Category Archives: Awesome Adventures

Stunning Marine Life Documentary Video

This Stunning Marine Life Documentary Video features amazing footage of sea creatures large and small. You’ll dive into the ocean to see vivid colors, interesting marine life and scenery that is seems out of this world!

If you love to watch marine animal documentaries then this video is just the thing for a boring winter evening, or maybe a lazy Sunday afternoon.

If you like Mantas you’ll find some awesome footage around 20:40 in the video. We had never seen a Manta with those markings before, and it’s always neat to see people swimming with these gentle, yet dangerous creatures.

If you’re a fan of Boxfish and Porcupine fish, there is some absolutely wonderful footage around 45:55. Checkout the Giant Frog Fish, a sponge like creature that looks fake to us, there is amazing footage of these fascinating fish around 1:04:00.

Stunning Marine Life Documentary Video

Antelope Canyon – A Stunningly Beautiful, Amazing Place

Antelope Canyon

Characterized by brilliantly colored sandstone walls carved into smooth wave like formations, and captivating beams of light that illuminate portions of the canyon from above, Antelope Canyon is a stunning, and rather surreal example of nature at work. No wonder it is one of the most widely photographed, famous canyons in the world!

(Click on the images below to view the full size photo!)

Antelope Canyonphoto credit: brentbat via photopin cc

The canyon actually owes its existence mainly to swiftly flowing flash flood water, which has carved its way through the soft sandstone bedrock of the area for millennia, creating hauntingly beautiful structures. Flash flooding can actually create flows of water that can reach up to 50 ft. deep in some areas of the canyon, and can sweep in suddenly after storms.

A Stunningly Beautiful, Amazing Place

One of the most stunningly unique regions of the country, the canyon winds its way through portions of Utah and Arizona, offering a retreat from the suppressing heat of the dessert day with temperatures up to 20 degrees lower than outside the canyon. Some sections of the canyon may be cooler than others, especially in areas where there is little to no opening overhead.

These cave like sections of the canyon are dotted with small openings where sunlight streams into the canyon, illuminating the brilliant colors of the sandstone walls and portions of the sand covered canyon floor, creating the enchanting scenes shown here. The canyon walls can reach up to 120 feet high in some areas, treating visitors to astonishing views of their smooth, wave like surface.

Antelope Canyon 4photo credit: brentbat via photopin cc

The canyon area also boasts the world’s largest natural land bridge, The Rainbow Bridge Trail, an astounding 42 ft. thick natural rock structure which spans 275 ft. The Rainbow Bridge is an understandably especially sacred and religious place for the Navajo, and also one of the most popular features of Antelope Canyon.

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Rainbow Bridgephoto credit: exquisitur via photopin cc

Another simply dazing feature of the area is the infamous “Wave” which straddles the border of Utah and Arizona. This remote area lies above ground, presenting a colorful display of smooth, carved sandstone formations resembling waves, in a wide range of red, yellow, and orange hues. (Shown Below)

The Wave is one of the most amazing places in the world to visit, though it is accessible only by obtaining a Back Country Use (Hiking) Permit via a BLM permit lottery. Only 10 permits to the area are issued each day, with only 20 people allowed into the area per day, in order to prevent premature erosion of the soft sandstone features by human foot traffic.

ntelope Canyon – The Wave 1photo credit: DIVA007 via photopin cc

Antelope Canyon – The Wavephoto credit: mypubliclands via photopin cc

Despite its rugged beauty, Antelope Canyon can be dangerous to traverse. Prone to unbearable temperatures, flash flooding, and possessing a vast and confusing landscape, the canyon sees many hikers go missing each year.  None the less, the smoothly curving shapes of the interior walls, and gentle waves of age old sand illuminated by stunning beams of light continue to attract multitudes of eager visitors from around the world each year as well.

Antelope Canyon 7photo credit: kholkute via photopin cc

Fortunately for those who cannot, or do not wish to endure the searing heat and potential dangers of Antelope Canyon in order to catch a glimpse of this vast and striking natural feature, others have taken gorgeous photographs for all to view.

Viewing these spectacular images of Antelope Canyon alone, it is little wonder why the ancient, indigenous peoples of the area determined it to be a sacred site. It certainly lives up to this sentiment, and is sure to continue to do so for millennia to come!

Antelope Canyon – A Stunningly Beautiful, Amazing Place

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Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Hidden deep in the jungles of Cambodia lays the worlds’ largest religious monument, the magnificent Angkor Wat. Though Angkor, the capitol city of the ancient Khmer civilization, was lost to the jungle ages ago, the temple complex of Angkor Wat remains intact thanks to the Buddhist monks who have maintained the temple since it’s abandonment around 1431 A.D..

(Click on any image below to view the full size version.)

