6 Island Hikes to Add to Your Bucket List
If you're craving warm weather and sandy beaches, and looking to add some physical activity to your next island vacation than look no further than these six unbelievable island hikes.
1. Waitukubuli National Trail
The Caribbean island nation of Dominica, home to about 300 miles of trails, is known as "the Nature Isle." Waitukubuli National Trail, the Caribbean's first long distance walking trail, runs the entire length of the island and gives hikers a glimpse of all that the island has to offer.
The 115-mile trail is made up of 14 segments, and showcases the island's 365 rivers, 12 waterfalls, lush rainforests, hot springs and the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
2. Cruz Bay Walks
St. John is the smallest, least populated and least developed of the three main U.S. Virgin Islands. And about 55 percent of the island is covered by the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park. With nearly 10,000 acres on the island, you'll have plenty to explore.
Several marked and maintained trails wind their way along the coast through mangrove thickets, onto pebbled beaches and out to rocky overlooks. Other routes take you into the mountains, where you'll pass through moist and dry tropical forests before reaching summits with breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea.
3. The Kalalau Trail
The Kalalau Trail is an 11-mile trail that leads from Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Beach along the Na Pali Coast on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. The trail climbs up to towering sea cliffs, drops down to lush valleys and all the way down to sea level. Hawaii is home to a large number of endemic species, or species that can only be found there, so the flora and fauna are sure to delight.
4. Gros Piton Hike
Gros Piton and Petit Piton are St Lucia’s two volcanic mountains. Hiking to the top of Petit Piton is no longer allowed by the St. Lucia government due to erosion and soil instability. But Gros Piton, at 2,619 feet above sea level, offers breathtaking views of the island, including Petit Piton, and the surrounding Caribbean waters.
It's a Unesco World Heritage site, so you are required to use a guide and pay a $30 fee for the hike to the top. Hikers should be in fairly good shape as you will gain 2,000 feet of elevation in just a few hours. But the rewarding view at the top is well worth it.
Greece's biggest island, Crete, offers a wide range of terrain from "gentle plateaus dotted with windmills to canyons and mountains," according to Lonely Planet. Look out for the island's famed wild goat, the kri-kri, as you hike through Samaria Gorge, Europe's longest gorge at nearly 10 miles.
The Dutch territorial island of Saba is known as the "Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean." It's largely made up of the the potentially active volcano Mount Scenery, which, at 2,910 feet, is the highest point of the entire Netherlands.
"Hikers can explore the marked interior trails or simply follow the island’s main road that starts at sea level and travels through the four little villages on the way up to the top that is capped by a pristine cloud forest," Readers' Digest explained. "The entire island is a protected nature reserve—both topside and underwater."
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They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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