Travel Log: 1400 miles of our Alaskan roadtrip is just thrilling

Alaska is no doubt one of the most beautiful places on the Earth. The stunning Glaciers, large lakes, enormous mountain ranges, diverse wildlife and museums with rare collections etc certainly make it one of the bucket list items for any traveler. We did a week long circular road trip of ~1400 miles from Anchorage ->Denali ->Fairbanks ->Delta Jn ->Paxson lake -> Matanuska -> Seward -> Anchorage and thoroughly enjoyed it that we want to go back again:)

Day-1 started with a quick hike to the Thunderbird Falls:
thunderbird falls hike

Glacier Ruth — you will surely feel like dancing when you land on it:
dancing on glacier Ruth

Horns Everywhere:
horns everywhere

That was the first time we saw a ‘moose’:
moose

10pm sunlight and the sunset still an hour or so away:
10pm sunlight

Hatchers Pass:
Hatcher's pass

End of the Alaskan Highway mile 1422 at Delta Junction:
End of the Alaskan Highway mile 1422 at Delta Junction

Denali National Park and Preserve:
Denali national park and preserve

Every moose belongs to the Earth:)
Every moose belongs to the Earth :)

That was a ‘wild’ bear with two cubs, came so very close:)
That was a 'wild' bear with two cubs, came so very close :)

flightseeing was super fun:
flightseeing was super fun

Mount Denali from a flightseeing air taxi:
Mount Denali

wild and bald eagle:)
wild and bald eagle :)

look into his eyes, he can read a scribble pad from across a football field:)
look into his eyes, he can read a scribble pad from across a football field :)

holgate glacier (that is a flowing ice river, if you don’t mind):
holgate glacier

one house that I always wanted:
one house that i always wanted

designer musk ox (he was just shredding):
designer musk ox

never saw a bear claw that close:
never saw a bear claw that close

wood bison:
wood bison

woolly mammoth skeleton is so huge and the video that shows how painful it is for them to excavate the fossils is just mind blowing:
woolly mammoth is so huge

post card sceneries:
post card scenaries

Road Road Road:
road road road

road road road

road road road

road road road

Doll’s porpoise playing with the tourists on board the Glacier Express:

orca group Ak-6 on the Seward shores:

And the last but not least, a humpback breaching the water surface. You should see it with your naked eye and understand how exhilarating it is to watch the world’s biggest mammal known doing that flip on open ocean:

Thats all for now. Thanks for reading.
Balu

Categories: car, family, fun, hike, my, national parks, outdoors, roadtrips, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

mistakes made me

mistakes made me wise :)

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Mussel Rock, McCluers Beach and the San Andreas fault in between

Not many would be interested to go to an Earthquake fault on a weekend road trip but what if you add a beautiful beach to it, and a stunning rock floor all filled with mussels, and a big tunnel in the rock with the high waves crashing and trying to close both sides of it? That would be one awesome day, trust me!

As for the record, Mussel Rock is the place where the San Andreas fault re-enters the land mass. The “Pacific Plate” and the “North American Plate” just rubbed against each other and made an 800 mile long fault that looks like a scar on the Earth’s cheek.. Isn’t it creepy?

And touching the edge of such a ” tectonic plate” with your human hands is like a crazy dream.

And then, all the rocks on the shore are filled with tiny black mussels, wow, why? Don’t miss the “hole in the rock” which is just one wonderful experience to sit in the tunnel and hear the crashing waves at both sides.  And another point close to the fault but far away from here is the McCluers Beach. We will do Fort Ross some other day, but this beach is hidden from the public view by few hillocks and the hike down took just 0.5 miles and you enter a private beach thats all your own:)

hole in the rock

mussels on the rocks

ever ever sand

ever ever sand

Thanks for reading. You have nice time too.

