Saturday, January 8, 2011

Auto Insurance coverage and Leasing

When leasing a automotive, it’s easier to stay with the identical company in your auto insurance. What you don’t know, however, is that you may end up paying an excessive amount of in your coverage and it’s better to look elsewhere for decrease rates.

Once you lease, the car that you'll drive belongs to the leasing company. They wish to guantee that their investment is covered within the occasion the car gets broken, totalled or stolen. They usually need to get lined for the difference between what your auto-insurer pays and your excellent leasing obligations at the time of the accident or damage. That is known as GAP, brief for Assured Auto Safety, and is often included in the leasing contract. If your leasing firm is named BMW Financial Providers, Chrysler Financial or any other finance division of an automaker, then chances are your GAP insurance will probably be offered by the identical lease company.

You might be under no obligation to simply accept GAP insurance included as a part of your lease agreement. Why pay an insurance premium if you might get the similar protection for a lower cost? Make investments a while procuring by evaluating quotes from different insurance companies, together with your current one. Ask for reductions that you already qualify for and regulate your coverage accordingly.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

This Season's Biggest Pattern in Males's Footwear

This season, males's brogues are back in vogue - although they have never been far from males's footwear developments, this yr they're extra well-liked than ever. They are extraordinarily versatile sneakers, suiting many events, together with skilled, formal, and casual. This season they are coming again in model, with designers creating completely different varieties which are sure to catch on. Anticipate to see brogue style boots as well as the unique fashion, with numerous elaborations and in a variety of colours. Males can be spoiled for alternative this autumn.


Males's brogues have been originally conceived as footwear to be worn in the countryside; they carried a less formal connotation than other types of shoe, such as the Oxford, and yet had been less informal than wellies or clogs. Historically they catered for the confusing area between the formal and the informal. Usually they arrive in standard colors, comparable to brown and black, but this year, count on to see many alternative colors, from understated dark reds, to garish blues. They will fit perfectly with the present tendencies for the countrified look - teamed with a quilted jacket and chinos; they are sure to achieve the heady heights of fashion.


This season's fashions will see a return to traditional types for everyone, from the geek-stylish of the 1920's to the country look of the 1950's, no matter you determine to wear this autumn, keep forward of the pattern and opt for a glance from a bygone period - you are certain to look fashionable and trendy. And, the nice attribute of trend tastes that take their inspiration from the previous is that they are equally suitable for young and old alike - no 'mutton dressed as lamb' attire is possible, everyone could be trendy following current trends. Men's brogues will look nice with skinny denims, wear them tucked in, rested on high, or simply over the footwear, throw on a thick-knitted jumper and maybe a flat-cap too, and you can be the envy of the high street.


Alternatively, males's brogues could be worn with dark, straight-leg denim denims - these look significantly good with the boot number of brogues - simply tuck the jeans in on the backside to achieve a rumpled look and staff with a chequered shirt and thick woolen beanie hat. Add a retro jacket and thin tie in the event you really wish to stand out from the crowd. This look will be adapted for formal as well as casual events, all you need is the confidence to tug it off with fashion, and you'll set jaws dropping wherever you go.


Haven't any worry of stepping away from the norm by choosing a colour that is not conventional; among the newest colors are supremely funky and stylish. Shiny colors will provide a focus to interrupt up the monotony of an outfit with out being overstated. However stick with traditional colours if you need your shoes to be in trend for a couple of season.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

West Virginia - Whitewater Rafting s Finest

West Virginia - Whitewater Rafting s Finest Whitewater rafting in West Virginia has become the modern-day attraction of complete vacations that can include a world of activities, both on the river and off. The key component, of course, is still the marvelous whitewater that courses through the state s magnificent mountain scenery. West Virginia offers one of the broadest arrays of river experiences available anywhere in the world. But for many of today s visitors, that s just the beginning. In the early days, rafting was novel and pretty simple. There were hardly any amenities near the rafting areas. Guests hit the rapids for a half day or full day of rafting and, when the fun was over, they drove back home that night or to a hotel miles away. But that didn’t stop them from coming back. They would share their wild adventures with friends and always bring them back with them. As the crowds grew, so did the facilities. Today, it’s a whole different story. Guests can enjoy first-class facilities, amenities and numerous rafting options. Many locations in West Virginia offer many trips that appeal to just about anyone with different tastes for adventure. You can choose to take a historic pathway featuring historic commentary and views of mining ghost towns, take nature hikes and enjoy the wildlife, and adventure rafting. Should you decide to take up the rapids make sure to wear proper clothing and safety equipment. Listen carefully to you guide’s instructions so that you can enjoy your trip safely. The services are excellent no matter what you choose to do. Most sites have picnic shelters, showers and dressing facilities and offer remarkable specialty food services for their visitors. It would be a good idea to carry a camera or video camera to capture the moments. Nowadays you don t have to get up early in the morning, drive to the rapids, and head home tired and wet at the end of the day. You can usually find a wide selection of hotels and other accommodations nearby to rest in. During the whitewater rafting season, which runs from April through October, raft companies provide special trips, discounts and programs. Many offer discounts for groups and most have specials for Mother s Day, Father s Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. Plus don t forget West Virginia Day in June and Bridge Day (at the world-famous New River Gorge Bridge) in October! The rafting industry has grown and improved in many ways. Most site are committed to the business and the environment in which they operate. Wonderful vacations, high-quality services and attention to the details are the combination that makes rafting a great West Virginia venture. Discover for yourself what makes rafting in West Virginia the adventure that will keep you coming back! For more information for your next West Virginia whitewater rafting trip try visiting Best Whitewater Rafting where you will quickly and easily find resources and information on a variety of locations like California whitewater rafting .

The Sights of Bangkok in Thailand

One of the most popular destinations in Asia to visit over recent years has been Thailand. This of course has also coincided with the booming popularity of Thai cuisine around the world. Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, is the main entry point where the vast majority of tourists to Thailand will use. Bangkok is a very interesting city because in addition to the usual modern buildings of offices, hotels and shopping centers, there are also about 400 exotic Thai temples that seem to stick out among the urban landscape. There are Thai citizens on the streets dressed in modern business clothing as well as Buddhist monks in saffron robes. Yet this is what part of Thailand is. The traditional mixed in with the modern. In fact, it’s the traditional attractions that make Thailand so magical. The temples are sights that one just cannot see in the western world. They are like objects that popped out of an Asian fairy tale. Like many other large Asian cities, Bangkok is congested with traffic, people and pollution. In fact, the air can be bad enough that there are locals wearing surgical masks in the streets. With an average annual temperature of 28 degrees Celsius or 83 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be somewhat uncomfortable outside for some tourists, especially those from northern climates. Also beware that there will be people on the streets who will try to hustle tourists and direct them to their own businesses and tours. But unlike places in the Caribbean, Thais are polite and not aggressive people. For example, once upon arrival at the international airport, there will be people within the terminal including the ones at the booths who will be offering taxi transportation to your hotel. Although these are legit, they will charge a premium compared to the taxis waiting outside the terminal. There is a similar situation at the hotels. The taxis waiting right outside the main hotel entrances do seem to quote more than those waiting on the side streets just further down. The three-wheeled ‘tuk tuk’ vehicles also vary a lot so it may be wise to ask for quotes from a few drivers rather than taking the first one you see. The tuk tuks are a fun ride by the way so they should be experienced at least once while in Bangkok. The city also has various public buses and river taxis which are long boats used on the river canal system. A nice way to spend some time is to take a ride on one of these river taxis to cruise the canals which some refer to as the ‘Venice of the East’. The Grand Palace is probably the most visited attraction in Bangkok. This complex is surrounded by walls built in 1783 and contains government offices, royal residences monuments and the Emerald Buddha Chapel. The Royal Chapel which contains the Emerald Buddha is the monarch’s private chapel. The Buddha itself is actually a one piece jade sitting on top of a golden altar. It’s not a large Buddha but it is very special. Apparently, they change the Buddha’s clothing which is also made of gold on a seasonal basis. There are numerous monuments on the grounds that are dedicated to past monarchs. Walls with large mythological scenes are displayed throughout. The buildings and monuments within the Grand Palace have some very striking colors including golds and greens. Gold color is used quite a lot and the distinctively curved Thai roofs on the buildings are very detailed. Equally stunning are some of the interiors of these buildings with their magnificent rooms and halls used for different ceremonies and events. Some of these halls have special royal altars. One temple not to miss is Wat Pho which is the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. It features a giant Buddha lying on its side. Even the soles of this Buddha’s feet have very intricately detailed designs. Other nice temples to see are Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) and Wat Benchamabophit (Marble Temple). The Wat Pho temple has traditional Thai massage services which are very popular among tourists. Other temples such as Wat Mahathat and Wat Parinayok also have Thai massages available. The Royal Barges or long boats which are used during ceremonies on the river are also nice to see. The details put into decorating these boats are just remarkable. For wildlife enthusiasts, there’s the Pasteur Institute’s Snake Farm where poisonous snakes are fed daily and visitors can watch handlers milk cobras for their venom. There is also the world’s largest Crocodile Farm. The national sport of Thai kickboxing can be seen at two different stadiums in Bangkok. Both the Ratchadamnoen and Lumphini stadiums feature events throughout the week on different days. Thai theatre and traditional dance are very interesting to watch as cultural entertainment. These can be seen at theatres as well as some of the top hotels in the city. Bangkok has some good shopping opportunities especially for jewelry, handicrafts and textiles including silks as well as cottons. As in other locations in Asia, vendors in the streets will expect some bargaining of prices where the retail stores have fixed prices. Just like in Hong Kong, Bangkok has many custom tailors who can make suits, shirts and dresses for clients within 24 hours. Some will even delivery the finished clothing to your hotel free of charge. There are some general guidelines of etiquette in Thailand that should be followed by all visitors. The Thai royal family is revered in this country so no outsider should ever make any even slightly negative remarks about the country’s monarchy. Temples should not be entered unless one is covered with long pants or skirts. Shorts and shoulderless tops are not permitted in temples. Footwear is always removed prior to entering any temple. Images and statues of Buddha, even postcards, are considered sacred in Thailand so one should never climb on one or do anything that will show disrespect. Public displays of affection between men and women are also frowned upon. Of course this seems to be a complete contradiction to Bangkok’s famous red light and adult entertainment districts such as Patpong. But this is yet another example of the contrast that’s found in Thailand. The attractions in Bangkok warrant a few days stay in the city before heading out to other parts of Thailand where there’s much less pollution and more beautiful natural scenery. Bangkok has good air connections with other Asian destinations as well so it can easily be fit into a larger tour of Asia. Clint Leung is owner of Free Spirit Gallery FreeSpiritGallery.ca , an online gallery specializing in Inuit Eskimo and Northwest Native American art including carvings, sculpture and prints. Free Spirit Gallery has numerous information resource articles with photos of authentic Inuit and Native Indian art as well as free eCards.

