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Home / Europe / Switzerland / Switzerland| Quick Guide to Hiking Lac de Salanfe & Gorge du Dailley

Switzerland| Quick Guide to Hiking Lac de Salanfe & Gorge du Dailley

Updated: October 9, 2017
By: Ian Yacobucci
Lac de Salanfe (Salanfe Lake) Switzerland Borderless Travels

Marigny, CH – Lac de Salanfe (Salanfe Lake) Switzerland (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

If you hear about a hike from a local, you have good reason to do everything in your power to find it.  This is what brought me to Salanfe Lake and Dailley Gorge, two spectacular hikes that can fill a day, and are only superseded by the drive to find them.

Switzerland is the land of lush green forests, lakes, rivers, and mountains.  It is a place where the melody of cowbells crosses the alpine winds and views that each mountain vista unveils is often more impressive than the last.  For good reason it is one of the most expensive countries in the world, and the only way to experience its natural beauty is by walking through it.

Marigny, CH - Salanfe & Gorge du Dailley Hiking Map area (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Marigny, CH – Salanfe & Gorge du Dailley Hiking Map area (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

The easiest way to get to the Dailley Gorge and Salanfe Lake is to drive. Located just outside the city of Martigny is the mountain town of Salvan where the adventure begins.  At 912m with a population barely scraping past 1000, Salvan is the last stop before you aventure along the pencil thin switchback roads with dark cavernous tunnels built right into the rock leading to Van d’en Bas.

You can hike from Salvan to Van d’en Bas, but in the interest of making this a day trip it’s easier to just drive up and enjoy the adventure of navigating the alpine roads (wondering how buses and winter drivers do it).   

Before entering Van d’en Bas you’ll see a small parking area off to the left.  This is the first stop, and the easiest way to enjoy Dailley Gorge and its breathtaking Pissevache waterfalls that crash down its narrow cliffs.  Lined with elevated wooden bridges and stairs that lead down the gorge, each section revealing impressive engineering and  new views of the snowcapped Rhone Valley mountains towering above the horizon in the distance.  

For us, a 30 minute vertigo-inducing walk down the gorge was invigorating, and more than enough to enjoy everything Dailley Gorge had to offer.  Back at the car, after exploring Dailley Gorge, you’ll need to continue driving up to Van d’en Haute, a tiny hamlet of summer cottages, before the Lac de Salanfe hike begins.  Beyond the cottages is a small parking area before you reach the camp ground.  Here is where you’ll leave the car and begin your hike to the lake.

Van den Bas, CH - Gorge du Dailey overlooking Rohne Valley in the distance  (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Van den Bas, CH – Gorge du Dailey overlooking Rohne Valley in the distance (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

The hike to Salanfe Lake takes about an 1hr 15min and has two routes, one of stairs and another road-like path. Plan to arrive in the afternoon for a Swiss lunch at the lakeside Salanfe Inn while you take in the towering peaks of the surrounding mountains.  If you want to stay the night along Lake Salanfe the Auberge de Salanfe offers dormitory bunks and private rooms as well as a delectable assortment of traditional Swiss options at its restaurant.

Salanfe, CH - Swiss Lunch Goatheard's Rosti with Bacon - grated potato cakes topped with cheese & bacon along Lac de Salanfe (Ian Yacobucci\Borderless Travels)

Salanfe, CH – Swiss Lunch Goatheard’s Rosti with Bacon – grated potato cakes topped with cheese & bacon along Lac de Salanfe (Ian Yacobucci\Borderless Travels)

Not planning to ascend any of the big hikes surrounding the lakes my wife and I enjoyed an afternoon hike and traditional Swiss lunch, then opted to head back down the mountain to the comforts of a Martigny hotel rather stay the night at the Auberge.  However, from the lake sitting at 1950m, you can attempt a variety of other hikes to enjoy exceptional views of the lake and les Dents-du-Midi on a multi day visit with a stay at the inn.  

From here, it’s up to you how you want to plan your adventure to Lake Salanfe and Dailley Gorge but we hope enjoy it as much as we did!

Option: if you’d like to hike up to Dailley Gorge you can do so from Salvan where a hiking trail begins from behind l’Hotel de la Balance.

More: For more information about staying at the Auberge de Salanfe and hikes in the area check out their website http://www.salanfe.ch/en/

Manage to find these hikes and explore the lake and gorge?  Have another great hike in the Martigny\Montreux region?  Share your comments below and let us know that you thought!

Home / North America / Canada / Canadian Nature| Hiking in Hamilton the Heart of the Niagara Escarpment

Canadian Nature| Hiking in Hamilton the Heart of the Niagara Escarpment

Updated: September 18, 2017
By: Ian Yacobucci
Hiking in Hamilton

Hamilton, CA – Sanding overlooking Spencer Gorge in the Websters Falls Conservation area (Ian Yaocbucci/Borderless Travles)

It’s Autumn, the perfect time to go hiking. The spectrum of orange and red coloured leaves are arriving, as the summer is coming to an end, turning the forest into a fiery painters pallet.  The   wonderfully cool hiking weather has arrived so that you can dress comfortably without overheating and Hamilton, Ontario, a short drive from Toronto has some of the best hiking in the area.

“Go right to the edge.  It’ll be perfect.  There’s nothing underneath you except forest!” I yelled across the windy gap, as I snapped a perfect Instagam photo of my wife balancing on the edge of Dundas Peak.

For some it’s easy to smile standing more than 135 ft above the forest on a tiny outcropping that looks out towards a massive valley in the the heart of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest.  For others observing the densely forested Spencer Gorge, outside Hamilton, from the safety of a well-groomed trailhead is adventure enough.

It might come as a surprise to hear that the city of Hamilton, once better known for heavy industry, is home to more than 100 waterfalls and dozens of hiking areas where wildlife and the greatest diversity of Ontario tree species can be found.

More stunning is Hamilton’s scenic section of the Bruce Trail, which runs along the 725 kilometer Niagara Escarpment (a UNESCO world biosphere reserve), where the distractions of everyday life can easily fade away as you look upon an epitaph of limestone cliffs that detail the regions natural history and glacial past.

Boundary Falls Hiking

Hamilton, CA – Autmn Hiking at Boundary Falls in Hamilton, Ontario Canada (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Located less than an hour from downtown Toronto and Niagara Falls, makes accessing Hamilton’s natural landscape easy and accessible.

