What Does Responsible Tourism Mean?

What Does Responsible Tourism Mean?

This post may contain affiliate links, for more information read our full disclosure The travel industry is throwing around this term: Responsible Tourism or Sustainable Tourism. So what does Responsible Tourism mean? Each year we travel, consume, photograph and share on our social media channels, exposing friends and family to expand their knowledge of the cultures of the world.

The world gets a little bit smaller, those in different countries can see your social media posts on Instagram and Facebook and may compare it to your lives. Animal rights, environmental responsibilities are becoming more and more talked about….especially the use of plastic. Stop and question what you think you know about plastic vs paper bags, look at the whole environmental impact. Look at how the production and use of plastic impacts and effects low-income households, did you know there is an actual place called ‘Cancer Alley’? In our ever-increasing virtual connection, what can we do as travel addicted wander lusting Instagram posting fiends to be more responsible when we travel? First things first….to understand what it is.

What does Eco-tourism mean

Responsible Tourism is a multifaceted approach, which includes:

  1. Minimizing negative social, economic and environmental impacts while traveling
  2. Generating greater economic benefits for local people and enhancing the well-being of host communities
  3. Improving working conditions and access to the worldwide industry
  4. Involving local people in decisions, markets, and trade that affect their life and chances at life.
  5. Making positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, embracing the diversity.
  6. Providing more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues.
  7. Provides access for physically challenged people
  8. Is being culturally sensitive, encourages respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence.
What does Eco-tourism mean

There are many different ways that this can be addressed and focused on. The Culture Trekking Community is one that focuses on numbers one, five, six and eight. Creating a community where ideas, religions, cultural idiosyncrasies are both shared, respected and embraced. As the Community grows I want to improve awareness on environmental impacts as well as fight the uphill battle of having more meaningful human connections. Today I will focus on the latter.

Where the idea started for my own Responsible Tourism:

The video was quite graphic when I saw this 2 years ago, but it really impacted me in so many different ways. The moral of the story is…..you don’t know what you don’t know until you educate yourself on how small choices like using single-use straws can impact the environment. I now carry a reusable metal straw in my purse at all times. This video is where responsible tourism started for me….watching this turtle in so much pain made me feel like I needed to do more for the environment.

It isn’t just the plastic straws, it is garbage that is left strewn about in all the different places that I visit. I remember walking behind someone in Yellowstone National park…..they dropped a wrapper on the ground (a large one). I was so frustrated by this because they had a bag they could have easily slipped that wrapper into. I picked it up and gave it back to the tourist, who naturally acted like they dropped it by accident (even though I watched them look around before dropping it). It is not that hard to slip those wrappers into a pocket, a bag, in your shoe….anything but on the ground. Taking a few more steps to ensure your rubbish gets into the proper receptacle is not as hard as you think…..as Nike says ‘JUST DO IT’!

Another video that truly impacted me was one man in India, who returned to his home to find the beach he loved filled with garbage. He knew he had to do something so he started knocking on doors and aims to be that change he wishes to see in the world. Take a look at the video & then I want to think about how much of a difference we could make if each of us committed to picking up 3 pieces of trash wherever we travel to. What about taking an extra garbage bag on a local hike in your hometown? We could all use a few more squats in our day, right?

Why am I showing you all these videos? A picture is worth a thousand words (or so they say), but I feel that videos are the way to make an impact that can create change. What is better than a video? Visiting a place like the Washed Ashore Gallery in Bandon Oregon (several displays are located throughout the United States, see the Washed Ashore Exhibit Locations for more information) can both teach our generation and the generations below us how to protect our earth and save our oceans.

Traveling can be an exotic thing full to the brim with activities that will make your friends envy your life & maybe even despise you a little. The more I travel the more I realize that I want to make a difference in the world, no matter how small it is. Ecotourism and Volunteering for cleanups and service can help connect our communities, open minds and hearts, and help start the change we wish to see in the world.

Supporting Companies with good causes:

What does Eco-tourism mean

Save the Baby Turtles!

A Blogger friend of mine in Fort Lauderdale Florida was able to participate in the nighttime protection of hatching baby turtles. These baby turtles get confused by the city lights and instead of going into the ocean (following the moon), they follow the city lights. This leads them to be run over or crushed by bikes, cars or fall into holes they cannot get out of. What these volunteers do is once the baby turtles hit their 10-foot periphery line, they gather them up in a bucket and take all the confused little fellas to the ocean where they set them free. They also move beach chairs and sandcastles to allow for the mothers to come to the beach easier and lay their eggs. Check out her post on Saving Baby Sea Turtles and how you can help or participate!  

Soul Flower Clothing Company

As soon as I found this clothing company, I know I had found my tribe. Just look at their tagline:

Soul Flower is a natural clothing brand for kind souls and free spirits. Mindfully made with natural fibers and heartfelt art, we design our threads with kind vibes from start to finish. We seek inspiration in the simplicity of everyday life – in nature and in music, in free-spirited adventures and in like-minded souls. We create clothing in a way that supports our planet, spreads a positive message, and most importantly — helps you express yourself.”

what does responsible tourism mean

Beyond the message of Freakos‘. When looking into building your eco-friendly and ethical wardrobe, look no further.
The inks they use have a low impact on the environment with citrus solvents being utilized. They reuse paper boxes and packing materials to ‘keep the story going’. All cotton that is used in their clothing is organic cotton, recycled fibers or hemp. Not only do they focus on the clothing, but they also decreased the catalog printing and now use recycled paper with soy-based inks. They are also green office certified (aka: energy wise usage of products and environmentally savvy).

Why is this important? Small companies like this are able to be more environmentally friendly and I support those who make an effort to do so whole-heartedly! I feel privileged to be able to collaborate with this company as I love their manifesto, Soul Flower’s practices, and policies and their clothing is SO COMFORTABLE!

What does responsible tourism mean?

To all my big headed ladies out there (I’m talking literal, not egotistical) – this is the place you should get your headbands! Every time I wear these headbands I feel a little better about myself, I read the inspirational message printed on it and cannot help but feel inspired to finish out the day with a bang! Plus, let’s be honest, sometimes a girl just needs a headband to decrease the stress of doin’ da hur….ya feel me? To get your headband:

What is responsible tourism

The other items I have personally tried and fallen in love with so far are the yoga pants and shirts. If I’m being honest, I wear the pants EVERYWHERE! Not just because the pants are comfortable, but because they have the most adorable prints on them that inspire me to continue to be Eco-friendly in my day to day life & inspire me to live a simpler life to help have less of an impact on the environment.
I wore the shirt for two days in a row people! I know that’s gross but it has been so hot over here, and it is so light, airy and cute with the little leaves on it… I couldn’t resist

Personal Note: It is sooooo hard to find cute and comfortable clothing as a curvy woman — so to find a company that caters to my desire to be eco-friendly and embraces those of all shapes and sizes really just gives me warm fuzzies and I want to shout out from the rooftops how much I appreciate and love them for this.

You don’t just have to participate in environmentally friendly activities at destinations you visit. You can start being environmentally friendly to companies just like Soul Flower. Check out Soul Flower Summer Specials today!

Other Ways to be a Responsible Tourist:

Be Respectful of Religions and Cultures:

Look at local customs and rules when entering churches across the world. Do not make derogatory jokes or compare those within the country to something you deem as ‘more sensible’ or ‘better practices’. Do not impose your beliefs on those within the country unless prompted to. Respect the cultural idiosyncrasies of what is considered ‘normal’ for that country.

What is responsible tourism


The bottom line is, just because something, someone, or a country as a whole does something different than what you know to be normal — doesn’t mean that it is wrong. There are some exceptions where it endangers basic human rights, practices, or harms/mutilates any animal or human being (obviously). Even if you do see something wrong, intervening as a tourist could land you in jail – be careful, be cautious and if you have a concern about the country/destination use a guide that you can ask questions about what is appropriate or if you can do something/intervene without landing yourself in jail.

Be Respectful of Shop Owners Overseas:

Do not take photos of products, items, or anything in different countries that could affect their livelihood. Do not get offended if they ask you not to take photos, there is a reason! Unnamed countries citizens will visit these economically struggling countries and take photos of their products and produce them at a fraction of the cost, but they are not authentic products.

What is responsible tourism


Moroccans, for example, rely on their skill and artistry of furniture, clothing, architecture, woodworking to profit from their craft and provide for their families. How many times have you visited a country and thought, ‘Oh I can get that back in my own country, I don’t need to buy it here’. This is why it is so important….so many countries rely on tourism and the money it brings in to put food on the table. So please….before you take a photo in a store, ASK the owner if it is ok.

Be Aware and Educate Yourself on Regional Issues:

What is responsible tourism

Human trafficking, terrorism, and so many more unsavory things happen in this world. I have too much of a tender heart to focus in on the negative all the time, so rarely listen to the news – but I do search for those individuals who have the capacity to handle situations such as this. I support them, I share their stories and donate when I’m able to.

It is important to be sensitive to cultural and religious practices (as part of Responsible Tourism) that help to positively define a culture, but that never means we should tolerate those who continually violate the basic human rights of food, safety, and shelter.

With having experienced Rape and sexual assault myself, the topic of sex trafficking is a very passionate topic for me. Operation Underground Railroad is a team of individuals of highly specialized individuals who have years of experience in special forces, law enforcement working proactively since 2013 with local governments that I wholeheartedly support. This is a video that had me in tears for how grateful I was to the men & women who do this. Please support them in whatever way that you can….
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_CgQcNkUlw&feature=youtu.be
If you would like to Donate to O.U.R. please feel free to do so, if you are unable to donate, then try and Volunteer for O.U.R. to help aid in their efforts.

Small changes can make a big difference:

Wear environmentally friendly products:

  • Keep any soap while camping at any location away from runoff areas (at least 100 feet).
  • Bury or pack out your human waste. Look at the requirements for each camping spot you visit for their rules and regulations.
  • Wear environmentally and Ocean friendly sunscreen as this often washes off the ocean, causing damage to coral and marine life.
What is responsible tourism

Biodegradable products:

  • Bringing your own straws, skip the straw at Starbucks. If this doesn’t make sense, please keep watching the video of the Turtle above until it does.
  • Get a recycling bin or start a recycling group in your neighborhood. (More information below on recycling that could be available in your country).
  • Make a list of low-cost companies that produce Biodegradable Products and keep a list. Hand the list out to anyone who uses straws, show they alternatives. Don’t force it down their throat — educate with KINDNESS! Honey works better than vinegar when trying to entice people to change their daily habits or companies to change the status quo.
What is responsible tourism

Utilize the Reusable Grocery Bags:

  • This is such a simple change that we can all do (especially those of us in the States). In most other countries they are charging for the plastic bags, yet when we implement it here to try and help support the environment….everyone loses their minds! They tried to do this when I lived in Texas and I would stand there and see with my own eyes, these grocery baggers get verbally assaulted for doing their job and charging for the plastic bags. Come on people…..be better than that……do better than that…….realize that this isn’t just about YOU and YOUR needs, but for the betterment of humanity and animals. If you still aren’t convinced that plastic bags are a big deal, watch this video of the whale found dead with hundreds of pounds of plastic bags in its stomach. If that doesn’t convince you, well…..I don’t know how to help you become a better human being.
  • I need some advice myself on this one….grrrhhh….. I have all the reusable bags I can handle. I start daydreaming on the way to the grocery store, then out of habit, forget to take the reusable grocery bags I brought off the garage wall where I put them so I wouldn’t forget them. If you have some advice on how to remember these things…..let a girl know in the comments below.

A Call to Action for Responsible Tourism:

Ecotourism

  • Here is a great resource if you would like to participate in Ecotourism on your next trip: Ecotourism.org

Volunteering through worldwide programs/cleanups

Companies that Participate in Eco-friendly Product Production:

Clothing: Patagonia, Thought Clothing, Encircled Clothing

How to encourage clothing companies to not use plastic hangers

Straws: The Last Plastic Straw is a great website for a list of all the different types of straws, where to get them and how they are better than the plastic straws. There is also a site completely dedicated to Living a life without plastic, this is where I get my reusable metal straws (bamboo and glass is also available).