Hiking To Divisadero In The Copper Canyon National Park

Mexico s Copper Canyon National Park (Parque Nacional Barranca del Cobre) is one the true unspoiled wilderness areas of our world which provides the seasoned hiker with an experience of a lifetime. In particular, a system of six magnificent canyons in the Sierra Tarahumara region of the State of Chihuahua provides some of the most awe-inspiring views in the world, none more so than those witnessed from the town of Divisadero which is perched high up on the rim of Urique Canyon. The Copper Canyon National Park covers an enormous area with five of the inter-connected canyons and gorges being deeper than Arizona s world-famous Grand Canyon. The landscape of this area is also truly breathtaking, which makes it a very attractive destination for the hiker. There are however very few established trails in the area and the extremely steep and rugged nature of the terrain means that the area is only suitable for the novice hiker if when traveling with an experienced guide. Thousands of travelers visit the region every year and most will see the countryside from the famed Chihuahua-Pacífico Railway, referred to locally as El Chepe . Starting at Ojinaga, where the Rio Conchos meets the Rio Bravo del Norte, the rail line runs for nearly 600 miles and ends in the west coast port town of Topolobampa. The journey along El Chepe is often described by travelers as the best train journey in the world, taking you from transitional tropical forest and climbing 8,000 feet up into the Sierra Madre where you skirt the Copper Canyon before descending in a series of knuckle gripping switchbacks to the coastal plains. But it is the stop at Divisadero which travelers remember most vividly with views out across the Urique, Copper and Tararecua Canyons which are simply stunning. One of perhaps the world s finest hikes starts some 17 miles from Divisadero in the town of Cusárare. From here you climb and descend, sometimes as much as 4,000 feet in a single day, through some spectacular countryside on a six day hike which will eventually take you to the floor of the Urique Canyon. Then it is a final climb of some 6,000 feet up to the town of Divisadero which will be reward you with a view back along your route which is simply unforgettable. If you have not visited this part of the world before then you simply have to add it to your list of must do hikes and experience the magnificence of this part of the world with its unforgettable scenery. Oh, and do not forget to take your binoculars with you as this area also provides some of the finest bird watching anywhere in the world. The Hiking Club provides information and advice on all aspects of hiking, including further information on hiking to Divisadero in Mexico

The Perfect Golf Vacation Awaits on Prince Edward Island

There s no feeling that beats hitting a perfect shot. Except hitting a perfect shot against the perfect backdrop. Prince Edward Island s natural scenery has made for some of North America s most beautiful golf courses. And with more than 25 of them, it is the perfect place for a golf vacation. The quality of golf on the island is completely dependent on the player behind the club. There is no shortage of available opportunities ranging from the club on the edge of town, to the five-star resort that attracts some of the biggest names in the golf world. And it s not limited to the players. Some of the most renowned golf architects have designed courses on the island, offering breathtaking vistas that are challenge enough for any golf enthusiast. Among the storied names there is of course, Mike Weir who debuted at the 1998 Canadian Skins Game and who will make his Prince Edward Island return again this summer. For women golfers, Lorie Kane and four-time Player of the Year, Nancy Lopez played Prince Edward Island s Brudenell River during Canada s first-ever women s skins game. As for designers, Stanley Thompson, Les Furber, Rob Heaslip and Robbie Robinson have each left their mark on the Island The makings of the perfect golf vacation include, of course, great golf courses, but also everything that goes with it. That includes accommodations, sights, sounds, cuisine, and perhaps a little downtime at a local PEI spa. The sights can be seen both on and off the golf course and include the sapphire blue of the ocean water, beach sands in shades of white, champagne pink and red, and mile-high sand dunes teeming with shore life and ecosystem that includes the endangered Piping Plover.. Inland this gentle island is as much renowned for its pastoral landscapes and nature trails as it is for its farmlands and PEI potatoes. And though the Island measures less than 500 miles from tip to tip, it is the perfect spot for a golf vacation, with numerous courses catering to both the seasoned pro and recreational player. When touring Prince Edward Island on your golf vacation, you will see miles of lush rolling farmlands and coastlines dotted with fishing harbours. So it may not come as a surprise to discover that we re well-known for our food. Prince Edward Island is home to Malpeque oysters, cultured blue mussels and our world-famous PEI potatoes. And you haven t experienced taste or Island hospitality until you ve gone to a lobster supper in a church hall on a hot summer s night. There s also no shortage of renowned restaurants featuring an array of Island delicacies. There is much to do on a golf vacation on this gentle island. So much, in fact, you ll want to come back time and time again. Prince Edward Island; touring, sightseeing, and dining on, Golf Vacation

Lost Valley Ski Vacations - Free Ski Lessons Anyone?

Lost Valley Ski Vacations - Free Ski Lessons Anyone? The city of Auburn, Maine, in the northeast part of our country, proudly boasts of nearby Lost Valley Ski Resort, making sure its slopes are covered with plenty of artificial snow for the arriving winter skiers, snowboarders, and winter sport fans. Lost Valley is known for using the first artificial snow in Maine over 39 years ago- way before it became popular with almost all ski resort with low snowfall. With over 300 acres of different types of terrain in the area - hills, streams, and bridges - there are 45 acres dedicated to skiing, cross country, and snowboarding sports. The slopes are divided into 25% of slopes for beginners, 35% for intermediates, no advanced slopes, and 10% for experts. Snowfall in this area is only 99 inches per year which is not a lot for skiers or snowboarders, so Lost Valley prides itself on the personal grooming of the slopes in the fall, preparing it for the winter games. When winter sports opens for the winter season, 15 trails are always ready to go, with two chair lifts and a T-bar. Lost Valley has the longest ski day in Maine, with 13 hours of continuous skiing every weekend of the skiing season. Its vertical drop is 240 feet with a summit of 350 feet. Also available are self-operated electronic timing, in order for skiers to practice the slalom racing. Electric lighting systems allow skiers to ski during the night on every Lost Valley slope and trail. Lost Valley Ski Area also offers free adaptive ski lessons to all ages of people with different disabilities and abilities, through the non-profit organization Lost Valley Handicapped Ski Association. This is something that is very special and rare in the skiing field, with many people taking advantage of it in the area. Skiing equipment can be rented for all winter sports that are catered to at Lost Valley Resort, including ski equipment, snowboarding equipment, mountain bikes, and paintball equipment. Ski and snowboarding lessons are also available for private parties and groups, for a special day made more special. At the lodge, you will experience a warm family environment with outstanding food and beverages. This is an absolutely wonderful place to bring a family, as Lost Valley was designed with the family in mind. There are training programs, adaptive ski programs, racing events, a snowboard terrain park, mountain biking, and a huge twenty-acre paintball park. Lost Valley Resort is also a great place to hold meetings, family reunions, weddings, and other special events. Catering is available. Check out winter-sportz.com/ for more articles on colorado ski vacations and aspen ski resort .

