Northwest Montana – The Crown of the Continent

Tucked away in the Northwest corner of Montana is a true wonderland. With Glacier National Park on the east side, Flathead Lake on the south, the Whitefish Mountain Range on the west, and the Canadian border on the north, this area is a magnificent place to visit and learn to love. It can be exciting…

Tucked away in the Northwest corner of Montana is a true wonderland. With Glacier National Park on the east side, Flathead Lake on the south, the Whitefish Mountain Range on the west, and the Canadian border on the north, this area is a magnificent place to visit and learn to love. It can be exciting and calm, stormy and peaceful all at the same time. It is a big country, and its reputation as the Crown of the Continent is well deserved.

The north end of the northern Rockies enterprises Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness. This a rugged area of ​​huge jagged glacier-cut mountains, rushing rivers with miles of whitewater, and mountain lakes that will take your breath away. Back-country chalets that can only be reached on horseback or hiking on foot are scattered through the park, and grizzly bears are inhabitants of the area along with mountain lions, elk, moose, and deer. A little south of Glacier Park and the city of Kalispell is Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. Some 30 miles long and up to 15 miles wide, the lake is 370 feet at its deepest part. A remnant of ancient glacial Lake Missoula, it has its own islands and weather, with windy conditions being common. Bigfork is a town perched on the northern end of the lake, a charming little Montana community. The Whitefish range sits to the north of Flathead Lake, and of the Flathead Valley. At the edge of the northern end of the valley is the small resort town of Whitefish, gateway to Whitefish Resort (formerly known as Big Mountain). And to the north, about 60 miles from Kalispell, is the Canadian border.

Winter activities in this part of the world are what you would expect: world-class snow and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, hunting, and hiking. Whitefish Resort boasts a very popular village sitting on the side of a mountain covered with ski-runs and chair lifts. What used to be called Big Mountain is the home of some of the finest skiing and snowboarding in the country, and the charm and small-town flavor make it even more appealing. The entire area is known for hunting opportunities, and there are seasons for deer, black bear, elk, bighorn sheep, and mountain lions. Wolves have recently been removed from the endangered species list and are hunted as well. Fishing in the winter through the ice is a popular pastime.

Summer activities, in addition to the aforementioned hunting, include fly fishing and lake fishing (the salmon and trout fishing are world-renovated), whitewater rafting, water skiing, canoeing and hiking. If you are the adventurous type you can go for a hot-air balloon or a helicopter ride and see the sights from above. There are boat tours available as well on the Flathead Lake and on Lake McDonald in Glacier Park.

Nightlife in the area features fine dining and several nightclubs that cater to the ski community. Whitefish is the ski town, with lots of roadhouse-type eateries and quaint little bistros, many with their own wood-stoves and fireplaces in the winter. Bigfork is an art town, with galleries and high-end restaurants vying for space on the small main street, Electric Avenue (maned after the power pl; ant on the river). Kalispell is the big city of the areas, with a growing population of around 11,000. Home to many restaurants, bars, roadhouses and nightclubs, it's easy to find something to do there, even when the winter nights begin at 4 pm.

The area around Glacier National Park has an attraction for everyone: the tourist, the thrill-seeker, the outdoors-man, the winter sports expert, and the scenery-lover. It is truly the Crown of the Continent.

Antalya’s Downtown Delights

Beginning in the year 150BC, the Turkish city of Antalya was originally known as Attalia. Today, the city has developed into the largest settlement on the Turkish Mediterranean coastline, which is otherwise known as the Turkish Riviera. Mountains and beaches sandwich this beautiful town, adding to the magnificence of its presence. Getting into the city…

Beginning in the year 150BC, the Turkish city of Antalya was originally known as Attalia. Today, the city has developed into the largest settlement on the Turkish Mediterranean coastline, which is otherwise known as the Turkish Riviera. Mountains and beaches sandwich this beautiful town, adding to the magnificence of its presence.

Getting into the city is mostly done by air, from the Antalya Airport sitting just 10kms away from the center. Flights from Istanbul and other European cities are generally cheap. Antalya City Center hotels are dotted around the streets, just a short distance from the attractions.

