Three Beautiful Parks

This past September, I had the chance to visit three beautiful parks: Mount Rainier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Grand Teton National Park.

At Mount Rainier, the Skyline Trail is not to be missed. While definitely a strenuous hike, nearly every step on the trail rewards you with a scenic view such as this, and that’s barely an hour into the hike!

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Yellowstone is a one-of-a-kind place, with hissing geysers, spectacular canyons, and lush valleys teeming with wildlife. It’s really the first time I visited a place with so many wild animals roaming freely (especially bison)! And while everybody thinks of Old Faithful when they think of Yellowstone geysers, my favorite actually turned out to be Riverside Geyser.

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And last but not least, just one drive through Grand Teton National Park will quickly show why it’s worthy of the name: the majestic Teton Range can be seen from many different areas and angles, and each one will take your breath away. A particularly popular spot is Schwabacher Landing, where I encountered two actual wedding ceremonies, and at least three additional wedding photoshoots, all on the same day! It’s not hard to see why.

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I feel lucky to have been able to spend multiple days at each one, enjoy fairly good weather, and come back with so many spectacular memories. Yet, there’s still so much to see and do at each park, and I look forward to my return visits!

Tales from Two Cities

I’ve recently uploaded albums from two cities I visited which could not be further apart, geographically and in many other ways. One is San Diego, visited in the Before Time(tm) during autumn (or as close to an approximation of autumn as you can get in sunny Southern California).

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The other is Washington, D.C., which I visited earlier this year during spring cherry blossom season. While the alternating freezing cold and sweltering heat made this year’s cherry blossom season a bit unpredictable, I was happy to arrive just after peak bloom had arrived.

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One thing they had in common: both cities and both trips were spectacular. In San Diego, I ate my fill of perfectly-cooked fish tacos while admiring the beautiful Pacific coast. In Washington, D.C., I spent countless hours browsing through the numerous museums on the National Mall or walking under cherry blossom snow along the Tidal Basin. Whichever side of the country I was on, I experienced the true joys of traveling.

Alabama Hills and Death Valley

One of the trips I managed to take last year was to Death Valley National Park. Winter is a great time to visit to avoid scorching temperatures, and if you’re lucky, the surrounding mountains will still be snowcapped. Just don’t mistake the salt flats at your feet for snow!

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On the way to Death Valley, I spent a night in Lone Pine, CA. The "Gateway to Mount Whitney," it’s a popular destination for summiting Mt. Whitney and a resupply point for hikers on the John Muir Trail. I took the opportunity to visit the nearby Alabama Hills:

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That’s Lone Pine Peak framed in the rock. It’s amazing to think that the lowest point in the contiguous United States (Badwater Basin in Death Valley, pictured above) and the highest point (Mt. Whitney, pictured below) are so close together!

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Olympic National Park

Happy New Year! While I haven’t done much traveling in the past two years, I’ve started to work through my immense backlog of previous trips, starting with a trip to Olympic National Park back in September 2019. It’s one of my favorite places, full of dramatic and varied landscapes, from dense rainforests…​

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…​to rocky shorelines:

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This is my second trip to Olympic National Park, the first time being all the way back in 2007:

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I certainly won’t be waiting as long to go back again!

New Recipes

Happy New Year! I did quite a bit of cooking over the holidays, and wanted to share recipes for three dishes that I cooked multiple times and enjoyed: