Saturday, August 29, 2015

An Introduction to the Grizzly Bear

Going bear watching in Canada? Here are some basic facts about the magnificent grizzly bear to take on board before you go.

If you're heading off on a bear watching tour in Canada, you should arm yourself with as much information as possible before you go. Although an expert guide will accompany you on the bear watching tour, having some basic facts at your disposal is always a good idea. 

 Introducing the Grizzly Bear 

 The Grizzly is actually a subspecies of the Brown Bear, which populates the west of Canada and the north west of the United States. It stands as tall as 2.5 metres and a fully-grown male adult can weigh 360kg. 

 Sustenance to Live 

 These animals have very cleverly adapted to their environment, and throughout the changing seasons their behavior changes to accommodate the conditions. In the warmer months, they eat plenty to stock up their body’s supply of fat so throughout the winter, when they are hibernating, they will have enough energy to survive. A daily feed may equal up to 40kg of food and lead to a weight gain of 1kg over 24 hours. What is most interesting is that they actually get most of their nutrition not from huge amounts of meat, but from nuts, fruit, leaves, insects, and roots. Small animals, such as sheep and rodents as well as fish also make up a small part of their diet. When food is scarcer, they will dig into the ground with their long claws and make good use of their strong shoulder muscles and you may see evidence of this throughout the duration of your bear watching tours. 

 Shelter for Hibernation 

 The bears inhabit their dens during the winter months and fall into a deep sleep in order to conserve as much energy as possible to see them through. Their heart rate slows down to just eight beats per minute, and if a female is pregnant during this time, she can even give birth in her sleep. 

 Skills for Survival 

These animals have huge physical and mental strength. They are intelligent, have good memories, and their sense of smell is so good they can detect food from quite a distance away. They also run fast and can swim very well and the young can also climb trees.

Grizzly Bears are, unfortunately, on the threatened wildlife list. Despite being so powerfully equipped, they are no match for the threat incurred from humans. With increased logging encroaching on their habitat and coming into conflict with humans through no fault of their own, their survival is in jeopardy. However, much is currently being done to try to reverse these negative effects and bear watching tours are an excellent way to raise awareness and educate people with regards to their plight.

Thank you to Marissa Ellis-Snow who is a freelance nature writer. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Lewis & Clark expedition as Adventure

The first words put to paper about this land we call Idaho came from the journals of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Their trip had been primarily a river journey -- until they were forced to cross, in the words of one member of the expedition, "the most terrible mountains I ever beheld."

 Because it was so well documented, their adventure became America's adventure.

Cort Conley

Cort Conley is an author, historian, and former river guide. He has written about some of the 'big ticket' adventures that occurred in Idaho. "For me, adventure has at least two aspects," says Conley. "One is a certain amount of risk, which requires obviously a certain amount of audacity or courage; and the other would be a certain amount of learning to come from the experience.

 "There was risk, because, for instance, Sergeant Floyd died; when he fell ill, there was no way to get help for him. And certainly there were a lot of tense meetings with the natives.

 Conley says the preparation for the expedition was strenuous. "If you look at the list that Lewis put together, there's 130 yards of cloth, there are 500 flints for their rifles. They had 144 pocket mirrors. I remember 4,600 needles. They had a library. They had Barton's treatise on botany. They even had a four volume dictionary. But obviously nobody ever looked at it for spelling!

Meriwether Lewis

"In terms of the learning from that experience, the expedition was a treasure trove. They brought back our first descriptions of plants and animals and birds and 132 maps. So that was America's odyssey, and it was an 8,000 mile adventure, in a sense.

"And the thing that I like the most about it is when they are on their way back, they are almost to St. Louis, and John Coulter asked permission to stay and go back. To me, there is an adventurous soul! He had been out going on three years and still, what he'd seen and what he'd learned just wetted his thirst for more. And he goes back and discovers Yellowstone."

Thank you to Outdoor Idaho for this article!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Alaska Halibut Fishing

Coming to Alaska on a halibut fishing trip can be exciting and a bit overwhelming.

Dressing properly for your halibut fishing trip can make the difference between a good time and an uncomfortable time. The weather in Alaska no matter what time of year can be unpredictable. There are two certain precautions that one can take to make sure he or she isn't caught off guard.

