6 Things You Never Knew About Mount Rushmore

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)
6 Things You Never Knew About Mount Rushmore

Western South Dakota isn’t lacking in incredible sights. There are the Badlands and the Needles of the Black Hills, and those are just the starters. But the highlight of any trip to this land of Native American history and odd rock outcroppings is a visit to Mount Rushmore National Memorial where giant carved heads of four former presidents keep vigil.

The majestic sculpture celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2016, though its stony faces remain much the same as they did when its construction was completed in 1941. The 60-foot-high granite monument features the towering head portraits of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Here are a few things about Mount Rushmore you might not know.

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Presidential Images Were Not the First Choice

Presidential Images Were Not the First Choice

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Mount Rushmore was the brainchild of South Dakota state historian Doane Robinson who was moved to memorialize and carve iconic historical figures into a mountainside. He wanted to promote tourism to a region of the state that was otherwise mostly ignored and came up with the idea of the massive project in 1923. Robinson’s initial plans did not include the political figures admired at the monument today.

Robinson thought a carved tribute featuring Western heroes such as Lewis and Clark, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Lakota leader Chief Red Cloud was the perfect choice for the location. He enlisted the help of renowned American sculptor Gutzon Borglum, who convinced him the monument would be better received if it had a more national focus. They settled on four presidents who they felt best represented the country.

It Was Built Using a Lot of Dynamite

It Was Built Using a Lot of Dynamite

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Visitors to Mount Rushmore stand in awe of its grandeur and scale. Little do they know of the enormity of Robinson and Borglum’s pet undertaking in real-time. The project employed over 400 men and took fourteen years to complete. Most of the men were miners who had come to South Dakota in search of the promised gold in the Black Hills.

An incredible 450,000 tons of rock had to be removed for the project. It was decided the best way to do this was with dynamite, so 90 percent of the monument was carved in this way. Once the blasting was completed, the finer details of the sculpture were attended to. This entailed lowering finishers down the 500-foot face of the mountainside in bosun chairs. It was dangerous work, yet thankfully, no one was seriously injured or killed.

It Has Been Known by Several Names

It Has Been Known by Several Names

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The mountain containing the carving has been known by several different names throughout the years. The Sioux called it Six Grandfathers after the earth, sky, and four cardinal directions. American settlers in the area referred to it as Cougar Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, Slaughterhouse Mountain, or Keystone Cliffs. It wasn’t until 1930 that the beloved icon became officially named and recognized as Mount Rushmore.

The mountain was actually named after New York attorney Charles E. Rushmore, who passed through on his way back from a business trip. When he found out the mountain had no official designation, he thought it would be a good idea to name it after him. The wealthy investor eventually got his way.

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Mount Rushmore Is a Controversial Monument

Mount Rushmore Is a Controversial Monument

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The Lakota Sioux were promised an area that included the Black Hills in perpetuity by the U.S. government in the Treaty of 1868, but forever only lasted until gold was discovered in the 1870s. The land was subsequently taken back by force, adding to the ongoing conflicts of the time between the government and the Plains Indians. In South Dakota specifically, the Battle of Wounded Knee was a grievous defeat for the Native Americans.

The Sioux still consider the Black Hills area as sacred ground. To some, the monument represents the oppression faced by the Native Americans. Visitors to South Dakota can pay homage to the history of the area by also visiting the Crazy Horse Memorial, a still-in-progress sculpture that, once completed, will be the world’s largest sculpture at 641 feet long and 563 feet tall.

The Monument Once Had Its Own Baseball Team

The Monument Once Had Its Own Baseball Team

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Gutzon Borglum’s son Lincoln, who also worked on the project, was a big baseball fan. He socialized with the daily workers by talking baseball and sharing friendly banter while keeping up with the scores on the radio. Their common love for the sport prompted the Borglums to organize an amateur team. Workers became vetted for their ability to handle a baseball bat as well as a jackhammer.

The local community enthusiastically cheered the newly-formed baseball team called the Rushmore Drillers. The team was good enough to make it to the semi-finals of the State Amateur Baseball Tournament in the late 1930s. Even though they placed third, Borglum hosted both the Drillers and their opponents at his home for dinner and more sports talk. The team disbanded when work on the monument was completed.

It Has a Secret Room

It Has a Secret Room

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Borglum wanted to add a secret room behind the monument where important documents and historical memorabilia could be stored. The so-called Hall of Records would be accessed by an 800-foot granite staircase with a giant bronze eagle over the door leading to the secret room.

Only part of the tunnel had been blasted when the funds ran out in 1939. The idea of a Hall of Records dwindled following Borglum’s death in 1941 and the official declaration of the monument’s completion. It was rejuvenated again in 1998 when the National Park Service finished what was started long ago and installed Mount Rushmore’s best-known secret. Items of interest continue to be placed there for future discovery.

