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The World's Deepest Gorge, Kali Gandaki Gorge - Nepal

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The Kali Gandaki Gorge or Andha Galchi is the gorge of the Gandaki River in the Himalayas in Nepal. Gorge depth is difficult to define due to disagreement over rim height, but by some measures the Kali Gandaki is the deepest gorge in the world.

The upper part of the gorge is also called Thak Khola after the local Thakali people who became prosperous from trans-Himalayan trade. Geologically, it is a downfaulted graben.

The gorge separates the major peaks of Dhaulagiri (8,167 m/26,795 ft) on the west and Annapurna (8,091 m/26,545 ft) on the east. If one measures the depth of a canyon by the difference between the river height and the heights of the highest peaks on either side, the gorge is the world's deepest. The portion of the river directly between Dhaulagiri and Annapurna I (7 km downstream from Tukuche) is at an elevation of 2520 metres, 5571 metres lower than Annapurna I. The river is older than the Himalayas. As tectonic activity forced the mountains higher, the river cut down through the uplift. This region is known for shaligram fossils, revered as one of five non-living forms of Lord Vishnu.

The Kali Gandaki river source coincides with the Tibetan border and Ganges-Brahmaputra watershed divide. The river then flows south through the ancient kingdom of Mustang. It flows through a sheer-sided, deep canyon immediately south of the Mustang capital of Lo Manthang, then widens as it approaches Kagbeni, Mustang where high Himalayan ranges begin to close in. The river continues southward past Jomsom , Marpha , and Tukuche to the deepest part of the gorge about 7 km south of Tukuche in the area of Lete . The gorge then broadens past Dana and Tatopani toward Beni.

The Kali Gandaki gorge has been used as a trade route between India and Tibet for centuries. Today, it is part of a popular trekking route from Pokhara to Muktinath, part of the Annapurna Circuit. The gorge is within the Annapurna Conservation Area.


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Abel Tasman National Park - New Zealand

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Abel Tasman National Park is New Zealand's smallest national park- but it's perfectly formed for relaxation and adventure.

Visitors love the way the Abel Tasman National Park mixes physical exertion with beach life. Bursts of hiking or kayaking are punctuated by sun bathing, swimming and sedate snorkelling around the characteristic granite outcrops.

Those who do crave home comforts can stay in luxurious lodges, but sleeping under the stars is regarded as the ultimate way to experience the spirit of the Abel Tasman.
Key Highlights

The strip of coast that falls within the boundaries of the park is highly distinctive. Granite and marble formations fringe the headlands, which are cloaked in regenerating native forest. Inviting sandy beaches fill the spaces between trees and tide line. Crystal clear streams tumble down mossy valleys to join the ocean.

At Te Pukatea Bay, a perfect crescent of golden sand, a walking track leads up Pitt Head to an ancient Maori pa (fort) site. Terracing and food pits are still visible, and it's easy to see why the location was chosen as a defensive site - the views are huge.

Native wildlife is an essential part of the scenery. Tui and bellbird song fills the forest; shags (cormorants), gannets and little blue penguins dive for their dinner; fur seals lounge on the rocks around the edge of Tonga Island.

Accommodation

There are comfortable private lodges at Awaroa and Torrent Bay. The Department of Conservation provides four 'Great Walk' hikers' huts along the Coastal Track and four standard huts on the inland tracks. These huts have mattresses, water and toilets - some have cooking facilities. Campsites with water, toilets and fireplaces are also available within the park. Bookings are required in peak season.

Various types of accommodation can be found at the settlements of Marahau and Kaiteriteri at the southern end of the park, and Totaranui at the northern end.
Key Activities

The coastal track and other walks

Classed as one of New Zealand's 'Great Walks', the Abel Tasman's Coastal Track takes between 3 and 5 days to complete. It climbs around headlands and through native forest to a series of beautiful beaches. The track is walkable at any time of the year. Expect to see lots of other walkers and day visitors in summer. For a different view of the park, there are inland tracks that lead up to the dramatic karst landscape of Takaka Hill.