There is no doubt that your first hiking stop in Hamilton will take you back in time with a visit to Webster’s falls in the Spencer Gorge Conservation area.  Showcasing a 78ft cascade of water, Webster’s falls is encased by ancient layers of limestone rock and dominated by hard wood forest along its more than 6 km of trails.

For adventurers, and a little extra exercise, you can venture below the forest canopy to the base of the falls, and along Spencer Creek, via the 123-step metal staircase.  As you descend the stairs towards the river, let the limestone walls of the Spencer Gorge envelop you with a sense of awe as you’re taken back to a time long forgotten.

Forget about all the things on your to do list and breathe in the perfumed air of pine and cedar as you try to spot a tiny yellow warbler fluttering from branch to branch, its neon feathers reflecting like light off a piece of river gold among the dark foliage.

Take a moment to listen to the pileated woodpecker hard at work searching for its afternoon meal, as the waterfall fills the air with the soothing sounds of its cascading water crashing on ancient boulders below.

For hikers, the Spencer Gorge/Webster’s Falls Conservation area offers 6km of groomed trails.  From Webster’s Falls, hikers can follow the main trail along the valley’s east rim towards the 135ft Tew’s falls (only a few meters shorter than Niagara Falls) and Dundas Peak.

“I didn’t really know that Hamilton had such good hiking trails” say’s Danielle Aniceto of Orangeville, who was visiting a friend in the area.  “It’s kind of like a hidden treasure,” she describes before posing for a picture on the edge of Dundas Peak.

Dundas Peak is a highlight for many visitors who hike Spencer Gorge because of its unobstructed views of Hamilton and Dundas Valley.  Here you can stand on the edge of a cliff that drops more than hundred feet back towards the city on your left, or down the valley along your right.  Make sure you stop to capture a new profile pic picture to show all your friends.

For a more local feel you can hike along the tucked away section of the Bruce Trail only a few kilometers from Highway 403.  Here lies a quiet hike that starts along side the 6m high Boundary falls (named for it’s location on the Hamilton and Burlington city border).

Fall Leave

Hamilton, CA – Hiking in Hamilton, Ontario Canada an Autumn leaf on a log at Boundry Falls (Ian Yacobucci, Borderless Travels)

Autumn is a great time to visit Boundary Falls along Great Smokey Hollow Walk, although this waterfall is best to visit during the wetter months of the year.  As a ribbon waterfall Boundary Falls cascades into snake falls and eventually meets with Grindstone Creek.

It’s along Grindstone Creek that you’ll find yourself in the heart of Hamilton’s section of the Bruce Trail.  Great Smokey Hollow walk offers visitors 5 km of trails to explore.  Here the trail snakes its way along the quiet creek where you’ll find yourself deep in a forested valley with the remnants of an old limestone structure, wooden bridges with benches to rest and enjoy the sights and sounds of the forest, and absolutely stunning nature located only minutes from the highway.

Plan to visit early morning or late afternoon so you can make a quick food stop along Main Street Waterdown, just down the road from the falls.  The quaint shops and restaurants here are a great place to enjoy a well deserved drink and a bite to eat before heading out feeling refreshed and stress free after your hike.

So take some time to explore nature by taking a day trip to Hamilton and revisit a city with some of the best hiking in the Toronto Niagara corridor.  Forget about the hustle and bustle of the city and reconnect with Ontario’s most spectacular geologic formation, the Niagara Escarpment.

 Getting to Hamilton’s Best Hikes

Finding Spencer Gorge (Tew’s Falls) Webster’s Falls Conservation Area

From Toronto: Take Highway 403 to Highway 6 North; turn left onto Hwy.5West. Turn left onto Brock Road. Turn left at the flashing light, onto Harvest Road. Turn right onto Short Road and left onto Fallsview Road and follow the signs for the parking lot. For Dundas Peak and Tew’s Falls lookout parking, follow Harvest Road further down until you see the signs.

Finding Great Smokey Hollow / Boundary Falls

From Toronto take Highway 403 and exit on Highway 6 North (Guelph).  Turn right onto Highway 5 (Dundas St. E).  Turn right onto Mill St.  and park in the Smokey Hollow Resource management Area parking just past the overhead railway bridge on your right.

More Information on these hikes an others visit http://www.waterfalls.hamilton.ca/

Enjoyed these hikes, have more hiking information for us, share your comments below to let know what you discovered hiking in Hamilton!

Home / Adventure Travels / Travel America | Along the Colorado River Discover Utah Off the Grid

Travel America | Along the Colorado River Discover Utah Off the Grid

Updated: June 26, 2017
By: Emily Long

Moab Utah Outdoors Arches Landscape Rocks

The western United States is famous for its rocky mountains, alien deserts, big skies, and endless opportunities for adventure. Before I moved to Utah from the hot, humid, and flat East Coast a few years ago, I’d never seen anything like the Wasatch range towering over Salt Lake City or the rolling red rocks and arches around Moab. There’s just so much…space. I immediately set out to explore every national park I could drive to, from Glacier National Park in northwest Montana all the way to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Utah alone claims five unique national parks, along with miles and miles of open federal and state land.

National parks offer a friendly gateway to adventure for families and outdoor newbies, but after several summers of busy campgrounds and highly-trafficked trails, I was ready for something new. After all, national parks attendance is hitting record highs, it’s becoming harder to get off the grid, and nature in general feels more crowded.

Moab, a bustling desert town in southern Utah that serves as the jumping-off point for Colorado River float trips, ATV excursions, and all manner of mountain biking, hiking, and camping adventures, is a great base for exploring the desert. It is just a few miles outside of Arches National Park and within an hour’s drive of Canyonlands National Park, so it can feel like a circus during peak season. Luckily, as with much of the western U.S., it’s possible to find complete isolation within spitting distance of busy cities—if you’re willing to.

