Summer seemed to have flown by so quickly. I will miss the seemingly never-ending daylight and the almost always perfect temperature (one of the perks of living in San Francisco).
Summer means road trips, road trips that often involve climbing, hiking, and camping. This summer has been no exception.
Here are the highlights of our summer:
Bodie Ghost Town – We’d wanted to visit Bodie ever since we knew of its existence. This gold-rush era ghost town is tucked away in the middle of sage-dotted mountainsides on the Eastern Sierras. Its beautifully preserved collection of red/brown wooden structures stand in contrast against the harsh alpine environment.
Climbing in Bugaboos Pronvincal Park – So remote, so gorgeous. Known mostly among alpine climbers, this provincial park in Canada’s British Colombia offers tons alpine routes among one of the most beautiful landscapes we’d ever seen. Getting there was no picnic but the rewards were so worth it.
Glacier National Park, Montana – On our way to Bugaboos, we drove through this National Park. This park is pretty awesome. Our expectation was high but what we found surpassed our expectations. Some of the our favorite hikes in Glacier National Park include Grinnell Glacier Trail and Hidden Lake.
Mono Lake – Sunset in Mono Lake never disappoints. Learning about the ecology of the lake and its mysterious tufas from the daily ranger-led talk (FREE) is highly recommended.
Quebec’s Eastern Township – who would’ve thought that Quebec’s countryside can be this charming? From barn-dotted landscapes, cute B&B’s, and gourmet restaurants, driving through Quebec’s Eastern Township was one of the best road trips I’ve ever taken.
Ontario’s Cottage Country – Getting to know the wilderness that is Ontario meant canoeing in Algonquin Park, kayaking in Georgia Bay, and spending your nights at a lake-side resort in Muskoka, the cottage country district. This is how Ontarians relax and I totally can get behind this lifestyle.
Fall is here
Fall is my favorite season of the year. In many countries this is the shoulder season where crowds are thinner and prices are lower. During this time of the year I try to squeeze in an international travel to places I can’t afford otherwise. This year is no different.
I’m leaving for Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia in less than a week!
My itinerary includes:
Istanbul – Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, and more. On top of these usual tourist attractions, I’m also planning to check out Kadıköy – the Asian side of Istanbul, catch a sunset from Galata Bridge, experience a Turkish hammam (hopefully no one will try to drown me this time), and eat a meal in one of the meyhane – a traditional bar/restaurant, in Beyoğlu.
Cappadocia – can you go to Cappadocia, known for its landscape of houses carved into chimney like formations and not get on a hot air balloon? It’s hella pricey but I hope it’s worth it. (It is).
Mardin and Savur – This region’s proximity to Syria and Iran means a blend of Asia/Middle Eastern cultures that I’d like to experience. It also means that I’m a little bit anxious about visiting the region. I hope that whatever’s going in Syria will not affect this border region much.
Kars and Ani – As I make my way overland to Georgia, I’ll be spending some days in Kars. It makes a perfect base to visit the ruins of Ani, a ghost city that at its heyday had a population of 100.000 people and was an Armenian capital.
Vardzia – Vardzia is known for its massive remain of a cave city. It requires a short detour from the Turkey-Georgia border and Tbilisi (Georgia’s capital). If by this time I’m not yet oversaturated with caves/cave cities from my time in Cappadocia, I’d love to check out Vardzia.
Svaneti – There are 3 main regions to visit Georgia’s Great Caucasus: Svaneti, Kazhbegi, and Tusheti. At the moment, I’m drawn towards Svaneti because it seems to strike that fine balance between ease of getting there (not the easiest among the 3, but not the hardest either) and remoteness (pretty remote). These mountainous regions offer trekking opportunities among mighty peaks and Svan traditional villages.
For those who are interested, I found this site that has a list of treks one can do in Svaneti.
Known for its monasteries and forts, as well as its horrible past – I jumped on an opportunity to visit this country when I realised how easy and established the Tblisi – Yerevan route is.
Yerevan (capital) – So far my plan for Armenia is to go to Yerevan and use it as a base while I take day trips to visit the surrounding monasteries and sites.
I’m leaving in a few days and I’m filled with that pre-departure high, a mixture of excitement and (mostly) anxiety. I have no idea how I’m going to concentrate to get all the work I need to finish before I leave. Eeeek!
I have a feeling this will be my most adventurous solo trip just yet.