Pack Useful Items and Other Necessary Items for Your Caravan Holiday

You have already packed what food, cooking equipment and clothing you are taking with you. Now it is time to pack other useful and necessary items to pack for your caravan holiday. Pack a couple of sets of sheets, pillow-slips, towels including beach-towels and tea towels. You will not need the entire contents of your linen cupboard, but you do not want to have to plan your holiday around your next laundry wash. For beach use, pack separate towels that can be used a few times without washing. Think about what you use around the house on a day-to-day basis and pack accordingly. You will need some cleaning products (sorry “house-work” still goes on) and utensils; dishwashing detergent; an all-round cleaner; sponges; garbage bags and a dustpan and brush. You will probably also need a broom and mop to clean your floors. A bucket is a versatile item to have and should be included. You will need all the usual toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving gear, soap, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant etc and toilet paper. Unless you really want a hard-to-get product, there is no need to pre-buy sufficient supplies to last your entire trip. Matches and a torch are also essential items. Remember to pack pegs and detergent, and keep a good supply of coins for use in washing machines and dryers. If you still use the old film camera and not a digital, an empty film container makes a good storage unit for 20c, $1 and $2 coins. A portable clock-radio makes a good companion, and then if you are sitting outside, you can still listen to the radio. Take something to while-away your time. Take a carefully selected supply of books and other reading matter. Do you play board games or do jigsaw puzzles? A pack of cards is always handy, especially when you invite your “new friends” over for a game. A camera is essential. A video or digital recorder will further help preserve memories of your holiday. Pack appropriate equipment for the leisure activities you regularly enjoy, or you may want to hire equipment rather than bring your own gear. This is the thirteenth page of 23 with related information about making the most of your caravan holiday. Check our website at crikey-adventure-tours.com/caravan-holiday.html for the other articles. Ian Molloy is the owner of Crikey Adventure Tours. Visit his website crikey-adventure-tours.com for more information about this article and other related topics. He not only has his tour business operating from Peth in Western Australia, but his site is full of very helpful information. Some of these includes tips on motorcycle holidays crikey-adventure-tours.com/motorcycle-holiday.html , driving cross-country, caravanning and generally lots of tips about having a camping holiday.

Tasmania - The Australian Island State

More than any other state in Australia, Tasmania enjoys four distinct seasons, each with its their own special characteristics. Both local Tasmanians and visitors enjoy the state s temperate maritime climate. Summer is a festive season when the Launceston Festivale and the Hobart Summer Festival are held. Autumn is a mellow season with calm, sunny days when the native deciduous beech trees and European trees blaze with a riot of red, orange and gold colours. Winter days are crisp and clear with a dusting of snow on mountain peaks. Spring is cool and refreshing, with gardens bursting back to life as Tasmania celebrates the Blooming Tasmania festival. Tasmania s capital Hobart is an intriguing blend of the old and the new, a city defined by the river and sea. Hobart s maritime focus can be appreciated with a harbour cruise or drive to the top of Mt Nelson or Mt Wellington - suburbs line the Derwent River, city buildings are clustered around the historic docks and the Derwent estuary broadens into Storm Bay. Only twenty-five kilometres from Hobart is the historic town of Richmond, home to the old Richmond Gaol and part of Tasmania s early convict origins. The nearby vineyards and wineries of the Coal River Valley are home to many of Tasmania s superb cool-climate wines. Hobart is an ideal base from which to explore southern and eastern Tasmania. Hobart has more summer daylight hours than any other Australian capital city. Tasmania is the southernmost of the eight Australian states and territories, and enjoys over 15 hours of daylight on the summer solstice (22 December). This is 2.5 more hours of daylight than Darwin (Northern Territory) receives and 1 hour more than Sydney (New South Wales) receives on the same day. Experts at the Launceston Planetarium claim that the day is even longer if twilight periods at dawn and dusk are taken into account. On the other hand, Tasmania receives less daylight than mainland Australian states and territories in winter. Hobart has around 9 hours daylight in winter, 1 hour less than Sydney and about 2.5 hours less than Darwin. Rainfall in Tasmania varies dramatically from region to region. Hobart is Australia’s second-driest capital city after Adelaide, while on the West Coast an annual average of 2400 millimetres ensures that temperate rainforests thrive. Minimal artificial light makes Tasmania’s night sky an exceptional location for stargazing, including the wonder of the magnificent Aurora Australis. Devonport is a diverse and interesting region, home to charming historic towns, beautiful beaches and forests, fine foods and the magnificent craggy peaks of Cradle Mountain. Cradle Mountain is a dramatic mountain peak in the northern section of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, a World Heritage Area. The mountain is one of the most popular features in the park, and is surrounded by stands of native deciduous beech trees, rainforest and alpine heathlands. Icy streams cascade down the mountainsides, and ancient pines are reflected in the still glacial lakes. The walk to the top of the mountain (1,545 metres) takes eights return. Lake St Clair is the deepest in Australia (190 metres), having been excavated by glaciers about 10,000 years ago during the last Ice Age. Towering cliffs rise sheer from the waters of the lake, in which fishing and boating are allowed. The east coast of Tasmania is a region of agreeable contrasts - sunshine and sea, wine and wildlife, rugged cliffs and glorious beaches. A centre of fine food and wine, the area is famous for its fresh, natural produce. It is also home to a series of excellent national parks, including Douglas-Apsley National Park with majestic rivers, eucalypts and Oyster Bay pines, Freycinet National Park which is renowned as a bushwalkers and sea kayakers paradise, and Maria Island National Park rich in history, scenic walks and fauna. The east coast s history is told by its place names. Schouten Island and Maria Island were mapped by Dutch navigator Abel Tasman, while the Freycinet Peninsula was charted by Frenchman Nicolas Baudin. Welsh settlers named the town of Swansea, while Triabunna and Wielangta recall thousands of years of Aboriginal presence in Tasmania. Miguel Scaccialupo writes regularly on Adventure Travel Australia topics, including Alice Springs Tour destinations and Tasmania Tour itineraries.

Okanagan Mountain Range Ski Vacations - The Perfect Winter Destination

Gently nestled between world-class ski resorts, the Okanagan provides an alternative to the big ski resorts . A small lift line, powder skiing, and moderate winter weather, combined with heli-skiing and snow-cat lodges, offers a personal guided and backcountry skiing experience. Snowboarding is also available for the dedicated winter sports fanatics. The area is full of natural beauty, many historical sites, and every level of recreational levels. This area is not only a winter area to enjoy but also a summer recreations area. Things to enjoy would be swimming, fishing, hiking, and sailing on one of the four lakes: Okanagan Lake, Wood Lake, Duck Lake, and Kalamalka Lake. The Okanagan is located in southern British Columbia of western Canada, consisting of mountains and valleys, with many visiitors visiting the Okanagan Canada s Fruit Basket of orchards and vineyards. It is also called the Apple Capital of Candada . During the winter, its mild winter temperatures and snowy terrain, combined with its natural beauty, makes the Okanagan the perfect winter destination. There are several small resorts that are scattered throughout the area, with Champagne and Okahagan providing untracked powder - fresh, light and deep snow available for fresh tracks, arriving from the moist air of the Pacific Ocean. The Okanagan has some of the most consistent and comfortable winter conditions in all of Canada. Temperatures average around 0 degrees, which maintains the snow for winter fanatics and skiing enthusiasts. Very rarely does the northern weather systems with its frigid temperatures enter this area. Some of the region s major ski centers are Apex Mountain Resort, Big White Ski Resort, Mount Baldy Ski Area, Silver Star Mountain, and Sun Peaks Resort. Thompson Okanagan, in the center of British Columbia s interior, offers sight-seeing to those who are interested - golf, ski, horseback ride, visit historical sites, and visiting a winery, are just a few of the events offered. The mountain ranges of Okanagan offer different trails and skill levels, but most of all they provide you with the skiing vacation of your dreams. The Apex Mountain Resort Vacation Rentals is a ski village with a wild-west theme. This ski resort is in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia that has very small skiing line-ups. Another fun place to go is the Big White Ski Resort Chalet Rentals, British Columbia s second largest ski resort near Penticton, Big White Ski Resort, and Silver Bowl Resort. This is the pride of British Columbia s snow rich Okanagan Valley, with some of the biggest and best snowfalls available to worldwide ski resorts. An excellent place to eat is the Gray Monk winery, known as the Gray Monk Estate and Grapevine Restaurant, open for tastings and also a wonderful restaurant. Neatly planted vineyards sloping toward the shore of Lake Okanagan gives the place its name and value. Fine vintage wines reflect the blend of art, science and consistent skills. Four generations on the land, the Heiss family welcomes company to share their wine, and share their etched copper doors and wood carvings at the entry, suggesting more elegance to come. Check out winter-sportz.com/ for more articles on lake tahoe ski areas and tahoe ski area .

