Friday, May 15, 2015

Weekend Wanderings: here and now

Here and now....savoring every happiness from the simplest things. Here and my happiest place, the outdoors. 

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul."- John Muir

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Not Your Typical Las Vegas Vacation

Las Vegas Blvd

The picture above is the Las Vegas most people know, filled with colorful lights at night. Thousands of people walk on its streets everyday (or shall I say every night ) to experience this vibrant city. But behind these colors, is another part of Las Vegas most vacationers to this city do not see. If the Las Vegas Blvd is filled with all sort of crowds, Las Vegas backroads on the other hand is silent, yet teeming with natural colors. 
The Fire Wave, Valley of Fire State Park, NV

Between the two colors above, if you ask me which one do I prefer, it will not come as a surprise to those who had been following me here that my enthusiastic choice would be the natural colors in the 2nd picture. One of the many reasons why I have learned to love the desert as much as I do the mountains, forests and ocean, is because of the many hidden beautiful geological features in the desert that a casual passersby may fail to see. The desert is always judged as something barren, uninteresting, but to me, Earth is as beautiful when it is clothed ( with green vegetation and trees) as when it is naked ( devoid of vegetation, our Mother Earth shows us its beauty within). 
Multi-colored sandstone monoliths @ White Domes Trail, Valley of Fire State Park

Though the desert may look barren from afar, but you take a closer look and you will be surprised with the diversity of life within it. 
Beavertail Cactus and Colored Sandstone formation

The Valley of Fire State Park, which is about an hour away from Las Vegas, is one of the many outdoor destinations that tourists can explore around Las Vegas.
 Valley of Fire Wave
 Petroglyphs @ Valley of Fire State Park

Unlike what most people think, that a Las Vegas vacations means a "casino" vacation, fyi, we don't play in casinos. Las Vegas get-away for us usually means to explore the outdoors during the day, and then, to watch theater shows or concerts at night, 

of course, watching also the play of lights at the strip. 

"Out is In"- I know, this is an REI campaign, but got to love the store that prepares me to endure the outdoors regardless of the weather conditions.
Elephant Rock ( can you see the road below? no hiking to go to this rock, it is very close to the East entrance of Valley of Fire State Park )

In Las Vegas? Enjoy uncovering Las Vegas' best kept secrets too, such as The Valley of Fire State Park.

Four Tips To Keep in Mind When Traveling to Las Vegas

Many people dream of visiting Las Vegas, but if it is your first time taking a trip to Sin City, you may be interested in some travel tips that will keep things running smoothly. Here are four tips to keep in mind as you travel to Las Vegas:

Consider a Shuttle Instead of a Cab From the Airport

One of the most shocking things that people experience when visiting Las Vegas is the cost of a taxi from the airport to The Strip. Though The Strip isn't too far from the airport, traffic in Las Vegas is quite congested, and taxi drivers often take the longest route possible in order to get the most out of the passenger. A more convenient and affordable option is to work with your hotel to arrange a shuttle from the airport to your accommodation. There are also shuttle services that can be used that are not affiliated with a certain hotel.

Spend Some Time Away From The Strip

Most people visit Las Vegas to see the famed Strip, but there is also a lot to see and experience in the downtown area of the city. In fact, many of the performers who work on The Strip will spend their off nights downtown. This allows visitors to see great performances for very little money, and often, you can even interact with these people as downtown bars are restaurants are much more casual for the most part. There are also some famous Las Vegas landmarks in the downtown area, such as the famed Golden Nugget. This complex is responsible for re-inventing the downtown area after it was expanded and renovated by Steve Wynn in 1967. It brought a new, high-class crowd downtown for the first time.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Angels Landing and Potato Chip Rock

Angels Landing....
View from Angels Lading, Zion National Park, Utah
Potato Chip Rock.....
View from Potato Chip Rock, Poway/Ramona, San Diego County
click here if you are looking for directions to Potato Chip Rock
Both of them have vertical drop off more than a thousand feet. But which one is scarier to get to the top and stay there? Can you take a guess?

Badlands: Our Reminder of Life's Fragility?

