Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Big Sur Favorites

Me @ Big Sur, CA

One of the places in California that we frequent for a vacation yet never get tired of is Big Sur. What I love most about Big Sur is that it combines two of the Earth's features that I love, the mountains and the ocean. Though between two California big cities, Los Angeles to the South and San Francisco to the North, yet this strip of Pacific Coast appears as wild as it can be. 
The Wild Pacific Coast @ Big Sur, CA

Let me share with you my Big Sur Favorites.

1. Favorite Lodging: Lucia Lodge

Lucia Lodge is one of the very few ( maybe only 2 or 3 hotels in the area) hotels in Big Sur that sits right on the cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean with stunning vistas. Who does not want to retire to a beautiful sunset after a day of hiking or of exploring? Or wake up to a beautiful sunrise?
Sunset and Sunrise From Lucia Lodge

2. Favorite Waterfall to Photograph: McWay Fall, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
McWay Fall

McWay Fall probably is the most photographed spot in Big Sur. It's really very photogenic. The turquoise color of the water in the cove is simply mesmerizing. The sight of waterfall dropping next to the sea makes it very special. Just too bad we could not go down to the cove to enjoy the waterfall and beach to preserve the area. There was a trail that goes down here before, but that trail was closed due to erosion and foot traffic. 

With beauty, comes popularity, that sadly, to preserve the beauty of this majestic waterfall, the trail going down the beach has been closed now. I am not complaining the trail has been closed, I actually am glad that this piece of beauty is preserved for future generations to enjoy. And I believe, the closure of trail down to the beach added more depth to its beauty. 

3. Favorite Beach: Garrapata State Beach
Garrapata State Beach

Garrapata is more than just a beach actually, this is also a great place to hike! It's just a choice of hiking next to the cliffs down to the beach where you can find a spot where you feel so special for having the best of the beach all to yourself. Or you can choose to hike to the redwood canyon up the mountain at Garrapata State Park for a stunning ocean scenery.
Hiking and the Ocean, @ Garrapata State Beach and Park

4. Favorite Hike: Limekiln Falls State Park
Cascades @ Limekiln Falls State Park

What do I love most about this hike? Walking in the middle of tall trees in the redwood forest. 

5. Favorite Cove: Partington Cove
I actually love the hike here, it combines stunning ocean vistas, redwoods, tunnel, and then of course, the reward of the hike is a very nice relaxing rest at the cove.

6. Favorite Beach Walk: Pfeiffer Beach
Why? Well, isn't it obvious? I found my pink sands beach! Haha! Actually, it's not just the pink sands that I love here, but the rock formations. It's like being in Mono Lake, but just not in lake, but next to the ocean.

7. Favorite Viewpoint: All of Them :)
 I really do not have a favorite viewpoint in Big Sur, everywhere you turn, the scenery is simply inspiring. National Geographic won't put this in their list of world's ten best drives of a lifetime if it is not that rewarding. I just feel lucky enough to be living not too far from this very beautiful stretch of land. Big Sur vacation again? No doubt! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ways to Cool Down During Summer

Summer is near, are you excited, or do you dread it? Though all seasons are great for me, because each season is unique and we get to see the many faces of nature. Photography wise, my favorite season is spring! Despite my allergies, I just can't get enough of the blooms, whether they be wild in the fields or in garden.
The Flower Fields, Carlsbad, San Diego County

I love to imagine myself as the "flower fairy", hahaha, dancing in the middle of the flowers. But could I dance? haha, that is the big question!! But I could smile, at least! :)
No Dancing :) But Rejoicing

In terms of photography, after spring, my next favorite season is fall. I love how the autumn leaves become like flowers in terms of colors.

Hiking wise, my favorite season is winter. Somehow, I  find myself being able to hold better in cold than in heat. 

Hiking in heat  gives me very bad headache most of the time. However, I still do try my best to hike even in 70s F (or low 20s Celsius ) temperature.

So, where is summer in my list? Is it my most dreaded season? Hmmmm, actually, summer is my MOST FAVORITE SEASON! Surprise? Or no?

Let me count the ways why summer is my most favorite season. Or actually, let me share with you the ways to cool down this summer! They are not only my way of cooling down, they are the very reason why I love summer!