Home, Pets, Cleaning supplies and more: Life Without Plastic gives you so many bamboo or steel options that can replace many of the household items that have or contain plastic. Gift certificates, gift registry, and points program are also available on this site to help you invite friends to the #noplastic movement.

Trash Bags: Biodegradable Trash Bags, Green Legacy Tall Kitchen Trash Bags

Grocery Bags: Reusable Grocery Bags

Sandwich Bags: Eco-Friendly Reusable Sandwich Bags

Recycling throughout the world: Recycling in the States (contact your city councils to arrange this), Recycling in Australia, Recycling in Canada, Curbside Recycling available in New Zealand please check your local city councils, Recycling is also available in the United Kingdom for each household (mandatory supply of bins from government), Spain also has recycling available in some areas, and the Netherlands actually pays you to bring in your recyclable materials (typically at grocery stores).

IF YOU HAVE RECYCLING IN YOUR COUNTRY AND IT IS NOT LISTED HERE, PLEASE LIST THE RESOURCE OR WHO TO CONTACT BELOW  🙂

A Must Read Plastic Free Blogger: If you are like me and feel a little overwhelmed by how many things in your home contain plastic, visit Beth Terry: My Plastic Free Life Blogger. She will teach you, take you step by step through the process and show you how to live a plastic-free life.

Worldwide Plastic Pollution Coalition – Now NO ONE has an excuse to not participate in reducing their plastic use. This is a global alliance of individuals, organizations and businesses working together to stop plastic pollution.

what does responsible tourism mean

How To Tour Responsibly:

We have such a duty to protect creatures who outlived the dinosaurs, are essential to our planet’s ecosystem – the Sea Turtles. We don’t have to start being Eco-friendly or participate in Responsible Tourism practices only when we are traveling. Get involved in the activities now, one goal or plastic straw at a time.

Be respectful of religions, people, cultures, and races as long as they do not infringe on basic human rights to live life peacefully, safely without fear of bodily harm and can provide for basic human needs of shelter, food, and water.

Get involved in volunteer programs locally where you can help end human trafficking, gang violence, opioid epidemics, and so much more. There seems to be an Instagram hashtag or Facebook group for everything these days. If you have any suggestions for local groups you are passionate about, please let it in the comments below with a link to their site.
Teach those around you, share the information on your social media platforms….it just takes one rock in a pond to start a ripple that turns into a wave. Be that change you wish to see in the world.

How do you like to contribute to Responsible Tourism?

What is the most important thing to you regarding Responsible Tourism?

Mount Whitney Hike in Winter

Mount Whitney Hike in Winter

The Night I Thought Would Be My Last My first backpacking trip was an exciting prospect, but little did I know what a disaster it would turn out to be. It was November, and I was turning 30 years old & I had decided I was going to do something unique for my birthday. My roommate, Lo, a camping/100K/rugby superstar invited me to not only backpack but snow-shoe in winter up the mountaineering route on the second highest peak in the United States……Mount Whitney.

For the record, I have never been backpacking prior to this, I have never been snow-shoeing, I have never carried so much weight for so long on my back in my life. I had just received 2 steroid injections in my feet for Plantar Fasciitis. I was afraid of not being invited again, so I said, “OH! Really!?! That would be so fun!”

As the trip got closer I became anxious about what exactly I was to pack. I knew Lo would know what to pack, but I was embarrassed to ask for details — so I did what I do best…. ignored my problems and made it up as I went. I did a little research online and became even more terrified as the information I found warned me of people having to be flown off the mountain for medical emergencies.  Great……I was likely going to die on my birthday.

The day of the trip came, I didn’t weigh my pack, didn’t check to make sure the batteries were in the navigation device….but I set out on the trip anyway. We drove to California where we stayed with Lo’s family, picked up her cousin (a military man). Then we headed on over to Lone Pine where Mt Whitney awaited us, a 14,505-foot peak, with an elevation gain of 6,500 feet over 11 miles on the Mountaineers’ route.

Mount Whitney Hike in Winter

I was tasked with carrying the climbing rope, and we had to park quite a ways down the road and hike in because of rock slides and snow. The road was still fairly steep and by the time we got to the trailhead, we were all sweating to the point you could see the salt in our sweat. I had brought some music with me but was told that it was a cardinal rule when hiking with them that you should not listen to music. At this point is when I realized I may not have the mental nerves of steel to do this without music. Not wanting to appear like a pansy princess I continued to trudge forward.

At the trailhead, we put our snow-shoes and I felt the real challenge start. I was hot, heavy, red as a beet from sweating with huge metal/plastic things on my feet that I didn’t even know if they would work or how to hold my poles. I said a little prayer that I wouldn’t look stupid and started down the trail after Lo and her Cousin. The snow was powdery and soft & three feet deep (at least). I was just so glad there weren’t many people on the trail because there would be fewer people to make a fool of myself in front of.

It started to get hard for me about 20 minutes past the trailhead and I was sure to bring Cliff bars and had the water in my pack to slurp on. I was still dripping sweat and my hands were really cold. All I could think of while I was walking was, ‘I’m not even to the hard part yet and I already want to turn around, come on Janiel you are stronger than this. You need to get a good song in your head and just keep singing’. The only song that really worked was a rap song, ‘one step, come on two step come on. I hate rap but somehow it kept me going up all those switchbacks. 

Lo and her Cousin were blazing the trail & would switch off with creating steps up and down the snowbanks. They were always ahead of me or waiting for me & think I said sorry about 7,000 times. I knew if I didn’t pace myself that there was no way I was going to make it up the mountain and more importantly back down it. I would be too afraid of getting lost if I turned around at this point, because like a greenie knucklehead I forgot batteries for the GPS. I had no choice but to keep going & fought through the mental blocks.

I could tell they were thinking something every time I would catch up to them — but maybe it was my own anxiety and insecurities telling me that. The sun started to set and all the moisture from sweating and falling into the snow had seeped into my clothes started to make me quite cold. My water was frozen so I couldn’t drink any more water, I turned to eating the snow to at least get some moisture in my mouth. The further up we went the dizzier I became. I knew this symptom was a touch of altitude sickness combined with my asthma, but I refused to be any more of a weak link than I already felt like I was.

Mount Whitney Hike in Winter
Stages of Hypothermia

At one point I caught up with them, and Lo’s cousin took one look at me and said, ‘come here a second’.  I crossed the stream we were at and he pulled off my glove and panic set in a little bit when I realized the tips of my fingers were turning blue down to the first knuckle. I am a Physician Assistant and knew subconsciously what it was. I wasn’t thinking so clearly and all I could say in the panic was, ‘Why are my fingers turning blue?!?’ He immediately took both of my gloves off, shoved them in his pockets, took his warm gloves and put them on my hands. I think that is the point I started to develop a bit of a crush on this man. (I love a good Mountain Man, military trained tough nugget.)

We ate a little bit, refilled my water with non-frozen water and then kept walking and they stayed close to me after that, putting me in the middle of them. I knew I was slow, and could tell they were frustrated…..but what could I do? I knew I was trying as hard as I could, but this was my first trip doing any of this! Lo stayed quite and her cousin just told us stories and kept us laughing at least. We came to a really tough spot where we had to really try and get over this ‘hump’ in the snow — we all got over it and her cousin went ahead of me.

As soon as I got up he started talking and walking again, became a little off balance and stepped to the side & all I saw was his hiking poles going overhead and heard a large ‘THUNK’ sound. He had fallen into a hole where he was stepping on his snowshoes, had to take his pack off & was literally over his head in a snow bank. Lo and I were laughing so hard we couldn’t even help him out of the snow pit he had fallen into, which brought on more frustration from him. He was a great sport the whole time. I was glad he was there to offset my mood of feeling pitifully slow and weak.

Mount Whitney Hike in Winter

We came to an area they thought would be good to put the tent down. I had never been snow camping and felt so out of sorts in what I was supposed to do to help. I admit that I stood there, soaking it all in and trying to put as much as I could in my memory for if I ever did this again. In doing that I feel like I looked bad, as in lazy…. they asked if I wanted to help get the tent set up and I came out of my mental processing phase and said ‘oh yeah, sure! Sorry about that – what can I do?’. We got the tent set up and then hurriedly got into the tent and made some dinner that we all shared like we were starving animals….it was our Thanksgiving dinner of freeze-dried spaghetti and meatballs, mixed with the water we boiled & a pumpkin pie Cliff bar.

We all changed out of our wet, sweaty clothing and snuggled into our sleeping bags. I didn’t realize that I had inadvertently grabbed the 15-degree sleeping bag instead of the negative 15-degree sleeping bag. Once I laid down, I started to shiver hoping that I would get warm from the shivering. The ground was cold, there was condensation from our breath in the tent, the warmth of making dinner in the tent started to dissipate…..and that’s when I really started to shiver.

I’m not talking about the kind of shivering you get when you go sledding at night. I’m talking about the kind of shivering that makes you wonder if you are actually shivering, or if you are having seizures. I couldn’t stop, my adrenalin & panic kicked in – I was afraid to go asleep. I think Lo became a little worried and asked if I wanted to use her emergency blanket, I really appreciated the gesture and took her up on the offer. It wasn’t enough though, my body just couldn’t recover from being so cold.

Mount Whitney Hike in Winter

I pulled out the coat I had been wearing, put every piece of clothing I had on, opened up a pair of hand warmers I luckily brought and put them on my feet, my femoral arteries and my armpits- then squished into my sleeping bag like I was slipping into a condom & began to pray for forgiveness for all my sins. I told God that if he let me live through this night that I would be better and do better. I think at one point I cried a little when the convulsions finally started to slow down a little and I could feel my chest start to become a little warmer. Over the next 2 hours, it spread to my shoulders and hips. I don’t think I ever truly became ‘warm’, as long as my core body was warm – I felt like I wasn’t going to die from Hypothermia.

I think I was able to sleep around 3-4 hours that night (if I’m being generous). We awoke early the next day and started to pack up camp again. I felt like the Tin man from Wizard of Oz that hadn’t been oiled in 500 years but refused to complain. After breakfast they had me use my ice ax for the first time. I snowshoed up the hill above us a little bit and trialed that out & ended up burying the tent with snow….just bloody perfect. Let’s just put my rookie mountaineering mistakes on my ‘idiot’ tab for this trip (insert frustrated groan). I seriously considered calling myself the Bridget Jones of Yosemite. We unburied the tent and headed up the hill again, it was so steep we ended up having to do about 20 switchbacks just to get up this one hill.

We made it to a juncture that required her cousin to blaze the trail on the edge of an icy cliff…ON HIS KNEES. I’m not kidding people, he was crawling on his knees with his ice ax. There was a sheer drop off into the huge pine trees and jagged ice below.

My heart just started racing even writing this…. I was the next one to go along this real-life video game from Hell. I tried to swallow my emotions down, but it came bubbling out as I turned around to Lo and said, ‘Lo……I’M SCARED!’ she looked at me dead on and said, ‘Well, GO!’ I remember thinking, ‘God, please don’t let me die! After making it through last night I feel like this should not be the way I should die’.

I fought the shifting snow with my snow-shoes and got onto my knees trying to figure out how to hold my ice-ax properly without stabbing myself in the heart should I fall. About 15 feet along this ridge, I hear her cousin say something loudly. I stopped and looked ahead and couldn’t see much, but heard him yell, ‘Hey Lo, I don’t think we can go this way’. You could feel the disappointment behind me when she said, ‘Really?’. He responded emphatically, ‘Yeah, this is making me nervous & it gets really shifty up here’. I found out later that he had to use his ice ax so that he wouldn’t go sliding down the sheer drop off and it scared him a little to have us get in the same situation. I poker-faced my relief at having to turn back and not use this terrifying path.

We headed back to our last fork in the planned route and after Lo and her cousin talked they realized that there was just no way up the mountain at this point in the year. They tried to go another route and her cousin just ended up getting stuck in the brush and she had to help him out of it.
The decision was then made to head back down the mountain as it had defeated us with the icy conditions and depth of the snow. I could see the disappointment in both of their faces, and truly felt bad because I felt like I had ruined their dream of mountaineering Mt Whitney in the Wintertime.

