Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Guadalupe Peak, Texas

Guadalupe Mountains National Park
If you’re an American and living in Texas. Do you know the highest natural point in Texas? The Singal Peak, also known as Guadalupe Peak is the highest natural point in Texas located in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Guadalupe Peak is one of the major parts of Guadalupe Mountains range in Southeastern New Mexico and West Texas. 
The national park includes the mountain range Guadalupe Peak, El Capitan, Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach line near the Pine Springs visitor center. Although, there are six 8,000 feet peaks in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The most famous is El Capitan, the first sight you see in park with the towering shock of limestone that surges right off the desert floor.
The weather of Guadalupe Mountains National Park
The Guadalupe Mountains normally have hot summers, mild autumn and calm weather, cool to cold in winter and early spring as well. Also, snow storms, sleet storms, freezing rain, or fog may happen in winter. Regular high wind warnings are issued during winter through spring. Also, the nights are cool even in summer and late summer monsoons produce thunderstorms.
Where is Guadalupe Peak?
The Guadalupe Peak is 140 kilometers east of El Paso and 80 kilometers southwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico. It has an elevation of 8,751 feet above sea level and rises over 2,967 feet above the arid floor of the Chihuahuan Desert.
Guadalupe Peak Trail and Summit
A beautiful well maintained a stony trail of 6.8 kilometers each way with an over 3,000 feet elevation gain during the round of the year. This trail is one of a major part of network hiking trails in the surrounding national park. Moreover, a stainless-steel pyramid marks the summit with American Airlines logo in 1958 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Butterfield Overland Mail. However, the other side has United States Service tribute to the Pony Express Riders of the Butterfield stage. Also, the third side shows a compass with the logo of the Boy Scouts of America.
Guadalupe Peak Hike
The peak trail is about 8.1 mile offers to see magnificent wildlife of this area. The Trail winds through pinyon pine and Douglas-fir forests with views of El Capitan and the Chihuahuan Desert. The hike considered a bit difficult as many activity options are accessible year-round. The tail is moderately trafficked but a rewarding strenuous hike introduces hikers for parks ecosystem, high desert and forest high elevation. You must be very fit for Peak hike as it will take 7 to 8 hours round trip. The Guadalupe Peak Hike provides fantastic views from the highest point.
The first few miles are steepest but get easier and shady after that. Also, the last ¼ mile is treacherous and gets narrow. You must be scramble on the side of the cliff. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water, food. It could be nice to start early before heat sets in, with shoes with good ankle support and a sturdy running stick are highly recommended. Also, must be careful to hydrate well with little breaks in the shade when possible. Further, you must follow the hiker tail signs otherwise you may have lost your way to took extra efforts to reach the destination. Read More - Fairyland Caverns – Breathtaking Homage to Rock City Gardens

Saturday, 25 May 2019

The Sanssouci Palace, Haiti

In the Town of Milot, Nord, the royal residence of King Henri located approximately five kilometers northeast of Citadelle Laferriere. From the South West, it is thirteen kilometers off the Three Bays Protected Area.  I hope you would have guessed the name of this palace? Well, this is Sans-Souci Palace in Haiti. It is a French name which means ‘carefree’.

King Henri is also known as ‘Henri Christophe’ with his Wife Queen Marie Louise and two daughters. Sans-Souci the palace is one of the most important of nine palaces built by King. He was also famous for building numerous forts, sprawling summer’s homes, and fifteen châteaux. In 1982, the UNESCO designated Sans-Souci Palace and the Citadelle as World Heritage Sites. Some scholars believed that Christophe took part of his inspiration for the palace from the Prussian king Frederick the Great palace in Potsdam, Sans-Souci, a symbol of European Enlightenment achievement.

King Christophe was self-imposed monarch; a former slave had fought in the American Revolutionary War beside with George Washington. In 1804, he went to be a main leader in the Haitian Revolution, when the small nations gain independence from France. The Sans-Souci palace city of Milot has extended to the border of the site, and the required for natural resources, such as limestone and trees, are impacting the surrounding landscape.
Construction of Sans-Souci Palace

In 1810, the King was decided to start uniquely designed construction of the palace in Milot, Nord Department. It took three years to complete the Sans-Souci Palace. King Henri was infamous for its mercilessness. It is unidentified how many laborers were died during the construction of the palace. Earlier than the construction of Sans-Souci, Milot was a French plantation that King Henri managed for a period during the Haitian Revolution.