Our plans took us west from Moab out Kane Creek Road, which quickly meets and follows the banks of the Colorado River. The pavement ends just under five miles, and that’s where the fun begins. There are plenty of camping spots, mountain biking and hiking trails, and rock climbing routes. The road turns to red dirt leading up to Hurrah Pass (~mile 10) and then into jeep track with big boulders and steep dropoffs and all manner of off-road fun. For those with a high-clearance vehicle, the road also leads to one of the three most extreme disc golf courses IN THE WORLD, as well as remote riverside camping and caving. We spent two days playing in the desert—doing yoga on the rocks, exploring dark caves, hiking sun-soaked trails, and watching sunsets over the Colorado—before heading back to the real world.

Mountain Biking Adventure Moab Utah Red Rocks Bike

 

As incredibly fun as this trip was, it wouldn’t have happened without some careful planning. Here’s a newcomer’s guide to preparing for off-road adventures:

Do Your Research

Experienced travelers of all shapes and sizes know that there’s a time and place for spontaneity—and a trip out to a remote location is not it. Know where you are going, what obstacles you might encounter, and what there is to do along the way. Preparedness is the key to a safe and fun off-road experience.

Prepare for the Remote

Your smartphone more than likely won’t be much help out in the wild. Download offline maps, write down any key information about your destination, or simply use an old-school paper map.

Take Maintenance and Emergency Prep Seriously

There’s no excuse for heading out on any road trip with overdue service issues. Get your oil changed, check your tire pressure, stock your emergency kit, and fill up with gas. Take high clearance and 4WD recommendations seriously, and never head out on a road for which your car isn’t suited!

Gear Up

There’s nothing more exciting than gear—and having the right gear matters when you’re out in the desert (or in the mountains, on the water, anywhere in nature). In addition to having the right tools for your vehicle, prepare yourself for all weather conditions and scenarios. Take warm layers, camping gear (if appropriate), plenty of food and water, and any equipment for hiking, biking, or other activities. Remember that you’ll likely be several hours from resupply resources.

 Slow Down

Much of the fun of off-roading is in the bumpy ride, the unplanned stops, and the views along the way. Focus on the journey rather than the destination, and enjoy!

Share you comments below to let me know what adventures you found off the grid and how these tips helped you discover something new!

Home / Asia / India / Discover India| Epic Guide to 10 Best India Road Trips

Discover India| Epic Guide to 10 Best India Road Trips

Updated: May 5, 2017
By: Borderless Travels Team

India Rickshaw Driving

Yes, it’s almost the time of the year when you should pack your bags and hit the road, but that great North American & European past-time deserves the new hot spot of Asia. Irrespective of how many birthday candles you have blown out, you need to discover your next Asian road trip adventure.

India and a great road trip across Thailand offer what we hope will show you new world with impressively beautiful routes or destinations that will help you discover Asia in a new light

1. Driving from Mumbai To Goa India

Yes, its legendary ‘Dil Chahta Hain’ route! Fun, frolic and feni! Whenever holiday plans are tossed around, it is hard to resist the charm of this route. Driving on National Highway 48 is a pleasurable experience with several food joints to satiate your taste buds en route before you reach the party state of India— Goa.

Approximate Distance: 607.9 kms (via NH 48)
Estimated Drive Time: 10 hours and 34 minutes

2. Driving from Jaipur to Ranthambore India

Indian Bearded Man

Presenting a perfect mélange of mustard fields and vast open spaces, the highway that takes you from Jaipur to Ranthambore is as picturesque as you wish it to be. Start your journey early in the morning from Jaipur and head over to State Highway 24 which proceeds through various villages, like Lalot, Bassi, etc. Consider yourself lucky, if you spot a tiger in Ranthambore wildlife reserve!

Approximate Distance:  180 kms
Estimated Drive Time:  2 hours and 47 minutes via SH 24

4. Driving from Bengaluru to Nandi Hills India

Fall head over heels in love with the beauty of this beautiful road trip that takes you to Nandi Hills from Bengaluru! Once you reach Nandi Hills, be ready to get the warm welcome from various rare species of birds and plants. Even if you are not a history lover, plan a visit to a Tipu’s Drop, where Tipu Sultan used to condemn prisoners by throwing them to death.

Approximate Distance: 70 kms via NH7
Estimated Drive Time:1 hour and 45 min

5. Driving from Chennai to Munnar India

If the scorching heat of Chennai is bothering you, it’s time to travel to Munnar to enjoy the pleasant weather out there. Once you reach the destination, either unveil your adventure side by indulging in activities like paragliding, rock climbing, etc., or spend time in learning tea-making process. Spending some quality time in the lap of nature is also a nice idea!

Approximate Distance: 586 kms
Estimated Drive Time: 10 hours and 39 mins

6. Driving from Delhi to Agra India

Thanks to Yamuna Expressway, Taj Mahal has come closer to the national capital. In fact, so close that Delhiites can plan their quick weekend getaway to Taj Mahal—the seventh world of the wonder—without complaining about an exhaustive journey through jam-packed roads. After Taj Mahal, it’s time to visit Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Get lost on an incredible Agra adventure or enjoy a wonderful Agra tour before adding Jaipur to your list and making it a Golden Triangle! The rich heritage of the city combined with its hospitality reflects the beautiful culture that is so typical of Jaipur. After sightseeing, it is the time to visit Chokhi Dhani, which is an ethnic village offering all types of entertainment options like dance, music, food, etc.; in royal styles.

Approximate Distance: 232.7 kms via Taj Express Highway/Yamuna Expy
Estimated Drive Time: 3 hours and 35 minutes

Taj Mahal from the Arga Fort India

Taj Mahal from the Arga Fort India

6. Driving from Puri to Konark India

Don’t make a mistake of considering this as just any other route. In fact, what it offers is every traveller’s dream. The Puri-Konark highway is one of those fabulous roads to do photography which when you start will compel you to drain the entire battery of your camera. The canopy formed by trees on both sides of the road, the cool breeze and the tranquil beauty will enthrall, now and forever! Famous for the Sun Temple, Konark witnesses the presence of artists, dancers, and musicians throughout the year. Don’t miss Chilka Lake in Konark which is also the second largest lagoon in the world.

Approximate Distance: 35.5 kms
Estimated Drive Time: 49 minutes

7. Driving from Dehradun to Nainital India

A car trip from Dehradun to Nainital is filled with all the scenic beauty, including hills and great weather, making some perfect shots for photography. You can enjoy the delectable taste of cuisines at Chandni Chowk— not the busy area of Delhi but a quiet restaurant on the Mall Road of Nainital. For an adventurous soul like you, there are options like rock climbing, trekking, etc.

