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You Can Pedal Through The Redwood Forest On Rail Bikes In Northern California

There are currently about 50 rail trails in the USA, which are disused railway tracks that have been converted into multi-use paths.

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Photo Credit: TMU

(TMU) – From the glory days of train travel to forgotten, overgrown rail tracks and abandoned stations, many unused and forgotten railways have been resurrected to take their place in the 21st century.

To the delight of those who enjoy time in nature, rail biking provides a new opportunity to explore the outdoors in a unique way for an awesome adventure definitely worth the experience.

There are currently about 50 rail trails in the USA, which are disused railway tracks that have been converted into multi-use paths, mostly for walking, cycling, horse riding and snowmobiling.

The historic Skunk Train railroad has run in the North Coast since 1885 and up until March 2019. At one stage it was the only way used by visitors to visit the majestic ancient redwood forest.

Generations of young and old took the Skunk Train to enjoy and admire the beauty of the trees.

We added some last-minute railbikes to the schedule for Valentine's Day! Join us out of Fort Bragg at 10:30am or 12:30pm on February 14th for the best couple's outing you could wish for!

Skunk Train paylaştı: 13 Şubat 2020 Perşembe

The Redwood Forests are located just 3 hours north of San Francisco along the Pacific coast and offers something for every nature explorer and it offers a fabulous Skunk Train rail bike route through the redwoods.

Each custom-made rail bike seats two per bike and literally whispers through the forest with pedal power. The bikes are safe on the tracks with no trains or other traffic to disrupt the journey, guaranteed! Low noise electric motors fitted to the bikes give tired legs running low on ‘steam’ to take a recharge break, without disrupting the peaceful surroundings.

Spend your Saturday exploring the wild beauty of Fort Bragg via a rail bike from the Skunk Train Depot. These open-air,…

Visit Fort Bragg, California paylaştı: 2 Mart 2019 Cumartesi

It’s a gloriously tranquil 1.5 to 2 hour round trip which starts at Fort Bragg, from where the tracks wind along the scenic Pudding Creek then cross over the wooden trestle bridges and continues into Mendocino County, heart of the magnificent ancient redwoods, estimated to be more than 1,000 years old, some reaching as high as 300ft into the sky.

The freedom rail peddling provides to survey the beautiful surroundings is amazing. It’s that exuberant feeling of ‘look Ma, no hands!’, leaving you free to look, slow down, take pictures and notice and discover so much more than any other mode of transport allows. Naturally, there are plenty of birds, including blue herons and osprey, as well as deer, otters and turtles around the rivers – and perhaps, during peak berry season, you might even spot a bear enjoying a berry feast.

Good news for our local Fans! In accordance with the updated Shelter in Place order allowing certain activities for…

Skunk Train paylaştı: 11 Mayıs 2020 Pazartesi

You’ve reached the halfway mark one you reach the Glen Blair Junction, which is a great spot to stretch your legs, enjoy a picnic and a walk into the forest to pay homage to the giant redwoods. With all that pure, clean air in your blood, the short trip back to Fort Bragg will be over far too quickly, albeit with plenty of beautiful photos and memories, it’s a sure bet you’ll be wanting to do it again, soon.

For bookings and rules safety, visit: www.skunktrain.com as well as www.railexplorers.net and www.themanual.com for other railbike adventures.

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Animal World

Incredible Photos Of A Rare Black Panther Roaming In The Jungles Of India

Jung explored the Kabini Forest in Karnataka, India and captured stunning film and photographs of the elusive and majestic black cat of the forest.

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Photo Credit: Shaaz Jung

(TMU) – After studying Economics at the Utrecht University in Europe, wildlife filmmaker and photographer Shaaz Jung returned to the forests of south India where he spent most of his childhood.

His lifelong fascination with the jungle and its wild cats, leopards and the mysterious black panthers in particular, was instrumental in changing his career path from corporate to conservationist and photographer extraordinaire.

Jung’s goal was to discover and understand the lives of the masters of darkness, the black panthers. To fulfill his dream, Jung explored the Kabini Forest in Karnataka, India over the past couple of years and returned not only wiser, but also with stunning film and photographs of the elusive and majestic black cat of the forest.

“I spent two and a half years in the Kabini Forest, between December 2017 and January 2020, on a filming permit. This filming permit allowed [me and the team] to make a documentary on the black panther for National Geographic.”

