Thursday, July 18, 2013

Relaxing in Nature and Music Turned into One Great Summer Adventure Vacation

June 20, I was preparing for our flight to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, for our much awaited Canadian Rockies adventure vacation. Then, the news of evacuation and closure of highways in the area we would be exploring broke out. As we watched the news, we felt sad for the people who had to be evacuated, and at the same time, relieved we were still in the safety of our home. With a heavy heart, I started calling the airline and hotels we would be staying in for cancellation. Thankfully, we were given credit ( not refund), the same amount as we paid, which we could use for booking later. At least, we did not have to pay penalty or lose the money entirely. 

The next day, to ease my mini-disappointment from a cancelled vacation, I took a relaxing walk at Balboa Park, to enjoy nature, culture and music in one park.  
Me, In Front of Fountain and Natural History Museum
My favorite museum in Balboa Park is the Natural History Museum, and Museum of Man. As you can tell, even in museums, my interest still leans toward learning and understanding more about our natural world. I was there a little bit too early for the museums to open, so I had the time of my life walking around the park first. From the fountain, I walked towards the lily pond, which is right next to the Natural History Museum.
Lily Pond, Balboa Park ( with the Botanical Building in the background)
There were already a lot of people enjoying time with their family and friends at the Lily Pond. By the lawn area in front of Botanical Building, there were a group of young teens setting up their band, preparing to play their music for the crowds in the park. Whenever I see group of teens enthusiastically playing their music, it brings me to dreamland of being able to play my own acoustic bass guitar too. It reminds me of my high school days where I and my small group of friends would pretend we were "The Beatles", and would sing to our heart's content. I sat in one of the benches and listened to the music played by the teens for a while in the grassy area. While listening to them, some monarch butterflies were fluttering across me, tempting me to get out of my seat. Slowly, the butterfly won, I was out from my seat to take pictures.
Monarch and Milkweed
While I was snapping photos of butterflies and flowers around and at the same time listening to the music, suddenly, the tiredness and mini-disappointment I was feeling from the cancelled trip started to disappear. I soon found myself snapping pictures of flowers and critters around.
Apparently, my happiness is very cheap! :) Just give me a few pictures, and all my disappointment gone! :) After a while, the museums already opened, so I slowly put my camera away to get lost in  The Natural History Museum. I love this museum because it allows me to see  and learn the changes in our natural world, how the scientists are working to keep the balance in our natural world. Sometimes, watching the movies about nature make me cry too and that's when I usually start planning for nature trips to get to know more about our natural world. Anyway, inspired again by what I learned from the exhibits and naturalists activities, I went home with a target in mind: create a last minute adventure vacation centered on Great Basin National Park, Mono Lake, and Milky Way.
The Trip I Planned in lieu of the cancelled Canadian Rockies trip
We really had been wanting to check out Great Basin National Park before, but because it was so out of nowhere, very far from major cities, we usually put it aside for later trips. Even if we fly to Las Vegas or Salt Lake City, Great Basin would still be quite a long drive, thus, I decided we take a road trip instead, where instead of driving directly to Great Basin, we would drive first to Zion National Park, and hike the Narrows. And instead of going directly to Mono Lake from Great Basin, I decided to spend 2 days at Lake Tahoe too. So, we ended up with San Diego- Zion National Park- Great Basin-Lake Tahoe-Mono Lake-San Diego trip, as shown in the map above.
Here are a few pictures from our main stops:

 hiking "The Narrows" @ Zion National Park 
Hiking the Bristlecone and Glacier Trail @ Great Basin National Park
 Emerald Bay State Park, Lake Tahoe
Mono Lake South Tufa State Reserve, Lee Vining, California
And yes, our nights at Great Basin National Park and Mono Lake were capped so beautifully by the MILKY WAY.
The Milky Way at Mono Lake
 So glad for nature and music at Balboa Park, that gave me idea and inspiration to plan for this trip, which turned out to be another great summer adventure vacation.  I will be sharing the itinerary and more details and features from each park in the next posts. 
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  1. Betchai, glad you had a great time at the museum. Like you, no matter where I go, I always have to snap at least a few flowers. Your shots are spectacular. I also enjoy history museums. When I traveled to Hong Kong, that was my favorite museum.

    Your mono lake south shot is myt favorite. Just gorgeous.

  2. That park itself is already a vacation for me Ate Beth, beautiful!

  3. I hope you got all your refunds back. Things could be frustrating when you have to cancel.

  4. Wow saya naman! The place really looks beautiful lalo na yung milky way :)

  5. What a great inspiration for a road trip, and what a super itinerary. Lots of "empty" spaces in between, which I love too. I look forward to more details and more of your excellent photos.

  6. I know how you feel,Betchai.I'm sure there will be next time in Canadian Rockies. My father-in-law went there for motorbike road trip with his buddies. They started from Michigan-MOnatna,Canadian Rockies, Jasper, and Alaska and some geocaching.You would love there. I saw their pictures.

  7. Another great adventure Betchai. Seems the Natural History Museum is one place that I have to see. I know lots of new knowledge awaits me there. Hanggang pangarap na lang ba ako Sis?

  8. breathtaking pictures as always Betchai. i love walking on stone pavements!

  9. I love that picture of you infront of the fountain Sis, looks relaxing. The butterfly is very pretty as well. I am a fan of your photographs. Amazing shots as always :-)

  10. Haist! Inggit mucho na naman si Inday, Te Betchai. Hehe! I feel like I too is wandering the world everytime I swing by your blog. It's always a refreshing experience for me just by looking at your lovely photographs. I love that solo photo of you, Te Betchai. You're an epitome of an outgoing woman who loves to explore the world. Thanks for taking us with you as you continue your journey.

    Love and hugs!

  11. wow, everything's awesome...always love to see your pictures. and thanks for sharing how your journey was! :) i love your life, full of adventures, love and happiness! looking forward to read what's next journey is all about. xx