Tagged: nature

Alien-looking Island of Bliss: Enter a Different Dimension at Socotra [42 PICS]

May 24th, 2013 Permalink

Enter a different dimension at Socotra, an unusually peculiar-looking world that was long ago called “The Island of Bliss.” Located off the Horn of Africa, in the Indian Ocean, Socotra is about 150 miles away from Somalia and the threat of real-day pirates; it’s a little over 200 miles away from its mainland Yemen. And the landscape makes it “the most alien-looking place on Earth.” Although Socotra has wide sandy beaches rising to limestone plateaus full of caves, some 4.4 miles in length (7 km), wind-swept cliffs and mountains over 5,000 feet high, the island’s iconic image is of the Dragon’s Blood tree; it’s deep red resin was once considered to be ancient dragon blood. Some people have suggested that Socotra might have been the original Garden of Eden. Currently every single Trip Advisor tourist review rated Socotra as “excellent.” Of course, there are high security threats like kidnapping and terrorism; the US State Department warned Americans against traveling to Yemen. In 2011, Somali pirates were using the island as a fuel base. Yet tourists call it a “hidden gem” for those adventurous souls not seeking a luxury resort. Most of us will never visit this out of this world island of Socotra. [42 Photos]

Socotra Island, Yemen

If you are looking for a luxurious vacation, then this is not the right location for you. However, people sometimes say they want to “get off the grid” and this would be an ideal place to visit if you love adventure and nature, and don’t mind “roughing” it a bit. Far away on what appears at first to be an oasis is Socotra Island, Yemen. It is believed that Socotra got its name from Sanskrit, meaning “Island of Bliss.” Others suggest the name was derived from Arabic and means “dripping frankincense.” It may be a bit of both, currently unspoiled by man, but most people know of Socotra as being “the most alien-looking place on Earth.” It’s like a whole another world, like a different dimension. Photo #1 by Martin Sojka

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50 Incredible, Inspirational Double Rainbows [PICS]

May 2nd, 2013 Permalink

There are reflected rainbows in bodies of water; reflection and supernumerary rainbows, fogbows, multiple and high-order ‘rose of rainbows,’ tertiary and quaternary rainbows, twinned rainbows, and even moonbows . . . rare rainbows in the dark. Whew! Here we are focusing on a meteorological phenomenon and nature’s grand optical illusion trick that create double rainbows. Most all cultures regard a rainbow as a positive sign. So here is double the positive, double the awe and inspiration, that sparked the double rainbow meme. Have a great day and enjoy! [50 Photos]

Double rainbow over Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO

Double rainbow over Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO. Did you know there really isn’t an “end” to a rainbow? Maybe that’s why finding a pot of gold is as hard as spotting a tricky leprechaun. If you stood at where I can see the “proverbial” end of the rainbow, then that rainbow would appear to you to be in a different spot. It’s one of nature’s very best optical “illusion” tricks. Experiencing the phenomenon depends upon where you are standing, where the sun is and where the moisture is just right in the air. Rainbows, especially double rainbows, are considered a positive, awe-inspiring sign in most cultures. Photo #1 by Raymond Larose

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Beautiful Untamed Treasure: Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area [42 PICS]

April 23rd, 2013 Permalink

Tasmania, the “Island of Inspiration,” is home to one of the last large areas of temperate wilderness in the world. The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area covers about 20% of Tasmania and is one of the largest conservation areas in Australia. About 3.4 million acres make up the Tasmanian Wilderness and it includes Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, Hartz Mountains National Park, Mole Creek Karst National Park, Southwest National Park, Walls of Jerusalem National Park, Central Plateau Conservation and Protected Areas, Devils Gullet State Reserve and South East Mutton Bird Islet. That network of six national parks and three reserves are the wild, green, and rugged Tasmanian Wilderness. It is one of the last true untamed wilderness areas remaining on Earth and has it all for nature lovers such as dense woods, lakes, rivers, mountains, waterfalls, steep gorges that underwent severe glaciation and caves. The Great Wilderness of Tasmania is beloved by hikers, climbers, bushwalkers, cavers, rafters and any other adventuresome souls. [42 Photos]

Gorgeous green moss and trees in the forest near Cradle Mountain and Lake St. Clair - Tasmania, Australia

Gorgeous green moss and trees in the forest near Cradle Mountain and Lake St. Clair in Tasmania, Australia. It is one of six national parks and three reserves within the 3,410,041 acres that make up the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Tasmania has been called the “Island of Inspiration” and “island at the edge of the world;” the Tasmanian Wilderness is a land of gorgeous contrasts and is one of the last areas of temperate wilderness left in the world. Photo #1 by Jes (mugley)

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Enchanted Forests Carpeted in Beautiful Bluebells