Approximate Distance: 285.2 kms
Estimated Time: 7 hours and 26 minutes

Nandi Hills Deccan Plateau Karnataka, India

Nandi Hills Deccan Plateau Karnataka, India

8. Driving from Manali to Leh India

This long stretch that sees visitors only a few months in a year, will test you, scare you and mesmerize you. The experience of riding through tough terrains in your car is something which you will always cherish in your life. With the snow-capped mountains smiling at you and distant valleys welcoming you with their open arms, you will be amazed to see the exotic beauty of Mother Nature.

If you have a travel partner who also knows driving, you can cover the distance between Manali and Leh in one day, otherwise, it is advised to have a stopover at Sarchu before recommencing your journey.

Approximate Distance: 474 kms
Estimated Drive Time: +24 hours

9. Driving from Kalimpong (West Bengal) to Zuluk (Sikkim) India

If you are a daredevil traveller, the trip from Kalimpong to Zuluk is an apt choice for you. Over the last few years, the hilly terrain of Zuluk has risen in popularity as a picturesque tourist spot due to its 32 wild hairpins and bends. The pristine clear view of Kanchenjunga makes the trip memorable.  West Sikkim is also home to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institutes Mountaineering Base Camp.

Approximate Distance: 87.2 kms
Estimated Drive Time: 3 hours 14 minutes

Landscape Gangtok Sikkim, India

Landscape Gangtok Sikkim, India

10. Driving from Assam India to Thailand

Undoubtedly, it is an incredible road trip passing through some of the lovely mountains and valleys in the northeast region, taking travellers to Thailand, all the way from Assam! During your trip, you will pass through stunning Assam, Megalya and Manipur before reaching Myanmar and finally, Thailand.

You can spend a day at Myanmar which is widely appreciated for its exotic cuisines, breathtaking views, and Bagan— the place which is known for its superb architectural splendor. The sunset view of Bagan is something which you should not miss.

Approximate Distance: 2,146.1 kms via Ah Myan Lan
Estimated Time: 43 hours

Logistics: Know how for a successful India road trip

A road trip doesn’t mean impulsive travelling. A lot of preparation needs to be done before heading out. So, let’s start:

Choose your vehicle wisely: Indian roads are always ready to surprise you. You will experience some extreme road conditions and landscapes across its length and breadth. So, don’t underestimate the power of potholes as they can disrupt even the journey of an SUV. Be careful while choosing your vehicle.

Take it easy: A road trip doesn’t mean a long stretch without a halt. Spare a few days to make proper stops at places that interest you. Remember, it is a vacation, and not any exercise regime that you have to complete.

Tuk Tuk Agra India

Tuk Tuk Agra India

Have a Travel Companion: Long drives aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so if feasible, travel with a person who has good driving skills. Also, if you’re driving with four people, make timely rotation of seats.

Carry essential items: For a smooth journey, carry some basic road trip essentials that you can buy for almost nothing!

  • Flash light
  • First Aid kit
  • GPS/Navigation System
  • Toolbox

Getting your vehicle repaired: Get your car isn’t a rental and your traveling with a friend or buying it make sure it’s repaired and properly functioning before taking a trip. At the service station, inform people about your plans of long drives so that they can do a proper check of your vehicle. Also, while you are on a road, hit a repair centre at the first sign of a trouble. Don’t take any risk on unknown terrains.

Carry cash: Seems simple but is essential because while driving you’ll come across a lot of toll and police check posts. Make sure to carry enough cash to pay toll taxes. Here, change comes handy. As for police check posts, you might be subjected to a lot of checking as your vehicle bears other state’s registration number. Make sure you have all the valid car papers, including driving license, registration paper, car insurance, etc.; to avoid hassles.

Do advance hotel bookings: To avoid any last-minute fiascos, make your hotel bookings much in advance. It will help you get some good rates as well.

Essentials: Two must have insurance policies for a safe and smooth journey

Car Insurance

Never ever start your road trip without having a comprehensive motor insurance for your vehicle. When you are on a road, accidents can happen not because of your carelessness, but because of the fault of the other driver. The reason is simple—You can have a control over you and your vehicle but you can’t control the other person! So, it is best to have a comprehensive car insurance policy which will come handy in case of any accident or loss or damage to your vehicle. For instance, if you meet with an accident, contact your car insurer in India who will come to your rescue and help you recoup all losses or damages.

If a damage happens to another vehicle due to your fault, the insurer will cover third-party liability as well. You can also add roadside assistance cover to your main car insurance policy and enjoy assistance during mishaps, like flat tyre, mechanical breakdown, dead battery, no fuel, etc. Some insurers also arrange for alternative accommodation if the vehicle repairing time is over 12 hours and the breakdown/accident spot is more than 100 kms from the address as stated in the policy document.

Nandi Hills Forest India

Nandi Hills Forest India

Imagine, you are on a Delhi-Agra highway or driving through the Nandi Hills Forest when mechanical failures halt your journey or the fuel tank of your car goes below the reserve point and there is no petrol pump nearby. What will you do—make SOS calls to friends or spend the night on a road? Both the situations are less than ideal.

However, if you had purchased a roadside cover, your one call to the insurer would have helped you. For instance, in case of a flat tyre, the insurer will send a mechanic to replace the flat tyre and in case your vehicle runs out of fuel, the insurer delivers emergency fuel to the breakdown/accident location.

Travel Insurance

Some audacious people also include foreign locations in their road trip itinerary and make only a half of their journey by road and the rest by air. In such a case, it is necessary to buy a travel insurance before embarking on a journey. Though you are on a vacation, accidents and emergency situations aren’t! So, buy a comprehensive travel insurance policy which will come handy in case of situations like a personal accident, losing your passport, a personal liability, etc.

Get Set, Go

Now that you know where to find some of the worlds most epic road trips it’s time to plan your next visit to India and discover your next epic life experience!

