White water rafting is simply a blast and a great way to get away from the clutter of life. Alas, your rafting experiences can fade with time. The best way to prevent this is to keep a white water rafting journal.White Water Rafting JournalsTake a minute to give some consideration to your most recent rafting trip. What sticks out in your mind? Where the rapids raging, the water low or somebody hilariously falling out of the boat? Now think about the first time you ever went "white water rafting" . I bet you cant remember much about the trip besides a few snippets. The experiences youve forgotten are lost to time. If you keep a white water rafting journal, this wont be the case.There are famous instances of people keeping journals throughout time. Of course, Anne Franks Diary is the best example. In her diary, Anne kept a running commentary of the two years her family spent hiding from the Nazis. While your white water rafting experiences better be more lighthearted, keeping a journal will let you remember them as the years pass. A good white water rafting journal combines a number of characteristics. First, it should be compact. Second, it should have a case to protect it from getting wet and turned to mulch. Third, the journal should contain blank areas to write your notes. Fourth, the journal should contain cue spaces to remind you to keep notes on specific things. Cues should include:1. Who you went white water rafting with,2. Where you went rafting and the time of year,3. Who you met and contact information for them,4. The river and weather conditions, 5. How challenging the river was, and6. Any events that occurred while off the river. At the end of the rafting trip, you should be able to get the following from your journal:1. Contact information for other rafters you met,2. Details of the trip, whether you would go again and perhaps better times to do so.3. Memories to reflect upon years later, and4. Something to pass on to your friends, children and grandchildren.To get the most out of your white water rafting journal, you should write in it just before you start, during breaks such as lunch and when you return. If you go with friends or your family, the journal will turn into a keepsake for the family. During family events such as the holidays, it makes for great reading. As you grow older [and we all do], the journal will make great fodder for reflection. White water rafting is a blast that shouldnt fade with time. Make sure to preserve the experience with your white water rafting journal.
The Oregon Trail holds a unique place in the history of the United States. Thousands of pioneers used the trail to populate the middle and western parts of the country in the 19th century. Oregon TrailIn the eighteen hundreds, the east coast of the United States had become overcrowded and expensive. For relief, people looked to the opportunities in the then limitless west. Over the next 100 years, hundreds of thousands of people undertook the six month quest to find a better life. Tens of thousands died along the route. The Oregon Trail begins in Independence, Missouri and winds its way to the Willamette River Valley in Oregon. Follow the trail from beginning to end and youll pass through the states of Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming and Idaho. Tracking the Oregon Trail can take a month by car, so I am going to highlight certain spots in this and further articles. Arrow Rock, Missouri is as good a place as any to start. Arrow Rock, MissouriAlthough Independence, Missouri is technically the beginning of the Oregon Trail, Arrow Rock is a better place to start. Arrow Rock is a tiny town of maybe 100 people and remains much the way it was during the hey day of the Oregon Trail. Youll get a real taste of the way things were by visiting the tavern and old seminary. One of the odder attractions is the Calaboose. Arrow Rock has the rather peculiar Calaboose Jail. Built of stone, the jail is particular because it is built for only one person. By one person, I mean no lobby, no office, no nothing, just a stone structure with one wooden door. To get a better understanding of Arrow Rock, make sure to visit the Arrow Rock Historic Site center. For lodging, there are four or five bed and breakfast options in the town. Campers can stay at the Arrow Rock Historic Site camping grounds. Visiting Arrow Rock is like stepping back into the Wild West. Look to the west and you can get a feel for how the pioneers felt as they started their long journey.
