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Top 8 Hikes to Free Your Soul in the U.S.

Hiking is a great way to see nature and get a workout, but don’t forget to hike while on vacation. Many people travel to beautiful locations only to sit in a resort or stay in the confines of a city. Not me, I enjoy being…

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Hiking is a great way to see nature and get a workout, but don’t forget to hike while on vacation. Many people travel to beautiful locations only to sit in a resort or stay in the confines of a city. Not me, I enjoy being in nature and seeing parts of our great country not on the beaten path and instead forge my own trail. If you are like me then this list of the top 5 hikes to travel to in the U.S is just up your alley. I scoured the internet and used my personal experiences to figure out which spots are the best and worth your trip.

 

Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii

Beginning with the most spectacular hike I’ve ever been on is an obvious jumping off point. The Kalalau trail in Kauai is just spectacular and divine. The 2-mile hike ends at a beautiful beach, which is only accessible by boat or the hike. Pack lots of water as this hike ventures up mountains, through a rain forest and finishes off at a pristine beach. The trail blazes through boulders and across a river multiple times, so be prepared to get wet.

 

Grand Canyon North Rim, Arizona

One of the eight wonders of the world, the grand canyon is grandiose in every aspect of the word. The North Rim is harder to access and more difficult of a hike, but the views and sunset/sunrises are worth the trouble. No list of best hikes can be written without including the Grand Canyon, well worth any trip.

 

Pacific Crest Trail, Western Coast of US

The Pacific Crest Trail stretches from Mexico all the way to Canada, along the Western Coast of the US. The entire hike is 2,650 miles long and ventures through three states. Traverse through the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains while exploring the beautiful scenery. The entire trail is ridiculously long, so pick a small portion a try it out.

 

Paint Mines, Colorado

This 3.6-mile loop trail is one of Colorado’s prettiest and a hidden gem in the Rockies. The beautifully highlighted clay set this hike apart from others, as I’ve never seen a collection of colors in nature. There are also human made mines that date back over 9,00 years.

 

Angels Landing, Utah

Getting its name from the 1,500 ft rock formation in Zion National Park, this hike is incredible. Only a 2.5-mile trek to the top of the Angels Landing, gives you outstanding views of Zion Canyon and its entirely carved out of solid rock.

 

John Muir Trail – California

Named after famed naturalist, John Muir, this hiker’s heaven is the ultimate trek. A 210-mile hike that takes adventurers weeks to accomplish is the bar that all hikes are measured on. Starting out in Yosemite National Park, this trail takes you to Mount Whitney, Continental United States, tallest peak. Not for the weary or novice, this hike is intense but completely worth the trouble.

 

Mt Heavenly Overlook Trek, Alaska

This is one of Alaska’s easiest mountains to summit and great for hikers of all levels. The Overlook trail begins in thick forest and traverses tundra and finally comes out on top. The views of Alaska are huge and vast, making this one of my favorite hikes of all time.

 

Many Glacier Area, Montana

Located in the center of Montana’s Glacier National Park, Many Glacier is a hike to see the ancient world. Active glacier and beautiful mountain lakes dot this hike and make it a dream come true. Check out the way the world looked in the ice ages with this spectacular glacier hike.

 

Explore our world one step at a time with these wonderful hikes that vary in difficulty and will leave you speechless. Our world is bigger and more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

 

Photos Courtesy of NewYorkTimes, Hawaii-Guides, electricreflections, squamlakes.org

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Travel

Tim Duncan Steps Up When The Virgin Islands Needs Him Most

NBA great Tim Duncan is really putting his money where his mouth is, as he returns to his homeland of the Virgin Islands to help in hurricane relief. 

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NBA great Tim Duncan is really putting his money where his mouth is, as he returns to his homeland of the Virgin Islands to help in hurricane relief. This is Duncan’s third trip back to the U.S. Birgin Islands since September when two category 5 hurricanes decimated the island. Back to back storms Irma and Maria ravaged the small island nation with heavy rain, 150 mph winds and devastating storm surges. Now Tim has dedicated his time, money and resources to rebuild his home islands.

