Places

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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Camping: Lake Powell

This is what camping on a 100 F weather in Arizona looks like. Everything is bright and clear till 8:30 p.m. Welcome to Wahweap Campground in Lake Powell, Page, Arizona! This is Lake Powell Resort’s campground area. The view is amazing & relaxing. It was a busy season. Glad we made a reservation just in time. Given some more years and the trees will grow much more, providing bigger shades and it will be perfect. lakepowell

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Here we pitched our tent carefully because it was super windy that time. We saw some flying tents around! And while it’s still 100 degrees, we went to the resort’s lounge to have dinner and avail of their wifi. How can I survive with my GPRS cellphone signal?  lakepowell2

At 9:30 p.m. we were swimming under the stars. Cool! Yes, we needed this to relax our tired bodies from the long drive. Resort amenities are also open for campers. Yay! But the problem with swimming, you have to take a shower, dry up before you go back to the tent and sleep. Complex task!
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Our first night was awesome. The night sky was clear and stars were very visible, we even saw the Milky Way! For the first time, I saw a shooting star. :) It was nice to just lie down on a beach chair under the bare sky and watch the stars till you get sleepy. Adrian was busy with his telescope that night.
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At 6 a.m. I woke up to this calm view and prepared our breakfast composed of baked salmon, pork tocino & quinoa multigrain rice mix (wow fancy! fancy leftovers 😉 )…Everybody was able to sleep well. Thank God for camping fans. It’s rare that we get to use fans in camping. Yes, because it’s summer and we’re in Arizona. :)

lakepowell5This is Lake Powell. The gorgeous Lake Powell. We went exploring the area, in the next blog coz it’s too much in one blog. See yeah!

 

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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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

Sequoia National Park: Land of the Giants

Sequoia National Park is home to giant trees including the world’s largest, General Sherman tree. This park lies side by side with Kings Canyon National Park in Southern Sierra Nevada in California. This place is magical. It’s not ordinary to see humongous living things like what you can see here. You’ll be in awe. You’ll try to comprehend. And you won’t forget. seq2

We were already amazed at how big the Sentinel is, but it is just an average-sized tree here. Oh, well, biggie size in America is a usual thing. :)seq1

The visitor center shows how big the trees are in comparison with famous monuments and things. The giant trees here are compared to the size of the Statue of Liberty, Titanic, the great blue whale, and regular trees. People are mere dots.

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Some of the causes of death of giant trees are due to severe winter and falling down. It would be scary to witness a falling sequoia. I imagine it would be like how a cartoon show would portray that scene, flat like a card board. Seriously, don’t even imagine it.  seq6seq4

We received more than we sought. It’s not enough to read only what’s in this place or in any national parks. It’s better to experience it and enjoy being with nature. There’s more to it than just watching documentaries or reading blogs like this. We can better appreciate nature and it’s wonders by taking a break from our busy life.

Our world is big. We may be mere tiny objects compared to these natural marvels but we can help protect and preserve them.    seq7

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This is Adrian’s Lego Mindstorm robot, panoramabot which he programmed to take panorama pictures using my cellphone. That’s why we were a bit late from our schedule. Picture below shows us passing through “the tunnel log”. This tree fell down due to natural causes and was carved to let smaller cars pass through.   seq9

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We were practically running to make up for the time lost since wandering the giant forest. We had to beat the time for us to see the biggest tree before it gets dark. We highly recommend anyone going here to bring a bug spray or mosquito repellant. And expect mosquitoes and bugs to be bigger than the usual. Remember, you’re in the land of the giants.  seq13

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What can you see in Congress Trail? Not politicians but trees of course. This is a 2 mile paved trail that goes through the heart of the sequoia forest. You can see the famous House and Senate Groups, and the President, Chief Sequoyah, General Lee and McKinley Trees. Unfortunately, we don’t have much time to visit them because it’s getting dark. It was past 6PM when we were in the General Sherman area. One upside here, we get to take several photos with the General Sherman because there’s not much people left. Adrian’s panoramabot was very helpful.seq14

According to NPS (National Park Service), the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park is the largest (by volume) tree in the world. Massive. Gigantic. Enormous. Colossal. Monster. Humongous. Approximately, this tree together with other giants in Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon live between 1,800 to 2,700 years. They’ve witnessed the unfolding of civilizations and they overcame drought & other calamities. What else? They’ve seen how the earth changes.

We salute you, General Sherman tree! You’re awesome! We hope that many more generations will see you. But even more, we salute your Maker, our Maker. :)seq11

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