Mount Whitney Hike in Winter

Heading back into town and had some good laughs along the way when Lo tried to ski down on her butt and her snowshoes ended up catching an edge, the momentum lifted her up whitewashing her face first in the snow. The weight of the backpack was so heavy it was pinning her down, which I didn’t realize, and she came up gasping.
Besides the negative self-talk that plagued me on this particular adventure. I have to say this was BY FAR, the most adventurous birthday I have ever had. I especially loved the surprise blueberry pie protein bar Lo had brought for me for my Birthday. I honestly think God saved me on this trip.

In the end, I still felt like I was the weak link on this Mount Whitney hike and was determined to prove myself again. It took a whole year to be invited somewhere again, but I still feel like I’m one tough broad and did a dang good job of persevering despite the complexity & difficulty of this particular venture.

Mount Whitney Hike in Winter

So what is my message to all those out there that it is your first time backpacking? BE KIND TO YOURSELF! If it is hard, keep going, but know your limitations, ask questions, communicate and make sure you choose people to go with who are patient, kind and good-humored should you fail.

Make your first time backpacking an easy summer, spring, or fall so you can get used to the weight of your pack & train your leg muscles to work that hard (especially your calves). Remember to have fun, and take your time when backpacking – it doesn’t matter how quickly you go, or how fast you make it to the top. You are in nature, to enjoy nature and the peace that comes from being away from the rat race of life.

As Always…Happy Travels, Happy Tales and See You on the Flip Side.


Where To Stay

Booking.com

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Things to do in Crescent City California

The two lighthouses were built shortly thereafter: Battery Point Lighthouse and Brother Jonathan Lighthouse. Make sure to be on the lookout for all the Tsunami warning signs, there was a deadly Tsunami in 1964 that leveled the town & they are still trying to rebuild the area today.

Battery Point Lighthouse:

Built in 1856 with 22 inch thick slabs of granite, this lighthouse is only accessible at low tide. The beach near this area is quite small but full of agates that locals come to regularly collect and make into jewelry. If you look to the right, there is a house nearby that has a comical yard piece that made me laugh til I cried…..the one and only, Harry the Henderson.

Beaches near Crescent City:

South Beach is the first beach you will come to when heading North up through California. This is a very popular beach in winter and especially summer. Here you will find some of the best tide pools near Crescent City, and if you are lucky you may see the annual Noll Longboard Classic Surf Contest. [gallery ids="12490,12489,12488" type="square"] Endert’s Beach is my favorite Beach near Crescent city. This place is a hidden gem right off of the 101 hwy, with sand dollars, sand crabs at low tide and fishing for red-tailed surf perch at high tide. There are plenty of agates, shells, and other fun gems on this beach as well. This beach is perfect for that holiday BBQ as they have picnic tables and BBQ stands every 500 feet or so. There is hardly anyone on this beach & the perfectly untouched sand stretches on for miles. We let our dogs off the leashes and let them run for miles and miles.

Redwood Forest

Things to do in Crescent City Simpson Reed Grove  This Redwood Grove is great for families and those with children. The path is easy and full of the gentle giant Redwood Trees that have created a natural playground. Climb over the enormous trees, hide in the center of the fallen giants, wiggle across branches that have created natural bridges. [embed]https://youtu.be/ihduTVZkHz8[/embed] Stout Grove This is the grove that is a favorite among locals due to it being right by the shoreline of a river. Here you see these massive trees and then a beautiful river running right next to it. The best time to visit is in the summer around 3-5pm during the golden sun lit hour. Be sure to bring loads of mosquito repellent as they are quite bad in the summertime.

Smith River:

If you are not much of an Adrenalin junkie, then you may prefer to Kayak or Tube the River by the Redwood Groves lining the shores. Take a dip in the Smith River at South Fork where the water is crystal clear and will give you a refreshing jolt to those on a road trip. Try your luck at fishing, the Smith River is the best place for salmon, trout and steelhead fishing in the whole State of California. There is also class IV-Class V white-water-rafting, snorkeling with the salmon and trout, and taking a helicopter to the only open water lighthouse open to the public….St. George Reef Lighthouse.

Trees of Mystery:

34527388_10216300158086850_5519796921192939520_n This is the slightly more commercialized area of the Redwood forest, with statues of lumberjacks and a chair lift that takes you soaring above the skyline of the forest below. This is the ideal place to go if your party or family is feeling a little run down as it has a museum, a forest café, and six different trails that everyone can enjoy.

Ocean World:

Takes about 2 hours, has a little show with sea lions, kids get to touch the fish. The aquarium has a guided tour of the sea life touch pool, aquarium & sea lion/seal show. [gallery ids="12486,12487" type="rectangular"] Adults $12.95 child $7.95 babies free. There is a nice gift shop & photo opportunities around every corner at this place. .

In Summary:

When you first drive into Crescent City California, you will think you are driving into a bit of a ghost town. This is likely because most of those who do live there are out exploring the surrounding areas themselves. With so many wonderful outdoor adventures from whitewater rafting, the Redwood Groves, the Smith River, and the plentiful tide pools and ocean activities… it is hardly a ghost town. Crescent City is a town teeming with adventure waiting to be had.

As Always Happy Travels, Happy Tales, and See You on the Flip Side.


If you liked this article, you may also enjoy: What to do in Bandon Oregon Travel Hacks for Road Trips The Perfect Oregon Coast Camping Itinerary

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What to do in Bandon Oregon

The tribes were defeated in their resistance and relocated to the Siletz (the collective name of the 20 tribes relocated here) Reservation. This reservation is a 48-hour walk (with current road systems) from Bandon to Siletz Reservation. They were placed in an area that is 5.82 sq miles, and have gone from 10 distinct languages to one. The Siletz language now has a talking language dictionary due to the help of National Geographic Society and the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, their language will hopefully continue to be preserved. IMG_2501 Time went on and in 1873 George Bennette with his sons Joseph and George, along with Mr. Sealy came from Bandon Ireland to this area. The original name of Averill is changed to Bandon a year later and the town continued to flourish. Mr. Bennette helped to both build and destroy Bandon. He brought his native grouse plant from Ireland, which you will see throughout the town. From Sand to Stairs-1 The grouse is characterized by waxy leaves and small yellow flowers in thick thickets of bushes (especially along the coastline). The grouse plant is what started the great fire in 1936. The older folks in the town may remember the fire still, it would take years for the town to rebuild itself. Wood production, sawmills, water plants helped the town flourish, even the first Bandon Cranberry Festival took place (1947). You can still visit the Cranberry Sweets factory today and sample some of the treats and other boutique shop items. Have I piqued your interest in Bandon yet? It may look like a small town that is brand new, but this little town packs a big punch in both history and in the outdoor activities you can participate in.

Floras Lake State Park:

This hike is a lot more strenuous than it appears. You start off walking over a bridge to a beach like area. It is quite unique as there is a lake on one side and over the sandy hill is the ocean. The sand is more like small pebbles that really took a toll on my calves. The lake is a very popular place to come Kitesurfing as the wind is usually perfect for this sport. As you walk along the edge of the lake to the forested area, I would suggest bringing water shoes so you can walk on the packed down sand near the shoreline. Once you reach the wooded area you feel like skipping down the trail singing, ‘Lions and Tigers and Bears oh my!’. IMG_2260.JPG Although nothing really jumped out of the woods at us, except for an occasional squirrel it is truly a place where you feel Gnomes and Fairies could live. We walked for quite awhile, 1 mile before most of the group turned back. My friend Breanna was so excited for this trail as it is supposed to spit you out along the sweeping cliffs complete with gorgeous waterfalls. As she led us along this trail we ran into large puddles of water. With the edges of the trail being thick with sticks, moss, and underbrush we had to wade straight through the ankle-deep mud. I finally looked at my Fitbit watch and informed Bree that we had just hiked 2 miles in (which means we would have 4 miles back). She was sorely disappointed when I told her she could keep going, she caved and turned back with me. On the way back, about 1/2 mile past where the others had turned back, we noticed a tiny little sign (its brown and has a 1 inch by 2 inch arrow with tiny little black mileage on the sticker)….this was where we were supposed to have turned to head to the end of this hike. In total, we hiked 8 miles this day through pebble beaches, sand, sludge, wooded areas and were completely knackered by the time we reached the rest of the group. So if you decide to hike in Floras Lake State Park, be sure you either have a GPS guide or someone who can tell you where the bloody turn is.

Coquille Lighthouse:

This 40-foot lighthouse was built at the mouth of the Coquille River to help the Mariners get by the dangerous shifting sandbars that dot the river. In 1890 the Bandon Oregon area was known for its fishing and timber industries. DJI_0065 Congress approved the $50,000 it would take to build this lighthouse (in 1891) and it was completed by 1895 and was first used February 1896. The fire in 1936 slowed the ships into the town of Bandon and with the amount of money needed to rebuild the town, the Coast Guard decommissioned the Lighthouse by 1939. Eventually, the lighthouse was restored, and in 1991 was gifted with a new solar-powered light. It is now open from mid-May to September. Address: 56487 Bullards Beach Rd, Bandon, OR 97411

Washed Ashore Gallery in Bandon Oregon: Art to Save the Sea

This was by far my favorite place to visit and where I feel my quest of using the least amount of plastic possible began. You wouldn’t expect something like this in such a small town, but artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi started this non-profit community art project in 2010 to bring awareness to the plastic problem in our seas. IMG_2297 - Copy (2) Every single piece of the marine life sculptures in this gallery are made entirely from garbage that is removed from the Ocean. After walking the magnificent beaches of Oregon Angela decided to make a bold statement through Art, by using this garbage to created the animals who were the most affected by the garbage pollution. Be sure to stop by and help create one of these masterpieces, I’m sure you will leave the Washed Ashore Gallery with a greater sense of responsibility to #SavetheSea Address:  325 2nd St SE, Bandon, OR 97411                  Hours: Thurs-Sat, 12pm-5pm Other exhibitions: St Paul Minnesota at the Como Park Zoo, Chicago, Illinois, S at the Shedd Aquarium, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Washington, DC. Donations can be made to WashedAshore.org – a Non-Profit organization

Shores Acre State Park

A picture can tell a thousand words, but a video can help you experience all that Shores Acre State Park has to offer. This park was once a magnificent estate of Baron Louis Simpson, a logging tycoon that wanted to create a palace for himself on the Shoreline of Oregon. Stroll along the trail from the parking lot to the Ocean Cove at Simpson Beach. Take a gander inside the viewpoint gazebo during any season and watch the waves at high tide crash against the shoreline. You may even see some migrating whales along the shore during December and March. The Simpson mansion has since disappeared but the formal Shores Acre Gardens are still well maintained and close by. Walking through these gardens is a like a botanical Disneyland. You start your journey through a tulip-lined walkway with fountains and benches. Birds softly chirping around you, and you are sheltered from the Ocean winds. A small house sits on the property with a cottage like feeling that welcomes all who enter. Be sure to take in the Japanese-style garden with a lily pond, and the two rose gardens. If you are there during the Christmas holidays, volunteers will delight you by filling the garden with lights making for a perfectly romantic holiday getaway. Address: Cape Argo Hwy, Coos Bay, OR 97420 Note: Credit Cards are not accepted for parking pass purchases. Receipt from any other Oregon State Park Campground is accepted as a daily permit, just display it on the driver’s side of the dashboard. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XEDlYFb4KM[/embed]

Crabbing in Charleston:

Did you know that you can go crabbing in Oregon and California? I thought that crabbing was reserved only for being on the boats in the middle of the Alaskan Bearing Sea. When we went to Oregon, I found out that you can go Crabbing just off the Pier in Charleston (a town right near Bandon). Grab some Crab Pots at Davey Jones Locker, along with some thawed out fish heads and such & catch some fresh Crab for your dinner. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp6ZwaO1Sps&t=4s[/embed]

ATV Riding:

Right between Bandon and Charleston are two places where you can ride ATV’s. Our itinerary did not allot for the time to do this, but is definitely on the list should we go back. The trails that you would be looking for are Winchester Trails for ATV riding, and Blue Ridge for ATV, Camping, and Sand Boarding. Check out Oregon’s riding restrictions before you go, so as not to get a ticket.

Circles in the Sand at Facerock Wayside Beach:

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4aV5-y_VNY&t=183s[/embed]

Other activities near Bandon:

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqCIVe2XjPw[/embed] Beach Cleanup Volunteering Visit Bandon Tourism Board Calendar of Events for the most up to date activities per season.

