Sunday, December 23, 2012

Even Paradise Needs a Vacation

Torrey Pines State Reserve from Torrey Pines-Del Mar Trail
Here I am again, lost for words to say, my thoughts already in vacation mode, thus, titling this post very similar to what I had written before, "Even Paradise Needs An Adventure Vacation." The only difference between the two titles is the word "adventure", which I purposely omitted in the title of this post. It's not a surprise to me, that I am using pictures taken from the same place, but just at different times for this two similarly titled posts. I may have said it before, and I am saying again, that though San Diego has many beautiful natural places for us to explore and wander, but my favorite place to simply while time away, relax, rejuvenate, recharge, get inspired, get healed, and so much more, is Torrey Pines.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Morro Bay, CA

 Morro Bay from Morro Bay State Park
Morro Bay is a quiet little oceanfront town in San Luis Obispo County, in the central part of California. It is strategically located in between two of California's bigger cities, Los Angeles in the South and San Francisco in the North, about 3.5 hours drive from these two cities. It is about one hour drive to the southern part of Big Sur coast. Its proximity to Big Sur was the reason why we chose Morro Bay as one of our destinations during our last Big Sur vacation. Staying in Morro Bay for 2 nights allowed us to see more of the south part of Central California such as Pismo Beach Butterfly Migration and Oceano Sand Dunes without draining our energy when we finally got to Big Sur for several days of  nature exploring.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Birds, Sea Lions and The Parade of Lights

 White Pelicans, San Diego River Estuary (their beaks angled for entry to the water )
Last Sunday, we went to see the San Diego Parade of Lights, which is an annual holiday tradition held at the San Diego Bay. San Diego is more known as the city that loves water activities, thus, aside from surfing, snorkeling, diving, paddle boarding, kayaking, and other more common activities by the sea that I often share in some of my posts, other popular water activities in San Diego are wind sailing, yachting, fishing and boating. Tha Parade of Lights if the Christmas gift to the city of the boating community of San Diego. We oftentimes miss this event, but last Sunday, we took note of the time of the parade and did not forget about it. :)  According to my research, the parade will start at Shelter Island,and will go around the San Diego Bay passing by Harbor Island, Embarcadero and ending at Coronado Ferry Landing.

Anywhere along the San Diego Bay would be a good viewing site, but we decided to witness the event at Shelter Island. On our way to Shelter Island, passing by the San Diego River Estuary, I saw a group of huge white birds that I seldom see that close to the sea, the WHITE PELICANS!

Pismo State Beach Butterfly Grove

Where are the buttrerflies? Let me start you with images around the Butterfly Grove.
Oceano Sand Dunes
The scenery above may look a barren desert, where the vast sand may deceive you that this place is as hot as it can be. But is this place in the desert? Is this place hot? The picture below may probably answer the two questions.
Is He Running Away From My Lens? haha!
Though I have shared several posts here about some desert even coated with snow and ice, but oftentimes, the appearance of sand and red rocks give an impression that it is hot. Behind the barrenness above, are pieces of nature's puzzle that if you put together, you will realize that there is only ONE who created all these artistry that no man can equal. HE put all these together for everything serves a GREAT purpose.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Elephant Seals

"Ouch! Why Did You Have to Pat My Head that Hard?"

Laughing Out Loud At Sickness

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of © Blue Shield of California for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Most of the time we tend to feel sad whenever we feel sick or someone else in the family. Who wouldn’t right? But portraying the sad aura could further worsen the pain or whatever ailment you’re feeling thus lengthening your weak days.
Laughter is the best medicine as they say and this has been the underlying principle of how Dr. Jim and his friend Bob have been dealing with sickness in the funniest way possible. These two hilarious individuals from Blue Shield California have been surfing the internet for quite some time and was able to hear a lot of medical sentiments. In order for their clients/patients/viewers to keep up with the medical jargons, they made medical management in the form of some video presentations in the funniest way possible.
I am a lactose intolerant person and one time I suddenly decided to surf the internet for some remedies. Fortunately I was able to bump into Dr. Jim and Bob's Fun & Helpful Health Advice in video entitled “Tolerating Your Lactose Intolerance” and even if the video is not that lengthy, I was able to learn how to manage it in the simplest way ever.
Blue Shield California is a non-profit group that aims to give an effective alternative medicine. By visiting their official Facebook page, you would be able to have access to their fun yet informative videos and at the same time get to connect with numerous doctors that could somehow help you out in solving your health problems. Not only that, you get to know a lot of affordable health plans as well.
Whenever you feel sick, it’s okay to feel sad but don’t let it consume your entire sick days. Hop into the happy feeling immediately and be cured the soonest time possible.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Oceano Sand Dunes