But what to see in the downtown area? How do tourists keep themselves entertained when the sites have all gone? There are plenty of things to do in the downtown area of ​​the city.

Cuisine: the city center is bursting at the seams with fantastic dining options. In addition, the cuisine is simply amazing, and quite cheap on the whole. Some of the more privileged cuisines that tourists must try include the local Piyaz dish, saksuka, domates civesi, and tandir kebap.

Tours: travel through the city center, and often out of the city too, with the various city tours on offer. Some last for an hour, while others are half-day tours. In addition, parts of the historic quarter can be seen via bike tour. Visiting the rest of the city by bike is generally not recommended.

Cruises: whether tourists are romantic couples looking for an activity to delight, or family holiday-makers are looking for something new to explore, the cruises that are located at the harbor area of ​​downtown Antalya are the way to go. There are morning and afternoon cruises available, but the sunset cruises sell-out quickly, particularly in the summer months.

Beaches: there are several beaches found in the city, but a few are located along the side city center. The most popular beach in the downtown area is called Konyaalti Beach, and Lara Beach is not far behind.

Clubs: when it comes to the night life of Antalya, there are plenty of great options for tourists to explore. The clubs of the city center are found in many different districts. Even the old quarter has an abundance of pubs. One of the most widely known drinks in the city is Raki. It tastes somewhat like licorice, but is quite potent. Drink slowly unless you want your night to end abruptly.

Theme Parks: there are not any theme parks located in the actual city center, but there are two large water parks located just outside the city center. One of these is the Dedeman Aquapark, which is believed to be the largest water theme park in the Middle East. It is very easy to reach, as it is only five kilometers from most hotels in the city center. It gets very busy on weekends during the year, even in the cooler months.

Souvenirs: shopping in the city of Antalya is a popular activity among tourists. However, the most common items shopped for include the usual clothing labels (fake ones of course), shoes, herbs and even drugs. Viagra is a very popular medicinal drug that can be purchased in the city of Antalya. Be wary though, there are very strict laws on the exporting of antiques and antique-like products. Tourists are more than welcome to purchase the items above, but exporting them is forbidden.

Festivals: the festivals held in the city center each year attract many thousands of party-goes and holiday makers. The most popular would have to be the Antalya Golden Orange Film festival, but others include the International Eurasia Film Festival, Antalya Festival and the international Folk Festival.

Caving in Bermuda

With an astounding 150 limestone cave systems Bermuda has almost as much to explore underground as it does above. In fact, spelunker's (cavers) are drawn from far and wide to delve into the labyrinth of cave systems and discover a fantasy world of stalactites and stalagmites, underwater caverns and grottos and crystall clear blue pools.…

With an astounding 150 limestone cave systems Bermuda has almost as much to explore underground as it does above. In fact, spelunker's (cavers) are drawn from far and wide to delve into the labyrinth of cave systems and discover a fantasy world of stalactites and stalagmites, underwater caverns and grottos and crystall clear blue pools.

Most of Bermuda's caves are found to the east of the Island between Harrington Sound and Castle Harbor and offer opportunities for all levels of cave explorers. Professional cavers can explore to their heart's delight and reach some of the more inaccessible sections of the caves. Some sections of the caves are also underwater experiencing experienced cave divers the chance to explore more inaccessible areas only seen by the lucky few.

However, there are plenty of caves with inland openings allowing easy access to this underground world. If you do decide to visit some of Bermuda's caves, it is worth noting that some require access via a series of steps and that the cave floor can be wet, so wearing appropriate footwear is advisable.

1. Prospero's and Cathedral Caves

Both of these caves are located in the grounds of the Grotto Bay Beach Resort allowing guests staying at the hotel unlimited access.

The main feature of the Cathedral Cave is a large turquoise lake fed by sea water seeing through fissures in the porous limestone rock. A platform at the side of the lake allows visitors to take the plunge into its depths. For those not so keen on taking a dip the cave is well lit and has viewing platforms on which to take in the cave's beauty.

Prospero's Cave was the first cave to be discovered in 1609 by Sir George Somers and was originally named Island Cave. It was later renamed to Prospero's Cave. Visitors to this cave will be treated to spectacular stalactite and stalagmite formations that rival those found in Cathedral Cave. Both caves are believed to be connected by underwater passageways.