Home / North America / USA / Travel America| 5 Best Car Camping Spots in Southern Utah

Travel America| 5 Best Car Camping Spots in Southern Utah

Updated: May 1, 2017
By: Krystal Rogers-Nelson
Utah, US - Southern Utah Camping in the wilderness (iStock)

Utah, US – Southern Utah Camping in the wilderness (iStock)

While Yellowstone National Park may get a lot of attention, southern Utah’s national parks are waiting to steal your heart. Utah hosts striking red rock formations and diverse wildlife like gray foxes and desert horned lizards. Rivers slice through deep canyons. Cool lakes, perfect for dipping in after an afternoon hike, abound. You can even spot petroglyphs and other testaments of humanity’s attempts to tame the wild.

Even though Utah doesn’t fall in the ten largest states, it still has the third-most national parks—which means you don’t have to travel far to visit them all. The Mighty Five national parks—Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion—listed here follow a travel itinerary starting in Salt Lake City and finishing near Las Vegas. Each section below includes must-see sites, best campgrounds to stay at, and a safety tip to keep you well rested, protected, and ready for adventure.

1. Arches National Park

Utah Arches

Utah, US – Delicate Arches in Utah’s Arches National Park are created from centuries and millennia of weather wear (Eric Nelson)

Arches National Park owes its name to an obvious feature: arches, naturally formed in the rocks. You will see many arches from bulky ones to ones so ethereal that they seem like something out of a fantasy novel. Delicate Arch is the most well known, and you should make time to see it. Try taking an early morning hike to beat the crowds (and the heat).

When planning your trip, be aware that the main camping area, Devils Garden Campground, will be closed for construction until November 2017. There are plenty of other BLM campsites nearby, such as Goose Island and Granstaff. But reservations go fast, so you may want to venture further out toGoldbar, Kane Creek Rd.  You can also try your luck at getting an individual site, but they are first-come/first-serve, so you need to get there in the morning and act fast.

Safety Tip: Visiting a national park puts you in close proximity to desert flora and rock formations.  Make sure to pack a 1st aid kit for hiking that can handle scrapes, sprains, and cacti spines.

2. Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands possesses four distinct areas separated by rivers. Some sections showcase majestic cliffs, mesas, pinnacles, and domes. Others are home to the Green and Colorado Rivers, which you can raft. Must-see sites include Island in the Sky and Mesa Arch.

You won’t find any proper campgrounds inside the park, but multiple options exist outside it. Squaw Flat Campground and Willow Flat rest near the Needles District and Island in the Sky, respectively. The Bureau of Land Management maintains much of the land in and around Canyonlands, so you can always rough it and pitch a tent.

Safety Tip: Many of the hikes in Island in the Sky are family friendly, but come prepared. Some of the hikes involve steep ascents and require good hiking shoes. Canyonlands is also more remote and far from services, so it’s a good idea to pack an emergency kit in your car and note that cell service may be spotty.

Green River Utah

Utah, US – Gaining perspective overlooking Green River Utah’s Canyonlands National Park,(iStock)

3. Capitol Reef National Park

Once inside Capitol Reef, you’ll see why Native Americans termed it “Land of the Sleeping Rainbow.” The park’s prismatic colors and historical sites, which include a harvestable fruit orchard, will capture your attention and possibly your affection.

Campgrounds for Capitol Reef are on a first-come-first-serve basis. The best sites include Fruita Campground, Cathedral Valley, and Cedar Mesa. Fruita offers more amenities while the other two are more primitive.

Safety Tip: Like the other southern Utah parks, you’ll do a lot of walking in Capitol Reef. Take plenty of water with you, even if it means your pack is a little heavier. You won’t regret it. Make sure to balance your water intake with salty snacks like trail-mix or add a powdered electrolyte drink to your water bottle.

Capitol Reef

Utah, US – Capitol Reef “land of the sleeping rainbow” (Bob Rogers)

4. Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon boasts the largest number of hoodoos (tall, thin spires of rock) in the world, and the landscape feels magical, resembling castles in a fairytale. The park also displays ancient bristlecone pines, with some approaching 1,800 years in age. Also considered an oasis for stargazing, you can attend special Astronomy Ranger programs where you could see over 7500 stars on a moonless night!

Most travelers stay at a campground because of the chance to see the stars, as well as to see the sunrise and sunset transform the surrounding sandstone. The best-known sites include North and Sunset. Both accept reservations between May and September. You can also find yurt rentals nearby.

Safety Tip: Bryce Canyon starts at an elevation of 8,000 to 9,000 feet, so swath your skin in sunscreen to avoid sunburns and drink lots of water.

Bryce Canyon

Utah, US – Bryce Canyon National Park (Bob Rogers)

5. Zion National Park

Zion tends to be the most visited national park in southern Utah, perhaps because of the Virgin River and the park’s towers and monoliths. For must-see sites, put Angel’s Landing (age 8+), Emerald Pools, and Weeping Rock on your list. Observation Point is also one of my favorites. Child backpacks are essential for hiking with babies and small children, though there are some paved paths that can accommodate strollers or wheelchairs.

Zion Observatory

Utah, US – Posing at Zion National Park Observatory in Zion National Park Utah (Krystal Rogers-Nelson)

Most people prefer to stay at the Watchman or South campsites. Travelers who enjoy a more rustic site may wish to stay at Lava Point, which is over an hour drive from the main entrance of the park. Watchman requires a reservation, but the other two are open. To stay off the beaten path but in luxury, reserve a spot at the glamping site Moonlight Oasis.

Safety Tip: Some of the hikes, like Angel’s Landing, have specific paths marked to keep you safe. Stay on the trails to make sure no one gets hurt.  If traveling with young children, consider a child GPS tracker since it can get crowded on the shuttle, at the trail-head and hiking on the popular trails.  I personally have found the My Buddy Tag to be useful with my rambunctious three year old, though cell coverage may vary depending on where you are in the park.

Overall, you can’t lose no matter which national parks you visit in southern Utah.

Have you been to any of southern Utah’s Mighty Five before?

Comment and share which places to camp are your favorites.

Home / Asia / Republic of Indonesia / Indonesia | Cultural Immersion at Yogyakarta’s Prambanan Temple   

Indonesia | Cultural Immersion at Yogyakarta’s Prambanan Temple   

Updated: November 9, 2016
By: Ian Yacobucci
Prambanan Java Indo

Yogyakarta, ID – Close up of Prambanan Temple a hindu temple complex in Java, Indonesia (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Traveling across West Java in search of waves I didn’t expect to experience more than just the small surf village of Batu Karas while visiting Indonesia.  My Indonesian adventure started in Jakarta where I spent a few days pursuing a Russian travel visa for a future trip across Russia on the Trans-Siberian, along with a visit to Jakarta’s M-Block mall complex.

