Category Archives: Nature

Grand Canyon National park – Day 3

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Day 3 we started off early around 7.30am to Page,AZ. Time for some drive in desert. Long roads, flat lands and no trees,only tiny bushes. We stopped by at burger King in Cameron for breakfast . For the first time in the last 4 days we paid for our breakfast in single digit.After breakfast we continued our drive towards Page. Wondering what’s in Page? The very famous and beautiful antelope canyon .

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Firstly you cannot directly goto antelope canyon and start exploring it all by urself . Visit to antelope canyon is only through guided tours . Muddy road and threat of flash floods are the reason. There are quite a few tours & travels who are certified to take people on the guided canyon tours here in Page . We found Navajo tours were reasonably priced  $43 per person. The best time to see this canyon is either 10am or 12 noon . The sun’s rays penetrate through the canyon and enhances the colors of this canyon around these times of the day . They also have exclusive photography tours which are priced high . 

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We took 11am batch to visit Antelope canyon . Each group in a batch is assigned to a guide.The guide has a modified jeep truck that can accommodate around 10 people . After we started ,we realized this road to antelope may not be fit for normal cars.  

Our guide JR took 10 of us to the Canyon . Here are the rules 

You always follow the guide .Do not mix ourselves with the other group .There is only a few mins given to click pictures . 

This canyon tour is 90 mins tour including 20 mins round trip time. So u basically have only 30 mins to admire this curvy canyon stone walls . 

The guide does a good job of explaining what structures u can see in these curvy walls . Like Lincoln’s face , Batman , Arizona sunset etc etc. 

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The Antelop Canyon is a mountain which is cut through by floods and winds over years . The water and winds flowing through these walls have given its curvy walls a unique texture . The colors of these curvy canyon walls are just mesmerizing. Unfortunately we had a cloudy day and hence not much light . But weather was just beautiful to be out on roads in Arizona . In 30 mins we were done walking through the Antelop Canyon and headed back .

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In about a mile or 2 on route 98 is the horseshoe bend overlook . The walking trail to this place is about 3/4 mile from parking lot . This place is a naturally carved horse shoe structure in the canyon with colorado river flowing through the base of the canyon. The Colorado River that flows here is visible as dark green waters. The view of green color water flowing at the base of reddish beige colored canyon is just beautiful . We sat at the edge of  cliff admiring everything about this place . Nature’s civil engineering work.

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After having spent enough time at the horseshoe bend , we grabbed lunch and started driving back to Tusayan. Way back we took a slight diversion which will later merge the routes back to GC. The place on this route is Edge cliff. There is a long stretch of smaller canyon mountains. The road is excavated between these rocks and the view is worth capturing . 

We stopped by at Cameron for refreshing coffee and back to our nest by 6.30pm .

Good night

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Diana’s Bath

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Diana’s bath is the the last place we visited before winter began in the US(year 2015). It was almost end of fall colors in the white mountains . I have not been blogging for few months now, took this long to get back to it.

Hannah, my friend had heard about this place from few of her friends. She was long waiting to explore Diana’s Bath. One day in fall we decided to check this place out. Arvind couldn’t join ,Hence I tagged along with Josh & Hannah.

It wasn’t easy to find this place at first.Few local hikers directed us towards the right way. This place is in the town of Bartlett,NH near village of North Conway in the white mountains .

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Diana’s bath is about .6 miles hike from the base of the waterfall.  It has big boulders on which water flows.One can hike onto the top of the waterfall to get all kinds of beautiful views of the waterfall and fall colors. Best part about this place is you can swim and cool off in these waters.

Summer or fall this place is beautiful to relax and spend a day.

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Here is what wikipedia has to say about the name “Diana’s bath”

“These curious circular stone cavities on Lucy Brook originally were known as the Home of the Water Fairies; tradition says evil water sprites inhabited the ledges, tormenting the Sokokis Indians until a mountain god answered the Indians’ prayers and swept the sprites away in a flood. But sometime before 1859 a Miss Hubbard of Boston, a guest at the old Mount Washington House in North Conway, rechristened them Diana’s Baths, presumably to evoke images of the Roman nature goddess. The pools are also called Lucy’s Baths.”

The name was official when the government purchased the land in the 1960s and made it part of the White Mountain National Forest.

Flume Gorge

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10 miles away from lost river is the flume gorge. I have been waiting all summer to visit this place. Flume gorge is waterfalls place. Avalanche waterfall,Cascade waterfall, Liberty pool are the names I remember.  The main attraction is the water flowing through huge narrow granite rock walls. You can read the history behind the formation of these granite rocks at the visitor center or online. The round trip trek to cover all these waterfalls is 3.2 miles up and downhill.

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There are also two caves here. a wolf den and a bear cave. We were too tired to explore these caves. May be next time.

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Liberty pool is a huge natural pool with depth of 40 feet. The height of the pool is 80feet. Water is so clear that you can see the ground. But cannot imagine it is 40 feet deep.

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The visitor center closes by 5pm in the evening. But once you get past the visitor center with tickets, you have an option to return back before sun down. Visitor center will be closed after 5pm.No staff will be around. But luckily there is a way to walk out. As you walk around the visitor center there are stairs that lead to front of the visitor center and exit from there. We realized this place may not be safe after the sunset . Hence be careful if you are stuck in there for long hours after sunset.

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Also friends say these waterfalls look even more beautiful in fall season. Vibrant and sober colors of fall add to the beauty.

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 .

In & Around West Rattlesnake!

