The recently opened summit of Mount Umunhum in the Sierra Azul Open Preserve comes with some shiny new trails and quite an assorted history.
The trailhead is usually the finish line for me on my bike, but I finally showed up on foot. Definitely glad to have done it before it all turns yellow!
First marathon! Went in pretty nervous, but felt strong on the hills and fresh at the finish. The spectacular course, upbeat race atmostphere, and proper fueling kept me steady.
Headed as far south as we could go and then hopped on a boat to the lonely Dry Tortugas.
Both parks definitely give you the sticky swampy Florida experience, but are so worth it with the endless wildlife that you can see up close.
A park that is 95% water cannot be seen without a boat ride to an island.
Took a tranquil drive up along the water with a few surprise stops. Finally fulfilled every kid's dream of seeing a spaceship and meeting an astronaut.
A city with a continous stretch of bright blue coast and hearty Cuban cuisine sprinkled all over.
First time in the city that really never sleeps with its limitless selection of late night eateries. Hit up many of the iconic stops all over town with the help of the expansive subway.
A mix of hiking and trail running on a bright winter day. Bits of the landscape here are rather unique from what you normally expect to see in the area..
It was an eventful winter weekend up in Tahoe. In the day we found ourselves digging cars out of the snow and combatting fierce gusts of wind. During the long nights we cooked up feasts and watched the Olympics.
A carefree drive on Highway 1 ended at a fancy brunch buffet where we ate until it hurt too much eat more.
It was a long trip through the mountains and into the desert, but it was absolutely worth it. Stunning sights, frigid mornings, new friends, and food that will be missed.
A city with an labyrinth of an old medina. It was at times exhausting, but no doubt an astonishing experience.
A hectic city with a marvelous mosque.
Just a little ways from the city were some historic windmills mixed with small workshops and stores. Strong gusts shouldn't have been a surprise, but the arrival of snow certainly was!
This busy city made for a lively stroll day and especially night. Check twice for bikes!
Although the promised castle was nowhere to be seen due to the dense fog, the upside was an almost spookingly silent walk into the mountains.
Spent most of the day relaxing at a divine thermal spa. An all time high was reached in the sauna room when a staff member came in unannounced and pulled out fresh baked cookies from what looked to be an ordinary heater.
The dreary mood from perpetual rain and gray skies were promptly forgotten upon entering a German Christmas market. All kinds of comfort foods could be found in the numerous stalls and breweries.
The South Rim gives off cold days as it reaches the brink of winter. Saw the canyon from a few vantage points and did some light hiking in the area.
Eating our way through the sprawling city, as always.
The pedestrian city provided plenty of path to wander day and night.
These five tranquil towns made it easy to hop around with its connected hiking trails and train tracks.
I had learned the story of Pompeii in school, but it was different to see it up close and even go up the volacano that caused it all. Somehow, the highlight of the day was still pizza from its birthplace!
Crowds could be found in every direction, but all for good reason.
This lively city was filled with many foods to try. Took a little escape to the nearby mountains for a hike.
The mellow coastal city was perfect for catching our breath.
Alhambra was certainly something else, but getting to call Albayzín home for a few days was unbeatable.
This big city had several enormous sights to take in. A tasty home cooked meal at the hostel kept us moving.
Two short stops that left quite the impression. Wandered through the Jewish Quarters of Córdoba and the pueblos blancos of Old Ronda.
The nation's capital offered much history and bustling squares.
Some backcountry camping on a sandy volcanic trail to an ice cold lake.
Solid hiking and tall trees in these two parks. Rain showed up, but luckily did not stay too long.
A typical Los Angeles itinerary lined with food. Made our way to Ventura and took a day trip out to the Channel Islands. Saw much marine life on the ferry over, kayaked through some sea caves, and hiked the cliffs.
Short trip up to Yosemite during the busy summer season.
Successful summit on a beautiful sunny day! The temperature up top was perfect for a nice little picnic lunch.
Spotted Independence Day fireworks all around town and got to try some Rocky Mountain "oysters".
The air was thin, but the surroundings from above were magnificent and the alpine lakes were gorgeous. It is a park full of wildlife. Marmots emerging from their burrows, elk endlessly chewing away at the meadows, and even two bighorn sheep dashing down the mountain.
No shortage of cactus here and no limit in their sizes either! Too hot for humans and even the adorable javelinas.
Beat the heat with daily swims in a fantastic pool. Unfortunately, it was not quite toasty enough to fry an egg outside.
Many ups and downs from Bon Tempe Lake to the Cataract Falls. At the end of it all was a large plate of hearty Puerto Rican food.
The French cities provided the best bites of the trip and remnants of some older times.
The capital city was a pleasant surprise! Weather was wacky, but the skies cleared enough to spare a bike ride to Gatineau.
The sprawling metropolis offered several urban parks, hot dog stands on every corner, and a quick train ride to Niagara.
Some spring snowshoeing, sledding, snowball fights, and snow sumo wrestling. Waited out the storm with circus shows, a casino buffet, and a hint of gambling.