First, always dress in layers. Even in the peak of summer the mornings can be darn right cool, sometimes even cold. Your base layer should always be a quick wicking synthetic. I always advise against cotton fabrics. Cotton isn't near as breathable nor has the wicking power of the synthetic garments. Cotton, when wet takes forever to dry and can leave the fisherman uncomfortable for the extent of the halibut fishing trip.

So stick with synthetic base layers. After the base layer you may add as many long sleeve shirts as the weather report calls for. The beautiful thing about dressing in layers is that you can shed off layers anytime you wish and put layers back on when you are feeling chilly. There are many great types of light-weight fleeces being made today. The best type of fleece you can have on is one that's light-weight and that can stop the wind. When you are heading out to the halibut fishing spots you might be on the back deck of the boat, usuallly in the morning. The back deck can be quite cool and the wind can chill the bone. A good fleece will stop the wind and make you feel nice and cozy. In addition to the layers, a medium to light-weight coat should be brought along. You'll sure wish you brought one on a cold Alaskan morning.

Wearing the proper pair of pants can also be critical for comfortable. I highly advise against the wearing of jeans. Cotton jeans when wet are miserable and won't dry for the entire time of your halibut charter. Again, try and wear a synthetic blend pair of pants. As for footwear, I recommend a light-weight wool sock and a waterproof boot of some kind.

Finally, one of the most important precautions to take on any Alaska fishing trip is to bring along the best rain gear that you can afford. Both the pants and the jacket are a must due to the unpredictable weather in Alaska. It can look beautiful out in the morning and by mid-day it's pouring rain and the temperature could drop ten degress or more. Always bring rain gear, if you don't bring anything else, always bring rain gear. Always dress in layers and always bring rain gear. Those two precautions will ensure you being comfortable on your halibut fishing charter, leaving you to fully concentrate on catching those huge halibuts.

Author Bio
Marc Theiler - Alaska Halibut Fishing Expert Alaska Fishing Guide & Outdoor Writer

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Appalachian Trail

This truly is a trails amongst trails.  I have been in awe of any courageous hiker who can actually hike this entire path.  The Appalachian Trail is the nation's longest trail expanding 2,181 miles.  Of course, this trail will take you months to hike it in it's entirety but there are many entrances along the way so the traveler can choose much shorter hikes if desired. 
Here are some interesting facts about the Appalachian Trail:

The Appalachian Trail, completed in 1937:
  • Is a privately managed unit of the national park system.
  • Is the nation's longest marked footpath, at approximately 2,181 miles.
  • Is the first completed national scenic trail, designated in 1968.
  • Crosses six other units of the national park system.
  • Traverses eight national forests.
  • Touches 14 states. Houses more than 2,000 occurrences of rare, threatened, endangered, and sensitive plant and animal species at about 535 sites.
  • Crosses numerous state and local forests and parks.
  • Is maintained by 31 trail clubs and multiple partnerships.
Fun facts about the Appalachian Trail:
  • Lowest elevation: 124 feet – near the Trailside Museum and Zoo at Bear Mountain, New York
  • Highest elevation: 6,625 feet – on Clingmans Dome in Tennessee
  • Approximately 165,000 white paint blazes mark the Trail's route.
  • More than 10,000 people have reported hiking the length of the Trail.
  • It takes approximately 5 million footsteps to walk the entire length of the Trail.
  • More than 6,000 volunteers contribute about 200,000 hours to the Appalachian Trail every year.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Grand Canyon National Park Airplane Trips Give You The Best Value For Your Money

Are you wondering which Grand Canyon tours are the most affordable while still being a lot of fun? The answer is an air tour, and here is why.

Plane tours are on offer every day of the year and depart from Vegas or Tusayan, which is near the South Rim. If you are in Phoenix, you can probably catch an air tour but those are usually landing flights and cost a lot more.

South Rim Plane Tours Are Air-Only

The flights that depart from Tusayan head north and then turn east to fly along the South Rim until they get to the eastern edge of the Park. After that, the flight takes you along the North Rim and heads back to the South Rim after passing through the famous Dragoon Corridor, which is the widest and deepest portion of the Grand Canyon.

