Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mission Peak, Fremont, CA

There is this iPhone app All Trails - which is the reason behind compulsory weekend hiking. Apart from listing all the places to go hiking around you, it provides with an array of details like number of trails/loops, distance, GPS tracking, offline topo maps, camping/biking options, a couple of photos, amazing description for each trail and reviews!

I was perplexed when I learnt that there were enough of trails within 50miles, that would last for a few years, even if all weekend were hiking weekends. What more?
Saturday is the much awaited day of the week and all you need is the camera, hiking shoes, water and some emergency supply of energy bars.

Place: Mission Peak, Fremont, CA
Trail length: 6.5 miles
Elevation: 2100 ft

It was interesting to see people of all age and experience levels, trying to hike to the peak.

This trial was pet friendly. So, the doggies and horses can hike too!

A view of the Bay Area from the peak.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Half Moon Bay, CA

 A fine summer evening,  its 7ish and the hubby calls up only to announce that, there is a beach 30 miles away, and would take us 30mins to reach the destination and the sunset is at 8:15ish. What more?

Courtesy the crooked and broken coast line - Living in the Bay Area, we were looking for the 'nearest' beach for months and finally the search had succeeded. How splendid it is to stay close to the coastline and venture out to the Beach for morning jogs and evening walks. Well, it does come with some negatives too.... Like you have the entire family and friends in the world calling you, and asking you to flee, when the Tsunami waves in Pacific starts traveling towards the West Coast of US. The west coast also means, that you are devoid of resplendent sunrise, but you are blessed with Sunset.

Its 7:30ish while we reach there. Although small, Half Moon Bay is a pretty little town - the houses splendid, the town peaceful and the beach breathtaking!

We walked around for sometime exploring and admiring. The only complaint about North Pacific Ocean is that, the water is mostly cold throughout the year and you will need a wetsuit to venture out.

Its cloudy and the sun is playing hide-and-seek....

At the other end is completely foggy.

Finally at 8:30ish....

Friday, August 05, 2011


Previous posts Old Sacramento and Gold Rush Day ......

The first foreign city you experience attracts you for a life time. Its always that first city you remember, recall, quote, compare and talk about while the journey continues. While it was London in UK, it was Sac in US.
The last set of photos clicked during our last few day in Sac.

California State Capitol

Living in the state capital, was a unforgettable experience. Unlike other capital cities which is well known and touristy, Sacramento is non-touristy. The capitol turned into a hot spot after people gathered only to get a glimpse of the then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger!

The Ziggurat - Head Quarters of California Dept of Services. On the banks of river Sacramento, this charming structure adds to the beauty of the city.

The Tower Bridge -  yes, this bridge raises/opens-up for the river traffic. But, how can there be another Tower Bridge?!  But, the promenade presents a scintillating experience for a evening walk.

The Crocker Art Museum

A river meandering through the city surely adds to it character and charm.

PS - All photos from iPhone.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Afternoon Siesta - II

During my initial months in California, I was super excited about getting a chance to see Seals. There was even this instance where I made the Hubby drive miles and then walk a couple, only to catch a glimpse of Elephant Seals, which were visiting the West coast of US for their breeding season. But soon, the Seals became such a common occurrence all along the coast, that I have outgrown the fascination.These pics were when I got to see them for the first time ever.

Bacchanalian? The sign board was confusing, not sure as to who they are addressing.

This one was huge, slimy, awkward and was enjoying its afternoon siesta on the scaffolds of the bridge, and it reminded me of our ex-PM from Karnataka. And I have named it after him too :)

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Standford Walking Tour - II

Even after numerous visits, we have never got a chance to visit the church at Stanford. We have always witnessed a sign ' The Church is closed for public access. Keep silence, Wedding celebrations in progress'.

What a place to get Married!

The wedding gang at Stanford Oval at the photo shoot.

The Church entrance.

One other interesting aspect in the above picture are the copper tablets inlaid in the flooring. A tablet is laid commemorating every graduating batch. Starting at the entrance of Stanford Memorial Church this runs all around for the place. Another interesting bit is, as to what goes under this tablet? A piece of memorabilia from that batch, which the student community get to choose themselves.

Wedding Photography

Friday, June 03, 2011

why travel?

Some times I start questioning myself. "Why Travel?", and then I suddenly wake-up only to realize its a dream! I see those people in pity, who ask me these questions.....

'Why all the pain, risk, cost?'
'Why not sit at home with big bowl of home made soup?'
'Why not lay on bed and watch, watch and just watch Television, and enjoy sleeping in your own bed with clean sheets?'

But, where would you get time for yourself and a chance to reflect? Learn new aspects of countries and cultures and of-course start thinking about your next trip. There was a phase where I kept away from such people and absolutely detested their thought process. But, after years, I have started to respect (if not accept) their reasons.

