An active trekking and camping tour in one of Escalante Park’s many canyons. April is the month when desert vegetation is in bloom, so it’s the best month to do canyon and gulch trekking. As usual, Ursa Travel club spent the spring in the deserts of Southwestern US and opened the season with trekking into this small, but extremely beautiful canyon. After several days of very active recreation in Utah and on the North rim of Grand Canyon, we relaxed in the hot springs of Tecopa before moving on to explore the Death Valley.
This New Year’s Eve tour went as usual — plain awesome! The group was very friendly and ready for any adventures. We lucked out and got to see things like lots of turtles at a beach where they were never seen before, and a humpback whale dance performance at sunset while we snorkeled with manta rays. Members of the group got to meet a kahuna (a Hawaiian priest) and brought offerings to the local deities. The kahuna told us about the legend of Mu, a mysterious sunken continent (otherwise known as Lemuria), and another one about a flying island that you can only see at sunset — and we actually saw it with our own eyes!
Here are the links to the photo reports and some highlights of the trip on Facebook:
One of our most popular trails, traveled at the best time of the year. The views of a blooming desert are astounding, the sun is warm and gentle, and the rivers and waterfalls are full with water.
Shasta is one of the esoteric “centers” of United States, with many different legends intersecting in this one spot. For Native Americans it is a healing mountain, the place where Native shaman healers went through their training; for the Japanese, Mt. Shasta is a sister of the sacred Fuji mountain. We heard fascinating legends of an ancient city of the lemurian civilization that lies underneath the mountain; and that while meditating on the mountain, one can open the door to Shambhala — the country of enlightened masters. This was not my first time on Mt. Shasta, but during this trip I got to know this truly amazing mountain a little better. It peaks at 4322 meters above sea level, and when the glacier starts melting during the summer it fills the mountain slopes with creeks and breathtaking alpine meadows; everything is filled with flowers. There’s a immaculate pine forest calling to be explored, as well as the flowery fields and the glacier located just a little bit above.
Dina Ostrovsky’s review:
“Today, we are finishing the “Dolphin Dance” tour. We accomplished everything that was planned: we reached the most remote areas of the Big Island, descended into the mysterious and secluded Waipio Valley, visited the highest point of the island — the 4000m tall Mauna Kea, and got to do some shamanic rituals on the lava. Most importantly, we got to communicate with dolphins! The 10-day trip stayed in our memories like a whole different lifetime, saturated with adventures, the bright colors of Polynesia, tropical fruit flavors and the smell of Hawaiian flowers. Each day was filled with amazing experiences, beautiful sights and pure pleasure…
Tamara’s review (New York):
“Dear Dina and Denis, thank you so much for this amazing tour. We didn’t just see new interesting places, we got an opportunity to learn a lot of things spiritually as well. We got a chance to escape the daily commotion and witness a beautiful world, full of untainted thoughts and possibilities. The morning yoga session under Denise’s guidance has opened a new great potential of the body and spirit deep within us. The mineral hot springs that we got to enjoy both in the morning after yoga sessions and at night after hiking the mountains all day have allowed us to keep our minds and bodies powerful, yet relaxed. Out expectations for this trip were high, but the reality has surpassed all expectations. A big thank you to Katya and Lena. We have learned a lot from them. A big thank thank you to all the young participants of this tour. They amazed us all with their imagination and bravery…”
Alpindustria Adventure Team members (led by Nadezhda Novikova) have come to North America in search of adventures. Their route went through California, Nevada and Arizona. To us, this is isn’t just a new and interesting route, or a whole new area to trek and travel. This will also be our first “descent” down into a canyon, since we usually do trekking and climbing.
Looking from above, the jungle of Costa Rica looks just like a magical carpet, singing with the voices of a thousand birds and filled with exotic floral fragrances. Few manage to climb up to the cloud level to build an abode for visitors that are thirsting for peace and healing effects of the mountains. But it is exactly what the kind-hearted and energetic owners of the «Farm of Life» center did. Brian and Jody (a couple from America) have just recently opened their lodge in the mountains. It’s located near the coastal town of Dominical, known internationally as a surfer town. «Farm of Life» is a small center built with love for, and in cooperation with nature. Elegant bungalows sitting on edge of the mountain are constructed from environmentally friendly materials, and in addition to the breathtaking views, have all the necessary amenities. Читать далее
Anna L.’s review:
“For three weeks, I dissolved into the sweet-smelling air and moist earth of the Peruvian mountain jungle. Each day I thanked the world for its beauty and overwhelming serenity. Traveling the small towns, villages and trails running through tropical forests with their lively mountain streams has filled my world not only with bright colors, but also with moments of feeling a deep peace of mind. These are the moments I will be thinking of in my daydreams once I’m back in the confinement of New York City. I was extremely lucky to have Dina and Stas as my company for this trip. Stas won me over with his sincere kindness and easy-going temper. Everywhere we went we were treated with kindness, mainly due to his knowledge of the language and an understanding of the local customs and ways of life. With his help, we got a closer, more intimate experience of the local life. The Diet Week in Situlli center is very hard to describe with words, as they cannot fully explain the deep internal changes, the cleansing of body and mind. Such things can only be felt when your whole being is ecstatic, overflowing with love for the jungle around, the magical river, the unbelievably kind staff working in the center, shaman Winston with his kind, penetrating eyes and gentle singing during the ayahuasca ceremonies, and just all the things that are alive. For everything I have in my heart and soul — a big thank you to the Earth, Peruvian people, Stas and Dina!”
