Azores Sept 2017

Itinerary
Fri, Sept 1, 2017
Ross and I both worked til midnight Monday morning and then came home to rest and then pack. But before that, out stomachs got the best of us. Rossy bear went for a Taco Bell run and we discovered it closed at 1am. Dang! So then hit up Jack in the Box and we went way overboard with the food and grease. It was the not-so-great gift that kept on giving — heartburn and that yucky feeling. We opted to sleep after that until 5am. We both got up and showered and started packing. We caught an XL uber to the airport around 6:30a and made it in time for our flight to Boston. But, there would be trouble at the Alaskan checkin counter with Barbara who tried to charge us $100/checked bag to the Azores. Luckily, she grabbed her supervisor Mark and he was able to sort through the situation without charge. Stellar job Mark! ¬†We got Ross’ surfboard checked and my inflatable Isle SUP and we were golden. We slept for most of the 5 hour flight to Boston.
After arriving in Boston, we proceeded to the international terminal to check in with Azores Airlines. We were super early (and had a three hour layover) so we went to the terminal restaurant and got lobster rolls and clam chowder. Big win! ¬†After we downed dinner, we got in the checkin line which wasn’t moving quickly at all. In fact , Azores Airlines had the slowest checking vs all the other airlines. But once we got our tickets… we were all smiles. Bear started to get this new right eye pain that almost seemed like sinus pressure. He’s starting to perk up after some DayQuil and a nap.
Now we’re still in the Boston terminal waitin for our flight to arrive and then board. We’re already an hour late secondary to late arrival from the prior aircraft. I hope we make our next leg to Horta!
ITINERARY  Print  Email
Departure
Check-in with Alaska Airlines / Confirmation number: RNK3I5
San Diego, CA, United States (SAN) to Ponta Delgada, Portugal (PDL)
1 Stop
Alaska Airlines
Flight 798
Economy
8:20am
 Fri Sep 1, 2017
San Diego, CA, United States (SAN)
5:06pm
 Fri Sep 1, 2017
Boston, MA, United States (BOS)
 Layover Р3h 59m
Airline Confirmation: RNK3I5
Azores Airlines
Flight 250
Economy
9:05pm
 Fri Sep 1, 2017
Boston, MA, United States (BOS)
6:00am
 Sat Sep 2, 2017
Ponta Delgada, Portugal (PDL)
Airline Confirmation: RNK3I5
  Total Trip Time: 14h 40m

Sat, Sept 2
6:00a arrive into PDL
So tired. The flight into PDL was great. Nice dinner on the flight. We fell asleep for most of this leg. Picked up the surfboard and SUP and hauled it to the next checkin. Apparently, you need a surfboard reservation when you checkin a surfboard.  One more leg to go. Did I mention how tired we are? The Azores are 7 hours ahead of our local time.
8:40A PDL SATA Air Acores 570 ‚ÄĒ> HOR 9:30a
Pick up rental car at airport
We arrive in Horta on Faial Island. Grab our Lil car but all our luggage fit inside… even the surfboard! ¬†We drive to our B&B Quinta da Meia Eira. Such a beautiful lil compound along the water with pool house, fresh fruits, local yogurt and a wonderful host family! ¬†We encountered some of the largest spiders we had ever seen! ¬†Bear hopped into the pool for a quick rinse and I showered off quickly in the pool house. Our room wasn’t quite ready yet, but our host graciously invited us to have breakfast. The local made yogurt was tasty! The local cheeses were hard and semi soft with a nice buttery flavor (I only ate the pasteurized ones.). There was a little fruit that had a thin leaf wrapping around it. Peel back the leaf and it was a bright orange ball of small fruit. It was really sweet and tasty. Bear calls it the Azorean dingleberry. After breakfast, we drive out to Capelinho. This was an old volcanic eruption in the 1956. It was barren now like the moon. It was a busy whaling site. Lighthouse is intact and we could walk around the volcanic area and go down by the water. After this sight, we drove to Praia do Norte (or Fajal as our host called it) and sat along the wall watching some waves along the beautiful rugged coastline. It looked so much like Kauai. We tried to see if the weather would clear to make the trek to Caldeira but it was really cloudy and foggy higher up in elevation. Not a good day to view it. ¬†After that, we were really feeling tired and dehydrated and thought it would be best to head to our b&b to checkin and rest up a bit. I passed out in the car and Bear completed the drive around the island (you could probably get all the way around it in an hour!). We got in and passed out hard for a couple hours. Bear went to grab food for dinner and found this awesome wood fired grill that grilled up fresh local catch and meat. We had the wreckfish (which the locals say is their best fish) and beef. Everything was delicious! The meats were tender and flavorful. The potatoes were phenomenal! ¬†After the meal, we showered and called it a night. ¬†It’s 10p right now and we gotta be up by 6a to drop off the car and get to the ferry.
FAIAL ISLAND
Quinta da Meia Eira (Bed & Breakfast) – Paid in advance 95 Euros
Rua dos Inocentes – Horta , Horta, 9900-323, Portugal
Booking.com Confirmation No. 1003.481.143
Check-in 2 pm
Cannot Cancel
Capelinhos – Cert of Excellence (30 min drive from Horta)
Caldeira – Cert of Excellence (30 min drive from Horta)
Hike around the Caldeira – 3 to 3.5 hours
Miradouro (viewpoint on the way to Caldeira)
The Marina of Horta – Certificate of Excellence
Surf on north side by Capelinhos = Praia do Norte; also spots on west side
Dinner Options – can go to one when return to Horta before Flores:
Aldina – Cert of Excellence, great reviews
Restaurante Pasquinha –¬†Cert of Excellence, great reviews, rad ocean view

