Explore the wonders of the Earth. In this site, you will find some information about hiking trails, some of the natural wonders in the places we explored, some itineraries of our travels, some road trip information, some health and fitness tips to enjoy the outdoors, and more of the simple joys from our natural world. Life, like hiking, has lots of ups and down, rugged and steep terrains, switchbacks, and beautiful scenic turns.- Betchai
The photos below are aerial views of Pacific Northwest, taken from inside Southwest Airline plane from Los Angeles to Seattle last June 28, 2010. Since I prefer to seat in the aisle for convenience ( easy to stretch, easy to move around), the pictures below were all taken by my husband (KTL). Though I was at the aisle seat, I can still see a little bit the view below and we had fun identifying the mountains that we passed. It is so nice to see them from above, when before, we only saw them from the ground.
1. Mt. Shasta, California.
Mt. Shasta, California, Summer 2010
It was interesting to see Mt. Shasta from above when about the same time last year we also spent vacation here in the area, with Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA as one of our main vacation destinations then. You can find one of my posts about Lassen Volcanic here.
2. Crater Lake, Oregon.
Crater Lake National Park, Summer 2010
When we first saw Crater Lake right below us, there was no doubt in our mind it is indeed Crater Lake. Unlike the first picture above, where we had to guess between Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta. The deep blue color of Crater Lake with the Wizard Island on the right side of the lake ( as seen from the picture) just made us very confident that what was below us is Crater Lake. Like Mt Shasta, Crater Lake was also one of the major destinations of our vacation last year. You can find some of my posts about Crater Lake National Park here and here.
3. North Cascades, Washington (?)
(?), Summer 2010
Now, this one we are not too sure, thus the question mark after North Cascades. Anyway, you can find some of my posts about North Cascades National Park here and here.
4. Mt. Rainier, Washington
Mt. Rainier, Summer 2010
Looking at the picture above makes me wish we had the same beautiful skies during the days we went to Mt. Rainier, but for us, we had to live with snow, rain and blizzard when we got there. You can find my some of my posts about Mt. Rainier here and here.
5. Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens, Washington
Mt. Rainier (top left) and Mt. St. Helens ( bottom right)
Now, seeing the picture above reminds me to share something about our trip to Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument next time.
This is a sponsored guest post written by Steve Derouin on behalf of Tim Handorf. Post powered by Sponzai.
It's that time of year when tons of college students prepare to go back to school. For many of them that means heading back to the campus, meeting up with old friends, and settling back into the dorms. However, attending college full-time during the day is simply not an option for a lot of working Americans. This is one of the reasons why online colleges have become so popular in recent years as they give people the ability to get the education they need while they work to support themselves and/or their families. The challenge with online colleges now is finding one that has a good reputation both in your respective industry as well as with current students and alumni. There is a website that truly provides online college rankings that matter. They spent the time researching all of the statistics provided by the top online colleges to the Department of Education and then also surveyed the satisfaction levels of current students and alumni to provide rankings that are more relevant and helpful to prospective students. We think that this guide to online colleges is really worth a look if you are thinking about going back to school to get a degree.
Us, White Water Rafting @ White Salmon River, Washington
( our picture taken by staff of Wet Planet White Water )
One of the activities we did aside from hiking, tide pooling and spelunking during our Washington and Oregon trip was white water rafting. The last 2 days of our trip was at Columbia River Gorge, where we stayed at Hood River, in Oregon.
Mt. Hood and Hood River Bridge @ Columbia River Gorge
Though Hood River in Columbia River Gorge is world known for wind surfing, however, we do not have muscles :( for that sport, so we decided to do white water rafting.
Wind Surfing @ Hood River, Oregon
In the Columbia River Gorge area, the center of white water rafting and kayaking is the White Salmon River. The White Salmon River is fed by White Salmon Glacier from the slopes of Mt. Adams and flows into the Columbia River Gorge.
Mt. Adams Surrounded by Clouds, picture taken from Mt. Hood
Since the White Salmon River is fed by White Salmon Glacier, the water was freezing cold, thus despite it was in the summer, we had to wear thick wet suit underneath the water proof jacket.
