Archive | May 2016

Burke-Gilman Trail Seattle Washington – USA

download (46)A famous recreational attraction in Seattle, the Burke-Gilman Trail is a fantastic place for runners, hikers, skaters and cyclists. Maintained by both Seattle Parks and Recreation, and the Seattle Department of Transportation, Burke-Gilman unveils some of the best parts of Seattle including its lush parks, lakes and seafront area. After venturing into the charming street corners and whiffing the healthy sea air, stop over at a lovely neighborhood café, and try some of the local specialties.

Among the activities you can do at Burke-Gilman, perhaps the most popular one is cycling. In fact, cycling aficionados come from different parts of the United States just to experience the amazing trail. Even the city of Seattle has its own organized cycling community that keeps up Burke-Gilman’s contagious lively atmosphere. But the popular trail is useful not only to recreationalists and fitness fanatics, it has become a major thoroughfare for those commuting to work and studying at the University of Washington. Since its opening, Burke-Gilman has also been an integral landmark to real estate and businesses.

Commonly called ‘the Burke’ by the locals, the Burke-Gilman Trail is a full paved pathway that stretches to 43 kilometers or 27 miles. The trail is actually a part of the King County Regional Trail System. It specifically follows the right-of-way of the old Burlington Northern railroad, goes through to the city of Seattle, and stretches all the way to Tracy Owen Station in Kenmore. It has been welcoming outdoor enthusiasts since 1978. In 2009, Burke-Gilman became connected to another trail which goes through Marymoor Park. If you choose this path, you can cycle for 64 kilometers or 40 miles without any interruption.

There are many ways to start the trail, but a number of cyclists usually choose to start at Puget Sound, which is just at the entrance of the Golden Gardens Park. The Wayne Gold Course is typically the chosen end point for the trail. If you want to do something other than cycling ‘the Burke’, you can check out the Golden Gardens Park and the Sammamish River Trail, which serve as boundaries to the trail.

Other parks you will encounter while cycling this trail include Gasworks Parks, Matthews Beach and Tracy Owen Station. The Burke-Gilman Playground is another spot that is ideal for families tackling the trail. But if you are wishing for some adult fun, why not drop by the Redhook Brewery to taste some of the best local beer varieties.

If you are not a seasoned cyclist, do not worry! Burke-Gilman is easily accessible, relatively flat and is not a very demanding trail in terms of physical fitness. The trail is completely separated from car traffic so you don’t have to be worried about being run over. In addition, regular cyclists of the path are known to follow the standard trail etiquette for safety.

If you happen to be visiting Seattle without bringing your own bike, you always have the option to rent one at several locations in the city. There are even businesses who rent out accompanying kiddie trailers. The Dutch Bike Company is one of the rental places located just at the start of the Burke. It also maintains a lovely cafe that welcomes those who want a respite from cycling. Just close to the University of Washington in the University District is another rental placed called Recycled Cycles.


Tackling the Artemis Trail in Cyprus

download (45)If you love traveling and would like to try a hiking adventure, then the Artemis Trail in Cyprus is a great way to start your love affair with hiking.

If the name of the trail seems familiar, it is because it is named after the Greek goddess Artemis, daughter of Zeus and Leto. What makes the trail more exciting and intriguing is it brings you around the summit of Mt. Olympus, the home to the gods of the Greek Mythology, and locally known as Chionistra. Reaching the summit takes you a little more than 1800 meters above sea level. This means you will be at an excellent vantage point for the spectacular scenery, which include views of iconic villages like Paphos and Limassol.

Linking up to the Atalanti Trail, Artemis Trail is actually a rough circular loop, and covers 7 kilometers. It begins and ends in the small car park just off the summit road of Olympus. The trail leads to shaded areas but also open ones that offer breathtaking views of the mountain. Even though Artemis takes about three hours to complete, the trail is relatively flat, and that is why it is perfect for new hikers with varying fitness levels.

Mount Olympus is not the only highlight to the trail, Artemis also leads to the “Walls of the Old Town” (Teisia tis Palias Choras), which is actually the ruins of an old temporary Venetian fort, believed to have been built during the later 16th century. The fortification was built as the main defense against the invading Ottomans. The trail also features endemic plants, geological formations and black pine forest. A bonus attraction to the trail is the old black pines, which are around 500 years old.

Artemis trail is housed in the Troodos National Forest Park, part of a protected area called NATURA 2000. The trail is marked well, and even has adequate information signs that will give you more information and insights about the forest and the journey. The most suitable period to hike this splendid trail is from March through November. And although Artemis has a lot to offer in the summer, also consider coming in during winter for some serious skiing fun as the trail is located close to a ski lift and club.

Before tackling Artemis trail, don’t forget to bring water, hat, and your preferred sun protection. Smoking, eating and making excessive noise are not recommended when you are hiking this nature trail. You can also hike all you want without the worry of being run over as bicycles and motorcycles are prohibited.

If you want to stay overnight around the area, you always have the option to stay at one of the camping areas with facilities. You will also find some hotels and other types of accommodation in the villages located in the Troodos range. The villages have small local restaurants or tavernas where you can grab some traditional Cypriot dishes. If you head out to the Torrodos Square, there is a collection of restaurants, shops, and hotels to choose from. Close to the square is an Environmental Information Center.


