Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Canadian Rockies + Glacier of USA Adventure Trip of a Lifetime

Brief Itinerary ( more details of each National Park and of each place later ):

Flew to Calgary International Airport ( YYC ). Sorry, no picture of the city (we are city snobs ), as we always prefer to spend our time in National Parks for very obvious reason, NATIONAL PARKS ARE CALMING TO THE SOUL AND HEALING TO THE SPIRIT.

From Calgary, we drove to Waterton National Park, where we stayed for 2 nights for Waterton Glacier International Peace Park exploring.

Days 1- 3: Waterton Glacier International Peace Park
Waterton Glacier International Peace Park is the name of the union of two neighboring National Parks, one in Canada ( Waterton National Park) and the other one in USA ( Glacier National Park). Waterton and Glacier are not only 2 National Parks and a Peace Park, but also a UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve. Aside from amazing scenery and sights so relaxing and calming, we enjoyed so much the wildlife in these 2 National Parks of 2 different countries.

WATERTON NATIONAL PARK of CANADA
Waterton Lake with Prince of Wales Hotel in the background, Waterton National Park, AB, Canada

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK of USA
approaching Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park, MT, USA

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bow Lake from Bow Glacier Falls Trail

Panorama of Bow Lake from Bow Glacier Falls Trail
Columbia Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park, Canada
photo taken by Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Monday, July 28, 2014

Pouring in July

Remember my post before about San Diego needing a rain dance because we currently have the worst drought ever since recording history? 

Rain dance was meant to bring rain for the entire year or for a specific season which is essential for survival. 

It seems that call for rain has been answered. We had rain yesterday, and oh boy, was it pouring. The magical rain dance probably worked. So, maybe, we could gather together again, shop for music at musician's friend and bring those music instruments out, for more rain to hopefully nourish the soil and bring back moisture to bone dry vegetation. Wishfully thinking next summer will be as colorful as this.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Jump!

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is more fearless of the two? :)

ME

OR HUBBY?

Jumping pictures taken at Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, AB, Canada.

Enjoy San Antonio by Tour

Especially when taking a guided tour, visitors love to see and hear about the charm of the city, stroll the River Walk and other points of interest, and absorb the local rich culture and dramatic history. Recreational attractions include Six Flags over Texas, Sea World, the San Antonio Zoo, and the best public golf courses in Texas. 

River Walk


The River Walk, the largest urban ecosystem in the United States, winds through the city center below street level over 15 miles of paths and sidewalks that are lined with cypress trees. The River Walk provides easy access by foot, bicycle, or river cruiser to the city’s historic and cultural sites such as The Alamo and 300-year-old Spanish missions. You will find riverside tables at restaurants who specialize in local cuisine as well as Tex-Mex, Italian, barbecue, and Southwestern fare. 

The Alamo

Begun in the early 1700’s as one of the first Texas Spanish Missions, it played a crucial role in the settlement of the area. Five countries who occupied the Alamo over time were Spain, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States of America, and the United States of America.

Mission San José 

This mission was founded on June 11, 1797, and was the fourteenth Spanish mission established in California. Many restoration efforts over the years have reconstructed numerous original structures. The old mission church and its chapel remain in use today. There is also a museum, a visitor center, and a slide show telling the mission's history. 

Click here to get more information about San Antonio sights and to book a guided tour to help you enjoy your adventure.

Moraine Lake at Canadian Rockies

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park,  Alberta, Canada
photo taken by: Samsung Galaxy Note 2

This is another cell phone shot of one of the places we visited in the Canadian Rockies during our day trip. Just got back from vacation, and no time yet to change format of my pictures from RAW files to JPEG, so, sharing cell phone shots for now. More of our Canadian Rockies trip later. 

Pampering is Easy When Using Products Purchased at BubbleShackHawaii.com


It is a treat for the body to use products that have been purchased at BubbleShackHawaii.com, a small establishment located in Oahu where exotic and lovely lotions, soy candles and soaps are available. Products can be purchased at local retailers and also online, where merchandise will be shipped promptly through the United States Post Office.