Winter Hiking With Kids

Anybody who has ever spent any time outdoors with a child, during the cold winter months, has heard these words. I m cold, can we go back? If you re in the backyard, it s no big deal. Simply go inside. What happens though, if you and the little ones are half way up a two mile trail? It s not that easy. Before leaving for a trip with the kids, no matter how short your walk, make sure you re prepared. Typically, the reason anyone takes their kids winter hiking, is because they enjoy the activity themselves, and want to share the experience, and hopefully pass on the bug, to their offspring. By not being prepared and focusing the trip on the little ones, you risk scarring them forever and ensuring that their only memories of winter hiking are misery and regret. Be prepared, so when you next mention a winter s day hike, the kids won t be curled in the fetal position, shuddering in a corner with fear. Many hikers take their kids out when they are just too young. A three year old may be able to do a one mile hike in summer, but only manage a quarter mile in cold and snow. This is normal and should be expected. Doing many short trails, is more enjoyable for youngsters than doing one long trail. Wait a season for those longer hikes, it will be cold again in a year s time and maybe they will be a little more mobile by then. Make sure you have introduced them to hiking before the winter arrives. Learn to judge your child s tolerance levels. A common mistake, is choosing a route that is way to strenuous, or above the youngest kid s ability. The problem here is that the symptoms only show themselves when you re well under way. Select a trail that matches the ability of the youngest in the group. For the first winter hike, choose something that is way too easy for them. This acts like a teaser and has them wanting to do more. Don t make it too long either. Look for signs of tiring, as you need to turn before the meltdown and collapse stage. Remember, at this stage, you still have to return. You will know if the trail was adequate if you end the trip with can we do some more? Keep them wanting more. It may seem obvious, but many times on the trail, you see children under-dressed for the conditions. Focus on the basics first. A hat to keep head and ears warm. Gloves and warm socks. Insulated, water proof boots are important. Take a backpack so you can carry discarded items should it warm up. Always dress them in layers. Keeping them warm and adequately dressed, goes a long way to enjoying the outing. Kids snow boots are notorious for not being waterproof. This is a real problem as hiking with wet feet is no fun and can lead to severe chilling. Get them good snow boots. What happens if the situation just deteriorates from factors beyond your control, such as weather changes, a scrape or fall? At the first sign of distress, turn back. Avoid showing any disappointment, and perhaps even reaffirm their desire by exclaiming, You know, I feel like turning back too! With factors like cold, the discomfort can continue even on the trip back to the car. For minor discomfort, you can try and distract them with treats or a made-up game. Take along some hand warmers. Kids find hand warmers fascinating, not just comforting. These tactics help keep their minds occupied and not what s causing the discomfort. This is especially useful if you have turned back and want to end on a positive note. Focus your hiking goals on your child s needs. They don t care about mileage, or how fast you complete the trail. Stop and look at animal tracks and watch birds and squirrels. Walk the trail from their perspective, slow and entertaining. Kids love to be entertained. They are usually, good at entertaining themselves, but when stress mounts, you will need to provide that entertainment as a distraction. By distracting from the discomfort at hand, it buys you time to rectify the situation and turn a looming disaster into a memorable trip. This is your ultimate goal. So how do you entertain in a stressful situation? Make it a game. Turn whatever is causing misery into whatever your child enjoys. This does require some imaginative thought, but it can really make the trip back more pleasurable. For young kids let them stop and build a fairy house with twigs and rocks. As moving up the trail, let the kids create markers to use on their way back. Strategically place a few MandMs on the way up and then discover them on the way down. Anything like this keeps them entertained and having fun. If the weather is less than great, just don t go out. If it s cold you can still get out and enjoy a short walk, but a fresh breeze can make for a miserable trip. Avoid windy, cold days! The key to enjoying winter hiking with the kids, is to have them driving the desire to go on a hike. If they re pestering you to get outdoors in the snow, then you have successfully created a monster. A monster that will remember the wonderful winter days on the trail with Mom or Dad, for years to come. Take a kid outdoors today! About The Author Graham Armitage, is founder of the family outdoor website, Georec. The site allows anyone to discover new outdoor places and invites you to review and comment on outdoor locations. To access all the free hiking, fishing, paddling and other information available, or to add your own content, visit georec.com Copyright 2006 - georec.com All Rights reserved WorldWide. Reprint rights - you may reprint this article as long as you leave all of the links active, and do not edit the article in any way, and give credit to the author.

Walks in Dingle

What other country can boast so justly or so well of being a paradise for outdoors types, nature lovers and the walking enthusiasts of the world than Ireland? And what part of Ireland can better lay claim to its declaration that it is a walkers’ paradise than the Dingle Peninsula? The Dingle Peninsula boasts a sumptuous network of lanes, paths and treks that take the hiker well away from the hum of traffic and immerse him (or her) in the sweet solitude that is offered by the Dingle country side. The sweep of the green hills, the steep cut of the Dingle cliffs, the majesty of mountains, the tranquility of the beaches and the crash and swell of the sea . . . Dingle is a haven for lovers of nature, and a paradise for those who thirst to walk through it. There are in the Dingle Peninsula two walking tracks in particular that are popular with locals, but most especially tourists. These are called the Dingle Way, which is a hundred and seventy-eight kilometres in length and features many coastal views, and the Pilgrims’ Route, which is much shorter at just forty-eight kilometres in length and makes more of a fine hike between many of the early Christian archaeological sites for which Dingle is so famous. Of course, these two are not the only walking routes available on the Dingle Peninsulaâ€" not by a long shot! They are, however, the most popular with tourists because they are the best marked of the lot, and those visitors who wish to take advantage of the many, less clearly-marked tracks should do so with a degree of caution, and the willingness to stop and ask for directions should they become turned around! As is common sense for any walk, wear comfortable, sturdy footwear and lightweight, insulating clothing. A light, waterproof coat is advisable also, and be sure to stay well hydrated on your trek. Ronan Menton is the webmaster for a number of travel related websites and has been for some time in Ireland, associated with search engine optimization in the Irish travel industry. Among the many sites he is currently working on are the following: Seaview Dingle and Bayview Dingle .

