Tag Archive: utah

Touchdown, Manila! I’m back now after a month-long trip. This Oct-Nov trip had me packing and “improvising” for all 4 seasons. I know layering works but I never thought I’d experience extreme weather.

Miami was hot and humid, even in the evenings. The day we drove to Orlando and Hutchinson Island, it was in the high 20’s C. I was sweating while standing in line for my banshee ride in Avatar Land (Pandora) in Disney World. More beads of sweat as we took the boat ride to view celebrity homes in sunny Miami and checked out some Spanish Monastery. Oh, how it sizzled! It only grew more comfortable when we leisurely drove around Central Miami to feast on Joe’s stone crabs!

Peru had us moving from summer to spring. A blessing, given the rainy forecast for the day we visited Macchu Picchu. Weather was so unpredictable I had to strip to my undershirt during the day and then layer up towards late afternoons. I worked up a sweat climbing up and down this Incan sanctuary high up in the Andes. Temps dipped a bit as we moved from Aguas Calientes, Sacred Valley to Cusco and Lima.

From Peru, we flew back to Miami before flying to San Francisco, then Vegas and Utah to enjoy crisp autumn season. Halloween beckoned and the orange colors ruled the days especially when we visited Zion National Park and Red Rock Canyon. It was a great day for riverside walks and breezy, autumn afternoons.

The weekend in Lake Tahoe took over 3 hours of driving from San Francisco area. It rained, grew foggy and on our drive back, experienced snow at Donner Summit. But the lake view before that was breathtaking! By nightfall, we only managed a dinner in the hotel and a few casino hours. Slot machines bore me so I turned in early for the night while my friends played.

Back in San Francisco, we didn’t waste time visiting Napa Valley. The Riverfront, Ox Bow Public Market, the drive to Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford and St. Helena. Earlier, I wasn’t keen on doing yet another Napa day out. Now I realize there is simply too many, too much to cover in one visit. Mondavi the last time, Beringer, Hall and Far Niente now, perhaps Calistoga’s castle and wineries next. It was an exhausting, eventful month-long trip. Covered as much ground as possible in a month. Experienced all 4 seasons in one trip. Met up with as many friends and missed just as many too! I should be making another trip if only to visit more friends I sorely miss.


My very first time in Utah. Done with Grand Canyon and Yosemite in the past, but not Zion National Park. It’s huge! And so so many hiking trails. A few months back, I heard a lone hiker slipped and fell to his death. Somewhere near or off Angels’ Landing. Amateurs that we are, we only managed the Riverside Walk, took the park shuttle, got off next to the final station and walked the last few kilometers towards the Visitors’ Center. We were hoping to view the sunset as we walked back but no luck. It was growing too cold for that sunset view.

Zion National Park was teeming with autumn foliage. Fall colors always get me excited, especially when I sense the dry, fallen leaves crunch under my soles. Nothing beats Mother Nature, really. The rainbow, autumn hues, spring blooms, summer fruits freshly-picked off trees, the soft pillow-like snow melting under your boots. Nature is unbeatable in its majestic beauty. Petrodollars may build all the humongous palaces, resorts and malls, war loot may have built many such religious temples and comprised a collection housed in many museos, but priceless is the beauty of Nature unfolding before one’s eyes. A beauty that readily transforms with every change of Season.

The Riverside hiking trail was very reasonable. One follows the river’s path meandering through the mountains right until the end, perhaps take off one’s boots to wade in the river water, then head back to catch the park shuttle. The Virgin River Walk is a good choice for amateur hikers. But that is not to say it is not exciting enough.

In autumn, the trees in autumn hues provide such a breathtaking backdrop that one can’t hike without stopping to take in all the beauty. The sound of a bubbling stream and the “weeping” side of the red cliffs — especially after a rain — is music to the ears of every hiker. I’ve seen young parents hiking with their young children. You’d delight in the energy, enthusiasm and sense of fun of these young fellas.

As we headed back to the Visitors Center, a crowd massed around or under the bridges spanning across the Virgin River. Many had their tripods set up, waiting for sunset. We struck a conversation with this nice couple with impressive cameras and zoom lens — obviously not first-timers like us. Yet we sense the same degree of enthusiasm in them. Truly, Nature “repeats” its cycles — sunrise & sunset, day & night, spring, summer, autumn and winter — yet, no one can accurately predict how the fading light touches the mountain peaks, or how the sunlight stirs the reflections on the river waters. Each photograph is unique. The expectations are there, but the realities sometimes pull such pleasant surprises. Who’s to say how each photo would come out?