The first time I arrived in Italy by train it felt completely different to anywhere Id travelled already. It was the summer of 2000 and I had been travelling for a nearly 2 weeks. I was more than relieved when the train pulled out of Nice on that bright August morning, what a misnomer, Nice was in my eyes not very nice at all. So when the train wound its way around the rocky hillsides, passing over the coastal rocks below I put it from my mind and concentrated on the electric blue waters of the med and the thought of my first genuine Italian cappuccino. From my window seat I could see the vibrantly coloured flowers hanging from the trees clinging to the banks above the bays, bright flowers in pots along the platforms of the tiny train stations, and the heart warming sight of an Italian Nonna sweeping her porch out, her house sitting right next to the train tracks. As I was later to travel this track many times she became my Italian Nonna and I looked out for her everytime I passed by.Arriving in Ventimiglia, the first real stop over the border from France, (Monaco was also along the way) into Italy I was pleased to see a distinct difference between the Italian locals and the French ones Id left behind. Admittedly there is a real sense of the Mediterranean life all the way along the Cote DAzur, with fairly laid back individuals, all there to soak up sun and wine, but these locals appeared even more so. The Carabinieri on the platform as we pulled up were looking so relaxed as to almost appear asleep, even the sniffer dog didnt look at all bothered that 15 sweaty backpackers had just arrived. Nobody moved, no passports were checked, just a few cheery ciaos and a benvenuti.After leaving our bags with the guide to mind we set off to explore for an hour before catching the next train. Having already spent the better half of the previous hour practising how to order a cappuccino in Italian I was eager to try it out. We found a kerbside caf and sat down. To my amazement the waiter understood my request on the first go and duly brought me the coffee. I was still grinning when we got back on the train.The journey to Cinque Terre takes you through countless tunnels, carved into the cliffs hanging out over jagged rocks and pebbly beaches. Each time we hit the darkness, the curtains flapping dementedly in the open windows, I could still see the blue water imprinted on the inside of my eyelids. Nowhere else have I experienced that effect.The locals and us were all chatting amongst ourselves until one guy asks me where we are all going in Italian. I answer Rio Maggiore. Then he asks me where we are all from. I explain that I am a tour guide and my group are all from all over the world. He is going to Calabria to see his mother and he is from Milan. He works in a factory there making cars. Another lady opens her travelling cool box to share some iced coffee in tiny plastic espresso cups with the 2 Korean girls in my group, and another one pulls out some dolce, sweet pastries to share with the Canadian girls.Of all my train journeys in Europe I have found the Italians to be the most generous to backpackers, in terms of communication and sharing the contents of their cooler bags. Especially on the train going to Calabria from the north.I once spent the leg between Pisa and Rome stuck in a corridor with an old guy of 60, a phrase book and a lot of sign language. He was very keen to tell me his family history and was most impressed that a kiwi from lontano was trying to speak Italian. He even gave me grammar lessons and corrected my pronunciation. That never happened on a French train.More recently on the train to Florence from Pisa I sat next to a girl from Romania getting an entire itinerary of what to see and do in Florence from the guy opposite her in Italian. The interesting bit was she only spoke a few words but seemed to grasp most of what he was saying. It was great to see the passion for which he was talking about what was obviously his home town.On one trip I managed to fulfil the desires of one rather shy Chinese girl who had a thing for men in uniform. She was trying to collect as many photos of them as possible from all over Europe. Some Italian Navy boys had got on at La Spezia, obviously from the Naval base there, heading to Rome along with a couple of Air Force boys. They were filling the corridor outside the dining car, laughing and yelling, all only too willing to pose for a couple of photos with my now tomato-red-in-the-face passenger. We thought we hit the jackpot when some army boys were spotted on the platform at Ostiense in Rome, but they were waiting for another train. She got a photo through the window instead.The most frustrating time on the trains can be Florence S.M.N. The letters could easily stand for so many new platforms instead of Santa Maria Novella as they have an annoying pastime of switching tracks on you. You have to listen to the announcements very carefully. They do them in both English and Italian but as soon as one train is late arriving they start shuffling the rest of the platforms like a deck of cards. With a group of 12 individuals one day we were waiting an extra 45 minutes for the train to Venice, supposedly arriving on track 11, then it was track 9, then it was back to track 11 at the very last minute. We broke the rules and ended up hurling packs across the train tracks onto the end carriage as the guard blew his whistle for the departure and we had some stragglers who hadnt heard the change walking back from the sandwich bar. Everybody made it with a sprint finish.On the contrary, in Venice the train guard was very accommodating when I had lost an American passenger between the baggage depot and the train in the short space of about 10 minutes. I explained she was late and he smiled, said ok, and waited an extra 5 minutes with me. Eventually he tapped his watch and we had to abandon her. This was the last train out of Italy to Austria that day so I wasnt sure when Id see her again. When I eventually did she had an awesome adventure to tell, but thats entirely another story.For point to point travel you cant beat the Italian trains for good value, not just in the price because with a train ticket you get so much more than just a seat. Sometimes you dont even always get a seat, especially if its in the middle of August, but you get a fantastic opportunity to experience the local culture that just cant be had from a guide book or the inside of a bus.
There is not much in the world that is more exciting than adventure travel. When you are taking part in adventure travel you are taking risk, you are getting out there and finally living life to the fullest. When was the last time that you actually did that? Probably a long time ago right? Well there is no time like the present to change things for the better and to experience all that life has to offer.There are all kinds of great vacations that you can take when it comes to adventure travel and not all of them are filled with death defying stunts and danger. Sure, some of them are but if that is not your think then you dont have to choose them. Everyone has a different comfort level and adventure travel just means taking a trip that is exciting, one that is a little out of your normal travel behavior. You dont have to go and climb Mount Everest or anything like that to have a good time with adventure travel.Some of the best adventure travel has barely any danger to it whatsoever. Have you ever climbed through the runs of Greece, or hiked in the Amazon, or even gone surfing in Costa Rica? If not these are great ways to get your feet wet with adventure travel. With this kind of adventure travel you will be able to have a great time and not do anything too, too dangerous. Just things that excite you and thrill you to the bone.Can you imagine taking a trip to some exotic locale and then experiencing some of their ways of life. Have you ever heard of Zorbing? It is something that they do in New Zealand, and it is so much fun. All you do is climb into a giant ball, it is like a great big beach ball, just climb in it and they roll you down the hill. There is usually some water in it to cushion any bumps that you might hit along the way down. The water is not dangerous to you and your breathing because it is kept totally separate from you in a different compartment of the ball. This is one of the most fun things that you could ever do when you are gong to adventure travel and it is not even a little bit dangerous.You see adventure travel is something that everyone can enjoy, no matter what they danger tolerance happens to be. If you are sick and tired of the same old same old then you need to find out some more about adventure travel today. Start planning your next trip abroad now, with a little more adventure in mind. It is always fun to try something new and exciting so go for it and have a blast!
