Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Monterey, CA (Part 1 of 3)


Where do you think this trail leads to? 
@Cypress Grove Trail, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The 17-mile Drive, Pebble Beach, CA

The Lone Cypress Tree at 17-mile Drive
The 17-mile drive was one of the places we explored when we were in San Francisco during my younger brother's work assignment in the Bay Area last spring 2007. Because my younger brother only had one day to spare for exploring due to his hectic work schedule, we were at a toss then where to tour him around. I asked a friend who lives in San Francisco if she only has one day to wander from San Francisco, which she would prefer to tour friends or family: go North to Point Reyes National Seashore and Muir Woods National Monument, or go South to Big Sur. Not stopping at all to think, she said with such joyful tone, "BIG SUR!" Adding that it is her favorite place on Earth, more than Prague! Haha, of course, it is hard to compare the two, since Big Sur is more about nature, and Prague is a historical and cultural city. 
Me and My Younger Brother at Spanish Bay

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

From Faro, Portugal to La Jolla Caves

Have you heard about Faro, Portugal? It is a very popular destination for sun-seeker tourists from Europe and the United Kingdom.  It is nestled along the southern coast of Portugal. What makes it popular is its reliable sunny weather with cool ocean breezes. Tourists from colder places get their much longed sun without feeling too hot. How I wish I can share you a picture of the place that I found in the more remote area of Algarve. Imagine the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park next to the ocean, ahhh, it almost is a dream, right? But it came to almost a reality for me when I saw a picture of something like that in Algarve, one of the scenic destinations from Faro. I was drawn to the beautiful rugged cliffs, amazing rock formations right on the sea,and the picture started me dreaming. 
In my dreams, I flew to London to join my friends and to watch the 2012 Summer Olympics. However, when I reached London, one of my friends happily shouted he found cheap faro flights for all of us for a 3-hour flight to Faro. Our holidays in Faro were filled with so many ohhs and ahhs, definitely enchanted with the amazing contrast of the orange rock formations right next to the blue sea. In my dreams, a friend woke me up....it was time for our flight back to London for the summer 2012 Olympics! However, when I opened my eyes, my Londoner friends were out of sight nor was I in Portugal. Also, no 2012 Summer Olympics in London for me. :( Ahhhhhhh!!!! 
Now, that I am back to my reality, let me share with you, one of my favorite places to be lost here in San Diego. La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Caves. 
 La Jolla Caves

Coronado Beach: America's Best Beach 2012

Hotel Del Coronado Beach Resort
The Coronado Beach has long time been one of America's finest beaches, and this year (2012) has been ranked by Dr. Beach as America's Best Beach. Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, otherwise known as "Dr. Beach", is a professor and director of coastal research at Florida International University. Each beach in the the top ten list has to meet different criteria, which ranges from water quality to sand softness to water temperature and water access. Coronado Beach scored in the 230s out of 250, losing points only in water temperature criteria, where the summer water temperature is in the frigid 60s. However, its water quality, safety ( great lifeguarding program), fantastic Mediterranean climate, and wide sand beaches ( hundreds of yards wide as you can see in the picture below) did make up for the points lost due to frigid waters.  - Source: msnbc

Orlando or San Diego?

Dolphin Trainer for The Day, Sea World San Diego (which can also be experienced in Sea World, Orlando)
I got several inquiries lately through The Joys of Simple Life Contact Form that they are planning to visit either Orlando or San Diego this summer. They asked if there is any place between this two that I prefer. Now, I may be the wrong person to ask because I have never been to Orlando. Honestly, it is hard for me to compare two places when I have not been to the other one. I am not surprised however with the inquiry since San Diego and Orlando are two of US most popular destinations for family vacation.
Shamu Show @ Sea World, San Diego ( which is also offered in Sea World, Orlando)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Point Reyes National Seashore, CA

Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes National Seashore is one of the beautiful nature escapes from San Francisco. We went here for a short day trip from San Francisco last spring 2007. Our day trip also included Muir Woods National Monument and Marin Headlands. Most of the pictures in my post about The Golden Gate Bridge is from Marin Headlands.

Friday, June 15, 2012

FLORIDA DREAMING!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of VISIT FLORIDA for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Dolphin Dreaming
I was at the Dolphin Encounter pool when I saw this playful dolphin playing with basketball. I stopped for a while and observed the dolphin, and wonder what the dolphin may be dreaming. The dolphin here looks so much in a happy state. He was all alone, away from most of the dolphins who were entertaining the crowd at the encounter pool.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Golden Gate Bridge

 
Me at Golden Gate Bridge from Marin Headlands
Today starts my summer break. I no longer have to wake up early in the morning. I am so ready to hit the trails and the beach in a while. However, I promised my very good friend in London to answer his questions in installment. Before I leave the house to wander, I am writing first about photographing the Golden Gate Bridge, which was one of his many questions. Not that I am a photographer, you will probably see a lot of amazing pictures online from the photographers of this bridge. However, my quest for nature's inspirations and wonders oftentimes makes people think I am into serious photography. I frankly am a simple nature wanderer who loves to share the joy of nature in this site, and to hopefully contribute to the awareness that Mother Nature needs us to take care of her treasures on Earth. 
Yellow Mustard Invasive Non-native Wildflowers and the Golden Gate Bridge