Stunning Photos of Mexico’s Natural Landscapes

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY  OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

Stunning Photos of Mexico’s Natural Landscapes

When people think of Mexico, they usually jump to the idea of sitting on a pristine beach with a margarita in each hand. While Mexico does indeed have some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, it is by no means all that the country has to offer in terms of natural beauty. From mountains and canyons to lakes and caves, check out these stunning photos of Mexico’s natural landscapes.

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Laguna de Bacalar

Photo of a beautiful blue lagoon
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Formed by a spring, these crystal-clear waters feature at least seven different shades of blue and green, which change as the day progresses. Though it is often called a lake, it is actually a lagoon with several different channels that feed into the ocean. This stunning location is located in the state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula.

These channels provided transportation for pirates and trading companies in the 18th century. So many pirates used these waters that the local government had to build a fort to protect it. The Fuerte de San Felipe was built in 1725 and is now, ironically, home to a museum dedicated to the history of pirates. For those of you who want to get a taste of the pirate life, there are tours available to take you through the routes that the buccaneers once used.

Copper Canyon

Aerial photo of vast Copper Canyon
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Located in northwestern Mexico in the state of Chihuahua, Copper Canyon, or Barrancas del Cobre, is a group of six canyons that form one amazing natural wonder. Copper Canyon gets its name due to the copper/green hue of the mountains.

The best way to see the canyon up close is by train. The Copper Canyon Train rides along 390 miles of track, hugging mountain ridges, going through 86 tunnels, and crossing 39 bridges above the canyon. The line has been in use since 1961 and is still a major freight route in addition to providing visitors unparalleled views of the rocky terrain.

Las Coloradas

Photo of a pink lake next to a white sand beach
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Located on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, these pink (yes, pink) lakes make up the popular Las Coloradas. This area has been used for salt production for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Mayans. Saltwater from the ocean flows into these shallow lakes where the water evaporates, leaving the salt behind. The high salt content of the water is a haven for brine shrimp and red algae, which create the pink color.

These lakes are very shallow, most not more than a foot deep. Because it is still used for salt production, entering the water is off limits for visitors, but there are tours available that visit a different area where you can wade and float your way through the pink waters.

Nevado de Toluca

Photo of a mountain landscape with a lake
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Nevado de Toluca is one of Mexico’s highest peaks and an ancient volcano. If you’re planning on visiting, don’t worry: The volcano is extinct and hasn’t erupted since 1350 BCE. Two lagoons, the sun lagoon and the moon lagoon, sit at the top of the mountain. Snow melt accumulates in the volcano’s craters to form the beautiful, crystal-clear lakes. It’s hard to find a body of water with such a view. But don’t bother with the swimsuit. It gets pretty chilly at the top of the mountain.

Cenotes

Photo of people swimming in a cenote
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Cenotes are natural swimming holes that are formed when limestone collapses to reveal underground pools. There are over 3,000 cenotes located all over Mexico. The crystal-clear water and unique beauty make them a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike. Most cenotes are free to visit.

Parque Nacional Grutas de Cacahuamilpa

Photo of an underground cve
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The park is located in southern Mexico in the state of Guerrero and is home to one of the largest and most complex cave systems in the world. Each year, the Grutas de Cacahuampila attract hundreds of thousands of visitors wanting to explore the cave’s depths and enjoy its natural beauty. It was formed by underground rivers that cut through the limestone to create the massive caverns that we see today. The Grutas de Cacahuampila is a living cave, which means that rivers are still cutting their way through the rock, forming more of the cave each year.

Mexico’s Natural Wonders

Photo of rock formations in the desert
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Beaches are only a small fraction of what Mexico has to offer. Whether you enjoy the sand, rugged mountains, or a relaxing swim in a cenote, Mexico’s natural landscapes are sure to impress even the pickiest traveler.

11 elephants died in plunge from waterfall while trying to save drowned calf

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY NEWSPAPER)

 

11 elephants died in plunge from waterfall while trying to save drowned calf

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At least 11 wild elephants died after plunging from a waterfall in a national park in Thailand, wildlife officials said Tuesday.

Five elephant carcasses were confirmed Tuesday from drone cameras days after six elephants were first spotted, said Sompote Maneerat, spokesman for the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department.

The animals were found at Haew Narok – Ravine of Hell – waterfall in Khao Yai National Park.

Park officials said five adult elephants and a calf were found at the waterfall Saturday. Officials said the baby elephant drowned and the five adults, found in a ravine below the baby, fell trying to reach it.

