Top travel moments of my life - Part I

It all began with a tryst with the clouds on a hill top in 2005, on my first hike in the outskirts of Mumbai in India. I have been fortunate to travel and hike to some wonderful places since then. I made a list of my top travel moments in the last 15 years, moments that bring so much joy and make life worth living, to me.

1) Alaska:
  • Climbing Matanuska Glacier and coming face-to-face with its cool blue glistening ice while hanging in a crevasse was a moment of awe, not only because it was immensely pure and beautiful but also because it was one of those things that would fall in the I-never-thought-I-could-do-this bucket.
  • Sea Kayaking in Aialik Bay amidst glaciers, beaches and wildlife, for 3 days was one of those Isn't-this-how-you-ought-to-live-life experiences, where my mind and body were fully alive and present like no other time.
  • Walking along the picturesque Savage River Trail located between the mountains, next to the flowing river in Denali National Park on a sunny afternoon, brought so much joy that you just know you are in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. How often do you feel that?

2)  Hawaii:
  • Driving along the overwhelmingly scenic Kapoho-Kalapana beach road in Big Island brought me tears of joy and for this, Big Island will always have a special place in my heart. There is something in the air that's hard to capture in words.
  • Watching red hot lava erupting in front of us in Big Island, solidifying instantly to form New Earth that we could stand on a few minutes later, is one of those raw and powerful moments we got to experience in our travels.
  • Watching sunset while sailing on a beautiful Trimaran in Big Island as part of our Manta Ray night-snorkel tour, was one of those moments where you are at peace with yourself and the World.
  • Sipping morning coffee while sitting on a log on the beach in our front yard with waves for company everyday for a week in Kauai, made me feel like the luckiest person on Earth.

3) California
  • Visiting Point Reyes National Seashore and Point Lobos Natural Reserve with their spectacular ocean views, dramatic bluffs, bright wildflowers and cute seals, is like stepping into "Nature's best show".
  • Driving along the pretty Pacific Coast from Mendocino to Rockport and from Monterey to Big Sur, it is hard to believe that there are coastal drives in the rest of the world that can beat this.
  • Watching hundreds of dolphins jump in synchronous groups in several directions in the Pacific Ocean near LA, which seemed like the "greatest show on Earth", was truly a jaw-dropping moment.
4) Yellowstone National Park
  • When I saw my first double rainbow in Yellowstone National Park, I have probably never been happier than that moment until then. Pure joy!
  • Visiting Mammoth Hot Springs, with its travertine terraces, vapors from the hot springs, and the color palette created by the thermophiles, was a moment of awe. Nature's miracle, it sure is.

5) Glacier National Park
  • Hidden Lake Trail, with its myriad colorful lovely flowers, mountains and valleys, is so pretty that the thought of having to leave made me cry. Needless to say, we spent 2.5 hours driving to do the same 2.7 mile hike again the following day.
  • Standing under the cold waterfalls coming in full force took my breath away, both literally and figuratively.

6) Olympic National Park
  • Camping at Hoh Rainforest, which is the most beautiful campground I ever laid my eyes on, amidst bright and beautiful yellow flowers, right next to the Hoh river and lush green majestic mountains, felt like heaven on earth.

7) Grand Teton National Park
  • Watching the Grand Tetons glow as the whole sky turned pink with the lake reflecting the pink hues,  in one of the best sunsets I have seen, falls in the Nature-decides-to-blow-you-away bucket.
  • Sleeping under the Milky Way on the deck of our AirBnb rental outside the Park that night, was truly a blessing.
8) Bryce National Park
  • Seeing thousands of interesting geological structures called 'hoodoos', set in a huge natural amphitheater style, in Bryce National Park was one of those fascinating moments.

9) British Columbia
  • Mesmerized by the beauty of "Tormented Valley" in British Columbia, an alpine tundra region with a stunning landscape of sparkling blue lakes and stunted forest growth.

10) Puerto Rico
  • Playing hide and seek with clouds in El Yunque rain forest, which created its own magical micro-climate, was exhilarating and one of the most rewarding hikes we have done. 
  • Finding octopus while snorkeling in the Hidden beach, which had a thick bed of green seaweed that felt like a hidden fantasy world, was one of those moments where my heart skipped a beat.
11) Maharashtra, India
  • Coming face-to-face with the clouds for the first time ever, while hiking at Lohgad Fort, is possibly the defining moment that ignited my love for hiking and travel.
  • Sitting under the waterfalls coming at full force, for the first time, in Lonavala is a moment that is hard to forget.
  • Participating in an adventurous eco-camping in Kolad led to many "first-time" experiences which are so memorable - Rappelling, river crossing, sleeping on a cot by the flowing river under the trees and gaze of a full moon and in tents, eating food cooked in bonfire and hiking at night without lights.
12) Bahamas
  • Seeing the turquoise colored waters and white sandy beaches for the first time in Bahamas was an exciting moment.

13) Key West
  • Jet skiing for the first time amidst the warm green ocean waters in Key West on a beautiful evening with a rainbow in the sky is one of those memorable moments.
14) Best Day Hikes
  • Doing the Zion Narrows top down hike, which is 16+ miles of wading through water, sometimes chest deep and at times swimming, crossing the river flowing at a rate of nearly 80 cubic feet per second innumerable times and walking on slippery boulders and uneven grounds, between those mesmerizing canyon walls called the "Narrows", is a challenge we thoroughly enjoyed and an adventure we will forever remember.
  • The rim-to-river-and-back day hike in the Grand Canyon, a 16.5 mile hike with an elevation change of 4,500 ft. twice, was a memorable hike with good weather and great company.
  • The 'Highline Trail' in Glacier National Park, a 17 mile round trip hike including a side trip to the Grinnell Glacier overlook, was one of the loveliest hikes I have been on.

15) Special Rentals
  • Renting a 25' Apollo Pioneer RV for our road trip from Bay Area to Olympic National Park, where we traveled across 3 states in 6 days staying in 5 different campsites, made the trip special.
  • Renting a Mustang Convertible for our 10-day road trip along the California's 'Pacific Coast Highway' (PCH) for our 3rd Anniversary, made the trip a lot more memorable.
  • Renting a 19-ft powerboat to spend a day on Lake Powell, AZ for my birthday was fun.

Share your favorite moments in the comments! Hope you enjoyed reading mine :)
Happy travels, whenever you can!!

Comments

  1. Wow! What an incredible list indeed! Can't believe you went back the next day to do the Hidden Lake Trail. I haven't done it yet, but it sounds like I definitely should!
    One of my highlights from my travels was swimming with Whale Sharks in Oslob, Philippines. Talk about adrenaline!

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  2. Hey Alla, you will definitely love the Hidden Lake Trail, especially in summer with all the million flowers in various colors. It's wonderful to hear about you swimming with Whale Sharks. We did a snorkel tour with Manta Rays in Big Island which was fun. You might enjoy that too. http://www.beaches-cities-wildlife.com/2016/10/must-do-activities-in-big-island-hawaii.html

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