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Yea, as we drive into the Valley of Death...

Furnace Creek, United States

After 4 absolutely delightful nights at Jamestown for Yosemite National Park, our next stop was supposed to be Zion Canyon National Park. But Zion NP is some 500+ Miles away, and a mountain pass that we were supposed to drive through in the Yosemite area was closed due to snow. So we made some adjustments to our itinerary and decided to travel via Ridgecrest to Death Valley NP, then make another stop at Tecopa before hitting the Las Vegas jackpot machines.

I am glad we decided to visit Death Valley, for its uniqueness as a National Park. Where Yosemite NP fairly typical in what you would expect from a National Park - some forested areas, waterfalls, etc; the geography and geology of Death Valley NP was something totally unexpected. We spent the evening before checking on the possible sights to see in Death Valley, and were totally intrigued by the names of some of the sights - Devil's Golf Course, Dante's View, Badwater Basin, etc.

So, with Phantom of The Opera blasting from the IPod and setting the correct mood, we drove into Death Valley!

The primary feature about Death Valley is the incredibly strong winds, with some additional powerful gusts thrown into the mix. The winds are responsible for the erosion of soil over millions of years, making this a valley. The dry land goes down to 85m under sea level, which is way deeper than what Yi Lin and I can safely dive!

The secondary feature of Death Valley is the salt pans. Somehow, the seas got mixed up in this area millions of years ago, and the high evaporation rate (due to winds and trapped heat) have evaporated all the water in the seas, leaving behind salt pans and sand dunes.

We visited Badwater Basin, which was the lowest point in all of Death Valley. The story goes, that in olden times, a traveling merchant brought his mule to a pool in this area for a drink, but the mule absolutely refused to drink! The merchant, trusting his mule labelled his map as Bad Water, and the name stuck ever since. Of course, the mule only refused to drink from the pool because the water was too salty!

The Devil's Golf course is essentially a pock-marked piece of land that is so covered with sand dunes and salt pans, that it was remarked that only the Devil could play golf there. Well... if you ask me, the place was so hot and dry that I think only the Devil would want to play there anyway!

Lastly, we drove along a one-way loop aptly named Artist Drive. Along this route, you can see knolls of varying colours, thus having a surreal resemblance to an artist's palette. The greens, blues, pinks, purples and oranges embedded in the soil are all due to the presence of the various salts in the region. Those who took Chemistry before should be able to identify the elements that make up these colours - copper, iron, maganese, etc.

I barely scraped through Chemistry, so don't ask me! :)


permalink written by  DanYilin on April 16, 2009 from Furnace Creek, United States
from the travel blog: go.
tagged California and NationalPark

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The nagarhole national park” the jungle”

Bangalore, India

Nagarhole national park is located in Karnataka and is about 150 km from the silicon city Bangalore , the national park stretches itself for over 247 square-mile in Karnataka and have astonishingly beautiful wildlife , it was hard for me to believe that this beautiful jungle has one of India’s largest tiger reserves and there are wonderful resorts there which touch the jungle. Other than tigers you can see animals such as leopards, wild elephants, dholes (Indian wild dog), and gaur (Indian bison). Other species present are chital spotted deer, muntjac (barking deer), mouse deer, four-horned antelope, wild boar, sloth bear, hyena, mongoose, civet, otter, and more.

“When I travelled to nagarhole jungle I was absolutely amazed by the wild life there. Trust me it is one thing I would never forget for my entire life” The landscape is one of gentle slopes and shallow valleys. There are grassy swamps where the soil is clayey, perennially moist, and which support a luxuriant growth of green grass all year
The world there is different unlike I have ever seen, a wonder beauty that catches the eye and leaves an ever lasting impression, beyond belief is the nagerhole jungle ….

Well you guys must be wondering why I call it the jungle and not a national park. It is simple this question will only be answered when you visit the jungle. It is an experience that words can’t convey, a feeling that cannot be put down in words

Nagarhole National Park is counted among India best and second to none in the world with a wild life that’s so pure and green , it is like a fairy tail with over 250 different species that would leave an ever lasting impact .with the beautiful Kabini River that flows through the jungle it is an ideal spot for sighting wildlife.

And for best hospitality there is one resort called the Kings Sanctuary who did a good job, the sweet was the best .it was living in a home far away from home. Well I always tell my friends that “I lived in a 5star jungle lol … funny but true. Well I would love some comments on this national park from you guys. I believe it is a place we all need to visit …welcome to the jungle
If you want more info on the national park I would recommend


permalink written by  jungleresorts on November 3, 2009 from Bangalore, India
from the travel blog: Nagarhole national park in Karnataka,india.
tagged Resort, NationalPark, JungleResort, Nagarhole, Sanctuary and JungleLodge

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Komodo and Rinca: Day 1

Komodo, Indonesia

Around 8am we met up with our captain, his three-man crew and of course our charter boat for the next two days as we sailed around Rinca and Komodo! It felt like two hours for us to reach Rinca but we were instantly absorbed by the incredible landscape that makes the Komodo National Park. It seemed like a never-ending chain of green jagged hills [even mountains] and empty golden beaches, all of this joined by such clear blue water - really the most incredible thing about the trip for us!