Sans Souci Palace was built only a few yards away or maybe even exactly over, the place where one of traitor himself was killed by Christophe. In 1842, a massive earthquake destroyed a substantial part of the Sans-Souci and palace was never rebuilt. Before the earthquake destruction, the palace was acknowledged by many legends to be the Caribbean equivalent of the Palace of Versailles in France.
After the permanent damage was done by the earthquake, the palace foundation is weakening by rainwater and constant deforestation. This factor puts the stability of the mountain at stake. Moreover, local authorities neglect the site and assured now to in charge of the responsibility of keeping all the cultural sites safe and in good condition.

King Christophe Reign
During his time in power, the palace was notorious for opulent feasting and dancing. It has artificial springs, huge gardens, and waterworks system. Unfortunately, the palace is empty ruin these days. It was splendor dream of foreign visitors in his prime time. It was remarked the reputation of having been one of the most magnificent edifices of the Caribbean Island.

The pomp and circumstance of Sans-Souci was part of King Program to demonstrate the Europeans and Americans, the power and ability of the black race. King Christophe's reign established hereditary nobility, along with coats of arms and prescribed ceremonial dress drew heavily on European monarchical signs of prestige.

The African was feeling the pride to be part of palace construction. One of his advisors, Pompee Valentin Vastey said, the Sans-Souci and it's in close proximity church, erected by descendants of Africans. They demonstrate not to lose the architectural taste and mastermind of our ancestors who covered Ethiopia, Egypt, Carthage, and Spain with their superb monuments.

Some scholars argue, Sans-Souci architecture is inspired by the Boffrand's designs for the Château de la Malgrange for Leopold, Duke of Lorraine, close to Nancy. It is one of the most remarkable attractions in the Western Hemisphere. The Palace of Sans-Souci is seldom visited by foreigners due to several decades of political instability and lawlessness in Haiti.

The Citadelle Laferrière Fortress
Another famous fortress CitadelleLaferrière located adjacent with Sans-Suci palace. The renowned mountaintop fortress; built under a decree by King Henri Christophe to repel a terror of French invasion that never happened. The Citadelle Laferrière Fortress is reached by ongoing trail behind the Palace. In 1825, Haiti was recognized colonial power by France.

Haiti agreed to pay a massive ruinous indemnity of 150 million francs in return for diplomatic and economic relations. The gigantic stone structure is located about 17 miles south of the city of Cap-Haïtien and five miles uphill from the town of Milot. The Citadelle Laferrière Fortress was constructed up to 20,000 workers between 1805 and 1820 as part of the system of fortification designed to keep Haiti safe from French attack.

Death of King Henri Christopher

On October 1820, King Henri crippled by a stroke, and he committed suicide on the grounds, shooting himself with a silver bullet on the grounds of the palace. According to Haitian legend, he shot himself with a silver bullet and then he was subsequently buried in the Citadelle. His son Jacques Victor Henri bayoneted to death by revolutionaries at the palace. He has also nominated nobility and as prince and heir.

Tourism at Sans-Souci Palace

The palace does not have adequate tourist infrastructure and information to provide somewhere to stay visitors. The structures are not maintained regularly and preserving the site infrastructure. The City of Cap-Haitien is a peaceful and wonderful place. But on rare occasion’s tourist visit the palace. It is mainly because of political instability and lawlessness in the country. Moreover, taxis are preferred mode of transport whereas local things such souvenirs are made and sold outside and within the Palace. Source: CP

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Fairyland Caverns – Rock City

