Monday, September 26, 2011

Paris, France (day 1 cont.) - Travel

Paris' Sacred Heart


After lunch and a shower, my uncle gave us a quick tour of Paris. Our first stop: the Sacré-Cœur Basilica on Montmartre; the dome-shaped church on top of Paris' highest hill. Walking into the gates, we were caught off guard by men trying to tie "friendship" bracelets around our wrists. We read about the many, MANY scams tourists fall for - but I was actually kind of excited to have it happen to me. I politely brushed him off and watched in amusement as they worked their magic on other tourists.

Montmartre is a busy tourist attraction, but also a popular hang out spot for the locals. People lounge around the steps and street performers entertain the crowd. It's quite a flight of stairs to reach the top, but when you're there, you are taken away by the view. You get an amazing panoramic picture of Paris that stretches for miles. I came during mid-afternoon, but I hear it's beautiful right before sunset and during the night when the city lights up.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lassen Volcanic National Park - Travel

Bumpass Hell

Bumpass Hell trail is a 1.5 mile hike to Lassen's sulfur works. Elevated at 8,000 feet you get a view like no other. There are perfect spots you can plop on a rock and enjoy the scenery.


Sulfur Works

About a mile into the hike, you begin to smell the stench of the sulfur holes. You get to enjoy this for another 20 minutes until you actually reach them. The sulfur holes are big pits in the ground spewing out clouds of sulfur gas. There are also a bunch of pools and small creeks of water that are boiling hot. Many pools are literally bubbling from the heat.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lake Helen - Travel

Standing above Lake Helen, you are blown away by the crystal clear, aqua blue water and the mountains and trees that surround it. There was still some snow left over from the winter and boys being boys, Ryan and his brother felt the need to swim in the icy cold water. Probably the coldest water they've ever swam in, they didn't stay in long. While they stood there feeling proud of conquering the lake, a German woman who must have been at least in her 70's came down and asked us how the water was. After telling her it was super cold, she got in and said "Oh, this is nice!" as she slowly paddled around. Pro.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Burney Falls - Travel

Burney Falls was only a 10 minute walk away from our cabin, but to see the bottom and top of the falls required a short hike. We followed a 3 mile trail that looped around the falls, and then back from the start. The hike is pretty easy with some incline and plenty of shade. September might just be the perfect month to come; the days are hot (but not scorching) and the nights are cool (but not freezing) - plus, there aren't too many people because everyone's back in school. It's an amazing site, and worth coming any time of the year though. I visited the falls 5 times (before sunrise, early afternoon, and at sunset)! The view changes depending on the time of day you come. The picture above was taken before sunrise (long exposure) and the picture below was taken early afternoon.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cabin in the Woods - Travel

Ryan's mom was so wonderful to invite me on their family vacation to Burney Falls. For 3 nights we stayed in a cabin in the middle of the woods. It was so quiet and so dark, I was actually a bit anxious the first night. But by the second and third night, I really came to appreciate everything around me. I needed this. I think everyone needs to get away from the city every now and then. I saw the most beautiful places - I mean breathtaking places. If you love camping, this is where you need to go! Our cabin was only a 5 minute walk away from Burney Falls and a 1 minute drive away from the lake (where you can swim, kayak, or paddle boat). I'm hoping to make another trip during the winter when it's covered in snow :)