Angkor Watphoto credit: ecperez via photopin cc

Completed in 1135 A.D., the vast Angkor complex was constructed on the flood plain of the MeKong River and actually floats on a swamp, supported by a foundation of subterranean water. The crowning achievement of the Angkor complex is the temple of Angkor Wat, a 213 foot tall stone monument adorned with countless beautiful carvings and sculptures.

The Angkor Wat complex alone covers over 500 acres, is surrounded by a 4 mile moat, and contains so many bas-relief stone carvings and sculptures that even resident archeologists find something new every time they visit the site. In fact, the temple contains the longest continuous sculptures in the world, exquisite bas-relief carvings that go on for more than half a mile! (Image Below)

Angkor Wat 7photo credit: justin_vidamo via photopin cc

Built by King Suryavarman II after violently seizing power of the empire from his uncle, the elaborate complex was constructed in the form of a reproduction of the world of the gods. The temple of Angkor Wat represents nearby Mount Meru, which was believed to be the home of the ancient Hindu gods, and the moat that surrounds it is a representation of the cosmic oceans. It is interesting to note that the Aztecs did the same in their re-construction of Teotihuacan when constructing the amazing city of Tenochtitlan around 700 years ago. Though the sites of Tenochtitlan and Angkor Wat are separated by the vast Pacific Ocean and hundreds of miles of jungle, they actually have many features in common, such as their construction over a swamp area using an innovative underwater foundation, advanced water systems and canals, and their stunning religious temples.

Given its grand features and design, it may come as no surprise that Angkor Wat was built as a gateway to the afterlife, so that the reigning King Suryavarman II would go to heaven once he left the earthly plain, and just like the pyramids of Egypt, the temple was to be completed before the death of the king.

Angkor Wat 3photo credit: Robert Nyman via photopin cc

Despite the awe inspiring appearance of Angkor Wat, it is really just a small portion of an astonishingly large civilization. Some would argue that the vast water management system of Angkor, stretching 1100 miles from the Kulen Mountain range to the north all the way down to the rice patties and reservoir below, is actually the most astonishing achievement of the Khmer people. This system is so huge that it is virtually impossible to get an accurate idea of its massive size from the ground and because of this the extensive and complex system of canals and waterways remained hidden until 1984, when it was revealed by NASA satellite images.

Angkor Wat 5photo credit: Robert Nyman via photopin cc

The largest reservoir in the Khmer empire, situated at the far southern end of the region, still holds over 50 million cubic meters of water to this day. The extensive waterways carried water to ancient rice patties, which can also still be seen today criss crossing the landscape, and provided year round harvests for the nearly 1 million Khmer people who once lived here.

Angkor Wat 1photo credit: archer10 (Dennis) via photopin cc

The Kulen Mountains to the North of Angkor Wat are the source of the river which feeds the Angkor complex. Though this area is riddled with landmines left over from modern warfare, it features stunning waterfalls that the local residents have just recently begun to reuse for bathing, recreation, and rejuvenation.

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Near these beautiful falls lies another enchanting creation of this ancient civilization; a sacred part of the river which runs over solid rock carved with blessings to bless the water that flows into the fields below. The ancient Khmer people completed the carvings during the dry season when the river bed was exposed, leaving behind beautiful works of art that can still be clearly seen under the shimmering waters of the river. (Image Below)

Angkor Wat River Carvingsphoto credit: oldandsolo via photopin cc

Some Interesting Facts about Angkor Wat

  • The temple of Angkor Wat is as high as the Notre Dame Cathedral, contains as much stone as the great pyramid of kufu in Egypt, and is thought to have been built over the course of only 32 years.
  • The demanding, steep stairways of the temple were built in this fashion in order to represent the difficulty of getting into heaven, and were regularly and extensively walked by resident monks as part of spiritual and religious practices.
  • Completed in 1135, the vast, elaborate complex was abandoned only 2 centuries later.
  • At its peak in the 12th century, the site was home to over 1 million people and was surrounded by enormous rice paddies that provided year round harvests to feed this large population.
  • The temple complex is densely covered in trees, some over 5 meters in width, which grow into and around the stone blocks of the structures, lending an even more surreal appearance to the site.

Angkor Wat 6photo credit: HeyItsWilliam via photopin cc

The second largest temple in the complex at Angkor is Bayon, which features over 200 giant faces perched atop its massive stone towers. The magnificent bas-relief carvings of this temple are dedicated to telling about the everyday lives of the Khmer people, depicting markets, gambling such as cock fighting and wild boar fights, and day to day tasks such as food preparation.

Despite years of archaeological work in the area, several hundred temples still remain shrouded in the jungles of the Angkor complex and few people have yet to explore these hidden ruins, a testament to its immense proportions.

