never set on an expedition without equipping yourself with food and water. Purchase packs of dry fruits and keep enough water with yourself. Canned foods, dry fruits, snacks and other types of dry eatables last long for a couple of days. You can also carry home cooked food, provided they are dry and dehydrated. Apart from water, you can also carry few bottles of energy drinks and cokes. Give importance to food and drinks more when kids are with you. You can also carry some extra jam, jellies and frozen foods so that they can relish them whenever hungry.

» Gears and Gadgets
The places that abound natural beauty are worth capturing with your camera. Those who are passionate about photography, will never miss out the photography equipment. Video shooting the wildlife and the scenic beauty is an experience of a lifetime. So do not forget to carry your camcorder or digital camera, or else the journey will remain incomplete. Watches, mobile phones and binoculars are also needed on a safari. Carrying laptops, music systems and GPS is a matter of personal choice. Maps and journals also prove useful for knowing the directions and jotting down your personal experiences, respectively, while traveling.

Now that you are aware of what to take on a safari, I hope you can start your packing in a much more organized way. Make a list of these things so that you do not forget anything. Till then, count days for the expedition that you are so avidly waiting for. Have fun!

Bungee Jumping Locations

In bungee jumping, the thrill from the free fall, notwithstanding the elasticity of the cord, leads to a sort of rebound which adds to the fun. There are a number of locations around the world where this extreme sport can be experienced to its fullest. Let’s take a plunge into knowing where they are.

Idaho, Perrine Bridge
One of the most exciting bungee jumping spots, Perrine Bridge in Idaho, offers a 486 ft fall in the Snake river. This is the only man-made bridge in the USA where bungee jumping is allowed, throughout the year, that too without a permit.

Victoria Falls Bridge
Go east in Africa, and you have Zimbabwe offering a fabulous and breathtaking bungee jumping location. This is a 500 ft drop from the Victoria Falls bridge over the Zambezi river, connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia. The thrill of the jump, combined with a dreamy spray of waterfall. Wow, must go!

Grande Canyon, Arizona
This is another location in USA. Here, at the northern tip of the Grande Canyon, Marble Canyon, at Kuskulana Bridge, you can jump from a height of 470 ft.

Ticino, Switzerland
Yes, this is that famous dam from where ‘007 James Bond’ jumped in the movie Golden Eye. Verzasca dam is the name of the place in Switzerland, which has on offer a plunge from a 220 m high hydroelectric dam. Ticino valley is the place where it is located.

The Bridge to Nowhere, California
This jumping site is one of the most popular ones in USA. The bridge is located around 40 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, in the lovely Angeles National Forest.

Bhote Khosi Bungee, Kathmandu, Nepal
Eastern ecstasy is at its best in Nepal, a cozy country situated in the heart of the magnificent Himalayas, very close to India. The snow-capped mountains are a perfect background to take a 500 ft fall. The Bhote Khosi river gushes wildly underneath the bridge, which is perfect for bungee jumping.

Great Canadian Bungee
If you are still not impressed, try jumping from a cliff in Canada. This spectacular site is flanked by limestone walls and an enchanting aqua-blue colored lagoon. Further, it is just around 30 minutes or less from downtown Ottawa at the Morrison’s quarry. Here, you can have a 200 ft head or body dip, and the rebound is a mind-blowing 160 ft.

Macau Tower
I saved the best for last. It is the Macau Tower in China. This plunge continues for 18 seconds, and you stop only 30 feet short of the ground, after going down a ripper―762 ft. I am getting goose bumps just writing about this. This fall will surely make you believe in God, and you are definitely going to get a flashback of your life while you go down.

The Rocky Mountains

The Rockies or the Rocky mountains are the largest mountain ranges in North America. They are situated in the west of North America and Canada. The ranges are not continuous, but, are segregated. All the peaks rise above 3000 m. Mt. Elbert (4401 m) is the highest peak, while, Mt. Massive (4398 m) and Mt. Harvard (4397 m) are the second and third highest peaks respectively. Mt. Robson (3955 m) is the highest peak in the mountain ranges in Canada.