The lower portion of White Salmon River is in the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area and some of the upper sections are part of the National Wild And Scenic Rivers system. The White Salmon River Rafting is a breathtaking combination of adventure and scenery being part of the National Wild and Scenic River area.
one of the many exciting drops we had at White Salmon
( the one wearing red jacket is our raft guide and mentor )
The rapids that we took are classified for intermediate, class III- IV. We rafted a total of 8 miles, with an over-all 750 ft drop.
Us, Rejoicing After Surviving all the Exciting Drops
White water rafting is such a fun experience, though I will not give up hiking for white water as a hobby, but then, it is always great to try something different once a while. I am actually looking forward for more white water rafting in our next trips.
Eezo Praying or Eezo Dreaming? :) , Lion Camp @ San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park
The moment I saw the picture of Eezo above which was taken by my hubby (KTL ), I went to dreamland. Perhaps, like Eezo, I am dreaming of a wild vacation in Africa.
Elephants Running at Wild Animal Park's Safari Walk
( one elephant near us roared very loud, and all of a sudden the rest of the elephants ran towards him, what a sight of running elephants in grove )
However, since I am here in San Diego, the closest I can go to when I dream of experiencing the African Safari is the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park, which is now renamed as San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Safari in "Swahili" means a "journey of mind and soul". The picture of Eezo above, somewhat reflects someone whose mind and spirit is having a wonderful, peaceful and dreamlike journey.
How I wish we all have the time and the money to travel anywhere our mind and heart would want to explore. However, we try to limit our adventure vacation to twice or thrice a year only since of course, aside from time constraint, there is also money constraint. :( We also have to save for our rainy days and for our old age. This summer, we had a grand time exploring the wonderful National Parks in Washington and Oregon, but after that 2 weeks in WA and OR, my summer vacation continues here at home, in San Diego. How is my vacation like in my home turf? Well, it's just as fun!
Simple Joy, Pure Fun in Boogie Boarding
The ocean never leaves us, so, who am I to snob the call of the waves? The WTA tournament went back in San Diego after 2 or 3 years of absence, so of course, went there to watch tennis matches
and enjoyed as paparazzi when tennis players are practicing on courts.
Sometimes, I do visit my friends at Sea World,
San Diego Zoo,
San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park ( or now San Diego Zoo Safari Park ),
and occasionally meet my friends in the trail and in the wild.
My summer vacation at home also includes planning for the next vacation. Though of course I dream of being in a real African Safari someday, but with my goal of completing all the US National Parks first before exploring the National Parks in other countries, I do not know when I will finally set foot in Africa :( Right now, I am almost done with itinerary for an Alaska Adventure for summer 2011 and now is trying to work on an itinerary for the 3 National Parks in Florida, which are the Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park and Dry Tortugas National Park. I had been hoping to hit this side of the East Coast before, however, with too many places to go, this one has always been put aside. I am hoping however, that the weather will be good this coming winter break ( December 2010) for a Florida vacation. My friend who recently went for a European trip shared to me her wonderful experience of staying in villas in Italy. She said it is like having a home away from home and is really a great value for money. Since Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park are kind of close to each other, instead of looking at different hotels to stay, I try to consider my friend's suggestion to look for Florida villas maybe in Homestead while we explore Biscayne and Everglades. And then, because of better flexibility of staying in a villa, we may consider staying in another owners direct villas also at Key West for Dry Tortugas National Park. Right now, I am in a state like Eezo, looking up at the sky and my mind wanders, believing I will get there!
Believe all these dream vacation will happen, one or two or three US National Parks at a time, until all 58 has been completed, and then, I am in Africa! Dream on, Betchai :)
This guest post from my friend Amy Evey
I have a very large family and growing up we were all really close, both geographically as well as emotionally. As times progressed, our paths started to spread further and further apart. Right now, I have a brother who teaches in China, a sister who is a missionary throughout Africa, a brother who is serving in Afghanistan and a lot of cousins and close family friends who have spread their wings all over the world.
All I can say is thank goodness for technology and rural internet service in CO! We all keep blogs and are on various social networks that allow us to share pictures and videos with one another. At any given time, there can be family and friends chatting real time with each other from four different continents. We get to see pictures of sights we could never begin to imagine otherwise. We are able to keep each other updated on the mundane little things as well as the important family announcements that seem to pop up on a regular basis.
