Adventures by Disney has announced that it is expanding its catalog of travel itineraries for 2014 with new options to Europe and several tours specifically created for the teen traveler. These new additions to the line-up will expand on the company's already diverse group of tours that are designed to provide adventure travel options for families while delivering a distinctly Disney experience.
New to the Adventures by Disney portfolio is a nine-day escape to Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic that includes visits to the vibrant and cosmopolitan cities of Salzburg, Prague and Vienna. While on the tour, travelers will experience ice caves in the Alps, visit wondrous castles, tour a marionette workshop and get a private after-hours tour of the famed Vienna Zoo – the oldest in Europe.
If Italy holds more appeal over Central Europe, then the new Enhanced Italy tour may be more to your liking. This classic family escape will take travelers to the streets of Rome, Tuscany, Venice and Florence, offering VIP treatment along the way. Highlights include an after-hours visit to the Vatican and Sistine Chapel, a private pasta-making class and of course a special gondola ride through the canals of Venice.
Finally, ABD has announced three new adventures designed specifically with teenagers in mind. These options include escapes to Peru, Costa Rica and Arizona and Utah, and feature activities intended for teenagers at each of those destinations. In Peru, for instance, they can go stargazing around a campfire in the foothills of the Andes. In Costa Rica, they'll take in the exotic and diverse wildlife of the rainforest and in Arizona and Utah, they'll have the opportunity to go on a bike ride through Boynton Canyon in Sedona. Each of these itineraries was specifically crafted to engage teenagers and allow families with teens to travel together.
Since its inception eight years ago, Adventures by Disney has been providing high quality adventure travel opportunities for the entire family. These new offerings will only expand on the company's award-winning service while offering more choices for customers. If you're looking to introduce a little adventure into your next family escape, they can definitely help you accomplish that in a unique and well-crafted manner.
Yesterday, 80-year-old mountaineer Yiuchiro Miura successfully reached the summit of Mt. Everest, setting a new age record in the process. Miura, who has climbed the mountain on two previous occasions, is now the oldest person to ever stand on top of the tallest mountain on the planet. But just how long he'll hold that distinction remains to be seen.
There were some concerns about the weather conditions heading to the summit, as the forecasts had called for high winds. Bad weather could have scrubbed Miura's summit attempt, but fortunately the predicted shift didn't come. As a result, it was a good day for climbing and although it was cold on the summit, the Japanese alpinist and his son Gota managed to reach the top in a safe and timely fashion. They spent roughly a half-hour on the summit celebrating their accomplishment and calling home to their support team via satellite phone before heading back down.
We told you about Miura's quest to climb Everest a few weeks back, noting at the time that he was vying for the title of the oldest to achieve that feat with 81-year-old Min Bahadur Sherchan of Nepal. Sherchan has yet to begin his climb as a stomach ailment has kept him in Base Camp in recent days. He says that he is feeling stronger now and hopes to make a summit bid next week. If he is successful, he'll wrest the title of oldest Everest climber away from his Japanese rival. In 2008, at the age of 76, Sherchan topped out one day ahead of Miura, nabbing the record that has stood for the past five years.
Sherchan will have to have a little luck go his way, however, as the weather forecasts indicate the current summit window will close in the next few days. It is unclear whether or not another window will open before the end of the month, which traditionally sees a shifting of the jet stream that signals the arrival of the seasonal monsoons. When that happens, no one will be able to climb Everest until the fall at the earliest.
Good news for mountain bikers looking to hit a trail this long Memorial Day Weekend. The fabulous Mammoth Mountain Bike Park will open to riders this Saturday, kicking off another great summer season with a variety of trail options for riders of all skill levels.
Located in California's scenic Sierra Nevada range, Mammoth Mountain is a year-round outdoor playground for those who like to get away from it all. In the winter it offers some of the premiere skiing in all of North America and in the summer the bike park opens for a completely different type of fun. The park offers more than 80 miles of trail that includes cross-country, single-track routes with breathtaking views and adrenaline-inducing downhill courses for the more adventurous amongst us.
Mammoth Mountain's trails offer gentle riding for beginners and more technical and leg-straining options for the experienced mountain biker. When the park opens on Saturday at least 12 of its trails will be ready for action. If you're already familiar with what the park has to offer, the list of trails that will be open include: Downtown, UpTown, Big Ring, Paper Route, Juniper, Timber Ridge, Shotgun, Lower Pipeline, Lower Bullet Lakes Trail and Pioneer Practice Loop.
