Ways to Invest for Capital Gains

 6 Ways to Make Capital Gains

There are basically two types of investment income. Capital Gains and Investment Income.

Investment income is income you receive from an asset, examples of investment income is interest on savings, rent from property, and dividends from shares.

Capital gains is the increased value of an asset; examples of capital gains is the increased value of property, shares, and other assets.

Some investments provide capital gains but no income; examples of these are precious metals such as gold, bitcoin, antiques and other collectable items.

Here are investments which provide Capital Gains:

The Sharemarket

The sharemarket offers excellent opportunities for capital gain. For most people, investing directly into the markets is not an option because the transaction fees once taken out for buying and selling shares make it not worth their while, however, there are plenty of managed funds investors with limited means can participate in. Sharesies in New Zealand is one. Investors can drip feed money into the markets with Sharesies and there is the option of investing in various funds or individual companies. Other similar types of platforms in New Zealand are Investnow, Kernelwealth, and Hatch. These are not the only ones though.

Your retirement scheme invests in managed (Mutual Funds) and they are also a form of Capital Gains. In New Zealand joining Kiwisaver is a no brainer. Kiwisaver is New Zealand's retirement scheme.


The property market has been a popular Captain Gains tool for a lot of investors using not only their money but other people's money in the form of a loan. Income is gained from rents which pays for the mortgage. All related costs are the most popular form of capital gains and the easiest one for the novice investor to get their toe wet in the markets and learn as you go because there are several mutual funds which are available and the start-up costs are minimal. In New Zealand Sharesies only costs $1 to get into which gives you the chance to invest in managed funds or individual companies. It is a great way for tax-deductible. This type of investment can turn to custard such as wayward tenants. If you are prepared to take the risk then this investment may suit.

Your own home is a good source of Capital Gains if you intend to sell at some point.

Another way to get in on the property ladder is to purchase shares in property investment companies in the sharemarket. This can be done by investing in individual companies or managed funds which invest in property.

Compound Interest

You must have heard of compound interest; that is when you invest in fixed term accounts for x% interest. Instead of receiving your interest payments into your bank account you let them be added on to your principal and you earn interest on your principal and previous interest payments. This is called compounded interest.

The increase to your capital is called "Capital Gains."

Interest rates are very low at present (2020); in some instances lower than the inflation rate which makes this kind of investing less attractive. It is important therefore to do your due-diligence and not be enticed by some finance company offering higher interest rates than normal, because with higher interest rates comes higher risk. These finance companies offering higher interest rates lend to higher risk types of borrowers.

I am not saying that you should not invest your money in these companies but rather do your due diligence and at least diversify your portfolio rather than investing all of your life savings into the one company.


This one is purely speculative but can be a good hedge against a downturn in the markets. The one drawback with gold is finding a place to store it. Another way to invest in gold is buying gold stocks in the sharemarket. Purchasing gold coins from auction sites such as eBay and Trademe is another option. As with other investments it pays to do your homework and read all you can about gold and other precious metals.

Crypto Currency

Crypto currency such as Bitcoin and the like should be treated as speculative investments, therefore, only invest money in this if you can afford to lose it. What I am saying is use your discretionary income to purchase crypto currency. This type of investing can be a rollercoaster but one piece of advice which may be useful is to not just purchase all your crypto currency in one transaction but to do on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis so that there is a chance that you have made a purchase when the currency is low. It is called averaging.


Investing in collectibles can give you a sense of satisfaction and profit when you intend to sell. You really have to know your stuff when dealing in antiques. Always remember, something is only worth what others are prepared to pay for. If someone is prepared to pay $1,000 for a painting at auction then that is what it is worth, however, if another painting is sold at auction for just $10, then that is it's worth. The value of something is only a matter of opinion.

Recently (2020), some Banksy paintings sold for over $100,000 in New Zealand. The seller of the paintings paid a total of $500 for them in London (UK) some years earlier https://www.proleo.io/. It just shows how one's eye for a bargain can be profitable.

For smaller items such as postage stamps, bank notes, beer labels, and so forth collectors can list their duplicates on auction websites to help fund their hobby.

Investing for capital gains is a terrific wealth building strategy; there are several options for achieving this.

How to Market in the New Web

Online marketing has metamorphosised within the last decade, it is barely recognizable to the early nineties models of promoting a website. Then it was about submitting your website to directories. A site like Yahoo directories would arrange these submissions into categories and topics.

But as the number of websites increased, directories proved to be ill-equipped for the job of providing information to the net users. Then enter search technology, particularly Google. With search engines you would simply be able to cut through the chase and get to what you wanted using a search query. This changed the game of marketing from submitting websites to search engine optimization (SEO). Indeed SEO that includes the progression from keyword density of the late nineties all the way to theme density and the current Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) has been the bulk of internet marketing to date.

