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As sunrise begins to unveil the magnificence of the Grand Canyon every morning, every day of the year, a group of forty to fifty Canyon visitors gathers around the mule ride check-in desk in the lobby of the historic Bright Angel Lodge. The old lobby is the picture of comfort and security with its rustic beam construction and fire roaring in the huge rock fireplace. But the smiles and cheerful banter of this group mask the anxieties which lie beneath. They are about to embark...

The Ride Of Their Life - The Grand Canyon Mule Experience - (Part 1 - The Day Ride)

The Ride Of Their Life -  The Grand Canyon Mule Experience - (Part 1 - The Day Ride)As sunrise begins to unveil the magnificence of the Grand Canyon every morning, every day of the year, a group of forty to fifty Canyon visitors gathers around the mule ride check-in desk in the lobby of the historic Bright Angel Lodge. The old lobby is the picture of comfort and security with its rustic beam construction and fire roaring in the huge rock fireplace. But the smiles and cheerful banter of this group mask the anxieties which lie beneath. They are about to embark on an adventure that only a fortunate few people in the world will ever experience.Probably never having been to the Grand Canyon, they made their reservations over a year ago and have patiently enjoyed the anticipation ever since. However, having arrived early this morning and made their way out to the patio behind the lodge which overlooks the Canyon, reality has just set in. Big time! On the other side of the short, rock retaining wall the Canyon begins - and it goes straight down. The sheer magnitude of the Grand Canyon couldn't possibly have been grasped through the pictures they admired at home. Even now, as they stand beside it, they are struggling to grasp the reality of it. Everyone is awestruck and some even suffer a degree of shock. It would be easy to conclude that only an experienced parachutist could safely make that descent.They are checked in now, and have been issued their rain slicker (Canyon weather is fickle) and their bota bag for water (a souvenir of the trip), and have made their way a quarter mile along the Canyon rim to the round, rock corral next to the trail head. While the anticipation remains as high as ever, for most, the anxiety level drops slightly when they get their first look at Ron Clayton and his wranglers. Even though they resemble a picture out of the old wild west, they are for real. One look at Casey, Dave, Jack, Sean, or any of the seven or eight others (including several equally competent lady wranglers) will rightfully calm their nerves. These are some of the best cowboys in the world. They love what they do, they do it well, and they instill trust at first sight.As Ron gathers the riders around for instructions, a crowd of other tourists gather also, out of curiosity. Unexpectedly, both the riders and the spectators are treated to a first class monologue with twenty minutes of instructions and education woven into a humorous presentation which further calms a few jitters. He stresses safety and reassures them that if they simply obey their wrangler, all will be well. He also assures them that if they don't obey their wrangler, they will quickly become hikers. Every single soul standing in that crowd believes him. The riders are now ready to go.A sharper trail boss doesn't exist than Ron Clayton. With an eye gained only from a lifetime of experience, he looks the riders over as they walk toward him into the center of the corral, one at a time. As they approach him, he calls out the name of one of the sixty mules tied up around the corral perimeter, a mule which will inevitably turn out to be a perfect fit for that rider. Ron is that good. After each group of eight to ten riders has mounted and been given last minute reminders by their wrangler, they follow the wrangler through the corral gate. Fifteen feet farther and they are at the Bright Angel Trailhead and over the edge they go.YeeHaw!! Hearts are pounding!It is rumored, and it is true, that the first quarter mile of the descent is the scariest. Anxiety is at its peak now, as many of the riders have never been in a saddle in their life. The trail is narrow, and the vertical drop-off along the edge of the trail is frightening to say the least. The first turn in the trail is almost a u-turn and, forgetting that a mule's head is some distance in front of its front legs, they may feel like their mule is going to go straight over. Never fear. In spite of their apparent nonchalance, these mules don't miss anything, and the very last thing they want to do is go over the edge. The turn will be successful, an audible exhale can sometimes be heard, and a tiny bit more anxiety will subside.A short fifteen minutes down the trail they will come to a wide spot which, by now, looks as safe as the plains of Kansas. The wrangler will stop and all the other mules will automatically line up beside him, facing the Canyon. He will remind everyone to put on their "parking brake" and then he will dismount and begin a rider to rider equipment check, tightening cinches, checking stirrups, etc. All the while, he will once again be stressing the most important rule of safety - keep your animal up close to the one in front of you! The mules make this trip every day and they are so comfortable on the trail that they will sometimes lose focus and lag behind. If not reminded by the rider's use of a "motivator" to stay close, at some point the mule will realize his sin on his own, and will run to catch up. While it is somewhat humorous to watch a