Wildflowers of the West

Beargrass wildflowers are best known for their use by Native Americans as a basket weaving material. The fibrous leaves turn from green to white as they dry and are tough and durable. The leaves may also be dyed and are flexible enough to be woven into tight, waterproof weaves. Eastern prairie tribes also used the boiled roots of beargrass wildflowers as a hair tonic and to treat sprains. Beargrass wildflowers are still used today for basket weaving. More recently, beargrass wildflowers have become an important long lasting green in floral bouquets. Many national forests are now issuing permits for the harvesting of beargrass wildflowers for commercial use. Beargrass wildflowers can be grown in gardens in well-drained soils. Don t over-water and do not use commercial fertilizers. Humus and tree needle mulch will make your beargrass wildflowers feel right at home. Beargrass wildflowers are an evergreen herb in the lily family. Colonies of the perennial beargrass wildflower, also known as squaw grass, soap grass and Indian basket grass, bloom in three to seven year cycles. The tall flowering stalks can be up to six feet tall with numerous small white flowers. The conical shape of the flowers makes beargrass wildflowers easily recognizable. Beargrass wildflowers are an important part of the ecosystem in the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada and Coast ranges. Beargrass wildflowers do well in fairly dry, cool sites. Beargrass wildflowers provide food for at least forty species of insects, which in turn pollinate the grass. Many big game animals including deer and elk also favor beargrass wildflower. Pocket gophers and other rodents feed on beargrass wildflowers and grizzly bears sometimes use beargrass wildflowers for winter nesting material for their dens. Beargrass wildflowers have long, thin leaves with toothed edges extending from the base. The central stalk has short, leaf-like extensions along its length. Beargrass wildflowers are an important part of fire ecology and thrive with periodic burns. Beargrass wildflower rhizomes survive fires that clear plant matter from the surface of the ground. Beargrass wildflowers are often the first plant to sprout in burned areas. Another easily recognizable wildflower, the bitterroot, has been an icon in its native state of Montana for centuries. Also know as the resurrection flower, the plant is legendary for its ability to live for more than a year without water. The stem of bitterroot wildflowers is so short that the flower seems almost to sit on the ground. In addition, the leaves die off when the flower blooms, leaving the appearance of a flower emerging directly from the soil. For this reason, bitterroot wildflowers are also called rockroses. Meriwether Lewis collected bitterroot wildflowers on the famous Lewis and Clark expedition. The bitterroot wildflower became Montana s state flower by popular vote in 1895. Bitterroot wildflowers have lent their name to a mountain range, a river and the famous Bitterroot Valley. Each year a two-day annual bitterroot wildflowers festival takes place in this valley to celebrate the versatile bitterroot plant. Bitterroot wildflowers are low-growing perennials with fleshy taproots and a branched base. Bitterroot wildflowers blooms in May and June. Each biterroot wildflower plant has a single flower ranging in color from white to a deep pink or rose. The roots of bitterroot wildflowers were considered a luxury and could be traded with other Indian tribes as well as with pioneers and trappers. A sack of the valuable prepared roots could be traded for a horse. Bitterroot wildflowers were an important part of the diet of Montana Indians. Many Montana tribes--including the Flathead, Spokane, Nez Perce, Kalispell and Pend d Oreille--timed their spring migration with the blooming of bitterroot wldflowers. The roots were gathered near what is now Missoula. After being cleaned and dried, the roots were a nutritious, lightweight snack. The roots were cooked before eating and usually mixed with meat or berries. Cakes of the cooked root could be carried and eaten while traveling. A less familiar western wildflower is the owl-clover. Owl-clover wildflowers are a member of the snapdragon family (scrophulariaceae, Orthocarpus). This family numbers 4500 species around the world. The name Orthocarpus is from the Greek orthos, straight, and karpos, fruit. Owl-clover wildflowers are closely related to the Indian paintbrushes. The origin of the common name is obscure, though owl-clover wildflowers do somewhat resemble the head and feathers of an owl. Owl-clover wildflowers are not directly related to other types of clover. Owl-clover wildflowers grow on low ground in dry, open sites such as meadows in most parts of Montana. Owl-clover wildflowers also grow in Canada, Minnesota, California, Nebraska, New Mexico and northwestern Mexico. Owl-clover wildflowers are winter annuals six to eight inches tall. The yellow, white or purple petals are actually bracts surrounding very small, nearly hidden yellow flowers. The leaves alternate along the stalk and may have two narrow side lobes. The owl-clover wildflowers are on narrow spikes and bloom a few at a time. A single owl-clover wildflower plant may have dozens of blooms during a full growing season. Owl-clover wildflowers are a partial parasite that relies on the root system of other plants. Owl-clover wildflowers are mentioned in the journal of Meriweather Lewis on July 2, 1806. Owl-clover wildflowers were later fully described in 1818 by the the English botanist Thomas Nuttall during explorations of what is now North Dakota. The Indian paintbrush, on the other hand, is probably the most recognizable western wildflower. Indian paintbrush wildflowers can be orange, red or yellow. The bright, flowerlike bracts are not the true flower, but almost completely conceal inconspicuous small yellow flowers. Indian paintbrush wildflowers are also known as prairie-fire and grow in dry, sandy areas as well as moist areas. Indian paintbrush wildflowers can be found both on mountainsides and in open meadows. Indian paintbrush wildflowers were adopted as the Wyoming state flower in 1917. The name comes from the fact that some Native American tribes used the bracts as paintbrushes. The roots of Indian paintbrush wildflowers are partially parasitic on other plant roots. Indian paintbrush wildflowers usually grow from 1-2 feet tall. Indian paintbrush wildflowers have the ability to grow in soils with high magnesium, low calcium and high amounts of metals such as chromium and nickel. Although Indian paintbrush wildflowers are edible, they will absorb selenium, and therefore cannot be eaten in large amounts when taken from selenium-rich soils. The Chippewa Indians used Indian paintbrush wildflowers to treat rheumatism and as a hair rinse. Both of these uses of Indian paintbrush wildflowers stem from the high selenium content in some paintbrush plants. Another fascinating western wildflower is the snowberry. Western snowberry wildflowers are part of the honeysuckle family. Snowberry wildflower shrubs grows up to 3 in height and spreads through rhizomes, forming colonies of fruit-bearing plants. Snowberry wildflowers are white to light pink at the end of twigs and upper leaf axils. The common snowberry is a popular shrub in gardens due to its decorative white fruit. Snowberry wildflowers are an important source of winter food for birds including quail, pheasant and grouse. Snowberry wildflowers are a famine food for humans due to their bitterness and the presence of saponins in the berries. Saponins, a substance also found in many beans, can be destroyed by cooking. Snowberry wildflowers have extensive root systems are can be used to stabilize soils on banks and slopes. Snowberry wildflowers grow in open prairies and along streams and lakes in Montana, Washington, Utah, New Mexico, Minnesota and Canada. Saponins are quite toxic to some animals such as fish. Native Americans put large quantities of snowberries in streams and lakes as a fishing technique to stupefy or kill fish. An infusion of the roots from snowberry wildflowers has also been used for inflamed or weak eyes and to aid in convalescence after childbirth. The branches of the snowberry wildflower bush can be made into brooms. The bush is also very tolerant of trimming and can be grown as a medium to tall hedge. A very unique western wildflower is the yucca flower. Yucca wildflowers are one of forty different species that inhabit the southwestern United States and Mexico. Some non-desert species also live in the southeastern United States and in the Carribean Islands. Yucca wildflowers are pollinated by a specific moth. In the absence of this moth, yucca wildflowers must be hand pollinated to survive. Yucca wildflowers are in the lily family as indicated by their cream-colored, bell-shaped flowers. Yucca wildflowers are actually trunkless shrubs also related to the cassava or tapioca family. Yucca wildflower leaves contain strong fibers that can be used to make ropes. Yucca wildflower roots contain a natural red dye used for baskets. A tea from the yucca wildflower buds has been used to treat diabetes and rheumatism. The buds can be eaten like bananas. Yucca wildflowers can be cooked and ground for candy, called colache. The yucca wildflower is the state flower of New Mexico. The study of western wildflowers is fascinating due to their many different uses and their adaptability to harsh climates. Among the jagged Rocky Mountains, western wildflowers add a touch of delicate beauty. Kathleen Karlsen is a professional artist, writer and design consultant residing in Bozeman, Montana. Kathleen is best known for her contemporary impressionism style and her colorful forest, landscape and flower paintings. Kathleen s original art and fine art gifts can be seen at livingartsoriginals.com For an extensive article about flower symbolism see livingartsoriginals.com/infoflowersymbolism.htm To see a selection of Kathleen s flower paintings, please visit livingartsoriginals.com/originalfloralart.htm