Elephant deaths: 6 wild elephants die after falling from waterfall in Thailand, reports say

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The five additional elephants confirmed Tuesday were from the same herd, and only two elephants from the herd survived the incident, said Nattapong Sirichanam, governor of Nakhon Nayok province, according to Reuters.

The two surviving elephants had been trapped on a cliff above the baby elephant, park officials said.

A similar incident killed eight elephants at the same waterfall in 1992, and Sompote said the 11th death is the highest number of elephants to die in a single incident in Khao Yai.

According to Reuters, 3,500 to 3,700 wild elephants remain in Thailand. The park is home to about 300 elephants, the news agency reported.

Asian elephants are classified as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

The surviving elephants will probably experience grief. When two elephants died this year at an Indianapolis zoo, officials confirmed that the rest of the herd reacted emotionally.

“We know that elephants grieve. They are intensely social,” Indianapolis Zoo President Rob Shumaker said.

Contributing: Joel Shannon, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

 Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller

The 5 Deepest Canyons in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Deepest Canyons in the World

If you are an outdoor enthusiast and a nature lover, you know how exciting visiting a canyon can be. Not only can you hike and climb, but the rivers below offer opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and floating. Canyons also provide unmatched vistas for photographers and those who simply want to take in incredible, panoramic views. Knowing the deep valleys and high cliffs of a canyon have taken thousands of years to form as a result of weathering incites the realization of the majesty of these natural landforms. Deep canyons offer the most drastic adventures and views, often including once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Below you will find the five deepest canyons in the worlds to help you plan your next adventure travel getaway.

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Grand Canyon, United States

Grand Canyon, United States

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As the deepest, and most famous, canyon in the United States and one of the deepest in the world, the Grand Canyon is a sight to behold. Its deepest point is 6,093 feet. It’s also a large canyon, which can fit the entire state of Rhode Island. Scientists estimate that the Colorado River began carving the canyon through modern day Arizona about six million years ago, but some studies estimate the process began almost 70 million years ago.

Visitors can view the canyon from its rims, or take a hike on one of the many trails within the canyon. Bright Angel remains one of the Grand Canyon’s most popular trails. With multiple switchbacks, hikers can explore the canyon and get amazing views of the large cliffs, if they don’t want to go white-water rafting in the Colorado River. Visitors who are more about the view than heading out on a trail can find great vantage points at the North Rim and the South Rim stations; however, a visit to the Grand Canyon isn’t complete with out viewing it from The Skywalk at Grand Canyon West, a horseshoe steel frame with a glass floor that extends about 70 feet from the rim of the canyon.

Urique Canyon, Mexico

Urique Canyon, Mexico

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Urique Canyon is one of the six canyons that make up the area referred to as Copper Canyon in Mexico‘s Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains in the state of Chihuahua. As the deepest (6,236 feet) and largest of the canyons, Urique draws visitors from all over the world, especially those who want to explore and view Copper Canyon by train. El Chepe, the train that traverses the canyon remains one of the most scenic rides in the world. El Chepe makes several stops along its journey from Chihuahua to Los Mochis, giving ample opportunities for those who want to explore the canyon up close.

Two favorite stops within the canyon are Posada Barrancas and Divisadero, only a few miles from each other. Divisadero doesn’t offer much for amenities, but it does have a hotel on the rim of the canyon. Most stop here to take in the spectacular view from one of the best lookout points along the trip through Urique Canyon. Additionally, the top attraction in the area is an adventure park, which gives visitors the chance to experience Copper Canyon in a different way.

Cotahuasi Canyon, Peru

Cotahuasi Canyon, Peru

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This remote canyon in the Andes Mountains is almost double the depth of the Grand Canyon at its deepest point of 11,595 feet. The largest city near Cotahuasi Canyon is Arequipa, Peru, located about 123 miles southeast of the canyon. The area is home to some smaller towns and villages whose residents farm the protected area of the canyon, which includes well over a million acres.

Those who venture into Cotahuasi are true adventure travelers at heart. The steep cliffs and remoteness of the location are only suitable for those who want to experience a truly rugged canyon adventure that includes trekking, climbing and kayaking. Those who visit don’t need a permit to enter the reserve, but they should be aware that the local flora and fauna are protected by law. Additionally, local farmers still practice traditional farming techniques to grow ancient crops such as quinoa, maize, chilpe, kiwicha, and other beans. Local farmers also raise llamas and sheep as they chew locally grown coca leaves for energy.