April 19th, 2013 Permalink

Every spring as the soil warms and the leaves begin to form a shade canopy over Europe’s ancient woodlands, there is a wildflower spectacle in the undergrowth. When millions of violet-blue bluebells stretch as far as the eye can see and their strong, sweet scent permeates the air, the forest seems almost magical. Because these woods take on an almost enchanted quality when carpeted by beautiful bluebells, it may be why bluebells have also been dubbed “fairy flowers.” If you are not fortunate enough to experience beautiful British bluebell woods in real life, we hope you can be inspired by these pictures of heavenly bluebells.
[38 Photos]

Bluebells in Micheldever Wood, Hampshire

The carpet of beautiful bluebells makes an almost magical setting and may also be why these wildflowers have been called fairy flowers. According to the photographer, “There are more bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) in England than anywhere else in the world, and Micheldever Wood often has a magnificent display.” Photo #1 by Anguskirk

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Beautifully Exotic Caño Cristales: River That ‘Ran Away From Paradise’ [37 PICS]

April 12th, 2013 Permalink

A river in Columbia is beautifully exotic and home to a natural phenomenon that earned it many complimentary names like ‘the river that ran away from paradise.’ You can only visit the Caño Cristales river from July to December. Within that time frame is a shorter period when the conditions are perfect to cause blooms in the water that showcase a ‘liquid rainbow’ of ‘yellow, green, blue, black, and especially the red of the Macarenia clavigera.’ During the rest of the year, the water looks like any other river, surrounded by fantastic rock formations that are so steep they are said to hide away the view of numerous waterfalls and natural swimming holes. The rock formations look remarkably similar to Moon Valley in beautiful Brazil, but Rio Caño Cristales has been bestowed with many titles such as “The River of Five Colors,” “The Liquid Rainbow”, “the river that ran away from paradise,” and even “The Most Beautiful River in the World.” [37 Photos]

The Liquid Rainbow aka Caño Cristales

The Liquid Rainbow aka Caño Cristales. Photo #1 by Guillermo Vasquez

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Gorgeous Glasswing Butterflies (42 Stunning Photos)

March 29th, 2013 Permalink

Nature has better tricks than even Photoshop, as these translucent glasswing butterflies illustrate. [42 Fabulous Photos]

Glasswing butterfly at the glasshouse at RHS Wisley

Not Photoshop, but transparent camouflage occurring in nature in a place other than in the sea. While there are numerous gardens that successfully raise glasswings in captivity such as seen here in the glasshouse at RHS Wisley, when found in nature, the glasswing thrives in central-American, especially Costa-Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Venezuela. Photo #1 by Farrukh (Swamibu)

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Beautiful Blue Lake Cave in Brazil

February 24th, 2013 Permalink

Bonito is the heart of eco-tourism in Brazil because it is famous for its natural beauty, prehistoric caves, waterfalls, and clear blue waters. One of the most beautiful is Blue Lake Cave (Gruta do Lago Azul). Amazingly, it is believed that no human set foot inside the cavern with the cobalt blue waters until 1924 when an Indian from the Terena tribe discovered it. That’s not to say nothing ventured down into the 328 feet (100 meters) deep cave, since massive mammals fossils from about 10,000 years ago were discovered by cave divers, bones such as those belonging to the Saber-tooth tiger and giant ground sloth. Because the water is so clear, it is hard to fathom that Blue Lake Cave is about 295 feet (90 meters) deep. Adventurers start with a hike through the forest, then go caving through a wide entrance that allows sunlight to illuminate the gorgeous blue waters as well as stalactites and stalagmites of all different sizes. Here’s a look at Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil and some of the extraordinary and unusual ecotourism adventures and true natural treasures including beautiful Blue Lake Cave. [25 Photos]

Sunlight lighting up the blue waters in the ancient cavern

Sunlight lighting up the blue waters in the ancient cavern. The cave itself is deep, 328 feet (100 meters) deep, and the lake inside has a depth of about 295 feet (90 meters). Photo #1 by LNarimatsu

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Living Rainbow: Rainbow Eucalyptus, Most Beautiful Tree Bark on Earth [36 PICS]

January 29th, 2013 Permalink

Does a living rainbow exist? Yes! Extremely cool yet natural outdoor coloring can be found under the shade of this living rainbow. The Rainbow Eucalyptus is truly one of the most amazingly stunning trees and it definitely has the most beautiful bark of any tree on Earth. [36 Photos]

Rainbow Eucalyptus

While this may appear to be a cool tree with camouflaged bark, it actually continues to morph in all the colors of a rainbow. If you enjoy the forest, then you probably like trees. This isn’t Somewhere Over the Rainbow, but somewhere under the rainbow, so if you don’t live in a warm, moist climate, then you might not have ever come across the most beautiful bark of any tree on Earth. With bright and uniquely-colored trunk and branches, the Rainbow Eucalyptus is “one of the most amazingly colorful species of tree,” noted the photographer. Photo #1 by Roberto Verzo

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Top 20 Highest Points On Islands Worldwide [41 PICS]

