Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Two Late Posts

I missed two Fridays of Fun Friday in our Blogging for Fun Group. Catching Up, I will be posting here two letters, V and W.

V is for very late volcanic post :( .
Lassen Peak Volcano and Lake Helen, Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA, Summer 2009
Lassen Peak Volcano Reflected at Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA, Summer 2009
Lassen Peak is considered the world's largest plug dome volcano that rises 2,000 ft to an elevation of 10,457 ft. This is a very beautiful and peaceful National Park located in North Central California. Aside from Lassen Peak Volcano, Lassen Volcanic National Park consists of 3 other types of volcanoes. Actually, all four types of volcanoes found in the entire world are represented in Lassen Volcanic National Park, these are:
1) shield - Prospect Peak Volcano
2) plug dome - Lassen Peak Volcano
3) cinder cone - Cinder Cone Volcano
4) composite- Broke-off Volcano
Visitation at this park is lowest in March and peaks in the summer. Right now, the Southwest entrance is covered with 130 inches of snow.
Visitor Center at the Southwest Entrance of Lassen Volcanic National Park ( March 24, 2010 )
photographed by: Shanda Ochs, from Lassen Volcanic National Park website

With this kind of snow approaching the end of March, it's no surprise why the peak visitation is in the summer. In fact, last year during summer, we visited this place and this was the condition of the trail to Bumpass Hell when we hiked.
Summer Hiking to Bumpass Hell @ Lassen Volcanic
(from my multiply album, summer 2009)
It is a place where hot and cold co-exist.
snow and steam @ Bumpass Hell
( from my multiply album, summer 2009)
Fumarole at Bumpass Hell 
( from my multiply album, summer 2009)
Sulfur Works, Lassen Volcanic National Park
( from my multiply album, summer 2009 )
Now, from V, on to W. From ice and steam, to wildflowers and waterfalls at San Diego River Canyon Trail. All pictures were taken from our hike last Sunday ( March 21, 2010).
Wildflowers and Waterfall @ Cedar Creek Falls,
San Diego River Canyon ( March 21, 2010)
The hike to this 80 ft waterfall in San Diego River Canyon starts from San Diego Country Estates in Ramona. The hike is about 4.5 miles round trip, with about 1200 ft elevation gain/loss. This is a reverse hike, meaning, starting from higher elevation, we go down to the bottom of the canyon at the river gorge, and on the way back is an uphill hike. Some portions of the trail going down the river is very steep, thus we always bring our hiking poles when we take this trail, 
and those who don't have hiking poles usually end up picking sticks here and there for their poles to help them in their uphill and downhill trek. Unlike last year where there are carpeting wildflowers, this year, because it warmed up late of the year, the chilly and strong winds depressed the wildflowers and instead promoted growth of more weeds. Nevertheless, though more weeds than wildflowers, hiking is still as inspiring and refreshing.
Refreshingly Green
Here are some more pictures of wildflowers and waterfalls from our hike last Sunday.
Kids Enjoying a Dive and Swim After a Hike 
Sunflowers Above the Waterfall
Sunflowers and the River Pool Below
Cedar Creek Falls
Me, Photographing the Yucca 
Owl's Clover
I am sorry if I can't update this site often now, having to balance both work and studying and also having classes on Saturdays take so much of my energy that I am not as inspired to sit down and blog in my free time. On my little free time, I prefer to be taking the trails instead and get rejuvenating energy and de-stress from the wonders of nature, enjoying the simple pleasures in life out of the doors. 

Master of Arts in Teaching Degree Online from USC

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of USC. All opinions are 100% mine.

I love my job, though others may see it as probably difficult, but no words can describe my happiness within whenever I see sparkling eyes from students who finally find their way to tackle a problem, tapping their deductive reasoning. No words can describe my happiness whenever a student would come tell me, "I finally got it, I can understand Math a lot more now! " Of course, no words can also describe the sadness sometimes when the times are rough. It is challenging, sometimes I wanted to cry and quit, but most of the times I am happy. Though I also enjoy my long vacations traveling and wandering somewhere, taking photos of nature and enjoying outdoors, but deep within, I always long to go back to the classroom, to answer that excitement of shaping younger minds, preparing them for college, helping them to become more successful. Teaching may not be for some, but for those who chose this career path, would probably agree with me the unbounded joys of teaching, the unexplainable rewards one feels within as they share the triumphs and successes of the minds and hearts they shape.

Teaching is a lot of strategy, a lot of planning, a lot of thinking and a lot of heart. It is both an art and a science. It won't hurt to be further armed with graduate studies that will further enhance teaching skills. When I took my graduate studies before, I was lucky enough not to teach and study at the same time. I simply focused on my studies. However, my graduate studies is in Science, not in teaching. Thus, when I decided to shift my teaching career path from College Chemistry to High School Math, I had to study again, study to become a high school Math teacher. And it is not easy to teach and study at the same time, it is not easy juggling between two schools, in one school as a teacher, and in another school as a student.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fun Friday: Ubehebe Crater

Stopping to Take in this Surreal Landscape nearby Ubehebe Crater
It is Friday once again, and time for Fun Friday in our group, Blogging for Fun. 
This week, we are working on the letter U, and U is for Ubehebe Crater, in Death Valley National Park, CA.
Ubehebe Crater, Death Valley National Park, CA
The Ubehe Crater is the largest of the eruption in this area. The crater system here contains several volcanic craters, cinder cones, ash hills, all of which are relics from an explosive hydrovolcanic eruption that occurred about 2,000 years ago. 
Can You Find me Here? , Along the rim of Ubehebe Crater
Rising magma met an underground lake where in an instant, water flashed to steam, and a violent release of steam-powered energy blasted away the confining rock above. There are numerous crater in this area, but Ubehebe is the largest, about 2400 ft in diameter, 600 ft deep and with up to 150 feet of rock debris mantles near the site of explosion. 
Desert Holly Against Black-Gray Volcanic Ash/Sand
The Ubehebe Crater is one of the amazing and mind blowing landscapes in Death Valley National Park. In this side of the world, the Earth shows its beauty and form when it is devoid of green. 
Black Volcanic Sand and Colored Badlands

Friday, March 26, 2010

Traveling on a Budget

My idea of a vacation is always spending time with nature, hiking and seeing our beautiful world at the backroads. My travel goals at present is to explore and experience all the 58 National Parks in US before exploring the National Parks in other countries. 

This summer, we are planning to explore the National Parks in the Pacific Northwest. We plan to fly to Seattle and then fly back to San Diego from Portland. Before booking flights, hotels and rental cars, I always look for the best rate plus coupons to use so we can have further savings. Some airline companies provide promotion codes like the Southwest airlines promotion code that you enter when you book to get a discounted fare.

Even with hotels, we can find promotional codes to use. Travel companies online such as  Travelocity also offers Travelocity promo code. Using coupons always help make the travel budget lighter allowing for a greater savings. Whatever money we save from travel, I usually save it for the rainy days. Especially that I am new in this country, I know I still have many years to catch up to build my retirement savings so that I can retire happily, peacefully, and so I can explore more our beautiful world at the backroads.