And now with the strong wind of Web 2.0 blowing, marketing online is facing an imminent shift. However unlike preceding marketing methods that were sort of phased out with new technologies, Web 2.0 seems to be an addition rather than a take over. To give you an idea of how much market Web 2.0 is controlling, MySpace.com one of the major Web 2.0 presences receives twice as many visitors as Google.com in a day. MySpace has over 100 million members that login frequently. Keep in mind that Google controls as much as 40% of the search market. Then consider that there is Bibo.com, Hi5, Del..Icio.Us, Digg.com and hundreds more. As a business this is a market you cannot afford to ignore.

There are some proven techniques and strategies that are well able to target this well profiled market. Incorporating them into your website makes you Web 2.0 ready. They include;

RSS : This stands for Really Simple Syndication. This technology allows a user to be notified of changes in a website of interest immediately. All they need to do is subscribe to the websites RSS feed. The user need not keep manually checking your website for updates.

Tagging : This is particularly a phenomena of book-marking sites like Del.Icio.Us. Tagging involves assigning your web pages with one word that best describes the content in each page. This allows a user of a book-marking site to easily find content that other users have tagged with a particular tag of interest.

News Submissions : This technique is great for creating wide spread instant buzz for your site. News submission sites like Digg.com allow its users to suggest interesting content. The content is then availed to other users who vote on it. If it becomes popular that site can attract hundreds of thousands of visitors in a matter of days.

Online videos are bringing web traffic numbers to all time highs. Statistics show that having videos on your website can increase traffic and revenue by up to 300%. When adding web videos to any website, you must take into account 2 things...capturing the attention of the visitor and then enticing them to take action. If you are a marketer or just have your own personal web site and you want more traffic, chances are that having a video explaining something would greatly increase the chances of having a visitor stay longer than 7 seconds, which is the average amount of time it takes for someone to decide if they stay or leave a web site.

Many times when videos are added incorrectly they slow the website down tremendously and thus losing its consumer base. Finding the right combination of videos size and quality is key, without it you may loose some of your visitors because of the site slowing down..thus making them less likely to ever return. This is bad for business and bad for the users, what if they really wanted to see what was on the web site but the videos were loading too slow?

Most people when they think of web videos think of YouTube or Google video, but that need not be the case anymore. People can start to produce their own web videos with their own style, there are tons of programs out there that can do it, but I have personally used V2F for my sites and it seems to be working out pretty well. Time is money and the faster things load, the better chance you have of keeping a visitor on your site long enough to hear your product pitch or whatnot. Its a fact, flash videos load faster than any other movie format.

There are several different kinds of formats, mpeg, avi, divx, xvid etc etc. The most popular for the web is flash, it combines the fast loading capabilities of a small video (even if its a big one) with the great picture quality of an mpeg or avi. Big companies, small companies and individual users all need an effective way to post their favorite videos to the web for their family and friends to see. The program has the ability to do what 3 or even 4 other flash programs can do combined.

Bringing traffic to your site shouldn't be a life changing decision nor an expensive one. Converting your videos on your computer from one format to another (like flash) can make the video loose its quality in both sound and picture. But what if there was a way to KEEP the quality and STILL make the videos small enough to put on your web site? Well there is, Converting your videos to flash format is the easiest way to go, and by far the cheapest.

I have used a lot of other programs for to do my video converting and a lot of them just don't live up to the hype. They promise me quality, they promise me that my audio will be perfect...well it isn't always that way. Its very frustrating to spend 2 hours converting a file thinking its going to be perfect when you finish, and then only to find out that doesn't get the video or audio right https://www.newpakweb.com/. Do yourself a favor and do your research, many programs come with a trial period which is fantastic since you need to know how it performs before you spend your hard earned cash.

The Power of Religion - Do We Need It?

Fashionable liberals decry religion as do the communists but even at the peak of Soviet power the church survived. And the Chinese are still worried about it. Ataturk when he created the new Turkey- after the end of the Ottoman Empire - broke the power of the Islamic Church a move which he believed was essential in order to move on. There is little doubt religion has been enormously important in shaping the World which is largely broken up by religious groupings. But if history tells us one thing it is religions do not mix - a minority grouping maybe tolerated but they need to stay out of politics.

But religion today is seen as awfully out of date with pork bans, contraception bans and the veil but those rules made great sense when you look back in time - bad pork was dangerous, life expectancy and infant mortality where high and the veil discouraged lasciviousness in small communities - and I often think offices might be a better place if it was used today! What religion has failed to do is move on and its power has been abused time and time again - once people believe in something as strong as a God somebody who is apparently close to the deity - like a priest- can manipulate his congregation and then it is only a small step to worldly rather than heavenly affairs so - from Medieval Popes to modern day Ayatollahs - God has been used to wield powers I suspect he did not give, nor intend.

But all this begs the question of do we need religion, or maybe is there a God at all?

I read a good article the other day that basically said that believing in God and the afterlife was a win win position because as one's life is ending it would be a very miserable ending if you believed that is it. But believe in God and heaven means departing the mortal part of this world is not all bad: in fact if life here is particularly hard it may look like a much better option. And in the end if there is no after life - well you will not know but at least you died happier.

