Here’s something they won’t teach you in school: The United States has more than one canyon! Really, it’s true. The Grand Canyon is big and beautiful, but it’s not the only chasm in our land worth visiting. Our canyons stretch from New York to Hawaii, span the spectrum of colors, lengths and foliage and all may be experienced in various manner, by your outdoor-loving self. September and October make some of the best canyon-experiencing times in ‘merica—gone are the hoards of tourists and face-slapping heat. And since you’ve all heard about the Grand Canyon, and that crazy Bright Angel Trail, here are ten more must-do canyon hikes to check off the list.
While SpaceX and Virgin Galactic seem to get all the headlines, World View, a luxury flight capsule, is expected to send tourists up into the Earth’s atmosphere on five-hour tours starting in an estimated 4 years time.
World View, under direction from Paragon Space Development Corporation in Arizona, plans to send people 100,000 feet above the earth’s surface in a capsule powered by a large balloon, which can drift into orbit for hours at a time.
The capsule features four circular windows and holds six passengers plus two crew members.
It is hard to image a front row seat in outer space but it is coming sooner rather than later.
Nigel Goode, director of Priestmangoode, says, “You’re seeing the curvature of earth, the blackness of space. It’s such a life-changing experience. This is what it’s all about.”
The interior design of the capsule is still ongoing, but expect to see a lot of carbon fiber and other lightweight materials used in order to minimize weight and fuel cost.
The cost of enjoying a trip to space by way of a World View is still up in the air, but it is clear that multiple capsules will be developed for both tourism and space research.
Russian republic of Chechnya offered to send arms to Mexico, a response to a U.S. House measure encouraging shipment of U.S. weapons to Ukraine.
Dukuvakha Abdurakhmanov, the Chechen parliament speaker, said the United States has “no right” to advise Russia on behavior with neighbors, a reference to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
He warned that the shipment of “lethal aid” to Ukraine, as the U.S. House urged earlier this week in a non-binding resolution which passed by 358 votes to 48, could lead to Chechen shipment of weapons to Mexico to “resume debate on the legal status of territories annexed by the U.S.”
The annexed territories include seven western U.S. states ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago, which ended a war between Mexico and the United States in 1848.
The deal included a U.S. payment of $15 million to Mexico, as well as payment of a $3.25 million Mexican debt to U.S. citizens. Additional territory was purchased from Mexico in 1853 for $10 million.
In 1917, the German Empire sent a diplomatic proposal of a similar nature to Mexico. The Zimmerman Telegram, as the proposal is known, offered German military and economic aid to help Mexico “reconquer the lost territory in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. The telegram was intercepted by British intelligence and repudiated by the Mexican government.
The action by the U.S. House was strictly advisory in nature, urging President Barack Obama to send weapons to the Ukrainian military. It was condemned by Russian legislator Alexey Pushkov, chairman of the State Duma (Parliament) International Affairs Committee.
“The most dangerous thing is that it’s absolutely irresponsible. Of course, the decision is to be made by Obama since the resolution is non-binding.
But this irresponsibility is amazing considering the price the United States had to pay for its direct or indirect involvement in armed conflicts abroad and what price was paid by countries, from Vietnam to Iraq, where military conflicts involved the United States,” Pushkov said.
“Their perception is based on the assumption that the U.S. and its allies should always emerge victorious. In reality, the U.S. has suffered numerous defeats and this policy is too doomed to failure.”
Nelson figures it this way: If there are name-your-price websites for airline tickets, hotel rooms and vacation packages, why not for weed?
“We’re the first site in the marijuana industry to do a price-comparison model,” Nelson said of his site, Wikileaf.com, which launched earlier this year but has just started to hit critical mass. After building the site for close to two years, “it’s nice to finally get some traction,” Nelson said. “We’re like the Priceline of pot.”
Hmmm. The people at Priceline probably wouldn’t want that phrase catching on.
Nevertheless, Nelson’s analogy is a good one. Let’s say you happen to live in a state where pot (medical or recreational) is legal. Chances are you’ve noticed that dispensary prices vary widely, or you’ve suspected there’s a better deal on the other side of town. Wikileaf’s reverse-auction model makes it easy to comparison shop.
