The sights and sounds of waterfalls have always captivated me. Whether it's due to the security my brain feels near a clean freshwater source or the aesthetic beauty of the surrounding ecosystem, I just feel so invigorated. I've chased waterfalls from Western Canada to South America to Asia and have marveled at them all. But there's a place, right in the heart of the Western United States, that might be the best kept secret of all the cascading sheets of water. It's called "Waterfall Alley" and it's nestled in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge.
Nothing beats traveling with your family - experiencing new things through the fresh eyes of your kids, while instilling in them a sense of adventure and new perspectives. Europe is full of ideal family trip destinations that are close enough to be accessible, yet far enough away to be new and exciting.
Bright green moss and dewy ferns filled the understory, while a thick fog engulfed the treetops. Through the mist, I could make out craggy mountains, with over a dozen waterfalls cascading down the sides. Farther ahead, the deep azure blue of a glacier peaked out from the summit of a rocky pass.
With the hustle and bustle of modern life, more and more travelers are seeking ways to stretch the body and relax the mind while out exploring the world. Yoga is a popular and accessible way for anyone to improve their mental, physical and emotional health, particularly when complimented with a day of biking, hiking, kayaking and traveling actively.
To truly understand the significance of the Camino, you have to travel at least a part of it yourself. I did and what I discovered is that at the heart of this storied path of quaint villages, picturesque landscapes and historical relics lies a deep spiritual journey – one that began with Roman-era Christians but now includes people from many different walks of life.
The view from a mountaintop is always worth it and it always inspires us. But the strange thing is, the view from the top always seems to obscure the actual, physical toil it took to get there. Inevitably, we find ourselves lacing up our hiking boots again or putting our cycling shoes back on to climb yet another peak, seemingly oblivious to the incredible challenges ahead. Of course, climb a mountain – including the world’s most iconic ranges – with Backroads and the joy multiplies: logistics, gear, route-planning, lunch stops and guides will all be taken care of so that you can focus simply on finding your stride or cadence and achieving your best day, whatever that means for you.
Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada is a hiker's paradise. Backroads offers a couple spectacular hiking trips up that way — walking and hiking through Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks or taking it to the next level and hiking by helicopter! If you'd rather explore the park on your own, here are our top five, not-to-be-missed hikes in Banff. So let's tie up our boots and get going!
What do you know about puffins? They're smaller than penguins, they live in Iceland, and they're cute. Great! Unfortunately, they're also elusive little creatures, with unique and specific migratory patterns and a habit of nesting in remote hundred-meter cliffs. Like the Northern Lights, puffins are unpredictable, but here are a few suggestions of where and when you're more likely to spot them.
Game hunters in Africa originally coined the phrase "Big Five" to describe the five animals deemed hardest and most dangerous to hunt on foot: the elephant, lion, rhinoceros, leopard and buffalo. Because of their size, aggression, intelligence and speed, these animals were trophies that came with significant risk, and were therefore prized above all others. Safari operators now use that same phrase to describe the animals they know their clients hope to "shoot" with their cameras.
Over the holidays, I lead Backroads family trips in Costa Rica. Since schools are on break during this time, it makes for a great chance to take a family vacation. And a trip together is the perfect occasion to strengthen family bonds, make memories that last a lifetime and even create new traditions.