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October 2010

October 29, 2010

White Ribbon o' Death, Be Gone

Niall Bouzon skis October powder in Jackson Hole. (Courtesy Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. See the whole gallery at JHMR's Facebook page.)

It's a rite of October. The air turns cold, the leaves fall, and up in the high country, ski resorts turn on the hoses nightly, blowing man-made snow onto rocky slopes. Sometime in the middle of the month, either Loveland Ski Area or Arapahoe Basin fires up the lifts and becomes the first resort in the country to open. But what's open is usually just a small sliver snowcone-quality snow, about 500 yards long and 30 wide. And packed, wall to wall, with excited-but-not-in-ski-shape skiers doing their best to control their turns and not run into people. The fabled White Ribbon o' Death.

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Related Topics: Skiing & Snowboarding

Climb Mt. Everest in 3G

By Lacy Morris

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Nepal_Everest - Christopher Herwig - digital vision 1347002
Plugged in Mt. Everest, Nepal (Christopher Herwig)

Coffee shops, your backyard, and Mt. Everest—now all dialed into the world wide web. Ncell, a Nepali telecom company, has installed a 3G network at the base camp of the 29,000-foot behemoth of a mountain. Previously having to depend on satellite phones to stay in touch and report problems, hikers will now be able to surf, send photos and videos, email, and make phone calls home. The once most isolated place on earth is now dialed into the world of technology, with service possibly even reaching the summit.

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Related Topics: From Around the Web · Nepal Travel

October 28, 2010

Save an Ecuadorian Biosphere and National Park

By Guest Blogger

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Ecuador volunteer
Voluntourists paint warning signs (Adventure Life)

One of the hottest trends in adventure travel is the idea of "voluntourism," or trips that give travelers a chance to give back while on holiday. Perhaps the coolest voluntourism adventure to date is the newly unveiled Cotopaxi Group Service Project in Ecuador

Travelers experience an Ecuadorian adventure and volunteer for conservation at the same time, combining mountain biking with replacing national park signs, and zip-lining with trail maintenance. For five days, give back to the area you're getting to know, the Cotopaxi National Park and the Condor Biosphere, a 5.4-million acre conservation project. I just visited these locations, and let me tell you, it is like paradise.

Continue reading "Save an Ecuadorian Biosphere and National Park" »

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Related Topics: South America Travel · Voluntourism

October 25, 2010

Let the Ski Season Commence!

By awayblog

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Colorado Ski Country 2010-11 Ski Season Opening Day_Jack Dempsey   (2)
The first chairlift up, Loveland Ski Resort (Jack Dempsey)

Yesterday was a day of infamy for any true two-plankers and boarders. Colorado is the first state to open a slope for the 2010-11 ski season. At 9 A.M. on Sunday morning, Loveland Ski Resort was the first in the country to welcome Rocky Mountain snow junkies to vie for a highly coveted spot on the first chairlift up. This is the second year in a row Loveland beat out all competitors. Nearby resort, Arapahoe Basin will open today—let the bumper-to-bumper traffic up Interstate 70 begin.

Other Colorado ski resorts are tentatively planned to open as follows:

Keystone- November 5
Copper Mountain-November 5
Breckenridge- November 12
Winter Park- November 17
Vail- November 19
Eldora- November 20
Steamboat Springs- November 24
Beaver Creek- November 25

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Related Topics: Skiing & Snowboarding

October 22, 2010

1,000 Americans: Rico of Caye Caulker, Belize

By Harry Kikstra

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Rico is one of the few inhabitants of Caye Caulker that was born and raised there. After a hurricane destroyed most of his fishing gear, he started fixing boat engines and renting out houses on his land. Now, in his 70s, he still loves his small island.

Though Dutchman Harry Kikstra has a business background, he turned into a full-time adventurer and photographer a decade ago. He has climbed the seven summits—the highest peaks of every continent—and his website, where he offers information and statistics as well as fully organized expeditions, is well-known. Harry also runs a portal site for adventure cyclists called BikeTravellers, where bikers can create their own free blog. He has written four books (three English guidebooks and one Dutch). His photo-blog ExposedPlanet has received many positive reviews, and his photos have been published all over the world, including in National Geographic Adventure U.S., Panorama & Penthouse NL, Outdoor Australia, Getaway South Africa, Reader's Digest, and many more. Since summer 2008, Harry has been busy cycling from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to the other end of the Americas at Ushuaia, Argentina, passing through all the countries on the continents. During this three-year-long trip (more than 20,000 miles) he is collecting portraits and stories of "1,000 Americans," some of which have been published on his blog WorldonaBike next to his other stories and collections of thousands of images from his travels. Some of the people portrayed in the 1,000 Americans series reflect time spent, whether it be many days or just a few seconds. Some told him their life stories, others just stared quietly. Some are famous, most are just "regular" people, but all are special in their own ways. Since these images were taken, life has continued: some married, some became parents, some divorced, and some passed away. But it is a lasting testament to the diversity of America. Harry's pictures are for sale through, and after the cycling expedition has ended his moving portraits and unique stories will be published in a book. Away Travel Blog will be showcasing just a few of the diverse Americans he has come across on his journeys.

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Related Topics: 1,000 Americans · US Travel

October 21, 2010

Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival Starts Tonight

Scene from The Asgard Project showing on Saturday night at the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival (courtesy Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival)

When you think Scotland, you might think kilts, rain, haggis, lake monsters, and Mel Gibson (who, just to be clear, is Australian-American). Few think of it as a hub for major mountaineering exploits. But in Edinburgh, a movement is afoot to reclaim Scotland’s place in the grand scheme of major mountain destinations. It was here, afterall, that John Muir developed his affinity for long solitary walks that would, after a move to the American West, lay the groundwork for America’s National Parks system. It has more than 130 mountaineering clubs, some dating back to the 1880s, totaling more than 10,000 members worldwide. But a storied history—Braveheart puns purposely withheld—has never been the problem. In our mega-media times, the drama of the mountaineering story has turned to more far flung, superstar destinations: Everest, Alaska, British Columbia, Chamonix, the Tetons. The Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival, which starts today, is working to put Scotland back on the topo map.

