#TravelTuesday! The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico, just an hour from Albuquerque and Santa Fe, is an area of magical rock formations that seem to defy gravity. The cone-shaped tent rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago and left pumice, ash and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. Hike through the unique array of hoodoos and a narrow slot canyon, and then enjoy a picnic under the pinyons.

Plan your visit to the monument with our interactive maps.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

The Hippie Trail was an overland journey taken by many hippies from the mid 60s until the late 70s; in every major stop of the hippie trail there were hotels, restaurants and cafés that catered almost exclusively to the pot-smoking Westerners.


#TravelTuesday with Guest Photographer Bob Wick to Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area – A Quiet Oasis in Urban Southern Florida!

Visitors to the Atlantic Coast of South Florida who want a break from the hustle and bustle of this mostly urbanized area will find a welcome respite in northern Palm Beach County.  The 120-acre Jupiter Inlet Outstanding Natural Area packs in a remarkable array of natural and historical resources in addition to its spectacular namesake lighthouse.  The 105 foot tall brick lighthouse itself, an early homestead, and other historic structures are visitor and photographer mainstays and are open for tours most days. However, don’t end your visit there.  An interpretive trail traverses several Florida coast vegetation types and ends with an overlook of mangrove forest and the intracoastal waterway.

Photo tip: A polarizing filter works just like polarized sunglasses and cuts the glare on the water surface and other objects. This will improve photo clarity of manatees as they remain mostly under water, and also brings out the colors of all scenery – it’s my mainstay filter and as a bonus it (like any filter) protects the camera lens from scratches.

The waters around the ONA offer opportunities for snorkeling, kayaking and stand up paddleboarding past mangroves and other native vegetation. Osprey, herons, egrets and ibis are commonly seen along the shore. In winter, manatees congregate in the adjoining waterways and are often visible surfacing for air right next to shore. Look for gopher tortoises along the trails sunning themselves at mid-day.

Photo tip: When photographing wildlife, try to capture behaviors; an osprey eating a fish, a tortoise walking towards its burro. This makes for more interesting shots than an animal just standing looking at the camera.

Check out our @esri Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse ONA multimedia storymap for more stunning photos, helpful links and a map of the area:


Canada’s 15,000-Mile “Great Trail” Will Be the Longest Car-Free Route on Earth

Almost 25 years ago, back in 1992, Canada began building its cross-country course called The Great Trail. Today, it’s 87% completed, spanning 20,770 kilometers (over 12,000 miles) between 13 provinces and territories from Newfoundland to British Columbia. Slated for completion in 2017, the full route will stretch 24,000 kilometers (nearly 15,000 miles), representing the longest recreational trail on earth.

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Trail Map

> How do I learn Ruby on Rails? Vim? Test-Driven Development?

Someone asks us these questions weekly. We think we finally have good answers.

Extracting answers from is a program designed around 1-to-1 mentor-to-apprentice relationships with a heavy emphasis on pair programming.

However, each apprentice additionally has extra time each week to study topics of their choice. They set goals with their mentors and are held accountable to reaching them by publicizing the goals in an internal wiki.

Example goals include:

  • Read chapters 14 and 17 of The RSpec Book.
  • Review and merge a pull request on an open source project.
  • Write blog post about anonymizing data.

One curriculum does not fit all

We’ve been calling each apprentice’s wiki page their “trail map”.

To us, the “trail map” metaphor relates to hikers, bikers, and skiiers:

  • start in different places
  • want to go to different places
  • often change direction mid-journey

Likewise, apprentices (and anyone learning a topic):

  • have different past experiences
  • have different learning styles
  • change their goals mid-process


With 12 apprentices in the program, we’ve noticed common patterns in each apprentice’s trail map.

So, we’ve consolidated trails into a default trail map and we’re pleased to now announce its release under a Creative Commons Atribution license.

You’re free to use the trail map however you’d like, even commercial training.

Initial trails

The trails exist as a single git repository on Github named Trail Map:

We hope learners everywhere will fork these trails for their own learning purposes and submit improvements via pull requests.

Each trail has three sections:

  • Critical learning
  • Validation
  • Ongoing reference

Critical learning

This section lists things like books or blog posts to read, screencasts to watch, code to read or write, and koans or tutorials to complete.

In each topic, we aren’t aiming for greatest depth, but rather the most efficient way for the learner to become productive.

For example: we suggest chapters, rather than entire books, to read.


This section lists simple tasks the learner should be able to perform during routine development. We’ve never liked quizzes or certifications, but some hueristic is useful for assessment. We think self-assessment is a simple, fast, and low-stress approach.

For example: we say you know everyday git when you can (among other things), “stage a file, create a commit, and push to a remote branch.”

Ongoing reference

This section lists things like man pages and API documentation which we’ll always reference regardless of experience. Many things are not worth memorizing.

For example, we suggest that a developer refers to man git-rebase during a project.

What’s next

This is a work in progress. We plan to add and edit trails as new resources are released or people tell us better ways they’re learning a topic.

We’d love to get your feedback in the form of Github Issues.

Written by Dan Croak.

Bicycle trail network of the Netherlands


The Netherlands has a network of bicycle trails with thousands of nodes. At each node, you will find a map of the surrounding area including 10-20 other nodes. The routes to the adjacent nodes are signposted so you can easily make long distance trips. The roads used are either quiet country roads or bicycle paths.