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Colca Canyon, Peru

Colca Canyon, Peru

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One reason Cotahuasi Canyon might not be as popular of a tourist destination is the fact that the world’s second deepest canyon, Colca Canyon, is also in Peru and is much more easily accessed from Arequipa, the country’s second largest city. Colca Canyon reaches depths of more than 13,600 feet, making it a truly wondrous site for those who visit and take in the picturesque views from its rim. The most popular vantage point in the valley is Chivay, also home to La Calera hot springs, a favorite of locals and tourists alike. Chivay offers travelers accommodations, dining, shopping, and tourist activities blended with local traditions. When you begin to explore the wonder of Colca Canyon, pay special attention to the majestic Andean condors flying throughout the canyon. One popular lookout point that offers breathtaking views is Cruz del Cóndor, located only a few short miles from Chivay.

Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, Tibet

Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, Tibet

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The deepest canyon in the world, Yarlung Tsangpo, reaches depths of more than 25,000 feet near the valley where Mount Namcha Barwa is located along the Yarlung Tsangpo River, which runs through Tibet. This highly remote, unspoiled region of the the globe has distinctive flora and fauna such as the takin, a goat-like mammal endemic to the region. The vast size of the river and the canyon also result in multiple different climate zones. On one part of the canyon you can be in sub-tropical temperatures, while near the highest peaks trekkers will experience arctic-like conditions. In fact, the Yarlung Tsangpo River is so daunting, it has earned the nickname “Everest of Rivers.” As of 2019, no one has successfully rafted or kayaked the entire river.

5 U.S. Camping Destinations With the Best Views

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 U.S. Camping Destinations With the Best Views

There’s nothing like a camping trip to disconnect from everyday life and get out into nature. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous camping trip or just a leisurely long weekend to unplug and unwind, you’ll want to take a look at these five U.S. camping destinations that have the best views.

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Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park, Maine

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They don’t call Maine the Pine Tree State (yes, that’s a real thing) for nothing. Step into any park inside the state and you’ll find yourself surrounded by gorgeous pine trees. Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island in Maine is no exception. Located on the Atlantic coast, you can get views of not just trees, but the Atlantic shoreline.

What’s really stunning is the view from the top of Cadillac Mountain. If you hike there at sunrise, you can enjoy the thrill of being the very first person in the country to see the sunrise, since that’s the easternmost point of land in the United States. This fact alone makes the trek worth it.

There are three campgrounds inside the park. Blackwoods is closer to the town center and is better for those of us who prefer to camp in a secluded area but enjoy knowing there’s civilization just a short drive away. If you want a more rustic camping experience, you’ll want to stay at Seawall. On the other hand, if you want to enjoy views of the water from your campsite, then you’ll want to check out Schoodic Woods. Know that you can hike anywhere you want in the park, but these are the only three designated areas where you’re allowed to set up camp.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

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When you’re standing in the middle of Washington, D.C., on a busy day, it’s nearly impossible to imagine that just 75 miles away lies an oasis that’s as serene as the D.C. metro is crowded. Shenandoah National Park has over 500 miles of trails. Many of them take you through several miles of quiet and peaceful wilderness, leaving you alone with your thoughts. Others take you to beautiful waterfalls or stunning viewpoints overlooking the trees and Appalachian Mountains in the distance.

The park sits on 200,000 acres of protected land. It allows backcountry camping for the truly adventurous who want to get off the beaten path and away from everyone. If you’re up for a challenge, take the eight-mile hike up Old Rag Mountain. This is the most popular route because of the stunning views at the peak. You can camp in one of four campgrounds during every season except winter. If you want to backcountry camp, you’ll need to get a permit (it’s free).

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

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As one of the few places in the country where you can still see glaciers, Glacier National Park in Montana is open year-round to visitors. It features a shocking 1,009 campsites within 13 separate campgrounds, but they’re spread out enough that the park can be full and you’ll still feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere (which, for the record, you are). There are over 700 miles of trails, making it the perfect destination for avid hikers. You’ll traverse through forests, meadows, and mountains while seeing spectacular views of lakes and, of course, glaciers.

If you’re up for a drive through the mountains, the 50-mile stretch known as Going-to-the-Sun Road runs through the middle of the park and connects the east side to the west side. While it’s a good way to get from one end of the park to the other in a relatively short amount of time (one way takes about two hours), the view from the highest point is the real highlight. Logan Pass is the highest point on the road, and it sits at 6,646 feet. From this point, you get a panoramic view of the majesty around you, including the glaciers below. You’ll probably also run into some animals, including mountain goats and bighorn sheep. Note that portions of the road can close at any time for weather, particularly for snow in the winter.