The boat itself was great too, Rolind captained his team of an engineer, a chef and a deck-hand but in reality all of them helped each other. This part of the trip was arranged with Dino and was all included; boat, food, park entrance, snorkel... ...everything except the biscuits and some extra drinks!

Tot le matin, nous embarquons sur le bateau et faisons la connaissance de notre equipage en direction de l'ile de Rinca. 2 heures de mer a admirer les richesses de ce parc naturel qui semble intact depuis des millions d'annees. Quel privilege d'etre la, ces 2 jours seront nos preferes sur Flores. Tout etait inclus pour nous (entrees sur les parcs, guides...) et encore mieux il y avait un cuisinier sur le bateau qui nous preparait de fantastiques repas et en-cas. Pour resumer on n'avait a se soucier de rien sauf de savoir comment on allait manger toute cette nourriture!

Rinca was a strange place with very tall and thin palm trees evenly dispersed across its landscape and dry ravines between its small rolling hills. This is where the Komodo Dragons like to rest in the afternoon and we had the opportunity to see at least five or six females keeping guard near the huge holes they had dug to lay their offspring in. The irony is that once the baby dragons are out of the hole, the mother tries to eat them before they make it to the safety of the trees! We continued to follow our guide [complete with stick] up to a spot on top of a hill where we found a big Dragon hiding between a rock and a tree. As it relaxed in the shade of the sun, it gave us the opportunity to get some good photos before making our way down to the boat. Once on board the crew made us feel instantly at home with a deliciously refreshing juice - a sign of the service to come!

L'ile de Rinca : nous avons fait une petite marche de 1h pour aller a la renconte des dragons et decouvrir le relief et la vegetation de cette ile. Nous avons vu comment les femelles font diversions en creusant plusieurs trous pour tromper l'ennemi afin de cacher leurs progenitures en devenir. Le guide nous a explique qu'a la naissance les bebes ont l'instinct de monter le plus vite possible dans un arbre pour eviter leur mere.... qui attend de les manger! Une fois devenus trop lourds pour grimper aux arbres, ils sont en mesure de se defendre. Le guide a un baton special qui en cas d'attaque permet d'immobiliser les dragons au niveau du cou. Le danger reste minime puisque la journee ils sont assomes par la chaleur. Par contre la nuit cela semble assez dangereux!! Les dragons chassent les animaux de l'ile, chevres, buffles, chevaux (2 recemment qui ont mis bas, et l'odeur du sang les a attires et ont tue les 2 chevaux) et autres. Ce n'est pas tant la "morsure" qui est dangereuse, ce sont les bacteries tres puissantes contenues dans leur salive qui tue rapidement. Apres quelques photos, il etait temps de rentrer au bateau pour savourer le jus de fruit frais qui nous attendait.

We had our first of three superb meals on the boat as we sailed from Rinca across the waters and incredibly strong currents to a snorkelling spot closer to Komodo island itself. Just as the sky became a bit cloudier it was time to jump in and discover what lay beneath. The feeling of seeing such a beautiful garden of corals and exotic fish is difficult to describe but this spot was one on the best snorkelling spots i have ever been to. Within minutes there were turtles and large shoals of fish to be seen, then rays and closer to the beach the coral gives out a red substance that makes the beach look pink and hence the name of the place, Pink Beach.

Nous avons repris la mer en direction de Komodo et avons decouvert la puissance des courants entre ces deux iles (c'est d'ailleurs a cause de la puissance des courants que ces animaux prehistoriques existent toujours. Ils n'ont pas pu quitter leurs iles et d'autres predateurs n'ont pu les atteindre). Proche des cotes, le bateau a jete l'encre pour qu'on puisse faire du snorkelling. Je ne me suis pas aventuree trop loin du bateau tandis que Brian n'a pas hesite a nager jusqu'a une plage de sable rose, admirant au passage poissons, tortues et coraux.

After Pink Beach we sailed a short while to the sheltered spot where we would lay down anchor and spend the night. Just as we arrived two dolphins made an appearance and these were followed by a mass passage of flying-foxs [bats] going from one side of the water to the other, impressive. The locals came out to sell us a wooden Komodo Dragon and we duly accepted, after all it's better to buy here than in Bali! We watched the sun go down and had another splendid meal of fresh fish thanks to one of the crew who caught a big fish en route to Rinca by trailing a fishing line of the back of the boat. A few drinks and some music between everybody and then to sleep; some put up with the heat and size of the cabin others chose the deck!

