Ten Spectacular Overnight Trips in Shenandoah National Park

first_imgWith 200,000 acres of protected wilderness, Shenandoah National Park is perfect for any adventure seeker. Shenandoah offers views along the scenic Skyline Drive and plentiful trails for hiking enthusiasts of all ages. Just 75 miles from Washington D.C. and less than 30 minutes from Charlottesville, SNP is ideal as a weekend getaway or as a spot to polish backcountry skills.The park charges $20 per car for unlimited weeklong access or $40 for an annual pass. Tight on money? Visit during National Park Week from April 16-24 to take advantage of waived entrance fees. Here are ten overnight trips we recommend to anyone looking to experience some of Virginia’s best wilderness.White RocksDifficulty: BeginnerDistance: 5.0-8.5 mi. (Round-trip)Nights: 1Relatively flexible, the length of this trip can depend on how far you need to go to find a suitable campsite for the group. Opting to take the Hazel River Trail–a good choice if avoiding flooded streams, can also extend the loop. With a small cave and waterfall, this short trip has a lot to offer and is suitable as an introduction to backpacking. You can find the trailhead at the Meadow Spring Area off of MP 34.Big Meadows & Rose RiverDifficulty: BeginnerDistance: 14 mi.  (Circuit)Nights: 2This trip is a slightly longer circuit for those looking to spend two nights in the wilderness. Several beautiful waterfalls lie along the trail, and the first night will be spent at the well-known Big Meadows campground. While a wonderful place to break camp, Big Meadows is very popular and can fill up quickly during peak hiking seasons. Plan ahead to arrive early if this is your desired destination. You can find the trailhead at Milam Gap off of MP 53.Big Run Loop & Appalachian Trail CircuitDifficulty: Beginner/Strenuous BeginnerDistance: 6.8-13.8 mi. (Circuit)Nights: 1Big Run Loop is also a flexible trip, with the length increasing from a base 6.8 miles depending on how far along Big Run Portal the group desires to go for exploring or finding a campsite. The Big Run wilderness valley has excellent open harvest fishing and is generally worth exploring. There are multiple stream crossings on Big Run Portal, check the weather before heading out as to avoid heavy rains. You can find the trailhead at Big Run Overlook/Doyles River Parking off of MP 81.Whiteoak Canyon & Cedar RunDifficulty: Strenuous BeginnerDistance: 8-14 mi. (Circuit)Nights: 1Whiteoak Canyon is home to many beautiful waterfalls, and is one of the most popular hikes in the park. This circuit is a must-see, but it should ideally be visited during the week. Heavy trail traffic during the weekend makes the hike less enjoyable and backcountry camping somewhat more difficult. You can find the trailhead at Hawksbill Gap off of MP 45.Big Meadows, Hawksbill, and Rose RiverDifficulty: Strenuous Beginner Distance: 21 mi. (Circuit)Nights: 2Access: MP 53A variation of the Big Meadows & Rose River trip listed above, this is a fantastic two-night trip in the backcountry. Included is a visit to Hawksbill Summit, the highest peak in Shenandoah National Park. However, this hike also has the first night at Big Meadows campground—be sure to plan ahead. You can find the trailhead at Milam Gap off of MP 53.15542215599_ac55bd8656_z (1)Overall Run & Beecher RidgeDifficulty: Strenuous Beginner/ExperiencedDistance: 12-14 mi. (Circuit)Nights: 1Overall Run & Beecher Ridge is a fun one-night trip for the intermediate backpacker. A nice summer destination, Overall Run & Beecher Ridge has the highest waterfalls in all of Shenandoah at around 93 feet, along with a few swimming holes. You can find the trailhead at Hogback off of MP 21 or near MP 21.1 parking.Big Run, Doyles River, and FrazierDifficulty: Strenuous Beginner/ExperiencedDistance: 18.1-26.8 mi. (Circuit)Nights: 2This circuit is a fairly flexible trip with an optional extra day of backpacking along Big Run Portal for a total of three nights. Along with the exceptional wilderness and fishing along Big Run, this trip also features three popular waterfalls along Doyles River and Frazier Discovery Trail. You can find the trailhead at Loft Mountain Wayside off of MP 79.9816670373_4e6a39278f_zPocosin, Laurel Prong, and SlaughterDifficulty: ExperiencedDistance: 27.5-29 mi. (Circuit)Nights: 3A slightly lengthy trip for the more experienced, this circuit features fabulous views, 83-foot waterfalls, and mission ruins. It is recommended to wear blaze orange during hunting season, as the trail passes through Rapidan Wildlife Management Area at some points where hunting is allowed. You can find the trailhead at the South River Picnic Area off of MP 63.Central District HighlightsDifficulty: Experienced/AdvancedDistance: 55 mi. (Circuit)Nights: 5Great for those looking for Spring Break plans or an adventurous vacation, this trip features the best bits of Shenandoah. With high peaks, river crossings, and waterfalls, Central District Highlights is perfect for those who want to experience a large portion of the park but don’t have the time to commit to a full thru hike. Old Rag is summited on the second day for some of the best views of the Shenandoah Valley. You can find the trailhead at the Meadow Spring Area off of MP 34.Entire Appalachian Trail through SNPDifficulty: AdvancedDistance: 120.6 mi. (One way)Nights: 7-13A true challenge, a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail through Shenandoah can be done in a few different ways. Depending on physical ability and time constraints, the hike can either be done as a quick 7-night, 15-mile a day trek or as a slightly more relaxed 13-night, 8-mile per day trip. You can find the trailhead at the Rockfish Gap/South Entrance area off of MP 105.As always, remember to brush up on Leave No Trace principles and SNP regulations before heading out. Also, all backcountry camping in Shenandoah requires a permit—make sure to plan ahead or pick one up at a station before entering the park.For more information about the park or trip details, click here. [divider]Related Articles[/divider]last_img read more

