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A Wise Man Does Not Own A Boat

A wise man (or woman) has friends who own boats. Why is that so? Because a boat is really a hole in the water, into which you pour your money. A boat is also a means to isolate yourself from other people or it can be a gathering place for your family and friends. That is why I say that you want to be one of those friends, and be a generous friend to the boat owner.

There are different kinds of privately owned boats: sailboats, motor boats, boats powered only by oars, boats propelled by long poles, pleasure boats, working boats, and they all have one thing in common: they suspend human and/or material cargo above a body of water. Depending on what your friend, the boat owner, does with his or her boat, adapt yourself to help the owner as well as to share their joy of being on the water.

By not owning a boat, you may not know that a boat that is purchased new can cost as much as a new car or even a new house. Plus, there are docking and storage costs, equipment maintenance, repair, and replacement costs, a cost for weather damage, fuel, membership dues, taxes, and if the owner generously invites you to sail, motor out, or simply to lounge upon the boat while it is tied up at the dock, the owner will likely provide food and drink, music, and the owner may have to purchase additional seat cushions. The list of expenses goes on-and-on.

Most people will accept the boat owner’s kind invitation, and bring nothing to give to the owner. That is why most people, other than the owner’s family and closest friends, rarely get invited to sail again. Bring something special, something good to eat that you have prepared in your kitchen, something that you know is tasty. Bring that good food in abundance.

Perhaps bring a couple of bottles of champagne with you too. Spend between $25 and $50 on such gifts, and the boat owner will think you are royalty. Smile and be gracious to all aboard. Everyone who sails with you will like you, and they will admire you as the generous person that you are. You can safely bet that the boat owner has invited other boat owners to sail too. Make friends with all of them, and you will sail again, wise man.


5 Cool Facts to Know About Garner State Park

grab a snack and chuck it in your cooler to stay fresh

Would your ideal vacation spot be a perfect natural haven filled with hiking, canoeing, tubing, geocaching, and even dancing? For many the answer is yes, and each year many outdoor enthusiasts choose Garner State Park as their ideal summer destination. Chock full of numerous nature-based activities, loaded with Mother Nature’s wonders, and highlighting the beauty of The Frio River, this state park could be your prime location for summer outdoor adventures as well. Are you unfamiliar with this amazing state park in Uvalde County? Here are 5 cool facts to know about Garner State Park.

1. Location

This beautiful state park is located in Concan, Texas on the southwestern edge of what is known to be the Edwards Plateau in the Balcones Canyonlands. It was created during the Cretaceous age due to fault line activity. Deep cliffs and mesas define this picturesque canyon land and surround clear rivers and streams perfect for fishing, canoeing, and tubing. The location, although visited by many year after year, remains mostly unchanged by human activity. The natural changes that occur due to weathering, flooding, or plant growth are allowed to constantly redefine the landscape without human intervention.

2. Wildlife

Being that the naturalness of this park is preserved as much as possible, much wildlife live and thrive there. Visitors to the park will frequently spot this wild life around them. Squirrels, raccoons, and white-tailed deer are the most common, but more exotic animals exist there too. Look for Rio Grande turkeys and mourning doves amongst a whole selection of various birds. If you are a bird watcher then you are in for a treat. The golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo, both endangered species, nest in the park from spring until summer.

3. The Frio River

Rising from springs as the West Frio River, it promptly joins 2 other tributaries and flows southeast for 200 miles before draining into the Nueces River. The name Frio means cold in Spanish and this name perfectly describes the fresh cool waters that lure swimmers and campers up and down the length of its banks. This river is given a shout-out in the song, “All my Ex’s live in Texas,” by George Strait who grew up in Frio County.

4. Geocaching

Merge the joys of hiking and exploring with a scavenger hunt and you have geocaching. Hundreds of geocaches are hidden throughout the park and can be found using a GPS device or an app on a smart phone with GPS capabilities. The GPS device tells you how far away a geocache is and you must go off searching for it. They can be hidden in trees, under rocks, or even placed behind signs and landmarks. Often times a geocache will house a log book so you can write in your name and claim victory over that treasure forever.

5. Dancing

Back in the 1940’s during summer evenings, people would gather at the park’s concessions building and host a dance. This tradition has survived to this day and the park hosts dances each evening. They are very popular and require early arrival as they fill up quickly.


