Category: nature

Into the Caves: ‘The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek’ [35 PICS]

April 24th, 2014 Permalink

Amazing caves are located all over the globe, different types in a wide variety of sizes are waiting to be explored. Some folks call it caving, spelunking, or even potholing, but it’s all an adventure…at least until something goes wrong and then cavers are called in to rescue spelunkers. It’s been said that “the cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” While in the mood to go caving, we cruised 500px for creative captures of caves with creative common licenses. Here are the cave photo treasures we found. [35 Photos]

Birds, sunlight and a temple inside Batu Caves in Malaysia

We searched for a “cave” and found a “Light of Hope.” Birds, sunlight and a temple inside Batu Caves in Malaysia. Batu Caves, a series of caves and cave temples, is a popular Hindu shrine and tourist attraction near Kuala Lumpur. “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek,” ~ quote by Joseph Campbell. Photo #1 by Danny Xeero

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45 Sizzling Snaps & Pictures of the Year: Smoking Hot Photo Contest in the Commons

April 17th, 2014 Permalink

A decade ago, there were not tons of terrific photos to choose from in the Commons, but photographers have really stepped up by licensing their photos so people can share them along with knowledge. While you may or may not agree with the 12 Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year winners, most everyone could agree the competition was smoking hot. Categories like animals, plants, people, panoramas, nature, space, architecture and even miscellaneous objects give us a chance to go globe hopping as we celebrate these 45 sizzling snaps. Congratulations winners and thank you to all photographers who make the Commons a fountain of beautiful knowledge! Why don’t you consider uploading your photos to the Commons and maybe we’ll see you listed as a winner next year? [45 Photos]

Wikimedia Picture of the Year 2013 winner, tungsten filament burning with a flame in the light bulb

1st place winner in the Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year 2013 Contest. The photo description states, “The glass bulb of the lightbulb has been opened, causing the inert gas inside to escape. When turned on, the tungsten filament burns with a flame, due to oxygen entering the light bulb. The light bulb was screwed into a socket, which was replaced with the lamp base using image processing.” Photo #1 by Stefan Krause, Germany

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Awe-inspiring Adventure in the Grove of Titans & Giant California Redwoods [40 PICS]

April 7th, 2014 Permalink

Nature is calling, come out and play; explore and have an awe-inspiring adventure among the giant California redwoods. Here among the fog and trees, sunlight peaks through in god-beams, or crepuscular rays. It’s said that tree-loving people travel from all over the world to visit Redwood National and State Parks, which include Redwood National Park, Del Norte Coast, Prairie Creek and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Parks. They are not the only California parks with impressive redwoods; Muir Woods National Monument is a sight everyone should see at least once. Yet many visitors to Jedediah Smith will never behold the ginormous redwoods known as the Grove of Titans; that’s because their location is a “secret” in order to protect the massive and ancient trees. [40 Photos]

The Unexplored adventure in the Redwoods

The Unexplored. Nature is calling to you, asking if you can come out and play under the ginormous redwoods. These redwoods have huge diameters and are almost impossibly tall, like nature-made skyscrapers, trees taller than the iconic Statue of Liberty, from the base of her pedestal to the tip of her torch. Some folks who walk among the giants claim that the adventure is awe-inspiring and changed their lives. As naturalist John Muir, known as Father of the National Parks, once said, “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” Photo #1 by m24instudio

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Incredible Rocky Rainbow Vista Carved into the Valley of Fire [38 PICS]

March 28th, 2014 Permalink

Back when the dinosaurs walked the Earth, the Valley of Fire was forming. Time and the elements carved the fossilized sand into greats mazes of canyons, arches, ridges, domes, and valleys. Today, the Valley of Fire is a National Natural Landmark and the oldest state park in Nevada. This amazing and colorful wilderness in the Mojave Desert is only about an hour away from the bright city lights of Las Vegas; it comes highly recommended to experience. Sunlight striking the bright red rocks make the valley look like it’s on fire, but there are also layers of multicolored rocks in a “rainbow” of colors that stretch for many miles. Rainbow Vista is a breathtaking site to behold in the Valley of Fire. [38 Photos]

Amazing Rainbow Vista, rainbow of colored rocks at Valley of Fire during sunset

Amazing Rainbow Vista, rainbow of colored rocks at Valley of Fire during sunset. The Nevada State Park sign states, “Rainbow Vista: You are looking across 150 million years of time. The great maze of canyons, domes, towers, ridges and valleys before you are carved from sand deposited during the time when dinosaurs walked the earth. This is wild, virtually untouched wilderness. It is an ‘Adventure in Color’ for you to experience by car and on foot.” Photo #1 by LDELD