How to get there:

You can also take the Coastal Express up and down the Oregon Coast by calling 1-800-921-2871 – please note that this service only runs Monday through Friday.

Where to stay:

Where to Eat:

Best time to visit:

In Summary:

Although Bandon is not well known for its attractions, it is a truly beautiful place. If you are an outdoor fanatic like me, you will feel so at peace and at home being amongst the moss lined trees. Seeing Bandon on the map is quite a different experience than actually being in this city. The area is suited not just for the outdoor savvy, but those with children, elderly, families small and large, and for those who may have disabilities. Participate in as many hikes, sand labyrinth walks, and art projects as you can while visiting.

As Always Happy Travels, Happy Tales, and See You On the Flip Side.


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Things To Do Off the Las Vegas Strip (from a Local)

Things To Do Off the Las Vegas Strip (from a Local)

Living in Las Vegas for six years taught me a lot about what is advertised vs what is reality. I realized that much of what is advertised is only a portion of things available to experience when in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Area. So if you are a local, or if you are visiting and need to give your liver a break (or you bank account) here are a few things to do off the Las Vegas Strip from a local.

Town Square:

Things To Do Off The Las Vegas Strip (from a Local)

This is just a quick stop down the road from the Strip and will be much kinder to your wallet. Take an Uber about 10 minutes from Mandalay Bay Hotel and you will find this area filled with locals. Town Square includes designer shops, outlets, Whole Foods Market, children’s splash pad, fountain, bars, dancing, movie theatre, free concerts, African Drum classes and so much more. This was by far my favorite place to hang out with friends for the Country Dancing at Stoney’s.

Things To Do Off The Las Vegas Strip (from a Local)

Stoney’s

has the infamous bikini bull riding where you can pay for your trip should you win the bikini bull ride, with prize money at $500. This is not for the faint of heart, and make sure you superglue your suit on before attempting this. The shows here are live shows and are really quite good artists that grace the stage. There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the entertainment of watching others attempt to dance.

Whole Foods for Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner

If you are wanting to save money on going out to eat on the strip, Whole foods has a ‘self-serving bar’ where you can pick and choose what you would like to eat. The cost of this food is based on weight, is healthy and organic (for those of us who are watching those waistlines). They have breakfast available by 8 am, lunch/dinner around 1130am and they are open until 10 pm. There are places where you can sit and eat your meal near the cash registers up front.

Outlet Shops

These Outlet Shops were my favorite when I lived in Las Vegas, with a food court, major discounts, and outdoor shopping setting. There are small stands littered throughout this mall that will have unique knick-naks that are budget friendly to take home as souvenirs to your friends and family.

Things To Do Off The Las Vegas Strip (from a Local)

This is where I found the majority of my jeans and work blouses. You cannot go wrong shopping here, when my family would come down – this was always a MUST stop.

Green Valley Ranch Hotel

One of the greatest Hotels in Las Vegas area. It has a sandbar, lap pool, kid pool, adult pool, music and a view of the Las Vegas Strip in a very relaxed setting. It is only a 20-minute drive from the strip, and if you would like even more seclusion, there are suites available with a small private pool if you so desire.
Movies: I found this movie theatre to be adequate, but overpriced. If you like peace and quiet when you watch a movie, well then this is the place for you to be. Check out Royal Green Valley Ranch Stadium 10 for movie showtimes and options.

Local shopping: This was one of my favorite places to shop for clothing. There are several boutique shops along the strip mall right outside of the movie theatre. Be sure to at least stroll along this area, and visit REI at the very end. REI is one of my all-time favorite stores, they have never let me down, always have great deals and their stuff actually lasts. No this is not a sponsored post, but an honest statement about how much I love this store.
Restaurants: My friends and I would always visit the Elephant Bar. It is a place with Unique decoration, delicious food, and great service. (Again, this is not sponsored). After I took some of my friends here, we ended up going back for every Birthday, Graduation, and Celebration from that time forward. There is also a great BBQ restaurant behind the shopping area, that has you drinking out of mason jars, which I thought was fun. I am not a big red meat kind of gal, but the smells coming from this place are delicious. When my Uncle and his kids came to visit, we ended up going to Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ and he loved it.

Red Rock National Parks

I was stunned at the beauty of this place when I first visited. When I moved to Vegas/Henderson area I figured there would be no beautiful green trees, and the only wildlife I would see would be beetles and crows. I think I even ended up writing a poem about how desolate things were, my car battery dying constantly because of the heat and how my body would be picked apart by the last living things that can survive the heat of hell. I know it is a little dramatic, but until you survived a summer in Las Vegas, you don’t know heat (I still think dry heat is better than humid heat though).
Back to Red Rock National Park.

Things To Do Off The Las Vegas Strip (from a Local)

Once you discover how kind the sandstone is on your hands and feet, rock climbing because of an obsession for me. I was never a competitive person about it, I just liked getting to the top of the mountain away from everyone & enjoying the view. For those who are avid climbers, there is the climbing conference called the Red Rock Rendezvous, where climbing gear companies, professional climbers, guides and the best of the best will teach you how to climb from beginner to expert. Check out the Red Rock Rendezvous Facebook Page for the most accurate dates on the Rendezvous.

Things To Do Off The Las Vegas Strip (from a Local)

Lake Las Vegas

This vast Desert Oasis has some of the best Instagrammable spots! The man-made lake is nearly 320 acres large, with a magnificent Hotel overlooking the lake. This lake boasts a plethora of water activities, massages, golf.

The water activities include Flyboard & Jetpack experience, Paddleboarding, Kayaks, Pedal boats, electric boat rentals, La Contessa Yacht Reservations, Rowing club, and last but not least the Las Vegas Dragon Boat Club! With all these activities I can imagine it would be hard to know which one is the best.  My favorite activity was with my dear friend Chanelle, doing Stand Up Paddle Boarding.

Things To Do Off The Las Vegas Strip (from a Local)

It was our first time going, and they provided ample instructions, were kind and helpful and was surprisingly so relaxing! There are so many little nooks and crannies to go and explore, but be careful on windy days as it can blow you too far away from the dock. The wind in the Vegas/Henderson area can be a bit relentless. If it does get windy, you have a free pass to the pool where you can listen to live music on the weekends and sip on a Pinacolada under the Swaying Palm Trees. Now that is a perfect way to spend your vacation!

Things To Do Off The Las Vegas Strip (from a Local)

There is also a well-established community in the area, with plenty of local hangouts that will likely cost you less than what you pay on the strip. Be sure to check out the events at MonteLago Village, and the Concerts on the Lake which is a huge hit in the summer for locals.

I have always wanted to stay at the Lake Las Vegas Hotel if you would like to book a room – make sure to check out the Hilton and Westin Hotel Booking sites. (This is not a sponsored post, it truly is one of the magical hotels I would love to stay in at some point).

Hike the Tunnels & Mt Charleston

It is no secret that I love the outdoors, so including a hike or two is a must. I know what you are thinking…..’Hiking in Las Vegas! It’s too hot’! In reality, the heat is not as bad as it seems. You get up around 6 or 7am and then during the hottest part of the day you are by a pool or a lake, and then you finish out the day with something fun. The Mt Charleston hike is a great one to do any time of year, during the winter you may get snow, but during the summer it is a perfect hike for cooler climate at a higher elevation.

Things To Do Off The Las Vegas Strip (from a Local)

End the day with a hike through the tunnels, it is a little creepy at night because it is so dark, and I’m pretty sure there are bats that live in those tunnels now. What are the tunnels you ask? Well, this place was where the old train tracks used to be. They have since removed the train tracks but you have 7.1 miles of scenic hiking that takes you right up near Hoover Dam. The best part about this trail is that you can take your dogs 🙂 It is also a place that is commonly used for photo shoots.
How to get to the tunnels: Take 93 South to Boulder City. Turn left on Lake Shore Drive. The trailhead is about 500 yards down Lake Shore Drive on the right.

Visit Railroad Tunnel Trail and Mt Charleston Trail for more information on this hike and others in the area.

Hoover Dam

On the Nevada side of the Hoover Dam, as you are wandering around, you will find a flagpole with two winged statues flanking it. These statues are a tribute to the men who built the Hoover dam in a time when technology was not so abundant, a monument in its own right. These statues are said to represent  “the immutable calm of intellectual resolution, and the enormous power of trained physical strength equally enthroned in placid triumph of scientific accomplishment.”

Things To Do Off The Las Vegas Strip (from a Local)

Be sure to book a tour of the Dam while there, must be booked 24 hours in advance & may be canceled at any time if there is even a slight question of safety. You will see the inner workings of this magnificent piece of engineering in a time when calculators and computers didn’t do the work, it was the hard labor of hundreds of men and their uniquely gifted minds that constructed the largest reservoir dam in the world (at that time) in 1931.
If you want to see Hoover Dam from Lake Mead side (the reservoir side). I would suggest renting a jet ski or two and enjoy your day frolicking around on the water. There are also party boats, speed boats, sport fishing, camping, picnic sites, and short desert hikes near the lake that will get you incredible views of the towering mountains surrounding the 16th largest man-made lake in the world.

Things To Do Off The Las Vegas Strip (from a Local)

Valley of Fire

This was the most surprising thing for me to see while in Vegas. Las Vegas and the Henderson area are known for being windy and extremely hot in the summer time. going to a place of rocks in 117-degree weather isn’t the smartest idea & I also thought ‘well I can see red rocks at Red Rock National Park’, but I was coaxed into going to the Valley of Fire and am so glad that I went.

Things To Do Off The Las Vegas Strip (from a Local)

This place has more history behind it than you could imagine! This is where the Indians lived with their natural streams and easy hiding places with foliage and places for their livestock to graze in peace. It was also the hideout for some notorious wild west quick slingers as well.

Lion Habitat

How often have you gone to Trip Advisor and found something incredibly unique listed there about your hometown or current place of residence that you have never been to? This was one of those items for me. The Lion Habitat is a way out from the strip, but these Lions are the retired MGM Lions.

Things To Do Off The Las Vegas Strip (from a Local)

I felt really sad for these Lions actually. They are required to work for the casino and then get put in cages and wood crate boxes behind fences to live out the rest of their days in the sweltering heat of the Las Vegas desert. I guess Africa is hot, but I dunno, just made me sad to see them like this.
It was really fun to see them up close and personal, but with how much the MGM Casino & Hotel makes…..you think they would give them a decent home to retire to at least. If anyone knows more about how the MGM and the other casinos take care of their animals after they get too old to perform, please let me know in the comments below.

Things To Do Off The Las Vegas Strip (from a Local)

This place is fun to visit if you are going to play with the cubs for 30 minutes to 1 hour with trainers in the same vicinity. The pricing is quite steep for 30 minutes, or you can book small birthday parties or something and it is much cheaper.
I found it interesting to see them up close, but sad at the same time. So if you choose to go and visit these animals, check out The Lion Habitat Website.

What Happens In Vegas….Is Up To YOU

You don’t have to get plastered on the Las Vegas Strip every time you visit. There are plenty things to do off the las vegas strip with beautiful landscapes, and vistas that will allow you to enjoy nature and stay out of the Emergency Room or empty your bank account on drinks. If I were to make a tour of these places I would start at the Outlet Shops, then go to the Lion Habitat, next head over to either Red Rock National Park for some hiking, or to the Valley of Fire to explore their trails, End up back at either Town Square or Green Valley Ranch and enjoy some activities and entertainment to wrap up your evening.

As Always, Happy Travels, Happy Tales, and See You on the Flip Side!


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The Perfect Oregon Coast Camping Itinereary

The Bad Omen: Omens are a thing of legends and a word often used by mystics in the age of King Arthur, right? Well despite the word being associated with paranoid people and magicians in movies, I am still a big believer in them myself. Case and point number one, my roommate forgot her wallet about 45 minutes after we started on the road. Some may call this an accident, but I jokingly kept saying, ‘ It’s AN OMEN’! When things like this happen, it often puts you on the wrong foot when starting, what is supposed to be, a relaxing vacation. Be sure to check out my Packing Lists to ensure that you will not forget anything you could possibly need, but at the same time, not over pack.