Location
The mountain ranges cover a large area, from British Columbia to New Mexico. They stretch nearly 3000 miles, comprising American states like New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah, South Dakota, Idaho, Montana, and Colorado, as well as Canadian states like British Columbia and Alberta.

The mountains are classified into Southern Rocky Mountains, Middle and Northern Rockies, the Rocky mountain system in Canada, and the Brook range in Alaska. Canadian mountains are the largest ranges and stretch along nearly 900 miles. Sawatch Range, Sangre de Cristo, San Juan Mountains, Gore Ranges, Wasatch Range, Park Range, and Mosquito Range, etc., are the major mountain ranges.

Formation
The process of mountain formation is known as Orogeny. The formation of mountains in the world began in Paleozoic era (300-250 million years ago). The ancient Rockies were formed in this era. Followed by it was the Mesozoic era or the age of dinosaurs (249-200 million years ago). Tectonics and sedimentation took place in North America in the mesozoic era. In both these eras, huge sediments from the oceans were deposited on land due to invasion of the oceans. At the end of mesozoic era, these mountains were formed due to plate tectonic activity. The outermost layer of the Earth’s interior is called Lithosphere. It is broken into several plates. These plates are present below the surface of the earth. The collision of any two of these plates results in upliftment of vast land areas, resulting in mountain formation.

Before the formation of these mountains, there was a shallow sea in the area where Colorado is situated today. The youngest ranges were formed some 100-60 million years ago. Sedimentary as well as igneous rocks are found in these mountain ranges.

Erosion has played a greater role in shaping the Rockies since ancient times. Earlier, they were much larger in size. Tremendous amount of erosion took place and the sediments were washed away. These sediments were deposited eastwards and plains were formed.

Features
The Rocky mountains have very slanting sides. Most of the peaks are covered with snow. Inter-mountain basins are remarkable characteristics of the Rockies. They are formed where there is less upliftment. The Wyoming Basin is one such example. It is a flat grassy prairie which divides the mountains into two. Biologically, the two parts of the mountains are completely different. Different kinds of fauna are found in these two parts.

The highest and the broadest mountain ranges lie in Colorado. Various summits rising above 4000 m are found here. The Sawatch is the principle range in Colorado. Rocky mountain National Park, situated in the center of Colorado state, is a major tourist attraction. It incorporates nearly two hundred thousand acres of land. Peaks, glaciers, and lakes are found in the park. There are grasslands at the lowest part of the National Park. Rock climbing, mountaineering, fishing, and camping are major activities undertaken here.

The Rockies are the source of rivers like Mackenzie, Missouri, Fraser, and Colorado. The Great Divide, created by the rivers in the Rockies, separates the rivers flowing into Atlantic or Arctic from the rivers that flow into the Pacific ocean.

As they are rugged terrains, the Rocky mountains are thinly populated. The chief economic assets are natural resources, gold, copper, and places of tourist attraction. Lake Louise and Jasper National Park are the major tourist attractions in the Rockies of Alberta. Gold was discovered in the state of Idaho, Colorado and Montana, in the 19th century. Copper, lead, zinc is found sparsely in these areas. Leadville is a major mining center. Abundant forests are also major natural resources. These are under government control. Spruce, fir, and pine are the species of trees that dominate these forests.

Family Adventure Vacations

If you realize that it has been long since you have been on a holiday with your family, here’s something for you. If you and your family members are of the adventurous type, an adventure outing could be a good choice for your vacation. You might like to go hiking to someplace less visited, or engage in extreme sports. You might want to enjoy a forest trail and explore the wild, or go family camping by the riverside. The options are plenty. It’s you who makes the choice.

