Friday, June 28, 2013

Hiking Cathedral Rock, Sedona

Cathedral Rock from Oak Creek
There are many access point to hike Cathedral Rock, one of the many beautiful hikes in Sedona. For our hike, we took the Cathedral Rock Trail from Hwy 179. The hike is 3.5 miles round trip with 600 ft ascent. I love this hike because for such a short time, the scenic rewards are simply amazing. Though this hike will not take all your day, but it is not devoid of challenge. First, there is really no formal trail, but rock cairns. You ascend mostly on rocks, more like rock climbing but safe enough not to ask for ropes. 
Hiking @ Cathedral Rock
If you feel like it is not safe to walk normally, you can go slow and walk on four ( uphill ) or five ( downhill). 
A Lady Hiker Walking on Five ( or butt walk )
In the middle of the hike, there is a section where you really have to scramble, or crawl, and only one hiker could pass at a time. It probably is the most challenging part of the trail where some hikers give up and not continue. Even if not making it to the saddles of Cathedral Rock though, the hike is still beautiful because there is wide vista everywhere.
Scenery One Will See While on Cathedral Rock Trail

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Blingstar RZR doors for Supercars

If you are the type of person who likes to stand out in a crowd, then Blingstar RZR doors from SideBySideStuff.com is definitely the accessory for you. Suicide doors are usually reserved for supercars which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, with SideBySideStuff.com Blingstar RZR doors, you can have suicide doors on any vehicle and add that bit of class and luxury that is usually out of the reach of the average person. SideBySideStuff.com Blingstar RZR doors can be installed on virtually any vehicle and they also come with a guarantee from the manufacturer for quality insurance. Whether you are adding suicide doors for your own personal satisfaction or you are a professional automobile showman, suicide doors are the accessory that is sure to turn heads in your direction. In most cases, suicide doors can be installed in a matter of days and they can be installed on any vehicle. The installation will not affect the overall balance of the car or make the car any less safe. The doors will also match the paint and the texture of the rest of the car perfectly so that they will look as if they were installed straight from the factory.

Australian Dwarf Terrier

Australian Dwarf Terrier Caretaker  
We were taking leisurely walk at Ocean Beach, one of the few San Diego beaches where dogs can enjoy the sand and surf, when we saw a dog walker with more than 10 very small dogs ( I think there were more than 12, but could not be so sure).  
Curious Dog and Dwarf Terriers

Then, we saw a bigger dog, probably curious with these dwarf terriers, who came closer to these cute little dogs.
 At first, we thought the dwarf terriers will get scared with a bigger dog trying to get to know them.
 But then, in what we saw, SIZE DOES NOT MATTER, number is more important.
The poor curious dog had to run away from these cute Australian dwarf terriers.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Watching the World Go By at Torrey Pines Gliderport, San Diego

Paragliders and Torrey Pines' Cliffs
One of the places we go in San Diego, to simply watch the world go by is at Torrey Pines Gliderport. It makes me feel like I am on a vacation, but truth is, I am simply in my home turf. Up at the bluffs, I enjoy watching people hike down to the beach, paragliders and hangliders soaring high, dolphins jumping below, etc. 
It's simply a quiet place for me to relax and appreciate the work of nature. 
Lady Simply Relaxing at the Cliffs
On top of the cliffs, I enjoy watching paragliders soar high with the birds in the sky. There are some people who would bring their guitars, and play as they sat on top of the bluffs looking out into the sea. It's a joy listening to them, the acoustic sound is really very impressive which makes me wonder what kind of guitar they own. I am not very good with guitars, but I learned of one special type from one of my friends. He loves music, and sometimes play guitar during lunch break. He is very proud of his guitar that he told me that what he is playing is an excellent larrivee at musicians friend. So, I wonder if those people who bring their guitar to the bluffs sometimes own the same kind of guitar since the acoustic sound is really very impressive, hearing them kind of transports me into another magical world.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Other Birds At Robb's Field

Robb's Field is not all about ospreys, which I featured previously. Aside from osprey, I also had featured in this post the white pelicans in synchronized diving and fishing. In this post, let me share with you the other birds we spotted at Robb's Field while watching for the ospreys.
A Heron Between Two Bird Watchers
Heron Caught Some kind of Stick Like Fish

Heron Excited to Eat the Fish
Heron In Flight
Little Blue Heron

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Discover Gold Coast For Less Than $50 a day

The Gold Coast is a prime tourist destination for sunbathers and families scrambling to take the kids to theme parks. This means it can be a rather pricey destination to visit when you’re on a tight budget. Fortunately, with some careful planning and judicious spending, it is possible to enjoy the Gold Coast for less than $50 a day.