Sun, Sept 3
Drop off rental car at Horta harbor
Morning Ferry to Sao Jorge – Horta Harbor at 7:00 a.m.
(Check out of B&B by11:00 a.m.)
We woke up at 5:45a to get packed and ready to drop the car off at Horta harbor. It was raining like crazy in the morning and we were out before sunrise. ¬†It was an interesting maze through downtown Horta. We ended up going the wrong way on a one way street. Then when we went to go fill up the gas tank for our rental car…the gas station was closed. We pulled up to the ferry place and got our tix and a quick coffee and bite. We boarded the boat for the 1.5 hour trip to Velas…. but we had one stop in Pico so the trip was about 2hrs and some change. Once we arrived to Velas, we walked to the rental car company and and got our car. A Lil cafe was within walking distance and we got some eggs and omelet and toast for breakfast. After that, we took a drive to Faja do Armes. ¬†It was a gnarly drive with hairpin turns and steep ascents and descents. But the view was spectacular.
After that we headed up north to Norte Grande to check out the natural swimming pools. Bear took a dip while I watched. It looked refreshing but cold at the same time. He seemed to think the water temp was in the 70s. ¬† After that we drove to Cubres and walked around there for a bit checking out the surf. We stopped by a Lil cafe and got some beer and an ice cream. Then we decided to take the road toward Topo — the easternmost tip of the island. We came across Pequeno Norte ¬†and decided to drive through it on our way to find Faja de Vimes (another surf spot). It was pretty far to drive with a bunch of steep hairpin turns so we went a ways and then turned around to make it back to Cubres on time. This time when we went back thru Norte pequeno, it was full of traffic. There’s was a town bullfight that people were gathering for… their were detours around the city. We navigated back roads to Cubres. One of the quads (Bruno) met us in Cubres to get our stuff and loaded it up. We did the one hour hike to our lodging. It was beautiful and full of multiple ascents and descents. The worst was inhaling the fumes from the quads. Once we reached our lodging, all tempers had melted away as the view of the Lagoa and ocean were spectacular. The waves were firing with a beautiful left in front of the town church. Bear caught some great sets. Apparently that’s been the best it has been in the past month. There were several surfers out there catching waves so I felt better about Bear being in the water (vs being out there by himself). We came in for 8p dinner of soup, salads, and bacalao (traditional Cod fish of the Portuguese people). Dinner was great and filling. We headed back to our room and passed out!
Ferry arrives in Velas, Sao Jorge at 9:20 am
Pick up rental car in Velas
Europcar – Confirmed via Expedia
Sep 3, 2017 9:30AM
Lg.Dr.Joao Pereira,21, Sao Jorge
Itinerary #7288476417092
Confirmation 1065311683
SAO JORGE ISLAND
Caldeira Surfcamp & Guesthouse – Have not paid, $160 Euros ($80/night), cash only
Confirmed per email from Rita on 8/7
Attempted to pay deposit but unable to transfer, Rita confirmed deposit not required
Coordinate access to Guesthouse in advance via quad bike
Lagoa de Faja de Santo Cristo – Cert of Excellence
Lunch/Dinner option:
Restaurante Mare Viva – Cert of Excellence, ocean views

Mon, Sept 4
Sao Jorge
The winds last night were howling!! ¬†It ended up opening the side door of our room! But we slept like babies last night and woke up at 9am to only fall back to sleep until 10:30a. We almost missed breakfast but we were able to snag some cereal and fruit. After breakfast, we went for a 2 mile out and back hike to a waterfall. The scenery was breathtaking! The path took us through rainforest type foliage and the ocean was visible to our left. It was a feeling of zen and serenity. Once we reached the waterfall, it started pouring. You can see why it’s so green and lush here… the amount of rainfall is unprecedented. We hiked back down the trail in the rain and made it to our room to shower off and change before lunch. Lunch was a delicious assortment off things from yesterday evening’s meal. It was still delicious. After lunch at 2p, we let our meals digest a bit and then grabbed a sup and surfboard to go for a paddle and checkout the waves. The waves seemed to be firing to the left of the church from what we could see from our waterfall hike. ¬†We headed out that way to check the surf. It was pretty small so we SUPd the Lagoa de santo cristo. After that we headed back to the other side of the church where Bear went for a surf yesterday and it was small but still rideable. Bear went for a quick sesh and it looked super fun. We saw several other guests take foamies out to catch the tip of the break. It looked fun and could be a good beginner break. After the surf sesh, we came back to the room and showered and read for a little bit and chatted about the day. Dinner at 8p was good: tomato soup, salad, and pasta w butter sauce. Dessert was a fruit pancake. After dinner we headed back to the room to read and disconnect. There’s no internet or tv at this place… which is awesome!!! But we did manage to catch an episode of Straner Things that we downloaded at the Boston airport.