Kenya-Africa: Your Animal, Lion and Sport Safari

i. Location: Kenya is an East African country that rises from a low coastal plain on the Indian Ocean to mountains and plateaus at its center. The country size is 582,650 and is bordered by Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan Tanzania, Uganda. Most Kenyans live in the highlands including, main cities and towns. Nairobi, is the capital centre and stands at an altitude of 1,700 meters (5,500 feet). Even though Nairobi is near the Equator, its high elevation brings cooler air. To the west of Nairobi the land descends to the north-south running through the Great Rift Valleyâ€"the valley floor is at its lowest near Lake Turkana further in the deserts of northern Kenya. Around Lake Turkana, scientists have discovered some of humankind s earliest ancestorsâ€"a fossil known as Kenya Man, that was dated at 3.5 to 3.2 million years old. ii. The People and Culture Kenya is host to Forty ethnic groups, including Kikuyu farmers and Maasai cattle herders, three-quarters of Kenya s people is also located in the country side. The total population stands at 33,830,000 with 2,818,000 staying in the capital city Kenya is a diverse country, with many different cultures represented. Today, the Massai culture is the best known, due to its heavy exposure from tourism. Kenya s culture is both varied and fragmented. Nowhere else in Africa is there such a large number of ancient cultures, all alive and well in no hurry to change. Each cultural / ethnic group have their unique traditional arts and crafts, architecture in homestead designs, clothing and jewellery, food, social and economic activities etc. Kenya is bestowed with well over 40 different ethnic groups with different languages and dialects, customs, beliefs and lifestyles. Unique of all tribes is the Elmolo, Kenya s smallest group which is a surviving tribe just emerging from the stone age standard of living usually described as the race that has stood the test of time. iib. The Maasai warrior people: The well known Maasai too, famous for their warriorship, have a strong practical lifestyle which is basically seen to represent Kenya s traditions by foreigners. The Maasai land incorporates many of the National Parks like Amboseli, Mara, Tsavo and Nairobi National Park is now involved in the wildlife conservation projects to encourage eco-tourism. This enables the Maasai tribe to make a living from conservation and is an important factor in the preservation of wildlife habitats outside the Parks. Visitors can experience a unique holiday learning about their culture, wildlife and ecosystem of this fascinating tribal people. Another spectacular culture is the Swahili, an urban culture along the East African coast. The Swahili do not form an ethnic unit, however, since the population of the coastal region comprises Bantu, Arab, Persian, Indian and Indonesian peoples who all speak their language Swahili , a Bantu language. Lamu is one of the last viable remnants of the Swahili civilization, which was the dominant cultural force all along the Kenyan coast. It is a place of fantasy, wrapped in a clock of medieval romance known as the Kathmandu of Africa. iii. Climate: Kenya enjoys a tropical climate. It is hot and humid at the coast, temperate inland and very dry in the north and northeast parts of the country.The country receives a great deal of sunshine all the year round and summer clothes are worn throughout the year. The terrain is low plains rising to the central highlands bisected by Great Rift Valley; fertile plateau in west.The Kenyan Highlands comprise one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa; glaciers on Mt. Kenya; unique physiography supports abundant and varied wildlife of scientific and economic value. iv. The teaming Wildlife Kenya has considerable land area of wildlife habitat, including much of the Serengeti plains, where Wildebeest and other bovids participate in a large scale annual migration. Up to 250,000 Wildebeest perish each year in the long and arduous movement to find forage in the dry season. The annual migration occurs between June and September with millions of wildlife taking part. It has been a popular event for filmmakers to capture.The Big Five animals of Africa can also be found in Kenya and these include the Lion, the Leopard, the Buffalo, the Rhino and the biggest of them all - the Elephant. A significant population of other wild animals, reptiles and birds can be found in the national parks and game reserves in the country. v. The cradle of mankind. Man was born on the eastern shores of Lake Rudolf, now Lake Turkana, according to recent fossil evidence, which makes Kenya the Biblical Garden of Eden, from which descendants moved out to populate the world. A reverse migration began nine to ten thousand years ago when Kenya became the point of contact in Africa for the Stone Age and civilisation, spreading from the Mediterranean through to Southern Arabia. The National Museums of Kenya runs one National Museum in Nairobi and seven other regional museums elsewhere in the country enhancing Kenya s rich cultural heritage. Robert Muhoho is a travel consultant based in Kenya and a director of Landmark Safaris. He is involved in travel planning into Kenya and East Africa. More info at landmarksafaris.com or drop an email: rob@landmarksafaris.com

Vaseaux Lake Wildlife Viewing Area

Vaseaux Lake is nestled in the narrows of the valley between Okanagan Falls and Oliver, BC on Hwy 97 in the sunny South Okanagan. The Vaseux Lake Wildlife Area surrounds the northern end of the lake as well as the north end marsh, constructed by a Ducks Unlimited Canada. It is a haven for both migrating and resident waterfowl, other bird and wildlife species. This area is a designated National Waterfowl Sanctuary and is a important wintering area for swans and geese. The nearby area also includes Vaseux Lake Provincial Park and Okanagan Falls Provincial park as well as the provincially protected area (non-park), California Big Horn Sheep Wildlife Viewing and Information Site. This area is host to the largest California Big Horn Sheep herd in Canada. Building Vaseux Wetlands - Brief History Prior to the construction of the viaduct, the Okanagan River migrated through the valley, providing fresh water creating a natural ecological balance between wetland and lake. With the demand for a more efficient, agricultural water supply and the ability to re-claim riverside land for agricultural purposes, the viaduct was built. The river now by-passed the marsh and dumped directly into Vaseaux Lake. This action eliminated the fresh flow of water to the wetland and left it only to receive local seepage through naturally sandy soils or backflood from the lake during spring runoff. This created a stagnant wetland that encouraged excessive vegetation growth. The wetland literally choked itself with vegetation leaving too much cover and not enough open water for nesting waterfowl. In addition, there was still a water level fluctuation problem that tended to overturn or flood nests during the critical nesting season resulting in less waterfowl egg survival. Through the co-operation of local landowners and water licensee s, Ducks Unlimited took control of the marsh by installing a dam, water control structure and pumping system to stabilize the wetland during nesting periods. An added benefit would be that the higher water level creates more open water areas with immediate cover from predators. After a few years a controlled burn was done in the winter to again eliminate the existing choking vegetation to enhance nesting opportunities for birds. Vaseux Lake itself is a very good fishing lake famous for its big largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and good sized rainbow trout. See our Bass Fishing page for more on Vaseaux Lake. The Vaseaux Lake area also may contain one of the highest concentrations of rattlesnakes , especially at the north end of the lake where the Ducks Unlimited dam intersects with the Okanagan River dyke and viaduct. When the Ducks Unlimited dam was constructed, a number of large boulders where place where it joined the dyke to prevent vehicle access. Every year as the heat increases and the vegetation grows thick the rattlesnakes move from the hot rock hillside and take shelter in the long cool grasses and convenient shelter created by the boulders. NOTE: It is highly recommended that if one is to venture onto the dyke or dam (between May and Sept) they should be extremely cautious, wear protective clothing including hip waders and carry some sort of walking stick to ward off any snakes that may be too close for comfort. Do not kill the snakes, they are in a protected area. Vaseux Wetlands is an environmentally sensitive area for many wildlife, flora and fauna species. It is worth a visit any time of the year but particularly in the spring during bird and waterfowl migration. You can access the wetland on foot at the north end of the wetland just off the Green Lake Road on the west side of the Okanagan River viaduct. A hike (going south) along the dyke will get you to the wetland. Bring your binoculars! Dave Ouellette was an Engineering Tech for Ducks Unlimited Canada for 11 years. While constructing over 200 wetland segement in the Southern Interior of BC, Dave managed to fish almost as many lakes and streams in his travels. As an avid flyfisherman, Dave spends most of his ice free seasons devoting intense research and development days to the rainbow trout lakes in the southern interior of British Columbia. See more of Dave s information at Best in British Columbia - Fly Fishing Vacations

Banff - Lake Louise: Stunning Beauty and Nature At Its Best in the Canadian Rockies

