Visiting the Rocky Mountains, Colorado

It is such a pity I only have less than a day to spend in the Rocky Mountains. This place offers so many breathtaking sceneries, a good scenic drive and some great hiking opportunities.

For potential visitors, I recommend that you take Highway 34 and enter the Rocky Mountains National Park via the Grand Lake. This route gives a very relaxing and scenic drive.

Here is a picture taken along Highway 34. There is a part where you will drive up the mountains, where this picture is taken. Very nice view along the way.

Here is a picture taken at the Grand Lake Entrance, along Highway 34. In fact, for those who enjoy water sports, here is the Arapaho National Recreational Area.

Here is a picture of a wildlife spoted along the Rocky Mountain Trail Ridge Road.

And for those who love hiking, I was told that Timber Lake trail offers a great scenery of Timber Lake with the Rocky Mountains behind it. However, this trail requires preparation. For those who are interested in this trail, you can refer to the picture above.

Especially if you are trailing the Timber Lake Trail during the May/June season, there are thick layers of ice along the trails a lot as thick as 3 feet. Also, there are no clear signs. A compass is essential. For the record, we did not make it. We got lost half way & our shoes are soaked with ice and icy water.

Driving along the Trail Ridge Road will bring you to the Alpine Visitor Center. This is a “Must Stop” place along the road. The above is a picture taken at the vistor center.

From the Alpine Visitor Center, you can do the Alpine Ridge Trail. And I would call this a “must-do” trail. Above picture shows the trail. This trail will lead you to the peak of 12000 ft above sea level! Not too difficult but very rewarding trail.

All in all, I would recommend at least 2 days at the Rocky Mountains. 1 full day could be spent to do the above. And another day could be spent on the other trails at the Moraine Park and Bear Lake area, like the Fern Lake Trail & Flattop Mountain Trail. These trails promises challenging trails & fantastic scenery. I really wish I have time to do this. Also, the Estes Park is a very touristic town which we just drove past. You can probably spend a good day at the Estes Park too. There are simply too many things to do and see at the Rocky Mountains. Anyway, below are some more pictures. Enjoy!

Chicken Soup for the Soul & Stomach

Being someone who did not enjoy soup since young, I am quite surprised that I took some interest in cooking & drinking soup lately.

The above soup is cooked over the weekend with my friends. The picture certainly looks good, and most importantly, taste good as well. Yummy!

Ingredients: Chicken Drumsticks & Thigh, White Onion, Mushroom, Carrot Potato & Tomato

National Doughnut Day!

I cannot believe we have reserved a day in the year to celebrate donuts!

Yes, today is National Doughnut Day in the US. Here are some details from Wiki.

National Doughnut Day is on the first Friday of June each year. The holiday celebrates the doughnut, an edible, ring-shaped piece of dough which is deep-fried and sweetened.

National Doughnut Day started in 1938 as a fund raiser for the Chicago Salvation Army. They wanted to help the needy during the Great Depression and also wanted to honor the Salvation Army “Lassies” of WWI, who served doughnuts to soldiers on the front lines.

   

 Enjoy your doughnuts today my friends!

Obama! Obama!

I am not really into politics in the USA, BUT I am a fan of speeches. Below is a video of Obama’s speech immediately after he won the Primary Elections! This video is kinda long, but check out the 10:45 – 11:45 & 26:15 – 28:40. Great speech Mr. Obama!

Below is another video from CNN (hammering Mr. McCain) comparing Obama’s speech vs John McCain’s speech:

Check out 4:30 – 5:00. Check out the “awkward smile”. Man, Mr McCain seems really (hillariously) stiff. If this is a speech contest, we know who will be the president. But of course, this is not a speech contest.

Garbage Island is DOUBLE the size of TEXAS!

So what is Garbage Island?

A heap of trash that’s twice the size of Texas is floating somewhere between San Francisco and Hawaii. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, as it’s called, is 80 percent plastic, and weighs in at 3.5 million tons. Trapped in a circular course by winds and currents, it’s been around since the 1950s, and has been growing tenfold every decade.

