Colorado cooperative to close Nucla coal plant early, boost wind and solar investments

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Colorado Public Radio:Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association announced plans to develop an “aggressive” energy plan to incorporate more wind and solar. The power provider currently relies on renewable energy for 30 percent of its power supply.Tri-State also announced it plans to retire the Nucla coal-fired power plant in southwest Colorado two years early. The plant will close by the end of 2020. The retirement was originally scheduled for 2022 as required by a regional Colorado air quality improvement plan. Tri-State also suggested it could change a 5 percent limit on local renewable energy generation by member cooperatives, a big bone of contention in the past.Tri-State hopes its renewable energy plan will lower electricity bills for 1.3 million customers, while cleaning up power delivered across rural parts Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.“We’ll be looking for how these efforts could be done in a way that lowers costs,” said Lee Boughey, senior manager of communications and public affairs at Tri-State. “So, the transformation really is in having a cleaner portfolio, more opportunities locally for renewable energy, and the goal over the course of this work to reduce rates.”Tri-State has sailed troubled waters over the past two years. In 2018, Delta Montrose started the process of exiting its multi-year contract with Tri-State, following disagreements about rising rates and low renewable energy penetration. Recently it reached an agreement on the terms of breaking free.In 2019 both Colorado and New Mexico announced plans to severely curtail greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades. Tri-State members like United Power and La Plata Electric Association have also pushed the power provider to change its limits on local renewable energy generation, currently capped at 5 percent. At the same time, Tri-State announced plans to have the federal government regulate rates, as opposed to individual states.More: Rural electricity provider announces early coal plant closure, focus on renewables Colorado cooperative to close Nucla coal plant early, boost wind and solar investmentslast_img read more

Uptake of offshore wind beyond Europe indicates traction around an investable asset class

first_imgUptake of offshore wind beyond Europe indicates traction around an investable asset class FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):For investors like Glennmont, offshore wind’s journey to becoming an investable asset class points to an increased comfort with the risks in the sector. The industry has learned to deal with the technical and performance issues that hindered many of the early projects.“We still very much see the risks being present in this industry, but…the risk mitigation strategies are much more developed and advanced than they were historically,” Glennmont Manager Jay Sarma said. “That’s what gets us comfortable with the sector, more than the risks abating or disappearing completely.”Glennmont is the latest in a long and increasingly diverse list of new players in Europe’s offshore wind market — a list that includes some of the world’s biggest pension and investment funds; corporates such as Ingka Holding BV, IKEA’s parent company; and a host of strategic investors from Asia. Oil major Royal Dutch Shell PLC has also returned after years away.For these newcomers, the lure of the offshore wind industry is its core fundamentals: few other infrastructure asset classes can claim to regularly command nine-figure equity checks, boast steady pipelines of deals and are genuinely “green” investments. Combine these with the sector’s much better understanding of risk, and it is no surprise why offshore wind farms have become such prized assets.Faced with this heightened competition from an ever more crowded marketplace, many of the experienced offshore wind investors are now heading to new markets outside of Europe, including the U.S. and Taiwan. Others are seeking out earlier-stage opportunities on their home turf — a natural progression for a maturing industry.“Developers are selling stakes in these wind farms earlier and earlier in the development cycle,” said Ross Schloeffel, partner at the law firm Linklaters LLP. “Whereas previously we weren’t really seeing [offshore wind] M&A occurring until a project has hit [commercial operation], now we’re seeing M&A activity going on both during the construction phase…or even during the pre-construction or development phase.”More:  Competition for deals heats up as investors crowd into European offshore windlast_img read more