For the first time ever, my husband and I are going to go skiing in the majestic Rocky Mountains: in March of 2006 we are going to go to stay a week in Banff, Alberta and we are also going to explore Lake Louise, the turquoise jewel of the Canadian Rockies. As we have never been to this region, I have started to do some research and contacted the official visitor information website for the communities of Banff and Lake Louise in Banff National Park. I had a chance to speak with Quintin Winks, Manager of Media Relations for Banff Lake Louise Tourism, who was able to provide me with excellent background information about the Banff / Lake Louise Region. 1. Please provide us with some general information about Banff/Lake Louise. Where is it located, what is the weather like? Banff is located within Banff National Park, in the Canadian Rockies of Western Alberta. The town of Banff is famous for its spectacular setting, but it is more than just a pretty place. As Canada s first incorporated municipality in a national park, Banff is a very special community. It is environmentally-conscious, balanced, rich with character and culture and a friendly and open community. The elevation of Banff townsite is 1,383 m (4,537 feet), the highest town in Canada. The elevation of Lake Louise is 1,536 m (5,039 feet), the highest permanent settlement in Canada. Summer (July - August): The summer season usually has low humidity, warm temperatures and daylight hours lasting until 11:00 p.m. at the height of the summer equinox. Autumn (Sept - Oct): Fall sees diminishing daylight hours and warm days with cooling evening winds. Winter (Nov - March): Although it can and does snow at any time of the year, the first snows generally begin to fall in November. The average temperature during the winter months is around -12º C (6º F); however it is not unusual to have a two-week cold snap during December or January where temperatures plummet into the -30 degree C/F range. Fortunately Banff and areas west and south, regularly receive a welcome weather phenomenon called Chinooks, warm winds that produce spring-like temperatures in a matter of hours. Spring (April - June): Rain and warming temperatures begin to melt winter away from the valleys in April, however snow does not leave the mountain passes until mid-summer. While the average precipitation is relatively low during this time, snowmelt pushes the rivers to their crests. 2. How can one get to Banff/Lake Louise and what is the best way of getting around locally? Situated in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, the town of Banff is located inside the boundaries of Banff National Park. It is situated 128 kilometres (80 miles) west of Calgary, 401 kilometres (250 miles) southwest of Edmonton and 850 kilometres (530 miles) east of Vancouver. Commercial airlines service each of these three Canadian cities, and buses to Banff and Lake Louise run year round. Banff is easily accessed by bus or car using the Trans-Canada Highway. Calgary to Banff driving time is about 2 hours depending on traffic and road conditions. Speed limits inside the national park are 90km/hour. The closest major airport is the Calgary International Airport. Scheduled van and motorcoach shuttle services connect Banff with Calgary Airport. Departures are limited (usually 3 or 4 per day). 3. What are some of the major sights in and around Banff/ Lake Louise? Banff is famous first and foremost for its spectacular natural scenery, but also for its museums, national historic sites and heritage buildings. Architectural and heritage guidelines ensure the town retains its mountain culture and charm. Banff also has three historic sites (Cave and Basin, Banff Park Museum and Bankhead) and numerous heritage buildings, one of the best performing art schools in the country (The Banff Centre), top-notch art galleries (The Walter Phillips Gallery and Canada House Gallery among others) and a world-renown museum specializing in the art and history of the Canadian Rockies (the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies). Wildlife is also abundant within Banff National Park and many visitors return home with memorable photographs of species that make use of the park. From bridge to biking, there is so much to do in the Banff area including airplane tours, barbecues, billiards, boat tours, bowling, dogsledding, downhill and cross-country skiing, fishing, golf, hiking, snowshoeing, nature tours, horseback riding, carriage and sleigh rides, mountaineering and climbing, hiking, hot springs and spas, museums and art galleries, gondolas, snocoach tours, sightseeing, whitewater rafting, kayaking and float trips. 4. Please tell us about the skiing opportunities in Banff/Lake Louise and other winter activities on offer in your area. Three outstanding ski resorts, Ski Banff@Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise provide more than 7,700 acres and 240 trails offering countless options to skiers and snowboarders of any ability. From wide-open bowls and tree-lined glades covered with fresh dry champagne powder, to meticulous groomed slopes and state-of-the-art snowmaking, visitors enjoy unspoiled scenery, short lift lines, and guaranteed friendly local hospitality. The last major snowstorm through this area was less than one week ago and the snow conditions are powder, powder, powder. More snow is forecast in the coming days. There are over 80km of cross-country trails within a short drive of the Banff townsite alone. The vast network of track-set and untracked trails, and telemark slopes throughout Banff National Park calls nordic skiers of all abilities. The Banff National Park Service keeps up to date trail conditions and weather forecasts. Banff also offers guided snow-shoeing tours, ice walks, dog sledding and ice climbing, not to mention heli-skiing. 5. What about activities during the summer time? Ride through a pine forest hearing only hoof beats, zoom down waterslides, or come face to face with a grizzly bear while exploring an interpretive museum. Banff Lake Louise offers something for everyone. Enjoy the spectacular views from the Brewster Gondola, explore the Columbia Icefield from aboard the enormous snocoach, rent a bike and ride around the park or get up early and enjoy a bird walk in the spring. There’s also guided tours through Johnston Canyon, nature walks, a skateboard park and several fine patios for enjoying a cool refreshment after hours of exploration in the summer sun. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. 6. Banff / Lake Louise s history is connected to the expansion of railways across Canada. Please give us a brief historical overview of the area. 1883 The railway passes through the Banff area and reaches Laggan Station (Lake Louise). Three railway workers, Frank McCabe, Tom McCardell, and William McCardell, stake claim to the natural hot springs on the side of Sulphur Mountain. - 1884: Lord Steven, a former CPR director, christens the area Banff after his birthplace, Banffshire, Scotland. - 1885: The federal government sets aside a 26 km² reserve surrounding the hot springs discovered two years earlier. Two years later, that area is increased to 670 sq. km. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company and the federal government cooperate in promoting the area as an international resort and spa as a way to support the new railway and ease the financial pressures on Confederation. - 1888: The Canadian Pacific Railway Company builds the area s first large tourist accommodation, The Banff Springs Hotel. - 1911: Automobile access to Banff is made possible by the construction of the Banff/Calgary Coach Road. - 1917: The park s area is increased to 7 125 km². The Canadian government passes the first National Parks Act. - 1930: Rocky Mountains Park is renamed Banff National Park and its size becomes fixed at 6641 km². - 1933: The Banff Centre for Continuing Education is founded. - 1985: Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks along with four adjacent provincial parks are declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). - 1990: Through a joint agreement between the local citizens and the federal and provincial governments, the town of Banff becomes the only incorporated municipality within a Canadian national park. 7. Our readers would like to find out about the festivals and special events in Banff/Lake Louise. Festivals and special events are many in Banff and Lake Louise. The most immediate two are Ice Magic and Winterfest. Ice Magic involves artists from all over the world converging on Lake Louise and carving 300 kilogram blocks of ice into spectacular sculptures (January 27-29). Winterfest is a series of fun activities. The most up-to-date information on all festivals and special events can be found at banfflakelouise.com/ 8. What about restaurants and entertainment in Banff / Lake Louise? With inventive panache, chefs relentlessly reach new culinary heights. Recipes change according to the seasons and make use of the freshest local ingredients. During the fall and winter, this means game, squash and legumes, while spring features asparagus and mushrooms and summer highlights edible flowers and fresh fruits. The town has a wide variety of tourism-related businesses including over 118 restaurants with food to suit every palette. There’s Indian cuisine, sushi, Korean, Chinese, Western, Pasta, Thai, Greek and just about every other variation. Banff is also home to The Banff Centre. This institution is host to many forms of entertainment, including art galleries and installations, theatre productions and concerts ranging in variety from string quartets, blues, jazz, ethnic and rock ‘n’ roll. There is something happening virtually every week of the year. Banff also has a cinema, bowling lanes, water slides and indoor pool and billiards hall. There’s an indoor rock-climbing wall, skating rink, tennis courts and myriad other things to do for entertainment regardless of the weather. 9. What are some of the shopping opportunities in Banff / Lake Louise? Enjoy strolling alongside locals and world-travellers as you discover a cosmopolitan collection of galleries, boutiques and cafés. Shops range from internationally recognized clothiers or independently-owned establishments to Canada s oldest department store. 10. What type of accommodations options are available in Banff / Lake Louise? From five-star elegance to the cozy comfort of cabins or chalets, Banff Lake Louise has more than 100 hotels, motels, condominiums resorts, lodges and bed and breakfasts that will make you feel at home whatever your tastes. 11. What are some of the major events and big news stories coming up in 2006 and beyond in Banff/Lake Louise? Banff looks poised to host a skins golf game this summer that will attract some of the biggest names in golf. Also big in the news is the commencement of Banff Refreshing, a sidewalk expansion program and greening that will make downtown Banff much more pedestrian friendly and reduce the amount of traffic using the downtown core. The first phase of the Trans-Canada Highway twinning project will also swing into high gear this summer, making transit through Banff National Park faster and safer than ever. Of note with this project are state-of-the-art wildlife crossing structures to keep animals off the highway. Passing of a recent lighting bylaw means that Banff’s night sky will become more and more clear as time passes. Thank you, Quintin, for your time to provide us with more information about the beautiful Banff/Lake Louise area. We look forward to exploring your area first-hand in March! For further information about Banff/Lake Louise please contact: Banff Lake Louise Tourism P.O. Box 1298, Banff, Alberta, T1L 1B3, Canada Phone:403-762-8421 Fax: 403-762-8163 Email: info@banfflakelouise.com Web: BanffLakeLouise.com Susanne Pacher is the publisher of a website called Travel and Transitions ( travelandtransitions.com ). Travel and Transitions deals with unconventional travel and is chock full of advice, tips, real life travel experiences, interviews with travellers and travel experts, insights and reflections, cross-cultural issues, contests and many other features. You will also find stories about life and the transitions that we face as we go through our own personal life-long journeys. Submit your own travel stories in our first travel story contest ( travelandtransitions.com/contests.htm ) and have a chance to win an amazing adventure cruise on the Amazon River. Life is a Journey Explore New Horizons . The story with photos is published at Travel Interviews and Photos ( travelandtransitions.com/interviews/banff_lake_louise.htm )

