The Olympic Adventure

We visited the Olympic Peninsula in our trip to Pacific Northwest this past fall (Fall 2018). The Peninsula is huge, and has lovely lakes, waterfalls, mountains and beaches that can take up to a whole week to explore. We only had four days here, but we made the most of it. We visited the Quinault Area, the coastline (Ruby Beach and Rialto Beach), Hoh Rainforest region, Sol Duc Valley and Lake Crescent Area. The Olympic National Park is definitely one of the prettiest national parks I”ve been to (the other ones being Smokey Mountain National Park and Denali National Park) and would highly recommend making trip to this Peninsula if visiting the Northwest! Here I’m describing the first two stops on our visit there.

We entered the Olympic Peninsula at night from its southern end- from the Quinault Reservation, closer to the Washington-Oregon Border. Lake Quinault is the very first lake we saw the next morning and it was simply mesmerizing. Peaceful and pristine. Since we were in the Peninsula (and the Olympic Park) in the weekday, there were no crowds and we had the lake to ourselves. There are no motorized boating activities allowed in the lake, only kayaks and canoes were allowed in some areas of the lake. Bordering the lake is the Quinault Rainforest trail, a mile-long trail that takes you through the temperate rainforest and gives you a glimpse of how lush green the scenery can be. And of course, since it’s a temperate rainforest, there are waterfalls pretty much everywhere. It was fairly enjoyable hike. Behlul carried Abir in his hiker backpack, and of course Abir enjoyed the trees too, wanting to touch all of them! Near the Quinault Area, there are maybe 3-4 restaurants and cafes to choose from for breakfast/lunch/dinner, so not much of a choice here. We were aware of this and had carried plenty of snacks/quick foods/munchables when we left Portland and started driving northward. Of course, my almost 1- year old son Abir had his food bag at his disposal- his fruit and vegetable purees, cheese sticks, cottage cheese, baby cookies, teething wafers, water, etc. We weren’t sure where all we would find grocery stores, and a hungry baby is the last thing you want on a trip!

Our next destination in the Peninsula was on the Washington Coast-Ruby Beach. Ruby beach is one of the most visited beaches in the Peninsula, due to its rock structures, tidal pools and a lovely hike to get to the beach. Here we saw the mystical Northwest fog that everyone talks about- the entire beach was pretty much covered in fog! We could hardly see more than 5 feet ahead. We had to pull out our jackets, beanies, scarves, and mittens to get down to the beach. Being ex-Californians and now Texans, any temperature below 60F is cold for us and it was about 50F at the beach at the peak of summer! There were quite a few tidal pools that we saw, and due to it being low tide, the rock structures were accessible by foot. We spent about 2 hours on this beach. The first one hour was fun, it mainly consisted of taking pictures, exploring, being amazed at nature’s abundant beauty. The second hour- not so much. We ended up wetting our shoes in one of the streams/pools, Abir also lost his pair of shoes on this beach (he loved wiggling his legs and toes, and letting go of his shoes back then!) so we spent a good chunk of time walking around looking for his lost shoes. Luckily, we found them (soaking wet though), and then hiked back up to the car. By the time we got back, all of us were cold and hungry, so we headed to the town of Forks for a warm meal and our stop for the night.

– Amruta Garud


A walk in The High Line Park

The High Line Park is a  historic  elevated freight rail line that has been re-purposed as a public park.

The High Line 1

This  mile long  aerial  park runs above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.

The Highline NYC

Take a walk/jog/run, shop, eat, nap.Smell the flowers. Steal a kiss. Take in the city.

The Roadtrip from Phoenix to San Diego- Night 2

Day 2 – Horseshoe Bend

The drive to the Horseshoe bend is around 15 minutes from the Canyons and the Marina. Most attractions in Page do not have GPS addresses, and AT&T has terrible service around here so you better brush up on your skills at following an old fashioned map.

To get to the viewpoint from the parking lot at the Horseshoe bend, you have to walk around 3 quarters of a mile on sandy soil. It is not a hard walk, although it may seem slightly harder on the way back, and the  striated rocks form small natural stairs.

A panograph of the horseshoe bend

A panograph of the horseshoe bend

The horseshoe bend on the Colorado river  was as breathtaking as the pictures we had seen. We managed to time this perfectly. Getting there too early would have meant having to brave the late afternoon heat and you also need to beat the crowd to get good seats. We made the mistake of carrying our fixed lenses (50mm and 35mm). The scene is so wide, that it would be best to carry a wide angle lens or a lens that zooms out. Since the place is so dusty it is not advisable to change lenses there. The sun sets right behind the rock in the bend, creating a stunning visual. The picturesque sunset was followed by glamorous  flashes of lightening.

Pictures courtesy Ganesh Sankaran aka the husband

Pictures courtesy Ganesh Sankaran aka the husband

Word of caution, you need to put yourself out on the edge to get a view of the whole bend and there are no safety railings.

Night 2 – The night I fell off the bed

I fell off the bed that night and hurt my head very badly. I bumped my head so hard on the carpeted floor that I could feel it at the base of my neck. The skin of my forehead was so badly scraped that it needed a band-aid. The next day the Husband was subjected to some pretty amazed  and very curious looks when I told people who asked about it that I fell off the bed.

The Roadtrip from Phoenix to San Diego – Night 1

Night 1 – A Lightening Storm

When we reached the gate to board our flight from LA to Phoenix, the agent at the gate scanned our passes and then scanned them again to verify something. The husband and I looked at each other and braced ourselves for the worst. She smiled brightly and said, “I don’t know why, but  they have changed (our hearts sink, not another flight please!!) your seats. You now have seats __ and __, but the flight is not full, so you could try and switch once everyone is seated.” Almost as soon as she finished the sentence the husband responded, “We’ll take it!” At this point we really didn’t care what our seat assignment was, all we wanted were 2 seats on a flight to Phoenix.When we finally reached Phoenix, I was ready to fall on my knees and kiss the ground.

A lightening storm is an awe inspiring spectacle, but when you see it at night, from the window of an airplane it feels more like dark demon grinning manically at you. As we approached Phoenix,  we could see flashes of lightning  jarring the dark night sky. Luckily it didn’t affect landing. Even more luckily, my bag was waiting for me at baggage claim.

After spending a good 10 minutes deciding on a rental car, we picked a bright red Kia and drove out into the lightening storm. Nature had put on quite a show for arrival. Four hours later, we reached our digs for the night at 2 the next morning. Almost twelve hours later than we had planned!

Gulliver and the Lilliput

..because she thought no one was appreciating him enough.

The big man is Jackie Robinson, the first African-American professional baseball player for the Jersey City Giants, a former minor-league baseball franchise. In 1986  he debuted on the Brooklyn Dodgers team and became the first African-American major-league baseball player since the 1880s.  The statue stands tall right outside the JSq Path station.

Catching up with 8000 miles

At the Astoria Flea Market

8000 miles, yet so close

We count the folks at 8000 miles amongst our favourite people and love them enough to make the long trip to Queens to support them. We surprised them at the Astoria Flea Market, you can  follow them to know when they will be in your ‘hood. Bright colours, strong prints and comfortable designs – check  them out if you can! Not only are they super fun, they are also a socially conscious brand. (I love them even more for that.)When you stop by, ask the affable architect/designer/owner about it and I’m sure she’ll be more than happy to tell you.

Mountain View vineyards, winery and distillery

Mountainview vineyards and wineryNot to be confused with the city, Mountain View in California. This is a small family run business in the Poconos, PA.  It is a little difficult to locate the place as it is not very well marked along the way, but once you get there you’ll realize it wasn’t that hard.

They offer both wines and spirits for tasting, but they have to be done separately. You can’t do, say  3 wines and 2 spirits. If you’ve never tried moonshine, it’s up on the tasting menu here. They even have an apple pie version of it. They give suggestions on pairing, and offer tiny bites to let you judge.They have a few tables set out in the back where you can BYOF (Bring your own FOOD).  So we took our parathas and pickles and a box of cherries, and enjoyed them with a pitcher of Sangria. Strange bed fellows, eh?  It would have been a nightmare for them, but really much more memorable experience if they allowed picnicking in the vineyards.


* Place suggested by Anthea of Anthea’s Chronicles (currently more active  on Instagram )