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Extraordinary Natural Phenomena

By Expert Author: Steve Robinson

Given the ready supply of cheap travel choices, including cheap fares, cheap airfare, cheap airplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, cheap auto rentals, discount travel packages and cheap vacation packages, the decision as to where to go is often tougher than finding affordable travel options.

If you are of a mind to try something different on your next vacation, you should consider the following bucket list of Mother Nature’s spectacles recommended by The Active Times:

• Goats can be found in trees in Morocco. Food is hard to find in the arid deserts of Morocco. Goats in these areas have adapted by learning to climb argan trees to eat the trees nutritious berries.

• Penitentes are snow formations that resemble tall thin blades and can be found in the Dry Andes above 13,120 feet. Penitentes range in size from under an inch to more than 16 feet high.

• The monarch butterfly migrations can be witnessed in California, Colorado and Mexico. Every year hundreds of millions of monarchs travel from Canada to Mexico and Baja California. It is a trip that spans the lifetime of up to four generations of butterflies. The best place to see this migration is the Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve located almost 62 miles northwest of Mexico City.

• Moonbows form when light reflected off the surface of the moon combines with moisture in the air. They are fainter than rainbows and usually appear white to the human eye. Long exposure photographs reveal the full spectrum of color. The best places to view spray Moonbows are Yosemite National Park in California, Cumberland Falls in Kentucky, and Victoria Falls in Africa.

• Sailing stones can be found in Death Valley, California on the Racetrack Playa Lakebed. Stones, weighing up to several hundred pounds slide across the playa, leaving a trail of sediment behind. Scientists hypothesize that high winds after a rain push even very heavy rocks across the slick lakebed.

• The Aurora Borealis and the Aurora Australis can be found in high southern and northern latitudes. Aurora light displays are the result of the collision of energetic charged particular with atoms in high altitude atmosphere. These light displays can glow in many colors, including green and red and often looks like curtain waves in the sky.

• Synchronized fireflies can be found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Two weeks each summer thousands of fireflies gather in this park and blink in perfect unison to attract mates. Each species (of which there are 19) have a unique flash pattern that leads males and females to each other. However, only synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus) are able to coordinate their glow.

• Glowworm caves found in Waitomo, New Zealand draw visitors to see the pinpoints of lights created by thousands of glow worm larvae.

• Morning Glory clouds can be found in Burketown, Australia from September to November. Glider pilots are attracted to this area to ride the currents that create these incredible formations. Up to 600 miles long and over one mile high, these clouds remain low to the ground and can move as fast as 37 miles per hour. Up to eight consecutive roll clouds can be seen, depending on weather conditions.

• Pororoca waves can be found in the Amazon River twice a year (once in February and again in March) when tides from the Atlantic Ocean converge at the mouth of the Amazon River creating the world’s longest waves. These waves can be up to 12 feet high. One surfer rode a Pororoca wave for 37 minutes over 10 miles.

• Bioluminescent plankton can be found at San Juan Island or the Hood Canal in Washington State. Strong currents bring a surplus of nutrients to the area which in turn attracts a great quantity of bioluminescent plankton. Kayakers can see water turn to a blowing silvery blue as their paddles and boats agitate the tiny organisms. Adventuresome visitors can swim in the water and watch as the plankton glows brightly around them as they swim.

• Raining fish can be found in Yoro, Honduras. While you might think such a thing could only occur in a fairy tale, this phenomenon occurs each summer with no scientific explanation. Some believe that the rain of fish is a miracle from God. Others believe that the fish may come from the Atlantic Ocean where they are sucked up by water spouts and then dropped on the town.

• Catatumbo lightning can be found in the Catatumbo River in Venezuela. Here the rate of lightning strikes is higher than anywhere else on the planet. Lightening shows occur up to 300 nights a year.

• The great migration takes place in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya. Annually a huge herd of about 1.5 million wildebeest and 200,000 zebras follow the rains from Kenya to Tanzania.

• The Taos hum is an unexplained, low frequency humming noise in Taos, New Mexico that can only be heard by between two to 11 percent of people. The noise is described as similar to a distant diesel engine idling.
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