Images of Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area
The Oceano Sand Dunes is the second largest dune system in California, next to Glamis Sand Dunes. The Oceano Sand Dunes extend from South Luis Obispo County to North Santa Barbara County. We have not really explored very well this sand dune system in Oceano because of the weather on our first visit ( first day of our Big Sur thanksgiving vacation), and because of limited time on our second visit (last day of our vacation ). 
First day of our thanksgiving vacation, we drove North from San Diego to Morro Bay ( stop-over destination to avoid the longer drive to Big Sur and to explore places South of Big Sur that we often passed by but did not explore ). Before hitting Morro Bay, we stopped by the Oceano Sand Dunes which is South of Morro Bay. It was heavily raining during our drive, but we were lucky and blessed enough that rain stopped when we got to Oceano Sand Dunes. 
Boardwalk that Crosses Oso Flaco Lake to the Sand Dunes ( this photo by hubby )

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Sea Lions and Wave

Pounding Waves, La Jolla, San Diego, CA
As giant waves came pounding on the rocks and shore, the weary California sea lions look for a place to escape the pounding waves. In my previous post, I shared my imagined story about elephant seals expressions, in this post, let me share with you another of my imagined story about sea lions and the waves. Yes, being out of the doors sometimes bring me crazy stories, such as "The Sea Lion, Herring and Egret". Anyway, I am taking a break from sharing our experiences in our last thanksgiving Big Sur Vacation in favor of most recent experience here in home sweet San Diego.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Who? @ Garrapata State Park, CA

Who is she? :) Hiking in the rain?
 and then, taking photos quickly when rain stops?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Escape to Paradise in Big Sur, California

Self-photography @ Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California
Was it only nine days ago when I wrote about "A Big Sur Vacation?" Where I was dreaming of looking down at the clouds that kiss the mountains and the sea? Big Sur's haunting came to reality when early morning of Sunday before thanksgiving week, we drove to Big Sur for our much needed escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. We were lost for seven days experiencing Big Sur's natural wonders again. However, time flies so fast when you are having  rest and recreation therapy. Before I knew it, vacation is over.
Big Sur's Coastline

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Big Sur Vacation and Green Choice

McWay Falls, Big Sur, CA
North of Los Angeles, South of San Francisco, lies this strip of unspoiled California coast, where the mountains kiss the sea. This is nature's wonderland showcasing incredible coastal wilderness, definitely my favorite place in California for a vacation. It combines two of the world's features that I love most, MOUNTAINS and the OCEAN.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Progression of a Beautiful Day 2

First, let me explain the 2 in the title "Progression of a Beautiful Day 2". About two years ago, I wrote a post with the same title. The progression of the day in these two posts was similar, foggy morning, blue sky mid-day ending with a sunset. However, in my 2010's Progression post, the latter of the day was spent watching Miramar Air Show which is a yearly event in San Diego held 1st weekend of October usually. Because this is not really a sequel of my 2010 post, thus I can't add Part 2 to the title, however, I can't find a better title for this post ( pardon my unimaginative mind today), I decided to use the same title but just added the number 2 to distinguish the two posts. :)
Foggy Sunday Morning

Friday, November 09, 2012

Torrey Pines to Del Mar

Paragliding at Torrey Pines Gliderport
Do you think you can fly? If you think you can, you may want to visit my previous post on the popular flying sports here in San Diego, paragliding and hang gliding. For us, we don't fly, we let our feet carry us from down the beach up above the cliffs! :) Maybe, someday, I may try paragliding, but just as tandem with a licensed paraglider/hang glider, because I am not sure I wanted to go through formal lessons to get license to fly and be involved with the sport. Since we let our feet carry us from down the beach up the cliffs, let me share with you our beautiful Saturday last weekend. To fuel our long day, we started with sweet indulgence from Champagne French Bakery. We had napoleon, three layers mousse cake and French macaroons, and a cup of coffee. After that sweet breakfast, we went to Torrey Pines where we started our wandering. Instead of walking up the bluffs right away, we started walking on the beach first to Del Mar. I had that wish of experiencing my hubby's photographing of the pelicans windsurfing in the waves! But, the day was different, no pelicans wind surfing! :( But nevertheless, I was entertained by these cute sanderlings. 

