This blog is primarily dedicated to outdoor athletics and the various places in the world that one can trek to discover natural beauty. However, we also like to take the time to appreciate those men and women who have adventured in said natural beauty and forged their own path for others to admire and glean inspiration. Today, we would like to focus on the works of Jacques Cousteau.
Jacques Cousteau has had a myriad of accomplishments, including co-inventing the Aqua-Lung, earning the Legion of Honor from the French government after World War II, and producing many movies on the mysteries of the expansive ocean depth.
Personally, I remember him from the documentaries I used to watch when I was young and bored. I recall being mesmerized by the intricate waves of green strung through the deep blue of the ocean, and the strange scales, textures, body shapes, and eyes of the fish that Cousteau would point out. Cousteau had an infinite curiosity for what the ocean kept hidden underneath the innocuous waves that twinkled in the sunlight, and he had an impressive dedication to discovery and understanding.
Jacques Cousteau presented us with a fresh look into an aspect of the great wide natural beauty that the world owns. I recommend taking a peek at one of his documentaries sometime. Or even better, grabbing a pair of goggles and taking a trip this summer to an ocean. In between sunbathing and splashing your friends, check out the fish and the ocean floor, and just how impossibly blue the water can be!
As you consider this trip, be sure to grab an Adayak shirt to put over your swimsuit as you head to the beach!
Check out our website for more cool shirts on the outdoors: http://www.adayak.com/
Have a great day, guys, and get out there and satiate your own curiosity of the outdoors! Jacques Cousteau’s was of the ocean – what’s yours?
As a Michigan based company, we have a great deal of pride in what Michigan has to offer in terms of natural beauty and exploration of the outdoors. If you love to kayak, canoe, paddle board, raft, or any other sort of water sport, consider heading out to Michigan’s beautiful shoreline this summer.
The Adayak family can speak from experience in saying that a trip to the northern peninsula of Michigan is well worth the time. We recommend taking a day to visit Sleeping Bear Dunes, an icon in the nature of Michigan. Spend hours hiking along the sandy dunes, running down the hilly plains, and taking photos of a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan. While you’re there, be sure to visit Glen Arbor, a little piece of Lake Michigan that is open to the public. The water is crystal clear and blue as the sky, and very cold. Glen Arbor is a perfect spot for kayakers as the waters are tranquil in the summer, but we wouldn’t advise swimming unless the day is absolutely sweltering!
The Crystal River and the Platte River are both perfect locations to paddle the day away. Bring your own boats, or travel lightly in knowing that there are many rental shops in the area.
For the Adayak hikers, there are plenty of trails to explore. Check out a full list of hiking trails in Sleeping Bear Dunes on the website of the National Park Service.
Yosemite is one of the most infamous national parks in the United States. It also has one of the most infamous mispronunciations of all time. Contrary to popular belief (and my personal long-held one) the word does not rhyme with “hose-might”, and rather is pronounced “yo-sim-it-tea”.
But let’s not limit this magnificent piece of nature to its name. Yosemite is a buffet of the various spectacles of nature: waterfalls, mountains, rivers, you name it.
A classic visitor stop is the Merced River. A beautifully blue, bright body of water, it is an aquatic resource important to Yosemite and the ecosystem it supports within. Certain points along the river offer clear views to the mountains that rise in the distance, a feature that satisfies the most avid photographers. But the river is not limited to sightseeing: it is also a popular spot for rafting, especially in the summer. Swimming through the clean, clear water is enjoyable as well. But be careful, the water is often cold and the currents can be fast and dangerous.
The river and various lakes aren’t the only aquatic beauties of Yosemite. The waterfalls located in Yosemite are stunning, and some of the lesser known ones serve as a real treat for those looking to wander in solitude. A few to put on your list of potential destinations include Illilouette and Chilnualna Falls.
A visit to Yosemite would not be complete without a visit to one of the stony marvels along the Sierra Nevada. The most popular include El Capitan and the Half Dome, both situated in the Yosemite Valley. But there are other worthwhile peaks, such as the Sentinel Rock and the Cathedral Rocks and Spires.
One of history’s legendary photographers, Ansel Adams photographed Yosemite often. His photographs capture Yosemite’s sites at their most beautiful, and if you visit the gift shop, be sure to pick up a few copies of his pictures!
My own personal favorites:
While you’re planning your trip to Yosemite, check out Adayak’s latest hiking and mountaineering gear! #weartheoutdoors #Adayak
The DuPont State Forest is located in western North Carolina, about 30 minutes southwest of Asheville – it’s just south of the more popular Pisgah National Forest. The DuPont State Forest has nearly 100 miles of trails and is often referred to as the “land of waterfalls.” In the 10,000 acre tract of land, there are six major waterfalls – some of which you’ve seen in movies like Last of The Mohicans. The forest is a popular place to hike for it’s easy access, miles of trails, and spectacular views along the way.
