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Are technology-free hotels a trend of the future?

Let’s hope so.

Inside Hook ยป

According to a 2018 study involving 2,000 U.S. adults, most check their phones an average of 80 times a day, or once every 12 minutes, while on vacation. Some even check their phone more than 300 times each day. A second study conducted in the same year and of the same sample size determined that 43% of U.S. adults find it difficult to completely unplug, specifically from work, while on vacation.

This was, of course, prior to the pandemic, which โ€” thanks to the introduction of apps like Zoom and Slack โ€” exacerbated the issue greatly.

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Fast forward to 2022, and โ€œtechnology-freeโ€ is now being pedaled as an amenity across several notable properties, whose guests seek them out because of it. Sheldon Chalet, for example, doesnโ€™t have any TVs, phones โ€” save for the emergency phone system โ€” or wifi on the entire property. That, according to owner and property manager Marne Sheldon, is mostly due to Sheldon Chaletโ€™s location โ€” on a nunatak 10 miles from the summit of Denali in the Don Sheldon Amphitheater inside Alaskaโ€™s Denali National Park. In other words: the signal strength isnโ€™t excellent. If anything, Sheldon counts it a selling point. ยป

Spain, Morocco to open land border crossing next week after being closed for more than 2 years due to COVID-19 restrictions

Ashifa Kassam, Associated Press ยป

The land borders between Morocco and Spainโ€™s North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla will reopen next week, Spain said Thursday, after being closed for more than two years due to COVID-19 restrictions and tensions between the two countries.

Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska told reporters the reopening will start gradually from May 17. Crossings will be initially limited to residents of Europeโ€™s passport-free Schengen area and their family members, and will be expanded to cross-border workers by the end of the month.

Elsewhere ยป La Prensa Latina

Alexandra David-Neel โ€“Traveler, Opera Singer, Monk, Free Spirit

Alexandra David-Neel

Alexandra David-Neel (via Explorersweb.com)

In 1924, Alexandra David-Neel, the Paris-born, Buddhist scholar, travel writer, relentless explorer, and former opera singer, crossed the Himalaya in winter to reach the sacred city Lhasa. She became the first European woman to do so.

Explorersweb.com ยป

On the border of Tibet, at 4,000m, the two lived in a cave between 1914-1917. They braved freezing temperatures and scrounged for food. They spent most of their time meditating. Twice, they attempted to infiltrate the forbidden city of Lhasa in disguise.

Tibet was a common beacon for foreigners. But the country was strictly closed. David-Neel and Aphur entered illegally and were swiftly expelled.

With World War I at Europeโ€™s doorstep, the pair set off in the opposite direction, first to Japan, then onward to Korea and China. For two years, they translated Tibetan books, living as monks in Chinaโ€™s Kumbum Monastery.

But again, David-Neel was restless. She struggled to stay in one place for long, and Tibet beckoned. She and Aphur set off again to attempt to enter Lhasa. This time, they succeeded.

Bert terHart is Canoeing 7,000Km Across Canada

Follow Bert terHart Live

63-year old Bert ter Hart is trekking and paddling his canoe across Canada, from west to east, using only a sextant and compass. Heโ€™s following routes that Canadaโ€™s Indigenous people travelled for thousands of years; they later helped guide the fur traders and explorers like David Thompson. Heโ€™s also carrying a petition that seeks to recognize these Indigenous guides.

Learn more about the Bert’s solo adventure at his website.

Wilderness Poop Etiquette Is Changing (Youโ€™re Probably Not Going to Like It)

As the number of people exploring the great outdoors has exploded, so have the risk to the environment and the public’s health. Weโ€™ve known for a long time that burying our waste in six-inch deep cat holes is not a great way of breaking down poop. With so many now pooping in the wilderness, it is clear this is not sustainable to bury our waste, and time to update our backcountry poop etiquette.

Outside ยป

we ought to begin teaching backcountry users in nearly every location to pack out their poop with WAG bags (the acronym is for โ€œwaste alleviation and gellingโ€) or similar waste-disposal kits. Such kits usually include toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and special, double-layered bags you can poop directly into, complete with chemical crystals that render human waste inert and minimize the smell. (See below for tips on how to use these kits in the backcountry.)

Many public lands are already moving in this direction. A Forest Service website claims that โ€œwaste kits are becoming standardโ€ฆthroughout the West.โ€ Visitors to Utahโ€™s Bears Ears National Monument can now pick up free WAG bags at the visitor center. Californiaโ€™s Mount Whitney has required WAG bags since 2006, and it reports that users pack out 8,000 pounds of poop per year. And Rocky Mountain National Park provides WAG bags not just on climbing routes or above treeline but also at its backcountry permit office and trailheads throughout the park. ยป

Updated ยป 52 year-old Nepali mountaineer Kami Rita Sherpa has climbed Mount Everest for the 26th time, breaking his own world record โ€” again

On Saturday, 52-year-old Nepali mountaineer Kami Rita Sherpa summited Mount Everest for the 26th time, breaking his own world record of 25 ascents of the world’s tallest mountain, which he set in May of last year.

He has now broken the record for summiting Everest five times in four years.

NPR ยป

With more than 35 years of mountaineering experience, Kami Rita is a world-renowned climber. He first set the record for Everest summits at 22 in May 2018, after having shared the 21-summit record with two other climbers.

He broke that the following year when he conquered Everest a 23rd time on May 15, 2019, according to Guinness World Records. Kami Rita broke his own record six days later with his 24th summit.

Several US National Parks now require reservations to access

Americaโ€™s national parks are becoming more and more crowded. Some parks are extremely busy during the summer.

Out of necessity to preserve fragile ecosystems, some of the more popular are choosing to restrict visitor traffic with a reservation system.

Acadia National Park, located near Bar Harbor, Maine, is among the smallest and most popular national parks in the United States with more than 3.5 million visits a year. Growing visitation has caused severe traffic and parking congestion at the parkโ€™s most popular destinations. Recreation.gov has info on gaining access to the Cadillac Summit Road.

On January 3, 2022, Arches National Park, located nearย Moab, Utah, implemented a pilot timed entry reservation system to enter the park from April through October, 2022. Visitors will need three things for their visit, 1) timed entry ticket, 2) photo ID, and 3) park entrance fee OR valid park pass. Learn more at Recreation.gov

Glacier National Park, located near West Glacier, Montana, is implementing a vehicle reservation system from May 27 through September 11 this year. In addition to a vehicle reservation, visitors also need a park pass. There are two areas of the park affected by the vehicle reservation system. More at Recreation.gov

Rocky Mountain National Park, near Estes Park, Colorado, now requires each vehicle carry a special pass to enter the park between May 27 and October 10, 2022.

Shenandoah National Park, located just 75 miles from Washington, D.C. As of March 1, 2022, those wishing to hike Old Rag are required to purchase a day-use ticket.

Yosemite National Park, is crowded. Even in winter months. To cut down on congestion, a reservation is required to drive into the Park from May 20 through September 30, 2022.

Zion National Park, located on State Route 9 in Springdale, Utah, is piloting a permit program to hike Angels Landing starting April 1, 2022. The program provides a fair process that will improve visitor experience and protect park resources along Angels Landing. Permits will be required at all times of the year and times of day.

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