EIA: U.S. will add 32GW of renewable capacity in 2020, just 9.3GW of gas

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The overwhelming majority of the 42 GW of new power generation expected to enter commercial operation in the U.S. in 2020 will come from wind and solar, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.The EIA estimates that wind and solar will account for 32 GW, or 76%, of its forecast 42 GW of new capacity, according to the agency’s latest inventory of electric generators released Jan. 14.An estimated 9.3 GW of natural gas-fired generation will be added in 2020, with more than 70% of that capacity coming from new builds in California, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Texas. Gas-fired generation will comprise 22% of new capacity, in contrast with 44% from wind and 32% from solar.The looming expiration of the production tax credit for wind generation is fueling the boom in project completions, with 18.5 GW of wind projects scheduled to go online in 2020, surpassing 2012’s record of 13.2 GW. Of those 18.5 GW, 11.2 GW are expected to go online in November and December.A majority of the capacity due online in 2020 comes from projects in five states: 32% of the new capacity is slated to come from facilities in Texas; 6% will come from projects in Oklahoma; and Colorado, Missouri and Wyoming will each provide 5% of the overall new capacity.Meanwhile, 13.5 GW of new solar generation is expected online in 2020, breaking 2016’s annual record of 8 GW, with a majority of new solar capacity coming from projects in four states. Texas projects will provide 22% of the new solar generation, while facilities in California will provide 15% of new capacity. Another 11% will come from projects in Florida and another 10% from projects in South Carolina.[Fotios Tsarouhis]More ($): U.S. EIA forecasts 76% of new capacity in 2020 to come from wind, solar EIA: U.S. will add 32GW of renewable capacity in 2020, just 9.3GW of gaslast_img read more

Sharing the Experience

first_imgI’ve often thought about the individual aspect of adventure sports.Since I was very young, my athletic focus has been on sports that involve speed, physics, flow, and respect for natural surroundings. As participants in these sports, there is certainly a team dynamic involved, but ultimately we are accountable only to ourselves for success or failure.We reap the rewards of these experiences through the places that we get to visit, and the satisfaction that making our way down the river, trail, or slopes gives us. It is extremely personal, and we all gain something different from it.It is often difficult to bring others into this world. In order to experience those places, you need to put in years and years of practice. As a kayaker for example, the ability to drop into some of the remote class V rivers in the region represents an infinite amount of hours paddling, watching videos, chatting with friends about theories, and learning from mistakes.I often think about how these passions that we have in individual sports differ from other things that people devote their lives to. When I listen to some of my favorite musicians, I think about the fact that they are living their passion AND sharing it with countless people throughout the world. They are bringing joy into peoples’ lives by just doing what gives them joy. I also thought about this when watching the last winter Olympics. (Disclaimer: I am originally Canadian; no disrespect intended to our American hockey fan readers) Watch the two videos below in order. They represent the pride that explodes simultaneously across an entire country when a team of athletes achieves something great. contagious pride and elation is an end that far exceeds personal glory, and I’ve always wondered how this same sharing of joy can occur in the outdoors sports that we love. After all, even if you do achieve your ultimate goal as an individual athlete, you are alone there at the top, rather than celebrating with a team that you have suffered and bonded with. Sometimes I have even gone far enough to think that I am being selfish by devoting so much time to these sensation-motivated individual pursuits.There are those other times, however, where it all makes perfect sense.This past weekend, I took my girlfriend, Ashley, for a mountain bike ride in Bent Creek. Ashley is a great athlete, but she isn’t necessarily the adrenaline type. She loves running, playing tennis, and swimming. She wasn’t completely comfortable with what she was being pushed to do, but I rode behind her and gave her friendly pointers as we bombed down Green’s Lick trail. As we descended, her confidence built and in no time she was flying through rock gardens, getting her drift on around some flat corners and feeling the buzz that only these sports can give us.I could tell when we stopped at the bottom that something had clicked, and her excitement told me that she had tapped into that same thing that keeps us all coming back. Even though this experience was shared on an individual basis and not with thousands of people at once, it occurred to me that through introducing others to the beauty of our sports, we can pass the positive energy on.Whether you are a runner, climber, biker, kayaker, tri-athlete, surfer, or anything else, share what you love to do with someone who’s never tried it. That look in their eyes will make it all worthwhile.last_img read more

