The Marietas Islands (Islas Marietas) are located off of the coast of the state of Nayarit on Mexico‘s west coast, just above Puerto Vallarta. The islands are uninhabited and flush with marine life since hunting and fishing is forbidden on the islands. While staying at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit over the weekend, the manager of the resort’s restaurant, Lucca, relayed his appreciation for the hidden beach located on one of the islands to me. A quick Google image search left me jaw-dropped and eager to get over to the Marietas Islands at the next possible opportunity.
The travel agent at the hotel would have been able to assist me in getting to the island if my schedule had allowed, but I unfortunately didn’t have enough hours left on my trip to make the island visit dreams come to fruition. I’ll go back to Riviera Nayarit, though –- even if for the sole purpose of spending some time on this hidden beach.Originally formed by volcanic activity, the islands are entirely uninhabited. The Mexican government began military testing on these islands in 1900 and continued testing for more than half a century. Large explosions and bombings of different kinds took place on the Marietas Islands and as a result, many unusual cave and rock formations decorate the already innately dramatic landscape. The hidden beach looks particularly peculiar with a giant hole seemingly cut out from the earth, revealing a sandy beach and lapping turquoise waters below.
The footage of the island is like nothing I’ve ever seen and I look forward to one day seeing this hidden beach in real life.
A 16 year old named Hannah Anderson was abducted by a family friend last week in a series of events that left both her mother and brother dead. Her saga began in Southern California and ended far away, in the wilderness of Idaho, when she was rescued by FBI agents over the weekend. Anderson’s abductor, James Lee DiMaggio, had fled to one of the most remote areas in the United States, the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The protected area is a beautiful place, but few people know much about it. In an effort to give you a clearer picture of this northern area that is relished by outdoors enthusiasts, here are some facts about the Frank Church River Of No Return Wilderness.
It’s the second largest protected wilderness in the contiguous United States.
It’s the largest area without any roads in the contiguous United States.
The wilderness stretches across six different national forests.
The wilderness was renamed after Senator Frank Church after he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer because of his efforts to protect the environment while in Congress. President Reagan signed the act less than four weeks before Church’s death.
The diverse mix of wildlife found within the area includes wolverines, grey wolves, mountain lions, mountain goats, elk and lynx.
It is the home of the Salmon River, a popular whitewater rafting spot.
Despite the myriad bodies of water within the area, only 10 inches or so of precipitation fall annually near the rivers while as much as 50 inches accumulate near the mountaintops, usually in the form of snow.
There are 296 trails throughout the area.
There are 114 bridges within the area.
There are 1.5 million acres of trail-free land within the wilderness.
One look at the calendar (not to mention the thermometer) will tell you that we are most definitely in the dog days of summer. But it won’t be long until the mercury begins to drop and we’ll start planning our cold weather adventures. The key to enjoying those escapes is good gear that will keep you plenty warm even as the temperature plunges. A down jacket can be the difference between a wonderful day spent outside and hours of misery in frigid temperatures.
Eddie Bauer has a long history of making quality gear that performs well in any environment. Over the years, its clothing has protected climbers on their way to the summit of Everest and explorers traveling to the extreme ends of the Earth. A few years ago, the company launched a new line of adventure inspired apparel that would carry on that legacy into the 21st century. The First Ascent line was designed specifically for active travelers and adventurers with a focus on delivering a high level of performance in an affordable and attractive package. Thw MicroTherm Down Hoodie fits that description very well, keeping the wearer warm and dry when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Featuring 700-fill goose down, the Hoodie is extremely lightweight and highly packable. This isn’t a jacket that is built for extreme weather conditions but will still serve travelers well when temperatures drop below freezing. Its outer ripstop polyester shell is water resistant and windproof, which will keep the wearer warm and dry when an unexpected storm rolls in. When that does happen the comfortable protection of the integrated hood will be much appreciated as well.