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Some Inland Birds In San Diego County

Great White Egret or Common Egret
You may see me often posting coastal birds here, such as the pelicans, cormorants, marbled goodwit, least terns, sand pipers, sea gulls, etc, that is because probably it is a lot easier to spot birds along the coast than inland. Along the coast, these birds are more exposed and always go by huge flocks, whereas inland, they are hidden in the bushes or in the trees, and they are seldom seen in huge flocks unless during their migration early in the morning or after sunset. Some of the birds here are not exclusive to inland only, because some, like the egrets can also be seen right along the coast, fishing in the beach.
Can You See the Poor Little Fish in Egret's Beak?

Pelicans, Dolphins and Other Coastal Birds at Torrey Pines to Del Mar Beach

 Pelicans Chasing the Waves @ North Torrey Pines State Beach
All pictures in this post were taken by my hubby during his relaxing walk from Torrey Pines to Del Mar Beach this week. 

Friday, November 02, 2012

Wildlife at Ellen Browning Scripps Park, La Jolla

 Beach Below Ellen Browning Scripps Park, La Jolla, San Diego, CA
La Jolla's Ellen Browing Scripps Park is said to be the most photographed place in San Diego according to AAA Magazine. This is one of our favorite places in San Diego to simply watch the time go by. The pictures I am sharing here in this post were all taken today during our leisurely stroll in this park. 
The park has large grassy area for picnic, however, since I will be featuring here the wildlife that abounds in this park, most of the pictures will show instead the ocean bluffs and cliffs. Let me start from the eastern portion of the park at La Jolla Caves.
 Kayakers Attempting to Get In La Jolla Caves

Chicken Salad Sandwich

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nature's Pride Bread for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Can you imagine a world without bread? Imagine waking up in the morning and not being able to eat your favorite sandwich. Imagine wanting to have a quick meal to ease your hunger pangs and you can’t make your favorite sandwich because there is no bread available in your kitchen.
One of the things I love about fall is the chance to prepare appetizing food for my family using Nature's Pride Bread. And today, I would like to share to you one of my family’s favorite – the Chicken Salad Sandwich.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Home Sweet San Diego

a mini wordless but picture-filled post of some of my favorite photos that I took here in my adopted new home sweet home, San Diego.
 San Diego Skyline from Coronado Ferry Landing

Rain or Shine, It's Another Beautiful Weekend

Time flies when you are having fun. Before you know it, another weekend just passed.
We had our second drizzles here in San Diego since June of this year probably. I can't wait for more rain to come to shower the dried up soil so that by spring the trails will rejoice with happy colors.
Mt. Woodson Trail, Spring
Same trail as above @ Mt Woodson (notice the same shape of rocks), this weekend, 10/20/12  photo taken by cell phone

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Surfing Dolphins @ Torrey Pines

Photos from our wandering today in Torrey Pines- Del Mar trail, we enjoyed beautiful weather in our walk and were entertained by surfing dolphins who would also sometimes crossed path with other surfers.
 Surfing Dolphins @ Torrey Pines

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Grinell Lake Hike, Glacier National Park, MT

 Grinell Lake

Trail Description:
Mileage: 8 miles round trip without taking the boat
Elevation Gain/Loss: 220 ft
Trailhead: Many Glacier Hotel or Grinell Lake/Grinell Glacier trailhead @ Swiftcurrent campground