Fairyland Caverns is high outcropping atop on the east face of Lookout Mountain in Walker County, Georgia. Fairyland Caverns is located at 1400 Patten Road in Rock City is open for 8:30 am. to sunset. Rock City is 1,700 feet above sea level. Rock City named as people believe the rocks on top of Lookout Mountain Looked like city building and natural pathways seem city streets. The ancient Rock City formation wander through sedate woodland paths zigzag through the fourteen acres of majestic greenery. The geographic authenticity of Rock City is more like a fun hike with a lot of meandering and a ton of surprises.
The beautiful trail carries you through Goblin’s Underpass, almost under the one-thousand-ton balanced rock to a one-hundred-foot waterfall. It cascades down the mountain to the popular Lover’s Leap and Swing-A-Long Suspension Bridge spanning about 200 feet. The trail is “sort of” in a cave, because Fairyland Caverns is between two large rocks, pressed so close together that they appear to make an underground trail.
Huge swings are carved from logs with a lot of fun to explore all the meandering paths and discover strange new things around every corner. Albino deer! Gnomes on a swing! The fairyland cavern with thousands of pieces of coral thoroughly glued to the ceiling! The Rainbow Hall, a short walkway with seven windows that had been covered in the colored film so that you could walk through the soft light.
On a sunny day, standing on Seven States Flag Court, you can view the Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama in the distance. Also, you can see solitary red-capped gnome which sits on the brink of a mountain boulder (like Rodin’s ‘Thinker’ statue) looks down into the valley. Eventually, you will find yourself at the tunnel entrance to Fairyland Caverns. As you walk through a long series of cave-like galleries, elves and gnomes are perched on trapezes and simulated rock shelves. A beautiful Gnomes Castle, the Carnival of Gnomes brewing moonshine in a still.
At the end of Cavern, you can enjoy the Mother Goose Village, Little Boy Blue, Humpty Dumpty, Little Miss Muffit and Cow that jumped over the Moon. Moreover, Rock City introduced an audio tour and return of the gnomes in the new Gnome Valley installation. Also, a mascot is a white-bearded gnome, appears on advertising brochures in a form of person in a Rocky Costume welcomes the tourist in the park. The educational show about birds of prey, rescued birds unfit for re-release found new careers as ambassadors to Rock City visitors.
In 1924, a real estate developer Garnet Carter called the neighborhood Fairyland due to his Wife, (Frieda) love with European Folklore. This awe-inspiring citadel evolved into a nationally recognized tourist attraction, developed the natural marvel into the Rock City Gardens.  Garnet named the streets after fairytale characters. Garnet Carter was the inventor of miniature golf, owned the Tom Thumb golf franchise. It's a weird and whimsical combination of beautiful nature and goofy added touches. Frieda planted 400 species of trees, flowers, shrubs amidst the big stone bounders near the Fairyland housing development. Hence, in 1932, Frieda’ graceful garden was opened for the public to observe the natural wonders of the mountains. The garden was dotted with beautiful imported German gnomes.  
In 1947, Carter wife decided to start drilling through the rock to create the cave for Fairyland Caverns.  Thus, the narrow man-cave has black-light-sensitive 3-D dioramas of gnomes and fairy tale scenes every 10 feet or so. In 1964, the Mother Goose Village completed with various nursery rhymes. Which situated in the center of a dark room the size of the small auditorium toward the end of Fairyland Caverns.
To entice the visitors to Rock City Gardens. Carter came with the idea to paint the message “SEE ROCK CITY” on barns and birdhouse. The idea worked all over from Michigan to Texas to Florida. The iconic “SEE ROCK CITY” billboards painted on barns across the south might be the most famous series of billboards ever. Garnet was passed in 1954 and Frieda in 1964 after that ownership of the Rock City attraction has remained in the family.  CP

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Kalahari Desert in Africa

Kalahari Desert Location
The Kalahari Desert stretching more than 360,000 square miles across South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. The annual rainfall is a bit high between 5 to 10 inches. The Kalahari Desert is part of Kalahari Basin, (930,000 square-kilometer), includes Okavango River Delta and other wetlands areas.

Kalahari Desert Facts

The Kalahari Desert is something very attractive name to inspire you most. Probably we don’t know why. The desert name instills a sense of dismay while at the same time. This emanates an uncanny attraction. You may have different thoughts in the strictest sense of the word. The Kalahari Desert gently undulating, sand-covered plain, and bedrock are exposed in the low kopjes (vertical-walled hills), that rarely but conspicuously rise above the general surface.

Apart from kopjes, three surfaces characterize virtually all the Kalahari: sand sheets, longitudinal dunes, and vleis. The major part of Kalahari Basin encompasses all of Botswana and more than half of Namibia. The sand dunes, stretching west to the Namib Desert, is the largest continuous expanse of sand on earth. The western side of Kalahari Desert is consisting of long chains of dunes, measure at least 1 mile in length, several hundred feet in width, and 20 to 200 feet in height. The Southern part of Kalahari Desert has water surface in small and widely scattered waterholes. Almost, entire rainwater falls disappear immediately into the deep sand.

The desert soils mainly based on reddish color sand, and are low in organic material. Soils in the Kalahari Desert are largely based on sand, are reddish in color, and are low in organic material. Chemically, they are comparatively alkaline, and dry soils tend to be highly calcareous or saline, and normally they are toxic to most vegetation. Around, 5,000 Kalahari people speak Taa Language with the most vowels and consonants. However, in Tswana language, The Kalahari means ‘large thirst’.  Ancient dry riverbeds which are called ‘omuramba’—traverse the central northern reaches of the Kalahari and offer standing pools of water during the rainy season.