And whilst I accept religion has been divisive it has also been important, if not vital, in the structuring of moral codes and social standards. Most countries still have a faith at the core of their system: in the UK and Commonwealth the monarch is not only the head of state but the 'defender of the faith,' and that is not uncommon among other monarchs. Presidents and other heads of state and administrators are usually sworn in with reference to God. The simple answer is that mortals come and go but God stays on forever and in the end it is not a bad idea to hold your head of state responsible to somebody and God is a person he or she cannot get at!

But beyond that is there a real purpose and indeed need for religion in modern society?

It was that thought that I pondered on when writing the Aquitaine Trilogy which was a about the rise of a new society starting with the survivors of a holocaust (Nuclear because it was the most effective and easy) who not only had to manage themselves but growing groups of other survivors coming to them for help, so a community was quickly built. It needed leadership and that was established; then in the longer term it needed a way of governing a community that was emerging into a new state. That allowed me to look back at our society and governance today and decide how I would change it. But writing a story always becomes a living thing in the mind of the writer and early on I realised the initial survivors needed unifying and needed to be given hope - so a semi religious ceremony was held on the first Sunday. It was lead by an actor, not a priest, and it drew on the actors and others knowledge of prayers and instead of hymns they sung popular songs. They were chosen to be emotive they began with 'Let it be, then 'Imagine' and finally 'Wonderful World." The whole service started with Hamlet's great soliloquy. Little to do with God but still very emotional and what the survivors needed. From there the actor took on priest like duties mainly burying the dead and helping the dying and there were plenty of both. Most people would agree in those circumstances a good priest provides a worthwhile function. From then on he and others developed a new religion -The peoples of the Earth - and the concept was (if indeed religion can have a concept and branding) to take in all other religions and draw from them creating a new unified religion or faith. So the Peoples of the Earth worshiped God's gift - the planet earth. They took the position that God's people had rejected the words of his prophets, ignored God's son and spurned God's messenger but now they had a final chance and they had to look after God's gift- our wonderful planet. Not only is a religion popular for those people who believe in God, and in times of desperation the number rises exponentially, but it was desirable as it provided moral fabric to society and a rock on which to anchor ethics and train young people - it also was by design environmentally friendly and would hopefully stop the new civilisation from raping and pillaging the Earth again.

There are very devout people in every major religion in the world that are convinced their faith is divine will. While it is just a personal feeling for some, others are willing to die for this belief. The pain and confusion this causes says a lot about people and their religions. It also should give people pause to stop and try to look at their religions in a way that will not lead to division and conflict.

There is no telling how many people have died for religion in history. From human sacrifices to wars of religion, the toll is incalculable. On top of this, there is all the other suffering that stopped short of directly leading to death. For example, there are lost chances at marriages and friendships, discrimination, lost economic activity and so many other problems caused by simple differences in opinion about religion.

The Causes

It seems that people want others to agree with them and prefer to be around like-minded people. There is also the strong desire to connect with people in a group. Furthermore, leaders and others with less than noble intentions exploit these feelings for political or economic advantage. Whatever the exact reasons, the results of these divisions have been tragic.

Who Speaks for God?

What should really give people pause is not the fact that they are flawed and confused, but that their god lets them remain that way. If a being with the power to create the universe wants them to follow a certain religious ideology, that being should be able to inform humanity of his wishes in a way that left no doubt. Be it calling down from the heavens or performing any one of millions of other clear and definite miracles that would come very easy for a god, there are just so many things that could convince even the most skeptical.

While those who follow different religions claim to have proof, nobody has ever been able to demonstrate this in a way that comes anywhere close to convincing the world. Either their god has not really provided this proof, or his creations have failed in their deliverance. Whatever reason, it would seem like it is time for some divine guidance.

If this all-knowing and caring god exists, why not simply step in and do something? He should know that human beings are flawed and can always need more help. If he abhors things like human sacrifice in his name and mass slaughter for religious ideology, then he can surely stop it. Why continually leave flawed humans to try to sort things out when they are undoubtedly failing? A voice in everyone's head that clearly said what the correct religion was would only take seconds, convince virtually everyone on the planet and put a stop to religious conflict immediately.

In addition, as deluded and sick as those dying and killing in the name of religion may be, there is no denying that many of them are sincere in their beliefs. While this does not make what they do any less horrible, it should further motivate their god to act. Knowing something is being done in your name, especially when you do not want it, motivates moral beings to do something.

The Solution

With no hard evidence of divine favor for any religion after so much death and conflict, it is time for people to assume no religion has it. It is far more rational to assume that the good and bad in religion come from the people whom created them https://ashokstambh.com/. If people learn to have the humility to look upon their religions as simply an idea of what any divine force may be and not a certain divine truth, they will take one giant step towards creating a better world.

