Category Archives: Adventure

Grand Canyon National Park – Day 2

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We started our day 2 at grand canyon national park by 8.30am. Weather was  mix of clouds and sun but nicer temperatures . Unlike day 1 which was sunny but chillness in the air ,could not spend the day without a light jacket . 

This day was planned to cover the 64 East . Mainly the South Kaibab trail and the Desert view tower . The orange route shuttle from visitor center takes you to 2 points  yaki point and south kaibab trail . 

There is no connectivity to the Desert view tower using shuttles .Own vehicles are allowed in this stretch of the park , Hence we decided to drive ourselves . 

We stopped at 3 viewpoints before reaching Desert view tower . Grandview trailhead – you can hike down this trail if u prefer do to some hiking . There are few other points on this route where you can stop by for canyon views.

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Lipan point & Navajo point – here you get a much closer view of the upper part of the Canyon and Colorado River . 

By 11am we were at the Desert view tower . The Desert view tower gives a much closer and clearer  view of the top layer of the canyon descending to inner layers . The tower building itself is a historic native Indian architecture .

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After capturing all possible views , we stopped by to pick up something for lunch at snack bar . Pizza seemed like best option .We had a healthy and heavy breakfast at yavasupai restaurant which kept us full . 

On our way back from desert tower, we parked closer to the south kaibab trail head. Authorities don’t allow private vehicles to this location . Hence we had to park away and walk down . 

South Kaibab is a moderate trail without any water filling stations.Carry water as needed.The first stop on south kaibab trail is Ooh-Aah point which is 0.9 miles down into canyon.

Arvind and I decided to do cedar ridge .Cedar ridge is 3 miles round trip from top of the canyon. As we started our hike , we saw people reaching up huffing and panting . It gave us an idea of how the hike would be on our way back . We were hiking down to 1500 feet to get to cedar ridge . Hike down the trail was relatively easy by being a little careful at the edges .

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On our way down the trail we met couple of families sharing their stories of where they are from , what are their plans and other things . One family had booked their reservations at phantom ranch a year ago . Phantom ranch is a resort or accomodation campground for people who are hiking down to the Colorado River which is 6 miles down . It is suggested u never do a round trip hike to Colorado river in one day unless you are extremely fit .  Book your reservations a year before if you want to camp down at phantom ranch . 

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We all hikers reached at first point of the trail . Ooh-Aah point . It probably is Aah point for people who are trekking down . Here you get to see the 270 degree view of the huge canyon from within . We all clicked pictures for each other’s families . Most of them where excited that it will be the picture for their Christmas card since Christmas is around . 

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We continued further down the trail .In about 30-40 mins we reached the Cedar ridge . Feeling deeply sourrounded by the majestic canyon walls. We went to tip of the ridge . It felt like a different planet in itself . At one point there was no hiker around , just Arvind and me sitting at the edge of a rock and admiring the canyon . Arvind said this is how it would be if we were the last 2 creatures living on this planet  .Not sure if I like that feeling. After relaxing our feet a little bit and soaking in all the beauty and peace around , wondering and admiring about lot of things that are above our everyday life , we started back . 

The hike down felt so easy only when we started to hike back to the top. Now we know why people were panting so much . Because of the steep trail, getting back up against gravity got the heart pounding like drums in the ears . We took breaks where possible and made it to the top in 2 hours . So basically it took double the time to hike up . 

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It felt like mission accomplished after we reached the top of the trail . The humongous walls of the canyon makes u feel so small . We are those tiny shrubs in these canyons . 

We sat down in peace , relaxing and cooling off , admiring the path , feeling good with lot of pains here and there . 

We called it a day after having dinner at yavasupai restaurant . 

Good night . 

Found you! – Lost river

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Lost river gorge and Boulder caves!

As the name of the attraction says this place is surrounded by lush green mountains with river doing hide and seek in the rocks. Boulder caves makes it more adventurous to explore. The caves here are explored and have enough information displayed for public to experience.

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The speciality of this place is the wooden paved pathway. Most of the pathway was built some 100 years ago. Trust me the path is so good that one cannot believe it is 100 years old.

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As we start walking down the pathway , you get to hear water flowing through the huge granite rocks. There is something to notice with the trees on the rocks here. The roots of the tress extend on the rocks in search of soil , so that they can find their food and continue to grow. Trees grow at certain angle  as well, as if they are finding way to avoid obstacles.

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The level of difficulty in exploring the caves is categorized  as difficult, less difficult and least difficult. Least difficult caves can be explored by anyone. For less difficult caves, children under 8 have to be accompanied with parents. Most difficult caves are dark and cold. Hence people who are claustrophobic should not try these caves. Also some of these difficult caves need you to crawl on your belly or knees and squeeze you body through     the holes. People who do not want to explore the caves can just walk on the pathway admiring the beautiful water flowing through the rocks .

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Also there is a beautiful waterfall here . Paradise falls it is called. This place looks much more beautiful in real than in photographs.

This place is nature’s work over years. Made more accessible by we intelligent human beings. Go explore and have some adventurous fun.

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Note: Pack your own food. There are no stores around this attraction. You have to drive some distance for restaurants .

Bald mountain & Artist Bluff Hike!

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For some reason we had nothing planned for the memorial day long weekend this year. Just when I was thinking what a waste of long weekend, Mona and Karthik came up with the long weekend plan. It was such an excitement!. Weather didn’t look that good. Forecast was rainy. Since we decided to trek, it didn’t matter if it rained. Rain trek is fun sometimes.