Categories: california, family, fun, hike, kids, my, outdoors, roadtrips | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travel log: Journey to the HOTTEST place ever recorded on the Earth

The HOTTEST place ever recorded on the Earth;
The LOWEST elevation below sea level in the entire Western Hemisphere;
The DRIEST place in the Western Hemisphere;
The TALLEST place in all of the lower US states;
The LARGEST National Park in the USA;

It may sound like crazy that I wanted to visit these places but the privilege of a Californian is to be able to cover them all in a day or two, so why not on a long weekend? :) Yes, I am talking about the famous “Death Valley National Park” which is the largest (in fact larger than Yellowstone, yes, yes).  I never thought it would be so beautiful even though exhausting and dehydrating. We drove through the heart of the valley, its all a dry and barren land with extreme temperature and aridity but God made it “hellafa” beauty, I vouch.

  • Furnace Creek and Stovepipe are aptly named:)
  • Badwater Basin is a bold beauty and drains all the water out of you. It was 109°F (43ºC) when we were there
  • Natural Bridge intrigues you sure
  • Mesquite Dunes mesmerizes you
  • the “Death Valley Scenic Highway” is certainly scenic with multiple stops for water and pictures:)
  • Mount Whitney stands tall and makes all this rain shadow region what it is
  • Family trek to the Lone Pine Lake at 10k

And we didn’t actually get time to visit many other places like Zebriskie point, Devil’s cornfield, Ubehebe crater and Eurake Dunes etc.. Next time:)

Trip tips:   Carry lots and lots of water with you, sun screen, cooling glasses, hat, umbrella and whatever else that can protect you from the scorching sun and dehydration.

My Kids tried to breach the 10k elevation mark but had to turn back at 9153 due to bad weather. It still was a 4 mile hike on the slopes of Mount Whitney. We got two new friends and the 3 year old “Ashrita” was the most energetic:
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Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level
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Bumblebee’s “Off road” to the “Natural Bridge”:
"off road" to the "Natural Bridge"

“Salt Carpet” at the Badwater Basin
"Salt Carpet" welcomes you

“Natural Bridge” — It was cut thru by flowing water, once upon a time:)
Natural Bridge, Death Valley National Park

“Mesquite Dunes” — a desert in the heart of “redwood” state
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Another 1200 miles in the log.. um..and special thanks to Manoj and Punnami for accompanying us.

thanks for reading.

Categories: 2016, california, car, family, hike, kids, my, national parks, national parks, outdoors, roadtrips, summer, sun, trails challenge, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

hiking Mount Baldy

I took the Ski-hut-trail to the peak and then the Devil’s backbone to come down. It may look like a normal hike of 10-11 miles but the ascent is an unpaved steep trail filled with boulders and occassional shade. And its the descent I found very dangerous as the Devil’s backbone is nothing but a sharp ridge with deep valleys on both sides. Add some bad weather and poor visibility, it can easily become treacherous as it happened to a lonely me. Don’t go alone onto this ridge, particularly if its bad weather.

10k peak, 11 miles, 12 hours... not bad

10k peak, 11 miles, 12 hours… not bad

mount baldy

it was not easy for sure

devil's backbone

Devil’s backbone looks so normal from the top, but once you enter that area covered by clouds, its nothing but a steep ridge with deep valleys both sides. Don’t go alone.

one in a billion rainbow

Watch carefully! Its a one-in-a-billion circular rainbow which flashed for a few moments with a passing wet cloud and a rare chance, it appeared like an aura around my head in the shadow

 

Categories: 2016, california, hike, my, outdoors, roadtrips, state parks, trails challenge | 1 Comment

3 weeks of happiness

spoonful to plateful

Categories: food, gardening, health, home, kitchen, my | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

kids’ saplings

Its important they plant seeds and then grow their understanding of nature along with the sprouts and saplings:)

kids' sapplings

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నాలాంటి సామాన్య ప్రజలకి అంకితం (A half minute gripe)

Not to sound philosophical, I started to dislike getting stuck in an endless routine.. And what better time than a weekend to vent your gripe?