The Best Sightseeing in London

Each visit to London is more rewarding than the next. This cultural city center is packed with history and art, parks and beauty. You can absorb a lot just by driving through the city streets in a taxi cab, but make sure that on your vacation you visit these ten places on foot before you leave. 1. The British Museum has millions of items and artifacts to peruse. What started as Sir Hans Sloan s collection of 71,000 items in 1753 has blossomed into one of the biggest storehouses of ancient artifacts in the world. Best of all, admission to this venerable museum remains free of charge. 2. Saint Paul s Cathedral is one of Great Britain s most beautiful spiritual centers. Although it is a historic building (rebuilt in 1666 after the Great London Fire), it is still home to modern weddings and funerals. Living members of British royalty and national leaders have held ceremonies there. 3. The Tower of London is a fascinating step back into time. Here, you can be horrified by the dungeons and you can marvel at the Queen s Jewels. Try not to imagine too much of the Tower s deadly history though, or you might have nightmares. 4. The Natural History Museum is a great place to take children, because of its treasure trove of dinosaur bones. Kids and adults alike will love roaming the halls of this museum, checking out its many collections in its gothic hallways. 5. Westminster Abbey is one of London s most famous and beautiful churches, but it is most famous for its dead residents. Take a walking tour of the abbey and hear about all the famous literati who are buried within its walls. 6. The Tate Modern is the best place to see modern art in London. The Tate houses paintings by such 20th century masters as Matisse, Warhol, Bacon, and many more. 7. The London Zoo houses over 12,000 animals within its gates. This is not one of the world s most famous zoos for no reason. There are so many animals, that you cannot see them all in one day. Plan on taking a few trips to absorb all the fauna. 8. The British Airways London Eye is an observation wheel high above the city that allows visitors to London to get a bird s eye view of the landscape below. The Eye is host to millions of visitors a year and is the best way for a tourist to get the lay of the land. Sightseeing will be much more fun once you have seen the whole city from above. 9. The National Gallery is a museum of both ancient and modern masters. You can spend hours roaming through the halls of this 19th century museum. Its location is also ideal - you can find the National Gallery in the center of Trafalgar Square. 10. The Madame Tussaud s Experience is one that can t be missed when you travel to London. This is as close as a tourist can get to living history. Historical people and events are recreated in wax and animatronics. Be prepared to be surprised and enthralled by their realistic qualities. Although the sightseeing in London will not include the scenic beauty of places like Gran Alacant in Spain , it will surely be an enjoyable and memorable experience. Being especially passionate about La Manga and Costa Blanca, Vince Paxton was editing a variety of news stories in the area. You can come across his work on Gran Alacant at alicante-spain.com

Hiking Preparation - It s Not About Finding Accomodations!

Hiking Preparation - It s Not About Finding Accomodations! Hiking can be a great experience, but you will want to prepare before you take off, especially if you are a beginner hiker. Though not always the case, hiking is not like traditional vacations which require preparation in terms of locating your accommodation, finding a beach front vacation rental or other details such holidays entail. Hiking requires preparation related to fitness and essential items specific to hiking. Of course, you want to make sure you have achieved general fitness as hiking requires endurance and strength. Once you have achieved a basic fitness level in preparation for your hike, a few specialized activities specifically related to hiking that can help you prepare even more. Though not essential, walking barefoot around the yard or house can help toughen the soles of your feet. Yes, you will be wearing hiking boots and quality socks but it isn’t a bad idea to have something under your socks that is tougher than soft, tender skin. Benzoin is a special ointment that can help with sores, gradually make skin tougher and even helps kill germs. As any experienced hiker would likely agree, dealing with blisters needs an entirely separate article to fully describe. But, if you do get blisters it is important to puncture them and avoid doing too much walking until they heal if possible. You can try to avoid blisters by covering the parts of your feet that are more likely to develop them with a band-aid or moleskin. Also, be sure you have trimmed your toenails before heading out for the hike, but be sure to not trim them down too far. Another good idea is to gradually work up to a long hike in stages, maybe one to two miles. If you are in fairly good shape, you should limit yourself to around five miles at first. Hiking is more demanding than simply walking on your sidewalk, as it usually entails walking on slanted, uneven surfaces. For this reason, it is a good idea to build up your endurance at least in terms of distance. Once you are up to at least five miles, you may want to start walking with a backpack to become used to the extra weight. Carry some water bottles, whether reusable sport bottles or the pre-filled disposable bottles. Or, at least bring along a sports drink but avoid the beverages with a lot of added sugar. Though sugar is actually essential to life and not as bad as often claimed, the amount of sugar in some sports drinks is not the best choice when you want to achieve optimal results. Of course, nobody wants to get lost which is why it is important to have some type of navigational guide. This is especially true if you are going to an unfamiliar area or onto unmarked trails. You can choose a map, compass or a GPS unit all of which can help provide some direction. Of course, you want a GPS unit you know how to use if you prefer this device. As you see, hiking is not just a walk or stroll through a famous tourist places in Spain. It takes preparation to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience! Focusing on news and information about Elche, the author writes articles especially for alicante-spain.com His contributions on tourist places in Spain can be found on alicante-spain.com/places-to-visit-in-spain.html

Best Clothes For Boys

Conventionally speaking, girls’ clothes have always been more interesting than those designed for boys. However, changing fashion trends have helped to develop more stylish clothes’ lines for boys today as well. Now fashion designers are paying greater attention to this fact, and it has brought about a revolution in the male designer wear. This fashion statement has even transcended into the young boys’ clothing wardrobe giving rise to several cool and hip online boutiques selling trendy clothes for boys. To begin with ditch the conventional primary colors and stripes as well as the conventional character look. Instead, pick a look that’s cool and casual, lending smartness to all occasions. Little Surfer Dude â€" Cool and casual, this look is about sun, sand and surf. Soft cotton tees paired with shorts, cargo pants and washed out jeans is the look represented by the surfer dude. Wear cute summery sandals and accessorize with your traditional fisherman’s hat and cool sunglasses to complete the ensemble. UpAndRiding.com has one of the largest online selections of cool boys’ surfing wear in all sizes replete with from brands like Hurley, Quicksilver, and Billabong. Sunwashed is another California based children s wear company that combines comfort, quality California craftsmanship, and casual style. Is your boy ‘the typical rocker’? Well, for this Little Rocker Boy has a surprise in store with rock-look fashions abounding on the boys’ fashion scene. To get this ultra-cool look, choose tees with a rock edge, distressed designer jeans and cool shoes. Tutti Bella is a fantastic online store that carries all styles of designer clothing that your rocker needs. Classic rock tees inspired by No Added Sugar, Kingsley, The Sleep Thief Tee and the Menace Tee would be perfect for your little rocker. The most comfortable and casual look, albeit with a touch of fashion is the Vintage Casual Boy Look. To get this look, dress your little boy in vintage inspired tees, distressed jeans or shorts, and some cool footwear like vintage-look sneakers. Trendy Togs is an online children s wear boutique with a wide assortment of the coolest brands in young fashion wear. Their City Threads line has some groovy vintage casual wear. Diesel Kids Line at Pout.com Diesel jeans are famous all over the world for their hip yet rugged look. Available at Pout.com this collection includes jeans, trousers, tops, jackets and more. The best denim wear for its price and quality is Diesel as its hip for cool urban kids. William Brister - kidsclothes.tv - Branded Clothes For Kids

The Big Diverse World Of Boot Styles

Along with the popularity of boots worldwide there has been an incredible increase in the variety of styles and colors as well. Men and women alike have an enormous selection to choose from including cowboy boots, hiking boots, motorcycle boots and more. For women they can even add Go-Go boots and knee-high boots to the mix. The cowboy boot was originally introduced as a utility work boot to protect the foot and lower leg of the cowboy of the old west from things like snakes, briars, and sagebrush. These boots had a high heel to help them stay in the saddle better and a high shaft to protect the legs. As cowboy boots have become more popular the materials used to make them have evolved to include such exotic hides as shark skin, alligator, elephant, ostrich, emu, and snakeskin and are made in just about any color you can imagine. No longer just for cowboys, these boots have become popular all over the entire world. Another popular style of boot these days is the motorcycle boot or biker boot. These boots tend to have a very high shaft and a shorter heel and are made of very heavy leather to protect the foot and lower legs. These boots have become very popular with the general public as well as the biker population. The distinctive black leather boots with the yellow stitching on the sole can only be Docs. These were created by a German Doctor during the second world war whose name was Dr. Klaus Maertens. They came to the open market in 1960 and quickly became very popular especially for the average person. These were the preferred footwear by postmen, factory workers, as well as policemen. The punk bands of the seventies made them even more popular and today they are still a top choice for men and women. Hiking boots have become very popular with both men and women these days. Although the boots are made specifically for hiking, their light weight and great support make them a popular choice for every day wear. There are dozens of different styles available in this genre of footwear alone. If you don’t believe me all you have to do is visit a Timberland store. For women there are two other popular choices in boots that are mainly for going out dancing. Knee-high boots and Go-Go boots are very popular with women who like to go clubbing. The Go-Go boots first appeared in the sixties and have not fallen out of favor since then. They are available in almost any color and they have become even more famous with many girl bands sporting them. The knee high boots have been around for a decade or so longer and are normally worn with skirts. These boots tend to fit more tightly than others and come with zippers in most cases. Boots are a great fashion item and come in such a great variety it is sure that you can find a style and type to fit you. I suggest shopping on the internet for the biggest selection possible. Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Beach, Florida. Find more about boots as well as western boots at westernandworkboots.com