1. Enjoy the chilly breeze of the ocean.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekend Wanderings (6): Butterflies

picture collage done through
( to learn more how I create my photo collage through, you can visit the post I wrote for The Salitype Society here )

Saturday: April 12, 2014 @ The Buttefly Jungle, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

I know, I am not even done sharing our recent spring adventure at Big Sur, Yosemite National Park and Eastern Sierra, yet, here I am, sharing our Weekend Wanderings not even a week after we got back from our 9 days adventure trip. :) We got back home Sunday night from Eastern Sierra, Monday- Friday, back to work, Saturday, well, time for weekend wanderings again! Our rest and relaxation is not couching at home, but enjoying the gifts outdoors. For those familiar with the rest and rejuvenation brought about by physical activities I am sure could relate so well that exercising is healing, allowing our body to breathe in therapeutic inspiration and breathe out stresses.

Anyway, last Saturday, we did not do any strenuous hike, because we wanted to enjoy the gifts of "butterfly joys" @ The Butterfly Jungle in San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Though after the butterflies, we took a long walk as usual at the Safari Park, but I will share the other non-butterfly photos later. Meanwhile, let me share here some butterflies photos I took last weekend.
Camera Settings: Manual, f/2.8, 1/160 seconds , ISO 100
Camera Settings: Manual, f/2.8, 1/100 seconds, ISO 100 ( and same settings for all pictures below )

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Guide that explains you Why weight loss naturally scores more over weight loss with supplements.

In the current scenario there is a rage for health and weight loss supplements. People have started living fast life. Thus they depend more on junk food than home cooked meals. Also there is more dependency on machines and the physical activities have reduced. All these factors have led to sedentary lifestyle. Due to sedentary lifestyle there are cases of obesity and related ailments all over the globe. People understand the importance of weight loss. Thus they want to stay fit and healthy. They want to lose weight. But they want to try quick methods and thus they feel that weight loss supplements like hcg drops, meal replacements, fat blocking supplements etc. would be useful to them. There is also a craze for hcg diet wherein there should be intake of very few calories. This may lead to malnutrition.

Clear all your misconceptions

Actually there are misconceptions in the minds of people in regards to weight loss and weight loss supplements. People feel that merely with such supplements they would lose weight. But it is not so. There are some myths and some facts that one should be clear with. Just read the information below to find out why losing weight naturally is better than using supplements.

1. Rapid weight loss: Some weight loss supplements may lead to rapid weight loss. Rapid weight loss may have serious implications on health. If you are trying drops of hcg then you should have knowledge about hcg drop side effects. This will help you in taking the right decision.
2. Cost of supplements: The reason why you should rely on natural methods of weight loss including exercise and diet control is because of the high cost of weight loss supplements. Anything that is novel in the market and creates a rage has a high cost for the time being.
3. Exercise and yoga can tone muscles: With yoga and exercises there would be muscle toning which is good for your body. Weight loss supplements merely cut down the calorie intake either by curbing the hunger or blocking the fat.
therapeutic cardio (hiking) and yoga (loosening) exercises in the great outdoors!

Losing weight naturally helps you in longer run

If you lose weight naturally by diet control and physical activity there will be a longer run impact. It means that you won’t gain weight too quickly. Some weight loss supplements like hoodia, garcinia cambogia are addictive and thus as soon as you leave them there will again be weight gain. Even diet pills behave similarly. It is better that you make a schedule for yourself wherein you take up workouts on regular basis.

You should take more of natural foods like salads, soups, fruits etc. Some weight loss supplements can lead to problems like stomach upsets.

For example hcg drop side effects include problems like depression, pulmonary problems etc. Thus if you make a healthy comparison, you will realize that natural methods of weight loss is much better than relying merely on weight loss supplements.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Big Sur, Yosemite and Eastern Sierra Road Trip from Southern California ( part 2 of 2)

Before I proceed to Day 5, let me share first the summary of days 1- 4 of our Big Sur, Yosemite and Eastern Sierra Road Trip from San Diego, which I shared in part 1 of this series.
Day 1- drove from San Diego to Big Sur
Day 2- explored Big Sur, with hikes at Point Lobos State Park, Garappata State Park, and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. We also revisited Pfeiffer Beach.
Day 3 - sightseeing drive from Big Sur to San Mateo via coastal highway, with stops at Moss Landing and Santa Cruz. We did very little hiking and sightseeing this day because of very heavy rain.
Day 4- From San Francisco International Airport, we drove to Yosemite National Park and explored some parts of the Valley.

Now, moving to Days 5- 9.