Dominion Riverrock Outdoor and Music Festival in Richmond, Virginia

first_imgThe sixth annual Dominion Riverrock festival took place May 16-18 with a number of new and exciting features  this year. The festival takes place on Brown’s Island and Historic Tredegar in Richmond, Virginia, and is free and open to the public, drawing tens of thousands each day and night.This fest is all about indulging in as much adventure as possible.Friday features a 5K mud run and the start of the two-day bouldering comp, while Saturday is stacked with the long-standing James River Scramble 10K Trail Run, the Urban Assault Mountain Bike Race, an adventure race, and kayak and stand-up paddleboard races. Sunday includes a climbing speed comp, more paddling races, and the end of the weekend-long freestyle bike comp. If you’d rather keep competition to a minimum, you can check out SUP demos, join a group hike, test your pedal power on the mountain bike skills course, or gawk at the brave and balanced on the Slackline Highline Exhibition.Downtown Richmond hosts this full-weekend adventure sports festival that takes place on the banks of the James River. From central grounds on Brown’s Island, you can run, ride, paddle, and climb in a variety of comps and races, while live tunes are blaring in the background and big crowds are browsing gear booths from the outdoor industry’s best.This year the event will feature two big headliners: bluegrass-rock expansionists The Infamous Stringdusters on Friday night and reggae-flavored MC Matisyahu on Saturday. Support bands include The London Souls, The Congress, Sunliner, and People’s Blues of Richmond.New features include:5Point Film Festival presented by Walkabout OutfitterThe 5Point Film Festival On the Road presented by Walkabout Outfitter will kick off the action-packed weekend on Thursday, May 15 at The Byrd Theatre with a series 12-14 short documentary adventure films from 6:30-8:30 p.m. This event is free, and doors open to the public at 6:00 p.m.First Descents partners with VCU Massey Cancer Center to host rafting tripFirst Descents, a Denver-based nonprofit that provides free outdoor adventure programs for young adults (ages 18-39) with cancer, is participating in its first year at Dominion Riverrock. While First Descents is in Richmond for the festival, they will be teaming up with the VCU Massey Cancer Center to take eight young adult cancer fighters down a seven-mile stretch of the James River on Thursday, May 15. First Descents is excited to connect with the Richmond community and hopes to expand its reach and open up their programs to this area in the near future. Brad Ludden will be there early in the week and then Willie Kern will be here the whole time, competing in both kayaking events.Red Bull Berm Burners, a world premier eventAttention dirt jumpers, cyclocross racers, and downhill mountain bikers—the challenge is set. On May 17, 30 professional cyclists from all disciplines to compete in Red Bull Berm Burners, a first-of-its kind individual head-to-head pursuit dirt cycling competition taking place during the Dominion Riverock outdoor festival in Richmond, Virginia.Red Bull Berm Burners’ stripped down pump track presents a unique challenge to all disciplines of riders, ultimately testing their core abilities on a dirt cyclone of moto whoops housed between two fast, steep berms. Influenced by BMX racing, track cycling, and motocross, the completed 100’ by 25’ oval course will feature pump track style rollers leading into two nearly vertical six-foot berms. The race is open to 20’ BMX and 26’ and 29’ mountain bike wheels with both rigid and suspension frames, along with all other bike disciplines.In addition to the professional race, the Red Bull Berm Burners open amateur race will take place on May 18. Cyclists from all age groups and classes are welcome to enter. Race format for the qualifiers and finals will follow the same format as the professional race.SUP with your Pup presented by Ruffwear and Black Dog PaddleRuffwear has partnered with Black Dog Paddle to offer two, 30-minute SUP with your Pup demo sessions. The first session will take place on Saturday, May 17th from 1:30-2:00 p.m. and the second on Sunday, May 18th from 3:00 – 3:30 p.m. In order to sign up for a session, participants must check-in at the Ruffwear booth on Brown’s Island. Sessions are limited to a maximum of eight participants plus their dogs.Dominion Mobile Charging Station (#poweredbyD)This year, it will be easier to stay connected at Dominion Riverrock, thanks to Dominion’s mobile charging station. This one-of-a-kind, 12-foot trailer is designed to quickly power up to 96 devices at a time by harnessing energy from the sun. Participants enjoying an activity-packed day can simply walk up any time and plug in— charging cords for a number of devices and smartphones are included. This new technology at Dominion Riverrock will allow participants and spectators to stay and play all day. They can take more pictures, capture more video, and keep in touch with friends and family without their phone batteries running out.Dominion Riverrock, organized by Venture Richmond and the Sports Backers, began in 2009 and is now one of the nation’s premier outdoor sports and lifestyle festival, bringing athletes, spectators, musicians, and dogs to Brown’s Island for a three-day festival against the backdrop of downtown Richmond’s urban riverfront. The festival features a variety of outdoor sports including trail running, kayaking, biking, bouldering, slacklining, stand up paddleboarding, and dog jumping. The event was designed to promote Richmond’s unique riverfront, downtown trails and whitewater rapids to outdoor enthusiasts.Photo by Dawn YilmazPhoto by Dawn Yilmazlast_img read more