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Sacred Valley of the Incas: Salt, Stones & Secrets [42 PICS]

March 20th, 2014 Permalink

When you think about the Incas, does Machu Picchu come to mind? While that might be where your destination starts or ends in Peru, there is so much more to see in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, or El Valle Sagrado de los Incas. Look up along the Urubamba River and Valley to see Andes Mountain peaks stretching to a height of 20,000 feet. It is over these steep hillsides that the Incas managed to move massive stones without the help of the wheel. They had no iron tools to cut the stones, but still the pieces fit together so tightly that not even a knife blade can slide between them. The “how’s” are part of the secrets to which we might never know the answers. Huge circular terraces at Moray were thought to be where Incas conducted experimental agriculture. Carved into the mountains are also thousands of small salt ponds, Salineras de Maras, or Inca salt pans. All of this is located in the Peruvian Andes, with Cusco on one end and Machu Picchu on the other; this is the heartland of the Inca Empire. This is the Sacred Valley of the Incas. [42 PICS]

Las Salineras, Inca salt ponds

Inca salt ponds, Sacred Valley in Peru. The photographer wrote, “Indians mined salt slopes of the valley from pre-Inca times. Today, 700 to 800 families owning some 3600 basins are organized as a cooperative. The total annual production varies between 160 and 200 tons.” Photo #1 by David (Wanaku)

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6 National Parks of Ireland: Castles, Cliffs, Green Mossy Landscapes [38 PICS]

March 16th, 2014 Permalink

We’ve looked at Ireland Now and Then (100 years ago), but to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a look the six national parks of the Republic of Ireland. Killarney National Park was first, and Ballycroy was the last to be established. The Burren National Park is the smallest and Wicklow Mountains National Park is the largest in Ireland. There are also Connemara and Glenveagh as well as landscapes with castles, karst, cliffs, waterfalls and green mossy forests. [38 Photos]

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara is about 5km from Connemara National Park

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara is about 6km (10 minutes) from Connemara National Park. For St. Patrick’s Day, let’s look upon the green beauty of Ireland and scenic landscapes found in the 6 National Parks of Ireland: Ballycroy, Connemara, Glenveagh, Killarney, The Burren and Wicklow Mountains National Park. Photo #1 by Dennis Wilkinson

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Cares Gorge Trail Adventure: 1 of the Most Beautiful Hikes in Spain [38 PICS]

March 14th, 2014 Permalink

At the heart of Picos de Europa National Park in northern Spain, an adventure awaits hikers. The trail consists of 9 miles along the Cares River and the Cares Gorge, aka “divine gorge.” Steep cliffs stretch up over 6,500 ft (2,000 m) on one side and the Cares River is as far as 650 feet (200 m) below in the deep gorge. The Cares Gorge trail is extremely popular because it is considered one of the most beautiful walks in all of Spain. The footpath was improved about 60 years ago when tunnels were carved into the mountain to serve as a maintenance trail to a hydroelectric power station. Long ago, some sections of the path were used by shepherds, sheep and even goats; the route provided the only communication between 2 villages when it was snowy. The national park was also named a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. If you visit Spain, you might want to reserve a day to trek this beautiful trail. [38 Photos]

Canal del Cares

Look beyond the water, Cares Chanel or Canal del Cares, and then up at the narrow pathways carved into stone to see one of the most beautiful hiking adventures in Spain. This trek is along the Cares River and through the Cares Gorge in Picos de Europa National Park. The Cares Gorge has many names like “Divine Gorge” or Garganta del Cares, but everyone agrees on its rugged beauty. Photo #1 by David Valije

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Spring in Japan: Wonderful Wisteria & Billions of Exquisite Blooms [34 PICS]

March 10th, 2014 Permalink

If you’ve just been through the mother of all winters, then hang in there. Eventually, all the long hard winters give way to spring. We’ve looked at Europe, where gorgeous bluebells carpet the woods, but winter in Japan gives way to a cheerful springtime bonanza of cherry blossoms. There are also pathways among millions upon millions of exquisite blooms, wonderful hanging wisteria and wisteria tunnels that are like something out of a dream. We hope you like these photos of springtime in Japan. [34 Photos]

Wisteria tunnel in Japan

The USA’s long hard winter is about to give way to spring. While you wait, this wisteria tunnel is a gorgeous example of spring in Japan at Kawachi Fuji Gardens. Photo #1 by Binary cse