Sea kayaking

A number of kayaking companies run guided tours from Marahau, Kaiteriteri and Golden Bay. If you'd rather be independent, you can rent kayaks and stay at campsites, huts or lodges within the park - just as you would if you were hiking.

Day trips

For those with only a day to see the park, water taxi companies can provide a personalised mix of sightseeing by boat and track walking. Pre-booking is advised. Enquire at Motueka, Marahau or Kaiteriteri.
Key Tips

    From 1 October 2005 Abel Tasman Coast Track huts and campsites need to be booked in advance all year round
    Department of Conservation camp passes are required to use the campsites along the Coastal Track
    Fishing is prohibited in the Tonga Island marine reserve, which runs between Bark Bay and Awaroa Head
    Safe drinking water is available at Totaranui, Bark Bay and the Anchorage. All other water needs to be treated or boiled
    The sea is a comfortable temperature for swimming between December and March
    Conditions, facilities and services change - always check the latest information at the nearest DOC visitor centre before you venture out.

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4 Hands - Etretat, France

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 The Cliffs

Étretat is best known for its cliffs, including 3 natural arches and the pointed "needle". These cliffs and the associated resort beach attracted artists including Eugène Boudin, Gustave Courbet and Claude Monet, and were featured prominently in the 1909 Arsène Lupin novel The Hollow Needle by Maurice Leblanc.

Two of the three famous arches seen from the town are the Porte d'Aval, and the Porte d'Amont. The Manneporte is the third and the biggest one which cannot be seen from the town.

The GR 21 long-distance hiking path (Le Havre to Le Tréport) passes through the town.

Notable People

Étretat was the birthplace of Élie Halévy (1870–1937), philosopher and historian.

Guy de Maupassant (1850–1893) spent most of his childhood in Étretat, at "Les Verguies". In 1882 he wrote a short story for Le Gaulois entitled "The Englishman of Étretat" (L'Anglais d'Étretat), based on encounters in 1868, as a house guest of G. E. J. Powell, with the English poet Algernon Charles Swinburne, whom he had helped save from drowning. The dried human hand displayed on one of the tables was later acquired by Maupassant to adorn his Paris apartment; it inspired another short story, "The Flayed Hand" (La Main Écorchée).[1] In 1883 he built his own house in Étretat, "La Guillette", in the Mediterranean style in "Le Grand Val", since renamed rue Guy-de-Maupassant.[2] Jean-Baptiste Faure (1830–1914), the great French operatic baritone whose career centred on Paris and London, also owned a villa there. A friend of the artist Edouard Manet and a keen collector of art, Faure did amateur paintings of the local area, including the scenic cliffs.

 The White Bird


Étretat is known for being the last place in France from which the 1927 biplane The White Bird (L'Oiseau Blanc) was seen. French WWI war heroes Charles Nungesser and François Coli had been attempting to make the first non-stop flight from Paris to New York, but after the plane's 8 May 1927 departure, it disappeared somewhere over the Atlantic. It is considered one of the great unexplained mysteries of aviation. A monument to the flight was established in Étretat, but then destroyed during World War II, during the German occupation. A new and taller monument was constructed in 1963, along with a nearby museum.

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Awa’awapuhi Trail Kauai, Hawaii

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 The Awa'awa'puhi Trail is yet another Koke'e trail which promises sweeping views and a trek through dense jungles and dry landscapes. Even though this trail is fairly even, we recommend sturdy hiking boots. Awa'awa'puhi gets off to a slow start but picks up steam about half way. The only thing to make the first part interesting is a series of marked plants. If you pick up the "Awa'awa'puhi Botanical Trail Guide"at the Koke'e museum it will guide you through the maze of native and introduced plants.

The trail starts at approximately 4,120 feet and ends at the lookout around 2,500 feet. Hiking out you'll no doubt respect each and every foot of that; especially if you're concluding this hike as a part of the Nualolo Trail / Nualolo Cliff Trail "loop." You can view the loop trail by opening Google Earth and viewing our Nualolo and Awaawapuhi Loop Trail map.