wide-eyed rookie rider bouncing up and down on the back of a mule cantering down the narrow and rocky trail, hanging on for dear life, this is how accidents happen. So the riders are reminded once again that repeat offenses of this nature will surely turn them into a hiker.It is here also that any rider who has already become totally convinced that death is just around the next corner, can dismount, leave their mule where it stands, keep their bota bag, and hike the short distance back out of the Canyon to enjoy a longer life. Only pure terror can be the basis for this decision, however, and it rarely happens. The trail below looks much less ominous and most of them will already be visibly more relaxed. The adventure which they have dreamed about has just been vividly previewed and the lure to continue is almost undeniable. The wrangler mounts up and the ride of their life resumes.It is impossible to describe the sensations which they will experience for the next two hours as the trail drops some three thousand feet in altitude, and no attempt to do so will be made by this writer. This aspect of the "once in a lifetime experience" is different for every rider. Some will later recall the breathtaking vistas as the trail winds around the Canyon walls and occasionally yields glimpses of the vast valley below. Others will recall "interesting" parts of the trail itself. Perhaps Jacob's Ladder, the seemingly endless series of swithcbacks which scale what appears to be a thousand foot vertical rock wall. Entering the Indian Garden oasis with its hundred year old cottonwood trees shading the quaint atmospsere will also be a memorable occurance for some, not just for its serene beauty, but also because they are more than ready to get out of the saddle for a rest.A camaraderie will develop among the riders even though they are from different parts of the world and just met one another in the mule corral. Without fail, they will be party to humorous incidents along the trail. They will all laugh more today than they ever thought possible. Some will quickly develop a bond with the animal they are riding - talking to it and calling it by name. In fact, the most lasting memory for some will be the animal they rode. They will always remember its name.Upon arriving at Indian Garden, they will welcome the chance to dismount and stretch. Some will now be noticing the first signs of soreness in a place where they are not accustomed to feeling it. Others will just be happy for the opportunity to walk around and straighten their legs. If it is summertime, the wrangler will line all the riders up and hose them down - no exceptions - with cool water piped across the Canyon from Roaring Springs over on the Canyon's north wall, and it turns out to be fun for everyone. Mid-day temperatures in the Canyon can be extremely high and the symptoms of overheating are sometimes difficult to recognize. The wrangler will once again check everyone's tack, and they are off to Plateau Point. By now, a few of them will even fancy themselves real cowboys.The trail out to Plateau Point is flat and uneventful, giving no hint of the spectactular view they are approaching. Even as they are dismounting at the pipe hitching rail they are still largely unsuspecting. Only when they clamber up on the huge flat rock and make their way out to the pipe rail at the far edge, do they get their first view of the Colorado River peacefully wandering along the Canyon floor. It is still so far below that it resembles a piece of blue string lying on the ground. A brief reverential silence usually occurs, and then the exclamations begin. This will be what some will always recall first. It is breathtaking for sure. One last look, a few thoughts and comments about the beauty and power of mother nature, and they mount up and head back to Indian Garden for lunch. Everyone is always ready for lunch.They were all given sack lunches when they checked in at the lodge this morning. A light lunch, but tasty. There won't be any complaints as they relax on a short rock wall, munching away, discussing the natural wonder they have become a part of for one memorable day in their life. They will all be feeling some level of physical discomfort by now, and when the wrangler says "OK riders, let's hose off once more and mount up", most of them will be thinking they would rather sit right where they are just a little longer.The trip back up the Canyon wall will be quieter and probably uneventful. It has been a long day and they will be tired by now. With their backs to the valley, they will trudge up and out of this mystical world and back to the civilization to which they are accustomed. When the wrangler announces a rest stop for the animals, they will sit quietly and gaze back down into the Canyon. Their comments will be predictable - "It's just gorgeous" or "I'm so glad we made this trip" or "We were all the way down there?!". Whatever the comments, the appreciation in their voices is clear.As they dismount for the final time, back on top in the corral where it all started, their mood will be somber and appreciative. They will be glad to get out of the saddle for the last time, but subdued by the realization that the adventure has ended. They will express their appreciation to their wrangler with uncommon respect and they will remember his name forever. They will return to their homes with memories which will never be dislodged, and in some cases, never even diminished. They understand full well that they were priviledged to experience the ride of their life.As sunrise begins to unveil the magnificence of the Grand Canyon the next morning.......................