Angkor Wat 2photo credit: staffan.scherz via photopin cc

The vision of the ancient people who created this wondrous place is apparent when viewing the countless carvings and temple grounds found at Angkor, and while Angkor Wat remains the most widely known area of this ancient empire, the thick jungles still hold many secrets for us yet to discover.

Angkor Wat

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Aztec – Mysterious, Violent Ancient Civilization

Aztec – Mysterious, Violent Ancient Civilization

This intriguing Mesoamerican Culture left behind a rich legacy of ruins and artifacts from which we have learned much about the Aztec culture and way of life.

Like all of the ancient peoples we have discovered in our endeavors to learn about our past, the Aztecs were a spiritual people, and despite the violence for which they are known, they remain a topic of interest for historians and the curious alike.

Aztec
Image Courtesy of: gripso_banana_prune via photopin cc

Though the Aztecs performed astonishing feats of engineering, including the construction of aqueducts, canals, and temples, they are believed to have constructed their entire civilization of the course of 200 year. The practice of human sacrifice, performed during spiritual rituals, gained the Aztecs their reputation as a violent culture.

The Aztecs modeled their first city, Tenochtitlan, after Teotihuacan, an ancient city complex of pyramids, homes, and roads located just about 30 miles east of present day Mexico City. The Aztecs believed that the ancient city of Teotihuacan, which was already in ruin even in their time,  was laid out in the image of the Mesoamerican cosmos and created by their gods. (See Teotihuacan Below)

Teotihuacan
Image Courtesy of: AmateurArtGuy via photopin cc

Though the question of who built Teotihuacan remains unanswered, the Aztecs had good reason for their inspiration, it was carefully planned and constructed, and remains one of the best examples of such a feat in human history. We do know that construction of the city began in earnest around 80 AD, and that it was abandoned around 550 AD. Archaeological evidence suggests that the city was intentionally burned by it’s inhabitants during a revolt against the priests or rulers of the city.

It is this city that the Aztecs re-created in their construction of Tenochtitlan around 700 years ago, on an island that lay in an ancient lake called Lake Texcoco. This area is now the location of modern day Mexico City, however at the time the Aztecs built their city, this vast valley was mostly covered in water and so swampy that no one had thought to build in the area. The image below depicts how the city would have looked at the height of it’s era.

Aztec Tenochtitlan
Image Courtesy of: Xuan Che via photopin cc

Much ingenuity went into the construction of the city other than the practices they observed at Teotihuacan, including the wooden pilings which were driven into the ground under their structures to stabilize them in the marshy ground. Without the use of beasts of burden, construction of the city often required a force of up to 50,000 men to transport the stone building blocks and other materials used to build the city. The Aztecs also created a network of causeways in order to connect their beautiful island city to the mainland on the north, west and south.

Aztec Facts

  • The average lifespan of an Aztec citizen was 37 yrs.
  • At the hight of the cities existence, it housed over 200,000 people.
  • The Aztecs created a vast network of “super highways” throughout central Mexico which enabled them to transport messages or goods 200 miles to the coast in just 24 hours.
  • The massive pyramid which sat at the very center of Tenochtitlan had a 300 ft. wide base and was15 stories high.
  • The temple, which was initially constructed in 1325 with the founding of the city, was re-constructed on the same location 7 times. As with other ancient temples, it was increased in size over time as the city grew by adding new stages on top of the old portions of the temple
  • Lime plaster was applied to floors and walls of Aztec structures; even after 500 years some examples of this ancient concrete remain as strong as our modern concrete.
  • The temple was uncovered by power company workers digging a trench in 1978. The first artifact unearthed at the site was the huge carved stone. (Shown Below) It is 11 ft. in diameter and weighs 8 tons. 
Aztec Carving 2
Image Courtesy of: archer10 (Dennis) via photopin cc

The Aztec calendar, or calendar wheel shown in the image below, is one of the most intriguing artifacts left by this culture. As with all of the earliest Mesoamerican calendars, such as the Mayan calendar, the Aztec calendar used a 260 day cycle. This system, called Tonalpohualli, was actually comprised of three “wheels”, or individual cycles which worked together; a 260 day cycle, a 365 day cycle, and a 52 year cycle. Though this system may seem quite precise, it was less so than the Mayan calendar system. Certain dates on the Aztec calendar can refer to a couple of different times in the year, resulting in modern disagreements over events that occurred in the Aztec Empire, and adding to the mystery of the Aztecs.

Aztec Calendar
Image Courtesy of: gripso_banana_prune via photopin cc

Though much has been learned about the Aztec culture, many aspects remain unknown, and this ancient civilization is sure to remain a topic of great discussion and wonder as we strive to learn more about the history of mankind.

