Burke-Gilman Trail Seattle Washington

tyyA famous recreational attraction in Seattle, the Burke-Gilman Trail is a fantastic place for runners, hikers, skaters and cyclists. Maintained by both Seattle Parks and Recreation, and the Seattle Department of Transportation, Burke-Gilman unveils some of the best parts of Seattle including its lush parks, lakes and seafront area. After venturing into the charming street corners and whiffing the healthy sea air, stop over at a lovely neighborhood café, and try some of the local specialties.

Among the activities you can do at Burke-Gilman, perhaps the most popular one is cycling. In fact, cycling aficionados come from different parts of the United States just to experience the amazing trail. Even the city of Seattle has its own organized cycling community that keeps up Burke-Gilman’s contagious lively atmosphere. But the popular trail is useful not only to recreationalists and fitness fanatics, it has become a major thoroughfare for those commuting to work and studying at the University of Washington. Since its opening, Burke-Gilman has also been an integral landmark to real estate and businesses.

Commonly called ‘the Burke’ by the locals, the Burke-Gilman Trail is a full paved pathway that stretches to 43 kilometers or 27 miles. The trail is actually a part of the King County Regional Trail System. It specifically follows the right-of-way of the old Burlington Northern railroad, goes through to the city of Seattle, and stretches all the way to Tracy Owen Station in Kenmore. It has been welcoming outdoor enthusiasts since 1978. In 2009, Burke-Gilman became connected to another trail which goes through Marymoor Park. If you choose this path, you can cycle for 64 kilometers or 40 miles without any interruption.

There are many ways to start the trail, but a number of cyclists usually choose to start at Puget Sound, which is just at the entrance of the Golden Gardens Park. The Wayne Gold Course is typically the chosen end point for the trail. If you want to do something other than cycling ‘the Burke’, you can check out the Golden Gardens Park and the Sammamish River Trail, which serve as boundaries to the trail.

Other parks you will encounter while cycling this trail include Gasworks Parks, Matthews Beach and Tracy Owen Station. The Burke-Gilman Playground is another spot that is ideal for families tackling the trail. But if you are wishing for some adult fun, why not drop by the Redhook Brewery to taste some of the best local beer varieties.

If you are not a seasoned cyclist, do not worry! Burke-Gilman is easily accessible, relatively flat and is not a very demanding trail in terms of physical fitness. The trail is completely separated from car traffic so you don’t have to be worried about being run over. In addition, regular cyclists of the path are known to follow the standard trail etiquette for safety.

If you happen to be visiting Seattle without bringing your own bike, you always have the option to rent one at several locations in the city. There are even businesses who rent out accompanying kiddie trailers. The Dutch Bike Company is one of the rental places located just at the start of the Burke. It also maintains a lovely cafe that welcomes those who want a respite from cycling. Just close to the University of Washington in the University District is another rental placed called Recycled Cycles.

Osceola State Park

jlOsceola State Park is the oldest, but smallest of all of the National Parks in Florida. The location of this park is between Jacksonville and Lake City Florida. While this park may be little in size, its historical history is just the opposite.

To find the factual history of Osceola you must look deep in the past. On February 20, 1864 the Battle of Olustee took place. It begins with the largest Civil War battle in Florida near the town of Olustee. The battle between the Confederate and Union Army’s lasted for five hours. It is on this day that ten thousand Union forces attacked the Confederate soldiers. The Confederates were forced to defend their post near the town of Olustee when the Union forces attacked. The reason this campaign was launched into Florida by the Union was to occupy Jacksonville. The place where this battle took place latter became known as the Osceola State Park. The goal of the Union was to disrupt the transportation channels of the Confederates. The purpose of this action was not just to seize cotton, timber, and turpentine, but also secure african american recruits and deprive the Confederates of food. However, the campaign failed when the Confederates successfully defended their post. The remaining Union forces were forced back to Jacksonville. At Osceola Park you can find historical facts and artifacts to further educate yourself. One of the hiking trails named after the Battle of Olustee at Osceola Park actually takes you on a history hike. The Olustee Battlefield Trail loops you through the actual places of events that took place leading up to the battle. This information includes the tactics that were used during the battle and the aftermath. This historical information was gathered from several sources including letters from soldiers who fought in the conflict, diaries, and personal accounts. While this is great history there is another way to give you an idea of what the battle may have looked like. Every President’s Day weekend the park has a reenactment of the battle. At this reproduction you will see artillery and cavalry units and of course, bearing the brunt of the fighting, the infantry.

Now the name of the park Osceola has its own history. The 1800’s is where this park was given its name. It has to do with the resistance by the Seminole people of being relocated. This began years earlier and included the first Seminole war in 1817-1818. In 1830 at the urging of President Andrew Jackson, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act of 1830. To pass this act it was necessary for Congress to disregard the treaty guarantees given to the Seminole’s. The act actually opened up the door for abuse by many militias across several states who drove the Indian’s by force across the Mississippi. At Payne’s landing another meeting took place between the Seminole’s and the Federal Government. It became known as the treaty at Payne’s landing and it was here that Osceola, the Seminole chief, refused to sign the treaty. A resistance to the removal of the Seminole people was born and Osceola led the way. Osceola was never a chief by birth, but was recognized as one for his leadership skills and became a well-known leader among the Seminoles.

