Best hiking destinations in Texas

Primarily because of its wide variety and diversity of terrain, the Lone Star state of Texas offers some of the best sites for hiking in the United States. Texas is home to more than 70 national and state parks scattered throughout the state. Hiking buff Mack Prioleau recommends the places listed below for a truly pleasurable and memorable hiking experience on scenic, breathtaking trails.

Lost Maples State Natural Area

Hiking in Lost Maples is especially soothing and awe-inspiring during autumn when the leaves bring out a wide array of colors. The trails are to be found on the Edwards Plateau, about five miles to the north of Vanderpool. Its name is derived from the abundance of bigtooth maples in the area.

Brazos Bend

This spot, found along the Brazos River in Needville, is an excellent destination in Texas not just for hiking but for horseback riding and biking. It’s home to a diverse array of fauna for those looking to espy local wildlife along the trails (including American alligators). What’s more, Brazos Bend is not hard to get to, as it’s just near Houston.

Big Bend National Park

Many Texan natives will argue that this is the best hiking spot in the entire state, and with good reason, as it showcases over 150 miles of trails for both beginning and experienced hikers. Big Bend is situated in West Texas, near the Mexican border.

Gorman Falls Trail

This 2.6-mile trail is one of the Texas Hill country’s most popular and picturesque, the moderate hiking path ending at the gorgeous Gorman Falls. This waterfall is special for the high concentration of carbon dioxide in the water, giving it the moniker “living waterfall,” explains Mack Prioleau. Both the trail and the waterfall are in the Colorado Bend State Park.

Vanderbilt University student Mack Prioleau enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, hunting, surfing, and fishing. For more on Mack and his interests, visit this website.

Tags: hiking, Texas, travel, fitness
Sources:
https://www.theoutbound.com/lifestraw/25-must-do-hikes-in-texas
https://vacationidea.com/texas/best-hiking-in-texas.html
https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/texas/15-epic-hiking-spots-in-tx/

Some valuable tips for beginning hikers

Hiking is one of the best outdoor activities you can engage in, providing many benefits to your health and well-being. If you are keen on including hiking in your fitness itinerary, hereunder are some tips from outdoors enthusiast Mack Prioleau that should make the experience more memorable and outright fun.

First, don’t go on your first hike until you have the right, comfortable hiking footwear. You’d need right-sized, hiking-appropriate boots or trail shoes to prevent hurting your feet and blisters from forming. Don’t just settle for the most popular or stylish pair; you’re not buying it for lifestyle wear, so make sure it fits you well and is not too snug.

Make sure you first learn proper hydration techniques, too. New hikers often forget to bring enough water; often one liter is needed for every two hours, but this depends on the time of the year, how challenging the hike is, and your body weight.

Before your first significant hike, you can get more prepared by taking practice runs at your local park. You can do it once a week either by yourself or with a group of friends. It’s also an excellent way to develop your stamina and test out your gear. Don’t go too far away from your home during your initial practice walks to better gauge your endurance.

Finally, and especially if you’re not familiar with the hiking trail, go for group hikes or do it with experienced friends. There are many local chapters of reputable hiking clubs you can research online. It’s also a great way to meet new people and get more motivated for future hikes, adds Mack Prioleau.

Hiking is one of Mack Prioleau’s favorite pastimes. The Vanderbilt University student is also passionate about sports, traveling, and surfing. Visit this blog for more tips and insights on hiking and other outdoor activities.

Tags: outdoors, fitness, health, hiking tips

Sources:

Hiking for Beginners: 10 Essential Tips

7 Essential Tips for First-Time Hikers


https://hikingguy.com/how-to-hike/hiking-for-beginners-11-essential-tips/

Mack Prioleau Eyes Prince Edward Island, Belize for Fishing

You probably do most of your fishing in your own backyard. Although fishing can be soothing and thrilling no matter where you do it, there’s nothing like reeling in a big one while on vacation, especially in one of the northern hemisphere’s most captivating saltwater fishing spots. Avid fisherman Mack Prioleau can’t say enough about two areas in particular: Prince Edward Island and Belize.

Prince Edward Island

Can you imagine catching a 1,496-pound tuna? One person didn’t have to imagine it: This person achieved this firsthand back in 1979 and continues to receive recognition for this world record. Several others have brought in 1,000 pounders during the past several years. On Prince Edward Island, you’ll do most of your fishing close to land/port, usually less than a mile out, between August and mid-October.