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Day 1 of long weekend, We agreed upon trekking in the mountains of Franconia notch park. Franconia Notch state park is in Franconia, New Hampshire.It has many hiking trails and scenic attractions. We had no plans of driving/staying in this place for all 3 days of the weekend. Karthik had done his homework about which place we wanted to trek.

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Since there were chances of rain, He had picked on a smaller hiking trail which leads to scenic views. Bald mountain and Artist bluff were 2 trails we could do for the little time we had. This trail is 1.5 miles loop. These trails are a little rocky. It gets slippery when raining. Watch out.

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We parked right at the entrance of Bald mountain and Artist bluff trails. Some people suggest you can park at Echo lake beach parking lot. Reason being, when you are done with the trail at artist bluff, the trek down directly leads to echo lake parking lot. That way it is a little less walk.

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We first trekked up to Bald mountain. It was drizzling with little rain. We had to be careful with slippery rocks. As we started climbing up this mountain, we could get glimpse of mountains covered in clouds. That is some motivation to climb up to the top. We had our cameras hanging around our necks, just so we don’t miss capturing the scenic views. The trek to tip of this mountain is completely rocky. Once you are up there, the 360 degree view is breathtaking surrounded by green mountains wearing cloud hat, with echo lake in the center. We spent some time relaxing and admiring the beauty of nature. Fruits and cup cakes was our lunch. After capturing views digitally we trekked down to the base.

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Adjacent to Bald mountain trail is Artist bluff trail. Artist bluff trail is a combination of mud and rocks. At certain points it is steep.

The views from artist bluff is a closer look of the one we had seen from Bald mountain. Bald mountain has wide range. Artist bluff gives a narrower scenic view of the  same place. The mountains that we see from Artist bluff and Bald mountains are Mount Lafayette and Mount Cannon. Photographers can spend some time here click pictures from all angles. Though we were not professionals, we tried our hand clicking some beautiful pictures.

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We had to rush back to the base of the mountain, since clouds started moving in and in no time it started raining heavily. We had to enjoy some rain trek on the way back.

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All in all a day well spent refreshing mind body and soul.

We plan to have more visits to this place for more hiking and breathtaking scenic views.

After a tiring long day and cold rains, We were invited for soothing hot dinner at Ashwini Siva’s place.Blessing in disguise for hungry stomachs.

That completes day 1 of the memorial weekend.

Day 2 was spent at Wrentham outlet mall, Enjoying Memorial day sale and shopping!.

Day 3 ?

 

Balloon in Air!

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I wondered why balloon ride is so expensive even after having a Groupon Coupon. Here is why.

Team of 2 people carry a huge nylon balloon and a wooden basket  in their van.Introduction and safety instructions are given. Later passengers are taken with them to the location where they can set up the huge balloon to ride in the air.

Weather plays an important role to fly a hot air balloon.First they check for the wind speed .Meanwhile they keep checking for wind in certain miles per hour,clouds and storm conditions. A small balloon is let go in the air check the wind direction. Only when the weather is ideal they set up the balloon for ride.

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Now, setting up the balloon is not an easy task at all.

First the basket is unloaded from the van. Then the pilot checks the burners and propane gas cylinders in the basket. After the basket is set, a huge nylon balloon is laid on the ground and connected to the wooden basket. A high speed fan is used to blow air into the balloon. After the balloon is fully bloated they use the gas to let it stand connected to the basket. Now the balloon is ready to fly.

Propane gas is used to hold the balloon in the air.When propane gas flows through the burner, the gushing fire sends hot air into the balloon.

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We all got into the basket with our pilot Jason. We were 2 couples plus the pilot. Basket is big enough for 5 to stand comfortably.To keep the balloon flying in the air, the pilot has to keep sending  hot air into the balloon. When the hot air is blown into the balloon, you can feel the heat. It’s hot.

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We went around 4 miles at a height of 2000 ft in the air. Its always a beautiful view of the place when seen from a height. We could see Salem from the top. The pond, swamps, forest, communities, million dollar homes.People on the ground are so excited to see the balloon flying the air with people inside it.

Why is balloon ride an Adventure sport? It is definitely an adventure to the Pilot. The pilot has to constantly keep the balloon in the air flying. Landing is the most exciting part .They have 3 types of lading. Soft Landing,hard landing and crash landing.There is no option to choose the type of landing. Consider yourself lucky if you land safely. Else it is an adventure.

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In our case it was soft landing. But while we were landing we crashed into a tree and broke few branches. That was exciting for us.
While the balloon is in the air, Pilot’s partner Michelle tracked the balloon on road. The lady driving does a great job of tracking the balloon and landing it.

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Balloon has no specific place to park. The Pilot has to choose the place to land. This place can be anybody’s front yard or back yard of the house. Since balloon ride is common in the area, people might be aware that the balloon might land in or around the house. People who are not aware find it very exciting to see a balloon land.

It is a Balloonist tradition to leave a thank you note with a champagne bottle at the place they park. A goodwill gesture thanking the owners of the house. After we landed safely and packed up, There were a small treat. History of the hot air balloons  ,champagne, snacks, certificate and a souvenir.

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It’s a lot of effort and hard work to fly and land a balloon and they did a great job.
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All in all a great experience. Thank you Jason and Michelle for landing us safely.