Lake Baikal, World’s Deepest Lake of Freshwater, Turning Into Swamp

The world’s oldest and deepest body of freshwater, Lake Baikal, is turning into a swamp, Russian ecologists warn. They say that tons of liquid waste from tourist camps and water transport vehicles is being dumped into the UNESCO-protected lake.

One of the natural wonders and the pearl of Russia’s Siberia, Lake Baikal has recently been a source of alarming news, due to an increased number of alien water plants which have formed in the lake waterlogging it, ecologists said at a roundtable discussion recently held in the city of Irkutsk.

A recent scientific expedition discovered that 160 tons of liquid waste are produced every season in Baikal’s Chivyrkui Bay, said the head of Baikal Environmental Wave, one of Russia’s first environmental NGOs, according to SIA media outlet.

Locals have complained to ecologists that the waste easily drains into the lake, SIA reported. The growing number of tourist camps in the area are unwillingly contributing to the pollution. The report elaborates that the camps pass on waste to special organizations, but disposal vehicles often don’t reach the facilities and instead end up dumping the waste into Baikal or rivers that flow into the lake.

In addition, a large contributing factor to the contamination of the lake is water transport vehicles. Ships, boats, yachts, and other vessels produce 25,000 tons of liquid waste annually, but only 1,600 of them end up at the proper disposal facilities, according to the head of Baikal Environmental Wave.

The waste dumped into the lake sparked the growth of water plants such as Spirogyra and Elodea Canadensis, which have never grown there before.

Researchers found a significant accumulation of water plants and dead lake mollusks on the northern coast of Lake Baikal, according to report. They monitored the coastline from the mouth of the River Tia to Senogda Bay, finding rotting water plants down the coast. An increased level of pollution was also discovered in Listvenichesky Bay.

In an effort to prevent waterlogging, ecologists suggest equipping garbage vehicles with satellite monitoring devices to track exactly where the waste is delivered. In addition, new technologies and educational programs should be introduced to reduce the production of waste, Baikal Environmental Wave pointed out. Ecologists also offered to support initiatives of the residents, as well as local environmental projects.

The new troubles come after an almost two-decade battle to close a major polluter of the lake – Baikal Pulp and Paper mill. In December 2013, it was finally shut down after 47 years of dumping effluent into the site.

Meanwhile, Russian authorities held talks in Irkutsk last week regarding the improvement of legislation on the protection of water resources, using Lake Baikal as an example.

The closure of the Baikal Pulp and Paper mill took a toll on the region’s economy, with almost 2,000 people left jobless, Oleg Kravchuk – the minister of natural resources and ecology of Irkutsk region – said at the meeting. The mill was the town’s only major employer and accounted for 80 percent of its income. Local residents have been staging protests in an effort to bring attention to their economic problems.


Snowmobile History and Fun Is a Family Affair

I became part of the sport of snowmobiling when I married into it in 1976.

My husband was the son of a man involved in snowmobiles deeply. Even before we were married I was invited to go snowmobiling at “the farm”. I had no experience riding a snowmobile at that time.

After being married, the first event I was invited to was the Hetteen Cup oval race in Alexandria, Mn. in 1977. His parents invited us, the newly weds, to the weekend event. We stayed at a hotel in Alexandria and met a few of their friends at the evening meal that night. I remember how exciting it was to watch the racers compete on snowmobiles of many different companies. I also remember that Scorpion won the race and Brad Hulings was the race driver of that winning sled. The owner of Arctic Cat went down to shake hands, present the trophy and a boat to the winner. It was a wonderful event.

It was fun to be a part of a family that went snowmobiling together at “the farm” in Wanaska, Mn. I learned how to ride my own sled that first year instead of riding double behind my husband. He was riding a 1976 Pantera with a mid-mounted gas tank, black and orange trim, a cross between a panther and an El Tigre. I remember it well. I got the 1975 Panther to use, which was also a fine sled. The snowmobile trails were part of Hayes Park and then traveled along the ditches going into Roseau, Mn. Going there and back to catch a bite to eat, just a round trip, ending back to “the farm” to play cards and share stories of the trip.