The Salt Flats:

There are several places among the Salt Flats that you can stop and get stellar photos and selfies. Because we are short were short on time, we stopped at a rest stop with a short 5 foot walk onto the Salt Flats with gentle rolling hills in the Distance. Me at Salt Flats 3-1
Photography Tip:
Try to wear monocolor clothing without any wording on it or symbols. In photos it just looks distracting. Don’t wear sunglasses unless they are reflective and you just want the attention to be on your face. Avoid watches as this can also be distracting for the viewer. I personally love to wear flowing dresses here, because it just looks cool when it blows in the wind. Otherwise pair your clothing with something that will contrast to the background. For the Salt Flats, Sunrise or Sunset is the absolute best time to go, the white ground gets very reflective of the sun and can blow out your photo.
Me and Zoey at the Salt Flats-1 After this Quick stop, we were on our way to Tokatee Falls. If you are driving from Salt Lake City on your way to Wendover, this is also a great little stop that is only 1.5 hours away.

Timing Tokatee Falls:

We arrived at Tokatee Falls about 30 minutes before Sunset was complete. We had to do the hike rather quickly, and there are lots of stairs folks. I also had swollen legs from sitting for 16 hours in the car. It made it very difficult to do this trail quickly, this was the first instance I kicked myself for being so out of shape of many on this trip. Bridge to Tokatee Falls-1
Traveler Tip:
To avoid those swollen legs when driving or flying for long distances, compression stockings are a LIFE SAVER! No literally, they are life saving. When I would have patients come into my office with calf pain, one of the first things I ask is if they have done any traveling that required them to sit for long periods of time. The ones who ended up having blood clots in their legs, were often the ones that said yes. I bet you are thinking, ‘Oh, that only happens with old people’…..NOPE…..think again. Some people are more prone to it than others, especially younger people who overload themselves on energy drinks and caffeine to stay awake. No one is immune to blood clots. A good rule of thumb is to get out of the car every hour or two and walk around for at least 15 minutes.
Getting to Tokatee Falls was awe-inspiring and took my breath away. I have never seen a waterfall like this in my entire life. The hike was fairly easy getting there (minus all the stairs). There is a hike that goes by the river, that I spotted plenty of swimming holes. Tokatee Falls Long Exposure 11-1 Tokatee Falls itself was a contrast of white and dark, smooth and jagged visual delights. When there are such contrasting elements in one photo, I get very inspired. Views such as this are nourishment for the soul.

Floras Lake State Park

We arrived in Bandon and set up camp quickly in the dark. It is a lot more humid in Bandon than you would expect, so a drop of 15 degrees at night can be the type of chill that sinks into your bones. (I will post some tips on how to stay warm camping in Humid environments on Culture Trekking YouTube Channel, be sure to check it out). IMG_2241 The next morning we were delighted with eggs and toast by Bree’s sister, who lives in Grant’s Pass. We headed to Floras Lake State Park and started a hike that would take us around a lake known for its kite surfing, into an enchanted forest. The forest had moss-covered branches, topsy-turvy turns and truly felt magical. We couldn’t help skipping down the trail singing ‘Lions, and tigers and bears OH MY!’ The trail is best to do in the summer as it is likely a bit drier on the trail itself and covered in shade for most of the journey once you make it around the lake. We decided on doing this in Spring as it would be cooler for the 3 children that accompanied our group. The kids loved this hike, playing among the logs strewn about, and splashing in the lake on the way to the hike. If you look closely in the muddy puddles that dot the trail, you may just spot a Salamander. Bree attempted to kiss it, at her niece’s delight, to see if it would turn into a handsome prince, but alas….it did not. I have taken too many microbiology classes to attempt that, lol, handsome prince or not. 20180329_112712
Traveler Tip:
If you plan to go in Spring or Fall, be sure you do this hike in Keens or sturdy watershoes.
After about 2.2 miles the kids started to get tired, the trail was then covered in water and required those without water shoes to start bushwhacking. Those with water shoes were walking through sludgy mud that had pinecones and sticks, fantastic cushioning for your feet. Half of the group turned back at this point and then 0.25 miles later Bree and I were the only ones left on the trail with our dogs. We hiked another mile or two through the rough conditions & I finally told Bree we had gone too far and I could no longer hear the ocean (our final projected destination). Reluctantly she agreed, and we turned back around to head into downtown Bandon and meet up with the rest of the group. On our way back to the group (2 miles back), I noticed a metal pole with an indiscriminate trail on our left. I examined this closer, and it was a sign to another trail, I could also hear the ocean at this point. Pointing this out to Bree, she said some things I will not repeat here, and we both yelled our frustrations for the Forest to be witness to. At this juncture we were both so exhausted we decided not to attempt another trail as our party had already been waiting quite awhile for us and headed into town, grumbling the whole way. IMG_2258 If you have problems with tight calves like I do, when you hit the sandy area, walk closer to the shoreline for a more solid surface. It really aided in being able to make it back to the car. Now, this was the second time I chided myself for my out-of-shapeness. Bree’s sister, however, is an active Triathalon Athlete, and even she was exhausted by the end of this trek. Moral of the story, don’t try hiking in heavily wooded areas without GPS, or something to tell you exactly how far you have traveled. I luckily had my Fitbit on me (not entirely accurate, but good enough of a guess) to tell us we hiked a total of 4.1 miles in 4.1 miles out and a total of 8.7 miles that day……ouch. We visited Cranberries sweets, and the washed ashore gallery that day as well, which are also in Bandon. I will post a full list of activities in Bandon within the next few months.

Bad luck Crabbing in Charleston:

Day three was an exciting day for our group and the kids go crazy seeing us catch crab. We headed over to Charleston to visit Davey Jones locker to get our crab gear and pots. IMG_2368
Traveler Tip:
Arrive early and rent a pot, otherwise you will have to pay $29.95 to buy one. Out of state-vs-in-state licenses are going to be different pricing.
After getting our licenses and crab pots, we headed over to the pier and found there were plenty of people attempting to catch some delicious Dungeness crab. There are guides to show you what kind of crabs you are allowed to catch and which ones you are not. It is based on gender and measurements, you keep the males and their shells must be a certain length from side to side. If you want to watch a show I’m totally obsessed with, Deadliest Catch, you can see how they measure the crabs when they pull their crab pots in. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp6ZwaO1Sps&t=4s  
Traveler Tip:
The best time to catch the crab is when it has not been raining for several days, and also at the end of summer. (Stay tuned for all the details of how to catch crab, along with more tips and tricks to make it memorable).
I was able to catch one crab for the seven of us for dinner. This was not going to be very filling for all seven of us feasting on one crab. Luckily there are some friendly folks who taught us how to cook our crab, clean the crab and even had a few more crab waiting there for us in the shop at the pier. As far as I could gather, this was the only place that sold crab, and in March of 2018 it was $5.99 per pound and they clean and cook it for you right there. We elected to cook it ourselves back at camp, so they cleaned it for us, put them on ice for us.

The Redemption Meal:

The crab turned out to be delicious! The most delicious crab I have ever had! There is nothing better than getting fresh crab, or fish from the rivers and oceans. We melted our butter over the campfire which gave it a nice smoky taste and then cooked some S’mores to top it off. IMG_2485 I called this, the redemption meal because of how good it truly was. Are you salivating yet? If this has tickled your fancy for crab, head over to Whole foods and get your Crabby on 🙂

Witnessing Mother Nature at Shores Acre State Park:

This is the day that we were robbed…..by raccoons. Well, Bree’s Sister was robbed anyway, her food cooler was broken into by Raccoons. The food was everywhere, bags were ripped open and strewn about the camp. None of us thought that Raccoons knew how to open coolers, but apparently, they are evolving and getting smarter. Consider yourself warned! Bree and I salvaged breakfast with French Toast, Eggs, and Turkey Bacon. The group then headed to Shores Acre State Park. The best time to go here is at High Tide, this way you can see just how powerful the ocean truly is. In spring and summer you won’t be able to witness the full extent of mother nature, but during a Winter Storm….prepare to be awed by the power of water. IMG_2447 There is a small shelter with a viewing platform that you can appreciate just how much the land has changed from the relentless pounding of the sea. Here you will also learn of a logging millionaire that built a mansion on these shores, complete with tennis courts that have since sunk into the ocean. If you pay attention you will see a large slab of concrete peeking out from under a blanket of Ivy that use to be the spot where his tennis courts were. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XEDlYFb4KM&t=8s If you take the trail to the right of the viewing platform you will be able to see these tennis courts. Approximately 200 feet beyond the tennis courts is a unique area filled with, what I call, bubble rocks. These rocks and their current shapes, pockets, and bubble-like appearances were what has been sculpted by the seat itself. explore all the nooks and crannies with your kids or friends and witness the wonder of nature.
Traveler Tip:
One thing I must stress to all my readers is to NEVER challenge the ocean, it will always win. The people in Oregon call those who visit, ‘Flat-landers’, those who come on vacation and do not have a healthy respect for the ocean. Do not travel in Oregon without a Tide Table booklet, these are available at any visitors center or major port city center. You can turn your back on the ocean and the next thing you know, you will be swept out to sea by the ‘sneeker waves’, as the Oregonians call them.

Facerock Wayside Beach and Sandy Labyrinths:

After some downtime after Bree’s sister’s family headed home, we went out to Facerock Wayside Beach for a special experience. I was particularly excited for this adventure. At Face Rock Wayside Beach, you will find a group of individuals that are committed to inner peace, healing and reconnecting with the humans that surround us. This group was started by a man named Denny, who in an effort to find that inner peace, you started to draw in the sand. Circles in the Sand The drawings soon became large, intricate works of art that were a walking meditation for him. Word grew and soon it expanded into a Community of like-minded individuals who meet on the weekends to take the walk. Each walk has a theme and can be up to 0.5 miles of walking. There is encouragement given as you decide to take the walk through the circles, to disconnect from the world around you and realize happiness comes not from our electronics but from the peace we find within our own hearts and minds. It helped me recenter my beliefs for our own community, that in order to truly be the change I wish to see in the world, first I need to be happy with myself.

Rain, Snow, Waterfalls, and Racoons:

After heading back to camp from the Circles in the sand appearance, we were enjoying a lazy and euphoric evening. Luckily our dogs were around, the rasciliy raccoon tripped over my tent stake, and triggered Zoey into a barking frenzy. Zoey is my dog that is part Cocker Spaniel, part poodle and definitely loves to chase animals of any kind. My dog likes to think she is a bear, but in fact is a 16-pound ball of zest and fluff. Racoon in Tree 4-1 Zoey pulled the leash right out of my hands and took off into the bushes after what I assumed was a squirrel. She deftly tracked the Raccoon up the tree where it stayed for the next hour with us examining it. This Raccoon was GINORMOUS! The raccoon was easily three times the size of Zoey, and likely had all sorts of creepy critters crawling on it that I didn’t want Zoey to inherit. I quickly gathered her up, calmed her down, took a few photos of the Raccoon, and then packed our own cooler in our car. We couldn’t do much with our garbage as we had just been headed to bed, so we put the garbage in our extra cardboard box. The next morning we found the garbage bag ripped into, but all garbage was neatly contained in this box. We loaded it, and all our gear up into the car and headed out to Silver Falls State Park.

