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Category: Travel

The Newburgh Christmas lights

The Newburgh Christmas lights

BBC Scotland reports that the tiny town of Newburgh in county Fife has a wonderful Christmas tradition. For the past 20 years, this tiny town selects one student each year to get their Christmas drawing made into an illuminated creation that lights up the town’s streets.

Nobody remembers exactly how it started (likely a proposal by a local school teacher), but continues every year. Once a winning proposal is selected, the artwork is sent to Blachere Illumination to convert them into the massive street light. They are then hung up around town for the enjoyment of all.


Finding Forrest Fenn’s Treasure

Finding Forrest Fenn’s Treasure

In 2010, Forrest Fenn hid a treasure chest containing gold and other valuables estimated to be worth well over a million dollars. The only clue to its location was a 24 line clue-filled poem.

What followed was a decade of treasure hunters searching, trespassing, harrassing, breaking into Fenn’s home, suing each other, going bankrupt, and even dying in pursuit of the treasure.

Yet on June 6, 2020 an unassuming 32-year-old Michigan native and medical student named Jack Stuef finally solved Fenn’s poem and found the treasure in Wyoming – after only 2 years of searching.

After the chase, some Fenn treasure seekers now on hunt for closure | Local  News |

He has tried to stay anonymous and has kept the location secret in the post-finding madness. He says it is almost certainly what Fenn would have wanted – which shows the lengths he went to understand Fenn himself.

Which lends itself to the most fascinating aspect about his search technique:

The key was really just understanding Forrest Fenn. Stuef hunted solo, never discussed his search with others, stayed away from the blogs after his initial looks at them, and tried hard not to get caught up in any groupthink.

To read about Stuef’s search, the best way to find the treasure was to simply get to know the man. Which might have been Fenn’s whole goal – to have someone else really understand him. The final goal of a 90 year old man before he made his own departure shortly after the treasure was found.

Read more about the fascinating interview with the finder here:

Peel P50

Peel P50

A while back Top Gear reviewed the world’s smallest car: the Peel P50.

But did you know that they are still being made and you can actually buy and own a brand new, street legal Peel P50? While they run £8,250 in the UK, US buyers can purchase an all electric one for a mere $1,100.

Not only that, but they are re-manufacturing a number of other tiny cars in the line – with a whole host of colors and features. There is a Cabrio version that is a convertible, a Trident that has a classic 60’s era bubble dome cockpit, and even build-it-yourself kits.

P50 Cabrio

P50 Trident
P.50 Kit reproduction replica peel p50 mk1 isle of man top gear capri blue
Build it yourself kit!

Head on over to and see if one suits your fancy!

How the Charles Bridge was constructed

How the Charles Bridge was constructed

The Charles Bridge is a historic, gorgeous bridge that crosses the Vltava (Moldau) river in Prague. I was fascinated by it and the whole city of Prague when I visited.

Its construction started in 1357 under King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of the 15th century. It stands today – which means it has seen an amazing amount of history.

The associated video collection on the channel also goes through how the bridge was constructed – and has videos of other historic Prague buildings.

High Altitude Penitentes

High Altitude Penitentes

Snow can get funny at high altitudes and on mountains. It can be powdery soft, squeeky and crunchy, wet and gummy, or even form strange shapes depending on pressure, humidity, temperature, and a host of other conditions. It’s one of the fascinating parts I love about climbing mountains.

In the high Atacama desert, Penitentes, or nieves penitentes (Spanish for “penitent-shaped snows”), are snow formations found at high altitudes. They take the form of elongated, thin blades of hardened snow or ice, closely spaced and pointing towards the general direction of the sun.

The name comes from the resemblance of a field of penitentes to a crowd of kneeling people doing penance. The formation evokes the tall, pointed habits and hoods worn by brothers of religious orders in the Processions of Penance during Spanish Holy Week. In particular the brothers’ hats are tall, narrow, and white, with a pointed top.

These spires of snow and ice grow over all glaciated and snow-covered areas in the dry andes above 4,000 metres (13,000 ft).They range in length from a few centimetres to over 5 metres (16 ft).

Penitentes up to 15 metres (49 ft) high are suggested to be present in the tropics zone on Europa, a satellite of Jupiter. According to a recent study, NASA’s New Horizons has discovered penitentes on Pluto, in a region informally named Tartarus Dorsa

The man that lives at Narita Airport

The man that lives at Narita Airport

Most people have heard of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the Iranian refugee who was forced to live in the departure lounge of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport from 1988 until 2006. His story was made into a book and then the 2004 Tom Hanks movie The Terminal. This is not that story.

Instead, this is set in Japan about a very different man. One I am almost certain I taxied right past in one of my trips to Japan.

Takao Shito is a farmer living in the Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan. Unlike other farmers who left when the airport was built in the 1960s, he chose to stay and continue to cultivate his farmland. He’s been offered the equivalent of $1.5 million USD – but refuses to leave the land his family farmed for 100 years. It’s a rare an interesting view into land rights disputes and Japanese culture.

And when I say he lives right in the middle of the airport – I mean it. Here you can see the red spot exactly where his farm is located on the north end of the terminals right between the terminals and runway 34R.

Other info:

Grand Canyon hiking

Grand Canyon hiking

In January 2020, I had the amazing fortune to score a cabin with friends at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

One Best Hike: Grand Canyon: Everything You Need to Know to Successfully  Hike from the Rim to the River―and Back: Wenk, Elizabeth: 9780899974910: Books

We used the excellent guide “One Best Hike: Grand Canyon: Everything You Need to Know to Successfully Hike from the Rim to the River―and Back” by Elizabeth Wenk. Based on her tips and recommendations, we took the South Kaibab Trail down, then the Bright Angel Trail back up. I highly recommend the book because it details the trail mileposts along with giving you all the training, preparation, and other information you could possibly need. I made copies of her maps+guide to bring with us and they were spot on.