Tues, Sept 5
Woke up this morning around 10a and headed to breakfast of our favorite chocolate puff cereal. After that we took a walk around the church and over to the Lagoa to visualize the surf and it looked like a nice beginner spot! ¬†So we headed back and brought a board out to the same place. This time we placed the surfboards into the Lagoa and paddles through to get to the surf. The waves were perfect. Nice, slow to break, great beginner wave! The first wave I tried was a green wave and I popped up and rode it! What an awesome feeling! I hadn’t been out on the surf since we found out about the mini Thal and that’s been at least a month +. ¬†Bear and I had such a great time and we even caught a party wave! Such a great way to take in all the surroundings and go for a surf! After that we headed back for 2p lunch. It was a potato pancake with a cucumber yogurt dill salad a regular salad and some bread. It was just right! Now just relaxing and waiting too 5ish for the quad to load up our stuff and take us back to the car in Cubres.
The quad ride was quite an adventure! Not sure how the inflatable sup, 2 large backpacks, surfboard bag, and 3 adults fit on one quad. It was the same path we hiked in… had plenty of ascents and descents and was a narrow path. Definitely a bumpy ride but fun! We head to Velas by car on the island to stay for the evening. We check in to our hotel and walk to dinner. The hostess at the restaurant was fantastic. She treated us to her local pea soup and an evening local wine (which smelled strong!).
Sao Jorge
Casa do Antonio (Bed & Breakfast) – Have not paid, $77 Euros, Cancel up to 9/3/17
Tower Room
Rua Infante D. Henrique 21, Velas (Açores), 9800-554, Portugal
Booking number: 2084577099 | PIN code: 2648
Check-in: 3:00 p.m.
Can Cancel w/o charge until September 3, 2017 11:59 PM

Wed, Sept 6
Last day in Sao Jorge
(Check out ofCasa do Antonio by12:00 p.m.)
Drop off rental car in Velasat 8:20aat office.
Sep 6, 2017 9:00AM
Lg.Dr.Joao Pereira,21, Sao Jorge
Morning ferry from Velas to Pico Island: departs 09:25
Ferry arrives at 10:50 in Madalena, Pico Island
Pick up rental car in Madalena
We woke up early around 7:15a and packed and had breakfast around 7:50a. Cereal has hit the jackpot for us on this trip! We head down to return our rental car to Ilha Verde and forgot to refill w gas! So we drive up out of town (roughly a 5 minute drive) and fill up with gas and then bring it back to the rental car company.  We do a quick drop off and then grab our bags and head down to the ferry. It was already so hot! We rest in the shade and wait to board. We run into the family we met at Sao Jorge at Santo Cristo and did our hellos and goodbyes and safe travels. They were looking to tackle Mt Pico. Once on the ferry, we get a spot on the upper deck under some shade and enjoy the 1h ride between islands. We saw dolphins jumping out of the water. Once we dock, we grab our stuff and head to the rental cars where a lady was waiting for us. It was super hot in Pico. We get to our rental car and the lady was doing the slowest checkin imagineable. It took us 40 minutes of baking in the sun and getting the car checked in before we could get the keys and go. The lady was overly thorough and unnecessarily so. Bear and I were super annoyed! I spot an outside (but in the shade) cafe with beer and suggest to Bear that we grab a cold refreshing bevie. He got the Super Bock on tap and I think it was what he needed to unwind a bit after dealing with that car rental lady in the blistering heat.
We take our car and head to our hotel to see if we can checkin early. Luckily, they had our room ready and we dropped our bags off and headed out to grab lunch at a spot the hotel recommended: Aldeia de Fonte. I ordered the octopus and it was outstanding. Bear got the grilled barracuda which was delicious too. The entreee sizes are massive! We shared an appetizer of pork sausage, blood sausage, fava beans, taro, and orange slices. Their bread was terrific too!  We were so stuffed with lunch, we continued our southern journey of the island and drove through Lages to Calheta de Nesquim where there were natural pools to check out. Bear jumped in and went for a swim. I was still so stuffed from lunch I could barely move.
After the watering hole, we headed out to a place where our hotel recommended we check out. It was baia de canas– we found the park and eventually found a place to park (not bc it was full, but bc it was a bit difficult to find where). Once we parked we went down a very narrow and steep trail that was lined with green moss. After 1/4 mile in with very steep ascents and descents, we opted to turn back. Luckily there was a trail you could drive the car down to the beach. Maybe it wasn’t as interesting, but at least we’d both get to the end unscathed. Actually, bear took a tumble in the mossy forest and banged up his left hand pretty well.
After the drive down to the beach, we got back on the main road and decided to check out a popular snorkeling spot complete with regular swimming pool and natural swimming pool close to Ponta da Luzerna. It was pretty windy but we thought it could be a good launch point for our SUP. Kids and families were out enjoying the pool on this hot day.
We decided to check out a surf spot around Baia do poco. It looked pretty rocky and just a really battered shoreline of rocks. It would’ve been tough to surf there in today’s conditions as you’d have to dodge and weave through the rocks in the water.
After that we headed back to our hotel just in time for a 30 minute nap before dinner. Luckily, the hotel had a pretty amazing restaurant called Atmosfera. Bear and I shared the mixed cheese plate (one from Pico, Faial, and Sao Jorge). The one from Faial was a semi soft and was so delicious… it was our fave. But a close second was the one from Sao Jorge as it was pretty funky and spicy. Dinner was bolognese for Bear and octopus pasta for me. I think his dish was better as the sauce was richer and comforting. My dish was great… but it didn’t come close to the octopus I had at lunch. Although we were already full, we had to checkout dessert and got the lemon merengue as our waitress recommended. It was a lovely meal but we are so full! We headed back to our room at the hotel and are settling in for the evening and making a plan for tomorrow.
PICO ISLAND
Alma do Pico – Cert of Excellence – Paid in advance via Paypal $150 Euros
Rua dos Biscoitos 34, Madalena, 9950-333
Phone: +351914231436
Booking number: 1370885683 | PIN code: 4858
Check-in: 2:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Cannot Cancel Booking
Dinner one night at Atmosfera – Cert of Excellence
Dinner option in Sao Roque do Pico:
Casa Ancora, rated No. 1 restaurant on the island (Atmosfera is No. 2)