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mendocino To San Francisco via Sonoma Wine Country

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA
Mendocino is located on the Northern Coast of California, noted for its rugged coastline, beautiful beaches, redwood forests and vineyards. Because Mendocino is right in between Redwood National Park and San Francisco, this was where we spent a night on our way to San Francisco after our adventures at Redwood National Park. 
 Rugged Mendocino Coastline

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

From One of the Informational Posters At the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument Visitor Center

Nature heals....as it says in the poster above, about one 1,000 years ago, a volcanic eruption profoundly impacted life. It reshaped the surrounding landscape, and changed the lives of people, plants and animals. Today, you will see and experience the resilience of life, of how nature heals in this volcano.
Tree Growing From Lava Flow

Photos of Birds in Still and in Flight of My Friend Raul and His View of Calgary Realtors

  Guest post by Zenserly of The Letters of November.
   
     Half the pleasure in taking nature shots is being able to share them. I have a friend from Med School who has become as passionate as I am in capturing the wonders of nature. We've been sharing insights on photo taking and life itself on a social networking site but I still haven't pulled him into the blogging world. Yesterday I was scanning his albums and was once again fascinated by his eye for beauty. Unlike me who doesn't have a good cam he has gadgets that could catch what I couldn't capture well and have been dreaming to for what seems like forever...bird still and flying shots. I asked him whether I could have the privilege to share them online because they are too beautiful to be kept just in his files and he surprisingly agreed.
A sunset photo taken by my friend Raul at their backyard

Friday, June 08, 2012

Wupatki National Monument

 Wupatki National Monument, Flagstaff, AZ
This is a little bit over due post. I know I mentioned before to follow up my Desert Escape post with the places we explored last spring break. However, I always get lost sharing the places we explored because of also my joy sharing the happiness of exploring what is closer to home, San Diego.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Lessons From Our First Road Trip to The Fantastic Roadtrip-a-Matic

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of PA Tourism for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
We love road trips, despite our very first one was unplanned and I must say had lots of travel mistakes we could have avoided had we planned it well. Back then, I did not have much experience on travel planning. Despite the trip could have been better, nevertheless, it gave us realization to pursue this kind of road cruising, trail hiking, all to be one with the beauty of nature.  Our very first long road trip and maybe the longest was from Chicago to San Diego. We flew from Los Angeles to Chicago, spent 2 days and 3 nights there. The first day of our road trip was when we left Chicago driving southwest to San Diego.
Chicago, IL, Summer 2007

Summer Is Almost Here....Look Who Enjoys Bathing In The Sun

Casa Beach, La Jolla, San Diego
 Almost summer now. It seems like we are blessed with warmer water this time of the year! As early as first week of June, our water temperature ranges now from 64- 68F (17- 20C). Even though that is not really the recommended swimming temperature (70s to low 80s) to avoid sickness related to hypothermia, but the reality for this side of the coast is that the water seldom hits 70sF. Most of the summer time, the water stays only in the 60sF (below 20C). What people mostly do is dip in the water for 15-20 minutes (those who can stay that long), and then, warm up in the sand to avoid hypothermia. Or as what you will see with most surfers and snorkelers who stay in the water longer, wear wet suit to trap the heat for the body.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Fruits On the Go

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Quaker Oats for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
                                               

 F

 R

 U

  I

 T

                                 

So delicious...So nutritious and 

So luscious! who could resists them?

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Cheetah Run Safari at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Amara Completing the 100 meters in 5.6 seconds
Cheetahs are the fastest land mammal. They can run up to 75 miles per hour (112- 120 km/h). There are not many places in the world to see up close the fastest land mammal run, thankfully, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park now offers this chance to park visitors without additional cost. It used to be for several years that the cheetah run safari could be experienced by park visitors who were willing enough to pay $100+ in addition to their admission fee for the event in a cheetah track. Thankfully, since July of last year, the Cheetah run Safari is now included with the park admission. There are three cheetahs trained to run off leash at the cheetah run safari. They are Amara, Johari and Shiley. All the pictures in this post is Amara, from her run last Saturday where she completed the 100 meters for 5.6 seconds.

Monday, June 04, 2012

White Pelicans At Salton Sea

Salton Sea with White Pelicans

We did not really have any plans to stop in this part of Salton Sea. However, on our way to Algodones Sand Dunes from Indian Wells where we watched live tennis (BNP Paribas Open) last March 2012, I saw dots of white contrasting the blue from our running car. I told hubby, "dear, a lot of birds dotting the sea, I am 100% sure,they are not sea gulls, because they look huge even if we are this far!" My hubby responded, " let me know if you want to pull over for them."

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Come to Newport Beach

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Newport Beach for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
There is just something about yachts and boats lining up, they always calm me down and relax my senses. I can sit there forever, on top of Inspiration Point at Corona Del Mar on Newport Beach to enjoy the wide expanse of beach to the west and the boats docked to the North.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Random Coastal Bird Photos

 California Brown Pelicans