 

Immediately following the first hurricane, Duncan started an online crowdsourcing campaign aimed at reaching a million dollars and he even pledged to match the first million. What a bold and thoughtful move, especially since no nations were stepping up.
Duncan was 13 when hurricane Hugo ravaged his island nation, so he knows first hand how difficult it is to rebuild after this sort of tragedy. He vowed to help his former home and he actually is doing it. Many times when celebrities offer their help, its all show, not with Tim, he’s the real deal.

 

16 months after he retired from the NBA, Tim is surrounded by fellow volunteers as he sets up tables for food distribution. SOme of the people ask for pictures and autographs, but that doesn’t bother him, as long as the line keeps moving and the people get fed.
This trip Duncan personally delivered an entire plane full of supplies, food, and medicine. The kind of stuff these people need the most, so he knows just how important this really is.

 

 

On this day, they originally planned to feed 500 people but ended up feeding 2200.
Duncan grew angry over the US government’s lack of urgency with relief efforts, even though the Virgin Islands are an American territory. That’s why he started the crowdsourcing fund which to date has raised over $2.6 million.

 

Duncan said, “I don’t have a Facebook or a Twitter or anything, but holy s–t if social media isn’t the way to go.” None of this incredible relief effort would’ve even happened without Tim’s initial push.
Duncan didn’t just rush into this because he wanted to do it right. We have all heard horror stories about charities trying to help but end up failing miserably. He wouldn’t let this happen so he got help from his trusted advisor Wendy Kowalik.

 

Wendy interviewed San Antonio food banks to figure out the best ways to get bulk food and she researched airplane charters to get the food and supplies to the Virgin Islands.
So far Duncan alone has helped feed 10,000 of the islands’ 50,000 inhabitants and he has only gotten started. He said, “Sh*t happens, and you fix it…”

 

Duncan went on to say, “It’s only been a month and already people are forgetting about Harvey and what happened to Houston.” He continued, “Six months from now, people will forget about what happened here, even if there’s still no power on the islands. People have lost their homes and they’ve lost their shops. They’ve lost everything. Buildings are damaged and roads are ruined. I don’t know how to fix those things, but I didn’t know how to raise money or do food distribution or charter jets, and we figured all that out. We’ll figure this out, too. We’ll figure out how to rebuild the islands.”

 

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Travel

The Viral Photo Of This Rescued Baby Will Melt Your Heart

This police officer worked hard to have this baby rescued but it was all worth it once he was hit with the adorable baby’s beaming smile.

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There is nothing better than a smiling baby. Everyone starts smiling once they see a baby smile. They are still learning how to control their muscles and figuring out the entire world, so when a smile washes over their face then it must be worth it. A policeman was recently the recipient of a much-deserved baby smile and it left him absolutely rocked. This police officer worked hard to have this baby rescued but it was all worth it once he was hit with the adorable baby’s beaming smile.

 

A mother had the unthinkable happen, she lost her child. She laid down to go to sleep on the pavement in Hyderabad, the capital of the southern India’s Telangana state. Quickly, the mother fell asleep with her 4-month old child next to her. She woke up at 4 a.m. to her worst nightmare, her baby was gone. Faizan Khan was the name of her child and he was nowhere to be found. This mom was now on a desperate search for her beautiful baby.
The mom searched high and low for Faizan but ended up getting nowhere. Eventually, she had to go to the Hyderabad City Police for help. The police jumped into the search and were quickly able to find the poor baby and even arrest the alleged kidnapper’s thanks to the help of some CCTV footage.

