2700 miles and 8 days can’t really justify a roadtrip circling the Utah’s Mighty Five (minus one, we couldn’t plan anything in the capitol reef due to lack of time). But the stunning memories of rock and ice beauty would forever be your cherished possessions. Touring the Zion, Bryce, Arches and Canyonlands National parks have certainly elevated my spirits, may be because I personally believe, if I ever have to visualize my heart and mind in a comparative form, that would be rocks and ice in monumental sizes ;):P #cold #rock I would say.. hehe.. Jokes apart, it was a wonderful tour covering so many great geological features and nature’s sheer beauty that its extremely hard to compile it all into a single blog post.
- My first solo hike in -24°C is the most beautiful so far
- Kolob canyons made me drive backwards in snow for a quarter mile in the exact track I went ahead. Rear view mirror is your only source. No other option.
- We did our first family hike in sub-zero temperatures at -7°C
- We hiked the hoodoos in winter #navaho #loop #bryce
- We were stuck in a passing snow storm and took 1 and a half hour to drive 2 miles in blinding snow fall with no trace of a human or any tire marks on a valley road. And that so happened on one of the most scenic drives between Zion and Bryce. Not scenic at that time ;(
- Another family hike to the Delicate Arch, the slick rock, the ridge walk and the slope to the Arch are so very tensively beautiful
- A family self-rescue on a very slippery icy track to Landscape arch, thanks to my crampons, hike unfinished.
- Walking the slot canyons will take you back in time by a million years for sure, as we did the Lower Antelope Canyon.
- Getting away from civilization will teach you the importance of a social life ;):P
- Driving through the Monument Valley is like driving into a movie set
Take a look at the pics. I better be brief in words but I sincerely wish you take the same journey to appreciate and experience the amazing states of Utah and Arizona.
For fun they played in snow
In pain they cried in snow
The contrast taught them a lesson which they don’t realize now
Take your kids to the great outdoors and face the elements, let them handle the inconveniences and they will quickly stop crying and start thinking solutions.
310 miles of my recent road-trip in the heart of Israel is a definite experience of charm, antiquity and excitement.
- Tel Aviv’s traffic, skyscrapers and sandy beaches reminded me of Mumbai but the Jaffa old city stood out uniquely.
- Floating like a cork ball in the Dead Sea gave me an unbelievable experience of buoyancy apart from burning my eyes and nose.
- Jerusalem and its ancient remains inside the walls of the old city
- the surreal religious fervor at the Stone of Anointment in the church of Holy Sepulcher
- the Semitic orthodox doctrines and rituals, the Mezuzahs and the Golden Menorah
- the hummus, khuskhus, polanta and other typical vegetarian food & the kosher restrictions in the kitchens
- the Ferrari museum
- the Dead-Sea scrolls in the Israel Museum
- the Nano-Bible
- Masada ruins and Qumran caves (I couldn’t locate them by road and didn’t get a chance to go back again)
- and more than all, the warm welcome and cordiality of colleagues and citizens alike
… Its a long list 🙂
Awesome! is only a word and no camera, no photo, no blog nor any article can ever justify the true beauty of this geological marvel that is actually visible from space. You should see it with your own eyes..um if only you love rocks ;):P Yet another bucket-list item coupled with months of preparation, a solid plan, plenty of water, salts n food in your backpack, a very steep trail that takes you all the way down to the greenish white waters of the Colorado and then another UNENDING trail that winds all the way up again to the edge of the rim.. all these make another dream coming true for me.
DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS AS A DAY HIKE or you must be very well prepared with thorough training, proper exposure to altitude changes, clear understanding of the odds and a super strong will to push yourself to the limits without risking your own safety. Do your research before you take your first step. YOU are WARNED.
We took the South Kaibab Trail (SK) which almost ‘slides’ you into the colorful canyon with its red white yellow brown black crimson walls of sliced rock but trust me, not a piece of shade from the scorching sun right from the morning. And there is NO WATER available anywhere on the SK. Reaching the ‘Black Bridge’ is exhilerating for sure with the all the stunning views you have already captured. Feel the the cool and flowing Colorado waters and brave your heart for the actual journey you need to take back up. Don’t forget to gift yourself a quick nap, it would give you good mileage when you are coming up.
