Sunday, June 19, 2016

Finding The Stretch of Purple Sand at Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, CA

Dusk @ Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, CA
Big Sur is one of our favorite nature escapes in California. We had been to this place for a relaxing vacation for about three times now, however, our last vacation was our first time at Pfeiffer Beach. 
Purple Sand at Pfeiffer Beach
Though located at the heart of Big Sur, yet Pfeiffer Beach is not that easy to find. It is probably the favorite beach of the locals, but oftentimes missed by tourists, just like us before. Thankfully, before coming to Big Sur this 3rd time, I did some local search of Big Sur's interesting places to explore and hike. I found Pfeiffer Beach at the top of the list, described as " every photographers dream".

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hoodoos Keep on Haunting Me

Bryce Canyon National Park Amphitheater

Utah rocks rock!!! The hoodoos around Utah will rock you with their spells. Hoodoos, which means to cast a spell, are pillars of rock left by erosion. The fantastic shapes of these rocks are accurately known to cast a spell on every visitor.They cast a spell on me, they kept on haunting me, as much as they haunt other visitors probably. They haunt me to come back, to look often at their pictures, to dream about them, and now, here I am, trying to undo that spell by writing about them. Let me share to you one of my favorite locations in Utah to experience magical hoodos, Bryce Canyon National Park. 

Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the 7 National Parks of the Southwest's Grand Circle. Its amazing beauty is the result of the destructive forces of water and ice carving away the weak limestone of the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. The result of this water, ice and gravity erosion brought about red rock spires and horshoe-shaped amphitheaters of hoodoos, which Bryce Canyon is known for.
Navajo Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Into The San Diego Wild :)

You may wonder why there is a smile :) symbol after the title. It is because it is not uncommon for me to get comments similar to the two below:

"I was in San Diego, but did not see those at all."
- I guess, it depends on which part of San Diego one focused their travel. Of course, if the focus was the "city", despite all the abundance of nature in and around San Diego, one may not be able to see them because they are not in downtown streets. 

"You always take vacation. I do not have much time to get away as much as you do."
-  One of my professors before told us, "San Diego is one of the most expensive places to live, you could get a place for 1/10th of the price and 10times the size somewhere else. However, if you enjoy a balance of great outdoors and the city, this is your city. You don't need to take a vacation, for everyday is like a vacation. Considering vacation expenses, the price you are paying for to live in San Diego is not that expensive after all."  :)

Oftentimes, we are being mistaken to have a lifestyle that always take vacation. To quote a friend while I toured her around San Diego, she said, "Goodness, Betchai, I did not know these are all just within San Diego and minutes from your home. I thought all the while, every weekend, you take a vacation. Haaayst! Please pray I can find a job, HERE!"

Anyway, let me share with you first a picture collage which somehow summarizes what is around San Diego.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Bumpass Hell, Lassen Volcanic National Park

Bumpass Hell Basin, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Bumpass Hell contains the largest concentration of geothermal features in Lassen Volcanic National Park. The hike is 3 miles round trip to the start of the boardwalk with 300 ft change in elevation, but add another 0.5 mile if you plan to explore the whole Bumpass Hell basin. Usually, the trail opens July 1st, so I did not expect we could take this trail because we were there on the first and second day of summer, June 21st and June 22nd. However, at the time we were there, the trail just opened, we're lucky!

Friday, June 03, 2016

Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park

Exit Glacier is one of the 38 glaciers that flow out from Harding Icefield. The name Exit Glacier was derived from the first recorded crossing of the Harding Icefield in 1968 which exited in this glacier.If the hike to the end of trail of Harding Icefield is strenuous, the hike to Exit Glacier is easy to moderate. After hiking Harding Icefield, we took the much easier trail to Exit Glacier terminus.
Surface of Exit Glacier
The trail to Exit Glacier is only a 1 mile loop, though it has uphill/downhill slope, but not as steep nor as rocky as Harding Icefield trail making the walk a lot smoother and easier. In just a matter of minutes from the trailhead, you will be face to face with a glacier.
A Stream of Water Falling From the Melting of Glacier
Like many of the low altitude glaciers, Exit Glacier is steadily melting.You will hear the sound of the many waterfalls falling from the melting of ice when you come close to a glacier. The Exit Glacier has shrank 2 miles for the past 200 years.
Glacier Waterfalls 
If you are planning for a trip to Alaska, I really highly recommend putting Seward where Kenai Fjords National Park is in your list to visit. If you are physically fit and won't give up on physical and mental challenge, the hike to Harding Icefield is really out of this world and very mentally, emotionally and spiritually rewarding. However, if you think you cannot make it to Harding Icefield, the easy to moderate 1 mile loop hike to Exit Glacier is still very much worth it. 
Unlike the trail to Harding Icefield, the trail to Exit Glacier is almost free of rocks and snow during summer, and can be accessed even by some with disabilities. I am always happy to see this kind of trail since it allows and opens up our natural world to others who may not be able to take strenuous hikes because of physical reasons or because of having little babies in the family. 
One of the Many Tubes at Exit Glacier
The Exit Glacier shows many hollow tubes, and for me, these are the natural warning signs that we take extra pre-caution when we are in front or hiking in a glacier. The glacier is unsteady and parts of it can crumble anytime. Some may get tempted to have a picture inside the tube, but what if the ice above crash and you get buried? I have seen and heard a glacier crumbled, it is a phenomena that I will never forget. It is both inspiring and sad. Inspiring to see how nature carved the Earth and sad to observe how everything on Earth is temporary. 
In my next posts, I will show the other side of Harding Icefield.
Exit Glacier from Harding Icefield Trail
At the other side of this 4000 ft thick of ice and 700 square miles of icefield is the ocean. It is kind of hard to imagine that this vast mountain of ice sits right next to the sea, and everyday is changing.  

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Random thoughts, Random Pics

my place of refuge, the Pacific Ocean @ La Jolla
Peregrine Falcon- the fastest living animal on Earth ( La Jolla)
this amazing bird, and the other wildlife around La Jolla makes the time go by so quickly.