Thurs, Sept 7
Woke up this morning around 9:30aand just relaxed in bed til about 10am. It’s so nice not having to wake up to an alarm clock! We went to breakfast at our hotel and had eggs and cheeses d ham with bread and a pastry and fresh juices and coffee. It was a great start to the morning. We booked our massages for tomorrow morning and headed out to the supermarket to load up on water.
It was such a clear and warm day on Pico. We decided to hit up the private lava tube near Furna de Frei Matias. We used something like a treasure map to find the area to get down to the lava tube — which was like a cave and had some stalagmites and stalactites with water dripping in the damp cool cave. At first it was a bit scary to get down there bc there was vegetative overgrowth and not much light. That morning I had already gotten stung by a wasp on the leg so I was super cautious and hyper vigilant about bugs. Once we got down to the cave it was nice and cool and open and we could see a small ray of light at the end. We walked through the cave and headed back to the car. Since Mt Pico was on the way, we decided to drive up to a good viewing point on the mountain and took a nice stroll around the base. Thankfully it was a clear day with minimal clouds. We could see for miles and both Faial and Sao Jorge islands were visible. It was pretty breezy up there so we did a short walk and then came back to the car.
Next up was Lagoa do Capitao. We thought this would be a great SUP spot so we drove to the lake and found that it was a pretty small lake that was muddy. It didn’t seem ideal for a SUP. ¬†We opted for another more scenic lake called Lagoa do Caiado and Lagoa Seca. Now these lakes had beautiful scenery all around them. First you could see Mt Pico in all its glory. Secondly, it was so clear you could see Sao Jorge island as well. Lagoa do Cairo was quite a bit higher up in elevation from Seca… so we could look down to Seca and see its crystal clear waters surrounded by beautiful forest treees (they looked like pines to us). The view was spectacular! ¬†Neither of these spots seemed SUPable to us so we opted to head for lunch at Restaurante Ancorandouno in Madalena. We got there just as the kitchen was closing at 3p. They suggested we visit the Tea House just down the street. Starving, we visited the tea house and it was a wonderful surprise of yummy food, tasty wines, exquisite desserts, and a beautiful ocean view. We highly recommend this place! Their Pico cheese plate, fish and chips, and fig cheesecake and chocolate coconut bites were so tasty!! Bear had some white wine and he’s discovering that the white wine in the Azores is quite good.
After a tasty lunch, we decided to check out some surf spots. There’s one close to Cella Bar, so we head there. The waves weren’t quite firing, but the location seemed like a cool spot to brag a bevie. Plus, there’s a natural swimming pool at the area. Next we headed further northeast up the coast to Cais do Mourato to checkout another surf spot. It seemed that one could work on a bigger swell but it was super sketchy with the rocks being so close to the breaking waves. I’d be nervous if Bear went out for a surf there. Lastly, we checked out one more spot closer to the airport but it wasn’t doing much. All of these spots seemed to have potential but it seems a bit nerve wracking with all the rocks close to the breaking waves. We have yet to come across a sandy beach here in Pico.
We headed back to our hotel for a Lil nap to escape the heat. Tonight, we headed back to Madalena for a sunset dinner at Ancoradouno which was delicious. We shared a cheese plate and then ordered the barbecue fish (wreckfish that came on giant skewers with shrimp) and also the fried tuna steaks. The entrees again are massive and can be shared between two people. But, it was great trying both of these specialty dishes. For dessert we got a yummy hocokate cake. As we were settling the bill, we saw the lady from the tea house who served us for lunch. Bear and I both wondered if she made al the delicious desserts at this restaurant as well. Overall great evening!
Pico Mountain – Cert of Excellence
Full hike – 6 to 8 hours
Hike with a guide – Tripix Azores