To celebrate the opening of the park for the summer, Mammoth is also offering an outstanding deal for this weekend. Just $69 will get you both lodging and a bike pass good for unlimited riding. You'll have a hard time getting on this course for less cash than that anytime soon. What a great way to kick off the summer!
We've noted before just how popular cycling holidays have become in recent years as active and adventurous travelers look for new ways to explore their favorite destinations. Few of those holidays can rival Australia's annual Great Victorian Bike Ride, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year by riding the Great Ocean Road, one of the most breathtakingly beautiful routes that you could ever hope to pedal.
The 2013 edition of the GVBR will get underway on November 23 and run through December 1. The nine-day tour will set out from the spectacular Blue Lake, located near the town of Mount Gambier in South Australia. From there, the route will wander for 610 kilometers (379 miles) along the Great Ocean Road and into the Otways, a lush and ecologically diverse rainforest punctuated by dramatic rock formations and towering waterfalls.
Tickets for the 2013 GVBR went on sale a few days ago and are already moving fast. The ride is limited to just 6000 participants, which sounds like a lot but previous years have actually sold out quite quickly. Anyone interested in joining in on the fun should book early to avoid getting completely shut out. Organizers say they have already seen a record amount of interest in the ride this year with entries going quickly.
In an effort to increase diversity in America's national parks, the American Latino Heritage Fund of the National Park Foundation has announced a nation wide search for bloggers to take part in an exciting new adventure. Yesterday, the ALHF launched the @American_Latino Expedition, which will explore three parks this summer while simultaneously raising awareness of the contributions of American Latinos to each of those locations.
The @American_Latino Expedition project will focus on education, park stewardship, outdoor recreation and exploration inside Olympic and Mesa Verde national parks in Washington and Colorado respectively, as well as the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area located in Arizona and Utah. With that in mind, the ALHF is looking for groups of bloggers to visit each location and share their experiences with readers. That includes using outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to creatively engage their audiences as well. In exchange for their efforts, all expenses – including airfare, lodging and most on-site excursions – will be completely covered.
The deadline for applying to take part in this program is June 14, and the ALHF is quick to point out that you don't have to be Latino to be selected. Any group with an active social media following, or even adventurous families, are encouraged to apply. To find out more about the project and to download the applications, click here.
Over the past couple of years, the number of choices for consumers looking to buy a portable Bluetooth speaker has exploded. It wasn't all that long ago that our options were limited to just a few underpowered speakers that provided low-quality wireless audio, but now there are literally dozens of these speakers on the market making it much more of a challenge to decide which one to buy. It has also made it more of a challenge for the companies who manufacturer these devices to stand out in the crowd, forcing them to try something a little different. That seems to be the approach that Nyne took with their NB-230 speaker system, delivering a product that will remind you more of an old-school boombox rather than the smaller speakers that typically come from their competitors.
The first thing you're likely to notice about the NB-230 is its size. Most other portable Bluetooth speakers are designed to be small enough that you can toss them in a backpack and take them along with you just about everywhere, but as mentioned above, this speaker is more like a streamlined boombox for the 21st century. While it is small and light enough to take with you on a day trip, this isn't likely to be the kind of speaker that you'll want to carry with you on a trip to the far side of the globe. It is simply too large and oddly shaped to want to put into your luggage, although it is great for a day at the beach or family picnic in the park.
Unlike most other portable Bluetooth speakers that I've used, the NB-230 doesn't include a rechargeable battery. Smaller speakers can be powered for hours on their own built-in batteries, but this device is too large for that to be an efficient option. Instead, you'll need to use six C batteries to keep the speaker operating while away from a power outlet. (When is the last time you actually had to use C cells for anything? Probably the last boombox that you owned more than a decade ago.) Nyne says that those batteries will keep the NB-230 charged for up to four hours, and that is about what I achieved while testing the unit. That means that using this speaker away from home could get costly and that battery life is about half that found on smaller models from the competition.
Residents of New York City who are looking to put a little outdoor adventure into their lives will be pleased to learn of an upcoming event that aims to help them do just that. The first ever Outdoor Rise festival is scheduled to take place June 17-23 and will offer a full week of competitions, classes, lectures, films and more. Best off all, the event is scheduled to take place across all five boroughs and will be absolutely free.
Outdoor Rise is sponsored by Discover Outdoors, an organization that is dedicated to improving the "quality of life through meaningful outdoor experiences." With that in mind, there are some big plans for the upcoming festival with events such as daily yoga classes, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding opportunities on the Hudson River, bouldering in Central Park and organized hikes along a variety of trails. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. There will also be photography workshops, guest speakers, adventure films and more. For a full schedule be sure to check out the events calendar on the Outdoor Rise website.