January 26th, 2013 Permalink

When you think of islands, do you picture a tropical scene with beautiful warm beaches? Yet some islands are bitterly cold and covered in ice and snow. Some islands seem to have it all, from wonderful crashing waves to high peaks that are covered in snow. This is a list of high points for the top 20 islands in the world ordered by their highest point. As we did to illustrate the 20 U.S. National Parks by elevation, including the 20 highest points found in that park, here starting at #20 and counting down to #1 we show the immense diversity of islands. We’ve included an image from each island as well as a photo of the mountain or volcano peak that is the highest point of that island. [41 Photos]

Along the road to Hana, Maui, list of top 20 islands by highest point

Starting at #20 and counting down to #1, this is a list of the top 20 ‘highest’ islands in the world, ordered by their highest points. Photo #1 by Paul (dex) Bica

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Gorgeous Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve: Birthplace of Icebergs & Wildlife

January 6th, 2013 Permalink

Many of these photos were taken during a cruise to Glacier Bay, others from the air, but Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve offers all kinds of adventures. What starts as a loud crack like a rifle shot is also a sign of icebergs being born at Glacier Bay as glaciers break off or calve. The National Park Service asks, what do you want to do and how much time do you have to do it in? “Covering 3.3 million acres of rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines, and deep sheltered fjords, Glacier Bay National Park is a highlight of Alaska’s Inside Passage and part of a 25-million acre World Heritage Site—one of the world’s largest international protected areas. From summit to sea, Glacier Bay offers limitless opportunities for adventure and inspiration.” Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve also has the 3rd highest elevation of all U.S. National Parks. Here are some of the gorgeous ancient glaciers, photos capturing the glaciers calving and the birth of icebergs, wonderful wildlife, and spectacular scenery of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska. [44 Photos, 5 Videos]

Waterfall beneath Lamplugh Glacier

Waterfall beneath Lamplugh Glacier, one of the glaciers at Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. While there are many reasons that this park is special, one of them is that there are no roads that lead directly to Glacier Bay. The park is mostly water, so most visitors see it from a cruise ship with thousands of other people. But boats come in all sizes and some adventurers see Glacier Bay from a kayak. Photo #1 by Larry Wilson / NPS

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42 of the World’s Most Beautiful Crater Lakes

December 22nd, 2012 Permalink

If you approached the rim of a volcano and looked down into it, you might expect to see a lava pool, but if the volcano previously erupted and then the top of it collapsed into a huge bowl-shaped crater, or caldera, then what you might see when you peer over the rim is a beautiful crater lake. Sometimes the water is acidic and the lake has a bright greenish hue. Other times the water is a cloudy turquoise color, yet other times the lake may appear to be a very deep shade of blue. Crater Lake, Oregon, is one of the most well known, but crater lakes can be found all over the globe. If the volcano has been dormant for a long time, the water can be extremely clear because no river or streams flow into with sediment deposits. In some cases, water may have filled up an impact crater to form a lake, but this is less common. A few crater lakes were created by man via an atomic blast, but an artificially-created crater lake is the least common of all. All crater lakes were once a place where the earth experienced great violence, but now are a place of great beauty . . . even though the volcano can become active and violent again. Here are 44 photos of 42 of the world’s most beautiful crater lakes. [44 Photos]

Lake Quilotoa is a water-filled caldera and the westernmost volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes

Lake Quilotoa is a water-filled caldera and the western most volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes. The crater is about 2 miles wide and the lake is about 820 feet deep. It is tinted green by dissolved minerals. Photo #1 by Kevin Labianco

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7 Sea Temples of Beautiful Bali: The Island Paradise Of 1,000 Temples [51 PICS]

November 30th, 2012 Permalink

Beautiful Bali has been called the famed island of the Gods. With its varied landscape of sandy beaches, hills and mountains, rugged coastlines and cliffs, gorgeous waterfalls, as well as lush rice terraces and barren volcanic hillsides, some people claim that Bali is a paradise on earth. But Bali also has a colorful and deeply spiritual culture, which is why it is known as the “island of a thousand temples.” There are sea temples, directional temples and so many others so that 1,000 is an understatement. In fact, everywhere you go, you see a temple. “There are so many temples that the Government does not bother to count them.” There are also monkeys guarding the temples, monkeys in the rain forest, and even bats in a cave temple. Here’s a look at the sea temples, some wonderfully cute wildlife like monkeys, and some other stunning temples on the paradise on earth known as beautiful Bali. [51 Photos]

A Bali sunset and Tanah Lot Temple, one of seven sea temples

After being inspired by a gorgeous photo of Tanah Lot, a sea temple in Bali, we looked up more information. There are seven sea temples, but in trying to find them all, we kept bumping into images of directional temples. Then even more temples, until we found out that beautiful Bali is known as the “island of a thousand temples.” According to the CIA World Fact Book, Indonesia is “slightly less than three times the size of Texas.” Bali is the largest tourist destination in the whole country . . . and everywhere you go there is a temple. “A Bali sunset and Tanah Lot Temple,” one of seven sea temples. Photo #1 by Fabio Gismondi

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