Fri, Sept 8
Check out of Alma do Pico by10:30 a.m.
We had Breakfast at the hotelaround 10am.
Massagesat 10:30aat the hotel. Sonya out masseuse was wonderful! I went first for an hour and then Bear went next. It was absolutely what we needed. After the massages, we packed up quickly and got gas and were about 20 minutes late to our rental car dropoff. While Bear dealt with the rental car lady, I grabbed our tickets and baggage carrier to unload the car. We made it in the14:00ferry to Horta. It was a 30 minute ride to town. We walked a third of a mile with all our baggage to our hotel. It was perfectly situated in town. California pizzeria was closed by the time we were ready to leave our aptat 15:00so we head to another local spot called the Casa Teahouse. I was craving pizza since it was already in my head and we had been eating so much seafood! We get a veggie pizza, watermelon juice, and a wine and iced coffee. We had back to the hotel for a rest (it’s still hot in Horta with minimal cloud cover). We leave the hotelaround 6:30and take a walk towards the marina and head along the fort and ocean front. It’s a beautiful evening and lovely weather for a stroll. It was neat to see all the murals at the marina from people who have sailed from other countries into Horta. We get to dinner at Restaurante Genuinoat 7:45p. It took an hour before our entrees came. Bear got the grilled tuna steak and I got the tuna meatballs with sweet potato pur√©e. We shared a yummy chocolate cake dessert with strawberry ice cream. After dinner, we made the walk home with an almost full moon lighting the path along the marina.
Other activities in Pico?
Grutas das Torres – Cert of Excellence (Caves/Lava Tube)
Lajes Do Pico – town on south side of island
Bakery! Aromas e Sabores
Bistrot Whale’come – food
Whale Watching:
Drop off rental car in Madalena at 13:00.
Ferry from Madalena to Horta: departs at 14:00
Ferry arrives in Horta at 14:30
Apartamentos Kósmos (at Horta harbor) РCommitted, $85 Euro
Avenida 25 de Abril, Horta, 9900-114, Portugal
Check-inFriday, September 8, 2017 (2:00 PM – 6:00 PM)
Check-outSaturday, September 9, 2017 (9:00 AM – 11:00 AM)
Inform them of anticipated arrival time
Dinner options in Harbor area:
Pizzaria California – Cert of Excellence:
Restaurante Genuino – Cert of Excellence

Sat, Sept 9
We woke up at 7:15a and met our Mercedes taxi at 8:00. He drove like a crazy man to the airport where we got checked in and waited at the small gate.
9:55a HOR SATA Air Acores 570 ‚ÄĒ> FLW 10:40a
After we landed, we got our rental car from Ihla Verde and loaded up the car. We went looking for lunch at a top restaurant, but they were closed for the next couple of days. So we opted for a restaurant called O Moleiro where we got steak and it was really good. After that we checked out a natural pool in Santa Cruz on Flores island. The water was so pristine you could see the different kinds of fish in the water (wrasse, angel fish, minnows, side eaters, parrot fish). Bear took a dip and I stuck my legs in. We got out shortly (as we were still full from lunch) and headed out north to Ponta Delgado. You could see Corvo the other island from this point very well. We decided we were at a great spot to try and SUP. It was a harbor there in Ponta Delgado so it was nicely protected until we ventured out of the harbor. Well, it was pretty rough and windy. We paddled out for about 10 minutes and then decided to reel it back in as we didn’t want to get swept out to sea. It was an exhilarating moment and I’m glad we went for it!
After that, we decided to check out some lagoas in the nature preserve in the middle of the island. Lagoa Sete was gorgeous but we couldn’t find a way down to SUP. We drove around some other dirt trails to look for lagoas but opted to turn back asnit was getting close for us to checkin to our B&B. On our way to FAJA Grande, we saw some stunning waterfalls! We stopped by a small super market and got some things for breakfast and snacks and then proceeded to our B&B. Our hosts checked us in and gave us a tour. It was so nice of them to leave us with a bottle of wine and Azorean bread. We got settled and then headed to one of the closest waterfalls that was walking distance to our place. There were beautiful meadows and then a stone path lined by water mills along the way. It was a brief walk but once we got to our waterfall, there was a nice small lagoon waiting for us to take a dip. Bear helped guide me down amongst the rocks as some of them were jagged and slippery. Then, we took the plunge into the chilly refreshing water! We swam out to the waterfall and enjoyed a couple of minutes of awesomeness before we got out.
Once out, we felt so invigorated and looked back at this wonderful sight. We headed bsck to our house and showered and went into town to grab some euros and get a reservation at Jonah’s restaurant. ¬†We found out thy were closed for a couple of days. In town, they also had some streets blocked off for end of summer festival. We grabbed some euros and headed to the restaurant by the house and along the water.
We ordered a small pizza and it was stellar!! Then we opted to share an entree of their fresh caught fish (wasn’t a wreckfish…it was some other whitefish). It was good and meaty like a steak. We also shared a chocolate mousse dessert that was delicious. ¬†After dinner, we drove the short distance home and we watched some news and played a two hour intense match of chess. Bear pulled out all his moves and won that one.
Overall terrific day on Flores.
Casa do Baixio (2 BR house) – Paid in Advance $260 Euros
Rua Via d’√Āgua, n.30 Lajes das Flores, Faja Grande, 9960-030, Portugal