Cannabis consumers select what kind of weed they want (a nice Banana Kush, say), then name their price ($20-$350) and enter how far they’re willing to travel to get it (50 miles is the limit). In a split second, Wikileaf trawls through its database of legal cannabis vendors and spits out the best deal.
While dollar-volume figures weren’t immediately available, Nelson said Wikileaf features over 1,100 dispensaries in six states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington)—numbers almost certain to grow as the legalization wave continues.
Nelson’s other job is blogging about the banking industry, which is where, oddly enough, he got the idea for his pot-price site.
When interest rates were high, banks used to compete to finance consumers’ home purchases via so-called reverse-auction sites like MoneyAisle.com. The financial meltdown of 2008 killed that business in a hurry, but a seed had been planted.
“It got me thinking about the price-comparison model for the marijuana industry,” Nelson said.
Thus far, Wikileaf.com makes no money, but Nelson hopes that selling exclusive sponsorships triggered by ZIP code—more or less what Google does right now—will eventually give him a revenue stream.
Until then, he’s got a cool idea, and one that competitors will probably try to break into. “Yeah, there will be other sites that’ll try to do this,” he said. “But we have what’s called the first-mover advantage.”
He’s also got a pretty good price on Alien Dawg and Alaskan Ice.
We’ll always love a lazy stroll, but if you’ve been training relentlessly all winter and are up for an adventure, then here are five physically challenging hikes in the United States that should do just the trick.
1—Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii
If looks could kill, few would last more than a few minutes on this dreamy 11-mile stretch of the lush Na Pali Coast on Hawaii’s remote Kauai Island. Instead, a few other features of this picture-perfect hike could lead to your early death. Like the narrow trail that ventures through five different Hawaiian valleys, hugging 4000-foot high volcanic cliffs over the Pacific Ocean. Scary, but it becomes downright horrifying by adding just a little moisture, which turns the earthy path into a pissed off slip and slide. And the trail just so happens to be littered with waterfalls on top of three flash-flood prone jungle rivers. In April 2014, these floods caused 121 hikers to be rescued in just one day. While you’re navigating the precarious path praying for no rain, you’ll also have to mind the locals. There’s a community of not-always-so-happy-to-see-you hippies that have long lived by the trail; in December 2012, one tossed a Japanese tourist off a cliff. And fun fact: The 2009 Mila Jovovich horror film, A Perfect Getaway, was set along the trail. If you make it, the reward is handsome—the impossibly perfect secluded beaches of Hanakapi’ai and Kalalau. Seasoned hikers can do the trail in a day, but most will need to camp out at one of the two pre-approved campsites.
2—Half Dome Cable Route, Yosemite National Park, California
There are few peaks in the United States more iconic than Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. The Granite peak reaches nearly 5000 feet above the valley floor and has flat-surfaced top with views that have shown up in Ansel Adams’ artwork. For the most part, the 14-mile round trip trail is a moderate hike—steep, but not technical. It gets sheisty at the last 400 feet, where since 1919, two meager metal cables, have allowed hikers to climb up to the top. No ladder. No railings, No safety equipment. The cable route can get crowded, despite the need for a permit (on weekends) and every year there are rescues and sometimes deaths (the last happening in 2011). The biggest threat, park rangers say, is from quick forming lightening storms that have the ability to fry anyone whose misfortune places them on the metal cables at the wrong time.
3—Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Take warning in the fact that the park service staffs something called Preventative Search and Rescue (PSAR) whose sole purpose is to urge the unprepared to get off the Bright Angel trail. They also man water stations for overheated hikers along this popular 4,380 feet deep, 9.5 round trip rim to river trail in the Grand Canyon and still there are over 200 rescues a year. A few things hikers regularly forget? There’s little shade along the way and temperatures increase as you descend into the canyon, regularly reaching the 110 mark. In case you miss someone from the PSAR, there are also signs in every imaginable language warning hikers of the treacherous hike. If you must walk down the Grand Canyon, bring some water, your own shade, start early and rest often. Don’t be that dude.