Silver Falls State Park

In checking the weather on the way to Silver Falls State Park, I discovered we were heading to an area where it was actually going to snow. I only own a 3 season tent and was worried about being too cold when we got there, especially Zoey as she doesn’t handle temperatures lower than 45 degrees very well. IMG_2640 Luckily Bree was able to reserve a small Yurt or cabin for us for when we arrived at Silver Falls State Park. These are often equipped with an outdoor firepit, picnic table, electricity, beds, and a small heater that really does a stellar job. We were both so happy to have a warm place to dry off our clothes, we stayed here awhile just to enjoy the warmth.
Traveler Tip:
The cabin costs about $61 per night with dogs. At Silver Falls State Park there are only two cabins that are available for those with animals, so be sure to book early.
Many trails within Silver Falls State Park do not allow animals on them (for unknown reasons other than water contamination). So renting a cabin is a great way for you to put the pooches in a warm area that is contained and protected from visiting wildlife. IMG_2597 Our first stop was to South Falls, the most iconic waterfall of the entire park. This towering monstrosity drops 177 feet (53.95 meters) into the River below. There are several different areas to take iconic photos, the first being at the top of the viewing platform. This is a platform where you can park your car and walk to the edge of the stone shelf and take a photo. The other photo areas are along the trail itself, with one location before the bridge, and one location on the bridge itself.
From the bridge you have several options:
1- Continue along the trail that will bring you to a total of 10 different Waterfalls, each with its own unique appearance. 2- Take the trail up, around, and behind the waterfall. This is the option we chose as we were running out of daylight. Hiking behind the waterfall was not like anything I have experienced. The sheer drop of the water into the river below sends reverberating sounds into the caverns that you hike through. It truly is an experience like none other, as these sounds are so loud you can hardly hear yourself speak and feel the thunder sink into your chest. Behind South Falls-1 We stayed behind the waterfall for some time, getting soaked from the spray of the waterfall and the rain that had begun for the evening. I wanted to stay there forever, just watching the mesmerizing fall of the water into the river below.
Traveler Tip:
Bring a Poncho with you, or a garbage bag that you can drape over yourself to help you from getting soaked. If you are taking photos, make sure that your camera is either waterproof or has a protective covering like a shower cap on it to help keep out the majority of the spray from the waterfall.

Giants, Elves, and getting lost in Ferngully:

Leaving the warmth of that cabin was entirely too difficult. I wanted to stay and explore all the waterfalls within Silver Falls State Park! Alas, our itinerary did not allow for enough time to explore properly. If you want to properly explore Silver Falls State Park, make sure you allot for AT LEAST 4 days in this park. Loading up our gear, and our pups, we headed to Willamette National Forest to hike the Tamolitch Blue Pool Trail. When we arrived at this trail, we were both greeted by a place that looked as if fairies would live here. McKenzie River Trail 3-1 This hike tracks the river for about 2.0 miles up to a spectacular Blue Pool of water fed by the McKenzie River. We assumed that it would be easy for us to spot, but after hiking for what seemed like ages, we ran out of time and ended up turning back. We did not have GPS, nor did our cell phones have service to let us know where we were. After coming back home we realized we were 0.25 miles away from where it actually was. I don’t believe that trail is only 2.5 miles though personally, my Fitbit said I had gone 3.92 miles by the time we turned around. We were extremely disappointed about missing this feature as this is a very popular trail. Be sure you explore the Tamolitch Blue Pool Trail on Google Maps and drop the little man to see what it looks like on a normal day. There are several areas that appear to be the right spot, but alas are no. The trail was not a total loss for me, I had no idea what we were hiking towards, so wasn’t really disappointed when we had to turn around. The trail was absolutely stunning! There was moss over EVERYTHING and the areas that you could see the river were breathtaking. When I visit Oregon again, I will definitely have to do this trail again as I really enjoyed just playing in this forest that looked like I was walking in Ferngully.

The Hot Spring that Isn’t So Hot:

Hiking 6-8 miles a day for me is a big deal, I have a typical desk job that I sit for most of the day taking care of my patients. Needless to say, my body hurt by day 6 and I was ready for a nice soak in a boiling Hot Spring. Heading to Bigelow Hot Springs after our failed attempt at reaching the Blue Pool. Parking the car in a nearby parking slot, we headed back across the road and to the left trail along the bank of the river. The Bigelow Hot Springs was only a 0.1-mile trek in if that. Make sure you come with water shoes because the rocks are not friendly on bare feet. This Hot Springs I feel was very deceiving in many ways. 20180402_164459 When you first see it, it is on the right-hand side of the river with rocks that form a sort of hot tub appearance. The bank of the river is 12 inches away from this Hot Spring and would be fantastic in the Summertime. There was steam coming off the top of the water and my excitement level peaked because I thought for sure it was going to be piping hot. I peeled off my clothes with my swimming suit underneath I fumbled my way across the rocks and into the pool, anticipating delicious warmth from the frigid cold air. I was sorely disappointed at the initial dip of my foot but wanted it to be warm so badly I decided to venture further into the pool. There was no area of this Hot Spring that was an actual HOT spring, it was more like a tepid bath……highly disappointing. We only stayed in the bogus Bigelow Hot Spring for about five minutes. IMG_2717 If you were to come in the summertime it would be fantastic though. The spring would be tepid enough to not overheat you, a good place to wash off the grime of camping and lounge by the river. In the Spring and Fall getting out of this spring will be frosty, not to the point of snot-sickles. Whatever part of your body you decide to immerse in the water will quickly become numb upon emerging from the spring. Cougar Hot Springs is the better Hot Springs as it is so hot, that you have to experience it in small doses. Unfortunately, the road was closed due to a rock slide and we could not safely reach it according to the Willamette National Forest Service Website. Make sure to check conditions of roads prior to visiting the different areas in the Pacific Northwest as the road conditions are dynamic. If you want to check out other Hot Springs in Oregon, check out the Oregon Hot Springs Website, for the information you will need about the different Hot Springs.

A Perfectly Picturesque Conclusion with Sand dollars:

There are not many people that know about this beach, and I hesitate to share this with you because it is so fantastic but come on, I have to share it with my Culture Trekking Crew! It is marked as just a Picnic area in Crescent City, but is a beach full of Sand dollars! IMG_2785 If you go at low tide earlier in the day you will see that the beach has sand dollars. When Bree told me about this I imagined a beach with all the Sand dollars in perfect condition lining the Beach. When you actually get there, you have to look for the Sand dollars. I would suggest going close to the waterline and looking for white pieces. If you find a greenish looking Sand Dollar, please put it back as this is still alive sand dollar. There will be broken ones and whole ones of the white Sand dollars, these are ones that have already died. We went at low tide later in the evening and it looks like people had already picked the beach for the whole sand dollars. [wpvideo 3ai0USyq] The sunsets here are amazing and would suggest you take a picnic and enjoy it as a perfect ending to your trip along the Southern Oregon Coast.

The Lessons Learned for our next Oregon Coast Camping Trip:

Overall the trip was an utter success, with many memories that will stay with me for a very long time. Some things that I took away from this trip that I would do differently for next time: get a paper map for any trails we go on, get a GPS device, bring more sweaters, allow more time for enjoying the journey, and don’t try to take a dip in the hot springs when it is 45 degrees outside and you can’t defrost in a hot shower afterwards. Make sure to check out my car camping list for any items you may need for your trip. This list will continue to be honed down and carefully crafted to help you travel. I will also be posting detailed videos of my experience & crucial information for your trip on the Culture Trekking YouTube Channel, be sure to subscribe and stay tuned. Top Highlights of our Oregon Coast Camping trip were definitely Silver Falls State Park, Tokatee Falls, and the Sand Dollar Beach. As always my friends: Happy Travels, Happy Tales, and see you on the Flipside.

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Top 15 Safety Tips for Hiking

Crater Lake in June – by Destination Overlooked

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Top 15 Safety Tips for Hiking

How many times has your Mom told you that you need to be careful? Well in this case she is right, Hiking in any terrain can be hazardous if you don’t have at least a basic knowledge of safety tips for hiking. Here are my own top 15 safety tips for hiking that I personally utilize when I go out on an adventure.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Tell Someone Where You Plan To Hike

Tell someone where you intend to go with a map of stops you plan to make and where you plan to park. Leave some dirty laundry for the dogs to sniff should you get lost. I know this sounds really silly, but living so close to the Wasatch Front Mountains in Utah, we hear about people being lost, falling off trails all the time. Despite avalanche warnings, the high river swells, and inclement weather – there is always the ONE person who doesn’t listen or thinks it does not apply to them.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Wear Bright Colors When Hiking

Wear bright colors so you can easily be spotted, for winter avoid light colors as it can blend in with the snow. Summertime wear a reflective vest. If you haven’t seen the movie 127 hours, you should. It takes place in Utah, and the guy made all the wrong choices when it came to safety. The only thing he had going for him was to cut off his arm after being pinned in a crevice.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Stay On the Trail and Set A ‘Turn Back Time’

Stay on the trail and set a time limit for your final destination or turn back spot. Even if you don’t make it to the final destination it is better to be safe rather than sorry! I get lost incredibly easy due to my inability to tell if I’m headed North or South etc… I always stay on a known trail that has a name and try to stick to the well worn or trampled trail as I know I will always be able to turn around and go back.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Bring Water and/or a Water Filtration System With You

Bring a Lifestraw or a camelback with the water you will need, a snack and an emergency blanket should you find yourself lost overnight. A flashlight can also serve as a beacon should a helicopter be flying overhead at night. I like to bring flashlights that are manually charged in addition to my headlamp. This way if your batteries on your headlamp were to go out, you could still manually charge the handheld flashlight.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Bring a First Aid Kit

Bring a small first aid kit complete with Band-Aids and a sling. The classic triangle sling or even a bandana can be used to create a tourniquet. This will account for the more serious injuries and small cuts or blisters. Band-Aids for the blisters and minor cuts, a snake venom kit should you be hiking in the bush or the desert. Check local hospitals if snake bites are common and where the nearest facility is with anti-venom. I know that in Utah, we have to be careful in the summertime when the snakes are more active. Do not bring your pets on trails that warn of snakes on the trail as this can make them more defensive and likely to attack. I also like to bring along my trusty Swiss Army Pocket Knife…..I always say, “You can never go wrong with a bandana, pocket knife, and duct tape”.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Wear Sun Protection

Wear Sunscreen, especially at higher elevations as Sunburns are often more likely to happen. I have seen skin cancer cases that have left my patients disfigured and debilitated, some even that have progressed to melanoma. So do yourself and your loved ones a favor, wear at least an SPF rating of 30 with a hat. If you have a bald head, don’t forget to cover that up & put sunscreen on your ears, neck, and chest. Wear sunglasses that have full coverage of UV rays.

Heat Stroke And Dehydration Precautions

Know what Heat Stroke and Dehydration look like, and what the best way to treat it in the wilderness is. Check weather patterns and never start a hike that looks like there will be lightening, when you are on the side of the mountain, you may as well put a target on your back that says, ‘hit here first’.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Wear Supportive Shoes

Wear shoes that are supportive and slightly above the ankle joint. I have seen so many broken ankles over the years, and not from just missing the curb. You can be hiking along, hit a rock in just the wrong way. Your balance can be thrown off, you try and catch yourself, and *SNAP*, 4-6 months on crutches. Depending on where you break your bone will determine if you need to have surgical intervention. So be careful people, as much as I like doing ORIF’s of the Ankle, it is miserable for the one getting it done to them.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Wear Proper Clothing

Moisture-wicking clothing and cotton clothing that is UV resistant. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see light through your clothing, so can the sun. Even in the Summer months, a fleece sweater stuffed in the bottom of your rucksack is a good rule of thumb. If someone was to sustain a bad fall and go into shock, having an extra layer around can save someone’s life.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Use Common Sense

Don’t take people up on dares of ‘Who can climb that shale 80% grade to the top of the mountain the fastest and not fall off the sheer cliff’. I feel this is more common sense than an actual safety tip. However, my six years in the operating room taught me one thing, common sense is not so common.

Have a Contingency Plan for if You Get Lost

If your situation is really dire, start making signs pointing to where you are with twigs or rocks along the trail. This way if someone is coming to look for you they have a way to track you down.

Remember that the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West. This can give you a little more direction.

If you find a river or a water source, it will typically lead to civilization. This is my personal observation because of how most of the towns we know today are centered around a water source. It may be difficult to follow the water source directly, but following the sound of the stream or river to the collection pools/lakes is also a good idea. This will also provide a large open area for people to more easily spot you.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Know Your Limitations

Know your physical limitations! When hiking with other people, I have had to teach myself to listen to my body and what it is telling me. Only the best hikers and climbers in the world can make it to the top. You have to listen to your body, pace yourself and enjoy the hike, you don’t have to sprint up the trail! STOP when you feel like you have run out of half of your energy stores.

Pack a Snack

Keep plenty of water and energy supplying snacks in your bag. Your body needs nourishment, not junk food. I always keep dried fruit in my bag along with some carrots. These do not need to be refrigerated, don’t get smashed in my bag and are lightweight. If you feel yourself start to get tired (I’m not talking muscle burn) snack on the energy supplies you brought. I always know when I need a snack because I suddenly feel like I need to lay down under the nearest tree and take a nap.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Bonus!