The children of the family learned at a young age to ride a snowmobile by using Grandpa’s airplane runway covered with powder snow to practise, before they could take to the trails on their own. We would take shorter trips for the day when the children were along. Grandma was famous for her potato/carrot aluminum packs that she would put in a open fire, to cook for us to eat along the trail. The hot chocolate in a thermos bottle was very inviting to drink when we would take a break along the trail. Many times there was a larger crew of us, and we would stop at Bemis Hill for sledding and a fire in the fireplace in the building. In the 1980’s and 1990’s we would experience riding the Polaris snowmobiles like the 1990 Polaris Indy Sport GT and 1994 XLT.

In 1998 his parents moved to Grand Rapids, MN. We still continued to snowmobile the trails and our son got married to his wife. And then our daughter got married to her husband. That added more members to the family, including more children. We extended our trail riding to other areas like Ironwood, MI and Superior, WI making a weekend out of it each time.

We continued to have lots of experiences with trail riding around Grand Rapids, Mn. when we moved there also in 2006. Our married children and grandchildren continue to come up for weekends of winter to enjoy the beautiful trails in Grand Rapids, Mn. The resource of plenty of snow comes and goes and riding snowmobiles stays in our blood. The old folks pass on to new horizons and babies continue to be born into the family. The stories of young experiences and yesteryear are told to the grandchildren and the history of snowmobiling lives on.

The sport of snowmobiling continues to grow every year when new sleds come out for people to ride. The ASCOA and the VSCA also encourage snowmobile history to never be forgotten by having events to show original sleds and restored sleds at their events all over the USA. There are museums thoughout the United States that house these early models from the 50’s to the 80’s and people go to look at them as part of their vacation ventures.

Enjoying snowmobiling is great family fun for us especially when the resources of the snow is there every winter in the Mid Western states to enjoy the sport. Because of this promoting the history of snowmobiling that was there in the beginning and we still are continuing to keep snowmobile history alive,


New Orleans Outdoor Fun

Hello, Spring! While the actual first day is still a few weeks away, the weather in New Orleans keeps rising to the perfect temperatures… low 70s and humidity-free! Why not take advantage of clear skies and balmy temps and explore outdoor New Orleans? Take it outside with our perfect-weather picks.

Spend at Day at City Park

Smack-dab in the middle of New Orleans sits City Park, a public green space that is 50% larger than NYC’s Central Park. On any given day, there will be intramural sports teams practicing and playing, golfers (and mini-golfers) trying for that elusive hole-in-one, school children on field trips learning about the botanical gardens and century-old live oak trees, joggers running along the myriad of tracks and walkways and art aficionados viewing the latest traveling exhibit at NOMA: New Orleans Museum of Art.

It’s easy to spend an entire day here, especially when it’s a pretty one. Wear your sneakers and something comfy, so you can be prepared for any and every activity. After you work-up an appetite, grab lunch at CafĂ© NOMA. It’s central to the park, located inside the museum and by the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group – the perfect combination!

Mix n’ Mingle at the Lakefront

While New Orleans is known for the Mighty Mississippi that flows through it, there is also another body of water that creates its northern border: Lake Pontchartrain.

On a beautiful day, head to the lakefront for fishing, sailing, paddleboarding and more. No boat? No problem! There are boat captains ready to take you out on 600+ sq. miles of water. If venturing out onto the water is not your style, try one of the many waterfront restaurants lining the shores. Try and grab dinner around 6 o’clock and you’ll catch one gorgeous sunset over water.

While on-the-water activities are fun and waterfront restaurants are delicious, one of our favorite things to do will always been just sitting along the lakefront, watching the sailboats pass by.

Walk on the Wide Side at Audubon Zoo

Hop on Magazine Street and head all the way to its end for Uptown’s Audubon Park. You’re just 6 miles from downtown, but will feel worlds away.

The Audubon Zoo is one of New Orleans’ best attractions. Kids and adults both love the swamp exhibit, complete with a houseboat and bathtub, in which the Louisiana black bears love to lie on a warm day. Monkey Hill, one of the park’s oldest and most cherished spots, was created in the 1930s to show New Orleans children what a hill looked like. No, that’s not a joke. Audubon Zoo’s quirks have made it one of New Orleans’ prized attractions.

