Tagged: rock climbing

Pretty Pounds Hollow in Autumn & Garden of the Gods Rock!

November 3rd, 2012 Permalink

Most folks have heard of the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, but did you know that there is also a Garden of the Gods in Illinois? Nestled within the Shawnee National Forest, this spectacular wilderness area is over 320 million years old and covers over 3,300 acres of amazing old growth forest and humongous rocks that call out to scramble over and climb here. The landscape is drastically different than most of southern Illinois because it is unglaciated. The fractured bedrock at Garden of the Gods, along with erosive forces like windblown sand, rain, freezing and thawing actions, have created beautiful hoodoos and fascinating rock formations. Cave In Rock is not too far away, so you can both climb and cave if you are so inclined, but today we’re exploring three “must see” areas with hills and hollows, magnificent bluffs and massive mossy boulders: Garden of the Gods, Rim Rock, Pounds Hollow. Other areas near Garden of the Gods and Pounds Hollow Recreation Area, include Rim Rock National Recreation Trail, River, River Trail, High Knob Picnic Area and the Illinois Iron Furnace, But all of Shawnee, the only National Forest in southern Illinois, is gorgeous. Take a backpack, wear shoes you can climb in that are comfortable, some water, your thirst for adventure, maybe a picnic, and, oh yes, your camera. [58 Photos]

Garden of the Gods is located in southern Illinois in the Shawnee National Forest

Garden of the Gods is located in southern Illinois in the Shawnee National Forest. The spectacular wilderness area is over 320 million years old and covers over 3,300 acres of beautiful old growth forest. During the Ice Age, glaciers didn’t flatten this region, so it offers great rock formations to climb, hills to explore while hiking and streams to cross. There are also magnificent bluffs which drop more than 100 feet down, but provide breathtaking views of the forests below and beyond. Some of the more popular rock formations surrounding the cliffs acquired titles such as Monkey Face, Mushroom Rock, Anvil Rock, Noah’s Ark, Table Rock and Devil’s Smokestack. But Camel Rock is probably the most photographed feature along the paved Observation Trail at Garden of the Gods in southern Illinois. Photo #1 by Grover Webb

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Hiking Hocking Hills State Park: Waterfalls, Caves, Cliffs, Forests and Gorges

October 16th, 2012 Permalink

In Ohio, there is a gorgeous State Park that has undisturbed forests, cascading waterfalls, rugged cliffs, deep recess caves and mysterious gorges. The 2,356-acre Hocking Hills State Park is a place of adventure for nature lovers. It is embedded in Hocking State Forest and its three nature preserves includes Conkle’s Hollow. The park is divided into these five separate sections: Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, Ash Cave, Cantwell Cliffs and Rock House. Hocking Hills State Park is about 3 hours away from Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the 10th most visited U.S. National Park in 2011. Both must be gorgeous in the fall season with the changing colors of autumn foliage, but we were struck by the beauty of the “greeness” at Hocking Hills. [47 Photos]

Cedar Falls at Hocking Hills State Park

Cedar Falls at Hocking Hills State Park. If you follow the Cedar Falls trail for a 1/2 mile, through an amazing terrain featuring a gorge and sandstone cliffs covered with moss, you come upon this 50-foot waterfall. Cedar Falls is one of the most photographed waterfalls in all of Ohio. Photo #1 by Todd Poling

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Majestic Zion National Park: Angels Landing, The Subway, Cliffs & Canyons [45 PICS]

June 7th, 2012 Permalink

Zion National Park in Utah came in as the 7th most visited national park in the USA during 2011. You stand in the wide open surrounded by massive cliffs, or you can hike into the narrow slot canyon. The 229-square-mile park offers mild ‘leg-stretcher’ walks or seriously strenuous adventures. The majestic natural beauty calls out to nature lovers and adventurers alike for rock climbing, canyoning, rappelling, backpacking and hiking. Where else can you see both a place for Angels and a subway created by nature? [45 Photos]

On Angel's wings --  Angels Landing trail of Zion National Park is something to behold

‘On Angel’s wings.’ The photographer wrote, “I’ve done my share of gruelling hikes, long monotonous, twist your ankles hikes, but this one stands out on it’s own though it was a short 5 mile hike. Angels Landing trail of Zion National Park is something to behold. Aptly named so because when Zion was initially explored, no one belived they could get to there unless it was an Angel on his wings. Then the demons made a trail to the top of it. And us urchins scrambled along to the holy sanctuary.” Photo #1 by Joseph Dsilva

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A Lost World Where Angel Falls Plunges off Devil’s Mountain [38 PICS]