For individuals who are looking for organic bath and beauty products, whether for themselves or to give as gifts, the website has much to offer. It is impossible to not feel pampered after using such items as coconut butter loofah soaps in a variety of fragrances or aloe and shea washes. Pampering can also take place while a soy candle is sweetly burning in the background.

The website also carries a line of products that are perfect for bathing dogs, and purchases of any of these items will result in a donation to no-kill animal rescue organizations in Hawaii as well as the Mainland.

No Bubble Shack products are tested on animals, and items are free of sulfates and phthalates and are also biodegradable. Products are gentle enough for acne-prone skin and can be used to soothe skin that has been burned by the sun or is afflicted with psoriasis or eczema.

Hawaii is a little bit of paradise on earth, but not everyone has the opportunity to travel there. When using merchandise purchased through BubbleShackHawaii.com, it will feel as though the lovely Hawaiian Islands are right around the corner.

Pampering the body is also good for the soul, and Bubble Shack products can bring peace and contentment into any environment. Samplers and product trios can be purchased on the website that will make perfect gifts for loved ones celebrating special occasions or will be great items to keep and use on a regular basis. It will be like inviting the Hawaiian breezes into any home where the products are used.

If any items are damaged during transit, they can be returned within 30 days of placement of the order as long as merchandise has been insured. It is always a wise option to insure orders so that items are protected from damage and errors in shipping. To return an item, it will be necessary to contact Bubble Shack in order to receive proper instructions and a return authorization.

BubbleShackHawaii.com is a pleasant site to visit. Browsing through the inventory will always be a treat.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mono Lake

Blogging for Fun Friday again, time flies so fast and I am trying to catch up joining the fun this Friday night. This week, we are doing letter M, and I thought of Mono Lake, one of the most inspiring and amazing desert landscapes I have seen.
Stormy Sunset @ Mono Lake, Eastern Sierra, CA
The very first time my sight viewed Mono Lake, I was totally awed by the place. Maybe because the first time I set my foot in this place was at sunset, which looked almost unreal for me. As I am used to the ocean, not with the surreal tall calcium carbonate rocks in front of me.
Sunset, Mono Lake
We felt that we did not have enough of Mono Lake on our first visit, that in just a few months, we went back to Eastern Sierra, to visit this amazing lake again.
Mono Lake, Sunrise, Eastern Sierra
What stands out in Mono Lake are the towering tufas. The tufas are these amazingly sculpted Calcium Carbonate towers above the water looking like those eerie guards at an Alien Kingdom. Walking along the shores of Mono Lake is like walking in a cave, only that the stalactites and stalagmites are not hanging from the ceiling, but stands above water with the beautiful sky above it. And unlike inside a cave, at Mono Lake, you can have these towering tufas with sunrise or sunset!
Mono Lake @ sunrise, Eastern Sierra, CA
Mono Lake is an ancient lake, one of the oldest in North America. The towering sculpted limsestone rocks are called "tufas", which at first, we had difficulty remembering and would say "tofu". Though calcium carbonate rocks grow exclusively under water, but because of the change in water level in this lake, the toweing tufas were exposed. Above water, the tufas can no longer grow and are susceptible to erosion.
Sunset @ Mono Lake
Mono Lake has no drainage and the only way for water to escape is through evaporation, as a result, the water at Mono Lake is very salty. But do not mistake this desert lake to be lifeless already because of the extreme saltiness. Though no fish can probably survive in this lake from saltiness, but this lake is abundant in alkali flies and alkali shrimps which millions of migrating birds feed on.
Birds and tufas @ Mono Lake
Swarms of black alkali flies carpet the shoreline of Mono Lake during summer. However, these alkali flies are not interested of humans, and even not of aliens. These macroscopic flies are only interested with the microscopic algae. These alkali flies attract birds, for the birds, these are foods a lot tastier and richer in protein than brine shrimp. Because of the richness of the alkali flies in the lake, the lake attracts a lot of migratory birds making the lake the busiest airport for birds. In October, these birds have there biggest convention, and this convention is one of the biggest in North America, only that the guests are birds. Aerial surveys have revealed 1.5-1.8 million birds on the lake in the fall—comprising a large portion of North America’s population!