2. Crystal Caves

Located in the Hamilton Parish, the breathtaking beauty of the stunning rock formations in Crystal Caves make it one of Bermuda's top attractions. Pontoons floating on crystal clear underground lakes take you on a journey around a cave full of spectacular glistening white stalactites covered with crystallized soda straws. A site truly befitting of the name Crystal Caves. A glimpse into the underground lake will reward you with a stunning vision of underwater rock formations seemingly just inches below the surface. These are in fact over 50 feet below the water's surface but appear much closer due to the clarity of the water in the lake.

Crystal Cave was discovered quite by accident in 1905 by two local boys, Carl Gibbons and Edgar Hollis, when they went looking for a lost cricket ball. Whilst visitors to the caves today enter via a specifically built entrance, you can still see the hole where the boys first entered the caves.

3. Fantasy Caves

The Fantasy Caves are sister to the Crystal Caves and it's easy to combine your caving out to include a visit to both caves.

The Fantasy Caves are just as breathtaking as the Crystal Caves and offer visitors views of dazzling rock formations that look like frozen waterfalls. This effect is due to years of calcite mineral deposits building up on the walls creating some stunning effects. Looking down into the lake you will also see the start of the passage ways linking the cave with the Atlantic Ocean.

4. Devil's Hole

The Devil's Hole is actually a large sink hole formed when a subterranean oceanic cave collapsed. The blue hole this created now acts as a naturally formed aquarium where you can see a variety of native marine life. Angel fish, green moray eels, jacks, sharks and the Bermuda green turtle can all be viewed from specially built viewing platforms.

The Devil's Hole is one of Bermuda's oldest tourist attractions and has been on the list of things to see since 1834. The local's named it Devil's Hole due to the eerie noise made by the sea water entering and leaving the hole making a sound like the moaning of the Devil.

6 Tips To Sleep Warm And Cozy During Winter Camping

Winter camping is fun but most people hate to get frozen out in the cold . If you like the idea of ​​camping during winter, do not let the cold stop you from doing what love. The key to getting comfortable and having a cozy time during winter camping is to stay warm. Here are…

Winter camping is fun but most people hate to get frozen out in the cold . If you like the idea of ​​camping during winter, do not let the cold stop you from doing what love. The key to getting comfortable and having a cozy time during winter camping is to stay warm. Here are a few tips to give you a warm and cozy sleep.

1. It goes without saying that you need to bring a winter camping tent. Not one of those breezy lightweight summer tent that a good strong snow storm can blow away. A winter camping tent has far less window openings, and has sturdy domed walls.

2. Choose the right sleeping gear. Read the temperature rating for the sleeping bag. Make sure it has a hood to cover the top of your head and you read great reviews from other winter campers about the sleeping bag.

3. Bring a pad, or air mattress for your sleeping gear so it is not resting on the bare ground. The pad or mattress acts as a buffer between the cold ground and your sleeping bag. A foam pad or air mattress is also more comfortable and cushioning so it adds an additional sensation of warmth.

4. A wool cap over your head works just as well. Be sure to cover your ears with it to ward off cold. Dress in warm sleeping clothes and wear socks to ensure that you're nice and comfy. Never go to bed with damp clothes on. Change into dry clothing as soon as you can. Thermal underwear is a must for me.

5. A warm water bottle in your sleeping gear is also a great way to ensure a warm and cozy slumber during winter camping. Your sleeping bag can trap the heat generated by the warm water bottle, so, providing you with warmth longer.

6. Another way to stay warm and comfortable enough to sleep is to snuggle with another person by zipping up two sleeping bags into one. All humans generate body heat and getting close to another person allows the other to stay warm. Not all sleeping equipment can be doubled up like this. The mummy-style bags will not work, only the flat rectangular sleeping bags can be doubled up one on top of the other, then zipped up to trap two warm bodies.