Trail Mix: The Warren G. Harding’s New Album Get A Life

first_imgI once followed a band named after Bill Monroe’s horse.  I know of another named after a famous Tony Rice tune.  But a bluegrass quintet named after a scandal ridden, largely unheralded United States president?  Nope.  Not until I came across The Warren G. Hardings, that is. This troupe of Seattle based ‘grassers charge headlong into the progressive sounds made popular by the likes of Yonder Mountain String Band and The Brothers Comatose and have established themselves as up and comers on the Pacific Northwest bluegrass scene.The Warren G. Hardings just released a new record, Get A Life, and are touring the western part of the country in support of it. A notable date on the horizon is the band’s participation in the band competition at the annual Northwest String Summit, Yonder Mountain String Band’s annual acoustic extravaganza in Oregon.I had the opportunity to catch up with the guys in The Warren G. Hardings and peppered them with questions about President Harding, the new record, and the bluegrass scene in Seattle.  The band proved to be both affable and solid historians.BRO – What was Warren G. Harding’s middle name?A.  GordonB.  GandalfC.  GeoffreyD.  GamalielWGHs – Gamaliel, which was a possible album title contender for about half of a second.BRO – Warren G. Harding was the ______ President of the United States?A.  16thB.  20thC.  29thD.  42ndWGHs –  He was the 29th president, from 1921 through 1923, until his untimely and somewhat mysterious death, while still holding office, after traveling by train through the Pacific Northwest!BRO –  Better hang – Warren G. Harding or Warren G.?WGHs – Warren G. Harding.  He had more money and power at his disposal.BRO – Which quote below can be attributed to Warren G. Harding?A.  I have no trouble with my enemies.  I can take care of my enemies in afight.  But my friends, my goddamned friends, they’re the ones who keepme up at night.B.  Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to workhard at work worth doing.C.  It is amazing what one can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.D.  Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.WGHs –  We’re going to go with A, which sounds pretty Warren G. Hardingish.  Or at least the others definitely don’t.BRO –  What was Warren G. Harding’s first elected position?A.  Marion County (Ohio) District AttorneyB.  Ohio State SenatorC.  Marion County (Ohio) School Board MemberD.  Member of the United States House of Representatives.WGHs –  How about C.  Got to start somewhere!!BRO – Why not The Harry S. Trumans?WGHs – Truman didn’t get into enough shenanigans while in office to be deserving of our band name.BRO – We are featuring “High & Low” on this month’s Trail Mix.  What’s the story behind the song?WGHs – It’s about trying to find the perfect girl and realizing that she may not actually exist.  People can be a lot of things, but finding a partner who is simultaneously sweet and wild in all the ways you want them to be may be idealistic.  In that way, the chorus – “If you come upon her let me know” – is a bit tongue-in-cheek.BRO – You guys hail from the Pacific Northwest.  How’s the bluegrass scene up your way?WGHs – It’s actually amazing!  There are a ton of pickers up here and a lot of great annual events like Wintergrass and Northwest Folklife that bring everyone together.  The PNW has so much to offer musically.  There are a variety of takes on bluegrass, from traditionalists to those that draw on progressive or “outside of the box” influences, and a lot of interpretations in between.  Seattle itself is one of the best music cities in the who le country – our personal opinion, although biased to be sure – because there is such a diversity and abundance of live music and people love to support it.  All the new friendships and memories made along the way have been some of the most enjoyable parts about being in this band.BRO – Be honest.  How many of the answers about Warren G. Harding did you have to google?WGHs –  None!  We get asked about him often enough that we are required to be familiar with the basics.  Some people recognize the name as an historical figure but can’t quite place him as a U.S. president – guess they weren’t paying attention in social studies!! – so we feel it is our duty to educate.Well, the boys in the Warren G. Hardings certainly do know quite a bit about the band’s namesake.  The only question they got wrong was the one about Mr. Harding’s first elected position.  Turns out our 29th president started his political career as a state senator in Ohio, not as a member of the Marion County School Board.  All in all, a fantastic performance from these PNW bluegrassers on our little historical trivia quiz!If you live on the Eastern Seaboard, it is going to be tough to catch The Warren G. Hardings any time soon.  Dates in June and July have them gigging in Washington,  Utah, and Oregon.  Having chatted with the band, though, I know they have designs on heading east at some point.  Bluegrass fans out here would love to see that happen.For more information on The Warren G. Hardings or to grab a copy of the new record, Get A Life, surf over to read more