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Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

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Deep in the heart of red rock country lies Capitol Reef National Park in Utah. While we’ve talked before about how desert vacations can be relaxing, this trip is more adventurous. The really cool thing about this park is the Waterpocket Fold, which is a geological wrinkle (officially termed a geologic monocline) on the surface of the Earth that was formed somewhere between 50 million and 70  million years ago. Capital Reef happens to sit at the most scenic part of the fold. The park extends nearly 100 miles and includes canyons, bridges, domes, and cliffs for hikers and adventurers to explore.

Backcountry camping is available with a permit. If you prefer traditional campsites, you can stay at the Fruita campground, which is a developed campground that holds 71 sites. More remote campgrounds are also available if you prefer roughing it. Cedar Mesa and Cathedral Valley don’t have water but they do have pit toilets.

The national park sits on a historic site that has been inhabited since at least 500 B.C. You can even see petroglyphs etched into stone along with some painted pictographs. These remnants of the people who used to live on the land have been preserved as much as possible.

Little Beaver Lake Campground, Michigan

Little Beaver Lake Campground, Michigan

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Michigan’s Upper Penninsula (or simply “up north” to Michigan natives) is an often overlooked place of natural beauty. Little Beaver Lake Campground is particularly noteworthy for its views of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. You’ll enjoy unbelievable lake views and can take your boat around to see the famed pictured rocks. If you’re more of a hiker, you’ll enjoy hiking through the forests surrounding the campground. Backcountry camping is available with a permit, or you can stay at one of three rustic campgrounds.

This campground is open year-round. While summer brings tourists who like to kayak, boat, or do other water sports, wintertime allows for snowmobiling, ice climbing, winter camping, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. If you’ve never seen a frozen waterfall before, consider making a trip to Little Beaver Lake Campground in the winter. Bring your climbing gear and make sure to pack your warmest clothes, and be prepared for snow. Lots of it. The area can get up to 200 inches of snow during the winter.

7 Largest Forests in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

7 Largest Forests in the World

Forests are the lungs of the planet. As trees “breath,” they take in carbon while emitting the oxygen for us animals to inhale. In total, forests cover approximately one-third of the planet. Individually, different types of forests create their own biological zones around the globe, with unique plants and animals found only within their confines. While misuse, deforestation and development have wreaked havoc on this essential earth element, there is still plenty we can do to help regreen the groves. Reforestation, conservation efforts and better land stewardship offer hope. The following list breaks down the largest remaining contiguous stands of trees.

Daintree Forest

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Daintree is the largest contiguous forest in Australia. At around 463 square miles, it blankets the northeast corner of the country and shades the coastline of the Daintree River. Some 90 percent of butterfly and bat species can be found here. For the bats, the forest’s more than 10,000 insect species mean plenty of snacks. The namesake of this wooded track is Richard Daintree, a famous Australian photographer and geologist. Within its borders can be found a large percentage of Australia’s unique indigenous reptiles and birds.

Xishuangbanna Tropical Rainforest

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Enveloping 927 square miles in China’s southern province of Yunnan, this high-altitude tropical rainforest is one of the world’s most pristine. Its vast expanse is so diverse that it is divided into many sub-forest types comprising eight distinct biological areas, each of which contains many extremely rare specimens found only here. Upwards of 3,500 types of flora have been scientifically documented. Xishuangbanna Tropical Rainforest’s sheer biodiversity and volume of rarities make it a field day for researchers.

Sundarbans

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Geographically split roughly 60/40 between Bangladesh and India is the 3,861 square-miles of the Sundarbans, the largest contiguous mangrove forest left on earth. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is specifically classified as a “halophytic” rainforest, meaning it is highly tolerant of excessive salt content and high water levels. Within its dense confines prowl endangered big cats. For example, in India parts of the Sunbardans are designated as National Park, Biosphere Reserve and Tiger Preserve. In neighboring Bangladesh, vast swaths of mangrove have Protected Forest status, also territory prime for protected felines.

Tongass National Forest

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Alaska’s Tongass National Forest is the largest in the United States, the world’s fourth biggest forest at 26,256 square miles in total area. Its dense stands of evergreens cover most of Southeast Alaska, including near landmarks such as the famous Inside Passage. The near pristine preserve proffers wildlife such as eagles, bears and rivers running with salmon. Park outfitters offer sled dog rides on glacier snow fields, while the more adventurous can seek out safe ursine encounters at Admiralty Island’s Pack Creek Brown Bear Viewing Area. Area culture is on display at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, with easy visitor access just a short walk from the cruise ship docks in Ketchikan.

Valdivian Temperate Rainforest

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With an area of 95,800 square miles the Valdivian Temperate Rain Forest is the third largest forest in the world. (For comparison, California clocks in at 164,000 square miles in area.)  The Valdivian takes its name from the founder of the city of Valdivia, which is the capital today of both the Los Rios Region and Valdivia Province. The forest cloaks a vast area of South America, including parts in Chile and extending into Argentina. It features unbroken stands of conifers and deciduous trees with a dense understory of lush ferns and thickets of bamboo, all of which are much needed cover for a multitude of delicate animals and ecosystems.

