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Travel Diaries

Globetrotters share their amazing backpacking experiences and stories.

  • Sierra Nevada Mountains

    Sierra Nevada Mountains

    The range contains some of the most beautiful landscapes to be found anywhere in the world. The terrain is so varied that one may start out in desert conditions and end up with the sound of crunching ice under foot and the ring of a distant ice ax in a remote frozen gully well above timberline. The Sierra Nevada extends 400 miles from north to south starting at the shore of Lake Almanor in the north to Tehacahapi Pass, just south of Bakersfield. The range varies from 60 to 80 miles in width. With 13 peaks that exceed 14,000 feet, and 500 peaks that exceed 12,000 feet there is an incredible amount of alpine territory to explore. For the fisherman the Sierra Nevada is a playground of lakes, streams, and rivers that will delight the most zealous of anglers. For the hiker and or backpacker, the mountains have a system of trails and camps that are unrivaled anywhere else in the world. Cross country skiers will find outstanding snow conditions during most of the winter, near perfect corn snow during the spring months. If you are a climber or mountaineer there are more than enough rock walls, high angle gullies, ridges, peaks and summits to last a life time. Keep a camera handy on all your trips, because the lighting conditions and scenes are so beautiful that you will be constantly reaching for it. Add to this the fantastic California mountain weather, and no wonder folks from all over the globe travel huge distances just to visit this "Range of Light" WEATHER - TEMPERATURES / PRECIPITATION / SNOWFALL Sierra Temperatures are generally warm in summer with a maximum ranging from 80-100 degrees F. and a minimum of 15-37 degrees at higher elevations. In the winter, maximums are typically 55-70 during the high point of the day, and between 0 to -32 degrees F. in the night. In general, temperatures decrease 3-5 degrees for every 1000 feet of elevation gain.In the Sierra Nevada, 95 percent of the precipitation falls between October and May,with more than half falling in January through March. But there is a great discrepancyin the amount of rainfall between the western slopes and the eastern slopes. The west receives 75 inches while the eastern slopes receive only 20 inches on average. The reason for this discrepancy, is because of the so called "Sierra Rain Shadow." The sheer height of the imposing wall of peaks reaching heights of over 14,000 feet, exert an incredible influence over the amount of precipitation that the Eastern Sierra receive each year. This influence continues to make it self felt, and is the reason why, thousands of feet below, we have the extensive and arid "Great Basin" that extends clear into Utah and Nevada. Cover component from UIkit or the Widgekit Slideshow. That way you can create fullscreen image and video headers with additional content.

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  • Hawaii Canyons

    Hawaii Canyons

    Mauna Kea rises triumphantly from the depths of the Pacific Ocean to a height of 13,796 feet above the surrounding sea; it is by far the tallest volcano of the Hawaiian Islands and dominates its surroundings. The western slope sees little rain but the eastern flank receives 250 inches of precipitation a year, making it one of the rainiest locations to be found in the northern hemisphere. As a result the surrounding forest supports a vibrant, thriving ecosystem choked with dense vegetation and countless creeks and streams that are slowly cutting their way through ancient volcanic rock to an eventual confluence with the sea. The course and character of the majority of these creeks has remained unexplored and a mystery to this day due to the difficulty of travel, distance from roads and many other logistical challenges. However a quick glance at topographical maps and satellite photographs of the region clearly reveals a landscape riddled with deep gorges, remote waterfalls and massive pools that resemble an idyllic paradise usually found only in books and dreams.

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  • Kite Surfing

    Kite Surfing

    Kitesurfing is a wind powered surface watersport using a kite and a board to move across the water. Kitesurfing harnesses the power of the wind through a large parachute type kite to propel a rider across the water on a small surfboard or a kiteboard (similar to a wakeboard). Although the name includes surfing, kitesurfing does not need waves, the wind is the only force needed to power you along. Flat water locations such as Camber are favoured by riders looking to perform freestyle as the water is smooth so easier to take off and land on. With the large range of conditions to ride in, whether ‘surfing’ in the waves, going for big jumps, taking out a GPS for a speed records, learning a new freestyle trick or on a long distance adventure kitesurfing never becomes boring or repetitive.

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  • Mountain Biking

    Mountain Biking

    Mountain biking is an ever-growing sport which has made tremendous progress over the years and sees an increasing media coverage on major annual competitions held worldwide. The sport has over the years diversified into many riding styles or disciplines, with each discipline requiring a unique mountain bike design, kit and trail type. Cross Country racing is the most popular mountain biking discipline and also the least extreme amongst the other forms. XC racing is also an Olympic discipline which involves competitors racing from point-to-point through defined trail sections in the fastest time possible. XC trails can range from open fire roads to winding narrow single-tracks that will test the rider’s endurance and technical handling skills. XC riders generally start on a hardtail (single suspension) and these XC bikes are built for climbing and quick-handling. However, they are not as forgiving as a full-suspension (dual suspension) bike which provides better stability and control on technical descents. They are fitted with knobby tires for grip and the front suspension fork has travel length that varies from 80mm to 120mm. Travel is basically the amount of movement that the front suspension fork can absorb. Hence the longer the travel, the smoother your ride will be over bumps. If you are looking for a more adventurous type of mountain bike riding, Enduro (also known as all-mountain) is the way to go. Enduro tracks are more technical than XC which involves bigger drops and jump sections to fuel your adrenaline thirst. Enduro competitions are staged races completed over a few days and involve steep climbs and timed descents. Enduro riders generally choose full-suspension bikes with larger width tires, longer rear suspension travel and longer front suspension travel. For enduro, the bicycles have a longer front suspension travel that typically ranges from 140mm to 170mm. These bikes are burlier than XC bikes which will take larger drops more efficiently and basically anything that the rugged mountain throws at them. Full-face enduro helmets (similar to that of a motorcycle helmet) and body armour such as knee and chest protectors are a common fixture for Enduro riders. Downhill is designed for the advanced and extreme riders whose love for speed brings them blazing down the roughest single-track descents through rock gardens, massive drops and gnarly root sections. Downhill races are very intense and exciting to watch, with one rider racing down a defined downhill section, at any one time, in the fastest time possible. ownhill riders will need an good sense of balance to navigate through the toughest terrains under high speeds. Downhill bikes usually have a slacker geometry, longer rear and front travels (and bigger rotors in the disc brakes for the added stability and control which the discipline demands. The front travel for downhill bikes is typically 200mm or 203mm (depending on which manufacturer you obtained them from). The bikes also sport fewer/smaller gears for added clearance over big obstacles. They are rugged and much heavier which makes them unsuited for uphill climbs. Full-face helmets are a must coupled with goggles to block out rock deflections and dirt from the eyes. It is recommended to wear additional body armour such as chest and back plates.

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  • Triathlon


    While many variations of the sport exist, triathlon, in its most popular form, involves swimming, cycling, and running in immediate succession over various distances. Triathletes compete for fastest overall course completion time, including timed "transitions" between the individual swim, cycle, and run components

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