Sun, Sept 10
Flores
We woke up around 8:30aand had a nice relaxing morning. Coffee, choco crisps, and yummy local bread for breakfast. It was looking overcast, cloudy, and a bit drizzly. We got in the car and headed to lagoas Rasa and Furna. Both were good size and really pretty. It was getting a bit chilly and rain was coming down. It wasn’t really good weather for a SUP. After that we drove through the mountains for a bit and went down to check out Lajes. The rain was coming down nicely. We had just come out of the clouds in the mountains and t was quite a bit chilly up there. As we dipped down into Lajes, it was warmer and more humid at sea level. We looked at the harbor and checked out the start of a trail (Faja de Lopo Vaz) xthat was supposed to be a “medium” 3.4 km hike that was going to take 2 hours. Medium is gently used by me bc at the start of the trail it looked like a super steep descent. We didn’t do the trail, but just took a look at the starting point.
We headed to the next town Lajedo and took a look at the coast and some possible surf. The drive was beautiful. We were up in the mountains and it was a beautiful drive. There were bushes of wild roadside hydrangeas. We’d never seen them in the wild. The Azorean people build stone fences along the countryside to separate out the livestock and land.
We left that town and drove up the road to Fajazinha and stopped at several miradouros which are like viewpoints. There are a lot of beautiful waterfalls and viewpoints. We loved seeing how simple life and living is on this island. Once we got to Fajazinha, our host of the B&B recommended a traditional Azorean dining spot (Por do Sol). We were looking forward to super authentic food that wasn’t necessarily seafood. ¬†Bear got the local sausages and yams and I got the chicken skewers. Both plates were delicious! We finished off lunch with a lovely ice cream dessert.
We headed back to our B&B and took a nap (I was wiped out!). Woke up around 5p and we took our SUP out to the bay of Faja Grande for an evening sesh. It was early dusk… the waterfalls were lit up with that perfect orange dusk lighting… we paddled for about an hour. The water was so pristine and clear. We love our Isle SUP! We headed back to the house for a rinse and then took a walk to dinner down the street for a sunset pizza (the pizzas at Papamundi’s is fantastic). ¬†We headed back home and had a nice relaxing evening. The CNN channel has Hurricane Irma on 24/7.
Here’s a link of basically what we saw in Flores!¬†https://youtu.be/yMTWoxB-DZs

Mon, Sept 11
Last day in Flores
Still had trouble sleeping on my side on the firm mattress. Woke up and had our breakfast of coffee and choco crisps! We did some research this morning for Sao Miguel and found some great places to star on google maps.
3:45p FLW SATA Air Acores ‚ÄĒ> 5:00p PDL
Santa Barbara Eco-Beach Resort – Committed but not yet charged, $1,050 Eur
Estrada Regional 1, 1¬ļ Morro de Baixo, Ribeira Seca, Ribeira Seca, 9600-219
Check-inMonday, September 11, 2017 (2:00 PM – 10:00 PM)
Check-outThursday, September 14, 2017 (8:00 AM – 12:00 PM)
Booking number1004335369
PIN Code6858
Deluxe 2BR Villa
Cannot Cancel
Reconfirm dinner reservation for Quinta dos Sabores tomorrow: +351 926333114

Tues, Sept 12
Dinner Р20:30 at Quinta dos Sabores in Rabo de Peixe РCert of Excellence
Rua Caminho Da Selada, n10, Rabo de Peixe, Sao Miguel 9600-161, Portugal
Dinner at Quinta dos Sabores
12th of September at 20:30
Rua Caminho Da Selada, n10, Rabo de Peixe, Sao Miguel 9600-161, Portugal
Must reconfirm 24/48h beforehand: +351 926333114

Wed, Sept 13
Potential lunch or dinner: Tukatula Bar РCert of Excellence

Thurs, Sept 14
Check out of Santa Barbara Eco-Beach Resort by Noon
Solar da Glória ao Carmo (B&B) РCancel until 8/14, $250 Eur
Rua da Glória ao Carmo, 5, Ponta Delgada, 9500-618
Phone: +351296629847
Check-inThursday, September 14, 2017 (2:00 PM – 12:00 AM)
Check-outSaturday, September 16, 2017 (7:00 AM – 12:00 PM)
Can Cancel w/o charge until August 14, 2017 11:59 PM
Dinner at Rotas da Ilha Verde – dinner at 9:00 pm – Cert of Excellence

