Month: February 2012

Photographing the Galápagos Webinar

The flora and fauna of the Galápagos Islands are a photographer’s dream to shoot.  Add to that the variety of some of the most amazing wildlife on the planet and these islands become one of the best places to explore and photograph.  Take a journey through your computer where the models have no fear of the lens.

Natural Habitat is hosting a free webinar tomorrow, March 1, 11:00 am PST.  Eric Rock, expert photographer and naturalist, will lead the webinar and showcase unique approaches to capturing great shots on their photo-focused adventure.  Register here.

Packing Tips From An Ultrahiker

When it comes to hiking lighter, we get our advice from the guy so serious about going fast and light that he uses a catfood can for a cooking stove—the master himself, Andrew Skurka.

Is packing too much into your backpack weighing you down?  National Geographic shares nine skills from seasoned hiker, Andrew Skurka, to help lighten your load.  Need more tips?  Then check out The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide.

Go light!

Less Permits = Less Crowds on Half Dome

In the last decade, Half Dome in Yosemite National Park had become insanely crowded as visitors waited their turn to shimmy up the cables .  The only thing missing, it seemed, was a Starbucks on the top.  As you can see with the line above, the crowding was extremely dangerous.  There’s no protection up there and a slip could mean several people been torn off for a free eTicket to the Valley floor.  So, to curb the numbers, hikers now need a permit to climb.   We mentioned last year those permits were selling like hot cakes.

Of all the national parks, the Half Dome trail is by far the busiest.  Prior to requiring permits, over 1,000 hikers would attempt to scale it daily back in 2009.  Last year the permits allowed for 400 hikers a day.  Now the NPS is trying to reduce that number down to 300 for 2013.  Less crowds not only enhance the safety factor, but can reduce the overall impact of visitors on the wilderness.

Yosemite is a majestic and beautiful place and its environment needs to be protected.  These are smart and considerate measures so future visitors can enjoy the Half Dome experience.

However, we’d like to remind you that we’ve put together a list of many other places to check out in Yosemite besides Half Dome.  These places are just as amazing and you can avoid the crowds.

A Cultural Journey in the Negev Desert

Negev Desert is a vast desert area that covers more than half of Israel’s landscape and is mostly made up or rocks, canyons, caves and craters.  Kraig Becker writes of an upcoming PermaNegev trip to this sparsely populated place that will concentrate on the culture and sustainability of its people.

Travel can be such an incredible, life altering, experience, both for us, and the people that we interact with on our journeys. But seldom is that more clearly defined than in the case of an upcoming special trip from an organization called Bustan, which works closely with indigenous Bedouin tribes of the Negev Desert, a rocky, arid region located in southern Israel.

Not only will the desert tribes benefit from this, but it is a unique eye opening experience for the participants to be able to really immerse themselves in a new culture for five months.  It’s a great opportunity to learn desert skills, an Arabic language and the area’s history.  It’s bound to give a sense of satisfaction for contributing to the sustainability of a community.

The Darkest Hour is Just Before the Dawn

Blogging has been light, but I assure you, we are scurrying behing the curtain.  Our public silence belies the time and focus we are spending on preparing to launch PathWrangler to everyone very shortly. Giving you a way to build and story memories easier than ever before is something is something we excited about bringing to you as soon as we can.

Get ready and stay tuned!

Explore Glacier Bay’s Untamed Wilderness

To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world. – John Muir

Breathtakingly beautiful and ruggedly wild, Southeast Alaska’s 3.28 million acre Glacier Bay National Park is a remote wilderness with neither trails nor roads to guide explorers.  Wildlife is in abundance and one can go for days in this isolated landscape without seeing a sign of another person.  There are several activities within the park to truly explore all it has to offer.

A great way to see Glacier Bay is by sea kayaking.  There are hundreds of miles of coastline where you can get up close and personal with the sea life: three different whale species, otters, seals and sea lions.  For those with little experience kayaking, here is a listing of guides and outfitters.

The high concentration of krill in Icy Strait is the reason so many Humpback whales call this place home.  Whale watching in Icy Strait or Pt. Adolphus, via kayaking or boat, is an experience not soon forgotten.

Mountaineers and climbers can self organize or utilize expert mountain guides to attempt the glaciated Fairweather mountain range, the main source of water for the areas’ glaciers.  Mount Fairweather is the least climbed, not because of its elevation of 15,325 feet, but because of the long approach and coastal weather.

Glacier Bay National Park not only has big mountains, but also big rivers.  The fast moving glacial rivers of Alsek and Tatshenshini start in Canada and head to Glacier Bay offering Class II – IV rapids to give water enthusiasts some of the best white water rafting around.

In this vast park there are only four maintained trails for hiking and they are all located in Bartlett Cove.  Once outside this area trails become nonexistent making backpacking more challenging.  The reward for those who can endure the terrain is the park at its most wild — lush alpine meadows, deep rain forests and isolated river valleys.

Glacier Bay offers a lot of red meat for explorers looking for untamed wilderness by land and by sea.

Expedition Photography Webinar

In your travels, you will inevitably have some incredible moments where getting that right shot can capture the moment forever.  Just like climbing, rafting or any outdoor sport, photography is a skill and improving it will help you bring home these great shots.

Lindblad Expeditions is hosting a free webinar on February 29, 4:00 pm PST. Ralph Lee Hopkins, a National Geographic Photographer, will share tips and advice like improving photo composition, how to back up your photos on your trip and traveling with your gear.  Register here.