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October 20, 2010

'Tis The Season For Some Pickin'

By Lacy Morris

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Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival, courtesy the festival
(Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival)

It's the season of apple pies, ghosts and goblins, and the heightened influx of costume stores' bank roll. Farms across America display their full fields of orange pumpkin crop, colorful Indian corn, and ripe red apples. So where's the cream of the crop of the pumpkin-picking shenanigans? Here are just a few of my favorites to get you on your way to out-glowing every doorstep on your block.

Frey Farm
Wayne County, Illinois
Said to be the largest pumpkin producers in America, the family-owned farm boasts several thousand acres of the dissecting sort of orange fruit. Run by "the pumpkin queen" Sarah Frey-Talley and her four brothers, the family works year-round to supply close to one million pumpkins to the mega-chain Wal-Mart every fall season. The youngest of her siblings, Sarah was the only one who stayed home, taking over her family's farm. When business started to boom, she enlisted the help of her older brothers, Ted, Harley, John, and Leonard, to join the family enterprise.

Richardson Farm
Spring Grove, Illinois
This farm has it all. And it's all HUGE. Get lost in a 33-acre corn maze, said to be the world's largest, day or night (nighttime visitors are supplied with glow sticks and flashlights). The farmhouse playground includes a community campfire (BYOM—bring your own marshmallows), wagon rides, feeding and petting zoo, zip line, and paintball course.

Continue reading "'Tis The Season For Some Pickin'" »

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Related Topics: Holidays, Events, & Festivals

October 19, 2010

Medical Evacuation Insurance: A Good Policy

By Guest Blogger

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(Michael Hitoshi,Digital Vision, Getty)
(Michael Hitoshi)

Nobody wants to worry about getting seriously ill or having a bad accident far away from home. But it happens. My neighbor came to my door in tears following a middle-of-the-night phone call from the U.S. Embassy in Nepal. The couple's college-age son had been hit by a bus while riding his motorbike. The embassy needed credit card information and permission to airlift him to a hospital in Kathmandu. His medical treatment was fortunate; a doctor in Kathmandu set his hip and operated on one of his wrists, and soon he was able to travel home on a commercial flight for additional surgery.

But the next week, as I was traveling alone in China, I began looking into how a medical emergency might be handled. I visited a privately operated hospital in Shanghai where patients appeared to be receiving excellent medical care. But at another facility—considered one of the city's best public hospitals—I followed the signs to the "Foreigners and Diplomats Floor." The physical conditions and equipment were antiquated and in disrepair. Two women visiting a friend initiated a conversation with me. Their friend, in the diplomatic service and now a patient here, ordinarily would have been flown to superior facilities in Hong Kong or Bangkok, but the medical circumstance hadn't allowed time for transport. This accelerated my quest to visit hospitals. I took a taxi to another and wandered through several filthy halls crowded with people waiting for attention. It was a nightmare. I learned later that the cost of a medical evacuation from China to a hospital in the United States would have been around $50,000, and it would not have been covered by my existing medical insurance.

Continue reading "Medical Evacuation Insurance: A Good Policy" »

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Related Topics: Travel Tips

October 18, 2010

A Real Taste of Virginia's Chesapeake Bay

By Guest Blogger

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Chesapeake Bay, Virginia (Kendra Bailey Morris)

You might not know it, but the Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in North America. Spanning approximately 200 miles from Havre de Grace, Maryland, to Virginia Beach, Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay is a veritable playground for die-hard boating and fishing enthusiasts as well as vacationers who are simply seeking a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of their home towns.

The Bay is a special place, with a long history dating back to its first settlers in the 1600s. Part of what is so unique about the Chesapeake Bay, especially along Virginia's Northern Neck (the northernmost peninsula in Virginia), is that not a whole lot has changed over the past hundred years. Sure, you might find one or two fast-food joints along the highway, but they are few and far between. In fact, one Subway sandwich shop recently opened in the small town of Heathsville, Virginia, to eager patrons who quickly formed a line that extended out the door and into the parking lot. So it goes without saying that fast-food, high-rise hotels, and even Walmart's are more or less nonexistent in this virtually untouched area. Instead, you will discover an array of white-washed Norman Rockwell-esque waterfront towns, where locals and visitors are happily united by their sincere appreciation of this timeless and beautiful landscape.

Continue reading "A Real Taste of Virginia's Chesapeake Bay" »

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Related Topics: Culinary Travel · US Travel

October 15, 2010

The Great Green Travel Giveaway

By awayblog

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Airline ticket and passport (Martin Harvey-Gallo Images ROOTS) 71587899
(Martin Harvey)

Would you like to board a yacht bound for a seven-night Galapagos Islands cruise? A hike on the Inca Trail—destination: Machu Picchu? Or how about do your part to help promote social and environmental sustainability in travel? Now there's a way to do them all. Donate to Sustainable Travel International, a non-profit organization dedicated to changing the tourism industry so that there is a positive impact on the environment, the people, and the places travelers like you visit. Each $10 ticket gets you a draw in the giveaway pot.

Enter to win here. For more information on how to travel green, check out's comprehensive guide to the world's Best Resorts & Lodges, from the top family resorts to best all-inclusives to dream safari lodges.

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Related Topics: Eco-Tourism

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