Kerala Tourism

Kerala Tourism

Kerala is decorated by its eye-soothing green jungles, rolling hills, mind-blowing beaches, tea gardens and of course its magical backwaters. The amazing backwaters of Kerala have become an integral part of its people. It has given the visitors the opportunity to see the rural and real life in the heart of Kerala. The backwaters of kerala stretch over 1900 kms, providing, drinking water and irrigating paddy fields. The most interesting area in the backwaters of kerala is the Kuttanad region, called the rice bowl of Kerala. The area is probably the only place in the continent where farming is done below sea level, using a system of dykes and bunds.The ancient history of Kerala is shrouded in the mists of tradition. The most popular legend would have it that the land crust that forms the state was raised from the depths of the ocean by Parasurama, the Brahmin avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu and hence the sobriquet - "God's own Country". Thus during your tour to Kerala you get an opportunity to be a part of this culturally rich country.Today, Kerala is one of the best-known tour destinations in the world tourism map. From mind-blowing landscapes to infinite intriguing customs, high-intensity cultural life to the educated public, holidays and tour in Kerala is a unique experience in itself.To know more about kerala backwaters and beaches visit this site http://www.kerala-backwaters-tours.com

Easy Way To Discover Appropriate Bali Resorts Away From Bustling City

Easy Way To Discover Appropriate Bali Resorts Away From Bustling City

People are traveling with diverse desire one want to do business, to meet relatives or for holiday and total relaxation. If you are on vacation alone, couple or with your family and may be boring with the glint and the glamorous of the big hotel or the bustling city, why dont you choose a place away from the beaten track? Since few years ago villas or small resort became the popular choice to those who desire and insist to find fully relaxation for body and mind. Bali is a small island in Indonesia Archipelago the ultimate holiday island in Asia famed for its cultures, arts and the beauty of its breathtaking nature prepare you a lot of choice of luxury villas and small resort for self retreat with its best massage and spa treatments using either local ingredients or imported luxurious range of products. You will be pampered by seaside or mountains breeze during massages and treatments offer exclusive service and expertise of Balinese hands. The superior ingredients and efficacy are used in combination with specially developed techniques to nourish, firm and hydrate the skin while enhancing the serenity and alleviating stress. Understanding that beauty is not merely skin-deep. The resort usually offer yoga, meditation and stretching just ask to the manager. You can select hotel or small resort situated on the beach facing the ocean or beautiful resort in the countryside near the mountains. The quickest and easiest way to find hotels or resort or villas at your destination is to go online and visit a hotel reservation or travel agent website. Do a search for the country, island and city you are traveling to and you will be presented with a list of available hotels/resorts in that area. As the wide choice can be confusing especially for the first-time visitors and its sometimes difficult to select the right Bali Resort. So just let your travel agent knows (by e-mail) your personal needs and your preferences that he can recommend those resorts he feels will suit you best. For short information I try to present you with some of the nicest and pleasant place to retreat in Bali. Waka di Ume Resort & Spa. Boutique Resort is situated at Jalan Sweta, Sambahan Village Ubud about 3 minutes by car from the center of Ubud and 45 minutes from international airport Ngurah Rai Bali. The resort offers very friendly ambience and situated within lush tropical garden and surrounded by a verdant terraces rice field. A real rural atmosphere. The resort is built in traditional Balinese style using most of local materials like teak and coconut palm wood, stones, the elegant grass thatch roofs (alang-alang) and soft local fabrics. It is combined with all the modern amenities to complete your conveniences. The Resort offers excellent service of room, restaurant and spa. Waka Gangga Resort & Spa. The resort offers a fantastic view of the Indian Ocean and the most beautiful sunset (weather permitted). It is located at Sudimara Village Tabanan about one our drive from Bali International Airport "Ngurah Rai" after passing Kuta the way offer the road through an infinity panorama of verdant and fertile rice field. A truly place away from crowd. The resort built in typical Balinese bungalows within the terraces rice field with the view of the thunderous of the Indian Oceans waves at the front and the spectacular view of the Mount Batukaru at the far back. For the total comport the room are furnished with local materials and modern amenities accompanied by smiling Balinese staffs with their most cordial services. So for everyone who is reading this article and has chosen / will make Bali their preferred holiday destination; my thanks a lot; I am sure you will have the memorable holiday of a lifetime here.