Trekking

If hiking in the hilly regions and walking in the wilds is something you enjoy doing, go trekking. Weather conditions and topography must be taken into account before planning a trek. If you are a trekker, you will love to explore the Himalayan regions in India. The Andes in South America is another popular destination for trekking. Alaska’s autumn forests, the rainforests of Australia and Africa, and the Kilimanjaro range in Africa offer some of the top trekking destinations. The Ladakh range in India, High Sierra in California, Mount Kenya, and the Swiss Alps are some other tourist destinations that are largely visited by trekkers from around the world. There are several walking and climbing routes in Mount Kenya that are used by hikers coming on an adventure tour to this region. The Alps of Switzerland is one of the most-visited tourist spots in the world. Construction of tourist facilities such as hotels and mountain huts began in the mid-nineteenth century and the Swiss Alps became a popular choice for trekking.

Sailing

Some enjoy sailing to marinas, which provide tourists with convenient docks and easy access to restaurants. Some prefer to visit sheltered bays and calm waters, while others may like to sail on a yacht to the high seas of Goa. If you enjoy nature’s company, you can choose to go sailing in the quiet river waters with your family, watching sea birds and enjoying the cool breeze. Some of you might like to cruise in the marinas, chatting with your dear ones over a glass of wine or engage in water sports to add a tinge of adventure to your sailing holiday. The Exumas in Bahamas, the Whitsunday Islands in Australia, the British Virgin Island, and the Caribbean waters offer some good tourist spots for an adventure vacation with the family.

Adventure Sports

Some of you might like to explore the coral reefs of Mauritius or the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and discover the depths of the blue seas on a scuba diving or snorkeling vacation. If riding the waves is what you like, kitesurfing will provide you with that element of adventure. The white, sandy beaches of Hawaii, Tarifa, and Tenerife in Spain, and Boracay in Philippines offer some of the best kiteboarding destinations. Parasailing gives you a sense of freedom. For a bird’s-eye view of the ocean, you can visit parasailing destinations like Kerala and Goa.

River Rafting

Whitewater rafting originated way back in 1842 but became a popular sport only in the mid 1970s. Does this adventure sport interest you? If you would like to experience the thrills and chills of the white waters, go rafting on the deadly rapids. The white waters of River Ganges in the Himalayas, River Brahmaputra in Arunachal Pradesh, and the Colorado River of the Grand Canyon offer some of the world’s best destinations for rafting.

Exploring the Wild

Exploring the wilderness of the forests is one of the best adventure vacation ideas. Spend time discovering the wildlife and observe habitats of wild animals. Such a trip will not only rejuvenate your mind but also teach children the importance of nature and wildlife conservation. The Wild Animal Safari in the Pine Mountain in Georgia hosts a rich animal reserve. The Chobe National Park in Botswana, the Kruger National Park in South Africa, and the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania serve as some of the excellent tourist spots for a trip with your family. Bird watching is another interesting activity to spend a holiday. Rio Grande valley and the pine forests of East Texas are popular bird watching destinations. Some tourist companies offer packages that include watching tropical and ocean birds.

Surfing

How about riding down an ocean wave while standing on a surfboard? Surfing is a favorite sport of many. If you are one of them, plan your vacations around the surfing destinations in different parts of the world. Hawaii is considered as the original home of surfing. Hawaii beaches are a popular tourist attraction. The wild waters of the north shore of Oahu in Hawaii, the Pacific coast of California, the western coastline of France, and the Sunshine coast in Australia are some of the most popular surfing destinations in the world.

Camping

Camping is a good way to enjoy both fun and adventure. Just sitting around the campfire, cooking together, playing fun games, or chatting all night long in the tent; family camping turns out to be a time well-spent with your loved ones. When camping near a lake or river, you can engage in fun activities like swimming and fishing during the day. If the campground is near a mountain, you may like to enjoy the mountain view or go hiking to explore the hilly terrains. Cornwall in Southwestern England, New Hampshire in North America, and north-Indian states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand offer some good camping destinations.