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Point Dume

Point Dume State Beach, Malibu, CA
We went here after our hike at Solstice Canyon Deer Valley Loop Trail, for lunch at The Sunset Restaurant which is an ocean front restaurant outside of Point Dume State Park. While waiting for our lunch, we were entertained by several dolphins playing in the surf. After lunch, my cousin and I took a relaxing stroll to the top of Point Dume. The complete Point Dume hike is 4 miles round trip, 400 ft change in elevation. Here are some more pictures of our after lunch stroll :)

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Artist Paint Pot, Yellowstone National Park

 Peach Colored Soil @ Artist Paint Pot
The Artist Paint Pot is South of Norris Geyser Basin and North of Madison Junction. The trail is an easy hike to several geothermal features which you will also probably see in the other parts of Yellowstone. Unlike Midway Geyser Basin and Lower Geyser Basin, the Artist Paint Pot geothermal features can be observed after about 0.3 mile hike along pine forest. After about 0.3 mile, there is a wooded boardwalk that slowly climbs up and goes around several features in Artist Paint Pot area, such as the mudpot below.  

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Back to Photographing From the Highlands

Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego, CA
(panorama shot above, and the 5 panorama below were taken using the new panorama feature in the new IOS6 of iPhone, I just upgraded my software but still use the old cell phone)
It has almost been 3 months since we have stopped hiking the highlands of San Diego. Since July, hiking and photographing from the highland took a backseat in favor of enjoying the waves. I sure had a wonderful 3 months riding the waves, snorkeling with the friendly leopard sharks and other fishes, and tidepoling

Life is More than Just a Beach.....At Torrey Pines

Life is more than just a beach.....

North Overlook @ Guy Fleming Trail, Torrey Pines State Reserve
at Torrey Pines State Reserve and Beach.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces

@ the top of Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces
Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces trail is one of the best way to experience Mammoth Hot Springs. The trail is a series of walkway and boardwalk loops. The boardwalk climbs 300 ft along marginally steep grades and wooded staircases.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Part 2 of Grand Canyon Rim to River Hike Via South Kaibab-Bright Angel Trail

Before continuing to the main content of this post, let me quickly share with you the interview I had with Nature Center Magazine. If you have some time, I invite you to read my thoughts on nature and blogging. Thank you so much - Betchai

Mules Carrying Some of Hiker's Camping Gears
This is the continuation of Grand Canyon Rim to River Hike via the South Kaibab-Bright Angel loop trail Part 1. In part 1, you will find the summary of hike and description of the route. In Part 2, we discuss the other questions frequently asked about this hike.

Grand Canyon Rim to River Hike Via South Kaibab-Bright Angel Trail Part 1

hiker at grand canyon south kaibab trail
Hiker at South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon National Park
Mileage: 16 - 17+ miles, depending on your wandering in the trails and at the bottom of the river gorge
Elevation Change: 5000 ft descent/ascent
Best Time to Hike: During cooler months, late October - early April
Best Route: South Kaibab trail- river-Bright Angel trail

Some common questions asked in this hike:

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Lifetime Pass

We recently bought Lifetime Membership for a lifetime pass at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Is it worth it? I must say, it is!
Torrey Pines Cliffs from Flat Rock, San Diego, CA
( both pictures, top and bottom, were taken using the Panorama Feature in the new IOS application of iPhone)
Flat Rock from Torrey Pines Cliffs, San Diego, CA

Where is The Spot for Leaf Peeping in California?

 North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon, Bishop, CA
California is not best known for its autumnal hues, as most of its forest is evergreen. It is however better known for spring wildflowers, where the otherwise dry barren land would put forth a phantasmagoric show of a million buds of wildflowers fluttering in the breeze.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hidden Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana

Snow Covered Trail to Hidden Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park was our last stop during our Wyoming-Montana vacation last summer. One of the must-do hikes I listed in our itinerary was Hidden Lake. When I first saw pictures of the Hidden Lake, with the melting snow causing waterfall, and beautiful wildflowers adorning the majestic rugged peaks, I told myself, "we must go here!" 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands

Mesa Arch, Islands in the Sky District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Canyonlands National Park is another amazing National Park in the Grand Circle of the America's Southwest.   It pretty much looks like an ancient desert ruin, but a marvelously landscaped ruins. The park preserves an awe-inspiring landscape as a result of river erosion by the Colorado River and its tributaries. The rivers divide the park into 4 districts: The Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze, and the rivers themselves.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Crater Lake National Park, OR