Ways to Find an Inaugural Race

Inaugural races refer to the first time that a race is run. Brand new races can sometimes be hard to find, but it can be worth it when you find a good one. There are a few ways to find out about them, and you can use these methods equally well to find out about established races if you aren't sure what is in your area at any given time of the year.

Join a local club, team or running group and make sure that you get their newsletters and are on their email lists. You'll get notifications about new races and requests to volunteer pretty consistently.

Keep an eye on your local USATF or RRCA chapter. If you live outside of the United States then you will obviously want to follow your local governing organization instead.

Visit a local running shoe store. They may have a bulletin board available for race directors to pin their flyers, and will at least advertise any races that they are involved with or are sponsoring.

Go to other local races and always peruse the table set out for fliers belonging to other events. Any race director worth his salt is going to get his race onto the tables at as many other races as possible to drum up some interest. Especially in small local races, there usually aren't any fees so it may be the only marketing that a new event will be able to afford to do.

Subscribe to a local magazine and keep an eye on the race calendars listed in the magazine. You can also check their websites. The bonus of subscribing to a regional magazine is that every month or two you can read about the local news and look for pictures of people you know or race against.

Look for races on race calendar websites such as Marathon Guide, Active, and similar sites to see what shows up near you on their calendars.

Subscribe to Google Alerts for keywords about races in your area. For example, you might set up a weekly search for "races in My Town, My State" for local races near you.

Keep an eye out in your local newspaper for articles about new races. Most sports sections will list upcoming events on at least a weekly basis.

Last but not least - ask fellow runners what they've heard of. Runners are a pretty chatty bunch, and if your running partners are starting their own races they might know somebody who is or have at least heard of a new race in your area.

So those are the methods that I use to find out about new races, or any races in my area. Sometimes they can be tough to find out about until after they have happened since new races tend to have small budgets and their is not usually a lot of word-of-mouth buzz around them.

In the United States, races are often taken off the turf because of rain. You may handicap a whole program and invest hours on making your picks only to have the half the races on the program taken off the turf. Naturally, when you handicapped the turf races you looked at the horses and determined each ones chances of winning on the turf. The question then is whether or not you can still play those races and salvage something for the day.

The whole thing hinges on whether or not you did a little forward thinking and how you handicap a horse race. When I handicap a horse race I always start by noting which horses have won at the distance and on the surface that today's race is running on. So if today's race is a turf race at a mile distance, I look for those horses who have won on turf and at a mile or more. If the race is a dirt sprint at six furlongs, I want a horse who has won some dirt sprints.

The next thing I look for is whether or not the horse has won at that track. Some horses just do better at certain tracks and are the reasons some handicappers say, "Always look for horses for courses." That is good advice. But don't overlook the fact that a turf race may become a race over the dirt track if the race is taken off the turf. While you handicap a race on the grass, that should also be a consideration.

I make a note beside each horse that indicates whether it will benefit if the weather forces the stewards to take the race off the grass and put it on the dirt track. There are trainers who realize their horse has little chance on the grass, but that if the race is taken off the turf, the horse will then be competitive. The next time you handicap a turf race and see a horse that doesn't seem to belong in the race, just remember that the trainer may be hoping for rain and if so, his or her horse should get extra consideration.

If the race is put on the main track and you have planned ahead and made notes, there is no reason why you shouldn't play a horse that seems to be better suited for the dirt track. The trainer obviously put the horse in the race with that thought in mind https://www.adaptnetwork.com/. It isn't always a horse that is entered under the listing MTO ( main track only). Sometimes a conditioner will put a horse in a grass race and figure if it stays on the grass it will be a good chance to exercise the horse, but if it is put on the dirt it may be a chance to win, or at least get a share of the purse.

Best Way To Learn How To Make Money Online

If you are just starting out with making money online there is really no best way to learn how to make money online. There are many ways that you can make money online. In this article I am going to go over some of the things that you can do to get you started.

What type of skills do you have? - By this I mean can you build a website? Can you write? With making money online there are skills that you will need to learn. If you can buils a site or write you can offer services to people that need this done.

Do you have a plan? - Most people when they thing about making money online they don't have a plan in place. What is it that you want to do? Do you want to use paid or free traffic to get visitors to your website? You need to realize that making money online is a real business. Don't go jumping from one thing to the next because that will get you nowhere. All that will do is get you more confused. I know because when I first started out I didn't have a plan and I jumped from one thing to the next. You don't need to have a solid plan right away but at least have and idea of what you want to do.

Getting yourself a mentor - If you are going to get yourself a mentor get someone that knows what he is doing. Like for example if you want to know how to build a list find a person that knows how to build a list. Do realize though that you will have to pay a pretty penny if you are going to want one on one help.

Learning internet marketing on your own - You can always learn on your own. You can start out by joining discussion forums on this topic. When I first started out this is what I did. It took me a while to understand the terminology but go into it knowing what type of business model you want to do. I say this because if you are going to go at it alone chances are you are going to end up with information overload.

