Washington State Trip

Our big trip this year was to Washington state in July. During our ten days there, we drove over 1,600 miles. We flew into Seattle and watched the Mariners play the Angels at Safeco Field. We visited Olympic, Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Parks, Vancouver, British Columbia, and we spent time exploring the area around Mount Baker.

I was most impressed by the incredible scale of the Cascade Range, especially Mount Rainier. Photos of Rainier’s somewhat rounded peak do not do it justice. Although Rainier’s profile isn’t as jagged as other peaks I’ve seen, nothing can compete with it on sheer vertical. While sitting on the porch of the National Park Inn inside Mount Rainier National Park, I was in awe that Rainier rises almost 12,000 feet above.

Oahu 2014

Last Thursday (October 30, 2014), I returned from a vacation to the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. The trip was very fun, but–make no mistake–Oahu is not a paradise. No paradise should be as crowded as Oahu! Kauai is a paradise. Oahu is more like an awesome playground, which is not a bad thing.

Over the course of my week-long trip, I hiked, surfed, kayaked, drove around the entire island (except for a 10-mile stretch west of Hale’iwa) and visited a lot of the major sites. I stayed very busy.

My only complaint about Oahu is in regards to the hiking. Oahu’s hiking simply cannot compare to the hiking on Kauai, in my opinion. It was difficult for me not to compare the two islands during this trip. For example, the biggest hike I did on Oahu was a portion of the Maunawili Trail. The trail did have a few excellent front-row views of the Ko’olau Range’s steep cliffs, but, overall, I was mostly bored by the scenery. The best parts of the Maunawili Trail were not even as good as the worst parts of the Kalalau Trail on Kauai. Oh, well. The hike was enjoyable, nonetheless.

Oahu does, however, seem to have more accessible water activities compared to Kauai. Waikiki is a perfect spot to learn how to surf. Kaneohe Bay is a calm bay great for a kayaking novice like myself. Hanauma Bay is a very inviting snorkeling area, although I do regret that I never made it back there to do some snorkeling on this trip.

Overall, this trip to Oahu went very well and I have very few regrets. So, now I’ve visited two of the six main Hawaiian Islands. I look forward to visiting the rest of the islands someday. Enjoy the photos and video!

Fall in the Tetons

Despite a cold forecast for Friday night (temps were to drop down to the 20s overnight), Mindy and I went ahead with our plan to go camping in the Tetons for the weekend. We were prepared for the cold night on Friday. We were not prepared for the entire weekend to be rainy/snowy/cold, however, because the forecast called for mostly sunny weather and temperatures in the 60s for Saturday and Sunday. Instead, the weather was blustery cold in the 40s with scattered rain/snow showers.

Our main purpose for this trip was to use our new cameras to re-take (i.e., improve upon) a lot of the same photos we’ve taken on prior trips. We planned to photograph all available sunrises and sunsets, at least. To start, Friday night’s sunset wasn’t very good. Saturday morning’s sunrise turned out to be a complete waste. We gave up on Saturday’s sunset to spend time with some friends we met up with in West Yellowstone. Sunday’s sunrise actually revealed the peaks of the Tetons to us for the first time, but cloud cover made it a mostly monochromatic affair.

The weekend was enjoyable nonetheless. The weather was annoying, but it was great to meet up with some friends, and we still managed to get some good shots, despite the weather.

Check out the time lapse video I made of Sunday’s sunrise. And I will be posting many more photos (for better or worse) in the coming days/weeks. Enjoy!