The Bright Angels Trail (BA) is probably the most under-estimated trail in all of the discussions I read so far. Don’t get fooled to read that its not as steep as SK. Thats a language trap. BA is easy most of its stretch and there is lots of shade but when its tough, its really tough. It has two sections that are EXTREMELY difficult for a novice hiker that can stun/surprise even experienced folks. Reaching the Indian Campground would take all your juices away… And then starts your actual tussle with the Canyon. After hiking almost 14+ miles , you will stand before the last piece that challenges you and breaks you down properly. I bet you will forever remember the last 2-3 miles as one of the valuable stretches of walking you have ever done on the Earth.. seriously.
I couldn’t take any pictures beyond this point. I waited like hell to reach this place and then the actual hell broke loose and then the darkness of the night surrounded and then the temperatures started dropping (like from 93F mid afternoon to 38F midnight)..
We took 5 hours to go down with many breaks and photoshoots.. and then another 10+ hours to come back up. Please note there is water available at Indian Campground and one emergency resthouse at 3 miles from the BA trailhead and another one at 1.5 miles from the same trailhead. You will thank NPS for keeping a 911 landline there just in case you bump into any emergency when you are about to finish a hike of your life time.
Lemme conclude: Be careful and be prepared for the last 4 of the 17 miles.
Thanks for reading and happy hiking. Go figure out why the Grand Canyon is Grand.
This marks my personal best record of 19 miles, 4k elevation in 10.5 hours.. yey!
And this just happens to be the tallest publicly accessible peak in the Alamada County. Hiking it is very strenuous, the heat just kills, any amount of water is not sufficient (drinkable water is only at the visitor center, for emergencies there is untreated water at Hawk’s Nest) and the long distance would seem to be never ending. Trails are well marked but you better carry your own gpx as you can get lost at few places, but overall we enjoyed hiking this. Never try this alone. We hardly saw any people there and its not worth risking your own self in the vast wilderness. This is meant to be for advanced hikers, but of course I did. 😉
thanks for reading. Don’t try this alone or without proper planning.
My kids were camping for the first time and I wanted them to start big 🙂 so whats better than a beach front on the night of a full moon? Book your campsite on the Half-moon bay, arrange for lots of food n drinks, carry a ton of firewood, plan your barbeque ahead, pitch your tent, exhaust them on the sand, split the woods, fire the pit, show them how to manage fire, make a few smoking corn and let them avoid burning their lips, lights on, open the sleeping bags, teach them how to go to bed comfortably… All this when the waves of the great Pacific ocean are splashing heavily just a 100 yards away, with a chilling breeze making your fire most valuable.. 🙂
Enjoy the life with most basic amenities and appreciate the value
Thanks for reading, hope this inspires you to go out into the nature.
Put a hard deadline by which you should summit and if you don’t reach by that time, turn back.
This is the top rule when you are hiking particularly when the routes/summits are strenuous, dangerous, long and lonely. And thats one rule that prevented me to turn back from the foot of the cables 😦 I was very sad and missed the peak only by a mere 400 meters but I now have a better understanding of this ruthless trail, of the lacunae in my planning and my very own limitations. Of course, I will work on these points and surely go again. I will carry more than 4L of water, no extra wait, will eat more and try to avoid muscle cramps, next time.
Cables on Half-dome is no doubt one of the best and strenuous hikes I did in the last many years. Its a hiker’s paradise with stunning views, steep granite and a thorough mental challenge. A grueling 16 mile hike with limited access to water, the staircase with huge steps along side the Nevada and Vernal Falls, the never ending John Muir trail, the risky slopes on the sub-dome all would only make it more beautiful if you ask me 🙂
Trailhead parking is usually sufficient for day/night hikers but there are few slots at the Happy Isle too (closed when we were there). And if these two are overflowing, then the nearby Curry Village parking (now Halfdome village) is huge enough for a thousand cars.
Cables on half-dome:
Try this all out. You would love it.
Thanks for reading.
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 🙂
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.
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 🙂
Thanks for reading. You have nice time too.
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:
Another 1200 miles in the log.. um..and special thanks to Manoj and Punnami for accompanying us.
thanks for reading.
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.
Its important they plant seeds and then grow their understanding of nature along with the sprouts and saplings 🙂
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 🙂
The real Tarantula is hide sleeping in grass but the one you see in the box is only the shell he just shed: