Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for adventure travel

The Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks

By Linda Tancs

The oldest and largest natural attraction in New York’s Adirondacks, Ausable Chasm is a sandstone gorge featuring a vertical-walled canyon made of 500 million-year-old rock touted as the “Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks.” Adventure reigns there, with enough heart-thumping tours to satisfy the undaunted. A family-friendly option is the guided via ferrata, a protected climbing route characterized by a steel cable that runs along the rock, offering a unique journey through a region of the chasm not accessible from any other trail. You’ll also find scenic walking and hiking trails, mountain biking, tubing and river rafting options. Their Classic Tour is the most popular offering, a two-part walk and float tour that allows visitors a complete end-to-end visit of the chasm with a trolley/shuttle return to the welcome center once completed. 

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Crossing the Arctic Circle

By Linda Tancs

One of the northernmost roads in Alaska is the Dalton Highway, the only road in the United States to cross the Yukon River, the Arctic Circle and Brooks Range. Named for James William Dalton, a North Slope engineer, it was closed to public traffic for years, having been developed as a haul road connecting the Yukon River and Prudhoe Bay during construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Today it’s one of Alaska’s scenic byways and one of the remotest drives on earth. Some of the highlights along the way are signs of active gold mining in Livengood, mile marker 115 (where a sign indicates that you’ve crossed the Arctic Circle) and Atigun Pass, the highest in Alaska at 4,800 feet. The route begins in Livengood although the only place to rent a vehicle suitable for road conditions is Fairbanks. Over 400 miles long, the journey will take you to Prudhoe Bay, where you can overnight and rest before beginning the long trek back to Fairbanks. The highway is mostly a gravel road with several steep grades and no cell phone coverage. Extra supplies and spare tires are recommended. Due to weather and varying road conditions, the best time to travel is between June and August.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Bubbling Over in the Indian Ocean

By Linda Tancs

Réunion is a French department in the Indian Ocean, an island known for its active volcano, Piton de la Fournaise. Currently, it’s one of the most active volcanoes in the world, giving Hawaii’s Kīlauea a run for its money. This shield volcano standing at over 8,600 feet is a hiker’s dream, with challenging routes linking the coast with the summit. You can also reach into the bowels of the earth with a lava tunnel tour lasting over three hours or take in the Mars-like landscape from the Plaine des Sables. Then, again, why not do it all? You can rest up at the Volcano Lodge, less than a mile from the crater.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Head-to-Toe in Kent

By Linda Tancs

If you’re longing for a safari-like experience outside Africa, then a visit to Kent, England, might just be the ticket. Yes, that’s right. Kent, the “Garden of England,” offers an enviable wildlife experience at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve. The park is home to over 760 animals across 90 species, including spectacled bears, Kent’s only giraffe and the largest herd of black rhino in the UK. For added excitement, stay at one of their special lodges where floor-to-ceiling windows in each guest room afford head-to-toe views of wolves, tigers, lions, bears and giraffes in special enclosures. You can even hand-feed the giraffes at the Giraffe Lodge, just like at the Giraffe Manor in Kenya.

From Tyrol to Italy

By Linda Tancs

From Austria’s highest peak (Grossglockner) to the Adriatic Sea, the Alpe-Adria Trail is a 466-mile trek winding its way through Austria, Slovenia and Italy. Signposted throughout, the trail is divided into a series of stages, each taking about six hours to walk. The hiking season begins in April and ends in October, the whole stretch taking up to six weeks. If you go now, you’ll likely see snow lingering on the high passes in Carinthia and Slovenia.

The Last Ocean

By Linda Tancs

Named for British explorer James Ross, the Ross Sea in Antarctica has been nicknamed “the last ocean.” Located between Victoria Land and Marie Byrd Land, it’s the southernmost sea on Earth, quite literally the last sea. Perhaps not surprisingly, this remote ocean is deemed one of the most pristine environments left in the world, the perfect locale for a marine reserve (the world’s largest) twice the size of Texas. It’s also home to the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest in the world at around 193,000 square miles. And it even sings (well, sort of), making a didgeridoo-like sound as the wind blows across the landscape causing the outer snow layer to vibrate.

An Arduous Trek in Europe

By Linda Tancs

Are you fit enough to climb 50 flights of stairs and walk a very steep 1 in 5 gradient? If so, then the Gobbins Cliff Path in Northern Ireland may be just for you. It’s a dramatic coastal walk erected over 100 years ago along a cliff-face in Islandmagee and one of the most unique things to do in Northern Ireland. Available only via a guided tour over two hours in length, the trek takes you along a narrow path hugging the cliff comprising bridges amid the crashing waves of the North Channel, hidden tunnels under the Irish Sea, rugged staircases carved into the cliff and caves that were once home to smugglers and privateers. If you’re not up to the task, fret not. The visitors’ center provides ample history on the walk, and an hour-long sea tour from Ballylumford Harbour packs stunning views.

The Jordan Trail

By Linda Tancs

The Jordan Trail is a continuous route crossing the entire country of Jordan, offering over 403 miles of trails through diverse terrains and landscapes. From Um Qais in the north to the Red Sea in the south, it flows alongside the Great Rift Valley, overlooking rugged wadis and cliffs, breathtaking scenery and archaeological monuments. If the route sounds intimidating, then take advantage of the groups and companies leading hikes. Nevertheless, a complete through-hike is physically demanding; take that into account when planning your journey.

Europe’s Renowned Pilgrimage

By Linda Tancs

For more than a thousand years, pilgrims have trekked over the Pyrenees from France into Spain via a network of trails that make up the Way of St. James—El Camino de Santiago—converging at the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Originating as a spiritual pilgrimage in honor of St. James, the 500-mile trek offers intrepid travelers a cultural immersion as well with cathedrals, bridges, Roman roads, monasteries, palaces, stately homes and traditional regional architecture placed amidst varying landscapes like plateaus and mountains, meadows and coastline. Be prepared for a 30-day hike if you commit to the entire route from France to Spain. Shorter routes could take less than a week to complete.

The World’s Only Drive-In Volcano

By Linda Tancs

On the eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia, Sulphur Springs is a place where you can drive—and dive—right in. On the drive-in side, there’s the collapsed caldera of the dormant Soufrière volcano, offering a drive-thru experience like no other with lots of boiling springs, steam and bubbling mud pots. After that, maybe you’ll want to dive into the mud baths in the geothermal park, where you’re promised rejuvenation and detoxification. Then wash it all off at a nearby waterfall. The volcano emits hydrogen sulphide (that rotten eggs smell) so be forewarned.

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