Trekking Mysterious Ciudad Perdida, Peru

56Ciudad Perdida, which is translated to Lost City in English, is one of the rare places on earth that will make you feel like Indiana Jones. Tucked in the rainforest of Peru’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Maria Mountains; Ciudad Perdida is a very intriguing place. It is believed to have been built by the Tayrona Indians between the period AD 500 and 700, about 650 years before the Machu Picchu of Peru was built.

The same group of people had to abandon it during the Spanish invasion. It is not until the 1970s that treasure hunters rediscovered it but they ended up looting the place. Despite this unfortunate event, Ciudad Perdida remains a special historical place. Part of its majesty, is its remoteness. It is not easy to reach the great Lost City and getting to it is part of the travel experience.

It takes approximately 6 days to trek to and from Perdida, which officially belongs to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and Teyuna Archaelogical Park. This memorable multiple-day trip brings you through the thick South American jungle, covering about 44 kilometers of difficult terrain. Aside from the destination, the trek will also reveal the beautiful waterfalls and streams sharing your hike. Grab the opportunity to take a refreshing dip into some of them as the temperature in the region is usually humid. If you don’t have enough time, it is possible to finish the whole trek in four days. This means that the trekking time during each day is much longer, especially on day four, because you will need to merge two days’ worth of hiking into one.

To protect and preserve what remains of Ciudad Perdida, treks to this ancient city can only be done through a guided tour. There are only a few companies that are authorized to guide visitors into the site. Some of the authorized companies include Magictour, Expotur, Turcol and Guias y Baquianos Tour. Make sure to do thorough research before you choose a tour operator. Booking can be done in the city of Santa Marta. Depending on the number of people signing up, tours can leave every day or every few days.

Trekking to Ciudad Perdida is a serious hiking trip, so don’t forget to wear appropriate trekking clothing and bring camping essentials like hiking boots, water bottle, flashlight mosquito repellent and snacks. Depending on the arrangement made with your outfitter, you may also need to bring your own sleeping bag. But meals are typically inclusive of the tour fees.

The trek commonly starts from the small village of Machete, where you must drive to. Through the course of the trip, your trekking party will move from one designated campsite to the next. Some of the major camp sites include Mumake and El Paraiso. To get to the actual Ciudad Perdida, you need to climb the 1263 stone steps from the riverbank. Once you have done this, you will be greeted by a plethora of plazas and stone paths. It typically takes about two hours to explore the site thoroughly.


Hiking Experience

download (44)To have an enjoyable hiking experience, you need to prepare adequately to make sure that you have all you need for your expedition before embarking on it. Furthermore, there are some precautionary measures that you can take to make sure that you are safe all through the hiking duration. It is advisable to hike in a group to make sure that in the case of any incident or accident, you have somebody else to help you out. Hiking in groups assists in the passing of knowledge between members of the group.

Also, when you hike in groups, there is the distribution of common group gear loads; hence you will not be tired from the overloads. Group hiking allows you to meet new people or deepen your relations and in the case of injuries you are assisted accordingly. Drink enough water to stay hydrated all through the day and have small snacks often to keep your energy levels up for an enjoyable hiking experience.

Carry some surplus food ready for any emergency cases and leave no traces in your trails to maintain the natural feeling for other hikers in the future. For safety purposes, leave your hiking plan with someone at home and if you get off the trail, you can contact them for guidance promptly. Plan a hike suitable for all members of your group and let the slowest member to be the pace setter. Also, make sure that your pack is well organized for easy and quick access to any items you need.

To avoid sunburns, carry sunscreen creams and a functional hat and also repackage to reduce weight in your backpack. Before starting a long hike, it is a good idea to lose some of your body weight for easier movement. Carry and use rain gear in case it rains while you are on your hike. Make use of trekking poles to keep your hands elevated a bit to avert any cases of swelling while hiking.

Always make sure that you have a backup plan in case you are lost during your hiking expedition. There is nobody who plans to get lost, but it happens in some cases. Avoid making shortcuts and bushwhacking to reduce chances of getting lost. Additionally, as you move along pay attention to trailblazers and landmarks and avoid climbing on waterfalls. In cases of bad weather, it is highly advisable to turn back right away to minimize cases of accidents and other undesirable incidents.

Always dress in layers and avoid cotton clothes. Choose the fabrics that easily and quickly wick moisture, dry quickly in case they are wet, and conserve heat during cold weather conditions. If you are rained on, strive to get warm and dry quickly to avoid hypothermia. Carry a whistle that can be heard from long distances for use in case you become lost. It is universally understood that three short blasts are a sign of distress.

Always wear bright colors so that in case you are lost the search party can easily find you. Each hiker in your group must have a whistle, a small flashlight with extra batteries, water, energy food, a trash bag, a brightly colored bandana, and a first aid kit. In case you are lost, don’t wander any further, but instead you should make a shelter to keep you warm and dry.

Make sure that you are visible and heard. In the case of an air search and rescue, get to open spaces and lay flat on the ground so that you may appear bigger for the searchers in the air to locate you easily. If you have children hiking, make sure that you teach them the simple strategies to use if they get lost. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Thus, be adequately prepared for your hiking expedition to enable you to have a good time while keeping safe all through the journey.


This entry was posted on May 1, 2016.