Congo Basin Rainforest

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At a gigantic 781,249 square miles, the Congo Basin Rainforest is larger in area than the state of Alaska. This has much to do with the sheer size of the Congo River, one of the world’s largest, and the rich growth throughout its vast, fertile watershed. Ranging from subtropical to tropical, the moist broadleaf forests of the Congo taken together form a biome that continues from the Congo’s basin to those of its tributaries in Central Africa. Diversity in this colossal, connected collection of forests is highly abundant. For example, of more than 10,000 plant species found here, around 29 percent of them are indigenous, or unique, to the Congo.

Amazon Rainforest

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Touching at least parts of PeruBrazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Surinam, Guyana and Venezuela, just the Amazon’s list of country associations is impressive. So much so, it is also hard to imagine the sheer scope of this rainforest, which is an unfathomable 2.1 million square miles in overall width and breadth. Given that, it is still smaller than it used to be, suffering from ongoing mismanagement and degradation. What’s at stake are the Amazon’s biodiversity and its ability to scrub gigatons of carbon monoxide from our atmosphere. Due to its enormous size, the Amazon Basin’s wellbeing has vast implications for our climate in the near future, making it perhaps one of the most important environmental reclamation projects humankind could undertake.

4 Most Beautiful Views in South America

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

4 Most Beautiful Views in South America

There is absolutely no shortage of picturesque vistas among the vast and varied landscapes that make up South America, all 7,000 square miles of them. Many of the most stunning views happen to be in places of wide-ranging biodiversity and high cultural importance, and they are thriving as destinations through eco-tourism and preservation practices. From epic mountain landscapes in Patagonia to paradise-found beach scenes in Colombia and nature’s tallest cascade in Venezuela, South America holds a rich trove of travel-worthy sights to behold.

Tayrona National Park, Colombia

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Sitting beneath the shade of a palm tree, enjoy endless views of magical blue lagoons and protected coves ringed by bight white beaches, themselves surrounded by hills carpeted in lush, deep-green tropical rainforest. Bring together those ocean and forest biomes, and you have a recipe for boundless biodiversity. Both the breathtaking scenery and the flora and fauna are on view at Tayrona National Park, in northern Colombia. The large preserve area spreads throughout the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a mountain range that comes down to recede into the Caribbean coastline. The plant and animal protections within the park provide the perfect ecotourism opportunity, all while allowing trekkers to take in some pretty paradisiacal views. A great overall resource is Colombiatravel.en.

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

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Known by adventurers and thrill seekers as a pristine outdoor playground, Torres del Paine National Park, in Chile’s Patagonia region, features soaring mountains, bright-blue glaciers and golden pampas grasslands that seem endless. With such varied ecology, the views are endless, as well. The various environments shelter rare wildlife species, some found only here, such as the llama-like guanacos. Three prominent, towing spires of granite — called Cuernos del Paine — give the park its name. The epic terrain draws climbers, sea kayakers, mountain bikers and other outdoors adventure types.

Angel Falls, Venezuela

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Plunging over the cliff edge of Auyán-tepui mountain in Canaima National Park and dropping more than 3,200 feet, Angel Falls is the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall. The national park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Gran Sabana region of Bolívar State, Venezuela. Some 60 percent of the park is made up of table mountain formations, whose flat tops are a unique geological formation that lends itself to the sheer cliffs and attendant waterfalls that make for such jaw-dropping natural grandeur. Rising from surrounding grassy savannas below, the tops of the towering table mountains are frequently shrouded in misty fog, making for ethereal, otherworldly views.

Machu Picchu, Peru

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With its verdant green terraces set amidst stark stone walls and surrounding sheer peaks of the Andes Mountains, the ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu makes for magical views. Its precarious perch in its mountain fortress makes the site seem surreal, almost defying gravity. The ancient builders not only managed to balance altars and living accommodations on a cliff edge, but did it so well that the structure is still standing much as it was when it was built in the 15th century. American explorer Hiram Bingham was led to the site in 1911, and it has been a bucket-list site for travelers ever since. Due to such heavy use, it has become a prime example of working eco-tourism. Even with so much archaeological attention paid to the discovery over the years, Machu Picchu’s exact original use still isn’t known.

