Category Archives: Travel

Ardastra Gardens Zoo // Nassau, Bahamas

While we were vacationing in the Bahamas this summer, we experienced quite a bit of rain and weather that was not ideal for going to the beach. We decided that rather than sit on the boat all day or go to resorts and lose money to the slot machines, we’d go for a walk in the rain. The rain actually slowed down quite a bit and once outside of the port, our walk became quite interesting. The Bahamas isn’t as nice as you see in commercials, most of it is pretty run down, the public beaches have more trash on them than the Lake Michigan beaches in Chicago.

After walking for sometime we saw a sign for the Ardastra Gardens Zoo. We decided to check it out. It was actually the best zoo experience I’ve ever had. There were no crowds. Several of the animals including a pot-bellied pig and lots of flamingos were not even caged and free to walk throughout the zoo. Here are some pictures I shot on my Canon G7.

an angry parrot

tiger behind bars

curious george

sheep

a pink flamingo

meerkat

midget goat

Here is a brief Description of the zoo from their website:

Ardastra Gardens was first opened to the public in 1937. It was the brain child of Hedley Vivian Edwards, a Jamaican horticulturalist, who wanted to create a luscious garden here in the heart of Nassau. This was not an easy task as the area in those days was more of a marshland than a lush garden. He named it the Ardastra Gardens after the Jamaican defense force motto, Ardastra, which came from the latin, Ardua astrum, literally meaning “Striving for the stars”.

In the 1950’s flamingos in the Bahamas were nearly hunted to the point of extinction. The Government at that time brought flamingos to Ardastra Gardens as an experiment to try breeding them in captivity. The breeding was not very successful but the flamingos certainly became quite an attraction in the gardens. Mr. Edwards then decided to begin training the flamingos to do a march for his guests and they have been marching ever since. The flamingos were featured in the National Geographic magazine in the October 1957 issue as nobody had trained flamingos to be comfortable around people before and so people could come closer to the flamingos in Ardastra compared to anywhere else in the world.

Oro Grande to Tenderfoot

satelite view courtesy of Google Earth

This is a good intermediate ride. I’d say intermediate because of the elevation changes. If you are from the Midwest like me some of the climbs may be a bit more difficult to tackle. Start by heading up Landfill Road right across from Keystone Resort. Be watch out for big trucks heading up and down this road. Once at the top, go through the gates on the left and take the singletrack switchback that heads further up the mountain. This trail will eventually lead into the Oro Grande Trail.

The Oro Grande is a double track wide trail, smooth in some parts and rocky and jagged in others, with not much of an elevation change. From the Oro Grande you can get some great views of Lake Dillon. I believe if you stay on The Oro Grande Trail, it will join up with a few other trails and you can go as far as the Eisenhower Tunnel. It will also Branch off towards Silverthorne if you want to take the paved path back to Keystone.

After awhile on the Oro Grande, You’ll see a trailhead for the Tenderfoot Trail on the right side which switchbacks all the way up tenderfoot mountain. I am not sure if this trail is open to bikes or not. There are no signs posted which prohibit bikes and after doing some research I haven’t been able to find a definitive answer. But when I was there I headed up the trail. My Map image of the Tenderfoot Trail May not be very accurate but it gives a general idea of the trail. This trail weaves in and out of the woods as it switchbacks up Tenderfoot Mountain. It’s a pretty steep trail and can be difficult. I heard some loud thunder and didn’t want to get stuck out there in the rain so I headed back. The Downhill part was really sweet. Next time I’m out there I am going to try and make it further up Tenderfoot Mountain, as well as explore some of the trails that branch off Oro Grande.

Keystone to Breck

satelite view courtesy of Google Earth

This summer my brother and I found a good bike route from Keystone to Breckenridge. What was planned as a quick warm up ended up being a pretty exhausting long ride. Us Midwesterners are not used to the Colorado climbs.

Our ride started up Keystone Gulch road right outside the condo. After about 3.5 miles of a slow but steady incline, somewhere right around the base of the Outback, we switched over to the West Ridge. The West Ridge is an uphill battle on an old logging road. It switches back and forth and the elevation change is pretty rapid…

We had intended on taking the West Ridge Loop back around into Keystone Gulch Road and taking that back down to the base of the mountain but somehow we ended up on the Colorado Trail…

It was a great ride down but once we got to the bottom…

We realized we’d ended up in Breckenridge. We were to tired to backtrack uphill and head back that way so we decided to head out towards Frisco. By the time we reached Frisco it started raining so we took the Summit Stage back to the Condo at Keystone. Next year I am bringing a GPS for sure.

Keystone Bike Park

Images courtesy of keystone resort

This summer me and my brother had the opportunity to ride the lifts at Keystone Mountain and experience some of their trails. It’s great to be able to take the chair up to the top of the mountain. Most of the trails cut across the mountain and run a decent length. On average it took us about a half hour to get down to the bottom. by the end of the day our arms and the palms of our hands were sore from the vibration of absorbing the terrain while going downhill, even with suspension and gloves. It is a bit intimidating riding at keystone because everyone is dressed in full-face helmets, body armor and their bikes look more like motorcycles without the motor. We avoided most of the freeride terrain and stuck to riding the xc trails which were crazy enough.

Here’s a few pics of from the lift and a few of us riding.