Sunday, April 25, 2004

Climbing Yosemite

In April of 2004, a&j were cool enough to organize a group trip to Yosemite National Park, which is about 3 hours east of the bay area. Thanks a&j!! :D They both are avid hikers and know the park well, because they knew best places to stay and how to plan out the days there. We stayed at the Yosemite bug, which is a very comfortable and convenient hostel-type place. our group broke up into various rooms with bunk beds, and ate in the communal dining room which had delicious food--like steak, delicious asparagus, and these very unique barley pancakes which were super heavy to prepare you for a full day of hiking.

Since we were all relative newbies from a hiking perspective, we stuck to low to moderate impact trails, which put us in view of some lovely waterfalls. The occasional spray from the falls was helpful in the heat and sweat from exertion that at times threatened to make even the strongest among us quit. Both the times I've been there, I've been pretty much awestruck by the unadulterated beauty of nature. I love Yosemite because it really is a wilderness, there are bears and a relative lack of fencing and rangers--you could really get hurt if you weren't careful or if you were foolish. But there are also some safeties in place so that non-professional hikers like me can still enjoy it..clearly marked, paths, stairs in most areas where they're needed, and just the right number of people on the paths in case something went wrong. The climbing and effort we had to invest to get to places where the views were made the scenery at the top all the more beautiful. Take a peek at some of the views.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

My first trip to middle America

Having been born in NY, raised in Boston, and now living in San Fransico, I hadn't had a lot of opportunities to travel of the parts of the US bordered by shore. Although Chicago can't really be determined as a true part of middle was a good place to meet j, r, and e who were in Boston and Detroit respectively.

Since it was the first time in chicago for many of us, we spent a good portion of it just walking around and getting a lay of the land. a few things are big in chicago: sports, and beef. These two interests sometimes co-incide as we found many of the restaurants had sports themes, or sports-related owners, two of which we tried: Mike Ditka's, and Harry Caray's. Portions in this town were in general huge, and well prepared. We also had deep dish chicago pizza in the original Uno's! Unfortunately one place we missed was the restaurant of charlie trotter, c's favorite celebrity chef. Just an excuse to go back for a repeat visit--hopefully when the weather is a bit warmer.

Chicago is certainly a windy city. Temperatures were in the 30's to begin with, but the windchill made it worse, cutting through my clothes and swirling around my nose and inside of my ears. There weren't that many trees so sometimes walking across those unprotected fields and plazas brough up images in my mind of eskimos crossing tundras in the snow and blowing wind. I probably fared the worst out of all of us, though--the bay area really has made me soft! Anyway, check out some snaps!