Not quite ready to head back to the bustle of downtown? The Fly (located next to the zoo) is a local favorite for picnicking, sunbathing and catching up on a great book. The green space sits on the banks of the Mississippi River, so it’s the perfect spot to watch barges traveling to and from port.

So go on and soak up the sun and experience New Orleans’ outdoors. It’s not called “Sportsman’s Paradise” for nothing.


How to Choose an Urban Scooter

The living conditions in the city influence the choice of transport we use. Against the background of the endless traffic congestion, crowding and lack of air buses and minibuses, the scooter has gained its popularity all over the world, especially in cities.

Reviews suggest that the most popular urban scooters are used for commuting and just walking through the streets. They are designed for driving on asphalt road and equipped with polyurethane wheels. An urban scooter has a small size and is suitable for driving on sidewalks and tile. The main advantages of these scooters are the ease, compactness, relatively low price.

How to Choose an Adult Urban Scooter

Before you choose an adult urban scooter, you should know much about it. Collapsible scooters are most often made of steel withstanding considerable weight, with reliable polyurethane wheels and a broad deck for the adult feet. They are always adjustable in height so that everyone can choose a comfortable position. An important condition is the safety, which depends on the quality material and high reliability of all connections.

To select the appropriate for the city, it’s necessary to pay attention to several parameters. Firstly, you should pay attention primarily to the wheel. It has the meaning of their size. The larger the wheel is, the higher the drive speed is. But at the same time, it reduces maneuverability. Such a model will suit an adult, self-confident rider. The width of the tire is directly proportional to the stability of the scooter. The material from which made the wheels is too important. Plastic wheels are rare, usually in cheaper models. They serve not for very long and are suitable for driving on a perfectly flat surface. Polyurethane wheels differ in stiffness. The higher the score is, the more sensitive you will have to clash with stones and potholes on the road. Soft wheels would negate such inconvenience. But on the perfectly smooth asphalt road, of course, they lose more stringent control. The most versatile can be wheels with inflatable tires. They can travel on a variety of roads and even on the easy road (on the sand and grass).

Recommendation

If you are badly in need of an urban scooter, the X8 portable folding scooter would be a right choice.

With the folding design, this scooter is light, compact and portable. The unfolding size is 1056*1190*188mm and the folding size is 188*480*860mm. It weighs only 13 kg, but its max load is 120 kg. The frame is made of aerospace aluminum alloy so that the whole scooter is light but solid. It’s powerful and drives fast. And the max speed is up to 30 KM/h.

In addition, it offers safe and comfortable travel experience because of the professional design. The shock absorption system in includes the front pneumatic tire and built-in rear shock absorber. The security system includes high-and-low-speed control, cruise control and rear disc brake. The full protection system includes battery over-discharging protection, battery over- charging protection and battery operation protection. Moreover, the smart digital display shows battery and motor status, current speed and travel distance.


5 Tips Every First Time Frio River Cabin Guest Needs to Know

Thousands of visitors flock to the Frio River each year to enjoy the rugged and beautiful Texas hill country. For a lot of those vacationers, they choose to stay in a Frio River cabin to enhance their experience. A cabin on the river is a great option for those planning on taking advantage of the many water activities available. Cabins are convenient and certainly more comfortable than camping. If you are a first time cabin user, though, consider the following five tips to make the most of your trip:

1. Consider your location.

The Frio River runs through several counties, including Uvalde County, and makes its way through Leakey, Concan, Utopia and also Garner State Park. The state park is better for those who like crowds, while areas like Utopia and Concan are less crowded. More rural areas offer more rugged beauty and privacy while more popular areas can afford more activity. Consider Concan for a smaller town that offers access to tubes and kayak rentals but is still less crowded than other, larger areas.

2. Know which amenities are important to you.

There are cabins available for most needs. Consider whether you are looking for a more rugged experience or in the market for a more luxurious stay. There are cabins that come furnished while others require the user to bring linens, etc. Frio River cabins come in different states and are rented privately by families and also by larger companies. Privately owned cabins can offer unique and personal experiences while others owned by larger entities can save you time and money. Just evaluate your needs first to know which type of cabin you are searching.

