All posts filed under: USA

Zion

If one has to look down to admire Bryce, the massive rock formations in Zion would have you gazing up in awe at its grandeur, magnificence, vastness and scale. Driving up to Zion was, just like most of Utah-Arizona-New-Mexico trip, driving up to a movie set. Or even a Disney amusement park with its large scale, nature themed rides. It was a perfect day, just enough sun, enough mists above the mountains for them to be picturesque, disappearing as mid morning crept in. I’d discovered there were two ends to Zion, you can enter one and think you’re seeing these grand, red canyons, then you pass a tunnel and then you’ll see these white, smooth and patterned rocks. We were less lazy that day, too. Driving to different spots, yes, but actually having the chance to hike a little, finally. We weren’t feeling all that well throughout the trip — having pushed to finish deadlines before vacation thereby exhausting ourselves both physically and mentally almost to the point of getting sick. So it was quite …

Inspiration Point 

They call it Inspiration Point. It took us our full visit to get there, taking our time, having been pushed to start at the other end of the park by the big bold “parking lot full” sign as we entered, driving from one lookout to another — at this point in our ten-day, 2300 mile sojourn being lazy travelers. It can, as it is aptly named, inspire sonnets and poems and masterpieces, the best view in Bryce Canyon National Park. Those of you who have read one or a few of my entries here before know that we are working our way through the national parks as part of our bucket list, or that is the dream, anyway. Bryce is beautiful. My, I feel inadequate. As if not one word I write will be enough to describe the feeling I was overcome upon encountering it, all of the wonders this entire trip, really. Stone castles formed by sand and wind, it is unreal the shapes and shadows cast at differing hours of just the short …

Antelope Canyon

We were halfway into our most recent trip when we got to Arizona. The agenda for the day was to see Antelope Canyon, a slot canyon located in a Navajo land. Formed by erosion of sandstone, the canyon is continuously changing with the effects of water, wind and time. We (and by we I mean my super planner of a boyfriend) had scheduled a tour of the upper canyon for the morning and the lower canyon for the afternoon. We were advised that the best time to see the canyons is at about 10:30 in the morning, so we had made a reservation for said slot. The waiting area is open, not much seating and except for the road coming into it, nothing much around except the vast dessert that surrounds. The upper canyon is a few miles from the waiting area. Our group boarded a small open vehicle that can seat five on each side. The drive to the canyon offered us a chance to see the dessert leading up to it, lasting approximately …

Why I Wish I Paid More Attention In Science Class

So. I didn’t know a lot about minerals (uhh, can we talk about philosophy or even graphic design instead because apparently, my geekiness does not extend to Geology nor Mineralogy). Why do fluorescent rocks change their color under UV light? Not originally part of my knowledge bank, but when my boyfriend and I went on a day trip to Sterling Hill Mine in New Jersey, I wish it was. Sterling Hill Mine, as I learned, is one of the oldest mines in the US and one of the most famous in the world. It boasts of a large concentration of zinc among a list of minerals, and is famous for fluorescent rocks even though it has closed its operations many years ago (because of, among other reasons, extremely high taxes in the area). There is also now a museum where the miners used to change and rest, and visitors are able to take guided tours of the mine. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and cordial. It was interesting to learn not only about the …

Collectors of Memory Fragments (and Pictures of Acadia)

There are these places we see, take our breath away and stay with us. Time passes and we forget details — but a sound, an image, a flicker of a memory, and one can relive the feeling of being captivated as if it were yesterday. Is it the intangible way we just know there are things that can affect one so greatly, a reminder of wonder and awe and life’s mysteries, time passing and the world’s beauty revealed in small fragments, whenever we set our eyes on a new sight, or share it with someone close to our heart? So we become a collector of fragments, seeking more of these pieces, of these places we take with us when we leave them behind and become a part of who we define ourselves to be. This post was inspired by pictures from our trip to Acadia National Park in Maine, US. As I mentioned in this blog before, one of our goals (my boyfriend and I) is to visit all US National Parks. We were able check …

Alaska Part II: Tongass National Forest Zip Lining, a Must

As promised, I am writing a long-overdue continuation of my Alaska post. Almost a year since then, and it has been a mentally draining day so it really wouldn’t be one of substance, but still. The last time I wrote here, I mentioned the fun superman zip line in Subic, Philippines being different from others I’ve done before, which reminded me of this. Should you have a trip to Alaska planned soon, I’d say don’t miss the chance to experience a zip line adventure in Ketchikan. The experience had us zipping over 8 lines adding up to a total of roughly 6,000 feet of wires, with the final zip line measuring more than 55 feet above the ground. Imagine all these over the Tongass National Forest — surrounded by nature and crisp, cool air — and you’ve got yourself the perfect Alaskan adventure. I took a tour through Princess Cruises, so unfortunately I am unable to recommend a zip lining tour. My experience was good, though, as compared to my prior cruise tour horror stories, so I would not recommend against going through …

Alaska

We were driving through Skagway on the 7th day of our trip when one of the most memorable sites I’ve laid my eyes on came to view. The hills varied in sizes, enveloping the stretch of road we were on from both sides. They were covered with snow — not quite melted but you could see it’s on the verge, creating a striped black and white pattern as far as one can see. They were amazingly beautiful and unexpected — words that summed up not only Skagway but the entire trip, and yet do not do them justice. How do you describe standing in the midst of snowy hills and cotton candy clouds weaving across, looking up at snow-capped mountains in the distance? How do you put into words the feeling of awe as you watch an eagle fly, soaring over the light blue centuries-old glaciers; or the childlike wonder after finding a piece of two-hundred year-old ice that floated onto the shore off an iceberg? It is incomprehensible until you are standing in the middle of the massive grandeur of …