Know where the hostels are

If you’re on a tight budget, your best bet for accommodation is a hostel. It helps to know where the hostels are concentrated. While there are numerous backpackers’ hostels in Surfers Paradise, which is where most travelers stay, you will also be able to find dorm beds in Coolangatta, Southport and Main Beach. If you book ahead during high season you should be able to get a dorm bed for around $20 to $30. Surfers Paradise tends to be a bit of a party town, while the other areas such as Coolangatta are quieter.

Cheap eats

Stay away from the tourist traps and explore the back streets of Surfers Paradise, where you will find many inexpensive Asian eateries selling bento or set lunches for under $15. The Centro Surfers Paradise mall on Cavil Avenue in Surfers Paradise, which is a major spot for shopping and entertainment, is also home to many cheap food stands where you can grab a quick bite for less than $10. If you’re looking to pack your own sandwiches or buy fruit, there are several markets offering fresh produce as well as numerous supermarkets in the various shopping malls.

Hang out at the beach

The Gold Coast is home to miles and miles of beautiful sand and surf. And best of all, it’s absolutely free! You could spend weeks just exploring the different beaches and swimming in the turquoise waters. Pack a picnic lunch, spread out a beach towel and enjoy a good book with the sound of the ocean waves in your ears. The beaches in the Southern portion of the Gold Coast tend to have gentler waves and are more suitable for swimming, while at other beaches pounding surf makes them the most thrilling destinations for boogie boarders and surfers.

While the Gold Coast is certainly not a cheap destination, you can get by on less than $50 a day if you stay in hostels, eat cheaply and enjoy the Gold Coast’s best feature—its beautiful beaches. Hostel accommodation might set you back $25. Packing your own sandwiches for lunch, having cereal or fruit purchased at a market or supermarket for breakfast and having a cheap dinner at a casual eatery might cost you about $20. The golden tan you’ll acquire after all your time spent at the beach is free.

About the author:


Haylee Woodward is a self acclaimed travel writing guru and currently works on bringing more visibility to tour operators throughout Australia, including whale watching experts Whales In Paradise.

Meet The Osprey Family ( part 2 of 2)

In part 1 of "Meeting The Osprey Family at Robb Field", there was only one osprey at the nest who later entertained us with his joy of discovering flight. In our second visit at Robb Field, we were greeted by two ospreys on the nest. From afar, we could not tell if they are all juvenile ospreys because the young (born around April of this year) now look almost as full size as the parents. However, on closer inspection with the aid of our lens, we found out that the two left on the nest were a juvenile and  adult pair. Our indicator were: the color of their eyes, and the white specks on juvenile's wings.
 Juvenile ( at the right, with orange eyes) and Adult ( left, with yellow eyes)
In a short while, the baby flew off the nest, then, followed by the adult. They flew across the San Diego River Estuary. Using our lens, we were able to spot two ospreys perched on the poles of the parked boats. We have not been to the north side of the estuary, so, we used the google maps apps in our cell phone to learn about Mission Bay's Hospitality Point Park at the other side of the estuary. 
Looking Towards The Other Side of Estuary From Robb's Field
We followed the ospreys to the other side of the estuary ( yes, we have become birds paparazzi now, haha ). It was only very recently that we got hooked on bird watching. What an added joy it is to our nature wandering. Thanks to the ospreys for leading us to discover another park in San Diego. 
Kayaks and Boats at Hospitality Point Park
When we reached Hospitality Point Park, it was easy for us to find the ospreys since they were still almost at the same spots as when we spotted them from Robb Field. The closest to us was the adult below, which we soon learned must be the mom. 
MEET THE MOM OSPREY
Why we believe the one above is the mom osprey because of her size. She was definitely bigger than the other adult not too far from her. Female ospreys are generally bigger than male ospreys. She also has that brown pattern on her chest's feathers. Whereas, the other adult osprey (picture below) perched on the tree close by has an all white chest.
MEET THE DAD
Thankfully, the ospreys are not shy to humans, so it was easier for us to take them picture. In fact, these two adult ospreys were perched on a pole (female) and tree ( male) next to a lot of human traffic who were enjoying Hospitality Point Park. Some of them, followed us and also took pictures of these birds.
The DAD ( notice the feathers on his chest are all white, without brown streaks like the female )

Saturday, June 22, 2013

What Foods Do We Have For Hiking?