3. Travel during the off-season to save money.

Summertime and the weeks of Spring Break are probably the busiest times of the year for the Frio River. When the sun is shining and the Texas heat is reigning, the Frio River offers visitors a chance to enjoy the outdoors while staying cool – a rarity for a Hill County summer. However, the Frio River is a great option during the cooler months, as well, for those enjoy hiking, kayaking and fishing. A bonus for the off-season months includes deals and specials. Take a look online to find these coupons and special offers or contact the visitors’ bureau.

4. Plan to plan ahead.

If you are looking to stay during the busy season, make sure you make your reservations early. Many places, like the local state park, fill quickly. As an added perk for reserving early, you may encounter specials. Sometimes discounts are available for rentals, including tubes, kayaks, coolers, etc. Take a look in the area, as well, for special festivals and local attractions.

5. Use the resources available!

Today’s technology enables vacationers to plan early and thoroughly. Don’t forget the local visitors’ bureaus as well as the Chamber of Commerce centers and tourist centers. Local residents who know the area well and can offer great tips and suggestions for finding a Frio River cabin often work in these offices.


The Rubies of the Silver State

It’s the Yosemite of Nevada. Lamoille (“luh-MOY-uhl”) Canyon in northeastern Nevada’s Ruby Mountains is a glacier-carved feature in the middle of an arid land. The Ruby Mountains themselves are a surprise, as they support aspens and mountain goats and other critters that one doesn’t expect to find in the desert. The many lakes in this area are also home to many kinds of trout. These creatures thrive here because the Rubies are among the highest and wettest of the Great Basin’s mountain ranges.

The best place to begin your visit to the Rubies is in Elko, Nevada, off Interstate 80. This is the seat of Elko County, one of the largest counties in the United States. The friendly people of the Elko Chamber of Commerce at 1405 Idaho Street can help you plan your visit and arm you with plenty of literature. You’ll also want to check on what events will be taking place in Elko. For instance, the town hosts the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in January, the Elko Western Festival Days and the Elko Mining Expo in June, and the National Basque Festival (the oldest and largest of the Basque celebrations in Nevada) in July. And in September the Elko County Fair and Livestock Show takes place, as well as the Man-Mule Race, a 20-mile jaunt from Lamoille to Elko.

To gain an even better understanding of the region, visit the nearby Northeastern Nevada Museum at 1515 Idaho Street in Elko. Perhaps one of the best local museums in Nevada, this facility exhibits local artifacts, slide shows, and traveling displays of the winners of an annual photo contest.

A third excellent “first place” to visit is the Humboldt National Forest office at 2035 Last Chance Road, in Elko. You can find out where to camp and picnic in the Humboldt National Forest, which encompasses the Ruby Mountains.

Once armed with knowledge, head west from the Elko Chamber of Commerce or the museum on Idaho Street until you reach 12th Street. Turn left and follow the signs for state routes 227 and 228. After proceeding 1.3 miles from the museum, turn left at the junction with the state routes onto State Route 227. After another 3.2 miles you’ll reach Elko Summit and can look ahead to your destination, the Rubies. Stay on Route 227 toward Lamoille; before reaching the town, turn right onto Lamoille Canyon Road, approximately 19 miles from Elko.

The Ruby Mountains, like other ranges in the Great Basin, are long and thin; they measure 100 miles long and a maximum of 10 miles wide. The Rubies are geologically complex, consisting of ancient metamorphic rocks such as gneiss (metamorphosed granite), slate (from metamorphosed shale), and quartzite (from sandstone), all found in the northern two-thirds. Mixed in with these major rock types is garnet, a semiprecious stone that is usually red. The garnet was mistaken for ruby by early settlers, and thus the range acquired its name. The southern third of the Rubies consists of limestone, which makes for a drier-looking landscape. Rain tends to soak through the limestone. The mountains also have a steep eastern face and a gentle western slope, which, from a mountain-range-type perspective, puts the Rubies in good company. Many of the Great Basin mountain ranges, as well as the Sierra and the Tetons, sport this profile. And as do the Sierras and Tetons, the Rubies offer ample evidence of being ground down by glaciers, especially in Lamoille Canyon.