Make sure to check yourself and your dogs for ticks and any creatures that may want to hitch a ride home with you.
 

Safety First

So there you have it! These are my Top 15 Safety Tips for Hiking. If all else fails, just remember that panicking never helped anyone. My Grandma always tells me that, “worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair, rocking back and forth all the time, but never really going anywhere”.
Most of all, have fun and enjoy nature, but please don’t try to conquer it. Mother nature is both a beast and a beauty, she will always win and bites hard with a sure finality if you try and challenge her.

Do you have any tips on how to hike without GPS?

What about if your GPS fails in the middle of a hike?

Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

Happy Travels, Happy Trails, and see you on the Flip Side 😉


Disclaimer: Please consult your Primary Care Physician before attempting any strenuous activity. Train properly for each trail you are attempting to hike. Check AllTrails.com for GPS coordinates, difficulty level for each trail and the conditions of the trail. If you are hiking in a national park, check with the local ranger station on trail conditions or warnings for the area.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

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A Guide to a Dog-Friendly Moab

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A Guide To A Dog-Friendly Moab

A Guide To A Dog-Friendly Moab

Moab, Utah is known for being an adventure lovers playground. River rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, and being so close to not one but TWO National Parks with fantastic views, there is SO much to do! But the national parks don’t allow dogs on their trails, I haven’t gotten around to teaching my dog to ride a bike, she doesn’t have the opposable thumbs necessary for rock climbing, and I don’t think the river guides would appreciate my dog’s nails and teeth on their inflatable raft… so what about for those who want to bring their furry friend along on their trip to Moab? Never fear! There is still PLENTY for you and your dog to do and see! Here is a comprehensive guide to a Dog-Friendly Moab. 

Let’s start with the Dog-Friendly Hikes: 

Dead Horse Point State Park:

Dog Friendly Guide To Moab - Culture Trekking - #DogsinMoab #HikesforDogsinMoab #MoabUtah
Culture Trekking in the Netherlands
  • Shade: Little to none
  • Water: they have to have it brought in by water truck from Moab, so just plan on bringing your own.

While you may not be able to get into Canyonlands National Park with your dog, just a few miles before you reach the Island in the Sky district of the park. There is a small State Park with absolutely STUNNING and dramatic views from above of the Colorado River. Though its name doesn’t inspire these types of images, don’t be deceived: Dead Horse Point State Park is absolutely breathtaking and has 7 miles of different hiking trails (all of them flat and easy to traverse) with both you and your dog.

Learn about the origins of this park’s name, see my Legends of Moab post.

Dotting the path are informational signs, learn about the geology and plant life of the park. I slept peacefully that night after hiking and meeting my “learn something new every day” quota.
 

Dog Friendly Guide To Moab - Culture Trekking - #DogsinMoab #HikesforDogsinMoab #MoabUtah


The park’s facilities include a visitors center, two restrooms (with plumbing!), and even a small coffee stand outside. Two campgrounds, one which includes yurts, you can reserve your spot and view the night in style. With this park being a “Dark Sky” certified park, consider staying the night to go stargazing, see the Milky Way, and watch for shooting stars.
This is a popular park so reserve your accommodation early. There are several first come, first serve spot in one of the nearby Cowboy or Horsethief BLM campgrounds. Just make sure to keep your dog on a leash while in the park. So take that National Park dog haters!

Corona Arch and Bowtie Arch Trail:

  • Distance: 3 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 488 feet
  • Shade: none
  • Water: none

Traveler Tip: How to View The Delicate Arch Without the Crowds (from The Wandering Queen)

Dog Friendly Guide To Moab - Culture Trekking - #DogsinMoab #HikesforDogsinMoab #MoabUtah
Culture Trekking in the Netherlands

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WasYs7Obh4
This trail starts from a well-marked parking area next to the Colorado River. It immediately takes you up a few switchbacks to climb up onto the landing where you will get a great view of the river and the canyon. Cross the railroad that goes through a short stretch of a man-made slot canyon (very Instagram worthy!).

Follow the rock cairns to help keep you on the path. Eventually, you will come to a section where both you and your dog will have to channel your inner mountain goat to climb up to the next shelf. But don’t worry! There are foot holes carved into the rock and a rope to help you up. With a little encouragement and coaching your dog should be able to get to the upper level just fine.

Dog Friendly Guide To Moab - Culture Trekking - #DogsinMoab #HikesforDogsinMoab #MoabUtah


At the top of this shelf, you will be able to see both Corona Arch (right) and Bowtie Arch (left upper). Make sure to hike all the way under the arch, it will give you a better perspective of the epic proportions of this free-standing monolith. 

Traveler tip: A lot of this hike is over slickrock, which is really good at reflecting heat. This is a great hike during colder months for this reason. During the hotter months, be sure to do this hike earlier on in the morning and bring LOTS of water for you and your dog!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kT_EO2KsPdQ
Across the street from the main parking area for Corona Arch, there is more parking, picnic pavilions, and an outhouse toilet. There are no garbages at the trailhead for doggie bags, so please be considerate: pick up after your dog and just take it with you to dispose of later.

Traveler Tip: In the Big Bend campsite across from the trailhead (next to the river), there is a dumpster where you can take your trash and dog droppings.

Morning Glory Natural Bridge:

Dog Friendly Guide To Moab - Culture Trekking - #DogsinMoab #HikesforDogsinMoab #MoabUtah
  • Length: 4.3 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 416 ft.
  • Shade: Morning and evening shade
  • Water: a stream your dog can drink from
Dog Friendly Guide To Moab - Culture Trekking - #DogsinMoab #HikesforDogsinMoab #MoabUtah

Starting in the parking area next to the Colorado River, this trail follows a stream up a lovely little side canyon. This canyon is formerly known as Negro Bill Canyon, now Grandstaff Canyon. You can enjoy the dramatic red cliffs on both sides as you listen to the birds sing, the gurgle of the stream, and walk under some the of trees that have taken advantage of the little water source. You do cross the stream a couple of times, so unless you and your dog have some acrobatic balancing skills to jump from rock to rock, just expect to get your feet wet.

When you come to the point in the trail where the canyon forks and goes two separate ways, go to the left. The first time I hiked this trail, I got confused and started to climb up, following what looked like a path (probably made by many other confused souls like myself). Just stay down below and follow the stream. At the second fork of the canyon, go right to reach this canyon’s dead end and see Morning Glory Natural Bridge, with the 5th longest span in the world! When you get there, you will be treated to a large, deceiving arch with a spring feeding a little pool directly underneath it.


You can sit there to relax and enjoy the sites and sounds echoing around the dead end of the canyon. At times, you’ll even be able to watch people rappel down between the bridge and the cliff into this little oasis. But be aware of your surroundings! There is poison ivy included in the plant life in this area. Not a ton, but enough you should be aware of the plants so you and your dog can avoid touching it. Just remember: leaves of three, let it be!
This is a popular hike and the main parking area isn’t that big, but there is some overflow parking down and across the street a short way. There is an outhouse-like toilet, no plumbing in the main parking area. And while there are no garbages in the actual parking areas of the hike, next to the overflow parking area is a campground where there is a garbage to throw out your doggie bags.

Poison Spider Dinosaur Tracks and Petroglyphs:

Dog Friendly Guide To Moab - Culture Trekking - #DogsinMoab #HikesforDogsinMoab #MoabUtah
  • Length: 0.3 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation gain: 68 feet
  • Shade: none
  • Water: none

Although this is a short hike, it is well worth it for you and your dog. This trail has lots of history includeing the writings of an ancient people and tracks left behind by the dinosaurs that used to roam this area. Against the red rock, both the petroglyphs and the tracks are easy for you to see. Just be prepared to climb up to see both the tracks and petroglyphs. As you start, it won’t be far until you come across the Dinosaur tracks.

Dog Friendly Guide To Moab - Culture Trekking - #DogsinMoab #HikesforDogsinMoab #MoabUtah


The slab of rock they are on has fallen from above where the petroglyphs are, so keep going to see the petroglyphs and a few more tracks. There are informational signs by both sites where you can read more information about what you are seeing. An outhouse is available here, but no garbage cans. 

Dog Friendly Guide To Moab - Culture Trekking - #DogsinMoab #HikesforDogsinMoab #MoabUtah

Fisher Towers:

  • Distance: 2-3.9 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 1,459 feet
  • Shade: Morning
  • Water: none

This hike is about a 25.5-mile drive outside of Moab, but worth it to see these unique rock formations. The drive itself is pretty spectacular as you are driving through the canyon on Scenic Byway 128. With the Colorado River on your left and the dizzying red cliffs on your right, you’ll wish you were the passenger in the car so you can just enjoy the scenery!
When you get to the trailhead, you will be able to see Fisher Towers immediately. The best perspectives, and viewpoints to really be able to appreciate that enormity of these natural structures comes when you hike the trail itself.

Traveler Tip: Make this hike the ‘go to’ hike if someone in your party is too tired, or has physical limitations. It is a great spot to have a picnic with great views – and provides a fantastic trail for those who want to keep pushing themselves.

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The view fromt the parking lot along, gives you an idea of why some movie directors chose this location to film scenes for few movies, including:  “John Carter“, “City Slickers“, “Lightning Jack“, “Geronimo: An American Legend“, and “Comencheros” .

The beginning of the trail is a bit deciving because you have to begin the trail heading away from Fisher Towers, down into a canyon, and then turning back towards the Fisher Towers. Three-quarters of the way up the trail, you will get the full perspective of just how massive the Titan (the larger of the Fisher Towers) truly is. At this point you can continue on to the end of the trail where there is another viewpoint of the valley and an ampitheater like rock formation; or you can turn back to head to your next unique adventure. If you are lucky, you may see some rock climbers attempting to conquer the Titan – it is a very popular climbing right of passage.
Facilities available: An outhouse is available but no garbages. There is also a picnic area/campground near the beginning of the trail. It is a BLM campground so, don’t expect water or hookups to be provided.

Jeep Arch (also known as Goldbar Arch):

Dog Friendly Guide To Moab - Culture Trekking - #DogsinMoab #HikesforDogsinMoab #MoabUtah
  • Distance: 4 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation gain: 944 feet
  • Shade: Evening
  • Water: none

Jeep Arch Hike is a unique advneture that not a lot of people know about. About a half mile down the road from the Corona Arch, there is a pull-out on the right side of the road. There is no sign to indicate it is the beginning of the trail, but once you park, go through the culvert that leads under the train tracks.

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You will see a sign on the other side of the culvert that indicates the beginning of the trail for Jeep Arch. The trail leads you up and to the left. The first 1/8th of a mile of the trail is uphill to get you up on the shelf. After that, the trail is well marked with cairns. About a mile into the trail, there is a sign indicating the trail becomes a loop. You can go either way and it will take you uphill to the arch. If you go to the right, the uphill route is more gradual. To the left, the climb up is steeper and in between the split rocks shown in the picture, but once you do, the rest of the hike to the arch is flat. Either way you go, you can hike through the arch to complete the loop, or just hike back the way you came.

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This is a great trail to get away from the crowds! I hiked this trail in February, and for the whole hike, I only saw one other person on the last 1/4 mile of the trail. Otherwise, I was able to just take my time and enjoy the quiet solitude of the desert.

Travler Tip: Like the Corona Arch Trail, the majority of this trail is on slickrock which makes it really good at reflecting the sun’s heat. This makes it a great trail for hiking in the winter, but take that into consideration when hiking in summer: hike early in the morning and bring lots of water.

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There is no garbage can at the trailhead to place your dog’s waste, but since it is so close to Corona Arch and the Goldbar Campground, you can go ahead and use the campground garbage. You can use the toilet facilities at the campground area as well.