Roanoke Reinvented

first_imgVoters spilled in long lines from the Berglund Center, huddling in heavy coats and small groups to keep warm in the sub-20 degree temperatures as they waited upwards of two hours to cast a ballot.Roanoke city councilmen Sherman Lea and David Trinkle stalked the sidewalk and parking lots out front, engaging in the purest form of bare-knuckle politics as they sought to persuade the men and women trudging to the poll that they should be Roanoke’s next mayor.This Feb. 13 election—a Democratic Party primary held at a single, central polling place—could well decide the next 20 years of politics in Roanoke. It marks a pivotal moment for the mid-sized, Blue Ridge city that is nipping at Asheville’s heels to become a similarly hip destination for young professionals—think millennials and younger—in search of proximity to outdoor recreation, locally made food and craft alcohol, and a decent place to raise a family.Roanoke has struggled to transition from an economy driven by a handful of big, stable employers to a diverse, multifaceted system in which businesses must constantly reinvent themselves and quality of life—read: outdoor amenities—is a crucial part of attracting new businesses.Like those modern businesses, cities must frequently reinvent as well, making the retirement of longtime Roanoke politico David Bowers as a moment of generational change in the Star City.Roanoke has been transformed by an economic upheaval that has affected communities throughout Appalachia and indeed the country. Longtime employers whom people had depended on lifelong jobs for generations—furniture makers, textile manufacturers, the coal industry and, in Roanoke, the railroad—began to dwindle through layoffs and, in the case of the factories, outsourcing to other countries.Photo by Sam Dean/ Festival goers at the Roanoke City Harvest Festival held in the historic Market Square, Sept. 28,2013.Since then, Roanoke has focused on developing an identity as an outdoor city. In 2010, the regional economic development partnership launched Roanoke Outside, an initiative based on attracting and retaining companies by focusing on quality of life and recreational amenities.The city council signed off on the construction of multiple greenways, including an 11-mile stretch along the river built as part of a federal flood reduction project. It placed conservation easements on Mill Mountain, home to the city’s 88-foot neon star, and Carvin’s Cove Natural Reserve, a municipal park threaded with multiple trail systems for mountain biking and hiking.The Blue Ridge Marathon, branded as “America’s Toughest Road Marathon” and the GO Outside Festival launched. Private-sector companies founded on the outdoors grew, too: New outdoor retailers took root, along with a new climbing gym and gear consignment shops.Now, Roanoke has started using the outdoors as a means to attract economic development—and growing numbers of young professionals. Conveniently, a new neighborhood in one of the oldest parts of town sprung up to meet them.Private developers leveraged historic tax credits to rehab the vacant warehouses and office buildings that littered downtown, turning them into trendy one-bedroom apartments and creating a new neighborhood overnight. Downtown’s population grew from fewer than 50 people in 2000 to more than 1,700 in 2015.All this activity has given Roanoke a new sense of self. When Deschutes Brewery of Bend, Oregon, started scouting the Mid-Atlantic for an East Coast facility, the #Deschutes2Rke social media campaign quickly sprang up, engaging individuals and