Montanas Mission Mountains - a phenomena of stunning proportions and striking beauty. I marveled as I waded back between those magnificent peaks. I was following the trail around McDonald Lake and back up Post Creek, off in search of Moon Lake. I had no illusions about the meaning of the designation stamped on the map - Annual Grizzly Bear Closure Area. There was no indication that this was the time for the closure though, so with considerable trepidation I set out on my adventure, figuring they must be off doing other things at the moment. To get to "McDonald Lake" , travel Highway 93 between Polson and Missoula, Montana. About 7 miles north of St. Ignatius, you turn right on McDonald Lake Road, following it straight east toward the mountains. Crossing a canal, you turn left and north, following the winding road another mile to McDonald Lake dam. Turning left again, follow the dirt road across the dam, past picnic spots and finally to the trail head at the end of the road.I am always in awe at the up-close and personal proximity of the surrounding peaks in that area, providing the constant lure to the area. In particular McDonald Peak with the McDonald Glacier towers over me to the south, directly across the lake and creek. Even as I marvel at the majesty of the towering peaks, the imagination takes off, spying a hundred vantage points above me forthe local Grizzly population. I struggle to avoid picturing them sitting up there, flipping a coin for which one gets first crack at the prewrapped morsel blindly stumbling into their kitchen. Theamazing mountain scene, however, provides an unstoppable appeal, and the logical probability of having a bad day with a Grizzly is low enough that the exploration must proceed. The first thing you notice as you hit the trail is that it is not overly used. Makes you wonder. Within a quarter of a mile on the trail around McDonald Lake, following a set of mild switchbacks, you find yourself out on a point above the lake, with an awe inspiring view of the lake and "McDonald Peak" . Many times Ive stopped when traveling through the area to walk that quarter mile to that point for just one more picture, as can be seen on our website in Gallery 3. From that point leading back along the north side of McDonald Lake, the overall trail is surprisingly level for trekking into such steep mountains. The trail, virtually following the base of McDonald Peak sits at around 3,800 feet in elevation, with the peak right next to you up there at 9,868 feet. Leading around the lake, the trail crosses numerous wide open slide chutes leading clear to the top of the peak opposite McDonald. At another point the trail crosses a moss covered shear cliff, but is wide enough that you dont feel at risk for falling. Past the end of the lake, the trail drops down onto Post Creek, and in the next couple miles leads through an amazing old growth Cedar grove. Needless to say, my bear paranoias prompted me to pick up a sturdy stick. Not that Im ready to put up much of a fight. Rather, I whacked that stick on every other rock and tree branch all the way up the trail. Bears really have no interest in spending time with the humanoid species. So if the bear hears you coming, they will interrupt their otherwise busy schedules to find pursuits clear up over the ridge from you. The key is to avoid surprising them. With all my noise, they at least stepped aside to a safe distance from the crazy person.Past the wonderful cedar grove the trail gradually climbs through a brushier area approaching the upper end of the canyon. I hit a set of 4 or 5 switchbacks leading in a steep climb up a rock faceup the north side of the valley, opposite McDonald Peak. The trail then leads off from here in a loop circling around, crossing Eagle Pass and coming out on Eagle Pass Creek north of McDonald Lake. Moon Lake was within striking distance. Once past the switchbacks and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the trail leads through some marshier areas in the upper reaches of Post Creek. At last, through the trees Moon Lake came into view, settled in the midst of tall pines. In late June this glistening jewel of a high mountain lake still entertained snowbanks along the shadier shorelines. Settling on a sunnier lake shore spot under the tall pines I marveled that the Dieties allowed me this unbelievably unique opportunity. Flanked by the massive peaks all around I existed in this exquisitely rugged backcountry spot, far off the beaten path. No other human beings were anywhere within miles of this awesomely gorgeous corner of the world. In an emergency that might be a negative aspect. With the Dieties at my side, I wasnt living to always watch for emergencies, and savored that sense of uniqueness, and do to this day. Soon enough I had to hit the rugged trail back out of there. Of course, coming back is quicker than going in. Its a downhill run. Still, the overall distance of around 5 miles each way made that return journey one of aching legs and feet. Finally, back to the car, I bid that awesome mountain paradise farewell and hit the highway to Polson. The prospect of soaking the tired, aching feet and legs in the motel jacuzzi became the primary driving force. Thank goodness I had found the perfect motel for the occasion through our website at http://www.montanaadventure.com When youre in the western Montana area, you dont want to miss the opportunity to enjoy the wonders of the incredible "Mission Mountains" for yourself.