Hunter Canyon:

Dog Friendly Guide To Moab - Culture Trekking - #DogsinMoab #HikesforDogsinMoab #MoabUtah
  • Distance: 3 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation gain: 164 feet
  • Shade: most of the day (except midday)
  • Water: Yes. a stream for your dog to drink from (for most of the year)

To get to this trail, on the way from Moab, keep an eye out on your right-hand side for a big boulder with some fencing around it and make sure to stop! This rock is covered in petroglyphs, including the famous Birthing Scene! It’s fascinating to think about the people who engraved their stories into the rock! Who was the lady in the depiction? Was she or her baby a really important person in the tribe? Or was this just a proud father carving a family portrait? I don’t know, but I wish I did! Oh to be a fly on the…..rock?
The parking area for this hike is the same parking area for the small campground that is right at the beginning of the trailhead. As you begin hiking up the canyon from the campground, you’ll be hiking among some of the vegetation that grows along the stream.. You’ll criss-cross the stream a few times and there are some opportunities for you to scramble up huge slabs of sandstone. About a half of a mile into the hike, make sure to look up and to the right to see Hunters Arch. Hiking in this canyon, with its huge, sweeping cliff walls and its stream and vegetation is what makes this a great hike for you and your dog to take.
There is an open-air style bathroom with no door on it, just a sign to indicate if it’s occupied or not. There is also no garbage so be prepared to haul our your dogs mess out with you.

Mill Creek Falls:

Photo courtesy of The Outbound Collective
  • Distance: 0.5-7.5 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 629 feet
  • Shade: yes
  • Water: Yes. a creek for your dog to drink from.

Moab in the summer gets HOT! Hiking in summer, of course you are going to be doing most of your hiking in the mornings and in the evenings where the temperatures of the day are coolest, but what about those blistering afternoons? Well because of the waterfalls and swimming holes on Mill Creek Falls Trail, this is a great option to still get some hiking in and take a dip in the cool, refreshing water flowing straight from the La Sal mountains!
The start of this hike is just outside of Moab. Getting out of the car, and starting along the trail, it won’t take you very long at all to get to the first swimming hole and waterfall (man made). If you are looking for just a quick dip to get cool, go ahead and spend some time here to cool off a bit. Make sure to keep going up the canyon, you will find more swimming holes, waterfalls, and see some native american petroglyphs on the cliff side.

Post Hiking Puppy Care: 

Moab Barkery:

I don’t know about your dog, but mine LOVES to play in the dirt and sand! After a long day of hiking in and around Moab, I knew if I wanted my pooch anywhere near my sleeping situation; I would have to give her a bath and wash out all of the red dirt she had collected in her fur.
I tried to wash her off in the hotel tub the first night, but it was a near disaster as she was all over the place! I could barely get her clean enough to call it good enough before she jumped out and tore all over the room in her after a bath frenzy… then there was the wet dog smell that lingered for a long time afterward. So the second day, I decided to give the Moab Barkery a try.

The Moab Barkery is a pet shop in Moab that includes 2 dog baths (one walk-in, one raised) where you can wash off all that Moab dirt. For my 45 lb pooch, it cost me $15 and they provided the apron to save my clothes, bath, shampoo, conditioner, combs/brushes, ear drops, cotton balls, and dryer to dry her off when she was all clean.
Oh my goodness, it was so much easier! I was able to save my back and bathe her in the raised tub, with a special leash so she couldn’t move around all over while I was giving her a bath. The shampoo and conditioner were very nice smelling and made it easy to brush her out afterward. I was able to dry her out with the dryer. They even have some special supplies there 😉 I was able to buy my spoiled pooch a treat and a new toy. All in all, my puppy and I had a great experience here!

Moab Bark Park:

We had spent all of the morning and afternoon hiking around Moab. Finishing around 4 pm, I knew I wouldn’t have time to complete the next trail I had wanted to do before sunset. I dog tired (pun intended), but I wasn’t ready to call it a day quite yet. I knew Moab had a dog park so I looked it up: I found out it’s open from dawn until dusk so I decided to go and let my puppy get the rest of her energy out before we went back to the hotel.

It is a large space with two enclosed areas: a smaller one for dogs up to 30 lbs, and another, larger one for everyone else. It was all red dirt which I didn’t love, but my puppy sure did!  There were plenty of other dogs there for her to frolic with. Several poop stations are available with bags to clean up your dog’s waste. There is also a puppy watering station where for a drink break between play sessions. My sweet dog was exhausted after playing so hard at the Bark Park. We both slept like the dead once we got back to our Hotel.

Dog-Friendly Hotels:

When I first got my puppy, I didn’t think about the fact that my accommodation options would become more limited. My first trip to Moab I researched hotels with the “pet-friendly” filter on.  The frustration quickly mounted, when I would call to double check they would allow my pooch to come and they said they didn’t allow dogs.

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As a result of that frustration, I called quite a few of the hotels/motels/etc in the Moab area and asked them three things: 1. If they allowed dogs 2. if they had a fee for pets staying 3. what their cheapest off-season rates were versus their most expensive in-season rates.

The result of that effort is what follows: (USA Country phone code is +1)
Dog-friendly Hotels:             Pet Fee: Price Ranges(Off/On-season)

Days Inn 
(435) 259-4468
$20 per pet/night $59- $299
Gonzo Inn
(435) 259-2515
$30 per night (up to 2 dogs) $99- $199 (my favorite Inn)
Expedition Lodge
(435) 259-6147
Pets stay free $55- $350
Kokopelli Lodge & Suites (435) 530-3134  $31- $186
Motel 6
(435) 259-6686
Pets stay free $50- $229
Under Canvas Moab
(435) 895-3213
 $25 per pet/nights Average price ranges from $226-$303. Open March 8-Oct 30
Homewood Suites by Hilton (435) 259-7000 $50 one time fee $99- $400
Apache Motel
(435) 259-5727
  $70- $137
Big Horn Lodge $5 per pet/night $59- $149
La Quinta Inn & Suites (435) 259-8700 Pets stay Free $99-329+tax
Moab Rustic Inn
(435) 259-6177 
Pets stay free $100- $140- Closed from Dec 1-Feb 1
Silver Sage Inn
(435) 259-4420
 $10 per pet/night $45- $120
Red Stone Inn
(435) 259-3500
 $10/night $80- $166
The Virginian
(435) 259-5951
 $10 per pet/night $79- $149
BLM CampsitesPets stay Free$10- $25

So when you decide to visit Moab with your furry friend, be sure to make your hotel reservations early, bring your poop bags and water for your pooch, bring your camera, and experience Southern Utah, like never before.

As Always, Happy Travels, Happy Tales, and See You on the Flip Side! 


If you enjoyed this article, then you may also enjoy:
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Camping with the locals in Doi Angkhang, Thailand

Deep in the remote mountains of northern Thailand, the peaceful retreat of Doi Angkhang is a world away from the bustling streets of Chiang Mai. The main attractions around this small town are the projects run by the Royal Agricultural Research Centre. Within the compound, colorful flower gardens showcase the technical expertise of scientists and gardeners. Further on, picturesque tea plantations and fruit farms welcome visitors to explore and buy the local produce. photo 1 Just a few decades ago, this region bordering Myanmar was lawless and inaccessible. Poppy plantations and opium factories dotted the landscape, as drug smugglers ran their business with impunity. In recent times, however, a determined drive by the Thai government to introduce agriculture reforms and improve infrastructure has driven the drug trade out of the area. Today, Doi Angkhang is popular with locals seeking refuge from the tropical humidity. With a temperate climate averaging between 20°c to 25°c, most visitors come here to hike, camp or just spend a night in the only resort for a short getaway.

Traveler Tip: Check out this Two Week Itinerary in Thailand

Photo 2

Getting here

It takes 3.5 hours to get here by car from Chiang Mai, with the last hour crawling up steep uphill slopes and navigating relentless hairpin turns. There is no public transport going up to Doi Angkhang, so you’ll need a private vehicle to make the trip up. If you can find a group of travel companions, you can hire a private minivan or Songthaew for 2 days and share the cost. You can find plenty of tour operators in Chiang Mai, or take a bus to Fang and find a driver there for slightly less. Photo 3

The camping experience

Accommodation in Doi Angkhang is very limited, with a single resort and several guesthouses in town. But the best way to spend the night here is in a tent, camping alongside locals in a forest clearing overlooking the valley below.

The campsites

While there are several campsites in the area, each with its own unique viewpoint. Occupying several strips of terraces directly facing east, the campsite managed by the National Parks is the prime spot for catching the sunrise. A tent here costs 200 Baht per night, which is affordable even for locals. In front of the rows of tents, the valley extends far into the distant mountain range. On weekends and national holidays, there may be a lot more visitors to the campsite (I DID say that this was popular with locals!). Fret not, for just further down the road, to the left of the National Parks campsite, is another site run by the Thai army. A small army camp marks the entrance, and you can rent a tent and pay the pitching fees at a small booth nearby. Local families also rent out small plots of land around the area for overnight camping. Photo 4

Camping equipment and accessories

You don’t need to bring your own tent to pitch here. Everything can be rented at an affordable rate, and it’s all set up for you to crawl into. For security, you’ll just need a padlock to secure the tent while you’re out. If you’re renting from the National Park office, you may choose to rent a sleeping bag or a set consisting of a sleeping mat and a blanket. Temperatures may drop to single digits on the Celsius scale at night, so be prepared to tuck in for warmth. Photo 5 A row of shops across the road from the campsite sells other common camping equipment like gas stoves, bottled water, and toiletries. They stock pretty much everything you need for a comfortable outdoor camping experience, so you really need to lug them up the mountains.

Bathroom Facilities

A short distance from the tents, shared bathrooms are available for all campers to use for free. Housed in two separate blocks for each gender, the bathrooms are relatively basic with no heated water and limited toilet paper. It’s cleaned daily before the bulk of campers congregate in the afternoon, but expect it to get progressively dirtier as night comes. You can get hot water showers at the shops across the road for around 100 Baht each time. With the nice cool temperature though, most campers will just skip the shower for the night – it’s part of the outdoor experience after all! Photo 6

Dining

No camping trip is complete without cooking a meal over a campfire. In Doi Angkhang, locals do it with a twist, as the shops prepare a mookata feast to be delivered and cooked right in front of your tent. Mookata is a social dining experience, where food is either grilled on a metal plate or cooked in a broth that is collected in a shallow trough running along the side. In Doi Angkhang, 400 Baht will get you an earthen stove, the mookata hotplate, charcoal to last for 2 hours, and enough ingredients to make a meal for 2 people. Photo 7 Choose a shop to purchase the set, and a shop assistant will carry everything down to your tent and prepare the fire. As the campsite gets dark at night, it’s best to prepare a headlamp to free your hands while cooking AND eating (remember to use separate pairs of chopsticks for handling raw and cooked food!). If all these sound too troublesome, the shops also sell cooked food at affordable prices. As these family-run establishments double up as their homes, you might even be invited to join them for a meal if you’re lucky! Photo 8

Catching the sunrise

One of the highlights of camping in Doi Angkhang is catching the sunrise from the front of your tent. All tents are pitched on a terrace with an unblocked view, so there’s really no excuse to miss it. At 6am, wake up and partially wiggle out of your sleeping bag to unzip the flap of the tent entrance. From the comfortable confines of your tent, you can watch a magnificent sunrise without taking a single step out. Photo 9 If you’re feeling active or need a boost of energy to start the day, the cool air of Doi Angkhang is ideal for a morning jog or a short hike into the woods. Otherwise, roll back into your tent to catch a few more hours of sleep.

Packing up and moving on

Most campers pack up and head back down by 10am. Checking out is straightforward, as you return all your sleeping bags or mat to the office, and then collect your driver’s license or identity card from the park ranger. From the campsite, you can head towards the Royal Agricultural Research Centre to visit the gardens and plantations, and then further on to the army base at the Thai-Myanmar border. Alternatively, head back down the mountain towards Fang, and return to Chiang Mai (3.5 hours) or Chiang Rai (2.5 hours). If you have an extra day to spare, do check out the Chinese village of Mae Salong (3 hours), which has picturesque tea plantations to visit and an interesting background story worthy of a Hollywood movie!

Author Bio

Profile Photo Gary is an avid backpacker and part-time geek, on a constant mission to travel the world while holding down a day job. He started 2-Week Trips, a travel blog dedicated to independent backpacking vacations, as a resource for the gainfully employed to embark on exciting adventures around the world. When not running after trains or sleeping in airports, he can be found brewing up a batch of beer, running his photography business, or writing his latest travel story on his battered laptop.  Website, Instagram, Twitter    ]]>