You might be wondering if you can catch a flight from the South Rim to the West Rim. Unfortunately, there are no flights between the rims right now. However, if you depart from Vegas, you can opt to fly directly to the South Rim if you want. The flight to the South Rim from Las Vegas takes about an hour and the package includes a 2-hour tour of the rim on the ground. You can even add on a thrilling rim-to-rim chopper flight when you get there.

When you plan a tour of the South Rim, you probably wonder if choppers are allowed to fly below the rim like they can at Grand Canyon West. You won't be able to fly to the canyon floor there because it is not allowed by the FAA and National Park Service.

West Rim Flights

The air tours in Las Vegas originate at various airports such as the one in Henderson and the one in Boulder City. All West Rim Vegas flights head for Grand Canyon West by way of majestic Hoover Dam and scenic Lake Mead.

The West Rim is where you want to go if you are looking for landing tours. These exciting tours depart on a daily basis from Las Vegas and land at the airfield on top of the West Rim. The standard version lets you explore sights like the fabulous Grand Canyon Skywalk, Guano Point, Eagle Point and the Indian Cultural Center while you're on the ground.

Personally, though, I prefer the upgraded landing tour package that adds an exhilarating chopper flight to the canyon floor and a smooth-water float trip down the Colorado. The West Rim is the only part of the canyon where it is allowable for choppers to descend to the canyon floor, so don't miss out on an exciting opportunity to experience it when you are there.

Book Early

Grand Canyon airplane tours often sell out. It is a good idea to book your seats at least one week or two ahead of time. Booking early gives you more tour options to choose from and it ensures you will snag a seat. Plus, you'll get the best rates by booking ahead.

Get Your Seats Online

Another way to get low prices is to buy your seats online. Buying your tickets online is convenient, easy, and safe, and it also allows you to get the lower Internet rate. You could actually save as much as 30 percent on the cost of your tour. If you buy several ticketsFree Web Content, you save a lot of money when you use the Internet discount.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Can't hike 2000 miles in one summer? Take a road trip along the Appalachian Trail

Not many people can hike all 2,167 miles of the Appalachian Trail, but plenty use a ROAD TRIP PLANNER to create a car or RV version of it. While some expert hikers can manage the footpath in one season, most of us don't even have that kind of free time available. So exploring the Appalachian Trail via car or RV is the alternative and you can cover the same distance in about two weeks at a leisurely pace.

This scenic road trip closely follows the Appalachian Trail, with many spots where the trail and road cross paths. This allows you to immerse yourself in the deep woods with a daily hike but also enjoy nature's colors unfurling before you as you cruise along the two-lane highway. Start your road trip planner with a date in the Fall because then you get twice the benefit: Experience the Appalachian Mountains AND see New England's legendary Fall Colors.

That's not to say your trip itinerary will include nothing but trees and trails. You're passing through 14 historically significant states so you'll come upon many cultural places like quaint villages, country stores, historical museums and memorials to add to your road trip planner.

Even though the Appalachian trail runs through 14 states, this blog will include details on the first 6 of them (not including Maine): New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania. This leaves New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia for another blog. Remember, in order to follow the Appalachian Trail, you'll be meandering through the states, so even though your initial road trip planning might indicate a 1200-mile route, you'll actually be driving an additional 200 miles on this road trip.

IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: You'll be traveling west from Gorham to Orford before turning south.
* Pinkham Notch Camp
* Mt. Washington in New Hampshire's Presidential Range
* Mount Washington Cog Railway
* The five granite ledges of Old Man of the Mountain at the Franconia Notch Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich

IN VERMONT: Your entry point is White River Junction; exit through Bennington.
* The historic town of Woodstock
* Gifford Woods State Park in the heart of the Green Mountains
* A panoramic view of Mt. Snow as you descend into Wilmington

IN MASSACHUSETTS: You'll be skirting the west on Highway 7 all the way from Williamstown to Ashley Falls.
* Mount Greylock State Reservation
* Hancock Shaker Village
* Mount Washington State Forest in South Egremont (stay at the Weathervane, a great B & B).