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Crimea Landscapes: Natural Wonders & Ancient Ruins [38 PICS]

March 6th, 2014 Permalink

The Swallow’s Nest castle high on the cliff above the beautiful Black Sea has become an icon for Crimea, Ukraine. But the Crimea you hear about now involves the Ukraine crisis. While we hope for a peaceful resolution, Crimea lawmakers voted in favor of leaving Ukraine for Russia, as Russia already has the Black Sea peninsula under its control. In 10 days, citizens of Crimea must choose: Stay in Ukraine or join Russia. The crisis in Ukraine made us remember Gagra, the resort paradise turned to ruins, aka the abandoned Russian Riviera. We became curious about what else does Crimea look like, besides a castle? Here are some of what we found; here are amazing natural wonders in Crimea, gorgeous landscapes and seascapes, places with so many caves that they are known as cave towns, as well an ancient ruins that go back to medieval times. [38 Photos]

Swallow's Nest castle high on the cliff above the beautiful Black Sea has become an icon for Crimea, Ukraine crisis, Russia

Although the Swallow’s Nest castle high on the cliff above the beautiful Black Sea has become an icon for Crimea, Crimea is so much more than a castle or resorts along the Black Sea. Here are some of Crimea’s amazing natural wonders and ancient ruins. Photo #1 by Fr Maxim Massalitin

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Walking on Water: Adventure Across Frozen Lake Superior to Apostle Island Ice Caves

February 27th, 2014 Permalink

There’s at least one great thing about super frigid weather, at least if you are near Apostle Islands National Lakeshore where sea caves have been transformed into ice caves. For the first time in five years, Lake Superior is so solidly frozen that people are coming from all over the world to walk on water. The phenomena has transformed the Wisconsin winter wonderland into a hot tourist destination. [32 Photos]

Frozen waterfalls, ice caves at Meyer's Beach on frozen Lake Superior

There’s at least one great thing about super frigid weather, at least if you visit Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in northern Wisconsin. Nearly 100,000 people have walked across frozen Lake Superior, iced solid enough this year for the first time in 5 years, to see a winter wonderland of frozen waterfalls and dazzling ice formations inside ice caves that are sea caves in the warmer months. Photo #1 by turn off your computer and go outside

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Unrivaled Wild Beauty of US National Forest Pacific Northwest Region [48 PICS]

November 16th, 2013 Permalink

Let’s take a majestic, if not also magical, trip to Oregon and Washington to an area called “Region 6.” That might not sound overly impressive, but “the Pacific Northwest region is host to a number of outstanding National Forests,” said the US Forest Service. Outstanding is an underestimate, since that area within the USA is sometimes called God’s Country. “The Pacific Northwest Region (Region 6) of the US Forest Service contains 17 National Forests, two National Scenic Areas, a National Grassland, and two National Volcanic Monuments, all within the states of Oregon and Washington.” Each one is stunning with so many varied landscapes that you might not see all, even if each was a post on its own. From wonderful waterfalls, wilderness areas, lakes, mountains, volcanic monuments and national recreation areas, here’s a broad overview of the unrivaled beauty of Pacific Northwest Region 6. [48 Photos]

Lower Proxy Falls

Lower Proxy Falls, a glimpse into the Willamette National Forest. Willamette and Deschutes National Forests in Oregon make up Three Sisters Wilderness. Photo #1 by stokes rx

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Fantastic Fall Season in the Great Smoky Mountains [38 PICS]

November 2nd, 2013 Permalink

Between North Carolina and Tennessee is a spectacular chain of mountains known as the Great Smoky Mountains, commonly called the Smoky Mountains or simply the Smokies. Although they are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, the Great Smokies encompass over 500,000 acres of beautiful scenery and are the home of America’s #1 most visited national park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. People travel from all over globe to the Smokies during autumn to see ridge after ridge of forest bursting with fall foliage. There are 16 peaks that rise more than 6,000 feet, more than 270 miles of roads, and over 800 miles of maintained trails were visitors can see lush forests, breathtaking waterfalls, rushing streams, and abundant wildlife. Due to the different elevations, the fall leaf colors can last for weeks, meaning the Great Smoky Mountains are especially beautiful in autumn and extremely busy during the last three weeks of October. Here’s a look at the fantastic fall season in the Smokies, the Land of Blue Smoke. [38 Photos]

Mt. Cammerer Sunrise, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mt. Cammerer sunrise showcases an amazing autumn as far as the eye can see. The photographer added, “Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Mt. Cammerer, looking north 10 minutes before sunrise.” Photo #1 by Michael Hicks

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