Outdoor

Arizona: Upper Antelope

 

Sometimes you’re in the mood to have someone take a groupfie photo, and you pose with peace sign unconsciously. It happened in a snap. Later on, you realized the camera belongs to the other group in your tour. Then the owner of the Iphone saw the picture, laughs at the outcome, thinks of how to send it to you coz she thinks you got a nice photo. And to break the embarassment, you let her send the picture but she doesn’t know what airdrop means. After that, everybody’s talking about airdrop. So there was a quick tutorial inside the 4-wheel truck ride to the tour site. What an ice breaker! Everybody’s laughing. Lesson learned: Know who owns the camera before posing. :)

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Now talking about Upper Antelope, personally, I like Lower Antelope better because it’s more challenging to be inside an underground canyon and cost-wise, much cheaper. But for this trip, we considered a senior friendly tour. Our nanay marveled at the sight of the terracotta like swirly formed slot canyon. It is formed by sand, wind and water over the years. Both Antelope slot canyons are located on a Navajo nation near Page, Arizona.
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What was posted in Facebook about expectation versus reality of tourists in some of the most popular tourist spots in the world is true. See the people? You have to take selfies without photobombers in 1-2 seconds or else.

Here are some of the photos we took using cellphone:

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Welcome to Upper Antelope Canyon! upperantelope4What do you see? I can see skull. Creepy! But yeah, that’s the narrow passageway that can only fit one.

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Now, this is heart.

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Teenage mutant ninja turtle mummified version? That’s just my observation. :)

upperantelope7I see an Indian chief here.

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End of the hike. Time to hop in to our rugged ride. Til next time!

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The funny thing here is, they learned how to do the peace sign. Look at the grandma on the right.:) Below is selfie with our Navajo tour guide. Then airdrop everyone! I bet he got some good gratuity that day.

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Hiking: South and North Fortuna Mountains

This was in 2014. Hiking Fortuna mountains was a good workout. The climb to “Stairway to Heaven” was no easy feat. We started at 7:30 and finished before noon using the Tierrasanta entrance. We were with a group from hiking ministry so it was nice to meet new people and enjoyed praying at the summit. It’s a 6 mile hike with a combination of cold and warm weather ending with a little run to the car before the rain starts to pour. The views from two summits were amazingly great. A must hike for San Diegans.

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Hiking: Garnet Peak

One of my most favorite hikes in San Diego is Garnet Peak in Mt. Laguna. It’s about 6,000 ft. above sea level.  It’s an easy 3 to 4 miles hike from where we started. I know there’s another start area closer to the hike but we chose the longer trail. garnet1

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It’s windy and sunny at the same time. Mich looked like she’s sporting a new hairdo. :) We had spectacular views of Laguna Mountains and Anza Borrego desert.
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The last stretch of our hike to the summit.
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Selfie time!
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We left the selfie pod at home so he improvised one. We’re the only ones on the summit.
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Can’t beat the view. garnet9

This is a highly recommended hike but be sure to check out the weather especially wind advisory.

 

 

 

Canyonlands: Island in the Sky & Mesa Arch, Etc.

This is a summary of what we have accomplished in a short period of time after traveling long hours. We just had a quick breakfast and loaded our mini cooler with some blueberry muffins, an apple for the boss, Poochie, beef jerkies, gatorades and water and off we go to this vast land filled with nature’s wonders.

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This is Utah’s largest national park, Canyonlands National Park located in the Moab, Utah. We had to prioritize what we want to visit and come back some other time for other scenic areas.

Names easily catch my attention so I chose Island in the Sky and it’s surrounding attractions. It’s surreal! It’s one of those things that you don’t normally see on a daily basis. It’s breathtaking to see these rugged canyons carved by Colorado river.  It was made more spectacular when we watched how the sun sets down and makes the canyons’ color turn golden. The clouds and snowy mountainous backdrop, the texture of the rugged canyons and crevices are so picturesque. canyonlands1

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Only a short mile hike going to this awesome view, the Mesa Arch. If short hikes are like this one, everyone will be more motivated to hike regularly. The arch looked small but in reality, it’s big. If we have the luxury of time, it’s nice to just sit and relax here the whole day.
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We passed by this Wooden Shoe Arch going to the visitor’s center. It really looks like a shoe. Unique in it’s own way.

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In the back is Newspaper Rock, a petroglyph site located along Indian Creek in Southeastern Utah. It’s really cool how people from old days connect to us through art and some form of writing. canyonlands9

This is really a cool roadside attraction going to Canyonlands. It’s called Wilson arch. We decided to stop by and have some pictures. What seemed like an easy hike turned out to be difficult and impossible for me to go up with Uggs on. It’s scary to go up some more so I settled in this spot and had selfie with the rest of the gang.