4—Devil’s Path, Catskills, New York
Less than two hours drive from Manhattan is one of the country’s most underrated treks—25 miles of gorgeous Catskills views, waterfalls, wildlife and a whole lot of scaling of slippery, rocky walls. It may seem quaint by Rocky Mountain standards, but the trail includes steep, vertical climbs where you’re only holding onto tree roots. It meanders across seven peaks (including the famed Indian Head peak) at a grueling, 14,000 feet in combined elevation. Taken piece by piece, the trail is moderate, but attacking it all at once can be downright deadly. Deaths and rescues are a regular part of this trail’s landscape.
5—The Maze, Canyonlands, Utah
This superheated playground of sandstone fins is the most inaccessible part of Canyonlands National Park in Utah. You need a high clearance 4X4 vehicle to take you the 45 miles down a trecherous dirt path past the ranger station just to get to the trail head. Enter without a topographical map and GPS (and the ability to use them) and you may never find your way out of the mess of dead end valleys. It seems the National Park Service has done a good job at keeping the inexperienced out; despite this being one of the most dangerous hikes in the country, there have been no deaths reported yet. But that could have something to do with the fact that only 1000 or so people attempt this crazy trek every year.
A Mexican helicopter crosses the border in an apparent attempt to save 39 migrants from kidnappers this week and results in shots being fired. The US Border Patrol is still reviewing the incident with Mexican law enforcement authorities following Thursday’s close call where two shots were allegedly fired after the kidnappers made it exceedingly near Arizona territory. The Wall Street Journal Online shares the tense circumstances surrounding the brief standoff this Friday, June 27, 2014.
The US Border Patrol released a formal statement this Friday morning reporting that a helicopter under the apparent jurisdiction of law officials from Mexico crossed the established border by roughly 100 yards early Thursday morning. A total of two shots were said to be fired on Arizona ground, though authorities are still said to be in contention over whether the situation actually occurred, or at least to what degree.
The Mexican helicopter was said to have passed over to US soil as part of a last-ditch effort to rescue a purported 39 migrants from a slew of native kidnappers. Some information surrounding the situation has not been disclosed to the public, but it is known that the close call took place several miles southwest of San Miguel. The agency did not clarify with more details in their update, as the incident is still being investigated by the Border Patrol unit.
“Two shots were fired from the helicopter but no injuries or damage to U.S. property were reported,” the statement affirmed. “The incident is currently under investigation.”
Despite American officials claiming that the Mexican helicopter did in fact cross the border into Arizona territory, law enforcement authorities in Mexico are denying these allegations. NBC News reveals that they remain convinced that one of their own helicopters ever actually passed into US grounds, and say that there is no evidence two shots were filed north of the separating border.
One spokesperson for the Mexican Attorney General’s Office also issued a statement this Friday saying that there had indeed been a rescue mission in operation early on Thursday involving kidnappers and captured migrants. However, although he verified that the incident took place close to the US border, he denied that the helicopter ever invaded American territory or opened fire there.
“They never crossed the border, not helicopters and not bullets,” the official concluded.
According to the breaking report, a total of 39 migrants — a majority of the travelers being Mexican with a few also hailing from Central America — were being held captive extremely close to the US border. Therefore, US officials had been made aware of the rescue mission to stop the kidnappers, but it seems that the heightened proximity of the incident — the holding site was said to be only 150 meters from Arizona soil — likely led to the confusion with the Mexican helicopter possibly crossing the border.
The investigation is still being examined as of Saturday afternoon. Representatives and spokespersons for the Arizona Office of the Governor and the union for Border Patrol authorities have not provided further comment at this time.
This timelapse video is a collection of footage shot over the last year and a half around the western half of the United States. The shots ranged from very different locations. From Montana to Arizona and most weren’t easy to get to but of course that makes them worth going to. The locations captured ranged in temps of 100 degrees to -9 degrees and in elevations of 12,000 feet to 225 feet below sea level. It took over 15,000 captured still images to make this video.