In today’s post we’re going to visit the Top 3 waterfalls you must see while hiking in the DuPont State Forest.
Will start with Hooker because of it’s easy access. This waterfall can be reached by parking in the Hooker Falls parking lot – it’s the first lot you come across if you enter the park on Dupont Road. Hooker Falls is a short .36 mile hike from the parking lot. The trail is not paved, but it is groomed and wide enough for a small car to travel down. The hike is easy and enjoyable. You will walk along side the Little River until you reach the Falls on your left. There is a lookout location at the top and another lookout from the bottom if you continue your hike another 100-200 yards.
You will also start your hike to High Falls from the Hooker Falls parking lot. Take the Triple Falls Trail from the lot for about .4 miles and you will see the a waterfall through the trees. Triple Falls is a beautiful waterfall, but for this post I wanted to give you something that’s a bit of a hike from the parking lot and not just an easy walk.
There are two ways you can reach High Falls from here: continue on Triple Falls Trail until you reach Buck Forest Road (go left at this intersection) or you can take the scenic route along the river via the High Falls Trail. This trail is still well maintained but has more rugged steps to it and a steeper incline at points. If you take the The Buck Forest Road way it is like walking on a gravel and a paved road at points. That’s no fun!
When you reach the top of High Falls you will see the covered bridge. Be careful if you play in the water here. Many people have slipped on a rock gone over the edge. The whole hike from the parking lot to High Falls is just over 1 mile.
Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls has several access points too. You can get their via the Corn Mill Shoals Parking Lot or the Fawn Lake Parking Lot. My favorite way is from the Corn Mill Shoals Parking Lot. You will take the Corn Mill Shoals Trail the entire way, which is 2.73 miles one way.
Bridal Veil Falls trail starts off relatively easy but once you pass through Tom Creek (a fun creek you get to take your shoes off and walk through to reach the other side) it gets steep and has several switchbacks. The hike is very scenic and enjoyable at a moderate pace. It could take you anywhere from 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2 hours to reach Bridal Veil Falls from this trail – just depends on how fast you hike.
I hope you enjoy my waterfall hiking report from the DuPont State Forest. There are so many trails and falls to see that you definitely need to make multiple trips.
About the Author: Jacob Dunbar is a kayaker, hiker and outdoor enthusiast who writes for Adayak, an outdoor shirts company. Get more from Jacob and Adayak on twitter.
How many of you spend your days outdoors in the Pacific Northwest? That part of the country is arguably the best place to live if you love hiking, climbing, kayaking and other outdoor sports. I, on the other hand, live in a part of the country many people call ‘Heavens Waiting Room’ … Florida.
Yes we have miles and miles of pristine beaches, but I would trade sand and waves for rocks and snow any day of the week. I do enjoy living in Florida most of the time, but when you get that “call of the wild” there is only so much you can do. We can still go hiking, kayaking and skiing … it’s just our versions have no stunning views, no whitewater, and skiing is done behind a boat.
I thought it would be fun to write a guest post on Just Northwest about what some of the major differences are between hiking in the Northwest and hiking in the Southeast. For the sake of this post I will mostly be referring to hiking in Florida – the exact opposite corner of Washington, where I believe most of the Just Northwest readers live.
The weather differences are the first thing that come to mind when thinking about hiking in Florida vs. hiking in the Northwest. It may get to 90 degrees on a hot summer day in Seattle … but your 90 degrees is like our 70. It’s hot here. Really hot. And we have 100% humidity every day during the summer. It makes hiking outdoors brutal. With staggering heat comes afternoon storms – the type of storms that bring lightning and heavy rains. You can set your watch the these storms — 3:00 pm every day. You do not want to be caught in the outdoors when an afternoon storm rolls in. They don’t usually last long, but they are fierce.
Or lack there of… hiking in Florida means you’re walking on a level path the entire way. It’s easier on your legs, but makes for a boring trip when all you can see to the front, back, right and left of you are trees. Hikers in the Pacific Northwest have easy access to mountains at 14,000+ ft – Florida’s highest elevation above sea level is 345 ft.
For the most part, the wildlife from the Pacific Northwest is somewhat similar to the wildlife in Florida. Florida has black bears, deer, panthers (our version of the mountain lion), lots of birds, squirrels, rabbits, etc. One of the major differences in wildlife is the Pacific Northwest is home to Bigfoot! Just kidding … I’m talking about alligators! And they are everywhere down here. No joke – we have alligators here that walk across the street. They live in the swampy outdoor areas, which happened to be the same areas Florida hikers venture in to.