Fri, Sept 15

Sat, Sept 16
Check out of Solar da Glória ao Carmo by Noon
Return
Check-in with Azores Airlines / Confirmation number: RNK3I5
Ponta Delgada, Portugal (PDL) to San Diego, CA, United States (SAN)
1 Stop
Azores Airlines
Flight 251
Economy
5:00pm
 Sat Sep 16, 2017
Ponta Delgada, Portugal (PDL)
6:50pm
 Sat Sep 16, 2017
Boston, MA, United States (BOS)
 Layover Р12h 16m
Airline Confirmation: RNK3I5
Jetblue Airways
Flight 619
Economy
7:06am
 Sun Sep 17, 2017
Boston, MA, United States (BOS)
10:17am
 Sun Sep 17, 2017
San Diego, CA, United States (SAN)
Airline Confirmation: RNK3I5
  Total Trip Time: 24h 17m
Stay the night at Hilton Boston Logan Airport
One Hotel Drive
Boston, MA 02128

Sun, Sept 17
10:15am SAN arrival

Things to book:
Flight to/from SAN/PDL
Travel insurance
Inter-island flights
Rental car
Hotel/accomodations
Activities
Kris board bag
? SUPs?
?Visas
Ideas:
Itineraries:
Surf:
Airline Checking Surfboards Policies:
Sao Jorge/The Triangle:
Known for hiking
Faj√£ da Caldeira de Santo Cristo – beautiful
Ferry Schedules of Azores:
*Blue Line (Faial – Pico): multi times/day
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Alaska: the last frontier

I needed a nature getaway. With work and wedding planning, I felt nature was a great way to connect to the very thing that “resets” me. So here’s an itinerary I took with a childhood buddy of mine in an RV for two weeks.

Italicized verbiage was my journal while there.

THE REAL ITINERARY


Mon, Aug 29

Fly out to Anchorage and pickup RV from Great Alaskan Holidays.


Anchorage

Flew in and picked up RV. Grabbed groceries from the local Walmart and Costco in Anchorage. Dinner at 9p at 49th State Brewery: beer flight — the Smoked Marzen was smokey and delicious. Beer battered halibut and fries. Drove until midnight; looking for side rest areas. Hard to see at night.

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Tues, Aug 30
9am – 14:30p ‚ÄĒ White water rafting @ 6 mile creek
http://www.chugachoutdoorcenter.com/six_mile_rafting.htm

We had some changes to our itinerary where instead of the 9am start, we started around 12:30 and it was perfect. So before the rafting, we opted for a really close hike with a view of Turnagain Arm.


Description: Three Canyon Six Mile Creek Rafting6 mile creek most challenging. On way from Anchorage to Seward.


OUR OFFICE FOR SIXMILE CREEK RIVER TRIPS IS LOCATED AT MILEPOST 7.5 ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE HOPE HIGHWAY.

TO GET THERE FROM ANCHORAGE GO SOUTH ON THE SEWARD HWY. TO THE HOPE JUNCTION, TURN RIGHT (NORTH) AND PROCEED 7.5 MILES DOWN THE HOPE HIGHWAY.

THE HOPE JUNCTION IS 70 MILES FROM DOWNTOWN ANCHORAGE.

SHUTTLE VAN TRANSPORTATION IS AVAILABLE FOR GROUPS OF 2 OR MORE FROM GIRDWOOD, COOPER LANDING, WHITTIER AND SEWARD.

PLEASE CONTACT US FOR PRICING.

CALL TOLL-FREE AT 1-866-277-RAFT (7238).

ANCHORAGE AREA RESIDENTS CAN DIAL LOCALLY AT 277-RAFT”

Exit Glacier:
Google Map: 1h 18m
https://www.nps.gov/kefj/planyourvisit/exit-glacier-area.htm
Ice Climbing Exit Glacier: ?8hrs — we opted for an easy 2 mile hike up to see Exit Glacier since we would be having our own ice hiking/climbing adventure at another glacier.

Post up in Seward for the evening:
http://www.rvparkreviews.com/regions/alaska/seward
http://www.cityofseward.us/index.aspx?nid=864
http://www.cityofseward.us/DocumentCenter/View/2969


http://www.themilepost.com/features/ipad-and-android-apps

Tuesday, Aug 30

Hope

Drove into Chugach National Forest — so beautiful! Tall mountains, tall trees and pines, gorgeous lakes and creeks. This morning, we were supposed to have a 9am white water rafting trip down 6 mile creek (class 5 Rapids)…. But there was a miscommunication. But, it got worked out — we ended up going to do Hope Point hike and saw some amazing views of the Turnagain Arm. After we did our hike, we went down to grab a coffee and snack at Kayak and Coffeehouse. The owner, Levi, was super helpful in explaining to us the bore tide as well as answering questions on what to do in town and what Alaskans think about the pipeline. After a bite and convo, we headed to our whitewater raft company to get suited up and do the 6 mile creek class 5 Rapids at 2p. It was an incredible experience. You do a practice swim…in a dry suit with a life vest…and then get in your raft with your guide. Canyon 1 and 2 are fun. The class 5 occurs in the 3rd canyon — Staircase is a 5 foot waterfall drop. And then there’s the other two right after (Sucker hole? And ZigZag). So rad. Just do it! Dinner in Seward at Chinook — yummy halibut. Fresh caught.