What Is in My Backpack?

I think it is a given that there is a camera inside. Hiking + photography + blogging are all one activity for me. I hike, I take pictures, I blog. :)


My motivation to take pictures usually comes when I am out of the doors hiking, and exploring nature. My favorite subject is anything about nature. However, I do from time to time take some pictures when am not hiking, like when I am home. 

Orchid
Aloe

Actually, because I was inspired to take pictures of what I see at home today, the thought of sharing what foods do we have for hiking came to my mind. In short, I ventured into taking pictures of food using my camera, not my cell phone! Haha!

First, let me share with you what we usually have at home, before we leave for hiking.

 Rice, Chinese Broccoli and Lemon Grilled Chicken
 Rice Up Close, I love rice, and I eat this three times a day! 

Frankly, I get weak when I can't have rice for several days. It is for that reason that whenever we go on an adventure vacation, I bring a rice cooker since most restaurants in remote places don't serve rice. At least, I could have rice even just for breakfast, since oftentimes, if we are on an adventure vacation, we are out for lunch and dinner. I am the type of person who must have my rice before hiking. :) We eat a lot of vegetables too. 

Tofu Soup

The above tofu soup does not have any meat nor sea food as what most recipes would have. I probably would share the recipe of this one later. I and hubby love this tofu soup. 


Now, going back to the question: "what food do we have for hiking?" Whenever we go hiking, we prepare to fight hunger. One thing probably we could not afford when going hiking is getting hungry and thirsty. Thus, we do carry a lot of water. My backpack has several liters of water in my bladder, and water canister. We also bring a lot of foods, something light that will not weigh us down, and something that will not easily spoil or smashed. 

 Trail Mix, natural meal replacement pro bar, sea weed, some sunflower or pumpkin seeds and nuts

These foods may not be something you would want for your lunch, but we always tell ourselves, better to have them than to starve! Better to have them to fuel us to explore and be up close to nature. We usually buy our hiking snacks at our local stores. However, if you live in a place with limited selection of hiking snacks, you may find natural snacks online, which can be your meal replacement while you are enjoying the wonders of nature in the trail.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Meeting The Osprey Family at Robb Field ( part 1 of 2 )

An Overcast Day at North Torrey Pines State Beach From Guy Fleming Trail North Viewpoint
Before you get confused, Robb's Field is not at Torrey Pines but at Ocean Beach. However, the first few pictures here were from Torrey Pines because that was how we found out about  the osprey family at Robb's Field. After hiking, we would spend some time at Guy Fleming Trail North View Point hoping for the baby peregrine falcons to give us another entertaining sky show. We knew they would not be around long, since soon they would be chased away by their parents once they learned to hunt on their own. We had been enjoying photographing the juvenile peregrine's behavior since maybe the Memorial Day Weekend. That Saturday however, it seemed the young peregrine falcons were not inspired to spread their wings in chilly air and overcast skies. For about 3 hours  at Guy Fleming Trail, the baby peregrine falcons did not entertain us. Three hours of waiting at Guy Fleming Trail may be that long for others, but for hubby and I, we could sit atop of Torrey Pines cliffs like forever simply watching the world go by.
North Torrey Pines State Beach ( from Guy Fleming Trail)
From the top of the cliffs, we enjoy watching the beach below us, the torrey pines swaying in the sea breeze, the wildflowers dotting the landscape, the squirrels,
the surfers, people walking on the beach, passing dolphins, and whatever more.
Dolphins As Seen from Guy Fleming Trail
Because of the time of year, there were a lot of bird photographers and enthusiasts waiting at Guy Fly Fleming Trail, so, learning some bird photography tips from them was an added bonus. It seemed everyone was wishing for the peregrines to show up, but they were simply not playful that time.

