Staying at a five-star resort in exotic lands means you’ve got a concierge, there and ready, to plan trips for you without all the pesky language and custom barriers that come with solo traveling. After my one-night stay at the Moorea Intercontinental Resort and Spa, I booked a three-hour snorkeling tour in the lagoon just north of the resort. There were fish and rays and sharks, oh my! with sunlight-drenched water and a color I can only refer to as exotic blue.
And then sometimes it’s just you and the water. Black-tip reef shark spotted but not captured. I thought it best to put the camera away and pay attention to my surroundings.
Photo essay of the six circuits of downtown Denver from the final day of racing in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. The day was marked by huge crowds, hot sun, and awesome racing. We are keeping our fingers crossed that sponsors will want to make this a tradition in Colorado.
I uploaded the largest version of these photos as possible, so click on each photo to see the full version and ready my witty captions.
My favorite shot of the day, taken from the corner of Broadway and Colfax with a Canon Powershot:
Some people wake up at the crack of crack when camping. Not me. I prefer to rouse only when the cold hard ground ceases to comfort. Somewhere around 10AM. Middle-of-the-night disturbances are not a problem: I’ve slept through fire alarms, thunderstorms, hurricanes, and nearby breakins. In fact, I think I’ve found a new, deeper level of REM. Eat it, Sleeping Beauty.
Breakfast: eat camping green chili omelettes and ham, drink percolated camping coffee, and enjoy solitude of the North Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. You’ve never really exhaled unless you’ve done so drinking weak coffee made with tinny campground water while sitting in a $10 canvas chair from Target and planning the day’s activities.
This day, we had decided over onion-and-garlic marinated buffalo burgers (paired with the excellent Black Bridge Red we picked up in Paonia) the night before, we would hike out to Inspiration Point and back, about three miles roundtrip. The trail meanders through desert flora, occasionally offered shade and amazing vistas, and is labeled as moderate. I concur. We walked from the campground to the trailhead, which is located near the Visitors’ Center. On the walk to the You pass the Inner Canyon trailhead of SOB, but according to the ranger, Yogi, that trail is fraught with poison ivy.
We passed, literally.
This tree greeted us near the trailhead.
You can see the canyon peeking out of the corner.
I’m no dendrowhatever, but I was surprised that lichen actually grows in the desert. Takes an uninformed New England to be surprised at such things.
While this tree marked our first overlook.
We frolicked along in the hot desert sun and took a hard left out to Inspiration Point after 1.5 miles. We parked ourselves on a rock, made friends (or at least tried to) with the largest ants on the planet, and enjoyed the view of the canyon.
I continue to slowly recover from my car accident of six weeks ago. Just when I thought things were great, I tried to exercise today. Managed one lap in the pool until my lower back whispered loudly in my ear: “That’s enough.” So I water-walked for 15 minutes. I’m thinking of joining DO NOT LAUGH a water aerobics class.
I want to post some road trip photos of trips gone by. Below are image moments from one of my most favorite (I know, I say that all the time) from May of 2005. It was just me, the Subaru (RIP, Subi), the Yeti, and all the camping gear that would fit. I went to the less traveled places including Bishop’s Castle, CO; Westcliffe, CO; Mexican Hat, UT; Goosenecks State Park, UT; Mogi Dugway, UT, Owl Creek Pass near Ridgway, CO; and ended the trip with a solo epic bike ride up the northern section of Kenosha Pass. I didn’t make it to the top (almost passed out about a mile from the summit), but let’s remember: it’s not about the destination.
After galavanting around the Castle and biking around Westcliffe, I high-tailed it to the deserts of the extreme south corner of Utah.
I’m posting this in a fit of Vicodin and pique. In lieu of writing, I thought I’d share photos from my Christmas 2007 road trip–one of my best ever (I know, I always say that). If you find yourself making the trip to Carlsbad Caverns to see the bats coming and going, may I suggest a side trip to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, a mere 30 miles away in west Texas? It’s much less crowded and much more scenic.
The photos below are from McKittrick Canyon, which starts off as desert flora and turns into alpine by hike’s end at the Blue Grottos. What a Christmas that was. Sigh…
The brochures tell me that the fall colors at McKittrick rival those of New England. I’ll have to return in the fall to be convinced.