Aztec – Mysterious, Violent Ancient Civilization

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Cappadocia Picture Gallery

Cappadocia Picture Gallery

This image gallery shows stunning pictures of the Cappadocia region and the ancient underground dwellings found all over the area, some still used today.

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Cappadocia – Amazing Ancient Underground Cities

Cappadocia – Amazing Ancient Underground Cities

Located in Central Anatolia in the country of Turkey, the ancient ruins of the Cappadocia region are among the world’s most amazing places. Covering an impressive 5,000 square kilometers these ruins offer awesome adventures to travelers.

Cappadocia 3
Image Courtesy of Alessandro Vasaturo via photopin cc

Millions of years ago, the area was blanketed with layers of thick ash by a series of volcanic eruptions. The ash turned into a soft rock layer, then slowly over time the fairy chimneys, spires, pillars, and mushroom formations of the region were formed by millions of years of erosion by wind and water.

cappadocia-12
Image Courtesy of: Peter C in Toronto Canada via photopin cc

The area was first inhibited from 1800 to 1200 B.C., during the Hittite Era, but was unfortunately located right in the middle of powerful rival empires of the day. In fact, a host of rival factions surrounded Cappadocia, including the ancient Persians and the Greeks. Caught in the middle of this political unrest the inhabitants of the area were forced to protect their people and way of life by finding places to hide.

Cappadocia 10.
Image Courtesy of: alerque via photopin cc

The clever Troglodytes found that the soft rock of the unusual looking geological formations in the area could be carved away to create underground caves where their communities would be safer from the wars of their rival neighbors. They eventually moved entire communities underground, thus the underground dwellings were begun. They no doubt found the dwellings to also be a pleasant reprieve from the harsh conditions experienced at the surface level of their homeland region; hot, dry summers and cold, often snowy winters.

Cappadocia 9
Image Courtesy of: Jean & Nathalie via photopin cc

Later, around the fourth century A.D., the dwellings became a religious refuge when Christians fleeing religious persecution of the Roman Empire arrived and established communities there. The monks expanded on the existing dwellings, including monasteries and chapels into some of their new additions bringing the colorful art of Byzantine frescoes to the otherwise earthen tone walls of the underground structures. These works of art remain well preserved in the isolated caves to this day.

Cappadocia 11
Image Courtesy of: jikatu via photopin cc

Eventually the entire region became honeycombed with underground dwellings, creating entire cities consisting of massive expanses of magnificently conjoined living spaces, churches, stables, and food storage areas, some delving down to 20 stories underground!

Cappadocia
Image Courtesy of: Alaskan Dude via photopin cc

Today many of the Cappadocia caves have been modified to serve as modern homes, extensions on above ground homes, and some have been turned into hotels and tourist shops as well.

Cappadocia Today
Image Courtesy of: Adam Jones, Ph.D. – Global Photo Archive via photopin cc
Cappadocia Hotel
Image Courtesy of: Moyan_Brenn via photopin cc
Cappadocia Hotel 1
Image Courtesy of: calflier001 via photopin cc

Cappadocia Amazing Ancient Underground Cities are one of the most amazing places to visit and explore, with the before mentioned accommodations available to provide a place for isolated relaxation between adventures.

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Cappadocia – Amazing Ancient Underground Cities

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Free Spirit Spheres – Extraordinary Accommodations Vacations

Free Spirit Spheres

These sphere shaped guest rooms which hang from the trees in the west coast rainforest of Vancouver Island in British Columbia are the perfect get away for those seeking natures’ solitude. Each sphere is embellished with round, porthole style windows for viewing the landscape outside, while outhouse style restrooms are available on the ground nearby.

Free Spirit Spheres 2
Image Courtesy of: Theresa Carle-Sanders via photopin cc

The spheres are secured to the trees by a web of rope, hanging like pendants in the fresh west coast air, and are accessible by boardwalk style staircases and walkways.  Surrounded by an enchanting forest, the spheres gently sway in the breeze, leaving guests with time to rest and relax in comfort.

There are 3 handcrafted guest spheres available, all located on private property to ensure calming, natural solitude and an opportunity for guests to truly feel the presence of the forest. The spheres range in sizes that will accommodate between 1-3 people, and are available year round starting at $155 per night for 1 person.

Free Spirit Spheres 1
Image Courtesy of: flossieteacake via photopin cc

This spherical lodging provides an opportunity to enjoy a calming, natural setting, with a tree house style theme, and accommodations with a dramatically reduced carbon footprint.

Free Spirit Spheres
Image Courtesy of: IamNotUnique via photopin cc

Want your very own Free Spirit Sphere in your backyard or elsewhere on your property?  You can purchase a completed, hand crafted sphere from the creator of the Vancouver Island spheres and owner of the “hotel”, Tom Chudleigh.

Free Spirit Spheres

 

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