Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pearls of Wisdom

"Pearls of wisdom".

1) Spend the day getting lost on a country road

2) Go antiquing with your best friends

3) Wear a fuzzy sweater around the house

4) Eat a burger on the fly (no bun, of course!)

5) Have salmon & cucumber for breakfast

6) Give hugs all around

* p.s. Next post- OXALATES! 
Until then, cheers! :) *

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

If you give a mouse a cookie...

Alright, alright. You caught me!! Caught me red-handed. I haven't posted since the dark ages. Well, shucks! Life got in the way. You know how that is. You're going strong on the right track then BAM!!!! You hit a roadblock. At this point, you've got two options: 

  1. Sit in traffic & rock out to 107.3 OR 
  2. Get off at the next exit; use your TomTom/iPhone/actual map to find an alternative way home. 

I hit a major roadblock & instead of crankin' up the radio, I got off the highway. I took a detour. IN OTHER WORDS, when life got tough & I had nothing positive to say on here, I did other things. I read a book; I meditated; I took salt baths; I cried; I talked; I let it all out until there was nothing left to unleash. So here I am! I've got directions printed out & plenty of CDs for the journey. I'm ready for anything. :) 

Before I embark on any new adventures, I must tell you about the roadtrip I went on this summer!!! It was one of the most fulfilling weeks of my life. AH!!!!

The name says it all.

Look out belowwww!
A canyon inside a canyon... Amazing.

The Green River! 

The Three Gossips (they're watching over you!). 

One of the many MAGNIFICENT arches. 
Just look at those clouds; that baby-blue sky!

The people are so teeny tiny...

"Parade of Elephants"!!!!!
"Cove of Caves"! 
People vs. arches. I think the winner here is obvious.

Joshua trees. They were everywhere!
"Devils Postpile". No, it is not man-made.
How in the world did this occur in nature?!

Biggest pinecone EVER.
Somebody pinch me, please. This can't be real.
Local produce! Awesome! :) 

If you look closely, there's a person in this picture. 

How's that for perspective?!
California vineyards. Enough said.
A pelican less than five feet away. SO COOL!

Look at all those palm trees!!!!
About to enter the frigid water. AH!
The coast. Makes you want to go to the beach, doesn't it?
The Hoover Dam. I couldn't grasp the magnitude of the damn dam until we walked across the bridge above it! 

This was as we were leaving Zion Natl. Park. What. A. VIEW!

Right before entering Yosemite Natl. Park. B-e-a-utiful!!!! 
The view from Glacier Point. Need I say more?

The trunk of a sequoia. Such a phenomenal tree. 3,000 years old! 
Hello up there!!! 

I'm an official tree-hugger. :) 
Speechless? (pardon me if there's a lack of organization: I uploaded the photos & the blog took charge after that!) I mean, six national parks in one summer; in one week for that matter. Can you comprehend this?! I don't even know if I can! 
  • Sequoia Natl. Park 
  • Canyonlands Natl. Park 
  • Kings Canyon Natl. Park
  • Zion Natl. Park 
  • Yosemite Natl. Park
  • Arches Natl. Park
It's hard to say if I have a favorite park. They were all beautiful in their own way. Although, hugging a sequoia was out of this world. Its bark was soft & impressionable; it felt as if the tree was hugging me back!! Such an amazing experience. Oh & did I mention some of the sequoias were large enough to drive through? Isn't that INCONCEIVABLE?! You can't even take a picture of one whole tree without either lying on the ground or performing a circus act with your outrageous backbend. How's that for mother nature? 

In terms of the other parks/destinations, the pacific ocean was quite freezing... I'm almost positive I burned at LEAST 600 calories just going knee-deep into the water. Thank you, California! ;) But the sun was a scorcher. Two-degree burns are no fun. Darn you, Newport Beach/California sunshine! (a tip for redheads: be sure to apply sunscreen every ten seconds) If you're looking to snap a great shot of the coast, get yourself to a pier! The view was irreplaceable (that's where I went to get my photos you see above). And if this is your first trip to California as it was for me, do not forget to bring home some sand! I filled an empty peanut jar with some of that fine stuff & now I have a piece of the beach here at home. Score!!!  

The view from Glacier Point in Yosemite was too gorgeous for words. It was like an ocean of mountains. Remember to grab extra film for your camera or pack an extra memory card: you want to be able to take as many pictures as humanly possible! You could see all the popular formations of the park. El Capitan; the waterfalls; the Dome; the trees! The Sierra Nevada mountain range was stunning; the color palette was captivating. The photos don't capture the depth of the park. You have to see it to believe it. Too bad; I suppose you have to go on a roadtrip yourself! 

Be sure to bring plenty of snack foods! You'll be spending hours upon hours in the car everyday. But beware of the dreaded PEANUTS & RAISINS!!!!! (♪dun-dun-dun-dunnnn♪) They might look convenient & harmless at first but, trust me when I say they are NOT (they are both packed full of oxalates, I'll explain in my next post). Snack on cans of tuna/sardines/salmon, hard-boiled eggs with salt & pepper, or applegate gluten-free hot dogs instead. Your gut will thank you later. 

The arches (guess which park I'm referring to? ;D) were from another planet. Had it not been over a thousand degrees with no shade anywhere in sight, we would have hiked up to some of them. We decided to save those hikes for a cloudy day (no clue when that'll be, if ever). The formation called "Parade of Elephants" doesn't require any hiking; you can see it from your car! I think that was my most favorite formation in Arches Natl. Park. Speaking as a lover of all wildlife, seeing those 'elephants' was almost spiritual; it brought me back to my job observing the elephants at the Natl. Zoo. If you're an animal lover, visit this park! (or a geology freak: then you should definitely come to Arches) 

Canyonlands took my breath away. There were canyons inside of canyons inside of canyons... No kidding! (see picture above) The geological formations sent a chill down my spine. How did this happen? How could the earth do such a thing? If I ever take a geology class, I'll have a totally different perspective. 

Kings Canyon was a double-hitter. Scenic views AND sequoias!!!! Remember to take several chill-pills before entering this park. All the beauty knocks you senseless. Oh, and bring more water than you think you might need. The hikes to the sequoia groves are entirely downhill. Guess what that means? Uphill the whole way back! 

The Hoover Dam was an unexpected treat. We weren't sure if we would have the energy to stop but with the help of lemon water & snacks, we made it happen! Walking across the bridge that went over the dam was epic. If you're afraid of heights, I do not recommend it. You can get your pictures from inside the car. On the other hand, if you're a thrill seeker, GO FOR IT! But remember to wear sunscreen: the entire walk up to the bridge is in the hot sun!   

Zion was the last park we visited. It was great because of the shuttle bus that looped through the park. NO DRIVING FOR US!!!! :) We got to sit back & enjoy the ride. Getting good photos was tough since we were constantly in motion but the comfort was worth the sacrifice. Did you know Zion Natl. Park is one of the most visited parks? Sadly, we were unable to see most of the popular sites: you have to hike to the waterfalls & we were too tired! If we had had that opportunity, I know the park would have ranked higher on my list. More things to do on our next roadtrip!

If you're going to drive over 3,000 miles, then bring your sense of adventure. Oh & an updated road atlas, of course. :) (I feel like this is my own version of 'if you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to ask for a glass of milk'.)  

Here's what's coming up in my next post!! 

  • all you want to know about deadly oxalates
  • how to make the most DELICIOUS roasted chicken
  • SURPRISE!!!! 
Until then, happy cooking/foodie-ing/blogging/living! 
xoxo, Allie 
p.s. I promise there will never be such a long delay between posts EVER again.