Strolling through what used to be a few flourishing coal mining towns. Ended on a mine tour fitted with natural air conditioning.
Hiking with Sake, the well-behaved puppy! Wide-ranging views of Contra Costa and Solano counties.
Rolling green hills with fluffy cows baking in the sun and a glimpse of nearby windmills hard at work.
Just a minute drive from the freeway and ten minutes walk up a hill can really bring you quite a ways.
Storms prior meant muddy paths with downed trees, but also rapid flowing waterfalls.
Saw parks that offered both an escape into nature and rich human history. Counted down the new year with a hot air balloon rising in downtown Albuquerque. Green chile grilled cheese melt was to die for.
Celebrated Christmas in a downtown full of lights and rich of history. Delicous Texas BBQ was consumed.
A long flat drive brought us to a huge remote park with everchanging scenery (and weather). Got a glimpse of Big Bend's greatest treasure: an unpolluted night sky.
Tons of cactus, big and small...and very big!
Caught a sunny autumn day to camp and hike in Yosemite Valley before the winter storms struck.
Wonderful hike that brings you through a forest of eucalyptus trees and up the mountain for a far-reaching view of the bay.
Amazing hospitality with food and more food around Manila. Took two short trips in opposite directions: a quiant beach town and the world's smallest active volcano.
Visited the usual spots and a few new places around Taipei. Finished with a trip down the quieter eastern side of the island.
Small day trip with the family. A mostly shadeless hike in the heat ended nicely with ice cold caprisun and melted popsicles.
Clear skies kept the snow covered Mount Shasta in sight from miles and miles away.
The blues were very blue and the greens were very green in Southern Oregon. Got to get up close and personal, jumping into the lake and walking right up to the waterfalls.
Caves with ice in them year round provided an escape from the triple digit weather. Explored numerous caves and getting lost in one involved crawling on all fours out the wrong exit.
On a warm Fourth of July weekend, some lakes remained still and frozen, while others were frequented by fly fishers and surrounded by lush green grass.
A typical day working remotely from Lake Tahoe: an early morning hike into the mountains, many hours typing away at the local coffee shop, an evening stroll by the lake, and finally back to the campsite to make dinner over the fire.
A tranquil stroll through the shaded redwoods after a windy drive up into the mountains.
Spent a full day exploring Point Reyes National Seashore. Hikes and sights while escaping the summer heat.
Day trip to Joshua Tree followed by a week of food and friends in Los Angeles.
Relaxing day at two very serene places in my hometown.
Old bike served me well, but excited to put many miles on the new bike!
Not as pretty as the one in Ireland, but hey, it's not bad.
A peaceful weekend by the ocean.
Celebrated New Years with relatives. Nice relaxing way to end the trip.
Ate everything in Bangkok until I scored food poisoning, then recovered on the beach over Christmas.
Amazing country, people, landscapes, and food. Easily the highlight of my trip.
Miles and miles of walking paired with plates and plates of food.
Much to eat and see. Stays lively through the night.
Winter storms chased us out of this park sooner than we would have liked, but we still got to see its colorful canyons. We will be back springtime for fruit picking!
Both parks offered some breathtaking views. Moab was also a lovely town to base our park visits from.
These parks were chilly this time of year, especially in a tent. However, that also meant far fewer crowds, plus the chance to see both fall and winter colors.
Pit stop in Las Vegas came with a delicious milkshake, a heavenly buffet, and the Hoover Dam. On the way back, we had Korean BBQ for Thanksgiving dinner.
Attempted to summit Mount Whitney, but gave up due to lack of proper snow gear. Lesson learned! Got to enjoy the quieter side of Yosemite the following day.
Texas State Fair...deep fried everything! Also fantastic BBQ and big houses.
Weekend trip up the forested Northern California coast to camp under the towering redwood trees.
Sightseeing and overeating shoved between Comic-Con in San Diego and a wedding in Santa Barbara.
Stop and go drive down the ever so scenic coastline.
Attended a lovely wedding and saw bits of downtown St. Louis. First time seeing the Mississippi River.
Carmel was as pretty as it always is. Came close to walking away with some "holy granola" from the mission's gift shop.
Explored Japan from Tokyo to Kagoshima all thanks to the marvelous bullet train. Met up with old friends and coincidentally even the parents for some memorable moments. Unforgettable trip! Mouth still waters thinking about the kurobuta katsu, motsunabe, and sukiyaki.
Spent Thanksgiving week camping and hiking in the desert. Almost ran out gas...twice. Unpolluted night sky for stargazing.
A pleasant trip that included a castle, a mission, beaches, mountains, and the greatest enchilada ever.
Fun times camping by Lake Tahoe with family and friends. Saw fireworks over the lake for the Fourth of July. Stopped in the small quaint town of Truckee on the way back.
A winter visit to Taiwan means sightseeing around Taipei with stops at the hot springs. Escaped the city to journey through the high mountains of the island.
Extensive food trek in Taipei that we tried to offset with hiking in Taroko Gorge, biking in the fields of Guanshan, and swimming in the ocean at Kenting.
Got an introduction to Tokyo and a retreat out of the city to Kamakura.