After the first mile the forest begins to dissipate only making guest appearances once in awhile as the barren terrain of Na Pali comes into view. You get your first glimpse of the Awa'awa'puhi Valley at about 1.75 miles. Use caution and do not go too close to the edge as some of the view points are eroded.
Awaawapuhi Trail MapDrink in the views of the sea as you approach the junction with the Nualolo Cliff Trail. You may run into a few fellow hikers on your way, as mountain goats like to cling to the steep slopes. Continue straight ahead (to your right) to the end of the trail and a spectacular view from your 2,500 foot perch. Weather permitting, you should get a breathtaking view of the lusciously green Awa'awa'puhi valley and Nualolo Valley. Perhaps it is the view of the folding spires of Na Pali that makes this trail so exceptional. Once you reach the end do not venture beyond the railing since the ground is not safe and a few fool-hearty explorers have fallen to their deaths.

For a nice day hike you can back track to the Nualolo junction and continue along the Nualolo Cliff Trail to the Nualolo Trail which ends at the Koke'e State Park headquarters. However if you plan to hike that loop, we recommend you hike down Nualolo and back up Awa'awapuhi. You can read more about the "loop" on our Nualolo Trail entry.

Kokee and Waimea State Park

Don't forget to check our Koke'e State Park Hiking page for information on all the incredible trails inside the park. On that page we've also posted a map of the entire area (Koke'e and Waimea State Parks) for you to download and print out at home. The Koke'e Lodge and Museum will also have maps available, but we'd definitely advise you to go ahead and review the map and become familiar with the area. The crisscrossing of trails and 4x4 roads can be confusing at first, but once you select your routes, it's not too bad. Feel free to contact us if you have specific questions.

Trail Distance: 6.2 miles (round trip). 11.3 miles for entire loop and lookouts (including hike from your vehicle to the trailhead).

Trail Difficulty: Difficult
Address:
Kokee Rd
Kilauea HI, 96754


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Lower Lewis River Falls - Gifford Pinchot National Forest - Washington, USA

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This beautiful and quite powerful waterfall actually looks better during lower water periods. When the water is high, a solid wall of water crashes into the large pool in spectacular fashion, but during low water periods, the falls look more graceful and calmer. Be careful in this area, the rim of the canyon is abrupt and the river is fed by glaciers on Mt. Adams. The falls have created a nice plunge pool, perfect for swimming in. Be sure to stay away from the falls however. While I was visiting the falls once, a group of 5 (dumb) people were climbing around on the rocks beneath the base of the falls. Not a very smart thing considering this is a glacial river, and one wrong slip could end up sending a person into the powerful undertow beneath the falls, which would almost definitely be fatal. The falls are accessed from the Lower Falls Recreation area, which features a nice campground, a good starting point for exploring the numerous other waterfalls in the area.

HISTORY AND NAMING INFORMATION

    Lower Lewis River Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
    Known Alternate Names: Lower Falls, Lower Lewis Falls, Lower Falls of the Lewis River

The Forest Service and USGS refers to this simply as Lower Falls, but pretty much every guidebook its ever been mentioned in have it listed as either Lower Lewis Falls or Lower Lewis River Falls and the precedent goes back decades.

LOCATION AND DIRECTIONS

Easy access

Take Interstate 5 to the town of Woodland, and exit onto Highway 503 heading east. Follow 503 east to Cougar, and continue to Forrest Service Road # 90, just passed the Pine Creek Ranger Station. Follow FR 90 for 14 miles to the Lower Falls Recreation Area. Parking for the falls is to the right of the entrance. There are numerous trails along the canyon leading to several good views of the falls in less than 500 feet.

Latitude
   
46.15457 N

Longitude
   
-121.87957 W

Elevation
   
1496 feet

USGS Quadrangle
   
Spencer Butte 7 1/2"


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