businesses who created an online movement that captured the attention of both brewery officials and observers in Asheville, a prime competitor.It worked: In late March, Deschutes announced it would build in Roanoke. The announcement capped off a week that also saw the expansion of a research partnership between Carilion Clinic and Virginia Tech, as well as the arrival of an Italian auto parts manufacturer just north of the city.The #Deschutes2Rke campaign may prove to be a defining moment for Roanoke, arriving at the same time as the loss of hundreds of jobs in the 2015 closure of the railroad’s administrative offices, which have operated in one form or another since the 1880s.The region’s unemployment rate stands at a low 3.8 percent, yet that number masks an economic divide between the city’s different neighborhoods, which vary greatly by income and ethnic make-up.In 2016, Roanoke remains racially segregated. White flight resulted in the rapid growth of Roanoke County suburbs that surround the city. About 29 percent of Roanoke’s residents are black, according to the U.S. Census, versus 13 percent in Asheville and 17 percent in Knoxville. One year after Black Lives Matter emerged as a political force, Roanokers are debating not just how to transition their economy, but how to ensure that all residents are given opportunities to succeed.Roanoke Night LifeThat’s why the election to determine Roanoke’s next mayor matters so much.Lea and Trinkle have formed the solid backbone of the city council. Both have been twice re-elected, with Lea’s 12 years on council edging out Trinkle’s 10. They’re both Democrats but come at politics from different angles.When I covered city politics for The Roanoke Times, we called Lea the “Shermanator” in the newsroom. He shot from the hip when answering questions, giving thoughtful responses off the top of his head. A black pastor and retired state corrections official, Lea views athletics as a way to transcend differences. He organized an annual college football game between black colleges in Roanoke, and more recently set up a youth basketball league in which mostly black, inner-city youth play with and against police officers.Trinkle—a psychiatrist, faculty member at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, and the owner of two mainstay restaurants—is more considered and calculated. His South Roanoke family roots count for a lot among city gentry, but he’s also stood for trying to make Roanoke cool since his first campaign, when he ran on replacing Victory Stadium with a state-of-the-art concert venue by the river. He talks a lot about “vibe.”Trinkle ran a digital get-out-the-vote campaign, pinging supporters via social media and texting to come vote for him. Lea’s campaign ran a more traditional operation, flushing out voters and bringing them to the election with a circuit of vans and buses.Lea edged out Trinkle by 134 votes, out of 3,027 cast. Trinkle remains in city politics, as he’s in the middle of a four-year term as a councilman.Lea’s victory propels him into the general election with a near-guarantee of victory (Republicans did not place a candidate on the ballot). He will become Roanoke’s second black mayor. The first, Noel C. Taylor, first won election in 1975 and served until 1992, facing only a single challenger during nearly two decades in office.While the momentum built by the development of regional campaigns and private sector businesses in the last 10 years doesn’t hinge on the mayor, Roanoke’s May election marks the beginning of a new future for a reinvented mountain town.last_img read more

