Archive of ‘Joy’ category

Grand Canyon by Helicopter?! [Part 3]

Ok, final set :)

I really tried to soak in every moment of the ride back to Las Vegas. That end-of-day light brought out all the colors of the terrain and draped a sense of calm over the landscape.

There are so many striations, rivulets, grooves, nooks, crannies, and gorges here.

And colorful mineral deposits. It’s very possible that this is somewhere near the Mount Wilson wilderness area, since we took the southern route back (the northern route passing over the Hoover Dam).

What a day. Not so often that a single day gets a 3-part Quelle series!


Grand Canyon by Helicopter?! [Part 2]

Here it is! THE GC!As we are coming from Las Vegas, this is the West Rim, home of the Skywalk. The Skywalk is a glass walkway hanging 4,000 above the floor of the GC. It will definitely get your heart going! Although, I was probably more nervous in the helicopter:

Clench those hands tight!

The helicopter traced the CO River, with the steep canyon walls on either side. I recently learned that the deepest canyon in the USA is not the Grand Canyon (but OH MY GOODNESS). Hells Canyon in Idaho is the deepest river gorge: 7,993 feet. And Kings Canyon in CA has a depth of 8,200 feet (winner!). The difference? Kings Canyon is a glacial valley. The depth of the GC is 6,093 feet.

Leaving the GC at the end of the day!


Grand Canyon by Helicopter?! [Part 1]

My beloved college roommate got married last year, and her bachelorette party involved —-a helicopter ride to and through the Grand Canyon—- (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

It’s the most visually overwhelming thing I’ve ever done. It felt so unreal the entire time. I can’t imagine being a helicopter pilot and seeing it day in and day out.

We took off from Las Vegas, and it was 30 minutes one-way.

Here we are passing the Hoover Dam:

Lake Mead, looking low

Sooooo much wild landscape!

Next up…Reaching the GC!

Desert Sunrise: Happy Halloween!

For Halloween 2015, K and I drove out early to Anza Borrego Desert to catch the sunrise, went back west for a 6-mile hike (Iron Mountain), and finished out the day by swimming in the ocean at La Jolla in the evening. It was one of those hot Octobers in SoCal, when the ocean was still that warm!

That shimmering on the desert floor? That’s the Salton Sea.

We hiked our breakfast in. Bacon and eggs on the camp stove! Free Coleman advertising.

As you can tell, the sun got brighter and stronger and increasingly blinding! Time to break from the land of cacti.

From the desert to the mountains to the ocean…in one day! San Diego.

Montaña de Oro

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This is sunset at a state park in San Luis Obispo County, south of Morro Bay. At the time (February 2015), we didn’t know that we would spend many more days here in the next year. It was a beautiful getaway, a start to our coastal Valentine’s Week adventure! Since then, we’ve camped here, explored the tidepools, watched more sunsets, and hiked most of its trails.

My first time here is still my #1, for the magic of it all:
2015-02-13 17.32.30The way the sun shone through those Eucalyptus trees that evening:2015-02-13 17.06.28

The light on the rocky coast:
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And my first look at the yellow mustard plant that lights up Spring here:
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To many more sun rises and sets in this beautiful part of California!

La Nourriture

2014-08-14 14.32.21Aside from all my beach times, I treated this trip in particular like my vacation. Meaning higher on the leisure and lower on l’histoire. I took myself to a French film and out on the town for rosé, crêpes, et moules-frites. Spent evenings walking along the shore and dipping in the blue that was cooling off between day and dark.


I returned again and again to La Crêperie on Rue Meynadier. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Ok! On the left, we have a galette au fromage, then a crêpe à la glace (AU CHOCOLAT), then another with sausage and apples. C’est cool. That one filled with ice cream was still marvelously crispy on the outside!

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Here are the moules-frites I had close to the beach in Cannes. A big pot, and more than I could chew! A perfectly content gal:

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Île Sainte-Marguerite

2014-08-14 04.42.55This island off the coast of Cannes is by far my favorite spot. I took the ferry out early one morning when the sun was bright. If you arrive early enough, you can secure one of many natural sunning and swimming nooks along the cliffs of the island. Climb down carefully along the stones, and lay out your towel to warm in the sun. The water is crystal clear, and the waves are gentle, but choppy enough so as not to be boring. Slip carefully into the blue, and shift your body along the underwater stones until you are in the clear. Lay your head back and bob with the plushy, smooth water. Then rest in the shade of the pine trees or sun yourself off on the rocks, letting the bright fill your head and heart. This is my happy place.

2014-08-14 04.45.48As the day comes on strong, the ferries bring on more nook-seekers. It’s a good time to gather up your picnic and find shade.

2014-08-14 04.32.36Walking the length of Île Sainte-Marguerite would be a good flat hike. It’s 3 km long, and has an old prison where the Man in the Iron Mask was held. It’s sad to leave the island, but makes one look forward to more adventure. Comforting to remember that it’s only a 15-minute ferry from Cannes.

The Island of My Dreams

2014-08-14 04.43.02There’s an island,
2014-08-14 04.44.30the thought of which turns my heart to jubilation.
2014-08-14 04.42.10With stony seaside nooks and cool overhead pines,2014-08-14 07.07.08Île Sainte-Marguerite.