Unearthing Archaeological Sites

If mysteries interest you, plan a vacation to Egypt and explore its archaeological wealth, the Egyptian Pyramids, or Mohenjo-daro, a city of the Indus Valley Civilization. The latter is one of the most explored archaeological sites in the world. Ciudad Perdida, San Agustin, and the tombs at Tierradentro in Colombia, Machu Picchu in Peru, and the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations are some other famous archaeological vacation destinations.

Family vacations give you the opportunity to spend quality time with your family. Remember the last time you took your family on a vacation? Think of the joy you could see on their faces when you declared your plan for a holiday with them. So what are you waiting for? Get ready for an adventure vacation with your family. The pleasure of spending time with your near and dear ones is priceless.

Taking to the Skies in Style: Hot Air Ballooning

In 1967, the Fifth Dimension asked the musical question, “Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon?” The song, which was written by Jimmy Webb, was called Up, Up, & Away. Hot air ballooning began in 1783, with a sheep, a duck, and a rooster as the first passengers. The first human passengers took a ride two months later, on November 21st. While helium and hydrogen balloons were later used by the military, such as in World War I, according to the Aerostar company, which makes hot air balloons and equipment, little progress was made on the development of hot air balloons until the 1960s. Ballooning, as a sport and recreational activity, has been increasing in popularity since then, especially in the United States. There are now over 3,500 balloons in the US and about another 1,000 in other countries.

Hot air balloons are based on a simple concept, hot air is lighter than cold air, and therefore, it rises. Modern balloons have three basic components―a lightweight fabric envelope or balloon, a burner, and a basket to ride in. Usually, the envelope is first inflated by a fan. Then the air inside the envelope is heated with a burner, burning a fuel such as propane. Eventually, as the air inside the balloon gets hotter, it overcomes the weight of the basket and passengers, and you have lift-off. The size and shape (and color) of these three components vary greatly, with some balloons being capable of carrying fifteen or more passengers.

Just as with an airplane, in order to fly a balloon in the US, you have to be licensed by the FAA. In addition to written and orals tests, the requirements for a private pilot’s license include at least 10 hours of training, including 6 with an instructor, a solo flight, an ascent to an altitude of 2,000 feet, and two flights of an hour each, within 60 days of applying for the license. However, unlike airplanes or helicopters, hot air balloons cannot be steered, at least not in the traditional sense. The pilot has to rely on the wind. Since the wind can vary based on altitude, limited changes in speed or direction are possible by changing altitude. This method enables pilots to participate in competitions, where the goal is dropping weights onto a target.

Because there is less wind around sunup and sundown, these are usually the times that pilots choose to fly their balloons. They can also fly at night, but because of problems with visibility and the need for instruments and lights, this is rarely done.

Would you like to take a balloon ride, or perhaps even get more deeply involved in the exciting world of ballooning? The Hotairballooning website suggests looking in your local phone book for companies offering rides in your area. Their site also has a ride directory that lists companies by state or Canadian Province. A typical ride lasts about an hour, but many enjoy prolonging the adventure by offering to help with the inflation and deflation of the balloon.

Another way to get more involved with the sport is by volunteering to be a member of the ground crew. The ground crew helps with setting up the balloon, and then follows along in a chase car during the flight, so that they can help the pilot land safely. If you don’t know of a pilot in your area, you might find one at a balloon festival. Hundreds of these festivals take place around the world each year.

Balloon festivals are like fairs, with other activities taking place, and food vendors satisfying the appetites of all those waiting to see the balloons fly. And unlike the flight of a group of powered aircraft, as the sun begins to dip toward the horizon, the evening seems to become more still and peaceful, as the sky is filled with the thrilling sight everyone has been waiting for. So then, even if you don’t want to get involved with ballooning by helping with the ground crew, or taking a ride yourself, you might still enjoy visiting a festival and watching all the beautiful balloons as they go ‘up, up, and away’.

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