According to Jung, every day was like a journey into the unknown and their attempts to discover the panther’s secrets ended up being one of the most challenging projects he had ever worked on.

“This black panther is a leopard with an abundance of melanin. Unlike other cats in the Kabini Forest, there is only one black panther,” Jung explained. “This of course makes him far more difficult to photograph. However, since 2015… photographers have been fortunate enough to see him and take pictures. We are, however, the first to make a dedicated movie on him.”

Patience is definitely one trait all wildlife photographers need to learn early in their careers and it’s probably safe to say the entire team on the project have mastered this particular art during their time in the jungle.

“It’s been an incredible journey,” Jung said. “I would like to thank the Karnataka Forest Department for protecting these forests. Their hard work enables us to catch glimpses of these beautiful animals that are thriving in our Indian forests.”

Raised in South India, with jungle forests on his doorstep and several of India’s best national parks in the area, Jung grew up in wonder and respect for the jungle. “The jungle is a labyrinth riddled with secrets that are waiting to be uncovered. Every day in the forest was like a puzzle and I had to put the pieces of this puzzle together in order to successfully unlock its secrets,” he said of his 30 month jungle journey.

Unlock the secrets he most assuredly did, capturing these stunning moments on film. “The camera allowed me to take photographs, immortalizing these moments, relishing life, and inspiring the world. Wildlife is unpredictable and I love the challenge of tracking your subject before you can photograph it. It feels far more rewarding,” Jung said.

Shaaz Jung followed his dream, a dream turned into reality, taking him all over the world to capture the amazing creatures that roam Earth. Now also an ambassador for Nikon India and Samsung, Jung runs Safari Lodges in South India and in East Africa, where he also guides private safaris.

More info: shaazjung.com | Instagram

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Environment

In Colorado, You Can Hike A 2,744-Step Staircase Up To The Clouds

The stunning view from the summit is totally worth the effort, according to those who make it to the top.

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Colorado springs hike
Photo Credit: Mint Press News

(TMU) — If you love challenges and hiking, you’ll love the Manitou Incline in Colorado which was only legalized for hiking in 2013. Definitely not for the unfit, faint of heart or pets, the Manitou Incline is only a mile long but very steep, made up of 2,744 steps. The stunning view from the summit is totally worth the effort, according to those who make it to the top.

The website of the Incline Friends provide some finer detail: ‘’It is known as one of the most popular and challenging hikes in the Colorado Springs area. It is famous for its sweeping views and steep grade, as steep as 68% in places with an average grade just over 40%, making it a fitness challenge for locals in the Colorado Springs area. The incline gains over 2,000 feet (610 m) of elevation in less than one mile, to a height of about 8,600′. It can be completed by Olympic athletes in around 20 minutes, but it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on your fitness level.’’

Many hikers give a sigh of relief after making it past the steepest grade of 68%, thinking they have made it to the top, but alas, they’ve only reached what’s called the ‘False Summit’ and will need to take a deep breath and press on for another 300 feet to enjoy the majestic views which include the cities of Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs! For those unable to cope with the elevation, there is a bailout point about 2/3 of the way up which meets up with the Barr Trail, a 3 mile down trail.

The steps making up the Manitou Incline are the remains of what was once a funicular—or cable train—constructed in 1907 to get materials and workers to the top of Pike’s Peak for the construction of a nearby hydroelectric plant and waterline. Shortly after completion of the project, it was bought by the enterprising Dr. Newton M Brumback who turned it into a successful tourist attraction.

New owner Spencer Penrose bought the Incline Railway in 1923 and upgraded the whole operation. He rebuilt the summit station in 1958, providing a more upmarket dining and viewing experience for visitors. The Railway became too expensive to maintain and stopped operating in 1990.

The rail tracks were removed but the railroad ties left behind, forming a natural, ready-made staircase.

Before you make the trip to hike the Manitou Incline, check the weather conditions, familiarize yourself with the strict rules and regulations, take the time to adjust to Colorado Springs’ high altitude, wear appropriate hiking gear, take plenty of water and energy snacks and leave your pets at home.

The Manitou Incline is, like most attractions, closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic but under normal circumstance is open seven days a week from 6am to 8am from April 1 to October 31 and 6am to 6pm from November 1 to March 31.