Contrary to the Karmic philosophy which says a soul takes multiple births based on its bad deeds, I strongly believe the next birth, if at all, is given only to people who do good things here… If you are of the types sung in this folk, you won’t get a chance to be here again… Enjoy this half-minute song:

 

Categories: తెలుగు, emotions, fun, me, philosophy, suggestions, traits, writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

dosa hut

yet another Daddy’s creation:) Its a #spicy #life:)
dosa-hut

Categories: తెలుగు, food, fun, indian, kitchen, my, recipes, traditional recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

పాత పెనం మీద కొత్త అట్టు

“పుల్లట్లు”, “చల్లట్లూ” పాత తరం బాబూ .. “పంచట్లు” కొత్త తరం ..:)

Stack them all like a burger and take them in one-bite-at-a-time with accompanying ginger chutney:)

Flattened rice and curds soaked overnight, add little salt while making the batter and pan fry them into palm sized cookies with different vegetable top-ups… Tomato, peppers, onions, carrot, mint/coriander… served with ginger or sesame chutney.. Enjoy the sunday.
panchantlu

Categories: తెలుగు, food, fun, indian, kitchen, my, recipes, traditional recipes | Leave a comment

bug day at Randall Museum, SFO

Its important to teach your kids something about bugs, what are harmless and what are harmful etc. Thanks to the Randall Museum in SFO, we had a fun day with lot of infotainment. Add that to all our outdoor time and I am sure my kids would have their curiosities answered and still be safe…

Of course each bug is a lesson whether its biting your neck or breaking your code ;):P

hand-crafted Bug Crowns:)

bug day
 

The real Tarantula is hide sleeping in grass but the one you see in the box is only the shell he just shed:
bug day

 

One harmless scorpion.. believe me!

bug day
 

the common beetle:

bug day
 

larvae will never be disgusting again:

bug day
 

Its the daddy beetle who carries all the eggs around:

bug day
 

 Not indoor plants, they are all carnivorous hunters:

bug day
 

 This cone shaped death trap is probably the most misguiding:

bug day
 

 Not all beauty is naive, it eats a bug alive and slow:

bug day
 

 Spot the snake:

bug day
 

 Thats the first time I saw a birdie skeleton:

bug day
 

 and a tortoise one too:

bug day

Categories: bugs, california, family, fathering, fun, infotainment, my, outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The first thing I do with my tax refund and you should too!

Its not actually the ‘first’ thing  because I am doing this directly from my tax deductions without even receiving the refund. This time I used TurboTax and came across this wonderful feature to be able to donate directly from the refund while filing the returns itself.. And here is my fav list:

$100 -> Emergency Food For Families Fund

$195 -> State Parks Protection Fund/Parks Pass Purchase

$100 -> Keep Arts in Schools Fund

$80 -> America The Beautiful – National Parks Annual pass (ordered separately)

That takes a cool big chunk from my total refund but I am happy and thankful to God for giving me this opportunity to donate.  I never want to boast about myself but it just gives me good sleep if I do this:) and probably I can inspire a rich aahs to beat me in this someday:)

B

Categories: california, my, national parks, state parks, suggestions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

hiking thru Bear Gulch caves at Pinnacles

A superb start to the Spring 2016 with a 3.2 mile hike in the deep talus caverns of the Pinnacle National Park in the Bear Gulch Nature Reserve. My 5 year old kids did this full loop along with my senior citizen mother-in-law and everyone liked the narrow passages laughing heartily squeezing thru the wet rugged rocks:)

Don’t forget your headlamps:   Moses Springs Trail -> Bear Gulch Cave Trail -> Rim Trail -> High Peaks Trail -> Bear Gulch Nature center;

IMG_3895

IMG_3904

IMG_3925

IMG_3935

Categories: 2016, california, family, fun, hike, kids, life, my, outdoors, state parks, summer, trails challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

real time lessons

Daddy is painting after a long time:) and his brief 5-minute lesson on drawing real time objects looks overly simple on paper but kids picked it up quickly and they even started drawing objects that are NOT displayed… If only you appreciate how difficult it is to imagine something in your mind and put it on paper whether its a painting or a write-up that you will spend those 5 minutes with your kids and give them a certain opportunity to open a new door in their minds:)

Its never too early to buy them easels..

Daddy's real-time-drawing lesson

Categories: drawing, family, fathering, fun, kids, life, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

wasted knowledge

Untitled

Categories: analysis, life, mind, my, philosophy | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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