Posts Tagged ‘National park’
For me, San Francisco is a pretty city with great food. But, the traffic gets on my nerves. Before our household got a GPS assistant, going to the city invariably meant an argument – about taking the one way only turn, and not finding a parking that cost less than the meal. Now, at least we avoid taking the wrong turn and if we do, we are not pathetically lost.
Any green space in the naturally arid Delhi is always welcome. The Biodiversity park is an artificial wetland created to attract and study migrating birds. It is spread over an area of approximately 450 acres near Wazirabad village in North Delhi.
Park authorities are still learning to cope with visitors and may not necessarily be too helpful. But most scientists love to talk about their work. So if you find one of the field researchers, ask him or her about their work, and enjoy a guided tour.
It is raining cats and dogs today. Winters of Northern California typically bring cold rain and dark cloud covered skies. Good for water table but not good for the soul. My thoughts turn to Anza-Borrego desert state park, the largest of California’s state parks and a perfect escape from rain drenched winters. A couple of winters ago, we camped at the Bow Willow campgrounds. We are intermediate campers – we can do without the comfort of hot showers for a day or two but do need a chemical toilet. Bow Will was perfect – clear skies, not too cold, no bugs, hiking trails nearby.
I still remember that for dinner we had Trader Joe’s Lentil Rice Biryani heated on our camp stoves. Last night we had Chicken Biryani Dum Pukht style and while my Biryani is infinitely better on a culinary scale, there is something special about campside food. Is it the appetite built up from all day hiking, the fresh air enhancing the aroma of food, the effort of getting dinner ready in an unfamiliar setting, or sitting down for dinner without the TV?
December to March – they arrive, they mate, they have babies.
Elephant seals are big, brown, and blubbery. If you come to Ano Nuevo Beach – a small state park on the California coastline between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz – you will see hundreds of them. Blue sea, choppy waves, rocky waterfront, sandy coastline and what looks like large brown blubbery sacks littered all around. Males weigh 5000 lbs, females 4000 and newborns about 100. Maybe they are called elephant seals because they are elephantine versions of seals, or maybe it is because of the trunk the males have for a nose. Harems of alpha males number in hundreds. Sounds more exciting than seventy two virgins, eh?
I am not at all in favor of visiting national parks from the comfort of my car seat, but I came close enough that day. It was freezing - I live in San Francisco Bay Area and anything below fifties is freezing for me. Cold wind was biting chunks off me – my nose, my ears ….
A little about Bryce for those who are not familiar – it is situated on a high plateau in Southern’s Utah, 5 or so hours drive from Las Vegas. The limestone rock formations, called the “hoodoos”, are caused by rain and ice eroding away the relatively soft rock. A large collection of hoodoos form a basin called the amphitheater and it is most definitely one of the few destinations worth visiting.
I am glad that we decided to walk the Navajo Loop Trail. It would be a strenuous hike if it were longer but it was less than 2 miles and offered a great opportunity to watch these rocks from a distance as well as close up. Besides, it was the only time that trip when I took my hands out of my pocket to hold the camera.
I am talking of Alviso, the little town that can be approached at from Hwy 237, at the southernmost edge of the San Francisco Bay. It had a glorious past and was all set to become an town of utmost importance. But that didn’t happen – train tracks were built to bypass the town. The building of Bayside Cannery – one of the top 5 canneries in US in its heyday - is still standing with murals depicting Alviso’s past and present.
With views as glorious and a neighborhood as quiet, you would think that the real estate prices would be skyrocketing. But Alviso is sinking, little by little. So, it has become a forgotten neighborhood where Bay Area locals come to get a glimpse of the past and enjoy the marshes. Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge leads tours of the Alviso marshes to explain this area’s ecology. They also have events like “Beginning Birdwatching” or “Beginning Bird Photography”.
What a beautiful, serene, solitary desert this one is. It is also the driest, hottest and largest national park. People have indeed died here although not in recent years.
My first trip to Death Valley was on a Thanksgiving weekend. We had started from Bay Area a little after ten. Nearly 12 hours later, we drove into Stovepipe Wells Village. They had given our room away. We had called at least twice that evening to let them know we would be arriving late!
Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve. That one is a mouthful. Never found anything Russian about it. It is a bald hill in the midst of not so bald hills, full of dry grasses early in the winter, tall green grasses in the peak of winter and then full of wildflowers in the spring. There are other grassy knolls along the Skyline Blvd but this one is prettier than most. The parking site is a “vista point”. From here, you can see most of the Bay Area including the Bay and the bridges across the bay, which is more often than not, covered in smog.
Over the years, I have flown in a small aircraft over Grand Canyon, taken a helicopter tour, hiked parts of the canyon, driven through parts of it, stayed nights there, done some touristy things, and rafted through the white water rapids of Colorado river. It is the last I want to share with you today.
Two of us had started at the South Rim main visitor’s complex at 5:00 a.m.. Six hours, 9 miles and 5000 ft descent later, we had joined our rafting group. We had hiked before, rafted before but it was our first camping experience. We were looking forward to eight days in the Canyon. Our group consisted of six raft boats with a guide each and about 6 people to a raft. All except our raft. Our raft was thinly populated – us, our river guide and a lot of camping gear. Little did we know then.
This is something fascinating about California – it is littered with ghost towns, small towns that sprang up and disappeared during the glorious days of its mining era – between 1850s to early 1900s. Miners came from all parts of the world in search of the gold in the hills of California.
Last autumn, when we decided to go on a long road trip, from Bay Area to Las Vegas, it only seemed appropriate to visit Calico ghost town, which was on our way.
We had started early from Bay Area and had arrived at Calico ghost town about 4. Even here, 150 miles away from Zabriskie Point of Amargosa Range in Death Valley, the mountains retain some of the unusual colors of gold and amber. It had appeared more amber in the light of the setting sun.