Day 5: Explored some parts of Yosemite Valley, then, hiked to Vernal and Nevada Falls.
El Capitan @ Yosemite Valley
hike to Vernal and Nevada Fall via John Muir Trail

Vernal and Nevada Fall is considered to be the signature hike in Yosemite National Park. The Park ranger said that if we only have time for one hike, then, Vernal and Nevada Fall must it be, especially that these two waterfalls can't be seen at all from the Valley Floor. I've done this hike before, but it was summer 2008. The trail climbs 2000 ft in 3.5 miles. I believe the early summer hike was a lot better than our hike this year, which was in between periods of snow. I was counting how many times I was hit by a snowball that were falling from trees. But it is not the rough, icy and slippery conditions that made me think the summer hike to Vernal and Nevada Falls was a lot better, it was the closure of Mist Trail. The mist from waterfalls that still turns to snow because of freezing temperatures makes the Mist trail not safe this time of the year. I was a bit disappointed not to see the beauty of Vernal Fall face to face, but only from the footbridge.

A few days before our trip, the weather forecast does not look nice in Yosemite, however, when I called for a change of date, I could not change dates without paying for 2 nights lodging, because of 7-days cancellation policy in Yosemite. We did not want to pay for something without us enjoying it, thus, we just came prepared. We brought with us tire chains ( required in California for mountainous icy driving ), ice trekkers for icy hiking and hiking poles.  The ice trekkers and hiking poles really helped us a lot since the trails past Vernal Fall footbridge started to become snow covered, some parts very icy, and getting icier to the top. 

Please visit my previous post about hiking Vernal and Nevada Fall if you want to learn more details of this hike. Though I may write about this trail again, for a spring or icy hike, since the last time we hiked this trail was summer 2008. 

Day 6: Hike Upper Yosemite Falls Trail, then, drove to Bakersfield after.
 Yosemite Falls from the Valley

More than 90% of the tourists in Yosemite see Yosemite Falls from the Valley floor only. A small portion of the visitors would take the hike up Upper Yosemite Falls trail to be up close with the falls. Upper Yosemite Falls hike is a giant stairmaster, the trail climbs 2600 ft in 3.8 miles. It is like climbing to the top of Empire State building via stairs not just once but more than twice. But unlike climbing stairs in a building, the hike up is surrounded by gorgeous scenery around. 

Like our hike in Vernal and Nevada Falls, the trail was getting icier and icier towards the top. Getting up close to the thundering power of Yosemite Falls and seeing the Valley below instead of looking up high from the Valley is worth the climb.

Friday, April 11, 2014

9 Reasons to Visit Croatia this Summer

Croatia is one of the most astonishingly beautiful countries in Europe and thanks to its beautiful landscape, history and diverse culture is simply a must visit. However, if you don’t believe us we’ve compiled a list of 10 different reasons you need to go this summer.

photo from wikepedia
The Water
Turquoise water is just one of those things that spells holidays and will take your breath away and Croatia’s is just that colour. Enjoy the country’s thousands of beaches, inlets and islands in the sunshine.

The Climate
Croatia is a Mediterranean country and so has a Mediterranean climate. In fact the country has a total of 2600 hours of sunshine each year on average. This makes it one of the sunniest countries in the whole region.
The Nature
Croatia is situated along the Adriatic sea and has any number of beautiful beaches and mountain ranges for visitors to enjoy. Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the most beautiful areas in Europe and a must visit if in the country.
Plitvice Lakes ( photo from wikemedia commons )
If you love sailing and getting out on the water you’ll love Croatia and there are plenty of options to charter a boat or yacht for a day or more and get out on the water. Sailing is a Croatian’s favourite pastime and something worth enjoying when you’re there.

Light Houses
Croatia is filled with light houses, mainly due to the coastal area’s length and also the number of islands of the coast. Visiting lighthouses is a fun and also an exciting way to see some of the quieter areas of the country when visiting.

The Culture
Croatia is a fantastic country and though modern is also very laid back. There’s a real ambience in a lot of the areas, although it’s still an exciting place with plenty going on.

Red Bull Air Race
A fine example of something fast paced and with plenty going on is the Red Bull Air Race which will take place in the town of Rovinj in April of this year. It’s set to be a fast, exciting and thrilling site and one that will see the town packed. If you’re in the country or have the opportunity to visit the Red Bull Air Race, then look for hotels in Rovinj and Vrsar and then visit.

The Food
Croatian food is fantastic and thanks to its location it’s one of the best places to eat in the area. Croatia is only a short distance from Italy and so enjoys plenty of influence from arguably the tastiest country on the planet. In addition, it’s also got fantastic land and is right on the sea and so having great fish, wine, meat and other foods. Delectable could be one word to describe it.

Croatia has been at the centre of the cultures of the world for millennia and so has a long and notable history. From stone age sites, where the first Europeans lived, to historic towns, to fantastic architecture the country is one that’s been influenced through the ages and it still shows today in its rich heritage.
Croatia is a fantastic nation and the perfect place to consider for your holidays this year – mark it in the diary.