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Cocaine Trade Shifts from Colombia to Peru

first_img The shape-shifting cocaine trade has survived a decade-long crackdown in Colombia to reemerge in Peru, which is expected to take over as top producer in an industry worth some $100 billion worldwide. “In fact, everything that has been reduced in Colombia has ended up in Peru and Bolivia,” Colombian analyst Daniel Mejia, who leads the Center on Security and Drugs at the Universidad de los Andes, told AFP. “The (coca processing) labs have moved to Ecuador and Venezuela, and the trafficking to Central America and Mexico,” he said. The area of land on which coca leaves are grown has remained fairly stable in recent years, with experts putting it at around 1,500 square kilometers (579 square miles) across the Andes. In 2010, Colombia and Peru were nearly tied in area of coca cultivation (62,000 hectares in Colombia compared to 61,200 in Peru) and processed cocaine output (350 tons a year in Colombia versus 320 in Peru). But many experts expect Peru to emerge on top in both categories in 2012. The 2012 UN report on drugs released June 26 did not have the latest data to confirm Peru’s dubious distinction but highlighted Colombia’s “very significant reduction in cocaine processing” since 2006, when yearly output was 660 tons. Cocaine production and retailing have changed dramatically since the early 1990s, when infamous Colombian cartels dominated the American drug trade, with a lock on everything from coca planting to retail sales on US streets. The Colombian cartels started out just trafficking cocaine, mainly from Peru but also Bolivia. Their trade exploded, however, with the imposition of a no-fly zone in neighboring Peru by then-president Alberto Fujimori. Peruvian armed forces shot down suspected drug planes up until 2001, when they accidentally downed a small plane carrying US missionaries. The violence unleashed by drug traffickers in Colombia meanwhile came to be seen as a threat to national security, as thousands of Colombians were killed in turf battles and the country developed a reputation for kidnappings. “Where Colombia is different from other coca leaf producers is that in this country, there had been an armed conflict since the middle of the 1960s,” Mejia said, referring to the decades-long war with leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Latin America’s longest-fighting rebel group. “When the FARC rebels and (rightwing) paramilitaries established links with cocaine traffickers, they were trained military organizations,” he said. In 2000, Colombia’s then-president Andres Pastrana signed the Plan Colombia with the United States, under which Bogota would eventually receive $8 billion in aid as well as training and materiel for fighting cartels and insurgents. Plan Colombia also included no-fly zones, which pushed Colombian cocaine exporters to find other paths out of the country — over land, via rivers and even by sea with semi-submersible submarines. The decade-long crackdown has left Colombian cartels in increasing disarray, and fumigation — which is only used against coca crops in Colombia – has reduced crop yields and productivity. But the regional cocaine trade is still alive and well. “It is a mistake to think anyone is going to get rid of the problem,” said Aldo Lale Demoz, the Colombia envoy for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. “We are trying to rein it in and make sure it is hard to get and expensive, and that it does not get to people under 18,” he said. In Peru, meanwhile, coca growing has become increasingly profitable in areas such as the Apurimac and Ene River Valley (VRAE), where efforts at crop substitution have largely failed. “Sometimes people come in (with economic incentives) and farmers want to leave their coca crops, so they plant cacao or coffee. But then there is no follow-up and farmers end up going back to coca,” said Perez Malqui, of the farmers union in Pichari, in southern Peru. “They give farmers hope with a lot of promises but then they disappear, and the farmers have products for which there are no markets,” he said. While coca leaves are chewed for medicinal reasons in the Andes, there is no denying where most of Peru’s coca is heading. “You cannot block out the sun with one finger,” Edwin Huaman, mayor of San Francisco, near Pichari, told AFP. “There is drug trafficking here. … The traffickers are targeting people who are vulnerable and do not have government support.” By Dialogo July 10, 2012last_img read more