Because this jacket is intended for active outdoor enthusiasts it features an athletic cut that is designed to be form fitting without restricting motion. The closeness of that fit may seem a bit uncomfortable to some, but I personally found it to be the perfect design for those who like to mix a bit of a physical activity into their travels. The Hoodie simply allows you to do the things you want to do while not hindering movement in any way. That means whether you’re climbing a mountain, hiking a trail or simply strolling the streets, you’ll move in comfort and style the entire time.
Speaking of style, I happen to think the jacket looks great too. It has a simple, yet rugged, design that makes it perfect for an active day in the backcountry or a night out on the town. Its lightweight design makes it extremely versatile for travel as well and when paired with a base layer and/or a mid-layer, the wearer can improve performance in colder weather even more. Throw a hard shell over top and you truly have a fantastic cold weather combo.
The jacket features three external zippered pockets, one for each hand and another located on the left breast. Two large internal pockets are large enough to carry a water bottle or other important items too. The breast pocket even includes a media port allowing the wearer to plug a set of earbuds into an iPod or smartphone and run the cord along the interior of the Hoodie. A nice touch in this day and age when we are seldom far away from our favorite gadgets.
If you’re planning a cold weather adventure of your own in the months ahead, and need a high performance jacket to keep you warm, the Eddie Bauer Down Hoodie may be the perfect choice. It is incredibly lightweight and packs down surprisingly small. That is a rare combination of traits to find in any piece of travel clothing, let alone a jacket like this one. Add in a high level of comfort, the ability to move with ease and classic look and you have the complete package.
The Hoodie carries a price tag of $199 and does nothing to harm Eddie Bauer’s long-standing reputation for making excellent outdoor gear that performs well in demanding conditions. While using this jacket on a recent trip to Australia, I stayed comfortably warm, even when cooler temperatures and rain set in. If you’re looking for similar performance out of your gear, I think you will appreciate everything the Hoodie brings to the table.
Gone are the days when travelers have to pack bulky items. Now they can just borrow instead.
NeighborGoods is changing the face of consumption, facilitating a borrowing and lending culture within neighborhoods. This is great for people who want to meet their neighbors and spend less, but it’s also great for travelers who want to meet locals and borrow items they didn’t want to bring along for the trip. I spoke with the founder/CEO of the site, Micki Krimmel, via email about the potential the site holds for travelers.
“One of my favorite personal experiences using NeighborGoods was when I was traveling. I was in Austin, TX for the South by Southwest festival and I borrowed a bike from a local. I searched the Austin area and set it up before I arrived. It saved me hundreds of dollars in transportation costs and helped me experience the city like a local. Another great example of this is a new mother who was traveling alone to LA to visit family for a week. She didn’t want to haul her baby stroller on the plane by herself so she found someone in LA willing to lend her one for the duration of her stay.”
Krimmel went on to discuss another benefit travelers might find in using NeighborGoods:
“Travelers who prefer to pack lightly will find that NeighborGoods is a great resource to borrow bulky items that don’t travel well like baby strollers or sporting equipment. Borrowing a bike or a surfboard from a local also helps travelers avoid tourist traps and experience their destination more like a local.”
If you’re a frequent traveler as well as an animal-lover, there are two scenarios that likely describe you: petless and sad about it, or pet-owner, but usually forced to leave it at home or board it. Neither is a happy option, but the always-innovative Aspen Animal Shelter has a furry, feel-good Band-Aid for you.
The for-profit, no-kill shelter offers a Rent-a-Pet program that allows visitors to borrow dogs from two hours to an entire weekend. Explains Director Seth Sachson, “Our motto is ‘Exercise your heart. Walk a dog or cuddle a cat.’ It’s meaningful for a shelter to have this type of program, because these are adoptable animals, and visitors and volunteers are helping the dogs get exercise and develop socialization skills.”
Rent-a-Pet, which is also open to residents, pairs pet-friendly people with dogs (or cats) to ensure a good fit. If your desire is to spend a full day out on the trails, you’ll get an athletic animal that’s up to the task. Casual strolls may find you with a more mellow mutt. And, bonus: like most ski towns, Aspen is incredibly dog-friendly, so you’ll find that many hotels (including the toniest of properties) welcome pets.