Lamoille Canyon Road – the 13.5 mile drive from the junction of state routes 227 and 228 – takes you from the sagebrush plains at an elevation of 5,800 feet; enters the Forest Service Scenic Byway; and continues another 12 miles up along Forest Service Road 660 to the subalpine zone at the Roads End trailhead, situated at an elevation of 8,850 feet. As you drive to Lamoille Canyon, look for the four road signs that demarcate the forest’s self-guided natural history auto tour.

The Rubies were subjected to glacial carving during the Pleistocene Epoch between 10,000 and 3 million years ago. The glaciers in this range were some of the largest and deepest in the Great Basin, and were some of the few that actually reached the adjoining plains. The first indication of Lamoille Canyon’s glaciated past is its U-shape. As you continue up the canyon, you’ll also notice side canyons that hang high up on the walls. These hanging canyons are another glacial feature. The main glacier in a canyon carves downward faster than the smaller tributary glaciers, thereby leaving the canyons hanging after the glaciers recede.

Besides glacial evidence, Lamoille Canyon offers many recreational opportunities. Among them are camping, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, bicycling, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, nature observation, and picnicking. The first picnic location you’ll come to is the small but attractive Powerhouse picnic area. A particularly good time to visit this spot is when the creek is full from springtime snowmelt. It offers five sites for families and one group site for 25 people, but no piped water.

If you’re traveling with motorhomers, your first opportunity to camp is where the Right Fork of Lamoille Canyon meets the main canyon – a campground managed by the Elko County Lions Club. Groups of at least 25 people are accepted here; the facility is not designed for single-family camping. To make reservations, contact Heidi Draper at (775) 934-2096. From the Right Fork, the Forest Service offers camping in dispersed primitive sites downstream of the Powerhouse Picnic Area. The canyon’s only developed campground is farther up at Thomas Canyon. It offers 42 sites with water and rest rooms. All of the sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis; however, 19 RV non-electric sites and 16 standard non-electric sites can be reserved online. (see resource box)

A highlight of your canyon tour along Lamoille Canyon Road comes next on the Lamoille Hanging Canyon Nature Trail. One of several hiking trails within the forest, this half-mile-long trail starts at the Avalanche Overlook and leads through aspens, whose yellows and oranges can be enjoyed during the fall. You’ll learn that the Ruby Mountains began as sediment in an ancient ocean that covered much of the West a half-billion years ago. Later, magma intruded into these sediments, leaving pockets of granite when the magma cooled. By the time the Rubies were uplifted 15 million years ago, these rocks had been metamorphosed into the gneiss, marble, and schist that we see today. The glacier that carved Lamoille was 700 feet thick at times, and exerted almost 40,000 pounds of pressure per square foot on the rock.

Combine that with the fact that the glacier flowed one to three feet per day, and you can imagine how much grinding the rocks were subjected to. The creek that flows through this canyon bottom now is home to beavers that feed on the inner bark of the aspens. The canyon bottom boasts the best soil in the area and has the most luxuriant plant and animal life. As you look up at the canyon slopes, you’ll notice that they’re much different from the bottomland. The north-facing slope lacks the good soil but is cooler and moister than the opposite canyon wall, so it supports aspens, limber pines, and other scrubby growth. The south-facing slope receives sunlight more directly year-round, and so it is hotter and drier. This type of climate supports sparse growth dominated by mountain mahogany, and limber pines at the highest elevations.

Another good place to enjoy aspens is the Terraces picnic area, situated approximately 1/2-mile farther up the canyon from the nature trail. This is the most complete picnic spot in the canyon, with piped water, toilets, tables, and grills. It also provides an aspen-framed view down into the canyon.

From there, the byway gradually curves southward, reaching its end at appropriately named Roads End trailhead. At this point, you’ll be in the subalpine zone at 8,850 feet above sea level. The two picnic sites here lack fire pits but otherwise can serve as a spot for a snack before heading off on the Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail. This 40-mile-long trail heads south to Harrison Pass and covers much of the 90,000-acre Ruby Mountains Wilderness Area.

This wilderness actually extends from near Secret Pass at the northern end of the Rubies and reaches almost as far south as Harrison Pass. It preserves the character of most of the higher elevations, including the largest area of alpine habitat in the Great Basin. The region’s flora has more in common with the alpine country of the Rockies or the Sierra than with other Great Basin ranges. In the 1960’s, mountain goats were introduced here, and beginning in 1989, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep were reintroduced, thus giving the Rubies a faunal touch of the Rockies.