With more and more of us using computers across an even broader age range, it's obvious to consider ways for our new piece of technology to earn its keep. Whether it's a popular online auction site or any number of sites promising quick riches, it's easy to see why making money online has such appeal:

it can be quite anonymous - you can set up relatively cheaply and promote other people's products (you don't even have to produce your own products or hold stock)

there are no age restrictions - so the internet has massive appeal to those in-between jobs, those with a family or people looking to supplement their income, to name but a few

there are no 9-5 restrictions, so you can work the hours to suit your lifestyle and commitments

with the right tools, you can even turn your hobby into a lucrative online business

the internet truly has a global audience, although not everyone will want what you have to offer

Internet marketing is a process, so it can be learned at your pace in your spare time

the Internet is not gender specific - in fact women have a better eye for relationships which is key to any sort of relationship marketing, and essential online

there's a lot of free information available, meaning anyone who takes the time, can learn anything they need to succeed.

I'm sure you can think of many more.

What does Google think?

I just typed 'make money online' into Google and it returned 2,430,000,000 results!

That's a helluva lot of interest and competition there. But this in itself creates an even bigger problem. With those numbers, where do you start?

Good question.

It's at this point most folks start looking for short cuts. This is where the get-rich-quick crowd enter because there are so many people looking for solutions. And we expect instant gratification - of course! But this can be dangerous because those looking to make money online rarely have any internet marketing experience.

And the professionally written sales letters are ready and willing to help with this dilemma with their 'cut and paste' solutions and 'overnight formulas' promising quick riches.

Any business takes time to put together and the internet is no exception. Many of the top earners online these days have been honing their skills for over a decade. It's unlikely then that folks with practically zero experience are going to make a killing overnight! Presumably you want to build an online business not a one time payment? So why then do we fall for the promises of overnight riches knowing we have to do some work?

The only people who provide turnkey businesses usually charge fortunes for it; they're called franchises (think McDonald's).

You wouldn't buy a car without a test drive

Like any medium of exchange, an exchange of value has to take place. In the case of the get rich quick product, you exchange your money for something of value supposedly, right? But in most cases, the seller doesn't tell you anything about what you're buying! You pay your money upfront BEFORE you receive their secret 'rags to riches' formula!

Why do we keep falling for this type of enterprise?

I suspect it's because, with our limited experience of internet marketing and online business, we think the hard work has already been done for us. We just plug in their secret formula and the money will roll into our bank accounts. If you think that's true, I have some real estate to sell you!

This 'thinking all the hard work has been done for you' kind of attitude leads to a kind of not taking this 'make money online' thing seriously. And for the newbie, making money online is seldom regarded as a business.

Sound silly? It's not.

Why having no business experience matters

Many people who embark on the trail of internet success for the first time, rarely have any real business experience. Any successful business person will quickly tell you that success depends on systems. Think Franchises like our McDonald's example again - the same systems that work wherever. The sole trader who does the work himself rarely has the know-how to look beyond their own way of doing things. Think of your business as a system of ways of doing things then scale the systems. This is important.

To make matters worse, the internet takes a lot of commitment to succeed, especially if you're planning to do-it-alone. You can just quietly walk away if things don't work out, especially as there's no-one watching.

Don't mistake movement for achievement

It's easy to get faked out by being busy. The question is: busy doing what? If you've succumbed to some of the 'make money products' you're likely to discover that most don't deliver the riches they promise. The next question is how long are you going to keep trying this approach before taking the time to build a proper business people can trust?

Indeed, this might be a good time to ask yourself why you want to make money online in the first place. You do want to create an income don't you? Only you can decide.

If you've read this far, it's likely you're already doing the work, so why not start doing it the correct way? Turn your hobby, passion or skill into a viable online business. What you probably don't realise is that almost any topic can earn money with a website (the get-rich-quick sites don't tell you that do they?)

Put your brain and motivation to good use

Turn what you already know into a profitable online business - you don't even need programming skills or web design knowledge, an existing business or a product to sell (a common question), in this case, just your knowledge and motivation All the tools you need are all in one place, and they take you step by step and teach you how to use everything - even helping you find the perfect topic for your site; how to build it, get traffic to it, and how to make money with it, no matter what it's about!

Adventurous Christmas Gifts

If you have an adventure lover in your life, chances are that they don't want another sweater or candle for Christmas. Give truly adventurous Christmas gifts this year with experience gifts for a variety of different adventures ranging from wine tastings to racecar driving lessons. Experience gifts make the perfect Christmas presents for people that are hard to shop for, seem to have everything or want a little something different than your typical gift.

We live in a fast-paced world where material possessions just don't hold the same importance as they once did. Books get tossed aside for eReaders, fashion trends hardly last and other items lose their value and usefulness so quickly. Material gifts are great for some, but for others, there are far more special gifts that can be given. Giving someone a truly amazing experience that they might not have been able to have otherwise, is one of the best ways to make sure that your gift is remembered and cherished for a lifetime.