Additional Amazing Trails

Besides hiking down in the canyon itself, I also found a really good article by Annemarie Kruse from REI Adventures. We only had time for our Phantom Ranch hikes, but there are many different trails that can be even more amazing at the right seasons and times of day. She gives her expert opinion and list of trails – along with the best seasons and times to do them. I found them so good, I wanted to include them here too in case the article goes away.

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Cape Royal Viewpoint

Where: North Rim (open May 15–October 15 only)
Distance: 0.6 miles (round-trip) from the parking lot
Best time to do the hike: Sunrise, especially from July to September (monsoon season) for incredible cloud drama
Highlight from the trail: Sweeping views to the eastern edge of the Canyon, and out toward the rocky badlands of the Painted Desert and Navajo Nation
Best for: Beginners who want an easy win with memorable sunrise views

Image may contain Mountain Outdoors Nature Plateau Valley and Canyon

Kolb Studio via the South Rim Trail

Where: South Rim
Distance: 2.5 miles one-way from the Grand Canyon visitor center (check to see if the free shuttle is operating so you can take it back to your car)
Best time to do the hike: Mid-September, when air conditioning at the visitor center offers a respite from the heat and the Grand Canyon Conservancy, the park’s nonprofit partner, typically kicks off its annual Celebration of Art. Nearby Lookout Studio (pictured) also affords views, and a gift shop, naturally
Highlight from the trail: Passing through the Trail of Time with its geology exhibits en route to the perilously perched Kolb brothers’ photography gallery built in 1905, now a hub for artists exhibiting works inspired by the Canyon
Best for: Beginners with a penchant for art and human history

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Grand Canyon Lodge via the Transept Trail

Where: North Rim (open May 15–October 15 only)
Distance: Four miles round-trip
Best time to do the hike: September–October to walk amid changing, fiery-colored aspen groves
Highlight from the trail: Hiking directly from the popular lodge to the edge of the Canyon, alternating between dense woodlands and killer cliffside views of the Transept tributary and Bright Angel Canyon
Best for: Beginners looking to get their feet wet hiking at North Rim’s high elevation

Grand Canyon

Toroweap Overlook

Where: North Rim (open May 15–October 15 only)
Distance: Two miles round-trip from Tuweep Campground
Best time to do the hike: May to June, before the muddy monsoon season
Highlight from the trail: Backcountry vibes off the tourist map and the chance to stare down the edge of an abrupt gorge and a 3,000-foot sheer drop, the tallest in the Grand Canyon
Best for: Any level of hiker craving a rugged, remote option and prepared for the rough drive (a high-profile vehicle is a must)

Image may contain Nature Mountain Outdoors Plateau Valley Art Painting and Canyon

Ken Patrick Trail to Point Imperial

Where: North Rim (open May 15–October 15 only)
Distance: 5.4 miles round-trip
Best time to do the hike: June for spring wildflowers
Highlight from the trail: Hiking through a wooded alpine climate to the highest overlook point on the North Rim at 8,803 feet
Best for: Intermediate hikers who prefer minimal elevation changes

Image may contain Nature Outdoors Mountain Cliff and Valley

Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden Campground

Where: South Rim
Distance: Nine miles round-trip
Best time to do the hike: October to December for minimal crowds, color-changing cottonwoods, and a festive finish with holiday cocktails outside on the veranda of the historic El Tovar Hotel
Highlight from the trail: Descending into Native American history with rock pictographs en route to the turnaround point of Indian Garden campground, a lush, creek-fed oasis once farmed by the Havasupai
Best for: Intermediate hikers who want a solid introductory descent into the canyon

Image may contain Nature Outdoors Mountain Mesa Plateau and Valley

South Kaibab Trail to Skeleton Point

Where: South Rim
Distance: Six miles round-trip
Best time to do the hike: November–October (though it’s good anytime but April, when high winds can overcome this exposed hike)
Highlight from the trail: A quick, switchback-laden descent opening up to a ridge and 360-degree panoramas with views to the North Rim, across the river corridor, and then, from Skeleton Point, a rewarding perch about 1,000 feet above the rarely spied Colorado River
Best for: Experts looking for jaw-dropping views of the canyon and the river below

A view of The Grand Canyon Grandview to Horseshoe Mesa

Grandview to Horseshoe Mesa

Where: South Rim
Distance: Six miles round-trip
Best time to do the hike: September–October and March–May for comfortable, snow-free temperatures on a challenging hike
Highlight from the trail: One of the most remote trails from the South Rim, this rugged backcountry route doesn’t lead to Phantom Ranch or take you from rim to rim, but does offer an uncrowded option through signature Grand Canyon scenery, deep into the desert and high up to a forested mesa sprinkled with pioneer mining history
Best for: Experienced hikers with between a few hours and a half day to explore

Grand Canyon Rim Trail to Hopi Point Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Rim Trail to Hopi Point

Where: South Rim
Distance: Five miles round-trip from Bright Angel Trailhead
Best time to do the hike: June through July, when shade under the pines offers respite from a blazing summer sun
Highlight from the trail: Accessibility may be the draw, but sweeping views of the West Rim from the wide Hopi Point promontory will impress every level of hiker
Best for: Beginners and those who’d rather trade elevation for a flat, well-maintained trail