Photo Of The Day: Pashmina Goats In The Himalayas

The stark realities of winter are excellently captured in this photo by Flickr user arunchs.

Taken in the Himalayas, these Pashmina Goats grazing in Changthang Plateau, Ladakh, belong to changpa people residing in the nearby village of Puga. The photo is striking when you think of all of the Pashmina scarves – which are made from this special breed of goat, which is indigenous to the high altitudes of the Himalaya – that one often comes across in Southeast Asian markets. The scarfs are colorful and lively, much the opposite of this image. A good reminder of where things come from.

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[Photo Credit: arunchs]

Packing For Extreme Cold Part II: The Expedition Layer

In Part I of “Packing for Extreme Cold Travel,” I covered the basic stuff you’ll pack for your adventures in crazy cold climates. If you do any winter sports at all, you’ll likely have a lot of this stuff – it’s your basic ski vacation gear.

In this second part, I cover the serious expedition stuff – there’s not much of it, but it makes all the difference between freezing your backside off (just about literally) and having a great time in the minus temperatures.

When I arrived in the far north, it was -40F. Bitter cold. My fingers ached by the time I got to the car, just a hundred yards away.

An epic parka: Mine was a rental provided by Whitehorse expedition gear rental company. I have little use for something this intense in the moderate climates of the Pacific Northwest. But in the deep, deep cold of a Yukon winter, my loaner Canada Goose Resolute Parka was – well, I kind of fell in love with it. I’ve lived in apartments with less storage space than this parka. It took me 45 minutes to “move out” of it after spending a very warm ten days bundled up against the weather.

It’s a lot of work wearing a parka like this – it’s bulky, and I lost my glove liners inside the coat (I’m not kidding) to one of the many pockets. If I did not put my phone or pocket camera in the same place, it could take me ten minutes of exploration to find where, exactly, I’d stowed them.

But it was -40. That’s cold. So I appreciated the fleece-lined pockets, the secure zipper flaps, the slightly long sleeves with ribbed cuffs that I could tuck my hands up into. I liked the coyote fur lined hood – and I could never justify wearing a scrap of fur at home. I’m short, so the coat was almost below my knees, but I wasn’t sorry for the extra length when the wind was blowing. There are mesh pockets designed to hold warmer packs, I used them to store my phone because the battery got zapped of power easily in the cold. And I loved the bright red in the snow; you could locate me in just short of whiteout conditions.

You can spend a pile on a parka like this – over $700.00. Unless you’re planning to do repeated trips in this kind of crazy weather, there’s almost no reason to buy one, but an expedition outfitter will hook you up and that’s worth the money for the warmth.

The biggest boots known to mankind: “I saw that picture of you. What the hell is on your feet? You look like Rocket Boy!” Yup. That’s about right. My Bogs are swell in most conditions, and indeed, they were great for Antarctica, but when I went dogsledding, I was sorry I’d not pulled on the loaner -100 rated boots in my rented kit.

I was surprised, given the bulk, how light my -100s were. They were all insulation with a waterproof exterior. I wouldn’t have wanted to run for the bus in them, but they were fine for shuffling around Dawson City in the deep dry snow, and I wore them snowmobiling and was not sorry. Again, this is the kind of thing you’re not going to own unless you’re living the sub-freezing dream life, so whatever shows up in your rented kit is going to serve you just fine in the interim.

I got a huge laugh out of how out of proportion I’d become between my giant parka and my Frankenstein monster boots, but you know what, I wasn’t cold – not at all.

Photo Of The Day: Crossing The Frozen Songhua River In China

With daytime getting longer and longer each day, spring is soon approaching. But winter doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere anytime soon – especially in places like this one, featured in this photo by Flickr user Bernard Siao taken in Harbin, a city in northeastern China.

The frozen Songhua River freezes hard in the winter and people commonly cross it on foot, but as you can see in this photo, there’s another option to dart across the frozen river on a horse-drawn carriage. Harbin is a city of interesting and unique history. Originally founded by Russia and inhabited by Jewish immigrants, it also hosts the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, which goes on throughout January.

If you have some great photos just sitting there, fragmenting on your hard drive, share them with us on Instagram or in our Gadling Flickr Pool and they can be featured as our “Photo of the Day.”

[Photo Credit: Flickr User Bernard-SD]

Photo Of The Day: Warming Up Around A Fire In The Mountains Of India

Somewhere at the core of every human being is a pull to a fire. We are drawn to that place where we sit as a tribe around a source of warmth, sharing stories and building connections. That spirit is embodied in this photo by Flickr user arunchs, who snapped this scene of three men in Zanskar, a valley region in eastern India where nighttime temperatures can reach upwards of 20 below zero.

Maybe this is why we travel. Why we circle around a table with new friends. Why we gather around a group of street performers. No matter where we find ourselves, we are drawn to shared experiences, be it around a fire, a meal or simply a map.

Have a photo that embodies the spirit of travel? Add your photos to the Gadling Flickr pool to be chosen for the Photo of the Day feature.

[Photo Credit: arunchs]

Interactive Infographic: Where Should I Go On Holiday?

It’s like clockwork. When the temperature drops, as it did in New York City this past week, I inevitably start looking for ways to escape the cold. For Europe and North Africa-bound travelers, this nifty interactive infographic from Thomson Holidays makes the process a lot easier.

Just select the month, indicate your preferred average maximum temperature and hours of sunlight, and boom: the pink dots indicate where you should go. A search for destinations with temperatures between 16 and 40 degrees Celsius (60.8 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit) and six to 12 hours of sunlight in February yielded seven options: Seville, Spain; Las Palmas, Canary Islands; Rabat and Marrakech, Morocco; Gabes, Tunisia; and Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt. The application also allows you to post your map on Facebook and Twitter so your friends can weigh in.

So, where should it be?[Photo Credit: Thomson Holidays]