Tour de Le Conte Challenge

first_imgThe views from Bullhead were incredible, said Adam Ozment, but they kept their focus on Le Conte and reached their second summit of the mountain at 12:30 p.m. Sticking to a printed schedule that they had created before the challenge, the Adam trio then turned and descended down the same side of the mountain that they had just climbed up.  From the start, they made a pact: “In together, out together.” Each hiker, ironically all named Adam, agreed that they would all complete the challenge together. However, if one of them couldn’t finish due to an injury or an unexpected circumstance, then they would all end the hike at that point.  This is a tale of three Adams— Adam Gravett, Adam Ozment and Adam Williamson. These three hikers had been exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park for months when they decided that it was time to conquer the Le Conte Challenge: hike all six trails to Mount LeConte in less than 24 hours. The challenge would cover 44 miles and require three summits of the third highest peak in the park.  At 2 a.m. on May 1, they began their hike on the Appalachian Trail at Newfound Gap and headed straight for the Boulevard Trail. The first eight miles were in utter darkness. Bugs and bats flew at their headlamps slowing their progress. Staying focused and moving was a priority.  The Challenge:  “Carbs and hydration are vital elements on the trail,” said Williamson. “The head game will bring you down before physical exhaustion,” added Gravett. “BodyGlide is a lifesaver, and epic adventures are a must in life, but they’re even more epic with good friends at your side.” Trio of hikers conquer Le Conte Challenge—44 miles and 3 summits in 24 hours After reaching their first summit of Mount LeConte at 4:50 a.m., they took a break on the LeConte Lodge’s most comfortable couch and then began an 8.8-mile descent on the Trillium Gap Trail. This trail led them through lush landscapes and behind Grotto Falls before entering into the Roaring Fork area of the Smokies. center_img Once the Adams reached the end of the trail, they fueled up on carbs and then headed up the Bullhead Trail. Most hikers in the Smokies will tell you that you never go up Bullhead, but that’s what they did. They trekked 6.8 miles up one of the most heavily fire-damaged trails in the park and knocked out close to 4,000 feet of elevation gain along the way.  the three Adams summitted mount Le Conte three times in 24 hours, setting a new trail record.   The Rainbow Falls Trail is filled with rocky terrain and passes by the stunningly beautiful Rainbow Falls. 6.5 miles later, they were at the trailhead where a shuttle transported them up Newfound Gap Road to the Alum Cave Trail.  The Alum Cave Trail was their final ascent of the mountain and the shortest trail, but also one of the toughest. It included the infamous steps of the Alum Cave Bluffs. They celebrated briefly at the “Hallelujah Turn,” the corner on the Alum Cave Trail where the terrain becomes flat, smooth and takes you straight to the LeConte Lodge. At 7:21 p.m. the three men reached their last summit, but the longest section of the challenge was still in front of them. To reach the final trailhead in Greenbrier, on the Porters Creek Trail, they would still need to cover 9.1 miles of trails and with darkness on their heels. The downhill pace of the last stretch of trail proved to be the most difficult of all, and during the final mile their determination was pushed to the test, but at 1:10 a.m. with 24 hours and 1 minute on the clock and 109,901 steps behind them, the Adam trio completed the Le Conte 24 Challenge.  last_img read more