Using these tips can really help you stay warm in your camping tent. There's nothing worse than being kept awake because you are shivering, your teeth are chattering and your toes are icy cold. Be prepared, and you'll have a great night's sleep at camp. When you wake up, make yourself a warm cup of hot chocolate and enjoy the quiet, peaceful winter scenery.

Water Tourism in Kerala

Kerala, the southern state of India is nothing but a paradise on earth. It has numerous water bodies and rain falls for 7-8 months each year in this area. This makes the place a green haven. Kerala is blessed with 44 rivers in which 41 of them flow toward the west after originating from the…

Kerala, the southern state of India is nothing but a paradise on earth. It has numerous water bodies and rain falls for 7-8 months each year in this area. This makes the place a green haven. Kerala is blessed with 44 rivers in which 41 of them flow toward the west after originating from the Western Ghats. The three other rivers, Kabani, Bhavani and Pambar flow from west to east. Apart from these the land has beautiful backwaters and a number of beaches because of its 650km long coastline.

The backwaters of kerala are formed by lagoons intertwined with rivers, streams, shallow pools and canals separated from the sea by narrow strips of sand banks. The Backwaters are predominant in central Travancore, in the Alappuzha- Kottayam area. A visitor can cruise through the backwaters in house boats either from Kumarakom or from Alappuzha.

The Backwaters get into their festive mood during the Onam season when the annual Vallam Kali snake boat races take place. The most famous race is for the Nehru Trophy held on the second Saturday of August each year.

The 650km of coastline in Kerala has replied in the making of numerous beaches in the western side. Many of them like Kovalam Beach in Trivandrum are world famous. If this beach is famous for its clean environment and the number of tourists visiting, the beach in Varkala is most famous as a cliff beach with natural springs. The Sivagiri Mutt where the tomb of Sree Narayana Guru is situated is located in Varkala. The Alappuzha Beach and Kollam Beach are both beautiful and are very famous for the beach tournaments. The Cherai Beach in Ernakulam District is a famous sand beach and it attractions many local and other visitors. Kappad beach is famous as the place where Vasco da Gama first landed in India and it is of high historical importance. Muzhuppilangadu beach near Kannur is a lush green dreamy beach which has closely packed sand making it driveable. This long beach is a pleasant place to watch sunset and for adventures like paragliding and parasailing. The Bekal fort in Kasargode is also located on the sea side and is an important tourist location in the Kerala map.

The water tourism in Kerala is a must try experience for any visitor. A visitor may feel that they are the reason why Kerala is called “God's own country.” If you plan to visit Kerala, there are numerous hotels to accommodate you and help you with the trip.

The Cultural Tradition of Kerala

Kerala, popularly known as the God's own country is one of the most popular tourist locations of the South Asia. Bordered by the Arabian sea in the west and the western ghats in the east, the state provides ample opportunity for a visitor to trek, camp and see wildlife. Known for its backwaters, hill stations,…

Kerala, popularly known as the God's own country is one of the most popular tourist locations of the South Asia. Bordered by the Arabian sea in the west and the western ghats in the east, the state provides ample opportunity for a visitor to trek, camp and see wildlife.

Known for its backwaters, hill stations, coconut palms, spices and cultural traditions like Pooram, Kerala is a land of diversity. This is true even when it comes to people and the religions they follow. It is a state with high literacy rates and the development standards are higher than some of the most developed nations.

The cuisine of Kerala is as diverse as what the state offers a visitor. The traditional sadhya gives everything that each of your taste buds ask for.

Kerala offers the best of tourism through its scenic locations, ayurvedic treatments, cultural traditions, eco-tourism initiatives and the diverse terrains from the romantic hill stations of Munnar and Nelliyampathi to serene rain forests in silent valley and to the sun kissed beaches in western coast of Kovalam, Cherayi and Shanghumukham and backwaters of the Central Travancore area.

There are numerous Historical Monuments that tells a visitor the story of how the land formed by Parashurama became the God's own country. The Padmanabhauram Palace in Trivandrum, The Hill Palace in Kochi, The Vadakkekara Palace of Thrissur, Bekal Fort, Palakkad Fort and Thalassery fort are some of the few monuments of historical importance.