After that I spent a couple days trying to find a whispered town from an old roommate I had, while teaching in Korea for a month.  He told me about this place called Batu Karas, a small fishing village with some tame surf that was quiet, and off the tourist track back in 2012.

After a seven hour train ride, where I met a couple of German tourists to share a room with for a night, followed a truly organic Indonesian bus experience of the same length, I finally made it to Batu Karas, where for the better part of two weeks I settled down spending my days exploring the West Java countryside with a surfboard strapped to the side of my Vespa.

Prambanan

Yogyakarta, ID – Posing in front of Prambanan Temple with a couple cool travelers from Finland (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

While surfing in Batu I heard about Yogyakarta from a couple Finnish travelers who were in the area at the same time as me; and after a blissful two weeks disconnected from the busy cities of Indo, and exploring the costal surf in the area, it was time to move on.  So, with our packs strapped the three of us tramped over to Yogyakarta, the bohemian and cultural centre of Indonesia’s Java region.

Since surfing was a priority at the time, I hadn’t thought much about the cultural treasures of Indonesia. Thankfully, upon our arrival in Yogyakarta we were able to discover one of its most famous cultural sites, the UNESCO world heritage site of Prambanan temple is a10th century compound dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, and Brama Hindu divinities.

The temple complex itself offers some great photo opportunities and, if you’re lucky, you might find some free student led cultural tours as your roam the grounds (in English of course).  Although, from an Indonesian price point, it can be a little expensive for foreigners to visit, so depending on your budget, paying three times the cost of a student price might not be worth it for you.

Prambana Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta, ID – Prambanan Temple complex from a leisurely rest under some trees on a hot summer in Java, Indonesia (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

That being said, if you take an early morning or a lazy afternoon, Prambanan offers a beautiful place to walk, relax, and photograph at your leisure.  There’s no need to rush around the temple; and make sure you take advantage of the free water and coffee in the foreigner ticket office!

Happy Travels,

Yak

This article is supported by traveloka.com

Home / South America / Ecuador / Counterfeit money how I schemed my way back to zero

Counterfeit money how I schemed my way back to zero

Updated: November 6, 2014
By: Ian Yacobucci
Counterfeit American money

MONTANITA, ECUADOR – MARCH 2014 – Back of a counterfeit American twenty-dollar bill I received at a currency exchange (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

To tell you the truth, it wasn’t for lack of trying that I couldn’t get rid of the counterfeit twenty-dollar bill I found amongst my real American cash while traveling in Ecuador. A feat that would consume a good deal of time, and several battles with my conscience, while surfing and partying in Montanita on Ecuador’s Pacific coast.

The quaint surf-town that transforms into the biggest party on the Ecuadorian coast was the last place I thought I’d find a couple fake twenty-dollar bills amongst the American currency tucked secretly away in the dark crevices of my backpack.  Then again, I was a foreigner in a fantasyland of dark clubs and cheap drinks where thousands of people flock when the weekend hits.

It all started on one of those frenetic nights out in the party capital of Ecuador.  Carlos, one of Montanita’s infamous mixologists, spends most nights fancifully flipping out colourful alcohol ridden fruit drinks and snapping picks with visitors along Montanita’s cocktail alley.

Cocktail alley naturally attracts flocks of people who come to start untamed nights out sitting in red and white lawn chairs as they share drinks and conversation with tourists, Ecuadorians, and locals alike.  It’s here that I started my night with Carlos and his devilishly tasty rum saturated fruit bombs.

“Falsa,” he said as he handed back the crisp new twenty-dollar bill I had just given him in exchange for the two drinks my friend and I had consumed.  It’s real I assured him as I handed it back reaffirming that it was a new one from Canada.

Montanita Cocktail Alley

MONTANITA, ECUADOR – MARCH 2014 – Out for a drink on Montanita’s cocktail alley with Carlo’s the mixologist and Columbian friend Jorge (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

I could have sworn I had brought the money directly from my Canadian bank to Ecuador.  That’s when then I remembered that businesses in Ecuador don’t accept fifty-dollar bills and I was forced to change some of it at an exchange booth in Guayaquil.  Guayaquil, being the largest city in Ecuador, is where I figure I unassumingly got duped into taking two freshly minted, incredibly fake, counterfeit twenty-dollar American bills along with a half-dozen real tens.

Counterfeit money is not something new in Ecuador.  In fact, shortly after the Ecuador switched from the sucre to the American dollar in 2000, illegitimate currency started percolating into the country via Columbia.As the story goes, Columbian taxi drivers were bringing in thousands of dollars in fake currency and exchanging it with the real thing through daily transactions and other illegal practices.

The night I discovered I had come by forty-dollars in counterfeits was no big deal, since the club I went to cost $15 and the attendant was collecting money as fast as she could get people in.  By slipping a fake twenty under a real one I was able reinsert the currency back into the system and out of my wallet.  To be honest, the club was absolutely horrible and completely empty, so ironically, I still felt like I had been ripped off.

Happy that I wasn’t completely at a loss over my recently acquired counterfeit money, I realized that there was one problem; I still had another twenty to get rid of. You’d think it’d be easy to get rid of a fake currency when there are hundreds of places to do it. However, in Ecuador this isn’t the case because people know what to look for and no one wants to get ripped off.

Realizing this, my first job was to make the bill look well used and more realistic, since it was in pristine condition and noticeably fake under good light.  With some advice from a friend of mine I decided to take the bill for a swim in the ocean.  When I took the mashed up twenty out of my board short pocket, it certainly looked like the idea had worked.  The bill had gained years of use from just five minutes in the water, but since it was made out of paper (not currency paper) it ripped and looked even more fake than before.

Luckily, a little tape fixed the bill, but making it look real wasn’t the only problem to getting rid of the money.  The other problem was my conscience.  Montanita is a small seaside village, and in a few short weeks I had already begun establishing relationships with the shopkeepers, restaurant staff, and bar owners.  The longer I stayed in Montanita the harder it was to justify tricking one the wonderful people I was meeting into taking the counterfeit money, and so I resolved to hold onto the bill as a souvenir.

