Natural Beauty, Quirkiness and All Things Water

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What It’s Like in the Ozarks

The Pig Trail Scenic Byway dumps us into the mountains at night. I roll the windows down and turn the music off because the decibels coming out of the roadside greenery are drowning it out anyway. The headlights catch– an armadillo?? crossing the road. We drive under the dripping canopy to a campground called Redding, where we find every campsite empty. But every creature that can chirp, croak, squeak, flutter or buzz is going at it at full volume. As soon as I don my headlamp, flying creatures try to enter my eyeballs, my ears, my mouth. This is what I always thought the Amazon feels like.

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Boulders, Bunnies and a Hot River Runs Through it: Benton Hot Springs, California

 

The drive from Lee Vining to Benton on 120 starts off with five miles of dips- stomach fluttering waves down arroyos and up again where you can’t help but go whooooo! even if you don’t mean to. Then there’s the view of Mono Lake and it’s salt tufas like deformed white fingers sticking out of the lake, and outcrops of boulders that turn into faces and animals if you squint or otherwise stretch your brain. Boundary Peak comes into view, at over 13,000 ft- not the epic vista I expected just before skirting the Nevada state line. I thought Nevada was gonna be flat flat. It’s not. But that’s another post. Anyway then 120 descends into Benton Hot Springs, ooh la la! Besides being a relief of green in the desert, Benton is a town of living antiques. Not necessarily on purpose.

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Aquatic Adventures in Way Northern California

If you haven’t been to Stout Grove off Highway 199, you’re missing out on gargantuan redwood trees, some with hollowed out fairy nooks and a ferny understory with magical light shafts cutting through it all. No big. But what I didn’t realize is that this (free!) wonderland is also one of the gateways to the Smith River, in all of it’s Caribbean-esque glory.

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Cool Stuff To Do In Southern Oregon

So Oregon is already kick ass because you don’t have to pay sales tax or pump your own gas. (You literally can’t do it yourself, the law is you must be spoiled.) And there are hardly any cops in Oregon. And it’s full of cool shit. Here’s some of my favorites, the popular and the virtually unknown:

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Why I Adore Granada, Spain

So Granada is not really near anything. It’s closest neighbors are Malaga and Cordoba but they’re hardly close. Granada is not in the mountains and it’s not near the cost. But that’s why it’s not to be missed. Because the crowds of tourists are somewhere else.

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The Blue Grotto: The Path Less Traveled On the Road to Hana

On the road to Hana, I like the waterfalls without people. The kind where I can rock-hop naked and suck wild ginger and generally behave like a mad woman. How do you find one like that? By walking. Caveat: you might get muddy. You might get lost. Hell, you might find a waterfall I haven’t found yet. But it’s totally worth it.

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What the Hell Do You Do On Moloka’i? The Mellow Guide to Road Tripping and Some Cool Shit To Do You Will Never Find on the Internet

On an island of 8,000 people and no traffic lights…what do you DO on Moloka’i? Okay. Now first allow me to explain something. Maybe you’ve been to Hawaii- like Oahu, Maui or the Big Island. You know how people talk about “island time” being slow, where things happen at their own pace? What they’re talking about sounds really really fast on Moloka’i. Moloka’i is slow and that’s why we love it. Take a breather, turn off your phone, and talk to people. Ask questions. You’ll get way better answers than maps and GPS can offer.

Okay, so you wonder: where is this gorgeous picture? It’s the ocean view of Karen’s Yoga Retreat property. I’ll tell you about it.

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My Boyfriend’s Dad Buys an Island and We Inherit a Baby Sloth

Bocas del Toro, Panama is our home base. But beautiful Bocas is an island. Unless you fly straight in to the tiny “airport,” you have to pass through the last bastion of land. And that’s Almirante. You don’t want to linger here. It’s a port town, a hungry town, a wide eyed town. Where the turds from outhouses drop straight into the water.

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Where You Can Go Naked Surfing on Moloka’i

First order of business to score a little freebie on your way to naked surfing beach, a.k.a Papohaku Beach: Pay attention to the available flight schedules. Some airlines, like Pacific Wings, make stops in Kalaupapa. Which sits at the base of some of the tallest (2,000 feet) sea cliffs in the world. Of course Kalaupapa is also a former leper colony and is super duper hard to get to.

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