The various festivals of Kerala are also hard to miss. In April-May, the magical Thrissur Pooram, famous for its elephants and crackers will surely make a visitor revisit the place. The Attha Chamayam of Thripunithura, on the Atham day, 10 days before Onam is another marvel of Kerala. During Onam season the flower carpet in front of each homes regardless of the religion the person follows tells a visitor about the religious harmony of Kerala. The Vallamkalis (Boat races) in the backwaters of Vembanad is one of the few sporting festivals in South Asia. The different Memory days in all the churches of the land are celebrated with joy. The major festivals of Kerala are Onam, Vishu, Ramzan, Christmas and Bakrid. The life in Kerala is all about celebrations.

Kerala is considered as one of the 50 places one should visit before they die by National Geographic Magazine and aptly so. The place has ample options for stay in different hotels.

Why Should I Buy Snow Shoes?

When visiting one of those big open snow-covered landscapes one feet able to see the ends of the earth. The vista is just generous. It is one of the greatest ways to spend time in the winter season with family or close friends. And when you visit such a place it can make a huge…

When visiting one of those big open snow-covered landscapes one feet able to see the ends of the earth. The vista is just generous. It is one of the greatest ways to spend time in the winter season with family or close friends. And when you visit such a place it can make a huge difference to your enjoyment if you are kitted out properly. Having a good warm jacket, gloves, hat, and snow boots will come as second nature, but not too many will think about snow shoes. They are not overly expensive and are an excellent addition to your luggage.

Why should I buy snow shoes?

Well, if you're only going to be staying home or visiting the park during the holiday season, then you will not really need to give snow shoes a thought. However, if you intend going further afield to visit the real snow areas, then buying snow shoes before you go is well worth the money spent.

Good snow shoes will spread your weight over a much greater area so and wearing them will stop you from continuously sinking knee deep into drifts and having to struggle to get back out. You will also stop the effects from having snow freeze up on the soles of your snow boots. But best of all you will be able to transverse across the snow much more safely and at a greater speed. Let's face it, it's not a lot of fun struggling over deep snow and you'll know how tiring it can be. Snow shoes do away with that problem and will make your life much easier, turning an ordeal into a great day out.

Although it's entirely feasible to strap snow shoes onto most every-day footwear, it's much better if you wear footwear that's meant for the conditions. Snow boots or hiking boots are best of all and snow boarding boots can also fit the bill. Be careful if you are wearing ankle length boots though because snow can still get in over the top of them. You can get gaiters that strap round your lower leg and they will improve things greatly. It is essential to keep your feet warm and dry in snowy conditions or life will become unbearable for you. Quite apart from the danger it poses.

Be sure to purchase or hire the proper type of snow shoes that are suitable for the activities you intend to take part in. There are quite a few different types and designs made for walking, hiking, climbing, and even running in. It takes all sorts !! Also your weight (including backpack) makes a big difference to the size you will need. Going to a knowledgeable retailer or hire company will quickly find the ones that are for you.

So you can see how good snow shoes and snow boots could make your vacation or day out so much more enjoyable. And how handy could they turn out to be if we have a winter like the last one? Have fun!

Skiing in Colorado America

Colorado is North America's leading ski area and is considered as one of the key ski destinations in the world. The Colorado ski resorts enjoy an abundance of dry, light, fluffy snow due to the Rocky Mountains forming a barrier to any storms that come from the Pacific Ocean. Skiing was originally introduced to the…

Colorado is North America's leading ski area and is considered as one of the key ski destinations in the world. The Colorado ski resorts enjoy an abundance of dry, light, fluffy snow due to the Rocky Mountains forming a barrier to any storms that come from the Pacific Ocean. Skiing was originally introduced to the area in the early 19th century as a way of transport but has developed over the last 30 years as a recreational sporting activity. The area has 24 major ski resorts, including Aspen, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Steamboat, Teluride, Vail and Winter Park, offering more ski terrain, runs and lifts than anywhere else in the USA. Millions of people visit Colorado every year for its uncrowded powdery snow covered slopes, amazing scenic Rocky Mountains, authentic Wild West towns and more than 300 days of sunshine a year. With approximately 37,000 acres of ski area and over 2,000 ski runs (longest run is 8km) the Colorado resorts cater for beginners, intermediates, advanced and snowboarders. The area has 306 lifts, 7 cable cars, 216 chairlifts and 90 other lifts. All of the major resorts have their own ski schools which offer a high level of tuition for children and beginners right through to advanced skiers. Most of the major resorts offer excellent facilities for children, especially Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone.

