Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fun Friday: S is for San Diego

Our Blogging for Fun group is doing an A-Z  meme for our Fun Friday (or is it now Saturday Special for me since I am always a day or two late) , and this week, we are working on letter S.
S is for San Diego
and all the other S in and around San Diego, such as:
The Sea and the Snowcapped Mountain
Sunset By the Sea
Splashing Waterfall
Sea Caves
Sea Lions
Sea Gulls
Sea Star
Sea stars
Succulents by the Sea
And there are probably more S in and around San Diego that I can add here, however, my other S pictures such as the squirrels and snails were somehow hidden in my portable hard disk drive and unlabeled that I still have to look for them :( 

Hope everyone is having a good weekend. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

North Cascades National Park

Ross Lake, North Cascades National Park, WA
From Seattle, we drove 120+ miles North East to North Cascades National Park. North Cascades National Park sits on the border of US and Canada. This park is also known as the Alps of the West,  features rugged mountain peaks,
Rugged Mountain Peaks Seen From Easy Pass Trail
cascading waterfalls everywhere,
One of the Many Nameless Waterfalls We Found On The Trail
thick forests,
Forested Trail to Easy Pass, North Cascades National Park, WA
deep valleys, long valley lakes,
Diablo Lake, North Cascades National Park, WA
Lakeshore, North Cascades National Park, WA

glacier fed pristine rivers, 
Emerald Waters of the Skagit River, North Cascades National Park, WA
and more than 300 glaciers adorning its rugged peaks, the most glaciers of any US park outside of Alaska. 
Glaciers and Snow, Mount Shuksan, North Cascades National Park
Some have glaciers thousands of years old and at 1988/1999 receive world record snowfall at 1140 inches of snow. 
Summer ( June 30, 2010 ) at higher elevations of North Cascades National Park
In my next posts, I will be featuring some of our hikes at North Cascades and a more detailed exploration of the park. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hiking Mt Woodson

Mt Woodson is another local hike in San Diego that is easily accessible, yet hiking its trail feels like an escape from civilization.

It is littered by giant boulder outcrops, and from the summit, one can enjoy the ocean-to-mountain views. Near the summit is the now famous Potato Chip Rock, which is the result of exfoliation and weathering. There are many ways to reach Potato Chip rock or the summit of Mt Woodson. The three different trailheads for this hike is what I will be sharing in this post. source: Afoot and Afield: San Diego County: A Comprehensive Hiking Guide

Best Time to Hike:  During the cooler months, November to May. If hiking in the summer, start early of the day, or choose the cooler days of summer, because most part of the hike is on exposed trail.

Option 1: Mt. Woodson from Lake Poway

Lake Poway from Mt. Woodson Trail

Mileage: approximately 7.2 miles roundtrip
Change in Elevation: 2300 ft gain and loss
Parking: Lake Poway Recreation Area Parking, there is parking fee of $5.00 for non-Poway residents during the peak months April- October.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Cleetwood Cove Trail, Crater Lake National Park

While we were on our way to Crater Lake National Park, we had been planning to do some activities other than hiking. It is not that we got bored of hiking, but then, we were thinking of doing some water activities instead since we are visiting Crater Lake.
Crater Lake from Cleetwood Cove Trail
We know that most people see the beauty of Crater Lake from the rim only. All the pictures in my previous post about Crater Lake were taken from the rim's vista points and did not need any hiking at all. The first thing we do always whenever we visit a National Park is to stop at Visitor Center and talk to a Park Ranger. Park rangers are very helpful, with positive and cheerful mood, and oftentimes, they share their best kept secret to hike when asked, like our Valley Floor Loop Hike in Yosemite National Park. However, this time around, our question will not be on hiking, but water activities. We asked if we can go kayaking or canoeing at Crater Lake, and the park ranger smiled to us charmingly and answered no, but we can go swimming or fishing on the lake.
Fishing Pole, Crater Lake National Park, OR
( sorry, but I do not know the guy who has the pole, so I just have to take picture of his rod)
He told us that the boat going to Wizard Island starts mid-July so we can not go to Wizard Island either. We can go swimming if we do not mind the cold water. The only legal route to go to the lake shore is by way of Cleetwove Cove Trail, 2 miles round trip, 700 ft descent/ascent on steep slopes. It is the same trail taken by people who wishes to go to Wizard Island ( we would love to take that boat tour to Wizard Island, but it won't be open until July).
Cleetwood Cove Trail, Crater Lake National Park, OR
The picture of the trail above is my only picture of the trail despite I would have loved to take more pictures of the forested trail and the green lichens on the trunks of the trees. It was just so hard for us to take pictures, we could not stop to take pictures at all because the swarm of mosquitoes would cover our entire body. The moment I stopped for a picture, I would see my shirt and pants all black and covered with mosquitoes, my face attacked, so I would instead give up the thought of taking pictures and continue walking. I have a mosquito after bite lotion, but what we needed at that point was insect repellent, which was sitting there in our car. At the top, there was still snow, therefore, we did not see mosquitoes, so, our fault, we went down very excited and so unprepared for mosquito attack. We could turn around and take our repellent instead, but then, we were lazy too, and decided to just keep on. The hike was easy (except for some who are not used to steep slopes, it may be a little bit strenuous), but it became unforgiving because of the swarm of mosquitoes. Our hiking would have been probably more pleasant had we brought with us our insect repellent. When we reached the lake shore, there were fewer mosquitoes, so, we were able to take some pictures. Here are some pictures from the lake shore:
  The cold water felt so good! Even very close to the lake shore, the water was very deep!
Colored Cliffs
A Pose By the Cliffs
( smile, even if there are some mosquitoes, but mosquitoes on the shore are fewer than the trail, it's the forested trail that had lots of mosquitoes
Boats On Shore
Here are some pictures about 100 ft above the lake shore.
Men on Dock
Boat and Reflections on Crater Lake
After this spot, the trail has no more expansive view of the lake and become lined with tall trees and mosquitoes started to attack again, that I had to tell myself no more stopping for pictures! Both the uphill and downhill hike was without any pause for a deep breath at all, otherwise, mosquitoes will cover our entire body. 
Almost nearing the top back to parking lot, saw this little glimpse of the lake in the midst of trees
( despite the mosquitoes and blocked by trees, got to take this picture since this would be my last glimpse of the lake in this mosquito filled trail, and it is also the most sparkling blue I found )
A lesson learned from this hike: don't always forget to bring insect repellent especially if you are in moist areas, for no matter the conditions at the start of the trail, it may suddenly change. 

Saturday, October 04, 2014

For a change

For a change, some pictures from my city, sometimes, I do forget this part of our city, for I spend most of my leisure time in the nature part of our city. I am just glad that nature and civilization are not walled off from each other.
 Thus, beach and mountains are not vacation for me, they are my "to go" for relaxing in San Diego.