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Long Island Sandy Relief Beer Debuts Tuesday

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Surge Protector IPA, a Sandy Relief Ale with all proceeds going to charity, debuts Tuesday (Niko Krommydas).Giving back never tasted so good.Eight craft breweries on Long Island joined forces on a collaborative beer specially made for all the proceeds to help Superstorm Sandy survivors. Their limited-edition creation, a Sandy Relief Ale dubbed Surge Protector IPA, begins flowing this week with the proceeds split between the nonprofit Long Island Cares and Barrier Brewing Co. in Oceanside, which was destroyed by the storm.“The brewers reached out to help us in our time of need,” said Craig Frymark, co-founder of Barrier Brewing, where brewing operations resumed 10 weeks after four feet of Sandy floodwaters wrecked their new digs. “We also kind of want to come together for the greater good of Long Island.”A half dozen launch parties for the charity beer are being held Tuesday evening across New York City and LI, including The Black Sheep Ale House in Mineola and The Tap Room in Patchogue.Beer, Here: Long Island’s Craft Beer Explosion Collaborators who donated time and ingredients for the benevolent brew include Blind Bat Brewery, Great South Bay Brewery, Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., Long Island Beer Co., Port Jeff Brewing Co., Spider Bite Beer Co., Barrier Brewing and Blue Point Brewing Co.Blue Point brewed and bottled the beer that will be distributed by Clare Rose Inc. to participating bars and restaurants across the Island and the city. Surge Protector will be available on tap and in 22-ounce bottles for a limited time only.It’s not the only Sandy relief beer, either. Flying Fish Brewing Co. in New Jersey has brewed up 50 kegs of F.U. Sandy with 100 percent of proceeds—estimated at $50,000—going to charity as well. That is slated to hit bars in The Garden State and Philadelphia next month.LI brewers reportedly made about 50 kegs and 2,000 bottles of Surge Protector. The bottles can be found at participating retailers starting Wednesday.last_img read more

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The power of semantics in credit union analytics