The Kalahari Desert is 6th biggest desert by area in the world and second biggest in Africa after the Sahara Desert. Geologist says the Kalahari Desert was once thriving with full of life with numerous lakes exist here. But these days, large salt pans remain i.e., Makgadikgadi Pan, the remains of the once huge Lake Makgadikgadi. Another big pan is the Nxan pan. The most popular game, named “Mario Kart” features a track named Kalimari Desert.

This track was inspired by the Kalahari Desert. Because of its sparsely populated expanse, the Kalahari is served by infrequent roads and tracks. Furthermore, Kalahari Desert is home to one of the biggest diamond mines in the world. The diamonds were unearthed almost thirty years ago in the Gaghoo Mine first opened in 2014. Hence after three years of construction completed the project. This mine extracts diamond ore using a GO25 Kimberlite Pipe and has a production capacity of 720,000t a year.

People of Kalahari

The Kalahari Desert is inhabited mainly by Bantu speakers and Khoisan-speaking San, with a little number of Europeans, entered in the 19th century as travelers, missionaries, ivory hunters, and traders. It is believed that nomadic hunter (San People) lived at the Kalahari Desert for over 20,000 years. They are the oldest continuous residents of Southern Africa. 

Many San people were killed during various wars when European settlers arrived here. Their life was disturbed by large scale killing of wild animals which they earlier hunted and grazing of wild edible plants by cattle. Interestingly, more than a hundred thousand of San people still live along the fringes of the Kalahari.

Some precious diamonds, deposits of nickel, copper, and coal have been unearthed here. The major livestock grazing is thought to be the largest threat to the Kalahari ecosystem. The ongoing change to plant communities and increased erosion remains relatively limited.                                 

The weather of Kalahari Desert

The sand dunes mainly covered with an abundance of vegetation i.e. grass tussocks, shrubs, and deciduous trees infrequent precipitation and wild swings in temperature. In the summer season, it is scorching hot to touch 45 degrees Celsius, and in winter, temperature drop to -15 degrees Celsius. Also, in winters the climate is extremely dry: humidity is very low, and no rain falls for six to eight months.

Further, the moisture-bearing air is derived from the Indian Ocean, and precipitation is greatest in the northeast and declines toward the southwest. Rainfall, however, is extremely variable. Most of the rain comes as summer thunderstorms, with great variation from place to place and from year to year.

The wetter open woodlands made with acacia famous as camelthorn tree. These camelthorns are a crucial part of the desert ecosystem, manufacturing nutrients that boost other plants to grow around its base and providing shade for animals. The Kalahari Desert had an intricate climatic history more than millions of years ago, in line with major global changes. 

The last 250,000 years have been reconstructed from numerous data sources, and offer evidence of both former extensive lakes and periods drier than now. As time goes, Kalahari Desert has expanded to include parts of western Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Angola.

Flora and Fauna

Around 500 species of vegetation thrive during the rainy season. The water quality is better than a normal desert. The water helps in to flourish the plant life in many parts. The Hoodia cactus, and other edible plants - used by both humans and animals include creeping tsamma melons, gemsbok cucumbers, and wild cucumbers. 

Other trees that grow in the Kalahari Desert include shepherd's tree, blackthorn, and silver cluster-leaf. In the drier area, has vegetation and wildlife are much sparser, but Hoodia cactus - used for thousands of years by the San people to ease hunger and thirst during long hunting trips - still maintains a foothold there.

Kalahari Desert Wildlife

The animals which are adapted to difficult weather are meerkats, gemsbok, social weavers, Kalahari lion and different species of birds. The desert is home to many big cats including lions, cheetahs or leopards. The endemic wildlife species have great ability to adapt the severe conditions and to survive many days without water.

The Kalahari wildlife obtains water from plants. Several other reptiles also live here, including Cape cobras, puff adders, rock monitor, kudu in denser brush, steenbok, duiker, and gnu (wildebeest). Also, on the northern side of Kalahari provide considerable support to the population of giraffes, elephants, zebras, buffalo, roan, sable, tsessebe, impala, wild hunting dogs, and foxes.

Also, other large and medium-sized mammals, i.e., jackals, hyenas, warthogs, baboons, badgers, anteaters, ant bears, hare, and porcupines; and numerous small rodents, several types of snakes and lizards, and a wealth of birdlife. Moreover, several other birds and mammals use the desert, but most are migratory, venturing into the Kalahari only when sufficient water is available. 

 Source: 1, 2, 3, 4