 


The men they arrested were supposedly going to sell Faizan to a man who wanted a baby for his relative to adopt. The man looking for a baby, named Mohammed Ghouse, was excited to finally find a child for his family member to adopt but was told that the two kidnappers would go about obtaining a baby legally. They decided not to do it the right way and went to the street in search of a baby they could steal. In their search, they found a mother who was asleep next to her child and snapped up the baby and ran off.
After the men brought the baby to Mohammed Ghouse’s house he knew something was wrong. Gouse immediately could tell that this baby was not attained legally and told the two men, 42-year-old Mohammed Mustaq and 25-year-old Mohammed Yousuf, to bring the baby back to wherever they had found it in the first place.

 

Shortly thereafter the cops rescued the baby and arrested these two men. The baby had been rescued and the police, as well as the mother, were ecstatic. The baby was still pretty traumatized from the scary adventure it had been on and was crying its eyes out, even handing the baby to his mom didn’t stop him from crying. That is when the police inspector decided that he would take the baby into his arms. He is the one that cracked the case and I guess the baby knew that. Once the baby was laid in Inspector Sanjay Kumar’s arms the baby stopped crying and started beaming.
The picture ended up going viral and has been shared and liked all over the internet thousands of times. Great work Sanjay, you truly are a hero.

 

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Destinations

A Quiet Bethlehem This 2020 Christmas Celebration

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Sans the influx of tourists in the historical birthplace of Christ, a quiet Bethlehem community gets to experience a renewal in faith over a boom in business.

Prior to the pandemic, the Palestinian city located in occupied West Bank was always filled with visiting tourists who wanted to experience walking in the land of Jesus Christ’s official birthplace. In the past, those who wanted to visit the Church of the Nativity were forced to maneuver through the crowds teeming the streets of Bethlehem. This year, however, a quiet Bethlehem becomes largely part of the massive lockdown and quarantine restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Nevertheless, the absence of tourists is an opportunity for renewal, says Father Rami Asakrieh, the parish priest of Bethlehem. “Sometimes there are more than half million people who arrive in this period to visit the Nativity Church,” he recounts.

During the days leading to Christmas, however, the Church of the Nativity has been so silent, devoid of the yearly visiting faithful who traditionally visited Bethlehem from all over the world. A quiet Bethlehem, then, is a new thing for the community as locals are used to the noisy throng of commuters and visitors who annually arrived during the holiday season.

Armenian prayers are recited by four (4) monks below the Grotto of the Nativity, echoing through the typically crowded vicinity. Even during this year’s Christmas Eve, the most essential part of the celebration, the church was closed to the public. The lack of yearly visits from Palestinian authority representatives starkly reiterated the difference of this year’s celebration, as well.

“It has never happened before,” contemplates Asakrieh, as he mentions that the only times that the church was forced to close its doors were during periods of uprisings and Palestinian intifadas that were done in protest against Israel’s continued occupation.

“I think that this Christmas is different because people are not busy with the external manifestations of the feast,” the priest shares, referring to the customary purchasing of gifts and the conduct of extravagant get-togethers that have long been linked to Christmas celebrations.  “Now (people) have the time, and they are obligated, to concentrate on the essential… the theological spirit of Christmas,” he expressed. “Less business, but more religion,” Asakrieh continues.

During the days leading up to Christmas, the chapel of Saint Catherine, a small one that is next to the Church of the Nativity was made open to the local Bethlehem public. Amid a distinctively quiet Bethlehem atmosphere, many of the local faithful turned up as they donned their Sunday’s best.

One of them was Nicolas al-Zoghbi who mentions that the usual joy of the Christmas season was replaced by the overall feeling of depression. He shares that his son is among those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. “We hope the Lord will destroy corona, just get rid of it so we can return to our previous life,” states al-Zoghbi who is now in his 70s.

The city’s economy is hugely reliant on the annual influx of visitors who purchase items like rosaries and other Nativity-based trinkets from the shops and stands that pepper the place. Thus, a quiet Bethlehem during this holiday season signifies a highly decreased income for those who rely on the earnings that used to be generated from these yearly tourist visits.

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