Montanita

MONTANITA, ECUADOR – MARCH 2014 – Main street in Montanita at night where artists selling crafts, restaurants, bars, and clubs are located (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Finally, it was time to leave Montanita and head back to Quito before returning home to Canada.  Realizing that I would be taking a late evening taxi from the airport in Quito to my hotel downtown, I resolved to give it one last try and finally rid myself of my last fake twenty-dollar bill.

Duping the taxi was the perfect plan.  It was dark and late, the driver had probably been on the road for a while, and there was a good chance that I could just hand over the money, grab my bags, and head into the hotel without any trouble.  I even planned to get dropped off around the corner so the driver wouldn’t find me and harass the hotel staff.

When the driver picked me up at the airport he quoted my cab fare at twenty-seven dollars, which was perfect amount to go through with my plan.  By placing a real ten-dollar bill over the counterfeit twenty I was hoping that I’d leave right after handing over the money, and that the tip incentive would be enough to distract the driver.  I didn’t feel good about it, but neither did I want to be the one who got ripped off.

Sitting in the front seat of the taxi I went over the scenario in my head and resolved to hand over the money and be done with it.  Why should I be the one that gets screwed, I thought.  The reality was that the money was a real thing, looked relatively realistic, and would probably find its way through the system somehow.

As my conniving came to an end I determined to just do it and move on.  That’s when the taxi driver looked over and started a conversation with me.  After a few minutes of conversation, I noticed that he was a kind looking man and spoke with a gentle voice in his maroon sweater vest and grey tie.

He garnered respect with his outfit and demeanor, liked his job, loved his family, and was genuinely interested in me. On that hour-long ride from the airport to Quito central we became friends.  We talked family, life, sports, love, and politics all in broken Spanish, Italian, and English.  We laughed, we philosophized, we reflected on the world, and when I arrived at the hotel I reached in my wallet and handed him all real American bills (no counterfeit).

In the end, I returned home with my counterfeit twenty-dollars and learned that the kindness and generosity of people is worth more than a few dollars.  Honesty, respect, and loving your neighbors no matter where you are in the world is far more important than ripping someone off for your own benefit.  Ultimately, I learned to always check your change no matter where you are in the world, and that corporations like McDonalds are considered individual people according to law so giving them your fake money is okay in my books.

Lets just say the American McDonalds coffee I had the other day tasted amazing!

Happy Travels,

Yak

Home / Travel Photography / Beyond the lens / Travel Photo| Stunning view of Beijing’s Forbidden City

Travel Photo| Stunning view of Beijing’s Forbidden City

Updated: October 9, 2014
By: Ian Yacobucci
Jingshan Park

Man reflects as he looks out towards Beijing’s Forbidden City from the hilltop top of Jingshan Park – Beijing China

Reflections in Jingshan Park Beijing:

Once the imperial gardens for the 500 year old Forbidden City (the world’s largest palace complex according to UNESCO) Jingshan Park is the best place to get a view of central Beijing and offers the best view of the Forbidden City.

Located just north of the Forbidden City you can easily walk there or take a taxi if you’re not up for exploring.  Like me, arriving at Jingshan Park just before sunset allows for time to enjoy a walk through the gardens before heading up the hill in it’s centre.

Lost in thought as I looked out towards the ancient palace complex, before long, I soon realized that it was dark.  Since my camera is always in my bag I decided to take a crack at some night photography.  I never travel with a tri-pod which makes it difficult to get the perfect picture, but on this night I succeeded in capturing this gentleman as he sat listening to the radio.

The sights and sounds of the city, reflecting on it’s ancient past and modern future, and trying to capture that moment in time was one of my most memorable moments in Beijing.  It took me almost an hour to get this photograph but in the end I didn’t have to edit it at all; it was perfect.

What I used: ISO 100 – 28mm – F/5.0 – 10.0 Sec

Learn essential travel photography tips 

Happy shooting!

Yak

 

Home / Travel Talk / Interviews / Anna Everywhere: secrets to blogging, studying & traveling the world

Anna Everywhere: secrets to blogging, studying & traveling the world

Updated: September 29, 2014
By: Ian Yacobucci
Ana everywhere ecuador

Ana Everwhere standing an egg on the Equator in Ecuador

More than just someone who travels around Anna Lysakowska shares her experiences combing traveling with work in order to progress her career development while experiencing what it’s like to live in different countries as an expat.

Borderless Travels caught up with Anna in Amsterdam, Netherlands where she’s currently living and working at Flipit.com as well as a writer, traveler, translator, and blogger at AnnaEverywhere.com.

While supply teaching at an all girl’s Catholic school in Toronto, Canada I asked them what they wanted to know; here’s what they came up with:

With degrees and diplomas from multiple universities, including studies in journalism, fashion marketing, Dutch studies, international law, and Latin American studies, how has education played a role in your work and travel experience?

First of all, studying allowed me to travel more by simply putting me in the place where I studied and also by giving me scholarships that allowed me to fund my short-term trips. Did my diplomas help me to get various jobs? Probably, but most of the time I treated the university as a longer project while pursuing other types of work such as marketing. Don’t get me wrong, studying helped me a lot, but there is a huge difference between a theory gained through studying and practical work experience.

What strategies did you use to fund your education and how do you fund your travels?

I’m simply always working, anytime and anywhere I can. I’m currently working full-time along with some freelancing projects on the side so this is the source of my money.

As a journalism and fashion-marketing student what did you learn that you directly apply to your blog and personal businesses?

I think I’m still learning how to manage my blog (especially time-wise) and make it more known. Ironically when I travel I have less time to write, because I constantly want to do things. A writer once said that if you want to write a book go live in a boring place – I think he was right.

With all those studies why did you keep changing your area focus?

I actually believe I was working towards the same goal. It might seem like I’ve been changing my focus a lot, but if you look at it in a different light, that isn’t the case: I started from history and art history, followed by journalism (along with a brief romance in Dutch studies) and fashion marketing. I was able to use all of this knowledge to become a travel writer because every place has its own history and culture. After living in Latin America and getting involved in a lot of political issues I used the opportunity to study International Law and Latin American Public Policy at Leiden University in The Netherlands to go back to Mexico and conduct my research. My attempts resulted in the publication of my book about Mexican abortion laws.