When I saw a lone bird flying below the cliffs above the water which I was confident was not sea gull, nor crow, nor cormorant, and of course, not pelican, the amateur bird watcher in me thought it was peregrine. :) I shouted, "THERE! below the cliffs!", which is what we usually do when we see peregrine so everybody could take picture. However, when one of the bird photographers saw the bird my lens was pointing at, he said, "nahhhh, can't be, that's just toooooooo slow!! that's an osprey!"
Osprey Seen From Guy Fleming Trail @ Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
Of course we laughed afterwards, because it seemed we all were hallucinating to be entertained by the peregrines again. Then, one of the bird photographers told us about the baby ospreys also at Robb Field in Ocean Beach. They said, they are much easier to photograph than the peregrines. With the aid of technology, the bird photographer was able to give me the exact location of the osprey's nest (through mobile google maps apps and gps locator). We were told there were 3 baby ospreys, and unlike peregrines, the ospreys eat together like one big family in their nest, the adults have yellow eyes, while the juvenile have orange eyes. So, we decided to leave Torrey Pines that time and we headed off to Ocean Beach. When we got there, with their detailed instruction, it was so easy for us to find the osprey's nest on top of the pole.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Learning Some Bird Photography Tips from the Pros and Enthusiasts

At about 4:30 pm, Wednesday, at North Torrey Pines Road. The bridge construction was causing the after work traffic.
North Torrey Pines Road from Guy Fleming Trail North Viewpoint, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

 Welcome to my world. Traffic does not always mean just being stuck on the road, it could be stuck on the trail, learning some things.

The left side in the picture above is North Torrey Pines State Beach, while the right side is Los Penasquitos Lagoon. The picture above and all the pictures below were taken from Guy Fleming trail @ Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Hiking at Torrey Pines (my number 1 San Diego hike) during rush hour is our way of avoiding traffic, getting some cardio exercise, and enjoying nature therapy. At this time of the year, Guy Fleming Trail is busy with bird photographers who flock together to follow one of the most challenging birds to photograph.
Bird Photographers at Guy Fleming Trail
The bird photographers above were following the journey of the baby peregrine falcons which won't be around Torrey Pines that long. Around June and July, the baby peregrines enjoy their discovery of flight. Their parents are also training them to hunt. The 2 adult peregrine falcons who found their home at Torrey Pine State Reserve are raising 4 baby falcons this year. The sky at Torrey Pines is busy because at the moment, it is the babies' playground. They are also training for hunting and survival. Once parents determine their offsprings are equipped for survival they will chase the juvenile peregrine falcons away to find a new home away from the parents' territory so they do not compete for foods, which mostly are medium sized birds. 
Bird Photographers Following The Peregrine Falcons ( the two birds soaring high above )

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Some San Diego Beach Laws

Paragliding in San Diego
San Diego is one of the very popular tourist destinations year round, mainly because of its weather and diversity. There is almost an activity for everyone. Whether it be surfing, snorkeling, hiking, rock climbing, shopping, theme park hopping ( Legoland, Sea World, San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and more than an hour away in Orange County is Disneyland), paragliding, sky diving, parasailing, boating, sailing, riding hot air balloon, etc.
Coronado Beach: 2012 America's Best Beach by Dr. Beach
However, some unlucky tourists or visitors to the city may have gotten ticket for not following the city beach and trails safety laws and regulation. Several times, I was asked by visiting friends of the signs in beaches or in state parks, amused by the number of restrictions. I usually tell them that maybe it is more to inform the public of the laws because ignorance of the law excuses no one. I had seen a young couple getting ticket from a ranger for having alcohol on the beach.  I also had seen a small group of yuppies stopped by ranger and getting ticket from smoking in the trail. Once, I entertained a visiting friend who smokes, and I got afraid when he very quickly used his butane torch lighter to lit his cigar while we were exploring Cabrillo National Monument.
Cabrillo National Monument
I had to inform him right away of what we may get into if he continues to smoke. Ranger may stop us and give us ticket. Thankfully, he complied and stopped smoking.

The following are some of the beach laws for the  City of San Diego Beach, Park, & Water Areas:

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Random Images From Last Weekend

Two of the many images we took from our all day wandering at San Diego Zoo, last Saturday.
Baby Panda
Koala Bear
Some pictures from our hike at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, San Diego, Sunday. 
 Torrey Pine
 Prickly Pear Cactus
 Squirrel
And the most exciting part of the weekend, seeing family of osprey in the wild. I will write more about their behavior later. Below are two of the many pictures we took from our easy walk at Robbs Field Park at Ocean Beach. The two pictures of baby osprey who just learned to fly below were taken by hubby.
Baby Osprey, Finding the Joy in His First Flight ( with fish bone still on its beak ) - ospreys are also known as fish hawk since 99% of their diet is fish, big fish, that is!
baby osprey holding his deboned fish 
Counting the days towards everyday is a weekend, :) , though I so love teaching but I can't wait to enjoy my summer break. Summer break, come soon, will you? :)