Surfers Stepping on Shore Set the Birds to Fly
It is not easy getting sick. Being a migraine, allergy rhinitis and asthma sufferer, I do have my bouts of health challenges from time to time. The attacks come often by surprise, like a thief entering the household whether it be day or night. Usually, when asthma and allergies hit me, I would be at an emotional low, wishing for good health. When I feel better, I would usually seek  the outdoors for being out is just soooooo goooood, really good!!!! God is so kind, so gracious. He just knows how to shower us with priceless gifts outside that will last us a lifetime if only we take time and open our eyes and heart to His majestic gifts!!
Gulls @ Sunset
It is already a known fact to those who follow this site enough that my favorite place in San Diego to seek peacefulness and healing is Torrey Pines.
Reflection of Torrey Pine Cliffs on Sand @ Low Tide
I could not count the many ways why I love Torrey Pines and why being here gives me such rejuvenating energy. It must be the scent of the ocean, the power of the waves, the sculpting in the eroded cliffs,

Badlands at Torrey Pines

the magical twisting of Torrey Pine trees,

A Torrey Pine Tree in Fog
and topping them all, Torrey Pines combines two of my favorite outdoor activities,
Reflection of Torrey Pine Cliffs on Sand @ Low Tide
hiking and the ocean. Torrey Pines does not only offer me a beach to play in and chase the waves, but also gives me miles of leisurely trails on top of the bluffs.
KTL @ Guy Fleming Trail
Though the change in elevation here is only 350 ft, but if I combine several trails, that is go up, then, go down, and up,and down, then, it would be equivalent also to having hiked up several thousands feet :)
I call the badlands at Torrey Pines as "desert by the sea". Being directly exposed to the elements, these cliffs are easily eroded by the unforgiving forces of nature resulting to Earth's sculpting like no other.
Badlands at Torrey Pines
I love badlands. For me, their presence reminds us of how fragile our Earth and our life is. God blessed us with intelligence to study these natural forces that had shaped our land so that, hopefully, our world will not end up with all badlands! Hopefully, we get to keep our deeply forested resources too and the diversity of life around. Nature opens our eyes to what we can and need to do. As much as we contribute our little ways to help preserve our natural resources, we also do our best to keep ourselves fit and healthy. I guess, one of the reasons why I continue to seek hiking and the ocean is because I dread getting another migraine, asthma or allergy rhinitis. Knowing my medical and health fragility, I always see to it we get good Medicare supplement plans from our health and other plans, since we do not want all that we earned be eroded so quickly by humongous hospital bills and everything be swept off just like the eroded soil in badlands. Whenever I feel healthy, I feel like celebrating life, and the quickest celebration I can go to is Torrey Pines, whether it be day or night. At night, when more surfers start to get out of water, as they step on shore, they create a shock to the birds, which would case a huge flock of birds to fly away.
During the day, I get to see the bandlands reflected on the sand that is washed by the sea.
Or I can soar up high these badlands overlooking the sea, well, in my dreams :)
The badlands are to me the symbol of how temporary our life here on Earth is, and how fragile are our resources. And though we are blessed with intelligence, but it is not enough to fathom God's marvelous creation. I remember Albert Einstein once said, "the more we understand the forces of the universe, the more we realize there is so much we do not know and we acknowledge the presence of a God."
Everything on Earth is temporary. We just have to enjoy every moment given to us, for tomorrow may be another story. Maybe, another beautiful story. For the beauty in life, is up to the person who breathes it!!
Ahhh, The Joys of Simple Life, you can not find them at the mall but they are everywhere around you, they do not come with a price, but their memories last a lifetime.

Planning A Trip to Florida

From small towns with old seacoast charm to metropolitan areas with all the appeal of the big city, Florida has something for everyone. The sunshine state hosts 95 million visitors per year who enjoy everything from golf to boating and every outdoor activity in between.

The past three years in a row Florida has been the most-visited state in the U.S. for its vibrant combination of beaches, parks, outdoor recreation, dining, arts, sports and endless activities for fun in the sun. Dining covers the full range from fine cuisine to great southern cooking and more. From a beachside shack with unforgettable fries to a beautiful harbor side restaurant with dishes as memorable as anything in the world, Florida offers something to please every appetite.

Arts and culture are represented in museums and galleries representing all styles of art. Kids can discover facts and be amazed by interactive history and entertainment venues throughout Florida, learning about everything from space travel to seafaring life.

Every major sport has franchises in Florida, from football to basketball, hockey to soccer. Professional baseball teams gather for spring training every year, and a handful of major league teams call the state home.

Visitors tour lighthouses, hike and beachcomb serene beaches, golf outstanding courses and sail placid seas, and then do it all in again the next day. Miles of stunningly gorgeous beaches fringed with warm water of the Gulf and Atlantic please lovers of sun and surf with endless balmy days on the sand. Find out why Florida is the most visited state on your next vacation - and be sure to plan enough time to take in all that the state can offer!