Japanese travel guide

Japanese travel guide

Getaways are meant to take a person away from all the hurly and burly of life to perfect peace and tranquility. An ideal getaway vacation can thus be at a place where you embrace the beauty of nature in complete serenity. The paradigm example of this is Japan where visitors themselves have discovered countless beautiful getaways. So lets take a look at some of the popular and ideal getaways in the land of rising sun. Some frequently visited getaways in the Japan are as follows:Hagi- it is a nice historic archaic Samurai and castle town in the rural Japan. It is located near the western tip of the Honshu Island. Hagi has some of the wonderful museums and beaches. The Joka- Machi old samurai quarter is worth visitng in Hagi. Besides this the Kumaya Art Mueseum, the Kasuga Shrine near Joka Machi and the Sho-in Shrine are the must visit sites in Hagi. Idzumo is one amongst the four most important Shinto shrines of Japan. It is also called the home of gods. The shrine has tremendous historical significance. Sekigane is also an amazing Japanese getaway. It is a small village that has hot water springs and coastal mountains. At the end of this small but calm and amazing village is a walk up through bamboo groves to Kamei Park. The Kyoto Fu peninsula is a small peninsula that makes a great getaway. In order to reach this peninsula you need to drive from Kumihama to Mineyama, Omiya and Miyazu. On the south of Omiya there is a small shrine that too is religiously and historically quite significant. The Wakasa Wan (Bay) is another brilliant getaway. The Wakasa Wan National Park is quite popular here. The Obama Bay that stretches to the Oshima Peninsula is also a brilliant getaway. Similarly the Tsunegami Hanto Peninsula that has Rocky Mountains is also worth visiting. You can also go to see the Tojimbo Cliffs. These are located on a point of the Echi-zen Kaigan (coast) National Park. It is a popular tourist attraction because of its exotic beauty. If you visit here dont forget to go to the small fishing village, Anto nearby. The Central Mountains of Honshu Island are a big lure to visitors. This island has a collection of various mountains known as Central Alps. It is a great delight and lifetime opportunity to see these world famous ice-capped mountains.The Shiwaku Shoto Islands are a group of islands near Oakayama that has many small collections of islands in the Inland Sea. Hon-Jima and Mukkuchi-Jima islands make desirous getaways. Apart from these the place of Hokkaido in Japan is recognized as a top romantic getaway. Similarly there are other passionate getaways such as Ikspiari, Vinus Fort, Lovers Cape and Kobe Portpia. But this is just the tip of an iceberg for there are many other known and waiting to be discovered getaways in Japan.