Experience gifts can be tailored for any gift recipient based on the type of experience you want to give, and the budget you want to work within. There are extremely affordable experience gift options that can provide the recipient with a fun adventure, and there are more expensive options that really push the limits. Adventurous Christmas gifts like learning how to fly a helicopter and going to bull riding school for a day are just some of the options for adrenaline junkies this Christmas season.

Choosing an adventurous Christmas gift for the special person in your life is easier than you imagined with the extensive options for experience gifts. You can choose to go with a company that sets up experience gift packages, or you can set up your very own adventure gift experience. Companies that specialize in adventurous Christmas gifts like experience gifts take all of the legwork out of finding a location, making contacts and arranging a price. All you have to do is search for the adventure you want to send your loved one on, and purchase the gift package. Or, you can purchase a gift certificate in any amount for the adventure lover in your life to choose their own experience gift from the company's list.

You can also choose to set up an adventure on your own to give as a gift, but this will take a little bit more work. Think about what types of things the recipient loves to do, or always talks about wanting to do. Tailor the adventure gift to the recipient's interests, making sure not to push them too far out of their comfort zones. For example, if you know that the person is terrified of heights, a bungee jumping experience gift might not be the perfect gift this holiday season. On the other hand, if you know a true daredevil, bungee jumping, skydiving, bull riding, racecar driving or hangliding might all be activities that they would love to try.

Break away from the ordinary this holiday season and give an adventurous Christmas gift that will be talked about for years to come. Adventure lovers will be overjoyed when they open up a present only to learn that they will soon be embarking on an adventure with an experience they will never forget.

With many sunny, bright, crystal blue skies and warm day time temperatures in the 60's and 70's, winters here in the beautiful state of Arizona are absolutely gorgeous and the dream of many. Along with its near perfect weather conditions, winters in Arizona are also ideal for getting out and exploring all the beautiful and spectacular desert mountain scenery and canyons right within a stone's throw distance from the Phoenix metropolitan area. As one of my all time favorite places to explore during the winter months, towering high above the city, out over to its eastern side, one of the largest mountain ranges, and in my opinion, one of the most beautiful and gorgeous, are the Superstition Mountains, located just 50 miles from the Phoenix area.

First designated a federal wilderness area in 1964, the Superstition Wilderness makes up about 160,000 acres, ranging in elevation from 2000 feet, in its western region, all the way on up to 6000 feet, in its eastern region. The lower western region of the Superstition Wilderness is extremely rugged, but also highly scenic desert territory with its many magnificent rock formations, amazing hoo doos, narrow rock canyons and steep vertical cliffs. With an extensive network system of inter-connecting trails, and easy access to its 4 main trail heads, Peralta, First Water, Canyon Lake and Tortilla Flat, the western Superstitions, particularly in the winter months are by far the most popular and also most heavily visited area for hiking, back packing, canyoneering and rock climbing, ranging from class 2 all the way up to technical rock climbing.

If you'd love to get out to visit the Superstitions and you're looking for a great idea for a hike, and if you're more of an advanced hiker, are in relatively good physical condition, and are ready for more of challenge, an incredible canyon hike that's a little less traveled for being in the western supes, offering interesting ancient Hohokam Indian petroglyphs, then further on a real boulder hopping, bushwacking, canyoneering adventure packed with gorgeous scenery, and stunning panoramic mountain top views, then I'd highly recommend that you check out hiking Hieroglyphic Canyon to Superstition Peak, in the western Superstition Wilderness, Gold Canyon Ranch, Arizona.

It was a clear, brisk, New Year's Eve morning that I met up with a local hiking club called the TLC Hiking Club, led and organized by Eric Kinneman, at a designated meet up location in Gold Canyon Ranch located on US. 60 on the far east end of town. After gathering up our group members by 7:15am, we set out together for the Hieroglphic Canyon trail head. It was quite a "zig zag" route but basically to reach the trail head you'll want to head east on US 60 until you come to Kings Ranch Road, turn left for 1.6 miles, then when you come to Baseline Road, turn right for.3 miles, then make a left onto Mohican Road for.3 miles, then another left onto Valley View Drive for.3 miles which turns into White Tail Road, then finally make a right onto Cloud View Ave for about ½ mile until you reach the large parking area and trail head for the Hieroglyphic Canyon Trail and also the Lost Goldmine Trail, which they commonly share together in the beginning. Once everyone had arrived having successfully navigated it to the trailhead, by 7:30am, we had packed up, geared up and were ready to start our day's trip and what would soon be our greatest hiking and canyoneering adventure of the year!

As most trail descriptions accurately describe, the Hieroglyphic Trail actually begins at the Lost Goldmine Trailhead but after a short ways, the Lost Goldmine Trail veers off to the right and you'll want to stay left for the Hieroglyphic Trail. With the sun quickly beginning to rise by this time, looking up from the rocky desert trail, the views of the reddish tainted Superstition Mountains before us with the sun's early morning rays glimmering upon them were absolutely beautiful!