first_imgA common language forms a bond between humans and strengthens their ability to cooperate. Credit unions must agree on common semantics to establish powerful business analytics throughout the industry.Language is very powerful tool. The ability for people to understand each other forms one of the strongest bonds known to man. The credit union industry has remained strong through the power of collaboration. However, new challenges have been mounting against the industry such as big banks and fintech competitors, stricter regulations and the increasing complexity of products and channels. Therefore, being on the “same page” is more important than ever. Currently, credit unions are speaking different languages and trying to collaborate. This results in miscommunication throughout the industry which depends on unity for strength. The ability to communicate easily and effectively is the foundation of credit union analytics.Data SourcesCredit unions use a vast array of databases (many of which were designed for purposes outside of the credit union industry). On top of that, databases must be designed for ease of storage, international data standards, and tight budgets and timelines. This results in confusing database languages that are only understood by the most experienced users which creates more confusion between IT and business (which do not need any more reasons to misunderstand each other). Data elements (stored on disparate databases) have different meanings throughout a credit union and the industry. These database silos cause disunity within a credit union. If a single credit union is not able to agree on the semantics of their databases, the credit union industry cannot be united.Data IntegrationWhen credit unions attempt to integrate their databases, many think it will be as easy as routing data from each database into a common location (based on a few database keys). However, when they attempt to roll out the database integrations, they quickly realize this approach will not work for the business. Data integration must be done with the end in mind. If data is integrated without a Common Data Model (CDM) in mind, confusion will be multiplied. The CDM must be designed for the credit union’s long-term goals and for the ability to establish common semantics throughout the credit union industry.Common Data Model (CDM)In order to begin forming common semantics, credit unions must establish a CDM that span across all their data and is indifferent to vendors. The Credit Union Financial Exchange (CUFX) has established industry standards for database integration using standard business terms that span across databases regardless of vendor. This initiative is strengthening the unity of the credit union industry. CUFX has established common semantics to foster a common credit union language. For example, one credit union might call the application id for a loan, loan appl id, while another might call it ln applic numbr. With a CDM, credit unions can all agree to call it loan application Id and thereby establishing a common term for this data element. As business users begin speaking the same language they will bring greater unity to their credit union and the industry as a whole.Semantic LayerOnce the CDM has been adopted, credit unions must establish a semantic layer to develop their reporting and analytics. As Joy Mundy, from Kimball Group, explains in her article, “The semantic layer provides a translation of the underlying database structures into business user oriented terms and constructs”. The semantic layer provides an environment for quick report development and analytics. Common semantics (developed into a format that is easy to consume) will give credit unions the ability to develop insights and share them across the industry much more effectively. If one credit union discovers a pattern in their data, they can develop an app that displays the information intuitively and share their insights with other credit unions to cooperate at a deeper level than ever before.Cooperative AnalyticsOnce a common semantic layer (using a CDM) has been implemented throughout the credit union industry, credit unions will truly excel in cooperating on analytics. They can continue to strengthen communication by agreeing on industry standard business terms and definitions for all their data.  Cooperation requires a common language to flourish and is essential to foster the collaborative spirit on which the credit union movement was founded. 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Nate Wentzlaff Nate Wentzlaff joined OnApproach in 2013 as a Business Analyst and is now currently a Data Analytics Specialist. He builds data visualization apps that help to improve business processes throughout … Web: www.onapproach.com Detailslast_img read more

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Small ideas, big change: Ways to make your organization stronger

first_img 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Earlier this month, I had the privilege of joining eight other local leaders in sharing 10 ideas for the Des Moines Business Record’s “90 Ideas in 90 Minutes” event. The experience was truly inspiring and educational.From Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert’s reminder to applaud others and not take our employees for granted to Des Moines University President Angela Franklin’s advice to embrace change and maintain open minds, the ideas shared will strengthen organizations of all sizes and in every industry.Below are a couple ideas I shared during the event that are near and dear to my heart. (To watch the entire presentation, check out the recording on YouTube.)Encourage Personal Development PlansEmployees who are not engaged and growing professionally not only challenge an organization’s ability to innovate and grow; they can be incredibly damaging to the business. A Gallop poll found nearly half of employees are disengaged. Another 18 percent are actively disengaged, meaning they are purposefully undermining their coworkers and sabotaging projects. continue reading »last_img read more

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Scottish Widows buys £100m Banbury shopping centre

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

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Privacy and a riverfront position and make this northen suburbs home an irresistable purchase

first_img12 Confluence Court, Eatons Hill Brisbane Qld 4037The chance to own a two-level contemporary home with picturesque garden in a tranquil riverside setting was too tempting for Todd Kearney and his wife Joanne.“We went in, inspected it and pretty much fell in love with it straight away,” Mr Kearney said. 12 Confluence Court, Eatons Hill ticks a number of must-have boxes – the home has spacious living with the upper level housing most bedrooms and a deck.“The veranda at the back of the house – it’s a great place to sit and chill out because you can look over the pool and out to the river,” Mr Kearney said. The pool has hosted more than a few gatherings.The landscaping also shines. The yard is particularly low-maintenance with a smart decision by the couple to lay fake grass.“It’s Astroturf. You never have to mow, we’ve had a year-and-a-half and it looks brand new,” Mr Kearney said.But the rockstar selling point has been the position. The block is separated from South Pine river by parkland reserve. Mr Kearney said this green space had become an extension to their own property.“We sometimes put a little table out there and sit there for lunch,” he said.Mr Kearney said they’ll be sorry to go but a move interstate will see them adapt to something smaller.12 Confluence Ct Eatons Hill is looking for offers over $850,000.Follow Kieran Clair on Twitter at @kieranclair The open plan living are makes for an easy lifestyle.He said the lower level invited relaxation as well.More from newsFor under $10m you can buy a luxurious home with a two-lane bowling alley5 Apr 2017Military and railway history come together on bush block24 Apr 2019“I love how the lounge and kitchen are open-plan so you can be cooking and watching the news, and it has plenty of storage and big benches,” he said.“It’s epic for entertaining, too. You can fit heaps of people and you don’t bother anybody because the neighbours are a bit of a way away,” he said.“The outside is perfect with the pool right there and the gazebo right near the kitchen, so you don’t have to walk up and down stairs,” Mr Kearney said.last_img read more