The hope is that that this event will not only provide a rare opportunity for outdoor adventure to the very metropolitan New York crowd, but also give someone the chance to connect with the outdoors in ways that they never have before. Many people who live in NYC might not even know that these opportunities exist right outside their door, and the dedicated team at Discover Outdoors wants to remind them of this fact. Along the way, they might even inspire them to bigger adventures.
It has been a long and wild climbing season on the world's tallest mountain. Over the past few years, Mt. Everest has been widely criticized for being an over crowded stage for publicity seekers and tourist climbers who have no business being on the mountain. That hasn't changed much this spring, but when you add in the recent brawl between three European climbers and a mob of angry Sherpas, not to mention the death of a very well known Russian mountaineer earlier this week, the 2013 season has been a strange and difficult one indeed. But for most of the climbers, the end is now in sight. After nearly two months away from home and weeks of acclimatizing at altitude, all of their preparation is about to pay off. Summit Day has arrived at last.
The summit of Everest has remained an elusive place thus far this spring. A week ago two teams of Sherpas completed the job of fixing the ropes to the top of the mountain from both the North Side in Tibet and the South Side in Nepal. A couple of daring and experienced climbers followed closely behind and were able to top out just before a system of bad weather moved in. Since then, high winds have kept the summit out of reach and challenged the patience of the other teams waiting to make their ascents. Over the past few days, a number of those teams attempted to reach the top, but most of them were turned back by persistent bad weather. Today the skies cleared, the winds have calmed and temperatures have even warmed a bit making it a perfect day to climb to the top.
The National Geographic Emerging Explorers Program was created to recognize young adventurers, scientists and researchers who have shown particular promise in their chosen field. Each year, Nat Geo selects a group of outstanding men and women who have not only made a significant impact early in their career but whose work shows potential for major breakthroughs down the line as well.
Earlier this week, the Class of 2013 Emerging Explorers was revealed for the first time. This year there are 17 recipients of this honor, each with their own diverse interests and areas of expertise. For instance, conservation biologist Steve Boyes is recognized for his work in protecting Botswana's famous Okavango Delta ecosystem. He's joined by Sayed Gul Kalash, an archaeologist who is striving to preserve the endangered Kalash culture and language in remote Pakistan. Erin Pettit earned her Emerging Explorer honors by studying glaciers to better understand the effects of climate change, while Shah Selbe is an engineer who built a system to track illegal fishing activities across the globe.
This year's class of Emerging Explorers also represents how we are redefining who we perceive as an "explorer" in the 21st century. In addition to the traditional biologists, anthropologists and geologists that fit that mold, we also have Chad Jenkins who is a computer scientists and roboticist working in the field of artificial intelligence. Entrepreneur Tan Le is recognized for her efforts in studying how the brain works and sharing that knowledge on a global scale, while Jer Throp is breaking new ground in the arena of data visualization and digital art. These are new areas of research and study that would have been unheard of even a decade ago.
Each of the Emerging Explorers is awarded $10,000 to assist with their ongoing research. To view the entire Class of 2013, click here.
If you've already crossed the Appalachian Trail off your bucket list, hiked the length of New Zealand along the Te Araroa and walked through the Alps on the Haute Route, then I may have found your next big adventure: a new long-distance hiking trail set to open in Africa early next year that will give adventurous travelers an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of a famous 19th-century explorer.
The Sir Samuel and Lady Florence Baker Historical Trail will stretch for approximately 360 miles from Gondokoro – near Juba, the capital of South Sudan – to Baker's View, which is located near the shores of Lake Albert in western Uganda. The route follows roughly the same path that Samuel Baker used on his expeditions to explore central Africa, which took place throughout the 1860s and 1870s. Baker's wife accompanied him on those adventures, which is why the trail has been named to honor her as well. In 1864, Baker made the greatest discovery of his career when he became the first European to set eyes on the massive body of water that he would name in honor of Prince Albert, the late consort of Britain's Queen Victoria. Baker's View marks the location where the explorer first caught a glimpse of Lake Albert itself and those hiking the trail will get to relive that moment a century and a half later.
The new trail is the pet project of explorer and anthropologist Julian Monroe Fisher, who recently walked most of the route as part of his Great African Expedition. Fisher is working closely with the Uganda Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife & Antiquities; the Uganda Wildlife Authority; and the Ministry of Wildlife, Conservation & Tourism for South Sudan to make this project a reality. The trail has the full support of the descendants of Samuel Baker as well and Fisher credits both RailRiders Adventure Clothing and Costa Del Mar Sunglasses for helping to push this project along.