Last weekend, I crossed off one of the top things on my 2016 bucket list: hiking to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park! I could not have imagined a better way to spend the long weekend – spending time outdoors, surrounded by people I love, and pursuing my (sometimes literally) lofty goals!Read More
Third National Park of 2016 - check! (Although I was absent-minded and totally forgot to bring my annual National Park pass. Fail!) My best friend Yena had a dental research conference in LA, so I decided to fly down and meet her so we could go to Joshua Tree! And even better, my friend Emily and friend/colleague Chloe came along too.
Only a 1 hour flight and 3 hour drive away, it was a fairly easy long weekend getaway. Honestly, it was SO refreshing to completely unplug for a weekend -- with no service, we were forced to be present, without social media, work emails, and text messages to distract us from enjoying the moment. And with so much to do--hiking, climbing, and camping--it would have been a shame to be on our phones anyway!Read More
I was told Bryce Canyon looked like another planet, yet I was still mesmerized and awe-struck at the first sight of the canyon. I experienced this feeling of surprise at both Zion and Bryce -- I was (very pleasantly) surprised that the parks, in real life, exceeded the extremely high expectations I came with already, having obsessed and read about the parks for some time prior to our trip. The trip, especially Bryce Canyon, was a good reminder that there are some things in life that you just have to experience - no words or pictures can do justice to what it's like to actually soak up the experience in your own body and mind.Read More
Today was not only my last full day in El Chalten, but the last full day of my entire trip to Patagonia. Tomorrow, I begin the long travels back to the United States. I awoke early so that I could make the most of my day. I set off to wander the town and buy some snacks for my hike, and found a cute bakery and coffee shop. Most of the stores and restaurants hadn't opened yet, and similar to the 3rd day of my Torres del Paine trek, I relished the quiet and calm of the early morning. My hike today was titled Laguna de los Tres, and promised spectacular views of Mount Fitz Roy. I decided again to hike alone and soak up the last part of my solo adventure.Read More
Yesterday was my last day in El Calafate, which I was pretty happy about, since I felt like I had seen everything there was to see in the small town. I caught a 7:30 am bus from the terminal to El Chalten, known as the national capital of trekking. (I'm beginning to think that every town in Patagonia is known as "a paradise for hikers" of some sort.)
The bus ride was absolutely beautiful, and I kicked myself in the foot for not arriving earlier to the bus terminal to snag a better seat with a full window view. The road in front of us, winding straight into the mountains ahead, was a perfectly teasing preview of the scenery awaiting us in El Chalten..Read More
With two glasses of wine the previous night, I woke up on my fourth day from a deep, restful sleep. The sun was shining when I stepped outside of my dome tent, and had melted away the fog that yesterday had enshrouded the mountain beside us. I was really looking forward to today, as it was our penultimate day and we were approaching the prize of our multi-day trek: the famous Torres. The iconic Torres, three majestic standalone rock towers, have become the celebrity face of the Torres del Paine National Park and its treks. Many people visit the park on a day trip just to hike to the Torres.
After a quick breakfast (just cheese and bread), I set off before my camping friends to walk alone. "Alone" meaning without the intention of walking with anyone else, but as I had already learned over the past couple days, it's nearly impossible to be alone on the trail.Read More