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Hiking: Iron Mountain

Iron mountain is one of the most favorite hikes in San Diego. Whenever we pass by the area coming from Julian, there are always plenty of hikers and parking is full. It’s a moderate 6 mile hike with an elevation gain of 1,100 feet.

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Hiking is more fun with friends. What a perfect day to hike when it’s a little cold but sunny. Today was kinda special because of this burst of cloud that looked like a fountain. This is our fountain of youth. Haha! Looking forward to more hikes with you guys!
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“Just as iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen the minds of each other.” (Proverbs 27:17) Iron mountain sharpened our legs and feet. lol! Seriously, it’s a comfortable hike for everyone. 

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We just don’t hike wherever we want. We make sure that trails are safe and we are prepared. Thanks to Modern Hiker for his blog. Tips and overall information we need in hiking are very helpful. We bought our shirts from you! :) Matchy!

Hiking: Mount Volcan

We’ve agreed that as a family, we will hike once a month. By spending time together outdoors we avoid the tendency to be couch potatoes, lessen our electronics time at home, enrich our nature appreciation, sharpen our geography skills, strengthen our bodies and many more benefits. So we encourage everyone to go out and enjoy what nature has to offer. We can’t do it when we are old and weak. :)

IMG_0117As you can see, everyone is enthusiastic and ready to hike. lol!

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What an entrance to the hiking path! It’s totally unique. I was looking for Neptune! lol. Seriously, nice wood carvings there. Just now, I learned that this artwork was done by a Julian artist named James Hubbell.

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IMG_0144This is double workout for the dad. The pull. How can you hike when you want to be pulled?

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The push. Hahaha! This is really steep. I had to walk backwards going up. Weird?

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It was considered as a place for observatory before Mount Palomar.DSC_0514IMG_0389

The photobomber is having a blast!

IMG_6412How do I selfie? Let me count the ways…
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IMG_0418And the quadcopter did his job. Strike a pose!

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You don’t have an idea what transpired here. From the start of our descent, she told me the story of Paddington the movie from beginning to end. Listening for more than an hour is a skill. :) Anyway, we had a great hike. It was tiring and challenging but a good one.

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Hiking: Charmlee Wilderness Malibu


“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity” ― John Muir

It’s a necessity to have a QT (quality time) with the husband and have fun outdoors so we drove a few hours to Malibu to explore the wilderness. We took the time to go far since our kids had a full day schedule (we should thank the schools for organizing field trips and competitions :))  It was such a beautiful spring (almost summer) weather up there and the view was awesome.

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We drove along the Pacific Coast Highway and saw the blue ocean and beautiful multi-million dollar Malibu houses. We don’t have the luxury of time to wander around so I just took some photos.

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Parking is $4. There’s not much hikers here that day because it’s a regular working day. Husband took a time off just to be with me. Well, he’s the one who is actually persistent to hike so it’s the other way around. I took a time off my household chores to join him.

We decided to bring Pooch because definitely we will be home late and nobody will take care of him. Glad we did coz he really enjoyed being outdoors. It was windy and the grass here is gorgeous especially when the wind blows, it’s like scenes from the movies. I am imagining aerial top view shots from one of the Lord of the Rings. Hmmm, GoPro?

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Mountain, ocean, spring flowers, wind, sun, some water and bananas, it’s a cheap date. Don’t mind the gas that was on a peak price.
IMG_0713There’s also some running involve here. We saw some lizards and Poochie enjoys playing with them. Hide and seek?

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Giving our pet some break. Looking at his tongue sticking out, he must be tired and needed some water. This was going up and was having a great cardio work out.

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Follow the lead! Pooch is in between us. He had some fun with the narrow paths.IMG_6853

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It’s funny to look at when Poochie runs and his ears are perked up! Don’t count the wagging tail! He’s just happy.

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We’re on top of Charmlee wilderness around noontime. At the background is Malibu beach.
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Blue sky and water, green grass, flowers of different hues, purple, blue, white, yellow, orange, red. It’s springtime. Charmlee is really charming! Easy 3 Mile hike. We definitely had a great time here and wish to come back with our kids. Now, off to xiao long bao.

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Ocean Beach = Doggie Beach

 

A day in the life of Pooch… It was the head of the house’s forty something birthday and we decided to drive the Pacific Highway Coast til we get tired. We were beach hopping. First stop was this beach, my happy place called Dog Beach (Ocean Beach). A little trivia about this beach: It’s one of the first official leash-free beaches in the United States (according to Ocean Beach San Diego official website). Woohoo! Everybody’s having a great time here. But before I have my great time, they would not let me go around unless I pose for them. So here it is, with this giant umbrella that resembles my grandma’s color wheel. Maybe she would paint me sometime. Hmmm. What do you think? Look at me, I don’t have a leash and I am just obeying them to stay put and smile for the camera. I am a good boy.