The hike is free but parking at the Barr Lot, at end of the downward Barr Trail, is limited and cost $10. Alternatively, park for free and take the free shuttle ride from 10 Old Man’s Trail at the Hiawatha Gardens building. Another option is a reservation only lot or the parking lot by the Tahine Restaurant in Manitou Springs from where you can take the free shuttle to the Incline.

By Jade Small | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animal World

Elusive Sand Kittens Caught On Video In The Wild For The First Time Ever

After years of searching, researchers have finally given the world a look at these adorable cats.

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Elusive Sand Kittens
Photo Credit: Grégory Breton/Sand Cat Sahara Team

After years of research, the elusive “sand kittens” have been captured on camera for the first time ever.

Sand cats, a species of feline that lives exclusively in the deserts of North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, are notoriously difficult to find, and their kittens are even rarer. These stealthy cats travel only under the cover of night, and their camouflaged, sand-coloured fur makes them even more difficult to spot. Furthermore, their furry paws do not leave prints in the sand and they clean up after themselves to avoid being tracked by predators.

However, a big cat organization called Panthera spotted these seldom-seen kittens while they were driving back to camp in the Moroccan Sahara earlier this year. They had been in the area to document sand cats, but never imagined that they would discover this cache of sand kittens.

Finding these kittens was astonishing,” said Grégory Breton, managing director of Panthera France. “We believe this was the first time researchers ever documented wild sand cat kittens in their African range.”

Watch the video from this historic event:

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Animal World

Scientists Confused By Hundreds Of Dead Elephants In Mysterious Mass Die-Off

Scientists are growing increasingly concerned about the mass deaths of hundreds of elephants in Botswana, but are still unsure about what is causing it.

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Botswana dead elephant
More than 350 elephant’s carcasses have been spotted in the Okavango Delta in recent weeks.

(TMU) – Scientists are growing increasingly concerned about the mass deaths of hundreds of elephants in Botswana, but are still unsure about what is causing the problem. According to the Guardian, at least 350 elephants have died in the African country in the past few months.

Researchers first realized that something was wrong in the Okavango Delta, where 169 elephants were reported in the month of May. By mid-June, that number had doubled to over 300.

Dr. Niall McCann, the director of conservation at UK-based charity National Park Rescue, said that a mass die-off like this is highly unusual.

“This is a mass die-off on a level that hasn’t been seen in a very, very long time. Outside of drought, I don’t know of a die-off that has been this significant,” McCann said.

It is unclear exactly what is causing these animals to die, but there are a few clues. Local sources told reporters that about 70% of these animals have died around waterholes. Some researchers think that perhaps the water might be somehow poisoned or tainted, but the government of Botswana has not tested any samples from the water holes yet.

When we’ve got a mass die-off of elephants near human habitation at a time when wildlife disease is very much at the forefront of everyone’s minds, it seems extraordinary that the government has not sent the samples to a reputable lab,” McCann said.

McCann also said that the researchers were able to determine that many of the animals had to die very quickly, judging by how they had fallen straight down on their faces. However, a large number of the animals also appeared to die more slowly.

So it’s very difficult to say what this toxin is,” said McCann.

McCann said that Covid-19 has even been suggested as a possible cause, but most researchers find this possibility highly unlikely. Oddly, this seems to be somewhat localized, as neighbouring counties have not reported mass elephant deaths.

There are reportedly about 15,000 elephants in the delta, which is nearly 10% of the total population for the entire country. A large portion of the country’s GDP, an estimated 10-12%, is generated through eco-tourism. This is the second most lucrative industry in the country, surpassed only by the diamond industry.

Last year, the government of Botswana lifted its ban on hunting wildlife, and has since begun selling expensive hunting rights to international poachers.

Botswana has the largest elephant population in the world, with an estimated 130,000 elephants within its borders. The newly elected government says that the ban was revoked because the large elephant population was beginning to have an impact on people’s livelihoods as the animals increasingly came into contact with humans.

Despite their relatively high numbers in Botswana when compared with the rest of the world, Elephants are generally thought to be an endangered species, especially in places like Asia, where they are officially listed as such. In Africa, elephant populations are listed as vulnerable, but they have been on a rapid decline due to overhunting and loss of habitat.

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