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travels in geology

Travels in Geology: From beaches to bush: Tramping in New Zealand

With its stunningly beautiful landscapes, adrenaline-boosting attractions, renowned wines and craft beers, and easy logistics, New Zealand is one of the world’s foremost tourist destinations. It is especially well known for superb hiking, locally referred to as “tramping” or “bushwalking.” From short strolls through lush temperate rainforest to challenging alpine tracks, New Zealand offers a lifetime’s worth of outstanding walks.

Follow the author and her family on some of New Zealand's Great Walks: multiday backcountry hikes that highlight the awe-inspiring terrain found on this ancient scrap of Gondwanaland.

09 May 2014

Travels in Geology: Gubbio, Italy: A geologist's mecca

The author makes a pilgrimage to the medieval Apennine mountain town of Gubbio, Italy, where studies of the limestone layers just outside the town’s encircling walls produced one of the greatest geological discoveries of the 20th century.
02 Apr 2014

Getting there and getting around Gubbio

Most flights to Italy from the U.S. land in Rome or Milan. If you are heading directly to Umbria, it is possible to fly from Rome to Perugia’s San Francesco d’Assisi airport, 42 kilometers from Gubbio. Direct international flights to Gubbio are possible only from London and a few other European cities. 
 
02 Apr 2014

Travels in Geology: Walking toward Whitney: A journey through the Sierra High Country along the John Muir Trail

The hike to Mount Whitney traverses uninterrupted wilderness through three national parks — Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite — as well as national wilderness areas such as the Ansel Adams Wilderness and 13 different river drainages over which the ecosystems and geology continually shift. The trail brings you views of the imposing Ritter Range, the columnar-jointed basalt of Devils Postpile, red cinder cones and Yosemite’s iconic exfoliated domes. It’s not for the faint of heart (or the weak-kneed), but if you can make time for it, it’s a trip you’ll never forget.

05 Mar 2014

Be aware and prepare

Hiking the full 340-kilometer length of the John Muir Trail (JMT) isn’t a beginner backpacking trip. Make sure you enjoy slowly plodding up switchbacks carrying a heavy pack for days before you start out on this weeks-long trek. That said, I met a surprising number of people for whom the JMT was their first wilderness foray, and as far as I know, they all survived.

26 Feb 2014

Getting there and getting around on the John Muir Trail

The best time to hike the John Muir Trail (JMT) is late summer. To plan your own adventure, start by reading up on the trek at various websites such as the Pacific Crest Trail Association’s JMT trail site (www.pcta.org/discover-the-trail/john-muir-trail/) and in guidebooks. Then, when you know when you want to go, procure your permits. To start in Yosemite, you can apply for permits through their lottery over the winter or get a permit for an alternate trailhead like we did.

26 Feb 2014

Getting There and Getting Around France

Most flights to France from the U.S. land in Paris. If you are heading directly to Provence, you can fly from Paris to Marseille-Provence Airport. Another option is France’s high-speed TGV train, which zips between the capital and Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, and Arles. 

24 Feb 2014

Southern Rhone wines

The Rhône Valley’s wine-growing regions are divided into two sections, with only its southern portion located in Provence. The Southern Rhône is best known for distinctively spicy red wines, the result of producing extremely low yields from very old vines whose grapes’ sugar content and acidity levels are further concentrated by the region’s fierce winds. The result is unusually dense wines full of earthy flavors.

 
24 Feb 2014

Travels in Geology: A taste of Provence

Nestled among the soaring Alps, the shining Mediterranean Sea, and the historic Rhône River, Provence, France — one of the world’s foremost tourist destinations — offers visitors scenic, gourmet, and geologic delights. The region’s rugged mountains, extensive plateaus and vineyard-lined slopes result from the Alpine orogeny, the mountain-building episode that uplifted the Pyrenees and the Alps in southwestern and southeastern France. The land in between was more modestly deformed, then gradually eroded over millions of years, to create the chefs-d’oeuvre — the masterpiece — that we now call Provence.

24 Feb 2014

Travels in Geology: Antarctica: Following in the footsteps of giants

In fall 2012, when I told friends and colleagues that I was heading south for a few weeks, they assumed that I, like many other northeasterners, was going to Florida or the Bahamas for a break from winter weather. Instead, I was headed to the iciest and southernmost place on Earth: Antarctica.

02 Jan 2014

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