All about Miami Beach

With summer approaching, it may be a nice idea to take a break from ones gruelling daily routine and splash around in the cool waters of the Atlantic. Talking about beach resorts, why look any further than Miami Beach?Originally established in 1915, the city, located in the Miami-Dade County of Florida, changed its name to Miami Beach in 1917. It is a city known not only for the excitements that it offers as a seaside resort but also for its cultural and artistic heritage.The citys Art-Deco style architecture won recognition in 1979 when the citys Art-Deco Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Hundreds of hotels, apartments and other structures built during the period 1923-43 provide the architectural basis for declaring the district a historic place of national importance. Besides Art-Deco, Mediterranean and Streamline Moderne are the other architectural styles that are well represented in the district.The citys South Beach is one of the most popular areas. Being a great draw to European tourists and largely influenced by their preferences, South Beach is one of the few public beaches in the country that tolerate topless sunbathing. Today, this part of the city is a major entertainment destination with hundreds of nightclubs, restaurants and oceanfront hotels. The city is also very well known for its nightlife, fine dining culture, bike riding and shopping. While the once down-trodden Lincoln Road in the South Beach area is today acknowledged throughout the US as the destination for quality food, adventure thrills and great shopping experiences, its real claim to fame is the fact that Lincoln Road and the South Beach area has today replaced Los Angeles and New York City as the countrys top night life destination. Incidentally, the city happens to be among the top 30 destinations for gay tourism in the United States. The city is also the worlds fashion shoot hub with more than 1500 models living in the area and many more arriving during the October to March season.Often called the Sun and Fun Capital of the world, Miami Beach offers tourists several points of interest. Take Collins Bridge for instance. Way back in 1913, John S. Collins and Carl G. Fisher built a 21/2 mile bridge to connect the City of Miami on the mainland and the City of Miami Beach on a barrier island in southern Florida. It was then the longest wooden bridge in the world. Although the Venetian Causeway has today replaced the original Collins Bridge, it was this link that ushered in rapid development for Miami Beach. Today the Venetian Causeway follows the original route taken by Collins Bridge.Another must-see landmark is the Miami Beach Botanical Garden spread across 4.5 acres of land. The garden includes a conservatory and has several varieties of palms and orchids.For fun, sun and so much more there is nothing to beat Miami Beach!

Gytheio - the sea port of Sparta

The Greek town of Gytheio, often called the sea port of Sparta, is located towards the north western area of the Gulf of Laconia, in the Peloponnese. This is an ancient town which offers a variety of interesting spots to meet as well as many unique constructions and buildings dating from past poques.Due to its age, the city of Gythia has gone through a great amount of interesting and critical historical events. One of the first most critical events this city went through dates from the year 455 BC, when the admiral Tolmides burnt most of it during the Peloponnesian War. Another important moment in the history of Gythio was when the city became founder of the union of 24 towns. This union was known as the Eleutherolaconian towns, and consisted on a group of communities who united their forces in order to fight again Sparta and keep their autonomy.There are clear descriptions on how the town was and how it looked like during the rign of Marcus Aurelius. These descriptions explain about the Acropolis, the Agora, and the island of Crane, the precinct of Aphrodite Migonitis, the hill Larysium or Komaro, among other spots; and it is recommendable that tourists learn about them in order to have as much information as possible at the time of visiting the town.The Island of Crane, also known as Island Marathonisi is located near Gythio and has played an important role in its past. This island was the place chosen by Paris to marry Helen of Troy. This fact causes the island to have a special charm and tourists could learn more about this event while visiting it.According to its modern history, one of the latest most important events that happened in Gythio was the opening of a port. This port started functioning around the year 1960 in what is known as the Sean of the Diocese of Gytheion and Oitylo. This has had an important impact on the town, and is one of the most interesting spots tourists can visit while being in Gythio.

Summary

As sunrise begins to unveil the magnificence of the Grand Canyon every morning, every day of the year, a group of forty to fifty Canyon visitors gathers around the mule ride check-in desk in the lobby of the historic Bright Angel Lodge. The old lobby is the picture of comfort and security with its rustic beam construction and fire roaring in the huge rock fireplace. But the smiles and cheerful banter of this group mask the anxieties which lie beneath. They are about to embark...