Why is Colorado so popular for skiing holidays? With skiing for all levels of skiers, an average of 300 inches of snow a year, gigantic mountains, long smooth tree-lined runs on 'champagne powder' snow, amazing back-country skiing and fast high speed lifts with no lift queues, these are just a few reasons why visitors return time and time again. There is much more to do than just skiing in Colorado, including snow biking, sledding, dog sledding, ice skating, snowmobiling, ice-climbing, ice fishing, historic walking tours, Wild West evenings and much more. After an exhilarating day on the slopes why not relax in the hotel spa, hot tub and sauna or just lay-back and be pampered at the beauty salon. All of the resorts offer great shopping opportunities ranging from quaint village shops and Western stores to up-market boutiques. Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Buttermilk are recommended for beginners whilst Arapahoe Basin and Vail offer exciting challenges for expert skiers.

The ski resorts in Colorado offer visitors on their ski holiday deals a variety of different skiing holidays. Aspen is a glitzy resort which attracts the rich and famous while Vail and Beaver Creek are purpose built resorts offering luxury accommodation with a cosmopolitan feel. Breckenridge was originally a mining town. With its vibrant Main Street, the resort is steeped in history and traditional. Keystone is a low-key resort, very popular with families. In the southwest of Colorado are the resorts of Telluride and Durango where real cowboys and ranchers still live and work.

Ski holidays in Colorado are all about a casual, relaxed mountain way of life. There are a few glamorous resorts but on the whole the attitude is slow and laid-back. In the smaller resorts you will find a mixture of bars and saloons whilst in the larger resorts you will also find nightclubs, piano bars and lounges. Dining options range from gourmet restaurants to steakhouses and bbq establishments, delis and diners to coffee shops and chain restaurants serving plenty of local cuisine. Breckenridge is an excellent choice for family dining while Aspen, Beaver Creek and Vail are a great choice for gourmet dining.

Nightlife in Colorado is very down-to-earth with saloons, pubs, sports bars, Wild West nights, live music, bowling, cinema and much more for you to enjoy on your last minute holiday deals to Colorado. The whole family will love a storytelling evening around the fire, not forgetting the tasty marshmallows which are toasted on the fire.

A Remembrance Walk Up Great Gable

The second Sunday in November. A day of respect and remembrance for those who fought and were killed in the First World War, and a day of respect and remembrance for those who are still fighting and dying. This is the day that many of us here in the Lake District make the 2-3 hour…

The second Sunday in November. A day of respect and remembrance for those who fought and were killed in the First World War, and a day of respect and remembrance for those who are still fighting and dying. This is the day that many of us here in the Lake District make the 2-3 hour trek up to the top of Great Gable to pay our respects.

We were joined by a few groups of friends who were staying in Lake District cottages across the area. I do not know how six or seven hundred of us fitted at the top of the mountain but the two minutes' silence was substantial and wreaths were laid at the Fell & Rock Climbing Club memorial to those members who gone in the War.

There are several different ways up Great Gable – you can go from Wasdale Head, Honister Pass (at the very top of Borrowdale), or from Seathwaite (again, top end of Borrowdale, turn left before the road starts steeply up Honister Pass). We chose the Seathwaite route as we had Bruno with us, aged 5, and I think it's the least steep route (although you still have to get to the top of Gable when all's said and done).

When you park by the farm at Seathwaite, you then have the choice of climbing steeply up Sour Milk Gill to Green Gable and then across Windy Gap to Great Gable, or meandering further up the valley to Sty Head Tarn. We chose the latter. Just beyond Sty Head Tarn is the Stretcher Box (just in case) and here you need to hang in a right to go up Gable. Then just follow the path to the top. If you turn left at the Stretcher Box you go up Scafell, but that's another walk for another day.