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After striking a pose here and there, they let me be free but with one condition, no barking! I should be friendly with people and with pets like me. By the way, I heard Zena (my doggie friend neighbor) sometimes visit this beach. I hope one day we could see her here. It’s gonna be paw-some fun!IMG_2355You see, I am the youngest member of this family and they won’t let me be alone in the house on this special day. They love to play with me while the mother of the house is busy with photographing our moments together. They want me to play catch but sometimes I am overwhelmed with so many things. I want to chase other dogs and I want to run freely as fast as I could. 
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This doggie beach is perfect for pets like me. I just love going here. People and dogs like me co-exist peacefully and wonderfully here. What a wonderful world! Woof! Bring me often here. DSC_0271

Lake Tahoe Camping

As expected, we were hurrying to reach the campground before sunset. We passed by KFC to get some chicken for dinner. Thankfully, we got a bucket meal so it was less work for me to cook dinner when it’s already dark. Fast food is good food for campers. Haha! No bad chicken for dinner when everyone is hungry. :)

We reached William Kent campground with still some sun and was able to check out the area, meet some neighbor campers and set up our tent nicely. The campground was small and surrounded by residential areas. Though lacking in most essential amenities that we are looking for in a campsite, but we find it relaxing and more enjoyable than the other campsites we’ve been to. There’s no shower (it’s okay because we are checking in a hotel the following day), no light in the toilet (it’s okay, we have flashlights), not even flush (oh-em-gee) but it’s not smelly unlike other vault toilets (but it’s well maintained) probably the reason why there’s no light so you won’t see everything. It was quite a walk down to get to the toilet area. The good thing here is the proximity to the lake. It’s so close, just across the road.

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Here, the kids were playing while bringing stuff for our set up. I made sure that the food that we have are secured in that cabinet. We’ve heard that bears are common here, so better be wise not to invite them to our camp site.

tahoe8 After breakfast, which is as usual, “the trio” (spam, eggs and rice), we went to the lake. Lake Tahoe is very beautiful! So calm, and inviting! I’ve never seen such clear lake water as this one. But it’s so cold! I don’t know if this lake gets warm.
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Why so blue? So clear? I don’t know. I was too preoccupied by the beauty of the lake that I don’t want to read any more information. tahoe2 tahoe3

The area surrounding the lake is a very nice place to run or walk. I should have brought my running shoes then. :) I remember, we’ve seen a brace of ducks here that are so cute to look at!tahoe4

Family picture is a must! We had too many shots for a family picture by the lake but only a few were good enough because we were shooting against the light and just using a self timer plus the never-ending laughter. Anyway, that’s the best part, laughing all the time.
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We took a little time to check out the home of 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley.

tahoe10_edited-1 It’s been half a century since the 60’s Winter Olympics but Squaw Valley is still gorgeous up to this day. I love to hang out there!tahoe9

Playtime is part of the game at The Village, Squaw Valley. Trampoline anyone? Kuya feels he is too old for this.
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St. Regis Monarch Beach

St. Regis is love ! This premier resort in Laguna Beach, Dana Point has so many to offer for the entire family. Named after the Monarch butterfly, St. Regis Monarch has championship golf course, private beach, kids activities, spa, butler service, and more. st regis orange

Refined. Luxurious. Private. This resort is also popular for weddings and honeymoon. st regis orange9

This massive fountain is magical at night, romantic for a night walk.st regis orange2

Chocolates with butterfly wrapping, teas and cookies with gold dust were some of the welcome treats that we enjoyed!st regis orange3

It was summer when we stayed there. St. Regis boasts of more fun activities for kids than any luxury hotels. They held this “Butterfly Release” every Saturday that summer. It was to commemorate the breeding ground of monarch butterflies which is within the resort’s property. It started with a little procession from lobby to the ocean terrace. Then the butler read the story about the legend of monarch butterflies. Then butterflies were released. Some kids are afraid like this little boy. Some kids want to catch all. st regis orange4Another butler walked around giving butterflies in envelope to kids. He told Michelle to make a wish and then release the butterfly. Welcoming the adults to the venue, there were unlimited champagne offered by the servers. Cheers! st regis orange5

At night, kids and parents alike are treated to some storytelling and unlimited s’mores. Awesome night for guests!st regis orange6

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Pools are big, warm and has music underneath the water. Really cool! Mich didn’t want to go home.st regis orange8

To go to the private beach area, you have to schedule a golf cart service. It’s quite a drive going to the beach and one can’t just go there by foot. It’s so nice that even toys and sand buckets are provided for each child guest. St. Regis, one of the best! Till next time. :)st regis orange10

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