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As the fall is nearing, we group of friends are already missing summer. Before we welcome fall season , we have couple more outings to cover for this year. Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith,NH is one of the most beautiful and scenic lakes. We never say no when heading towards this region. Surrounding places is full of water bodies. Blue water,green mountains and blue sky with clouds and sun, isn’t that a bliss.

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We decided or rather Kathic & Mona came up with the idea of hiking. Mona always wanted to do Rattlesnake trail. She had done her homework about this trail long ago. Arvind was in for hiking. Joshua had boating in mind. Hence Laconia and Meredith were the places covering all the requirements . Hannah and I wanted to do all of this. Jackpot for us!

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After all the research about hiking and weather, we decided to do West rattlesnake trail. We were 3 families ready to hike. Hannah Joshua’s little girl Jianna also was in for hiking along with Johan, Aunty and Uncle. Without worrying about how difficult or easy the hike would be, We went on. At a slower pace, this trail is totally doable with kids.

West Rattlesnake trail is 0.9 miles one way with an elevation of 450ft. Old bridal path trailhead leads to the summit of West rattlesnake mountain. The view from the summit is breathtaking. You can get the view of Squam lake with its tiny forest islands from the summit. Mummy Hannah had to be a kangaroo with baby sack. Jia is only 4 months old. Johan was all geared up to hike, But later gave up, So papa Joshua did some weight lifting too.

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We couples did some leisurely photography with colorful mushrooms on the way up. Yellow, peach and reddish pink mushrooms were something new for us. Photoshoot at the summit is something we never miss. We have some awesome photographers in the group. Two of them were here today. Kartho and Joshua. After munching on plum cake we all headed down to parking. We came down by 2pm noon. 2 hours is enough to cover west rattlesnake trail.

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Next in our minds was either sea plane or boating.Unfortunately sea plane reservations were full. On the other hand boating needed license to rent. Temporary license can be obtained only when u clear the exam. To clear the boating exam you need to read a book. We didn’t have enough time for any of that. All had to be finished within 5 pm. Boat rentals cost $135 per boat for 2 hours at weirs beach.

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We were running out of time. Hence we quickly decided to drive to Castle in the clouds. Castle is the clouds in an old Mansion on hill top of historic value. This place has beautiful garden and an open air restaurant that offers beautiful scenic views.

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There was some disappointment waiting for us here too. Apparently there was some wedding happening here, and they didn’t want any disturbance from visitors. Management was ready to fully refund the ticket amount. We had to take the refund and head to horse barn. There were small and big ponies grazing . Black and grey ponies were a beauty. This place also has a small fish pond . You pay 25 cents for the fish food and feed them. You cannot see the fishes very clearly since there is no color difference between the fish and water. But feeding them is an excitement for the little kids.

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After some disappointments with to do lists,Frisbee was of use for some entertainment. Home baked blueberry cobbler helped sustain hunger for little while. Sun down we drove to a mexican restaurant at Gilford for dinner. That ended beautiful summer day .

‘This car has climbed Mt. Washington’.

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Isn’t is exciting to know that you can drive your car to the summit of one of the tallest mountains in the region? Have you seen the stickers on the cars that reads ‘ This Car has climbed Mount Washington’. Yes this is what I am writing about today.

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Mount Washington Auto road was the place we all were set to explore . This again was planned by our master planner of trips. Karthic.Mona is the driving force since she also likes travel. Because of various other plans for long weekend, we picked to do this on Sunday.Last day of 4th july long weekend. Kartho,Mona, Ashi,Siva,ATM and Me were all set for the drive to New Hampshire.

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Mt. Washington is located at white mountain national forest .It is best known for its unpredictable weather at the summit. Make sure you check out the weather conditions before you plan to visit or hike here. I have heard it takes around 6-7 hours or more to trek up to summit of this mountain. Read more about mt. Washington here.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Washington_(New_Hampshire).

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The drive upto the summit of mt. Washington is 8 miles from the base. You will be given all the instructions for the drive at the entrance.$28 for car with driver. Additional members have to $8/person.Once you have paid, you get an envelope with sticker, CD and instructions printed.

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There is nothing to see until 4 miles up the mountain. Only after 4 miles you can see mountain peaks surrounding mt. Washington. It starts getting windy and cold. The winds are so strong that they can get you off balance. The day we went it was recorded 70-90mph . As the car climbs up, the view gets better and better.

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Once you reach the summit, you get to see 360 degree view of the mountain peaks that surround mt.Washington.Clear blue sky, green mountains one behind the other form a beautiful pattern.

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This place is famous among hikers. Groups of hikers were reaching up the summit and we could sense the feeling of accomplishment in them.

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At the summit they also have cog rail that drives 3 miles down and up the mountain summit.If you want to try.

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After having spent enough time admiring nature and its wonders, it was time for lunch. There is a snack bar at the summit. Soup was something I was looking for after being in cold winds with flu and soar throat. Hot soup and cheese pizza that is the best you get for lunch up there. Other than packed bakery stuff and normal beverages.

Driving Up and down is definitely a strain on the car. They have places to cool the breaks on the way down . The moment we reached the base of the moment , Sun could heat the car and we needed AC . Drastic temperature difference can be felt.

Note: Do not forget to carry jackets as it gets cold up there.

We plan to visit this place 2 more times. One to Hike and the other for Sunrise. Sunrise ride to summit is on July 22 and 27th for this month(July). Check out their  website for more details.
http://mtwashingtonautoroad.com/.

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 ?