Exposure to these garbage can cause serious implications to our health….

I just watched a report from CNN documenting about The Garbage Island, where the host Thomas Morton took a trip to the Garbage Island from Callifornia. Below is a video of the documentation. The first part of the video tell us how the Island is formed, and how it affects us, to have these “plastics” and the “chemicals” in our waters.

I have spent about 5 months in Texas, and Texas is BIG! It is the 2nd largest state in the USA. The amount of garbage that we are producing is really enormous! Hopefully this will give us second thoughts when using plastics in the future. Save ourselves!!!

Here is the official website of Thomas’s trip. Please forgive his (vulgar) language. But the message is clear. 

Visiting the Great Sand Dunes!

My visit to the Great Sand Dunes at Colorado was largely unplanned. But it happened to coincide with the busiest season at the Great Sand Dunes. So, for those who plan to visit the Great Sand Dunes, a good time would be late May onwards – way after winter. And for those who loves hiking, July would be better.

My recommendation would be to spend 2 full days for a comforatble trip at the Great Sand Dunes.

Day 1 

Checking out the Visitors Center – It gave me some good information of “The Magnificent Coincidence” of the Great Sand Dunes – on how this BIG PILE of sand is formed, where they come from, and how they stayed put at the Dunefield, becoming the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Here, you can also buy souviniers, and also get some help from the “rangers” who can give you good tips to make your trip more exciting and meaningful. 

Hiking the Great Sand Dunes – How can I complete my trip to Great Sand Dunes(GSD) without conquering it? Well, there are 2 peaks on the GSD, one called High Dune 650ft/198m, another one called Star Dune 750ft/229m.

Its only when I started climbing the dunes, I realized that it is really not easy. Yes, it is only 200m tall, but man, the sand is VERY FINE! That means, no grip, slippery, and Newton’s 3 laws of motion tells me that for the same amount of force I exert on normal ground, the force that pushes me forward was reduced by more than half.

Here is a picture of me taking a break. The peak you can see is the High Dune. Thats where I was heading to. Another point to add, the wind is VERY POWERFUL! I didn’t get to sit too long because there were sand all over my face.

Well, it took me a good 2 hours of work out before reaching the High Dune. Above is a picture taken from the High Dune. Yes, it is awesome! Great View of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains. As you can see, there are still snow on the mountains, and these are the snows collected over winter which will turn into streams to feed water to the vegetations around the National park. Cool eh? I myself drank a mouthful of this water downstream. It tasted, wierd.

Here is a photo of the Star Dune from the peak of High Dune. Conquering the Star Dune (tallest dune in North America) would be a great idea. BUT, looking at the sand between me and the Star Dune, I definitely need to get much fitter than this to do that. Another 2 hours of hiking maybe?

Day 2

I personally did not do the Medano Pass Drive or hike to the Medano Lake (due to time constraints), but it seems like an interesting thing to do. Especially when I have not done the Venturing through trails on a 4WD or Jeep kinda trip before.

There is a Medano Pass Primitive Road, where you must be in a 4WD to drive on the trail. Here are some pictures of the trail. Seems like these group of people had loads of fun!

Also, there is a trail to the Medano Lake along the Medano Pass. This will take you to 11518ft/3511m.

The moderate 2.5 hours hike to Medano Lake is one of the most enjoyable trips in the Park and Preserve. The terrain is varied and the trail is generally gradual, with only a couple of steeper sections, nearing the lake.

Anyway, I did Day 1, and it felt great. If I had the chance, I would definitely go for Day 2. To the potential Great Sand Dunes visitors, rent a 4WD so that you can go through the Medano Pass Primitive Road. Also, bring a “snowboard/sandboard”. There were no such board on sale at the visitor centre. You can actually slide down the Sand Dunes from the peak using the board. Very cool & exciting!

Anyway, here are some more pictures from my trip! Enjoy!