When I moved to the country, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep in touch since I have heard rural areas don't have a lot of luck with good signals and whatnot, but I have no problem with my internet satellite connection. I am able to keep in touch with every single person who is important to me!
I think it has been a while since I posted some macro shots. I oftentimes end up putting aside my macros for later posts to share our hikes and travels, which most of the time shows the landscape of places we explore. However, before I forget about these shots again ( yes, I still have probably dozens of macro butterfly shots from months ago that I have not shared yet), let me share a precious moment with Mr. Monarch I had last week.
I was walking at Balboa Park when I saw a monarch landed on a flower and started to flap its wings open and close. I came closer, but he never left. I hesitated to take out my camera from my bag, since I was skeptical that after I took my camera, he will fly away, that happens a lot of the times! But since the butterfly seemed to be enjoying flapping its wings, yet not leaving the flower, I decided to take out the camera and hoped for the best that it will not fly away. Thankfully, he did not fly away, kept on flapping its wings open and close, yet remained in the same place.
Same Butterfly, Same Flower, But With Closed Wings
What the butterfly was doing reminded me of the song we used to sing to a baby teaching the baby what close and open means using our hands. And then, while I was having my moment with this butterfly, suddenly a gush of other butterflies came to sight, a lot of them! I was so entertained by them that I kept on clicking here and there and had forgotten about this poor monarch. One of the butterflies landed on a daisy, and I hoped it will stay there until I am done taking picture. He did!
Monarch on a Daisy
And then, I saw another monarch so focused sipping the sweet nectar of flower. I inched myself closer but not too close to get a picture. Luckily he did not fly away, perhaps the nectar was so sweet that even my presence can not shoo him away.
I had a good time with these butterflies despite I was not able to take them a picture all grouped together :( Somehow, they kept on flying here and there and did not really land in same place, otherwise, it would have been awesome, like what Ruthi had in this joyous butterflies moment. After having some wonderful time with these butterflies, I took some pictures of some flowers, which you can find it in my Salitype post here.
After Sol Duc Falls and Easy Pass Trail, let me take a breather from my lengthy outdoorsy posts, and this time, just simply share a few pictures of how we are taking pictures :) This is just a "more for fun" post. I guess, I am very tired right now, I walked all day at Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo ( of course, taking a lot of pictures too), and when I got home, I grabbed on the chance to write a sponsored post for my group, The Salitype Society, however, sadly, we encountered a problem because of our change in url. Troubleshooting the problem kind of fried my brain that I do not know anymore what to write and what to say, so, here goes my post for today, simple words......and yes, simple fun :)
Whenever we are on vacation and engaged in our world of taking pictures, we also love to capture each other's challenging moments, or let me say, awkward moments. Here are some of our pictures being "caught" doing our best to capture the image the way we wanted it.
1. Me ( it is my blog, so I am first!)
( caught by KTL, my hubby )
Okay, so, what is the result of that kneeling to the ground?
Mt. Rainier Penstemon
2. My hubby
( caught by RCA, my cousin)
why did he have to lie down like that? Well.....
Starfish at Hole in the Wall Tidepool
Since my hubby's lens is a 75-300 mm, it is hard for him to take a wide angle picture, however, in his mind, he wanted to capture the starfish with the rocks and the ocean. Kind of, we all think the same, but have different results. See what my cousin did (below), and see also what I did in similar situation ( last picture below).
3. My Cousin
my cousin caught by KTL ( obviously I am not very fond of catching others in their awkward moments, as I was absorbed in my own world)
What is the result of her picture? Take note of the orange starfish above so you would be able to relate to what she did!
Lone Starfish and Sea Stacks
Can you see the similarity of our captures? We did not talk, but maybe, somehow, family kind of influence each other. We all are thinking of having starfish as part of the foreground of the scenery in front of us. Now, here is my take below, only that no one bothered to take me a picture while I got wet taking this.
Now, why do I have to post this last one? Well, this is my blog and I am free to show off what I got too, while they can't, haha! Anyway, now you know, we are a family who share the same hobby, hiking, outdoors, beach, tennis and photography! Ooops, my cousin is into marathon too, now, that is not something I can do! Just make me hike 26 miles, not run 42.195 kilometres ( 26 miles and 385 yards) for a very short time like she does! :)