WanderLove is Calling You to Russell County, VA

first_imgAs one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, you’ll find unique ecosystems and abundant outdoor recreation in southwestern Virginia. Discover the best spots to play, eat, and stay in this guide to Russell County. Experience WanderLove for yourself when you visit Russell County, Va. Hidden Gems The Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve is a wonderful way to enjoy the river and beautiful plant life. Open year-round from sunrise to sunset, the public facilities include parking, a suspension foot-bridge, and hiking trails. Experience all of the spectacular features of this preserve located near the confluence of the Clinch River and Big Cedar Creek, including towering cliffs, sheer limestone ledges, and waterfalls. The Pinnacle, an impressive rock formation cut from dolomite, rises 400 feet above the creek. Take pictures with the LOVEwork at the Old Russell County Courthouse created by a welding class from the local career and technical center. If you are looking for a little coal mining and railroad history, visit the Dante Coal and Railroad Museum and Love sign crafted out of material from the railroad nearby. The community is also in the process of building a walking trail just across from the museum. LOVEworks Start off with a visit to Oxbow Lake Park where you’ll find extensive hiking and biking trails located adjacent to the Clinch River. Follow the Sugar Hill Loop Trail as it steeply climbs the ridge before curving around to the lake. The Oxbow Lake Trail offers a paved, wheelchair-accessible loop around the water. Hook up with Clinch River Adventures for kayak and tube rentals on the river or Clinch Life Outfitters for guided kayaking and fishing trips along the river. Then drive into the town of St. Paul for some local eateries and a brewery. Oxbow Lake Tank Hollow Falls by Preston Ball Photography Spend some time in the small town of Honaker, The Redbud Capital of the World. During the spring, the beautiful redbud trees come to life just in time for their annual Redbud Festival in April. Get pictures at the LOVE sign, enjoy the local restaurants, and rent kayaks or tubes from Clinch River Outfitters. Make a trip to the renowned Tank Hollow Falls in the small town of Cleveland. This short, half mile trail is good for hikers of all abilities and features a 60-foot waterfall on the very edge of town. Explore more of the Cleveland Barrens Natural Area Preserve on the Big Barren Loop Trail with overlooks of the river and valley. Be on the lookout for a series of significant dolomite barrens, thirteen rare plant species, and three rare insect species while you’re visiting the preserve. To complete your visit to Cleveland, visit the town park, cross the pedestrian suspension bridge over the Clinch River, and take the boardwalk through the woods. Spend the night at the Cleveland Riverbend Campground, which offers both primitive and RV camping access along the banks of the Clinch River. Not far from the town of Lebanon, the Channels Natural Area Preserve is part of a state forest located atop Brumley Mountain near the 4,208 ft. summit of Middle Knob on Clinch Mountain. The Great Channels of Virginia are 400 million-year-old sandstone outcroppings likely formed while under the influence of permafrost and ice wedging. Go Outside and Play After exploring this natural area, head over to the town of Lebanon to find restaurants, a brewery, and a vineyard while you enjoy the mountainous views. You can make a stop at the local Love sign just off of Main Street as well. There are also two chain hotels in town if you plan to stay awhile. If biking is your thing, explore part of the TransAmerica Bike Route as it passes through the county. This 4,250 mile stretches from the Oregon coast to the Virginia coast. Take in the rolling countryside and valley views from your saddle as you bike the backroads. WanderLove is about reconnecting with what you love. Experience the mountains and valleys, natural preserves, and all of the winding roads in between when you road trip through Russell County, Va. Please check local guidelines and regulations before making plans to get outside. Remember to practice social distancing guidelines, wear a mask, and respect others’ health when outside. Pinnacle Natural Area Preservelast_img read more

US, Guatemala Net 10 Tonnes Of Cocaine Aboard Drug Sub

first_imgBy Dialogo October 22, 2009 Guatemalan and US anti-drug agents have captured a semi-submersible vessel loaded with 10 tonnes of cocaine off the country’s Pacific coast, Guatemala’s anti-drug prosecutor said. The Guatemalan navy, in coordination with US anti-drug agents, stopped the vessel on Wednesday and captured three Colombians and a Mexican on board, prosecutor Leonel Ruiz told AFP. Anti-drug agents that helped capture the vessel said they believed the craft had been built by Colombian guerrillas. Officials said the cocaine was loaded in Colombia and headed for Guatemala, where it was to be smuggled into the United States via Mexico. The vessel was caught some 180 nautical miles (333 kilometers) off Guatemala’s Pacific coast, officials said. In the past years drug cartels have increasingly been using semi-submersibles to smuggle drugs. The submarine-like vessels are hard to see and easily evade radars, as their hulls mostly underwater and only their flat tops skim the ocean surface. Unlike submarines, the vessels cannot dive. The navy is taking the vessel to a Guatemalan port, where it is expected to arrive on Friday, Ruiz said.last_img read more