3 Lesser-Known Hawaiian Destinations

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Lesser-Known Hawaiian Destinations

The 50th state is the Paradise of the Pacific, an exotic archipelago of eight major volcanic islands and dozens of atolls and islets. It’s a place with perfect turquoise waves breaking onto the shores of dazzling beaches, idyllic waterfalls, lush rainforests and cloud-breaking volcanoes. Give these destinations a try if you want to get away from the usual tourist haunts of Hawaii.

Ahupuaʻa O Kahana State Park, Oahu

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Discover lush scenery and uninterrupted views without the crowds at Ahupuaʻa O Kahana State Park, an ancient land division located on Oahu’s windward side. It spreads across 5,300 acres between Kahana Bay and the 2,670-feet-tall Pu’u Pauao mountain, at the edge of the Ko’olau Range. Kahana, the park’s largest settlement, started life as a remote fishing and farming village. Numbers declined after the creation of the Kingdom of Hawaii and later due to the region’s use as a WWII training site. Today, 31 families reside inside the park and help to promote and preserve their culture.

Experience the park along its two public hiking trails. Kapa’ele’ele Trail is a 1.2 mile-long loop that cuts through a native forest canopy to the Keaniani Lookout. Here you can admire jaw-dropping views of Kahana Bay and Hailua Fishpond. Nakoa Trail is a 2.5-mile round-trip that brings you up close to koa, hala, and octopus trees. Several stream crossings add a touch of adventure to the hike. End your day by kicking back on the gorgeous golden sands of Kahana Bay Beach Park.

Hanapepe, Kauai

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You’ll find it hard not to slow down in Hanapepe, a town characterized by its plantation-style buildings on Kauai’s south shore. Inhabited long before Charles Wilkes arrived on the United States Exploring Expedition in 1840, the town boomed in the 1880’s with an influx of sugar-farming immigrants. In the first half of the 20th century it became one of the island’s liveliest towns, largely due to the soldiers and sailors stationed here. Little has changed since then and the authentic facade was an inspiration for Kokaua Town, from Disney’s Lilo & Stitch movie series.

Spend your time here visiting the boutiques, cafes and galleries housed in well-preserved colorful buildings. Treat yourself to delicious ice cream at Lappert’s, Hawaii’s biggest ice cream chain. Views of the surrounding green countryside are exquisite from the rickety Hanapepe Swinging Bridge. About 2 miles from the center is Salt Pond Beach Park, whose shallow pools and crystalline waters are ideal for snorkeling. Bring a tent and spend the night camping beneath swaying palm trees.

Makawao, Maui

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Head inland on Maui to see a slice of Hawaiian paniolo (cowboy) heritage in Makawao. Paniolos, Californian cowboys brought to Hawaii by King Kamehameha III, first arrived to this enclave on the northwest slopes of Haleakala in the 1800s. Ever since, they’ve been cattle ranching in the sprawling fields of Upcountry Maui and clinging hard to their roots. Check out July’s Makawao Rodeo for bona fide bull bashes, calf roping, parades, and rodeo shows.

Beside the cowboys, Makawao has a thriving arts scene and artisans have set up workshops inside Western-style buildings. Browse the independent galleries and stop to watch glassblowers and wood sculptors plying their trade. If you are a budding artist, sign up for a class at the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center. History buffs can learn about the town at Makawao Museum. Don’t miss out on an indulgent cream puff from the iconic T Komoda Store and Bakery.

5 Must-See Sites in Scandinavia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Must-See Sites in Scandinavia

Would you like an enthralling adventure with serenity and peace? Scandinavia is a once-in-a-lifetime must-see trip. Several must-see places in Scandinavia grab the undivided attention of visitors due to their distinctiveness.

Koli National Park – Finland

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This is one of the most stunning places in Scandinavia. It offers the best hiking and views in Finland. This park provides a fresh outlook on life with its natural wonders. Hike among the rivers, green mountains, and unspoiled summit of the mountains, where you’ll get the most beautiful vantage point. From here, you can see the Finnish countryside and relish in the stunning sunsets and sunrises.

If hiking is not your thing, the daring can enjoy river rafting, canoeing, skiing, and cycling at Koli National Park. The moss-covered woodlands with shimmering waterfalls are nature at its finest. This magical, positive space is the closest to heaven on Earth.

Øresund Bridge – Denmark & Sweden

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The Øresund Bridge connects Sweden and Denmark. First planned in 1936, bridge construction began in 1995 with the opening in 2000. Unexpected delays included finding undetonated World War II bombs in the construction path. Yet, the project was completed three months ahead of schedule. It is the longest rail and road bridge in Europe.

Found 30 feet beneath the water exiting at the Danish island of Amager, one experiences the sloping drive in this bridge. Stretching 5 miles across with a 2.5-mile underwater portion, it unites Denmark and Sweden across the Øresund Strait. This amazing design of human architecture and construction is a must-see.

