Grand Canyon camping and hiking, for dummies.

If any of you have read my ‘about me‘ page, you would agree that I could be considered as one of the worst kind of travellers, and certainly not someone you want to get stuck travelling with.

But time and again, as I mentioned, people do get tricked into travelling with me. This time round, it was 3 of my now friends that I got to know here in Berkeley who had to feel the brunt of travelling to the Grand Canyon with me.

And unlike most other trips where my annoying sides are only showing once I’m already on the road, I was already being quite a pain right through the planning stage for this trip.

I basically went into a panic episode when I found out that I would be sleeping in a tent in the freezing cold. I contemplated (out loud to my travel mates whom I barely knew at that point) about pulling out from the trip because I didn’t want to die in the cold I didn’t have any experience in winter camping. And in the process, I might have made one of my travel mates freak out a little too.

But before you discount me completely, this is the part that I’m always proud of myself. My love for travelling is often great enough to conquer my fears. So before completely deciding to bail out from the trip, I decided to go on a research rampage, finding out as much as possible about winter camping and hiking at the Grand Canyon.

How cold does it get?

Will you die sleeping outside in subzero temperature?

Are there any animals?

Can I hike in Grand Canyon without hiking shoes?

How steep are the trails?

But the real question that I was trying to answer was: Would someone like me – a beginner (and somewhat unfit) outdoor traveller, who has no skills in camping, lighting up a portable stove let alone cooking on it, setting up a tent, blowing up sleeping pad,… the list goes on (I did not tell them these. They found out on their own pretty quickly the moment we arrived at the camp site.) – be able to survive a three-day two-night camping trip and hiking at the Grand Canyon?

Continue reading “Grand Canyon camping and hiking, for dummies.”

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Header of the Month: Alaska in Summer.

Denali National Park, Alaska.

Alaska

I have always thought that our planet is a beautiful place. But I have never really comprehended nor imagined how beautiful it can be before visiting Alaska in 2012. It was my first time travelling for nature – previously it has always been for a mix of historic sites and culture plus a bit of nature but never was the entire trip dedicated to immerse myself in nature, from the landscape to the animals that depend on it.

When my dad first sounded the idea that we should visit Alaska, I looked at him incredulously. Mainly because I mistakenly thought that Alaska and Antarctica were the same thing (and I found out later on that a lot of people had this misconception). How on earth were we supposed to get there? And what is there to do besides looking at vast expanse of nothing but white?

This is the part where I’m glad that I’m such a dutiful daughter that despite thinking the idea was out of this world, I still went ahead and did some research. Of course, the first thing that I found out was that Alaska was NOT the same as Antarctica (how did I even make the connection?). I mean it was still cold, but summer seemed manageable and even pleasant. Secondly, it was not that hard to get to Alaska. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is well connected to other parts of the States and Canada. Alternatively you could take a 8-day cruise to and from Vancouver or Seattle. Which was what we did – we booked an 8-day Royal Caribbean Cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver and before the cruise we drove about 300 km to Denali National Park.

As it turned out, there is so much more to Alaska than the coldness it seems to have a reputation of. Here are my favourite moments in Alaska that hopefully will inspire you to get visiting next summer.

Continue reading “Header of the Month: Alaska in Summer.”