Nous avons dormi entre 2 iles dans un endroit protege des vagues. Alors que le soleil se couchait, nous avons vu 2 dauphins nager vers le bateau puis un peu plus tard, les flying fox (sorte de chauve souris) passer au dessus de nous rejoingnant Komodo. Magique! Des vendeurs sont venus a bord et nous leur avons achete un petit dragon en bois souvenir. C'est bizarre de faire ses achats en pleine mer! En route, l'equipage avait installe un filet de peche ce qui nous a permis de manger du poisson frais le soir meme. Compte tenu de l'etroitesse, de la chaleur et de quelques cafards dans la cabine, Brian et Amandine ont decide de dormir sur le pont!

permalink written by  Lenameets50 on January 22, 2010 from Komodo, Indonesia
from the travel blog: Indonesia & Malaysia et al 2010
tagged Boat, Indonesia, NationalPark, Beautiful, DinoLopez, Labuhanbajo, Komodo, Rinca and Dragons

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Komodo and Rinca: Day 2

Labuhanbajo, Indonesia

Our second day on the sea began with a beautiful Sunrise as you can see from the photos. Just as we were getting ready for breakfast, the captain took us on a tour around the fishing boats that surrounded the bay. As Captain Rolind bought our lunch, we got the chance to watch each fisherman on every boat working alongside his wife and child. The sea standing still and the heat starting to rise it was a fantastic place to be and won't be forgotten either.

Nous avons assiste au leve du soleil (enfin!) puis avons navigue parmi les bateaux de peche de la baie. Nous avons constate que de bon matin les pecheurs travaillent en famille avec femme et enfants sur leur bateau. La journee s'annoncait deja belle.

We arrived at Komodo island around 8am before the small cruise ship got there and although it wasn't quite as good for dragon spotting as Rinca it still made a pleasant land-break. We got to see a few big dragons walking around as the heat was more bearable for them at this time. The deer and other animals that live around the small settlement made us imagine feeding time every time they wondered close to a dragon but nothing eventful happened!

Nous sommes arrives a Komodo de bonne heure avant que les bateaux de touristes debarquent. Mais a choisir nous avons prefere l'ile de Rinca pour ses nombreux dragons et le contexte. Mais vu qu'il etait relativement tot les dragons n'etaient pas encore trop assomes par la chaleur a Komodo et nous avons vus certains se deplacer devant nous et c'etait impressionnant! Du coup entre les animaux autour des dragons (des biches) et les dragons qui se deplacent, on imagine vite qu'une attaque va se produire.... et bien non.

After Komodo we had a two hour journey along the coast to Manta point where we spent a while circling the shallow crystal waters looking for Manta rays. Although we saw several from the boat either playing on the surface or swimming in numbers below, every time we tried to catch them in the water with the snorkeling gear they were to quick. Brian did get to spend a few minutes alongside one though and it was a formidable underwater experience. Eventually we stopped the engine and spent some time just playing about in the water and lounging on the boat. A perfect afternoon! Then a last stop on Angel Island where the ladies enjoyed the beach before our return to Labuhanbajo and the end of a quite marvelous two-day trip to Komodo National Park. It wasn't the dragons that made it just the pure beauty and preservation of this magical place.

Apres komodo, nous avons navigue 2 bonnes heures pour rejoindre une zone en pleine mer qui s'appelle Manta point ou on peut admirer des raies geantes. Apres en avoir apercu du bateau Brian a saute du bateau a plusieurs reprises pour les voir avec son masque. En vain, pas assez rapide! Finalement il a pu en voir une durant quelques minutes et profite des ces moments privilegies. Nous avons pose l'encre de nouveau et fait du snorkelling dans une eau translucide (heureusement, si une raie arrive!). La fin du voyage s'est termine par une session plage sur l'ile Angel (ile de l'ange) avant de rejoindre Labuan Bajo. Plus que les dragons, c'est surtout le cadre magique du parc naturel que nous avons apprecie durant ces 2 jours.

permalink written by  Lenameets50 on January 23, 2010 from Labuhanbajo, Indonesia
from the travel blog: Indonesia & Malaysia et al 2010
tagged Boat, Indonesia, NationalPark, Beautiful, DinoLopez, Labuhanbajo, Komodo, Rinca and Dragons

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Bhopal, India

Bhopal has an average elevation of 500m metres (1401 ft). Bhopal is located in the central part of India, and is just North of the upper limit of the Vindhya Mountain ranges. Located on the Malwa plateau, it is higher than the North Indian plains and the land rises towards the Vindhya Range to the south. The city has uneven elevation and has small hills within its boundaries. The major hills in Bhopal comprise of Idgah hills and Shyamala hills in the Northern region and Arera hills in the central region.
According to current master plan, the municipality covers 697 square kilometres It has two very beautiful big lakes, collectively known as the Bhoj Wetland. These lakes are the Upper Lake (now renamed to Bhojtal) and the Lower Lake. Locally these are known as the Bada Talab and Chota Talab respectively. The catchment area of the Upper Lake is 360 km² while that of the Lower Lake is 9.6 km². The Upper Lake drains into the Kolar River. The Van Vihar National Park is a national park situated besides the Upper Lake.

permalink written by  alexx1 on September 20, 2012 from Bhopal, India
from the travel blog: Bhopal
tagged India, Bhopal, NationalPark, BhojWetland and KolarRiver

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