Roads End is a popular trailhead for hikers and backpackers who want to enjoy the highest elevations of the Rubies. Incidentally, the highest point in the range, Ruby Dome, at 11,387 feet, is not along the crest trail, but is actually situated just south of Lamoille Canyon. But the crest trail takes the adventurous near many peaks that are more than 11,000 feet tall. This trailhead is also popular with anglers who enjoy fishing in the many lakes of the wilderness. All of the trails are open from late June through September, depending on how long the snow lingers.

If you want to see one of those Ruby Mountain lakes, then head up the trail near where the loop at Roads End begins. Take the steep hike for a four- to six-hour round trip to Island Lake, which sits in a cirque at the 9,672-foot elevation. Brook trout lurk under the lake’s 7-1/2 acre surface.

Enjoy the different perspective you’ll get of the canyon on your drive back out. Once you’ve returned to State Route 227, turn right and proceed approximately 1/2-mile to the little ranching town of Lamoille. The town was named by Thomas H. Waterman, who, along with John P. Walker, first settled there in 1864. The area reminded Waterman of his home in Johnson, a town in Lamoille County, Vermont.

As you head back toward Elko on State Route 227, take State Route 228 toward Jiggs to continue your Ruby Range exploration. Three miles beyond Jiggs, turn left, or east, toward Harrison Pass. After 3.5 miles, the pavement ends, but the dirt road is well maintained. In another 1.2 miles, you’ll cross the Humboldt National Forest boundary. Then, in 6.3 miles, you’ll reach 7,248-foot Harrison Pass. Ruby Valley will be ahead. Go down the other side for 3.4 miles and turn right into Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
The refuge headquarters is 7.6 miles from the Harrison Pass Road junction. At this facility bird lists and other wildlife information are available, as well as information about fishing, camping, and boating.

Ruby Lake owes its existence to the Ruby Mountains in this southern third of the range. Remember, this section is mostly limestone, which absorbs rain and snow. Well, that water doesn’t just disappear. It emerges as springs at the base of the mountains and forms this lake. The national wildlife refuge was established around the lake in 1938 and is home to ducks, geese, wading birds, and shorebirds. It is also one of the few refuges that boast nesting sandhill cranes and trumpeter swans among their occupants.

The lake’s greatest attraction is that it harbors trout and bass. Anglers can be numerous on the water at times, but regulations keep fishing from getting out of hand. Nevada state fishing licenses are required, and season, boating, and bait regulations should be checked before you head out. Fishing for bass is most productive in the middle of summer, and fishing for trout peaks in June and in the fall.
The refuge offers its own 35-site campground south of the headquarters with no-hookup sites; a dump station is located nearby.

From this campground, you’ll have 60 miles to return to Elko over Harrison Pass. That will give you a chance to see much of the length of the Rubies on your way – a chance to reflect on what you’ve seen and learned about the Yosemite of Nevada.


Suspended in the Delights of Nature

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet,
and the winds long to play with your hair.

~Daniel Boone~

After a day’s drive from Western New York, we cross the Bourne Bridge to Cape Cod and spend a delightful evening with friends in Mashpee. Early the next morning, we board the ferry for Martha’s Vineyard. I stand on deck at the rail the whole trip. During the 45 minute passage, I feel daily civilization slowly sloughing from my body. A gentle breeze wafts from the Vineyard shore across Nantucket Sound as we steam toward port in Vineyard Haven. By the time we dock and drive off the ferry, I sense that we are in a different reality. We are delighted to reunite with our Vineyard friends and relish our stay with them.

Our first destination after breakfast at the Black Dog is Gay Head Beach. Vineyard weather can change without notice but remains steady during our visit. The weather hovers between the seventies and eighties. On our way Up Island, a gentle breeze bathes us with salt air filtered through dense trees and shrubs as well as wafting across occasional meadows.

Wild turkeys and guinea fowl emerge from the woods to greet us. A long-horned steer suspends his grazing to return our gaze as we stop by his meadow. Goats also graze on a hill in the distance, not interested in our presence. Deer are also plentiful on the island but remain hidden in the woods.