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The Majestic Ometepe Island, Nicaragua

xgPicturesque Ometepe Island lies in Lake Nicaragua (Lago de Nicaragua), and is one of the main attractions in the country. The island is geologically quite fascinating as it is composed of two volcanoes joined by a thin flat isthmus. Blessed with natural attractions and rich in history, Ometepe has become a popular remote getaway and outdoor destination.

Concepcion is the one of Ometepe’s volcanos rising proudly on the northern half of the island. It is well admired for its majestic appearance marked by a perfectly shaped cone. On the southern half of the island lies Maderas, an extinct volcano adorned with an enchanting cloud forest and a lagoon in the crater.

Ometepe offers a number of hiking routes but perhaps, the most prominent hiking destinations are the volcanoes. But climbing the peaks is not a walk in the park. If you feel you still want to take on the challenge, you will need to start early in the morning. Visitors who wish to hike the volcanoes is required by law to hire a guide for safety reasons, mainly due to the paths not being well-marked.

Hiking to the top of Concepcion can be completed in about 8 hours, and there are a couple of trails to choose from. Ascending its slopes gives you the opportunity to watch howler and white face monkeys in the wild. Maderas Volcano, on the other hand, is less strenuous and can be completed in 6 hours. Aside from being mesmerized by the crater lake, your journey to Maderas can also include a stop at a beautiful 35-meter waterfall on the southern side of the volcano. But if mountain climbing is not your cup of tea, there are definitely other activities that will keep you busy like horseback riding, bicycle riding, fishing, and kayaking on lakes and rivers.

Interestingly, The island’s history goes back to the Mayan and pre-Columbia time. Artifacts created during these periods can still be found all over the island. Ometepe is also home to several stone idols and petroglyphs carved into basalt boulders. Slowly, Ometepe is becoming more open to mass tourism, but it is very much a backpacking destination at heart. This makes the island an affordable place to visit. There are several budget accommodation options to choose from, including ‘village-hotel’ services offered by islanders, however, if you desire luxury, there are also a few of hotels and lodges here.

Moyogalpa is the island’s main port, where ferry and boat services travel back and forth many times during the day, connecting it to San Jorge, the nearest town on the mainland. Moyogalpa is a small and laidback town which has the most tourist infrastructure on the island. This is where you can find cozy hotels, restaurants that serve international and local cuisine, car rentals, pharmacies, bars, internet cafes and a health centre.

The city is also the favored gateway to Concepcion volcano. From Moyogalpa, you can easily make your way to Punta Jesús María, a narrow tip situated on the western portion of the island. Punta Jesus Maria has become a prominent tourist spot as it overlooks the water and makes an amazing vantage point for sunsets. If you want to enjoy the scenery longer, camping here is absolutely possible!

The Magnificent Asbyrgi Canyon Iceland

hyAsbyrgi Canyon is one of the really magnificent geological wonders you can find in northeast Iceland. This tranquil horseshoe-canyon, which stretches 3.5 kilometers and measures 1.1 km across; will not only enchant with its ethereal physical features; but it will also captivate your imagination due to the myths and legends that surround its existence.

The canyon is split in half by a gigantic cliff, where adventurous visitors can climb to get amazing views of the landscape. This distinct rock formation is known as Eyjan, which means island. Below the cliff, the canyon is adorned with woodland, composed of trees like willow, birch and mountain ash.

According to a legend, which locals still strongly believe, Ásbyrgi came to be when Sleipnir, Odin’s horse touched one of its eight hooves on the ground. Other myths points to the canyon as the ‘capital’ or main dwelling of the huldufolk or hidden people. These magical creatures who look like people are believed to stay within the cliffs. Whether you believe the myths or not, there is no doubt that Ásbyrgi Canyon is truly a spectacular site worth exploring. And the best way to do it, is to go for a hiking adventure that takes you through the different fascinating sections of the landscape.

One of the hiking paths in the canyon leads you to a body of water called Botnstjörn pond. This relatively easy trail starts from the innermost car park in Ásbyrgi, and takes you to a group of stone steps that descend to a platform next to the pond. From the platform, you can follow another set of stone steps that brings you to a small hill.

From the hill, you will get lovely panoramas of Ásbyrgi. If you welcome an even longer yet still easy hiking path, then set out for the Eyjan Hill trail, which covers a total distance of 4.5 kilometers (back and forth). This particular trail begins at the parking lot of the campsite. After conquering the Eyjan Hill, you may consider venturing through the woods of Ásbyrgi. This trail starts at the Visitor Center, and is much longer, making you walk around 4 kilometers one way. Aside from conquering this path on foot, you also have the option to cycle the route.

it is possible to stay overnight at Asbyrgi’s campsite. The canyon is also equipped with golf course for those who would like to play a few rounds amidst an amazing geological backdrop! Asbyrgi Canyon’s Visitor Center also offers an exhibition that showcases the nature and history of the canyon. But don’t expect to see a ultra-modern office. The center is actually a renovated old barn!

During summer, park rangers offer a variety of guided tours and activities for visitors. If hiking the trails around the canyon is not your cup of tea, another faster alternative of exploring the area it is to take a local driving tour. Asbyrgi is located within the grounds of Jökulsárgljúfur National Park in the northern part of the country. The city of Husavik is the main gateway to the canyon. It is easy to rent a car here and drive 45 minutes to the canyon.