In addition, the majority of fishing boats feature fighting chairs. Of course, if you prefer to stand up for the battle of your lifetime, then nothing will stop you from doing that, either. Using kites, you’ll fish with live, whole or chunked bait fish and enjoy an unprecedented high-adrenaline fishing experience.

Belize

Looking for a change of pace in your saltwater fishing experience? Look no further than Belize. There’s a good chance you’ll bring in a trophy-size catch, ranging from a tarpon to a bonefish or permit. What’s so great about Belize is that the country vigorously guards its pristine flats, so you’ll no doubt enjoy the cream of the crop of fishing adventures.

Plus, Belize is the only Central American country featuring English as the primary language. And the best part? You can visit Belize for a once-in-a-lifetime fishing expedition year-round. Many of the country’s lodges and resorts cater to anglers, so you’ll easily receive the support and access to resources you need to make the most of your fishing vacation.

Mack Prioleau: Must-Visit Places in Singapore

Mack Prioleau: Top 5 Places to Visit in Singapore

If you ask Mack Prioleau, there’s something about Singapore that reminds him of Dubai. It could be the expats in the city or the high cost of living, but whatever it is, Singapore has long been on his must-visit list in the next few years. Having read extensively on the things one can do and places to visit in Singapore, Mack Prioleau has put together a guide that may help other people come up with an itinerary. Here are his top five picks when visiting Singapore for the first time:

1. Gardens by the Bay – For such a tiny city, you have to give it to Singapore for allotting plenty of public space for gardens. The city has close to a dozen, and among them, Mack Prioleau wants to visit Gardens by the Bay the most. The flower dome is arguably the prettiest in all Southeast Asia, with so many varieties of flora. Indeed, Singaporeans must love their flowers as the Gardens by the Bay is all out with a waterfall, conservatory, and an unbelievably beautiful cloud forest.

2. Marina Bay – Next on the list for Mack Prioleau is Marina Bay, lighting up Singapore’s skyline. The sunset is beautiful here, and once darkness falls, Marina Bay offers a spectacular panoramic view of Singapore. Aside from the views, the marina has a fun laser and light show you can catch for free. If you get hungry from walking around the huge complex, there’s a wide selection of restaurants to choose from. You can hit the food courts for something affordable, or dine at the posh French fine-dining restaurants. Mack Prioleau would love to try the steak and wine at CUT by Wolfgang Puck.

3. Maxwell Food Centre – It’s not Singapore without its hawkers, and Maxwell Food Centre is the food market to go to for a lesson on Singapore street food. This is where Anthony Bourdain had his fill of Hainanese chicken rice! Aside from the chicken rice though, Mack Prioleau is also interested in trying the carrot cake, char kway teow, fish bee hoon, and pork porridge. This is real and unique Singaporean food that can’t be had anywhere else. Of course, eating street food right where they were conceived is part of the experience.

4. Universal Studios Singapore – Sure, there’s always a nearby Universal Studios right at home like the one in California, but in Singapore, it’s been elevated as a vacation highlight. The long queues don’t faze Mack Prioleau — he’d gladly line up for the roller coasters while people-watching. Universal Studios Singapore draws in people from all backgrounds, from young couples to families with their kids and senior citizens.

5. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum – Mack Prioleau caps off his top places to visit in Singapore with this beautiful Buddhist temple with a roof garden. From a distance, the red facade is striking and almost intimidating, but once you step inside, the atmosphere is serene and peaceful. This is a great place to meditate or have a short moment of silence without being disturbed.

Follow this page to read more travel content by Mack Prioleau.

Mack Prioleau’s Top 2 Reasons for Visiting New Mexico

Mack Prioleau on Visiting New Mexico: The Land of Enchantment

Welcome back! This is Mack Prioleau and I’m glad to see you all here again. As you know, I love traveling, and I jump at the opportunity every chance I get. This year, I vow to pay more attention to places and attractions that I haven’t been to in the country; starting with New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment.

My top two reasons for wanting to go to New Mexico are; first, its archeological sites (which seem to be all over the place), and second, its awe-inspiring Native American communities. You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate these wonders of New Mexico but if you are, all the more reason to go!

Archeological sites. It seems that everywhere you turn, you see an archeological site in New Mexico! If there’s only one archeological site that you have time to really explore, then I would suggest that you head straight to the Aztec Ruins National Monument. The ruins were said to be part of the migration journey of the Pueblo people. Follow the trail and walk back in time as you discover the paths that the ancient Pueblo people took.