“Pura Vida” — (Clean life) — is how Costa-Ricans greet each other. This country has no army, and the national budget goes to the environment instead of defense. In Costa Rica you can see monkeys that roar like lions, taste the best pineapples in the world, fly above the mountains like a bird and swim in a waterfall with a big, bright rainbow right in front of your eyes.
Evgeny Bolbasov’s review. A tour of Utah and Arizona, April — May 2011.
This review is a part of the script written for a movie about this tour. It was made by Evgeny Bolbasov for “Kailash Tours”, our Moscow-based partner. We hope to see the movie soon. A big thank you to Evgeny for the provided content! Читать далее
The last trip of 2010 was unusual for Ursa Travel club. In addition to exploring the Big Island’s magical and unbridled nature, we have also learned to use yoga and meditation to preserve bits of “Aloha” — love, peace and happiness — within our heart. Together, we walked through green valleys, black and white sand beaches, an active volcano crater, waterfalls and jungle. We got lucky and saw places and events that are being passed by thousands of unsuspecting tourists every day. We sat a meter away from burning lava, ate tropical fruit straight from the trees and swam in the ocean right next to dolphins, who must’ve decided to hit up the beach that day as well. Each one of us poured a piece of themselves into this trip and shared their talents with the others — we had group yoga sessions, learned massage techniques, cooked delicious foods, made art, bracelets, and just enjoyed the time spent in a great company.
Vladimir, San Diego: «I’ve been to the Death Valley many times before, but the last time definitely became my favorite. I thought I’m joining Dina Ostrovsky’s excursion as a simple onlooker, but ended up being a full-on participant. For the first time in my life I was driving an off-road vehicle through an unfamiliar area. That was by the Ubehebe crater, the place from which the Timbisha Shoshone Indians believe to have emerged. Another thing that happened to me for the first time ever was getting to visit the Racetrack Playa, where stones move by themselves in a dried lake bed, leaving long trails behind (An opinion was formed that it’s the mountain spirits playing games with the rocks). Overall, the trip was just great!»
Klara: “Dina, Vlad! Thank you so much for this lovely tour. The mood in the group, surprisingly, was upheld by every single member. So a big thanks to everyone, I would definitely go for another adventure with you guys. When you’re in the mountains, humor and patience are crucial. I will go anywhere with you guys, as long as I have the finances and… strength! “The only thing better than mountains are mountains you haven’t climbed yet” — so grandiose and magnificent. I had no idea everything was so wonderful. Hugs to all of you.” Читать далее
In this gallery you will find our favorite pictures from the trip to Hawaii in March, 2010. Читать далее
Evgeny Gorniy: «The tour around the Indian Places of Power was organized by Katya Belykh. To me she was not just a guide, but also a source of inspiration and an example to follow. Many times I’ve witnessed her find a way out of difficult situations calmly and with ease, where others would lose hope and get depressed. I was amazed by how she combined inner strength with a buoyant, easygoing demeanor, and independence with care and concern for others. And most importantly, the integrity that comes when you live life according to your nature and desires, fully spontaneous, not wasting time on compromises and little things. I would go anywhere with Katya — a risky military operation, or an expedition to the North Pole. I envy everyone who’s about to go traveling with her.» Читать далее
Taisiya Zaretskaya: «This August we went to explore Hawaii with Katya Belykh. Our itinerary covered the biggest Hawaiian island — The Big Island. The 11 days that we spent on Hawaii went by very pleasantly. The hotels we stayed at were nice and simple. People over at the Macadamia Nut Farm have organized a really interesting garden excursion and told us a lot about farming life on Hawaii. A few nights were spent camping out in the wilderness — I could not stop staring at the star-filled sky. Hawaiian nature is very beautiful, and we got to see many amazing and wonderful places. We had many thrilling adventures during this trip.
Taya Z. 08/29/2009« Читать далее
Yulya Jinitskaya: «This was the second time I’ve traveled with Katya; first time was a trip to Grand Canyon. I was convinced that nothing can be prettier than Grand Canyon and the desert that surrounds it, but in Acadia I realized that it’s not true. The park is breathtaking with a unique, northern beauty. The tour was very physically active, allowing me to feel strong and youthful again. Nothing compares to blueberries picked right off the bush and the fresh lobsters in Bar Harbor’s restaurants!»
German Karelsky, Moscow: “Alla Goncharenko and I have just returned from a tour of the National Parks in Utah and Arizona, USA. We met Katya Belykh and Dina Ostrovsky — the orchestrators of these travels — through our associate Irina Zingerman. They both are amazing, sensitive and inquisitive people. We are convinced, that, by deciding to accompany them on this pilgrimage to the Earth’s womb, we scored an unforgettable vacation and many soulful experiences. Читать далее
Katya Belykh (Guide): «…Our jolly voyage started with a big disappointment: two weeks before the trip was scheduled to begin it became known that the Supai Indians have decided to keep their reservation closed for tourism, fearing the swine flu virus that began to spread around North America.
The tickets have already been purchased, the gear was packed — the tour could not have been cancelled. An alternative route was designed after a brief moment of melancholy, turning out to be no worse the original travel plan. Here goes: Читать далее