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Showing posts from 2015

A hike to the Peak of El Yunque Rain Forest, Puerto Rico

I never knew rain forests could be so breathtakingly beautiful before I stepped into El Yunque rain forest (pronounced el-ZHUN-kay) in Puerto Rico. I have never been on a hike that was more rewarding than the hike to the peak of El Yunque rain forest. I never realized how magical an experience a rain forest could create with its own climate until we took the El Yunque trail to the Peak. 
Puerto Rico may have the world's best beaches or bio luminescent bays or World Heritage sites, but it was its rain forest that pulled at my heart strings. I gasped with excitement when I saw it play hide-and-seek, jumped with joy when we made it to the Peak, and couldn't believe my eyes when we saw the entire island from the top in all its blues and greens.
I can't recommend enough the El Yunque trail which takes you to the Peak through tall palm trees, short fern trees, and several other flora and fauna the names of which I do not know, but each play their role in creating the rain forest t…

Our trip to Culebra (Playa Flamenco), Puerto Rico

If a beach consistently ranks among the top 10 best beaches of the world (in TripAdvisor and several popular travel blogs), you would be tempted to see what the fuss is all about, no? No wonder when we planned our5th Anniversary trip to Puerto Rico, spending a day at Playa Flamenco in Culebra island, located 20 miles off the coast of Puerto Rico was firmly on our list of must-do things.
So, the day after we landed in Puerto Rico, we got up early morning (yes, that's what we end up doing on most holiday trips), packed our beach bags and snorkeling gear and set off to Fajardo terminal to stand in line to get tickets for the Ferry to Culebra. We heard several scary stories of people standing in lines at the Terminal since 4 AM during summer and major holidays as the Ferry is the cheapest means of transportation (about $4.50 round-trip per person) to Culebra, other expensive options being hiring a private boat or taking a flight. Since we went on a weekday in the 3rd week of August aft…

Our 5th anniversary trip to Puerto Rico

On our 5th Anniversary trip, I fell in love with my husband all over again. Such a beautiful place to fall in love! Here's Puerto Rico in my words and pics:






The land where the sun shines brighter, the sand feels softer and  the sea calm and clearer; 


The land that holds the treasures Of Bioluminescent bays and  the most beautiful rain forests ever;



The land of World Heritage Sites Charming French balconies and cute cobbled streets;


The land that brings back memories of Kayaking in the bio bays and Marveling at the pristine beaches;



How can I ever forget Hiking through the rain forests and Snorkeling together in clear waters;



Ah...Puerto Rico,  you make me look forward eagerly to our next Anniversary trip together.


Lassen Volcanic National Park: Peaceful Warner Valley

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be surrounded by Nature's beauty and mystery in complete peace and solitude? Wouldn't you be super excited if I told you that such a place exists within 4 hours of driving distance from the super crowded Bay Area? If you don't believe me, head out to Warner Valley of Lassen Volcanic National Park for your next July 4th holiday weekend. 
Yes, we were there on July 4th hiking, eager for some geothermal action at a sea-green colored Boiling Springs lake surrounded by iron-red earth crust. And for the entire length of 3 mile round trip hike, we only saw three other people. I was as much awestruck by the beautiful surroundings, the fuming boiling springs lake and the active mudpots as I was by the peace and solitude this hike offered on a summer holiday long weekend.  

This Warner Valley region, however, cannot be accessed via Lassen Volcanic National Highway (the portion of Highway 89 which extends through the park, 30 miles), whic…

Lassen Volcanic National Park: Bumpass Hell & Mt. Lassen Hike

Exploring the beloved National Parks is our way of celebrating July 4th in the US. We visited Rocky Mountain National Park in 2011, Yellowstone National Park in 2012, Yosemite National Park in 2013, Mesa Verde National Park in 2014. Yellowstone National Park is our absolute favorite so far and we have plans to go back there again. Meanwhile, I have heard about an under-appreciated National Park in California called Lassen Volcanic National Park, sometimes referred to as mini-yellowstone. So, we decided to explore the Park, appreciate its beauty and share it with you all.
The top attraction in the Park is Bumpass Hell which is the largest hydrothermal area in the park. It can be accessed by a 3-mile round-trip trail and is the only place in the entire Park that is crowded apart from the campgrounds, which I will come to later. Bumpass Hell, named after an early settler who severely burned a leg after falling into a boiling pool, has hot springs, fumaroles (an opening in earth's crus…

Memorable Memorial Day Weekend Camping - Rainbow Campground at Big Lake, Arizona

Camping with friends is always fun and memorable! Who doesn't enjoy sitting around a campfire amidst tall trees on a chilly evening with close friends eating grilled chicken while roasting corn on the campfire. Eating tasty watermelon and juicy cherries while watching the lovely sunset. Savoring a drink and singing old melodies while marveling at the magical Milky Way. We love and enjoy all of it, especially the experience of living outdoors close to the Nature, making us eagerly look forward to every camping trip. 

So, when our friends suggested camping for Memorial Day long weekend, we had to go. We were lucky to get an almost last-minute reservation for a group site at Rainbow campground in Big Lake, Arizona. We were a group of 15 people and our group site # 80 was just perfect. Spacious, private and beautifully appointed among tall trees, complete with a wooden bench, fire pit and a water spigot, and not too far from the restrooms, we could not have asked for a better campsite.…

Bay Area Day Trips - Point Reyes National Seashore

Some places linger in your mind's eye long after you leave them. Our trip to Matanuska Glacier in Alaska was definitely one of them; its been almost 3 years but I can still see the blueness of the ice and feel the pureness of the place to this day. But then you would expect that from Alaska. When we drove 2 hours north of San Francisco to visit Point Reyes National Seashore area, we thought we were visiting a lighthouse in a scenic location. From our trip to Point Loma lighthouse in San Diego, I knew lighthouse locations are pretty scenic. But Point Reyes hit me like a lightning when I was just expecting a drizzle. Almost 6 months after I visited it, I can still see the wilderness and feel the rawness of Mother Nature. I have no doubt in my mind that this was the best 'Bay Area Day Trip' that we took so far.
There are a lot of places that I would like to return to, but this is a place that I know I would. I will share a few pictures with you, none of which in any way captur…