Native American Communities. There are 19 Native American pueblos or communities that you can discover in New Mexico. The Taos Pueblo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and here, you can discover the cultural and traditional way of life of Native Americans as the residents here live in much the same way as their ancestors did. You can meet the locals and learn about their traditions and culture, and maybe even regaled with stories of old.

I feel that I didn’t do justice to these amazing wonders of New Mexico; but in my defense, you can’t really put into words just how awe-inspiring New Mexico is. You’d have to be there to experience it yourself!

Stay tuned for more travel posts from me, Mack Prioleau.

 

 

Mack Prioleau’s Top 3 Tips for Surviving a Winter Surf

Mack Prioleau Shares Tips to Help You Enjoy Surfing in Winter

For Mack Prioleau, surfing is a way of life. Either you live and breathe it every day or you don’t. There’s no middle ground; at least for serious surfers, in his opinion. In his latest blog entry, he talks about “extreme” surfing; that is, surfing in the cold, harsh winter weather. You are invited to read on to learn more about his thoughts on the matter.

You might wonder why anyone would even consider surfing in winter. But the harsh winter weather—and cold waters of the ocean—are actually what some extreme surfers look forward to every year. Besides, if surfing is in your blood, every day is a good day to surf, regardless of weather conditions. Only when your safety is at risk do you even slightly consider surfing another day.

So if you’re eager to surf in winter, below are a few tips that I suggest you consider—just to make surfing as enjoyable and smooth as when you’re surfing in perfect weather.

1. Suit up. When you’re out in the cold waters of the ocean, you’d want to stay as warm as possible. The last thing you want to take home from your winter surfing expedition is hypothermia! Go for a neoprene suit. Neoprene helps keep the cold out, keeping you warm while you’re out in the cold. If you can’t find a suit at the last minute, go for a vest that you can wear under your wetsuit, or a jacket that you can wear over your long johns or regular suit.

2. Warm up before hitting the water. Don’t expose your body to the shocking chill of the cold water immediately upon arriving at the beach. Do a few warm-up exercises first. Load up on carbs and protein, and drink water to stay hydrated. It’s also recommended to cover up while walking towards the beach. Wear a good pair of boots, cover your hands with thick, warm gloves, and cover your head with a hoodie. Once you’re out at the beach, start stripping off and do a few stretches again to warm-up before finally paddling out.

3. Keep your skin and lips moisturized. Cool air can dry your skin and lips so fast that before you know it, you’re already nursing chapped lips or getting itchy skin. Apply a liberal amount of moisturizer on your lips and skin and then keep the moisture in by adding a layer of petroleum jelly on your lips and skin.

These are but three essential things that I would recommend to anyone looking to go surfing in winter. You may also have your own rituals and safety measures for winter surfing, and if you’d like to share them with the rest of our readers, please feel free to do so! We welcome all types of helpful tips to make for a more enjoyable winter surfing experience!

You may get in touch with me, Mack Prioleau, through this site for tips and comments that you’d like to share. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

Mack Prioleau’s Top 3 Tips for Surviving a Winter Surf

Mack Prioleau Shares Tips to Help You Enjoy Surfing in Winter

For Mack Prioleau, surfing is a way of life. Either you live and breathe it every day or you don’t. There’s no middle ground; at least for serious surfers, in his opinion. In his latest blog entry, he talks about “extreme” surfing; that is, surfing in the cold, harsh winter weather. You are invited to read on to learn more about his thoughts on the matter.

You might wonder why anyone would even consider surfing in winter. But the harsh winter weather—and cold waters of the ocean—are actually what some extreme surfers look forward to every year. Besides, if surfing is in your blood, every day is a good day to surf, regardless of weather conditions. Only when your safety is at risk do you even slightly consider surfing another day.

So if you’re eager to surf in winter, below are a few tips that I suggest you consider—just to make surfing as enjoyable and smooth as when you’re surfing in perfect weather.

1. Suit up. When you’re out in the cold waters of the ocean, you’d want to stay as warm as possible. The last thing you want to take home from your winter surfing expedition is hypothermia! Go for a neoprene suit. Neoprene helps keep the cold out, keeping you warm while you’re out in the cold. If you can’t find a suit at the last minute, go for a vest that you can wear under your wetsuit, or a jacket that you can wear over your long johns or regular suit.

2. Warm up before hitting the water. Don’t expose your body to the shocking chill of the cold water immediately upon arriving at the beach. Do a few warm-up exercises first. Load up on carbs and protein, and drink water to stay hydrated. It’s also recommended to cover up while walking towards the beach. Wear a good pair of boots, cover your hands with thick, warm gloves, and cover your head with a hoodie. Once you’re out at the beach, start stripping off and do a few stretches again to warm-up before finally paddling out.

3. Keep your skin and lips moisturized. Cool air can dry your skin and lips so fast that before you know it, you’re already nursing chapped lips or getting itchy skin. Apply a liberal amount of moisturizer on your lips and skin and then keep the moisture in by adding a layer of petroleum jelly on your lips and skin.

These are but three essential things that I would recommend to anyone looking to go surfing in winter. You may also have your own rituals and safety measures for winter surfing, and if you’d like to share them with the rest of our readers, please feel free to do so! We welcome all types of helpful tips to make for a more enjoyable winter surfing experience!

You may get in touch with me, Mack Prioleau, through this site for tips and comments that you’d like to share. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

Mack Prioleau: The Best Woman Surfer, Bethany Hamilton

Mack Prioleau: Why Bethany Hamilton is My All-Time Surfing Hero

I first learned about Bethany Hamilton when I saw the film “Soul Surfer.” Prior to that, I must admit that I was clueless about her. Hello, readers! I’m glad to see you all again here! This is Mack Prioleau, and today I’d like to give you a brief account of the harrowing experience of the young Bethany Hamilton—an experience that changed the course of her life forever.

Soul Surfer, the Movie

I saw the movie back in 2011 when it came out because the title caught my attention. Before I watched it, I avoided reading up on her. I wanted my first introduction to come from the movie; to give more life to the introduction. I don’t know. It’s just how I wanted it. Anyway, I was glad I stayed away from any literature on Bethany Hamilton because then I might not have watched the film anymore—and I’m glad I did.

Bethany was 13 years old when a shark attacked her. She was on her board out at sea waiting for a wave and all of a sudden, a shark seemed to have come out of nowhere and bit her arm off. In all the frenzy and panic, she remained calm and had her wits about her—something the doctors said could have saved her life.

When the accident happened, she was on her way to becoming a world-class champion surfer, having won numerous awards and bagging a major sponsor. Everything came to a halt after the attack. It was determined that she was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark.

The media frenzy, the physical changes, and everyone walking on egg shells around her took a toll on her self-esteem. But Hamilton’s dream of surfing again eventually resurfaced and her determination to beat the odds proved to be a worthy endeavor. She used a custom-made board, designed by her father, to help her paddle out into the water without getting washed over. She also began rigorous training exercises, and soon enough, she was back on the competitive circuit.

Bethany Hamilton today

Today, she is one of the most popular surfers in the world, winning numerous awards over the years. Of these, the most notable are those that she won during the first competitions she joined following her shark attack. These include the following:

  • 2004 NSSA National Competition, 1st place
  • 2005 NSSA National Competition, 1st place
  • 2005 O’Neill Island Junior Girl Pro Tournament, 1stt place

Other awards she has won since:

  • 2007 NSSA Regionals, 1st place
  • 2007 T&C Pipeline Women’s Pro, 1st place
  • 2014 Surf ‘n’ Sea Pipeline Women’s Pro, 1st place

She also placed 13th in the 2015 Swatch Women’s Pro, and 3rd at the 2013 Fiji Women’s Pro.

If there’s one lesson that we can all take away from her story, it is this: no matter how much the odds are stacked up against you, if you are determined to beat these odds, and persevere, you will eventually come out on top.

Mack Prioleau will share more posts about outdoor sports on this site so please make sure to come back for those.

 

 

Mack Prioleau talks about Bangladesh’s inspiring surfer girls

Mack Prioleau on the Inspiring Surfer Girls of Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, girls are expected to be married between the ages of 15 and 18. And they don’t spend their time being educated in schools. They are expected to help the family earn a living, and usually, by age 8 onwards, this is what they do. Hello, everyone. This is Mack Prioleau and today I thought I’d share with you the inspiring story of eight young girls who defied the odds and broke tradition to follow their dreams.

Swimming, I later learned, was considered as “indecent” for girls in Bangladesh.

