Category Archives: Travel

Iceland-Fire with Ice

Standard

Our Summer vacation spent in Iceland.  One of the most picturesque places I have been to.  Very remote areas for exploring.  We drove what known as the Ring Road.  Which is basically driving around the whole Island.  The weather was decent up north.  But in the south side there was a lot more rainy days.  The only thing I missed was not seeing a Puffin.  

 

 

It seems crazy but i don’t know if it’s cause we have been there and see familiar places or the fact that everyone seems to be going to Iceland.  Even Justin Beiber’s song Cold Water with Major Lazer is filmed there.

 

 

 

 

Ellery Campground

Standard

We attempted to book campsite at Toulmne Meadows months before without any luck.   So we decided to wing it.  We left at 4:30 in the morning to arrive around 8:30.  As soon as we get to the Camp Office everything booked.  No open sites and a long waiting list.  We were I think number twenty something.  The staff suggested to drive past the park there were so many camp sites with walk ups.  So we took our chance again.  After the third campground we got lucky.  So we ended up at Ellery Campround.  Just our luck a couple was using the parking spot for their camper but not the actual site.  So he offered it to us.  The host was amazing to let setup camp.  The only con was the elevation of 9500. I had such bad headaches from the altitude.

img_2727

This was next to our Camp site.  Nice walk up the rocky terrain.img_2723

During the weekend we drove to Mammoth area and did a short Hike near Twin Falls Lake. It was .2 miles all going up.  Spectacular views from the top totally worth the hike up.

img_2764

img_2787

 

 

Half Dome in Yosemite NP

Standard

Exactly 6 years ago I did my first big hike which was Half Dome in Yosemite NP.  The hike is just about 16 miles round-trip.  We prepared for this hike almost every weekend by going on smaller hikes.  Started the hike off strong and had to make frequent stops along the way.  Had so much water and snacks to really weight you down as you hike.  Popping Advil like candy at the time as well.   During the time I had severe fear of heights.  Could not get close to any edges while hiking without getting quizy in my tummy!    But finally reached Sub Dome the part before the infamous cables to get to Half Dome as it’s known.  And I could freaked and could not even get close to the cables to hike up!  My DH at the time spent several minutes trying to convince me that it’s fine I will catch you.  Nope could not do it.  To this day he says I was a chicken-shit for not doing it.  

Six years later it still haunts me that I didn’t do it!.  So finally all the starts were lining up for another opportunity to hike the up the Cables of Half Dome.  One of my friends happen to get a camp sight in Upper Pines Campground for Friday and Saturday night.  All I needed was the permit to hike the cables.  Which 4 of our friends who were interested applied for.  Jackpot one of us got it for all of us.  Now I was secretly hoping that it would not happen but it did..we won the Half Dome lottery.  A place to stay and the permit to hike.  So without thinking too much about it packed up on Thursday night with only a tent, sleeping bag, and clothes.  My son being 14 years old was also interested in hiking up to Half Dome.  So we reached the campsite around 10 or so and set up tent.  We awoke at 3:30 am and headed to Half Dome at 4:18 am.  This time around though it seemed very different.  We did not have to make as many stops and also not popping any pills.  I had no fear of heights or quiziness.   We reached  the Sub Dome around 9:45.  Hiked without any hesitation or fear.  Actually stopped just to enjoy the gorgeous views around me.  Not a cloud in the sky…perfect temp at average 75.  Reached the infamous cables and ready to do this!!  I had a chat with my 14-year old that he better be mentally ready because there is no turning back once you start climbing.  He was ready he said.  

Climbed to half way up and turned around and enjoyed the beauty all around me.  It was truly in ahaaa moment.  It was a spectacular 360 view of the the beautiful Yosemite mountains all around.  The cables were not easy it does take a lot of arm strength.  But we did it…slowly but surely.  Spent over an hour on top and then headed back down.  So on the way back down the cables we see a little boy around 8-9 years old coming up with his parents in front and back of him.  Then we we see a little girl around the same age with her dad.  Both had harnesses.  Wow!!! How brave were those kids.  The amazing part was I was able to come down facing the view and not the rock and again no freaking out.  I highly recommend doing this hike.   It took 6 years and many hikes later to be able to get over my fear.  

Majestic Yellowstone NP

Standard

If you have never been to Yellowstone than i suggest you check it out ASAP and plan a trip.  It is the most Beautiful and Oldest Natioanal Park that you must visit. It’s located in Wyoming near the borders of Idaho and Montana.Yellowstone National Park is home to some 10,000 thermal features, over 500 hundred of which are geysers. Yellowstone contains the majority of the worlds geysers. The magmatic heat powering those eruptions still powers the park’s famous geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, and mud pots.  We decided to take a 14 hour road trip from California to West Yellowstone.  The drive was not bad when you have good company.  We spent three days in the park and was able to complete 90% of the park.  And got close and personal with a Bison and a Bear.

Bison

Bison

IMG_5071

The most famous and well known attraction has to be Old Faithful Geyser which is still active.  This was taken when we there and it exploded.  It usually erupts every 90 minutes or so.