IN CONNECTICUT: Enter in Canaan on Highway 7 and exit through Danbury.
* Norfolk, for its sheer beauty, including its private forest
* The Appalachian Trail crosses Highway 7 and the Housatonic River at Cornwall Bridge.
* Allow one luxury stay at the Berkshires. The Berkshires is to western Connecticut what the Catskills is to New York and the Poconos to Pennsylvania.

IN NEW YORK: We're only going to include the Appalachian Trail segment in this road trip planner and keep the "other" New York for another trip (unless you really can't help yourself & decide to spend a few days in New York's your vacation after all :>). Drive along US 6 to Highway 7, touching the southeastern part of New York and exiting through Port Jervis.
* West PointBusiness Management Articles, the Army's famous military academy
* Bear Mountain State Park
* Harriman State Park

IN PENNSYLVANIA: Come in at Dingman's Ferry and exit through Gettysburg (you'll actually dip a bit in the Garden State of New Jersey).
* Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
* The Poconos
* Roadside America in the village of Shartlesville to see a scale model of bygone Americana.
* The Pennsylvania Dutch Country
* Gettysburg

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Grand Canyon National Park Float Trips Are the Best National Park Day Trip

Families vacationing to the Grand Canyon in the past would go on a driving trip and stop at a couple lookouts positioned along their preplanned route. Today, more people are ditching the self-guided driving tour in favor of float tours. These trips last for just one day, but they deliver spectacular views and unique experiences unheard of in years past. These experiences are great for couples or groups of friends, but they are also perfect for families since you only need to be four-years-old to participate.

There are many companies offering this type of tour on the Colorado River, but the best outfitters operate from Las Vegas or the South Rim area of the national park.  Las Vegas outfitters only go to the West Rim, so you will explore the lowest portions of the river. When you start out on this rafting trip, you have to hop a helicopter and fly down to the floor of the canyon. After this, you transfer to a motor coach and drive to the base of Hoover Dam where the 11-mile journey on the river begins. The float tour ends at Willow Beach, Arizona.

1-day Grand Canyon rafting trips on the South Rim move from Glen Canyon Dam to Lee's Ferry. The most popular South Rim floating tours require you to first take a 2.5 hour bus adventure from the Grand Canyon National Park airport into Page, Arizona. From the Painted Desert to the Navajo Indian reservation, there is a lot to be seen and enjoyed on this tour.

Passengers must first drive through a service tunnel for two miles at the base of the Glen Canyon Dam to reach the boat dock These adventure boats will hold up to seventeen passengers at a time. While this tour goes on for fifteen miles of water, there are several stopping points where the beauties of the canyon can be enjoyed. At one point, passengers can stretch their legs on a brief walk and explore a rock wall featuring authentic Native American etchings. These smooth-water tours end at Lee's Ferry, which is also the launching point for white-water rafting trips.

The second South Rim float trip starts with a flight to Page (Arizona) Airport. Some of the sights you will see on this tour include the Zuni Corridor, Colorado River Confluence and the Desert Watchtower. A 4x4 ride through Antelope Valley kicks off this extended float tours.

The boat, all necessary equipment, lunch, water, and return transportation to Grand Canyon National Park Airport are included in these float trips. You will be lead on these trips by a certified river pilot. A good guide is important and will give you valuable insight into the natural wonders you're seeing.

The Grand Canyon is scorching hot in summer, so make sure you show up ready for the heat to be endured on your 1 day Grand Canyon rafting tour. Water should be provided in the price of your tour, but you may also want to pack sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen, sandals, and lip balm. A change of clothing comes in handy as well, since you will be wet at the end of your tour.

Families and groups of all ages can enjoy this type of Grand Canyon tour. Even kids as young as four can participate. Make sure to plan for an entire day away, since these tours are day trips.

To ensure you get the time and date that you prefer, you should book your smooth water trip down the river well in advance of your trip. It is best to book through the internet so you can get bargains and discounts that will make it more affordable.


Ready to raft the Grand Canyon? Awesome! Read this page for the best rates and times for 1-day smooth-water rafting trips departing from the South Rim and Las Vegas, NV: