Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Mini Getaway— Florida Keys

Every year, around this time, my family and I head down to the Keys. We spend a weekend with family and close friends, relaxing, talking and just enjoying the great weather. I always look forward to this little getaway. I really love having the opportunity to escape the busy city and schoolwork. 
Here are a few pictures from this mini getaway. 

This cute manatee is always under the dock. It loves drinking the fresh water that leaks from the fish cleaning table. It even lays on its back...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Road Trip —The Grand Canyon

The South Rim
The South Rim was our first destination at the Grand Canyon. The view was breathtaking! The vastness and magnitude of these formations were stunning! The sunrise at the rim was gorgeous, especially with the sun peeking over the trees and casting lovely shadows on the Canyon walls.

Colorado River
We took an excursion through the Colorado River on a pontoon. It was very cool, literally and figuratively! (Every now and then a breeze would come through the canyon and we were told it was made cold by the water; the water was very cold!) Our guide took us to a natural spring, pointed out some Canadian ducks and showed us some ancient hieroglyphics, to name a few. 

Horseshoe Bend
The walk to see this gorgeous formation was quite tricky, but well worth it! The trail led us right to horseshoe bend, as well as other rock formations that we were able to climb. We went very early in the morning in order to get the sunrise to illuminate the bend and the surrounding rocks. (This is why some of the rocks appear very orange)

Lone Rock Beach
My dad, sister and I all took a kayaking excursion at Lone Rock Beach.
Although it was a lot of rowing, we were very excited! We would start off at the beach and the excursion guides would take us around the famous "Lone Rock" and then to a little "beach" (a big sand dune), through some rock formations, and back. 
When we got to the beach, we were very relieved, we had been rowing against the current. It was then that we noticed a thunderstorm forming ahead. However, the guides said we would be fine. 
Well, on the way back, it wasn't so fine. An experience for sure! 
About a forth of the way back, the waves started to kick-up and the wind began to blow, causing a big cloud of sand to whip up on the beach and come towards us. Then, as if it couldn't get worse, the rain started pelting us. (We were told later we had survived a monsoon!) It eventually got to the point that, we were all rowing, just to remain in our spot and not get blown back. It wasn't very pleasant. Long story short, we eventually made it back to shore. 
It's definitely an adventure that will never be forgotten!

Route 66
We had to get our "kicks on Route 66!" It was a cute, desolate little old town, definitely worth driving through. 

Zion National Park
This was an unexpected stop on our way from the South Rim to the North Rim. Since we had a few hours to spare, we decided to drive through. I'm so glad we did! Although it is also part of the Grand Canyon, the rock formations were very different from that, that we had seen in the South Rim. In the South Rim we got to see the view from above. Here, we were able to see the Canon from within. It was a totally different perspective! To be able to see the marks of where water once flowed and carved these structures was amazing!

The North Rim
The atmosphere and landscape of the North Rim was very different from that of the South Rim and the rest of the Grand Canyon. The high altitude made the temperature dip into the low 40's on a summer morning. (We were told it had snowed a few inches two week before our visit!) The landscape is mostly forest and pine trees, lots of green, unlike the dry orange rock that the Grand Canyon is known for. However, nonetheless, the view and wildlife was gorgeous!

(Photo credits to my sister. I took so many pictures of her! She insisted to take a few of me.)