This reminds me of my Cambridge trip. One which I had dreamt of from School days and planned for years now. The harsh winter and bad weather forecast hadn't allowed me to finalize upon the travel date. But with every weekend rolling by, I was only getting closure to my departure dates. I couldn't have gone home without ticking off this from my list, as I had already given up on my Scotland road trip. On a Friday evening I get the Hi bookings, and the next morning I am up by 3AM, cooking and packing food, to suffice for the next 3 days. Camera and a few other musts enter my backpack and I land at the Train station dressed like an Eskimo (its harsh snowy weather in London borough) by 5:15ish - only to learn that the entire Train n/w has been shutdown! I wait there praying for some onward train to run, as I am anyway not returning the same day. I realize nothing would change and start back home from the frozen and deserted station. I am at home by 6:30ish totally disheartened and cursing the NationalRail. The only ray of hope were the Trains as the roads are frozen. I learn that, Train network would come alive the very next day. The next morning, I am up by 4 and at the Station by 5ish to catch the 5:30 AM Train. The next 3hours roll by quickly and I finally am at Cambridge.... And the the next days, were simply spent with me, myself and my backpack. A trip to remember as my last solo trip before marriage.

Whats on my mind now?
US Road Trip - The most popular means(or should I say only?) and a fulfilling activity here, in this public transport devoid country.

Pic from our recent SFO - Mexico Road Trip.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Natural Bridges State Park, Santa Cruz, CA

Santa Cruz is all about winding roads, foggy red wood forest, brooks, lakes, chirping birds, pristine nature, beaches, beaches and beaches. In short its a great place to escape from bay-area.

Natural Bridges in Santa Cruz, a California State Park. The park features a 'bridge' like rock formation and hence the name. For the hubby, 'the State Park is a over hyped placed with hardly anything to see, and are sources of revenue generation for the State'.

This is one of the few remaining arches, after the remaining two being washed into the sea.

Beach House?? ....Any day

Santa Cruz has some alluring factors. The beach, the roads, the people (read non tourists) and the sun. 

The Promenade .........

A day at the beach

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Birds from California

Red Capped Woodpecker @ Point Reyes National Seashore Park, CA

All the trees along the Woodpecker trail were filled with holes.The woodpecker family had turn the tree trunk into an art-piece. The tiny spots on the body are the wood splinters after the tree was pecked.

Western Scrub-Jay @ Stanford Park, CA

Nesting Cormorants @ Santa Cruz Beach, CA

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Afternoon Siesta - I

While the mother Duck quietly enjoy its afternoon siesta, the Ducklings are all over her. This goes on for hours from noon to evening. The little ones are jumping, playing, climbing and swimming throughout. Hyperactive ducklings!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Stanford Walking Tour - I

 Stanford tour was on my mind for long and kept getting put-off as the Hoover Tower is closed most part of the year. Back in UK when I visited Oxford and Cambridge, it was vacation time. The student led tours are suspended and also I had never got a chance to go up the tower to have a look at the University camps both times, and this time I wanted to go up the Hoover Tower and also experience the student led tour. But, travel goddess had different plans and we moved from the capital city to the Bay Area where our new place turned out to be just 12 mins away from Stanford!

Student led tour - There is always something about the student led tour -The great introduction to the highlights of Stanford's beautiful campus and more importantly the skill of walking backward and talking for an hour!

The Main Quad

Stanford Memorial Church

Hoover Tower 


White Plaza

Old Stanford Union

From School of Education to Science and Engineering Quad

From the top of Hoover Tower

 Its so enticing that very visitor, friend, relative who visits us are taken around Stanford. The vicinity, ample public parking, 8000 acres of roaming area, meager tourist population, the lush green garden, university building, ample cycling area, the maverick student population, birds, flowers, museums.......the list goes on. Adding to this, is the hubby who has accumulated a potpourri of  information from Google and our first student led tour and is a perfect guide now. What more?

But, its a must to check the calendar for open seasons.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The summer of 2011

        The much awaited Summer is finally here. But, the transition wasn't smooth. 20 days of un-stoppable rain and all the action and reaction towards the Tsunami waves and radio-active particles that traveled all the way from Japan to reach the West coast of US. Someone rightly said, "Americans over-react, because they can afford to do so".

The onset of Summer, and we had all these guests visiting us.

Mallard in the backyard

Canada Goose

Cherry Blossom in full bloom

Plenty of activity

The Humming Bird which decided to nest in the Cherry Blossom tree.

The little ones finally arrived. I did some reading and learn t that, it would be at least mid March when the chicks are introduced to water. I kept waiting patiently. And finally on a beautiful Sunday morning, I saw the Female Mallard coming out of their hideout, and helping each chick hop into water. And thus the first swimming lesson.

While the Mallard chicks were tiny and dark, while the Canadian Geese duckling were wooly.

Canadian Goslings - The most adorable ones.

Truly a summer to remember ...........

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