October 15th, 2011 Permalink

Angel Falls, the world’s highest waterfall, is on the table-top mountain of Auyantepui which means “Mountain of Evil” or “Devil’s Mountain” in the native Pemon people’s language. This amazing waterfall is 3,212 feet high and plunges 2,648 ft over the edge of the Auyantepui mountain in the Canaima National Park. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Angel Falls is 19 times higher than Niagria Falls and is one of the 28 finalists in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition — in fact it is considered to be a highly probable winner. Although this famous waterfall is one of Venezuela’s top tourist attractions, it’s not so easy for the faint of heart to reach. Traversing through the jungle is a surreal adventure in itself and has been compared to traveling through a “Lost World.” There is an isolated jungle to trek, a flight to reach Canaima camp, and then a river trip to reach the base of the falls. Some adrenaline junkies make this journey for one reason, adventurous ‘angels’ come to fall off Devil’s Mountain. [38 Photos & 2 Videos]

Angel Falls world's highest free-falling waterfall

Angel Falls, the world’s highest free-falling waterfall, is located deep within the Canaima National Park in Venezuela. The trek through the jungle is a surreal adventure in itself and has been compared to traveling through a “Lost World.” Photo #1 by My[confined]Space

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Sacred Uluru: The Ancient Heart of Australia [41 PICS]

September 15th, 2011 Permalink

Uluru, also known as Ayres Rock, is a World Heritage Site and a finalist in the running for the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition. Uluru is considered as the ancient heart of Australia; it’s sacred to the Aṉangu, the Aboriginal people of the area. While many tourists feel like they must climb Ayers Rock before they die, the Aṉangu do not believe in climbing this landmark since it is of great spiritual significance to them. Uluru and Kata Tjuta make up the two major features of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Some tourists to central Australia feel like this beautiful and ancient heart is the most anticipated highlight of their visit. [41 Photos]

Uluru at sunset

Uluru at sunset. This gorgeous natural sandstone icon in Australia stands over 1,141 feet (348 m) above sea level and has more hidden below ground than what you see here. Uluru, also known as Ayres Rock, can appear to be differing shades of red depending upon the time the day and how the sun strikes it. Photo #1 by Richard Fisher

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Wadi Rum: Spectacular Scenic Desert Valley of Lawrence of Arabia (41 Pics)

May 5th, 2011 Permalink

When people visit Petra – the rose red city half as old as time – they often trek through the stunning desert of Wadi Rum. This spectacularly scenic desert valley in the Kingdom of Jordan is where Lawrence of Arabia was filmed. Other movies shot here were Red Planet and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Some of the beautiful highlights in Wadi Rum include Red Sand Dunes, the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, and huge mountains. People say the best way to see Wadi Rum is by riding a camel or by way of hiring a four-wheel drive. While there are Lawrence of Arabia historical areas, experiencing nature is the biggest attraction of Wadi Rum. People come to camp under the stars, to ride Arab horses, to hike and for rock-climbing on the massive rock formations. We love these pics! [41 Pictures]

Jordan - Wadi Rum - Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Jordan – Wadi Rum – Seven Pillars of Wisdom. The photographer wrote, “Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph is the autobiographical account of the experiences of British soldier T. E. Lawrence while serving as a liaison officer with rebel forces during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks of 1916 to 1918.”
“The title comes from the Book of Proverbs, 9:1: ‘Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars’ (KJV). Prior to the First World War, Lawrence had begun work on a scholarly book about seven great cities of the Middle East, to be titled Seven Pillars of Wisdom. When war broke out, it was still incomplete and Lawrence stated that he ultimately destroyed the manuscript. Later, during the Arab Revolt of 1917–18, Lawrence based his operations in Wadi Rum (now a part of Jordan), and one of the more impressive rock formations in the area was named by Lawrence “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom”. In the end, Lawrence decided to use this evocative title for the memoirs he penned in the aftermath.” Photo #1 by Salim Al-Harthy

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Mystical, Magical & Magnificent Monasteries in Meteora (20 Pics)

February 23rd, 2011 Permalink

In Meteora, Greece, six magnificent monasteries still exist, precariously perched atop 1,300 feet high sandstone pinnacles. Hermit monks constructed the first monastery before nuns came to build too. Access to each monastery was crazy, a leap of faith, climbing rocks, and ladders lashed together or large nets until the ropes would break. The bizarre but beautiful monasteries of Meteora are centuries old and isted by UNESCO World Heritage. We love these 20 pics of Meteora.

Meteora Greece

The caves in Meteora, Greece, had inhabitants for fifty millennia, but due to raids, “hermit monks” moved to the safety of sandstone rock pinnacles in the 9th century and began building monasteries. More monks and nuns came, building more monasteries perched high upon the cliffs. Wikipedia reports, “Access to the monasteries was originally (and deliberately) difficult, requiring either long ladders lashed together or large nets used to haul up both goods and people. This required quite a leap of faith — the ropes were replaced, so the story goes, only ‘when the Lord let them break.’” UNESCO World Heritage says, “The net in which intrepid pilgrims were hoisted up vertically alongside the 1,224 ft. cliff where the Varlaam monastery dominates the valley symbolizes the fragility of a traditional way of life that is threatened with extinction.” Photo #1 by Vaggelis Vlahos

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