At the top, the views are amazing. You can see so much – the Scafell range, the Helvellyn range, Pillar & Ennerdale, pretty much everything in fact.

We went down the same way to start with, but after Sty Head Tarn we did not turn right over the little wooden bridge that would have taken us down the meandering path to Seathwaite Farm, instead we stopped to the left of the stream and went down a really interesting path that was cut out of the hillside. I've no idea what it was called (who would have thought that I grew up in the Lake District) but it took us back down to Seathwaite Farm all the same. Be warned, it's tough on the knees, especially when a small boy is sitting on your shoulders. It was also quite waterlogged and slippery. But it's an interesting walk all the same.

I'd like to finish with some well known words from Wilfred Owen:

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori

Wilfred Owen
8th Oct 1917-March 1918

The walk described is handy for anyone staying in one of several Keswick cottages in the area.

Hiking Hawaii – The Perfect Way in Which to Experience the Islands

When my girlfriend and I were making plans for our first trip to Hawaii we faced many of the same questions most travelers do. How many islands should we visit? Which islands do we go to? What sights and attractions do we partake in? How about beaches ?? It occurred to us that most travelers,…

When my girlfriend and I were making plans for our first trip to Hawaii we faced many of the same questions most travelers do. How many islands should we visit? Which islands do we go to? What sights and attractions do we partake in? How about beaches ??

It occurred to us that most travelers, at least those that we were acquainted with went to Maui or Oahu, or both. Touring Honolulu, attending a luau, visiting Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center along with Diamond Head and Waikiki became part of our agenda as I am certain it has been for many.

Well, we have now visited the Islands twice and although we ever saw Diamond Head and spend some time on Waikiki we have yet to attend a luau and have not seen Pearl Harbor or the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Shortly before finalizing our trip, I starting thinking what might be the best way to truly experience the islands and their natural beauty. I then came up with the idea of ​​hiking, did a great deal of research on the internet and eventually purchased The Hikers Guide to the Hawaiian Islands by Stuart M. Ball, which I highly recommend.

Although my girlfriend and I are in good physical shape; we work out, lift weights and love to walk; we have never actually walked hiking. I was over fifty and her fast approaching. One of the many things that appeared to me about hiking the islands was the lack of dangerous wildlife. There are no bears or poisonous snakes or the like. So we felt comfortable going off on our own and exploring the beauty that Hawaii had to offer.

We took a 360 degree turn and planned our trip to Kauai and Hawaii (We would return the following year and hike Maui and Oahu) bought some good hiking shoes, a backpack, some rain ponchos, bug repellent, packed our cameras and off we went .

A few tips I might share from our experience. Depending on where you are staying, you may have to drive a reasonable distance to the trail head. We dive anywhere from 45 minutes to 4 h hours to reach our destination. We started out early each morning, usually by 5:30 so there was very little traffic and we had the trails almost inevitably to ourselves (We would take ten hikes, two of which we never saw another sole) Bring a sweatshirt, it is cool in the morning. I found a walk stick to be incredibly helpful due to the uneven terrain and the continuous climbs and descents. Maybe it was because of the time we went out, but bugs were never a problem for us.

The ten hikes we ending up taking (three each on Kauai, Maui and Hawaii; one on Oahu) were all between 4 and 6.8 miles with elevation gains between 500 and 1600 feet and were treated as novice to intermediate in degree of difficulty. The following were our five favorites.

5) Pipiwai Trail, Maui – Often referred to as Oheo Gulch trail. Anyone embarking on a vacation to Maui should experience the Road to Hana. It is considered as one of Hawaii's must see attractions and is rated # 2 on America's list of most scenic drives. One must travel the Hana Highway to reach the Pipiwai trail, there is no other means. The distance itself is less than 60 miles, but with it's approximately 600 hair pin turns and 60 one way bridges it took near 3 to to drive without stopping. It was close to an additional hour drive past the town of Hana to the trail head.

The hike itself is a very relaxing one, with an easily traveled and well maintained trail. The elevation gains are minimal and the distance (4 miles round trip) is very manageable and depending upon how much time you spend looking at the sights, can be completed in two hours.