You have a lot of education what is the most important thing you’ve learned?

Funnily enough that studies are not enough! ;) I saw a lot of well-educated people studying with me, who had no idea what they wanted to do with their lives. I guess studying and living abroad has made me face so many difficult situations I had to overcome to move any further.

Ana Everywhere Amsterdam

Ana Everywhere in Amsterdam

 In all the countries you’ve worked and lived how did you adapt to the way of life and culture there, and what did you do to get to know people?

I think the most important for me was learning a local language. In some countries, such as Argentina, it was particularly difficult. I was vegetarian at the time and when I moved there I spoke no word of Spanish. Noone spoke English and even when I finally told my host family that I don’t eat meat they treated me like some sort of exotic species that doesn’t want to have bacon on my eggs.

Unlike many travel bloggers who live a nomadic lifestyle why do you choose to stay in one place and share your experience as a working expat?

I’d say there is a huge difference between just visiting a place and living somewhere for a bit longer. You get to know people, culture and how the real life can be somewhere only after you get to know the place as an expat. Do I actually stay in one place? I guess not. For instance, this year even tho I’ve been based in the Netherlands I was able to visit Marrakesh, London, Warsaw, Tokyo, California and I’m still planning a trip to Asia at the end of the year.

How do you juggle relationships (family, romantic, and friendships) with all your travels?

I have a very small family so keeping up with them isn’t much of a problem because combine traveling and living, I am usually in a specific place for a moderately long time so having a romantic relationship comes naturally. Friendship is the hardest of the three for me to manage and it’s not surprising that my friends are spread out all over the world. I try and talk to my close friends often and we visit each other semi-frequently.

What struggles do you face as someone who is constantly traveling and working around the world?

First of all that I can never organize a proper birthday party, because all my best friends are spread around the world ;) I guess in some countries, like for instance in Holland, finding a job is tough, so getting settled becomes a bit more complicated. However, with a lot of patience and hard work everything is manageable.

Ana Everywhere Zimbabwe

Ana Everywhere walking lions Zimbabwe

Of course, what would an interview with a travel blogger be if we didn’t ask those hard hitting travel questions.

What’s drawn you to traveling?

Growing up, everyone told me that a girl from Poland going out and traveling the world on her own was a ridiculous idea. While I had always been somewhat interested in travel out of general curiosity, I think the fact that everyone discouraged me when I told them I wanted to do it pushed me to travel more than anything.

 What has been your most memorable travel experience?

My most memorable travel experience has got to be when I volunteered at Zimbabwe’s Antelope Park to work with lions in April 2010. I got to help raise lion cubs and take them for walks.

Many travelers have a travel trinket what’s yours and what do you collect things from different countries?

It might sound a bit stereotypical, but I collect key-chains and earrings. Why? I don’t know, I guess it just happened. As a young traveler I used to bring different items home from every place I visited, but in less touristic countries there was not much to buy, so I randomly picked a few handmade key-chains and eventually I realized I have quite a collection. I’ve always been a big fan of earrings, so I was buying them anyway – my favorites are the ones I bought in Fiji.

 

Ana Everywhere in California

Ana Everywhere kissing a dolphin in California

Anna Lysakowska is a blogger at Anna Everywhere. She has visited more than 45 countries and lived in 7, including Mexico City, Boston, London, Cape Town, Florence and Leiden. She studied journalism at Harvard, international law at Oxford Brookes and obtained her Masters in Latin American Studies from Leiden University. Since 2013 she has been residing in the Netherlands where she works at a marketing company, but this doesn’t stop her from traveling. Connect with her through FacebookTwitter and Google+.

Home / South America / Ecuador / Ecuador Surf Diary: surfing and partying in Montanita

Ecuador Surf Diary: surfing and partying in Montanita

Updated: May 22, 2014
By: Ian Yacobucci
Sunset surf

Surfing at sunset in Montanita, Ecuador

It’s easy to get seduced by the surfing lifestyle in Montanita.  In fact, you pretty much can’t avoid it. With an incredible beach break and a tight right hander off the north point Montanita just begs for any level of surfer to visit!

There’s a reason why Montanita hosted the 2013 ISA World Masters Surfing Championship. As one of the top surf spots in Ecuador, Montanita is a spectacular place that’s easy to get to, affordable, and has consistent surf all year round.

Whether you’re a beginner visiting Montanita to learn to surf on the beach break or an advanced surfer that likes the variety of beach and point breaks there’s surfing in Montanita for everyone.

I should also mention the fact that if you’re looking for waves and Montanita isn’t big enough for you there are a half dozen other surf spots along the coast only a short taxi ride from the surf town.

Not a surfer but love sun, sand, beach, and partying well Montanita is the place for you. Hosting the biggest parties on the Ecuadorian coast Montanita is a fantasyland for the uninitiated.

Many who come to visit stay for the long run because Montanita is a costal paradise that offers something for everyone. Whether you want to hit the bars and clubs till 8 am, get ridiculous on the beach at a Montanita full-moon party, or escape to the quiet north point for a beach day after a big night out I guarantee you’re going to love it here!

When I first discovered Montanita I didn’t have any expectations, and my two simple goals were to relax and surf. After two weeks in paradise when I finally had to leave Montanita I couldn’t help but wonder when I would return.

Cocktail Ecua

Cocktail Alley Montanita, Ecuador

Tucked away in a quiet oasis paradise near the point I walked to the beach every morning after breakfast to hit the waves.

During the day, the sun and sand called me so I chilled on the beach with incredible new friends that I met in Montanita, and since the waves were usually decent all day, I often went surfing too.

When late afternoon arrived it was time to get back to the waves and after another great day of surf it was back to shower up and get ready to eat and go out.

Nights in Montanita usually start on Cocktail alley where expert cocktail alchemists mix fresh fruits with your favourite spirits while everyone dances and chats until the early hours of the morning. And when the magic hour hits (usually around 1am), it’s into the clubs and bars that the party moves where tourists and locals dance and party the night away.

When I told a friend in Ecuador that I was going to Montanita to surf and chill he told me to enjoy my time in Neverland. I didn’t know what he meant until my time in Montanita came to an end and I realized that Montanita is a fantasyland that you shouldn’t wait to discover!

Happy Travels,

Yak