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IPE Views: Parliament debates risks of IORP inaction

first_imgJeremy Woolfe observes the the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee’s public hearing from the sidelines and finds old arguments being rehashed and warning shots exchangedThe usual warning shots were exchanged as the European Parliament discussed changes to the EU’s occupational pensions legislation, with some speakers warning that parliamentarians should take care when implementing change.Brian Hayes, MEP and rapporteur for the IORP directive within the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON), fired back. Wrapping up the public hearing on the IORP II proposals, Hayes warned: “When you are dealing with other people’s money, you have to be very careful.“Where we have people who sacrifice a part of the monthly, or weekly, income, to be part of deferred income, we cannot afford to take risks.” On the matter of full funding, Hayes told the hearing at the ECON gathering that the matter should be seriously examined. “We should look for a ‘gold-standard’ across the board.” Hitting yet another sore spot, that of cross-border arrangements, the centre-right MEP, who moved to Brussels in May 2014, noted that there was a need for a “fit for purpose” system as more and more people began moving across boarders.Are the statements a good indicator of what Hayes will publish in his report on IORPs II, due before this summer’s break? Not if some of the bystanders have their way.The IORP II proposal’s advance has been sluggish, going back to 2010, at least, when the Commission published its green paper on pensions. But two years earlier it had also considered reviewing some funding rules.The current recasting of the existing IORP Directive from 2003 was published in March 2014. Then, the Commission’s revisions were focused on minimum standards on fund governance, minimum information rights for beneficiaries, and standards for prudential supervision by national authorities.At the ECON hearing, Joanne Segars, chair of PensionsEurope, the voice of the sector, noted that, during recent Council of the EU discussions, certain points of “flexibility” had been agreed by member states. She asked the European Parliament to continue along the same line.Another speaker, Klaus Stiefermann of aba, the German association for work-place-based pension provision, summed up opposition need for change. “I think we need only minimum standards,” Stiefermann said. “As long as we don’t have a pan-EU unified first pillar pension scheme, we don’t need unified systems for pillars 2 and 3.” Conversely, another German, Green Party MEP, Sven Giegold, stressed that attention was needed to deal with underfunding, especially in the face of low interest rate returns.last_img read more

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AID Bank celebrates 40 years

first_imgThe Agricultural Industrial Development Bank. Image via: investdominica.comTuesday marked 40 years of existence of the Agricultural Industrial Development Bank (AID Bank).The bank officially launched its program of activities for its anniversary celebrations yesterday.Chairman of the AID Bank Board of Directors Ambrose Sylvester told the official launching ceremony that the bank is at a series juncture of its existence.“Over the last four decades the Bank has survived several challenges similar to that of most development institutions in the region including questions about its role, ethics and the necessity of its existence. The ability of the bank to be self sustaining particularly within the last decade when financial resources were scarce is testimony to its resilience and its ability to respond to the challenges within the environment in which it operated,” he said.He says the bank continues to serve as an agency for the government of Dominica by facilitating and administering loans at concessionary rates.Some of the activities planned for the 40th Anniversary celebrations include two church services, customer appreciation day, an awards dinner, a memorial lecture, a road show and student outreach program and newspaper supplements.The anniversary celebration is being held under the theme “40 years of giving credit for economic development”.Dominica Vibes News Share Share Share Sharing is caring!center_img 9 Views   no discussions Tweet LocalNews AID Bank celebrates 40 years by: – November 2, 2011last_img read more

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Wrigley Field

first_imgEven a place as hallowed as Wrigley Field has to change to keep up with the times.  If you saw the field on TV this year, you know there is a huge message board in left field.  It took the Cubs organization at least 2 years to get this approved over the objections of their neighbors on the north side.  The rooftop seats that are so prominent outside of Wrigley Field now have this obstruction in the way of their view.This is not the only change made to this old facility.  The restrooms were totally redone.  At least they were supposed to be done for Opening Day, but that is another story all in itself.  On May 11 the left and center field bleacher seats were opened for occupancy. The right field bleachers will open in June.  Now all Wrigley Field needs is a World Series game!last_img read more

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