Not all of Florida is in the “tropics” but our ecosystem and vegetation down here varies greatly from what hikers in the Northwest are used to. In Florida, we have a lot of sawgrass marshes and palm trees – I’ll admit that hikes along the beaches and marsh areas are actually pretty nice. Florida also has a lot of pine trees, cypress trees and mangroves. We have vegetation that thrives in wetlands. We have swamps and creeks, but our creeks are not the same as yours. We don’t have snow melt in Florida so our creeks aren’t the swift running, crystal clear type – they are the slow moving, muddy, snake infested type.
I may have painted Florida as an awful place to go hiking and spend time in the outdoors, but that’s not really the case. I guess when you’re pointing out the differences it sometimes can seem like a negative thing. We do have a lot of amazing hikes here, like The Florida Trail… which starts near the Everglades National Park and works its way up through the panhandle.
If you don’t live in the Northwest, where do you live? What are some of the major differences in hiking from your area? Post a comment and let us know.
About the Author: David DuPont is a hiker, climber and outdoor enthusiast who writes for Adayak, a designer and seller of hiking shirts. Get more from David and Adayak on twitter.
It is officially spring – but don’t hang up your ice axe just yet. March 21st marks the first day of spring on our calendars, but around here you would hardly notice. I associate spring time with blooming flowers, green grass, melting snow and warm weather. However, here in Michigan we aren’t experiencing any of those yet and I’m sure those of you further up north and out west aren’t either.
Just because the calendar hits March 21 doesn’t mean we have to abandon our love for outdoor winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and ice climbing. You will definitely have to be more careful as you enter warmer days and the snow begins to loosen up, but there is still plenty of time to have fun and enjoy the cold outdoors. I’m seeing ski resorts out west running at 100% and some mountains on the east coast extending their operating days to accommodate everyone.
If you love outdoor winter sports, definitely take advantage of these last few days. Don’t let anyone scare you off about it being spring already. Spring just means cheaper deals and less people on the slopes! While at it, check out Adayak’s snow sports t-shirts.
The Smoky Mountains offers an incredible range of diverse activities for visitors to take advantage of. Hiking, cycling, fishing, and the exploration of wildlife and historical sites are available for all people; whether you are brand-new to the tangled wildlife of a national park or an expert, there are opportunities for everyone. Shorter trails are available for those who are more inexperienced, and there are even specially designated child-friendly trails are offered.
A basic understanding of what to do in a dangerous situation involving black bears should be maintained before a trip to the Smoky Mountains. Black bears are often unpredictable and violent animals, and one should not approach them or allow them to approach. In order to not encourage problems between humans and bears, do not throw away food into the wilderness, and certainly do not offer food to the bears.
However, black bears and other forms of wildlife is always a pleasure to view from a distance with a camera or telescope, and should definitely be done. Just remember that safety is first!
Mammoth Cave is quite literally mammoth. It is the longest cave system in the world, and its lengthy 390 miles are located in central and south Kentucky, and it is known as a part of the Green River Valley. However, that number is bound to change in the near future as researchers continue to discover new branches of caves.
Mammoth Cave is home to some bizarre yet fascinating rock formations. Take a trip to the Frozen Niagara entrance and take pictures of the most photographed part of the cave system. Take a cave tour and explore the Rotunda and the Snowball rooms, or squeeze through passages such as Fat Man’s Misery and Tall Man’s Misery. Even visit the Lost River Cave, a section of Mammoth Cave through which you will experience an underground lake tour, ducking under the low ceiling.
For overnight stays, try camping on one of the various campgrounds located in the park. There are many modernized ones while more experienced campers can take the opportunity in the primitive campgrounds.
A summer vacation idea not to be missed is a road trip to the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon National Park is split into two rims; the North and South rim. Due to the disparity in their elevations, the two rims seem like two completely separate parks. If you’re interested in visiting the North Rim, be sure to save the trip for a date between May and October, or you may risk being trapped by snowfall. However, a visit to the North Rim is well worth it because of the breathtaking views and solitude that can be experienced through a day hike.
Both rims should be explored through day hikes, and can be explored in a variety of different ways. Park rangers are available to offer information on the history and science of the park, and mule trips are offered for both rims. The South rim offers a Desert View drive, whitewater rafting trips through the Colorado River, and a photo hot spot for nature photographers trying to find the best lighting to capture views of the park. The North rim offers a myriad of different hiking trails and roads, and should be explored as thoroughly as possible for some truly awesome sights.
Located in Empire, Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes is a great place for a weekend of camping, nature exploration, and fun with the entire family. Not only does it offer rustic-style camping right by the crystal clear and beautiful Lake Michigan, but it also offers campgrounds with modern restrooms, electricity, and paved roads. Camping can also be done on the Manitou Islands.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is comprised of a multitude of different activities. Swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and tubing are all possible on the various lakefronts and rivers, such as Glen Lake and the Platte River. Biking is also a great family friendly activity for the outdoors. Of course, many visitors intend to visit the dunes, and the Dune Climb is highly recommended for everyone! A strenuous climb to the top, it is exhilarating to run and roll back down to the bottom