Working at the break of dawn

For most of these girls, their day starts at the first sign of the sun rising. They would hit the beach area to sell whatever their mothers have prepared for them to sell; hard boiled eggs, snacks, water, and trinkets. Sometimes, when they’re not at the beach selling their merchandise, they are at someone’s house serving as their housekeeper or cleaner. Such is the kind of life that most of these girls live every day—and it’s the only kind of life that they know.

But as we all know, life sometimes has a weird way of working out differently from how we planned it.

Destiny calling

Some people may call it fate or destiny, while others deem it as Divine intervention, but whatever it was, one thing was certain; one incident on one particular afternoon was about to change the course of the lives of these girls.

It was Shoma Akthar who saw a lifeguard riding the waves on a surfboard. Fascinated, she told the man she wanted to do that too. The man, Rashed Alam, agreed to teach her. The lessons were to start the following morning but Shoma didn’t show up. It would take her several weeks to finally muster up the courage to show up.

It was one thing to break tradition and an entirely different matter to go behind her mother’s back. To cut a long story short, Shoma took the lessons and soon enough, other girls followed her lead. Their coach was all-out in giving his support to the girls—to the point of visiting each of the girls’ houses to talk to their parents.

The news wasn’t received well as you could imagine but after a long, hard-fought battle, the girls and their coach slowly won over the parents’ hearts and although reluctantly, they gave their blessing.

More girls have joined since then. Today, the girls are not only being taught surfing techniques; they are also being given lessons on life skills: CPR and rescue, and English language lessons. Incidentally, Shoma joined a local competition where she bagged third place and won $40—what she would’ve earned working as a housekeeper for two months.

This inspiring story shows us that no dream is too big for someone who believes in herself. It also shows how one person’s faith and belief in the girls ultimately changed the girls’ course in life.

There’s one other inspiring surfer girl that I know of, and I’d also like to share her story one of these days. You may have heard of her; Bethany Hamilton.

Thanks for reading my latest post! If you have comments you wish to share, please feel free to contact me, Mack Prioleau, through this site.

 

 

Mack Prioleau explores Avignon, Provence

Mack Prioleau on Visiting Avignon, Provence

Ever since I started traveling on my own, I’ve always made it a point to explore the streets of the city or country I’m visiting on foot. A walking tour, in my opinion, is the best way to truly get to know a new place. Hi, everyone! It’s Mack Prioleau once more. I’ve been to France before, but I must admit that I haven’t yet explored Avignon on foot. For this post, I wish to take you on a virtual walking tour around the medieval Provençal town of Avignon.

Avignon has sealed its place in history for being the town where popes resided during the 14th century. The years from 1307 to 1377 are known as the Avignon Papacy because it is during this time when the popes made their home in this town. At the time, Avignon was part of the Holy Roman Empire in the Kingdom of Arles.

Palais des Papes

When you visit the papal residence, the Palais des Papes, you will be looking at a magnificent structure covered in controversy. It was said that French Pope Clement V refused to stay in the official residence in Rome because of a conflict that ensued between the French crown and the Papacy.

But controversial history aside, the Palais des Papes is considered as the largest structure in Europe built in the architectural style of the Gothic period. Before you walk towards the structure, you might want to pause for a few moments to enjoy its magnificent façade. From a distance, the palace looks like a castle straight out of a fairy tale.

There are several rooms that are open to the public, such as the Great Audience Chamber, the Consistory Hall, the Banqueting Hall, and the Papal Bedchamber. The Chapel of Saint John located on the ground floor presents you with breathtaking frescoes by Italian painter Matteo Giovanetti.

Petit Palais

This 13th-century UNESCO World Heritage Site is another example of the architectural design during the Gothic period. This building served as the residence of Episcopal bishops before the construction of the Palais des Papes.

The building has been transformed into a museum where beautiful works of art by famous Italian painters are on display. Of note is the “Virgin and Child” painting by Botticelli. You will also see works from the Avignon School of Painters.

Other notable structures that you can visit during your walking tour are the Saint Bénézet Bridge, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-des-Doms, Eglise Saint-Didier, and the Place de I’Horloge.

If you love walking and hiking like I do, then a walking tour of Avignon is a must.

On that note, there are also hiking trails around Provence that you can check out if your feet are itching to go on a hike during your vacation in France. From wine trails to lavender paths, chapel discovery trails, there are plenty of hiking paths that you can explore near Avignon.

I do hope you enjoyed reading this post. Please check back again soon for more posts on outdoor adventures by yours truly. Again, this is Mack Prioleau.