Archive for the 'canoe and kayaking' Category

The Norwegian Mjolfjell Youth Hostel isn’t just for youths

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

The Mjolfjell Youth Hostel (don’t even begin to ask me how to pronounce that) is a place for people of all ages to experience the absolutely stunning scenery and fresh air of the Norwegian mountains.

Staying here is almost like camping without sleeping in a tent because the indoor accommodations are simple and comfortable while the main attractions can be found in the great outdoors. The moors and forests of this mountainous area are bisected by cold, rushing streams and make for beautiful hiking and horseback riding. Canoes and mountain bikes can also be rented to float on a nearby lake or zoom around on trails, and it’s an excellent place for cross country skiing during the winter.

The more adventurous visitors who want to challenge themselves or do their very own Norwegian dreamquest can also sign up for a wilderness survival course. Participants learn how to use a map and compass, how to survive in the wilds of Norway, and pass the night in a snow cave! I hope this last part is the graduation from the course because if not, the next step can only involve the building a Viking era boat or hand to hand combat with a bear.

For the less adventurous, (or for those who need to bring their core temperature back up to normal levels after the snow cave ordeal), there is also a heated swimming pool at the hostel. Although the pool is only open during the short summer, they make up for that with an outdoor Jacuzzi open and available to guests at all times of the year.

Green travelers will also be pleased to know that the Mjolfjell Youth Hostel gets all of its energy from its own hydro plant that runs with water from a nearby stream. Food is fresh, delicious, and includes such healthy local staples as trout and salmon.

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Have paddle will travel in St. Augustine, Florida

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Backcountry kayak tours with St. Augustine Eco ToursThere are two ways of experiencing an eco-tour; passively, by sitting back in a vehicle or behind glass of some sort and watching, or actively, by jumping right in the middle of nature. If you are part of the latter group you may want to pick up a paddle because this trip is for you. St. Augustine Eco Tours offers backcountry kayak trips that will get you close to the action without really getting your feet wet. However, they don’t guarantee you won’t break a bit of a sweat from the paddling.

Actually, the tours are of the leisurely kind. Paddle along the Matanzas River and the certified interpretive naturalist guides will tell you all about the river’s estuary system. Learn about animals like the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin, down to the tiny micro-organisms that make up the river’s ecology. See baby sea turtles, Osprey and a variety of other animals (and occasionally an alligator or two) all interacting in one happy community.

Take one of nine backcountry kayak excursions that will delight your eco-sensibilities.

The Washington Oaks Gardens State Park tour starts in Palmcoast, Florida. The park boasts more than 100 species of birds, but you may also see dolphin, manatee and sea turtles. You can opt for the Guana River tour, which paddles through Guana River Park, which is protected as part of the 7th largest national estuarine research reserve. Or paddle through the Moses Creek Conservation Area, which is undeveloped and inaccessible by motor. The Faver-Kykes State Park tour brings you close to native wildlife and the Moultrie Creek kayak tour is a great way to see the native St. Augustine area with oyster beds and tidal beaches attracting a variety of birds and fish.

No matter which backcountry kayak trip you choose, you are sure to get a pleasurable, and up close visit with St. Augustine’s flora and fauna.

Visit the St. Augustine Eco Tours website for more information.

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