Arriving at our usual parking spot, we load up chairs and provisions to carry across the dunes on the way to our spot on Gay Head beach. A gentle breeze faces us as we traverse the last dune. Lillian Hellman’s cabana continues to fade back into being part of the earth. A few other people walk the beach and others sit in the sun, swim or do both. Gulls come by to investigate our appearance on the beach, hoping for a potato chip or more. An osprey glides overhead and a seal pops up from the waves, possibly attracted by a nearby pod of fishing boats circled offshore for the bass and bluefish tournament. The seal keeps an eye on us as we do on him. I wonder if he enjoys our visit as much as we do his.

The dunes, breeze, surf, sky, beach sculptures and sand in our toes do their best to welcome us to beach environment. A couple of visitors enjoy the beach experience fully, with no interference from clothing- one woman sunbathing and one man swimming.

In addition to our two days at the beach, we also climb the lighthouse, recently moved back from the Gay Head cliffs to prevent its crashing into Nantucket Sound. We also spend time at our favorite haunts on the Vineyard, most notably Menemsha, an Up Island fishing village best known for its chowder and seafood. Competing for a place in our hearts are communing with the island itself and our time together recounting the Martha’s Vineyard stories each of us has collected over the years. All of us treasure both.

Life Lab Lessons

Where are the special places in your life?

What stories do they hold for you?

What does relating these stories do for your soul?

When was the last time you visited these places?

They are waiting for our visit, at least in your heart and mind.

Joseph G. Langen is the author of seven books, Commonsense Wisdom for Everyday Life, Young Man of the Cloth, Navigating Life, The Pastor’s Inferno, Release Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life, Make the Best of Your Teen Years and Stress Briefly Noted.

Bike Trails Through The Alps Of The Sea

The bike trails through the alps of the sea are the objective of the cross-border project. Exceptional habitats, mild climate and a variety of landscapes make the numerous French and Italian valleys an ideal place to practice your favourite sport in total freedom. In response to the growing demand for well-appointed recrea-tional areas for leisure time and nature discovery, and with utmost respect for the rich and pristine environment in these lands, a network of 2000 km of bike trails have been created along the Italian and French slopes.

Intended for fans of long biking excursions and for leisurely family cycling as well, these itineraries have been carefully selected to offer trails that meet the needs and expectations of everyone. With the Alpi del Mare MTB cross-border trails, the Conseil general des Alpes-Marittimes and the Provinces of Cuneo and Imperia open the door for you to enter an exceptional world, where heritage treasures, legacies of a millenary history, extraordinary verdant green landscapes and sporting activities are harmoniously combined.

Ours is a unique territory, which takes you up to the highest peaks of the Ligurian Alps and down to the seaside in the space of just a few kilometers. Nature is varied here, and all year round you discover special colours and scents. A rainbow of flowers, eagles flying overhead, darting flickers in the bushes, vast stretches of bright green, majestic dry rock faces, shady olive groves, fragrant terraces… And constantly changing scenery day after day. All this is our way of welcoming you!

A journey through ancient trade routes filled with a thousand years of history: walls and terraces eroded by the waters, nestled villages overlooking the valleys, towns crossed by stone bridges, the passageway of ancient roads, sunny villas with parks facing the sea, small fishing villages that evoke traditions of the past. A traditional cuisine, genuine, simple but tasty, filled with Mediter-ranean flavours, the fruit of products from the land and sea: oil and wine, pasta and traditional focaccias, wild game, cheeses from alpine pastures, fresh fish cooked with such mastery that the very sight of it fills.you with desire.

The climate is always mild, the fresh air gives you vitality, and in all seasons of the year you can find the ideal conditions for cycling. On the mule tracks at high altitude in summer; up and down the valleys along the Riviera in winter. A network of trails 2000 km long to satisfy the needs of everyone: easy dirt roads for the family and challenging single-treks for the enjoyment of bikers in top form. All marked with international signs so you can go back and forth between Italy and France without losing your way.

If you love adventure and want to discover the most fascinating spots, put yourself in the hands of our expert guides. If you want to move freely without needing a car, then book the shuttle bus. And if you want the best accommodations, rely on our bike hotels.