Crater Lake National Park, OR ( 1) 
Crater Lake was one of the National Parks we visited in the Klamath Region Circle of Parks of Northern California and Southern Oregon. From Mt. Shasta, CA, where we stayed after our adventures at Burney Falls and Lassen Volcanic, the drive to Crater Lake was approximately 2 hrs and 40 minutes. Though the drive seemed long, but it was very enjoyable for us, taking pictures of Northern California's and Southern Oregon's countryside, where everything was all so green and white (from snow) graced by cows, some horses and some field of wildflowers. When we finally arrived at Crater Lake and taking in our first glimpse, we were filled with awe at this crater on top of the mountain.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Lower Fall from Red Rock Point, Grand Canyon of The Yellowstone River
(can you see the people at the brink of the waterfall?)
In my previous post, I shared about Gibbon Falls, which is a beautiful roadside waterfall in Yellowstone National Park. In this post, I will be featuring two of the more popular waterfalls in Yellowstone, the Upper Falls and Lower Falls which sit at the head of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rediscovering LA, part 2

Grapes @ Gainey Vineyard
In part 1 of Rediscovering LA, I ended my post with Gainey's Vineyard. In this post, I will start with a hike at Malibu.
Because I am not very familiar with hikes in LA, my cousin chose the place to hike. She chose Solstice Canyon Deer Valley Loop Trail with a short side trip to the Robert's Ranch House Ruins. The hike is 6-mile round trip with 1000 ft elevation gain. The trail winds through chaparral, coastal sage, oak woodlands, and grassy meadows. 
Oak Woodland at Solstice Canyon, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Re-discovering Los Angeles and Around - part 1

LA Skyline and Fountain
Last Thursday, I went to LA to wander and explore in this vibrant city with my friend most of the time and my cousin joined us Saturday. I had a wonderful 4 day Los Angeles vacation, thanks to Malu for showing me around the beautiful spots in her adopted city.
Light poles @ Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Monday, August 27, 2012

K Ka-Boom at Kelso Sand Dunes

Nature has its special way of always bringing out the child in us. There is just so much to experience in our natural world. On our way home from Utah during our last thanksgiving trip, my husband asked if there is another sand dune we will pass along the way that we have not seen yet. Hmmm, sand dunes again? There is just something with the sand that draws us into it, it may be the inspiring artistical ripples wonderfully carved by the wind, or it may be the complexity of how it was formed, or it may just simply be enjoying the different gifts and the many faces of our wonderful world.
Me @ Kelso Dunes, Mojave National Preserve, California

Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

From the Geyser Hill, to the other parts of Upper Geyser Basin, to Midway Geyser Basin, we continue moving North from the Old Faithful Lodge to Lower Geyser Basin in the Fountain Paint Pot area.
Bacterial Mat, Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park
Silex Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

Images from Midway Geyser Basin, Excelsior Group, Yellowstone National Park
The Excelsior Group in Midway Geyser Basin is no doubt my most favorite feature in Yellowstone National Park. Maybe, Midway Geyser Basin awed us beyond compare because we already had seen so much beautiful scenery and amazing features in Yellowstone that we thought with all the beauty we had seen, what else was there? Midway Geyser Basin answered us: "there are more!"

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Snorkeling With The Sharks, the Leopard Sharks :)

Leopard Sharks and Paddle Boarders, La Jolla Shores Beach
I have been having a time of my life lately snorkeling with the sharks! Yes, you read it right, sharks! But before you get scared, let me clarify these are the leopard sharks, not the white sharks! We were snorkeling not only with a few leopard sharks, but surrounded by hundreds of them! Would you want to swim with the sharks too? That is, the friendly, harmless to humans leopard sharks?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wind Surfing and Kite Boarding at Columbia River Gorge

Mt. Hood from Hood River, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area encompasses the entire length of the Columbia River Gorge, spanning two states, Washington and Oregon. The place is most popular for wind and water recreation, but of course, with its surrounding mountains, this place is also popular for outdoor photographers, mountain bikers and hikers. There is actually an activity for almost everyone.