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The Torres del Paine are three distinctive towering granite peaks of the Paines Massif (see above photo). Extending up to 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) above sea level, these towers dominate much of the landscape of the park, as does the horned part of the mountain known as the Cuernos del Paine. The Patagonian steppe abuts the mountains.
We arrived in Torres del Paine in the afternoon and had only a few hours to spare that day for a hike. I had hoped to hike to the base of the towers, for there is a lovely glacier and lake there, but did not have the time. Among the feasible options, we decided to hike along the hilly steppe and take in the views …
Situated about an hour outside the city of Thunder Bay on the Lake Superior’s north shore is a natural wonder you’d never suspect was there if you didn’t know about it. This is where you’ll find Ouimet Canyon, one of Ontario’s many Provincial Park.
You’ll need to do a short 1 km hike to get to the canyon from the parking lot. The trail is partially smooth dirt, partially a boardwalk and overall is accessible to all. It’s important to stay on the trails because the canyon is hidden by dense forest and you wouldn’t want to accidently step into the gorge. The walk is easy and lovely and takes you to two viewing platforms from which you get panoramic …
One of the most memorable places I’ve visited was the Khumbu region of Nepal, home of the friendly Sherpa people. The main town in this region is Namche Bazaar. It is not an easy place to get to. You don’t just drop by. Most people fly to Lukla from Kathmandu, where they start a one to two day trek to Namche Bazaar (depending on how fast you go). This is the route those going to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal take, gradually acclimatizing as they ascend.
There are no roads here so all goods are brought to Namche Bazaar either on the backs of human porters or beasts of burden, large cattle at this altitude, yaks at higher …
From time-to-time I enjoy looking at some of my older photos to remember bygone adventures. It’s from one of these periods of reflection that today’s blog germinated.
When I lived in Southern California, I enjoyed spending time each summer exploring the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains — John Muir’s Range of Light. While much of California is hot as an oven in the summer, these mountains offer a pleasant climate and excellent backpacking opportunities. In the summer there’s enough water in the lakes that you don’t need to carry more than a day’s worth — very different and much easier than what’s required when backpacking in the Mojave desert. The weather is warm in the day, cool at night, and almost without …
Our next stop in Patagonia is the small town of El Chaltén in Argentina. This town rests in the rain shadow of the massive spires of the Patagonian Andes and is a dry, windy and cool place.
The region around El Chaltén is part of Los Glaciares National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is very remote. It is usually reached by taking the bus or driving from El Calafate some 220 km to the south, El Calafate itself a remote town which we’ve previously discussed here.
The town resides in a glaciated valley adjoining the Rio de las Vueltas. The most dramatic aspect of El Chaltén is the beautiful mountains that frame it to the west, including the amazingly steep and narrow spire …
One of the most scenic road trips anywhere in the world is on the Oregon side of the Gorge, on the Columbia River Highway (I-84), between Portland and the Dalles. Besides a smooth drive on the freeway, an excellent diversion here is to head up the old Historic Columbia River Highway, a narrow road that twists its way through the mountains and cliffs, past dozens of waterfalls, including the beautiful 620-foot (190 m) Multnomah Falls.
The Columbia River is one of North America’s longest, at 1200 miles (1930 km) long, starting in southeastern British Columbia, Canada. The Columbia River Gorge was carved by glacial floods (especially the Missoula Flood) thousands of years ago and is the only sea-level passage through the Cascade Mountain range. …
My first Patagonian post was an introduction to the travel hub of El Calafate. Today’s post focuses on the town’s best attraction. Situated about a mile from downtown El Calafate, very close to the hotel we were staying at, Laguna Nimez Nature Reserve is a beautiful place worth exploring. It’s especially a prime stop for bird-lovers, but also offers a nice easy hike in a natural setting. The Reserve is situated at the edge of a great glacial lake, Lago Argentino, and adjoins a suburban neighborhood. It contains two lagoons, Laguna Nimez and Laguna Secundaria.
The Reserve is fenced off and you enter through a small visitor center where a modest admission fee is charged. Signage outside the …
One of my favorite regions to hike is anywhere near the transition between the great Central Plains and the Rocky Mountains. The region offers opportunity to explore several ecosystems and to enjoy grand panoramic views of the mountains and a seemingly endless prairie, with relatively little effort due to the flatness of the plains.
Flatirons Vista Trail offers a hike that’s custom-tailored to the above description. It’s just south of the college city of Boulder, Colorado (where my youngest son is currently a postgrad in physics), immediately off Highway 93, and is a loop trail that offers great views of Boulder’s famous Flatirons. There’s lots of parking (for a fee for non-residents, so bring small bills with you). The trail is quite …