With Eric leading the front half of the group and well out of sight by now, the rest of us continued to follow the rocky but level Hieroglyphic Trail, rated an "easy" trail, crossing the Superstition Wilderness boundary and through the beautiful desert mountain scenery for about 1.5 miles, roughly about an hour or so, until we reached the edge of Hieroglyphic Canyon and arrived upon a large, open rock area with a few small pools and etched into the smooth rock walls were many petroglyphs created by ancient Hohokam Indians, who lived in this region, circa 800 A.D. Wow! It is said that although there's been some vandalism through the years, these petroglyphs are still some of the best and most extensive collection you'll come across. Although I've seen many petrogyphs before, I really was quite astounded that there were so many and so vividly etched and well preserved. What an amazing sight!

From the petroglyphs and on into the upper reaches of Hieroglyphic Canyon, the journey now becomes a difficult and strenuous rated hike, with no clearly defined trail, and mostly all boulder hopping, and bushwacking, with class 3 climbing in some spots and a lot of class 3 and class 4 bushwacking, which is also combined with a scramble and climb of over 1700 feet to reach the top of the Superstition Ridgeline and then if that's not enough, there's another.7 mile of scrambling and climbing with another 700 feet or so to the summit of Superstition Peak. Eric strongly advised us that up from the petroglyphs, this was definitely a very difficult and strenuous, roughly about a 1.6-1.8 mile hike, with many hikers having returned saying that it's even harder than Flat Iron! So before deciding to take this one on you must really assess your abilities and experience level first, then be aware that depending on how fast of a hiker you are and if you enjoy taking a lot of pictures along the way like my friends & I do, you must also manage your time well in order to make it back and out of the canyon before sunset. However, if more of an easier hike is what you're looking for, then you could opt to just take the Hieroglyphic Trail up to the petroglyphs, for about 3 mile round trip, and still have a really nice and enjoyable day's hike.

After arriving at the petroglyphs and taking a short break to get some really great pictures, we said good bye to our good friends, Dan, Karen and Katrina, as well as a few others who were just hiking it up to the petroglyphs that day and where the Hieroglyphic Trail officially ended. I turned to head in the direction of the canyon and quickly ran into the wash hopping over the rocks and boulders to catch up with the rest of my friends as well as the rest of the group where we now began our journey and canyoneering adventure into Hieroglyphic Canyon and on up to the Superstition Ridgeline and Peak!

Having caught up with my good friends and fellow TLC Hikers, Bob and Scuji as well as another fellow TLC hiker and a great gal, Shauna, and with no clear trail in front of us, we quickly began the long boulder hopping, bushwacking venture heading up into the canyon along the Hieroglyphic Stream, but staying down in the wash on the canyon's floor pushing through thick brush and trees, and past thorny shrubs and bushes, hopping from one huge boulder to another, and in a few spots scrambling and climbing straight up vertical walls. At the same time, I was trying to take as many photos as I could get because when you took a moment to look up, the canyon's scenery and surrounding landscape, with all the interestingly sharp edged rock formations along the top, were absolutely amazing and gorgeous!

It was roughly about mid-morning and about halfway through the canyon, that we received confirmation from Eric by radio that he had already reached the top of the Ridgeline. We let him know where we were located and he advised us to continue to stay down in the wash until we had arrived at what he said was a "dry waterfall" located at the far end of the canyon. From there his directions were to hang a left at the dry waterfall, then a sharp right and follow the trail and the hand built rock cairns up to the top of the ridgeline. I conveyed the directions back to the group and we pressed on, still trying to get as many pictures as we possibly could but also staying aware of and conscious of our time so as not to fall too far behind. However, we all felt that the scenery was just so incredibly beautiful, you couldn't help but stop to get another great shot!

At this time, having also joined up with our good friend and fellow TLC Hiker, Jennifer, we finally had reached the end of the canyon where we veered left of the dry waterfall, then hung a right and saw where the trail to the Ridgeline began. And in my opinion, here's when the adventure really began because up to this point it was mostly boulder hopping and bushwacking along the bottom of the canyon. However, once you arrive at the end of the canyon and the dry waterfall to start heading for the Ridgeline, it's a straight up climb and scramble on a faint and narrow cliff trail, up a total of about 1700 feet with only occasional cairns to help guide you along the way until you finally reach the top of the ridgeline and a whopping 4043 feet in elevation. Wow! There were many moments when it was downright scary, especially when you looked back behind you, but whatever fear you have is quickly replaced by sheer excitement because the higher you got, the more stunning and spectacular the views became of the canyon and valley below you and wow, it was really incredible!

