Costa Rica is a country with lush jungles, pristine rivers, lakes, and waterfalls, and stunning coastlines. It is also a land with tall, cloud capped mountains. One of the most well-known mountainous regions of Costa Rica is the Arenal region. The primary peak in this region is the Arenal Volcano (Elevation 5,358 feet) which, until 2010, was also Costa Rica’s most active volcano. While the volcano is currently dormant, and climbers are not allowed on the volcano, there is a fantastic climb directly next to it, which is the Cerro Chato hike.
Iceland is unquestionably the land of ice and fire. It is also the land of the Northern Lights, the land of stunning vistas, and among many other things, the land of waterfalls. Although Iceland has many amazing waterfalls, it has only one waterfall that visitors and hikers can walk behind. That waterfall is Seljalandsfoss, and is perhaps the most well-known, or depending on whom you talk to, the most beautiful waterfall in all of Iceland.
One of the most popular parks in San Diego is Torrey Pines State Reserve. The park is home to the rarest pine tree in North America, the Torrey Pine; and also has a fantastic beach that stretches from La Jolla to the boundary of Del Mar. The reserve portion of the park also features a number of short hiking trails that travel through some of the park’s pine groves, and down to the beach. While all of these things and more make Torrey Pines State Reserve a great park and place to visit, the park is actually much larger than most visitors realize. As a matter of fact, the park encompasses the Reserve, the beach (Torrey Pines State Beach), the Los Penasquitos Lagoon, and the Torrey Pines Extension. Out of these four components, the most unknown area to most visitors and hikers is the Extension.
One of the little known facts about Reykjavik is that it is a pedestrian friendly city. Even though the weather precludes pedestrian excursions during certain times of the year, it is a city that invites excursions by foot on days or nights when the conditions are at least passable. While much of the city’s restaurants and bars are clustered on or around Laugavegur Street, the city’s most visible – and iconic piece of architecture is the Hallgrimskirkja Church.
One of the unique things about San Diego is that it is a city, and a county that is honeycombed with a number of canyons. While these canyons can present a number of practical challenges – in that roads end and re-start and different locations, they provide great spots to explore in certain cases, and great areas for wildlife to travel to and from various habitats. And, in the case of the Spruce Street Suspension bridge, a great man-made object to walk, run, or saunter across on either an urban hike, or a quick visit to see some of San Diego’s hidden history.
The Southwest is dotted with two things: interesting geologic features, and interesting man-made features. Like the geologic features, the man-made features range from the recent past, to the ancient past. In my opinion, while there is nothing like a ghost town, or other more modern man-made site, the truly mysterious sites are the ones that are from the ancient past. While there are many sites in the United States that are accessible to visit, there are also sites that are just across the border in Mexico that are equally fascinating as well.
One of the best things about living in San Diego is the enormous amount of diversity - biodiversity - and topographical diversity that the area provides. From the beach to the plateaus, foothills, and eventually the mountains, there are plenty of spots that have either been eroded away to form something unique, or altered by man to construct a unique spot. One of the quintessential man-made "secret" spots is the "secret stairway" of La Mesa.