You will walk along side and across two bridges along the Seven Sacred Pools. The only other couple that we saw on this hike was swimming when we approached them. There is a bamboo forest that towers a hundred feet or more into the sky almost blocking out all sunlight and the trail often ends at the 400 foot Waimoku Falls where we found the perfect place to have lunch. You will need to cross the stream to reach this point. Purchase a cheap pair of water shoes to make the crossing.

4) Kilauea Iki, Hawaii – Located in Hawaii Volcano National Park, this trail is a four mile loop with a maximum elevation gain of 400 feet. It begins and ends in a beautiful rain forest which is so peaceful and tranquil you never want to leave. The trail is very well maintained and the variety of unique trees that you will not see any where else was a highlight of this hike. That is of course until you complete your dismissal to the Kilauea Crater.

This hike will take you across the crater covered in lava over 400 feet thick. You will pass dozens of active steam vents as you cross the rough terrain. You will see a great deal of new growth as it tries to emerge through the cracks in the lava and you can not help but think of what it was like back in 1959 when Kilauea erupted spewing lave almost 2,000 feet in the air.

3) Awaapuhi Trail, Kauai – located in Kokee State Park, this was the most physically demanding of all of the hikes we took. At 6 miles miles with an elevation gain of 1,600 feet we were thoroughly exhausted when we were finished. Of course this was our third day of hiking in a row, so that may have had something to do with it. Like most of the trails we hiked, this one was very easy to follow. It starts off heavily wooded and along the way becomes less dense and much drier in landscape. The highlight of this hike is when you reach the Nualolo Cliffs. The view from here is utterly amazing; sheer cliffs with some of the most interesting rock formations imaginable and nothing but the beautiful blue Pacific behind it all. There is a picnic table making it the perfect place to stop for lunch and enjoy the view before heading out for your return trip.

We did not really notice the 1600 foot elevation difference while reaching this spot, but you better believe we noticed it on the return. Be prepared, although very graduate (You have over three miles to traverse this elevation) it proves to be very grueling at times. For us it almost seemed as if we would never find the trail head and when we finally did, we sat in the car exhausted, but glad we did it.

2) Waipoo Falls (Waimea Canyon), Kauai – There are several hikes in the Waimea Canyon area, this one takes you to the top of the Canyon. It starts off on what appears to be a service road, eventually turns into a very well maintained path and includes a fairly easy to navigate rocky climb towards the end. (Here is where walking stick comes into play) The distance like so many of the hikes is four miles and although you will find yourself at an elevation of nearly 3,500 feet, this must have been covered during the ride up to the trail head. You only end up climbing a little over 500 feet.

The views of the Canyon from up top are remarkable. The different hues of green, red and brown in the Canyon walls can be seen forever. You want to keep taking picture after picture and that is pretty much what we did.

For me, the most pleasant of all the hikes.

1) Kalalau Trail – The trail everyone talks about and movies have been made of. The entire Kalalau trail is 22 miles in and out and you need to acquire a camping permission in order to complete. There are two days hikes that can be taken along the trail as well. The eight mile hike to Hanakapiai Falls or the most commonly traveled 4 mile hike to Hanakapiai Beach which is the hike we took.

Even the four mile hike can be challenging to most. The terrain is very muddy and rocking and you must account for your footing at all times. You begin to climb immediately through lush tropical vegetation. To your left are the sheer cliffs, to your right, a sudden drop to the Pacific Ocean. Although not to be taken lightly, it is not as dangerous as it might seem. I am not completely comfortable with heights, but felt confident on this hike. Once you travel a distance of about one mile and reach an altitude of several hundred feet the first views of the Napali Coast become visible and this alone is worth the entire trip.

You will eventually descend into the valley and reach your destination, Hanakaiai Beach. You must cross a narrow, but fast moving stream in order to reach the beach. Although temptation, swimming is not advisable as evidenced by the sign which total 87 people had since drowned at the time when we were there. Watching the waves, it was not only awe inspiring, but quite obvious why swimming was not advised.

Unlike most of the other hikes, this one can get very crowded. Even though we set out very early as we did each morning and saw only one or two people on our way to the beach, we must have passed hundreds on our way out.

Enjoy!