By 11:30am, and after getting stabbed in the legs by numerous cacti along the steep ascent, we finally made it to the top of the Ridgeline. It was then that I finally stopped to really take a look back at where we had come from, how far we had come and also where we had made it to now with all the amazing views all around. Wow, it was unbelievable! I quickly called to Eric to let him know we had made it safely to the Ridgeline and by this time he along with a small group of TLC members had already ventured on and were now at the summit of Superstition Peak. I could clearly see all their arms waving at us too in the not so far off distance. Meanwhile those of us at the Ridgeline rested, had lunch and thoroughly enjoyed our time together taking lot's of great photos of all the spectacular and gorgeous scenery not only of Hieroglyphic Canyon to the south of us, where we had come, but also the stunning and amazing views to the north of the Superstition Wilderness with Four Peaks way off in the background. Wow! It was absolutely breathtaking!

After about a ½ hour or so break at the top of Ridgeline, we were now ready to begin the next part of our New Year's Eve hiking adventure, the trek and climb over to the top of Superstition Peak! I really felt though that the roughly.7 mile journey and 700 foot ascent up to Superstition Peak from the Ridgeline was not really all that difficult compared to what we had just experienced and if you've made it this far, it is definitely well worth the extra time and effort to go on and make it to the summit of Superstition Peak. While en route from leaving the Ridgeline saddle area we finally caught up with Eric and the rest of TLC members who were already on their return from the summit. We enjoyed a few short minutes of conversation then quickly had to say good bye and while Eric led the 1st half of the group back down to the trail head, we continued on the roughly ½ mile trek and gorgeous journey climbing and scrambling to reach first one saddle area, then on from there to follow the trail along the northern side and come around and on up to reach another saddle area, which basically rested at the base of the peak, then finally on from there, the last 200 feet or so, the final push to the summit. Wow, we did it!

Only about an hour's journey later, by 12:30pm, and we had made it to the top of Superstition Peak, topping out at an elevation of 5057 feet! I had thought the views from the Ridgeline were absolutely gorgeous, but I was truly stunned and amazed at just how much more spectacular and incredible the scenery and views were from the top of Superstition Peak, the highest peak in all the Superstition Wilderness! Wow, absolutely breathtaking! Combined with all the giant hoo doo's and rock formations there at the top, it was really an amazing experience, beyond belief really, and like being in a different world. I don't think there will ever be any words to truly express the level of excitement and exhilaration that you feel after having successfully climbed to the top of mountain peak summit. It's truly an exhilarating and incredible experience, you will never forget!

After a short break at the summit, spending some time taking a lot of great pictures and video of all the breathtaking panoramic scenery, we were so excited and really enjoying our new "accomplishment", but after taking the last group photo shot, we decided it was time to get going again if we were to make it back down and out of the canyon before nightfall. So by 1:30pm, we began the long, trek and journey back down from Superstition Peak to return to the top of the Ridgeline, then the adventurous climb back down 1700 feet from the Ridgeline, trying to follow the faint trail and rock cairns placed along the route, to order to drop into the canyon's floor again on course for the long boulder hopping, bushwacking, and in some places, climbing and scrambling through the wash until hours later, roughly by 4:30pm, we had finally reached the petroglyphs again.

Continuing from the petroglyphs now on the Hieroglyphic Trail, it was an easy 1.5 miles trek back to the trailhead and parking lot. And at exactly 5:30pm, we finally made it out of the canyon and with only minor cuts, scrapes and injuries but plenty of sore muscles and shot out knees. Literally the last ones out of the canyon that day, we finished out the hike just in time for sunset and according to our GPS, round trip, it was a total of 8.3 miles, with a 2993 feet elevation gain and a total hiking time of 10.0 hours, a little longer than the average hiking time but that included our lunch, rest breaks and the many photo ops we took along the way.

In all, really a great day for a really phenomenal hike as it was a clear, sunny gorgeous day with the temps in the low-mid 70's, couldn't have hoped or asked for anything better for a long and challenging hike like this was. A really great hiking adventure that was once again very well researched, carefully planned, and also very well advised by Eric Kinnemenan of the TLC Hiking Club. This was definitely the longest as well as the toughest hike I've ever done and we all agreed, this hike was much harder than Flat Iron when you combine the trek to the Ridgeline and Peak with the long, boulder hopping, bushwacking journey through Hieroglyphic Canyon. But wow, what an incredible day and a great adventure! Absolutely the perfect way to finish out the year too! So if you're ready for a real boulder hopping, bushwacking, canyoneering adventure that's got it all from ancient Indian petroglyphs to gorgeous scenery, and stunning panoramic mountain top views, then I definitely say go check out hiking Hieroglyphic Canyon to the Superstition Peak, in the western Superstition Wilderness, for a truly amazing experience you won't soon forget!

Laura K. Halik is a writer and published author with over 20 years experience of outdoors travel throughout the state of Arizona and the western region. She is passionate for nature, the outdoors, travel and adventure. Laura enjoys hiking, canyoneering, white water rafting, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, writing, and photography https://charitysafaris.com/. She is also a co-hiking leader and organizer in a hiking and outdoors adventure club for advanced and experienced hikers.

Throughout her professional career in international business, Laura has worked and traveled frequently throughout the Latin American and Caribbean region. She lives with her family and pets in Phoenix, Arizona.


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