Old Faithful Geyser

Old Faithful Geyser

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Standard

Wanted to share some more amazing pictures of the scenery and history.  The only bad part of the trip was the humidity.  It was a typical Hindu wedding.  The attire was Indian wear.  It was a bit miserable wearing heavy Indian clothing in such humidity.  But we all got through it and the wedding was beautiful with an amazing background of the ocean with clear blue skies.   These are the pictures from the last couple of days of actual vacation in San Juan.  The food was amazing and the drinks even better.  I had plenty of Mojitos and Margaritas to cool off.  I have the 5 pounds that I gained to prove how good they were.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Puerto Rico 1

Standard

Our trip to Puerto Rico for a family wedding was picturesque.  We stayed at the El Conquistador in Fajardo.  They have a private Island that you take a 15 min ferry ride form hotel.  It was so beautiful.  The water being so clearly blue and blue skies above made you feel like you truly are in paradise.  The wedding photos are going to be amazing with that background.  Wanted to share the images of the amazing private island called Palomino Island, and the beautiful Hotel.  Was not to impressed with the rooms being that it was Waldorf Astoria Hotel property. Most of our time spent at this hotel was for the wedding events.  They did a fab job on organizing the events. They even were able to serve Indian food.   Mostly enjoyed all the family time together which does not happen to often.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Machu Pichu Hike Day 1

Standard

Wanted to share some amazing pictures of my hike through the Inca Trail.  Without walking the trail you would not be able to view these magnificent ruins.  Cannot describe the feeling of the beautiful nature that is all around you.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Machu Picchu-Day One

Standard

We had chosen to arrive a day early to acclimatize in Cusco,  So the first day we had chosen to do the Sacred Valley Tour.  The bus picked us up from our Hotel for the 19 miles and about 2 hour drive to the city of Pisac which is the entrance into the Sacred Valley area. The town sits at about 9,700 ft elevation.  Cusco is at 11,500 elevation.  We were planning on visiting Urubamba valley, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero.  Ollantaytambo is the oldest continuously occupied town on the American continent. The narrow streets of Ollantaytambo, along with their canals, have not Changed much from the time of the Inca Empire.

On the way we stopped at the Ccochahuasi Animal Sanctuary is a privately-owned, family-run organization in the Sacred Valley that rescues exotic animals that have been injured or have been used for cruel entertainment purposes.  They had Andes Condors, Llmas, Rabbits, Cats, and some Birds.  They took us into the homes of the condors and even had one fly from one side to the other side.  These Condors are becoming extinct due to the hunt for their feathers.  They actually found a bird that was not a local.  But they rescued and nused it back to health.  It almost looks like a Flamingo.

Finally on our way to Ollantaytambo.   It is one of the empire’s main points for the extraction of natural wealth.  The early Incas may have come from Wimpillay, as their mummies had been discovered there.  The Sacred Valley served as a buffer zone, protecting Cusco from incursions of the Antis, the fierce jungle tribes who from time to time raided the highlands. Today the Sacred Valley remains a lush agricultural region supplying the city of Cusco with much of its produce such as maize, fruit and vegetables.  The drive was so scenic through the mountains with views of far valleys and rivers.  In Pisac you do have to buy the tickets for the Sacred Valley which was about $25 dollars.  At the end of the tour we visited Chincero Market where the local ladies showed us how they die the fabric using different flowers and plants.

 

 

Machu Picchu Part1

Standard

What do most people want and desire on their 40th Birthday.  I wold guess a big hoopla party, a big diamond to celebrate half of your life passed by, or even a girls trip to an island somewhere.  None of these choice options for my dear GF.  She wanted to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.  Being in love with anything outdoors and hiking related I was 100% in.  The planning process began months ago.  But the day finally arrived on Tuesday November 7th our flight to Cusco, Peru.  Here are the beginnings of an epic adventure with some great company.  We picked a local trekking company from Peru named Valencia Travels.  It was very easy to connect with them via email regarding any questions or concerns.  They were easy to work with and all the guides were so friendly and helpful.  The guides are with you from the time you land to the time you leave Cusco.  We booked a 4 day 3 night trek with them.  Which was the perfect amount of time to see everything at a good pace.  They also suggest to arrive a day early in Cusco to acclimatize before the trek.  

The city of Cusco is historic capital of the Inca Empire lies at merely 11,152 ft elevation.  It’s so beautiful and very colonial looking.  The main square is filled with beautiful historic churches.  Don’t be fooled by the local people who dress in their traditional attire, one picture and you will have to tip them.  The guides recommended for us to start drinking the coco leaves tea or chew them like gum but not swallow.  Unfortunately for me it made me sick to my stomach.  But my friends were fine with the leaves.  It’s meant to help with the altitude sickness. I really enjoyed the city and the food of the locals.   Quinoa was the main staple along with beans, meat and rice as the local dishes.  The local drivers have the right of way and not the public.  So you have to very careful when crossing any road the cars will not stop to let you pass.