Stockholm Archipelago – Sweden

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Stockholm Archipelago has more than 20,000 islands distributed within the Baltic Sea. Return to a time when the Vikings sailed the seas and eagles and seals still roam. Numerous nature hiking and biking trails wind a zigzag pattern over the landscape. Navigating among the islands is a kayaker’s, paddler’s, and boaters’ paradise.

This is a must-see-and-eat place for the foodies at heart. Savor the edible delights of different foods from farm shops while basking in an astounding place defined by natural beauty. The climate is favorable to the wandering visitor with cool breezes and sunny days.

Royal Danish Horticultural Society Garden – Denmark

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Created in 1830, this Copenhagen standout the oldest horticultural society in Scandinavia. The running theme is of an English-style garden that brings a sense of serenity and soothing calm to the visitor. Melodic waters bubble from the numerous fountains that pepper the gardens. One cannot help but feel relaxed, silent, and invigorated sipping from the spring water wells.

Formerly Frederiksberg Palace of a Danish royal family, the garden is a place for inspiration and self-reflection, as bikes and jogging are not allowed. Walk among perennial grounds, ancient statues, old growth trees, and water gardens to discover both exquisite design and yourself.

Lofoten Islands – Norway

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This is one of the magnificent must-see places on Earth where you can view the Northern Lights. Located north of the Arctic Circle, near the North Pole, the aurora light show is generated by the disturbance of the solar winds through the magnetosphere. This natural light occurrence adds a mystical quality to your journey. The colors are sprinkled throughout the night sky and Arctic light while your backdrop is the icy mountains and glacial fjords. Other activities include kayaking, canoeing, and hiking with your personal guide.

If you love the outdoors and thirst for exploration with photo opportunities, Scandinavia has fascinating choices. Plan your travels, shut off the stress of the outside world for a time, and relax on these perfect Scandinavian undertakings.

5 Hidden Gems in Australia’s Outback

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Hidden Gems in Australia’s Outback

When we hear mention of the Australian Outback we often picture the geographical desert heart of the country and sacred sights such as Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). But the Outback is actually a term used to describe any remote region of the country’s interior and coastline. From aboriginal sites to canyons, lakes and mountain ranges, there’s a little of the Outback to discover in every state. Here’s our list of some hidden gems to add to your bucket list.

Cape York, Northern Queensland

Cape York, Northern Queensland

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Spread across the narrow peninsula at the northernmost tip of Queensland is Cape York, a grueling 745-mile (1,200-kilometer) journey by 4WD from Cairns. Your reward for making it is jaw-dropping landscapes, superb fishing and memorable cultural encounters, among other things. Spend your days spotting ancient Quinkan rock art and swimming in the transparent waters of Twin Falls. Walk within touching distance of wallabies and crocodiles in Lakefield National Park and kick back on Frangipani Beach.

Lake Gairdner National Park, South Australia

Lake Gairdner National Park, South Australia

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Lake Gairdner is Australia’s third biggest salt lake and home to no less than 200 islands. There’s not many places in the world that you can watch land-speed races and world-record speed attempts on a lake, but this is one of them. Also within the park is Lake Everard and Lake Harris, and the three offer great opportunities for wilderness camping. The dramatic red Gawler Ranges provide a stunning backdrop to the lakes’ white surfaces.

Maralinga, South Australia

Maralinga, South Australia

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The site of British nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and long off-limits to tourists, Maralinga was given back to its traditional owners, the Maralinga Tjarutja people, in 1985. Today you can take guided tours to learn about both its indigenous Australian heritage and nuclear testing era. You can then fly in from the town of Ceduna and keep an eye open for migrating whales, between June and October.

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Mungo National Park, New South Wales

Mungo National Park, New South Wales

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If it is the ethereal landscapes of the Outback that you are in search of then Mungo National Park is the place to be. Its dried-up lakes and petrified sand dunes really seem to be from another planet. This section of the UNESCO-listed Willandra Lakes Region also boasts immense cultural importance. The remains of both the 8,000-year-old Mungo Man and the Mungo Lady were discovered in the park. Don’t miss the sunset over the Walls of China lunettes.

Tarkine Wilderness, Tasmania

Tarkine Wilderness, Tasmania

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Arguably one of our planet’s last great wilderness regions lies on the northwest coast of Tasmania. This is where you’ll encounter Australia’s largest expanse of temperate rainforest and a utopia of unblemished caves, forests, mountains, rivers and waterfalls. You’ll also spot myriad birdlife and possibly catch a glimpse of the menacing Tasmanian devil. Stand at the Edge of the World and you can experience the Roaring Forties winds that helped to carve out Tasmania’s rugged coastline.

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