Traveling tip: Mono Lake is located in the Eastern Sierra, it is only 22 miles southeast from Yosemite National Park’s Tioga Pass entrance. It is also close enough to Mammoth Lakes Mountain and Ski Resort. Coming from Southern California on your way to Yosemite National Park via Tioga Pass entrance or on your way to Lake Tahoe, Mono Lake would be a good short detour. Definitely, if you are in the area, and are interested with a visit that feels like in another world, do make a side trip at Mono Lake.

Boardwalk @ Mono Lake
The pictures above were a collection from our several visits to Mono Lake. My most memorable experience from this area ( Lee Vining) was when I woke up in the middle of dawn, opened our window, looked out at the sky outside, and the stars were just shining and sparkling unbelievably. I could not keep that amazement to myself, I woke up my husband who was heavily asleep in bed and told him, "dear, look at the stars, I have never seen this horizon of stars that goes as far as my eyes can see, with the sky just so filled and glittered with them, never in my life!" My husband instead of getting mad for waking him up, also excitedly got up and ran to the window, then, we both looked there at the sky amazed. We attempted to take pictures, but unfortunately, it was way too cold ( sub-freezing temperature), and we did not have tripod yet at that time, that the pictures we took were just blur and blur :( . But that was the moment we decided then to buy a tripod :) and hopes to go back one day to Mono Lake and photograph these tufas with the stars!

How to Buff Up in the Great Outdoors

People usually only think of the exercise potential of the outdoors when they need to run or swim. When it comes to getting regular strength training, a gym membership appears to be the only option. There is really no reason to shut yourself up in a crowded, fluorescent-lit room with humid, sweat-filled atmosphere, blinking screens and loud machine beats, though - not when you have fresh air at a sunny park outdoors.
Not only will you feel much better for the fresh air and the sun, you'll save money on paying for a gym membership, too. The best part is, once you learn a good set of bodyweight exercises that work for you, you won't have to go anywhere to get fit. You will even be able to do your routine in your hot bedroom when it's raining outside. You won't need much gear, either - a few protective items of the kind that you find on sites like SportPursuit  are all you need.

Here's how your routine will go  

Bodyweight exercises are generally the kind that you can perform with no more equipment than the ground you stand on and a few pieces of equipment that you generally find in parks and playgrounds. You can do dips, pull-ups and push-ups. In general, it makes sense to follow a descending rep program.  
You'll have many entertaining bodyweight exercises to do - crab walks, bear crawls and so on. As playful as these exercises seem, they tend to work out your entire body and tire you out in no time. You can start your first set with 10 reps to a set and taper down by a rep with each additional set. Alternatively, to make sure that you don't tire yourself out too much you can follow a routine where you go through repeated workout and rest cycles. You can work out for 30 seconds and then take 10 seconds off.  

The workouts  

Jump squats: To start, you need to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Positioning yourself in this partial crouch, you need to leap up with explosive force to go as high up in the air as you can.  
Pull-ups: Whatever horizontal object you find to perform your pull-ups on - a jungle gym, a pull-up bar or even the branch of a tree - you can use it to draw yourself up so that your chin goes higher than the bar. If you find it too hard at first, you can simply pull yourself up as far as you can.
 
The bear crawl: If you've ever seen a movie about a police training camp or a military boot camp, you've probably seen the bear crawl - it's a kind of crawl forward, except that your knees don't touch the ground. You need to go forward as fast as you can.  

The crab walk: This is a reverse crawl - rather than crawl facing the ground, you turn the other way round and face upwards. You then propel yourself forward on your hands and feet as fast as you can.

Sprinting: You need to run 50 yards at about 80% to 90% of the highest speed that you are capable of.  

The burpee: A burpee is a curious combination exercise. You start standing up. You then bent down so that your hands touch the ground. You support yourself on your hands and then quickly shoot your legs backwards to land in a sort of push-up. Then, you draw your legs in to jump up as high as you will go.
 
You need to work out a good routine with all these exercises  

You don't need to follow a rigid routine with these exercises. You get to creatively mix them up each day. Whatever you do, though, you need to make sure that you warm up well before you work out in earnest.

Charles Farr has a particular passion for fitness. After years of training others at the gym, he enjoys blogging about simple techniques for staying fit and strong for a healthy life.