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Wed, Aug 31
Seward
TripAdvisor: Things to do in seward

Fox island kayak and cruise:
7am: Check in at Adventure Center (1302 4th Ave, Seward)
8am:Depart Seward on a Kenai Fjords Tours boat
9am:Arrive Fox Island


http://www.sunnycove.com/

Drive to Soldotna (possibly stop thru Cooper Landing on way?)

Wed, Aug 31

Seward

Woke up early for the kayak and fjord tour and found out that it was really windy and choppy on the water, so the kayak portion of our trip was cancelled. But we still got on the boat and checked out the fjords with glaciers! There were tons of wildlife out: sea otters, seals, puffins, bald eagle, northwest humpback whale, and Dall’s porpoise. So many incredible views and sceneries. After that, we did a little hike out at Exit Glacier. Then we rolled into Fred Mayer grocery store — which is like a combo of Super Walmart/Costco. We picked up our fishing license and then RV’d in the driveway of our fishing place for tomorrow in Soldotna. Seward was decimated by an earthquake back in the early 1900s and had to rebuild. But before that, it was on it’s way to becoming a big town!

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Thurs, Sep 1
-drive to Soldotna

Check out Cooper Landing:
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g30971-Activities-Cooper_Landing_Alaska.html

Trip Advisor: Things to do in Soldotna

High Adventure Air: salmon
High Adventure Air Charter
38675 Longmere Lk Ct, Soldotna, AK 99669
(907) 262-5237 https://goo.gl/maps/AA39paQDgcw


730am flight:

buy fishing license there

Fishing in Alaska


Soldotna to Glacier view: about 5hrs (Google Maps)
Drive as far as possible…

Thurs, Sept 1

Soldotna

Took a fishing trip with High Adventure Air. Our guides were so wonderful!! Gorgeous seaplane flight from Soldotna to Crescent Lake. We flew over big lush trees and crater-like mountains. It was a beautiful takeoff and landing from the seaplane! We started casting out immediately and my first fish was a dead one. ;P. The next fish I caught was a silver salmon. Vinoop caught several Dollys and a lake trout. Overall, it was a terrific day with gorgeous sunshine and a beautiful backdrop of landscape. We also saw several bears including a mama bear and her two cubs. In fact, the fish we caught were kept in the lake water bc it was so frigid, but we had to gut and fillet them so the guts were thrown back in the lake which seemed kinda like a nice flowing river. The mama bear started swimming toward us and made it halfway across the lake to snatch up the guts of the fish we cleaned. It was pretty scary. Otherwise, the Bears did a good job of just keeping on their own. We checked out Kenai River brewing and then made the 4.5h drive to Glacier View for tomorrow’s ice climb!

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Fri, Sep 2

Glacier View

10:30a – 18:00 Ice climbing
https://micaguides.com/#_=_
https://micaguides.com/activities/ice-climbing/


(907) 351-7587
info@micaguides.com

Milepost 102.5, Glenn Highway
Glacier View, Alaska
Google map

Glacier View to Valdez


Fri, Sept 2

Glacier View

We arrived to the Matanuska glacier and Mica Guides for some ice trekking/ice climbing. They gave us our gear and strapped us into some gators, ice climbing boots, crampons, waterproof gloves that looked like dishwashing gloves, and a helmet. Once we hiked out to the glacier, they gave us lil activities to check our skills. First was learning how to walk in crampons. You want to dig your feet into the ice — stomping, kicking, anything to get a good grip. Duck walk to go up the ice…and the cowboy to go down the ice. Next check off was how to use a ice climbing pick. Reach behind like you’re doing triceps (keep your elbows in) and extend the pick up overhead and use the wrist to snap it down for more power. The key is the wrist snap. We practiced our safety grips as well. Always have the leash on — just like a beginner surfer! After getting familiar with the ice climbing pick, we practiced traversing a glacier free style (just a couple feet off the ground). It’s important to be able to kick into the glacier to get the 4 teeth on the front of the crampon to grip the ice. Test the bite and make sure it’s stable and then kick your other foot in. Our first test, we went down a glacial crevasse. It was spectacularly beautiful. We used our foundation that our guides Emily and Brett taught us. It’s difficult not to marvel at nature’s beauty. I felt like my rock climbing skills really helped. After that pass, we went to a more difficult pass known as a moulin ( like Moulin Rouge). It was a glassier, more iced over face that was shaded and had a different texture and feel. It was more difficult to get the ice pick and crampons into the ice. BUt, you just gotta make your tools stick. I felt like a real ice climber. It was such a wonderful experience!! After the ice climb, we got back into the RV and made our way to Valdez — stopping by Tok Thai — an awesome Thai place we found on Yelp. We settled in overnight at Copper Center along the road at a picturesque spot where you could see Mt. Sanford and mt. Wrangell.  

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Sat, Sep 3
 Valdez


Sat, Sept 3

Valdez

Walked around the pier here — home to the great Valdez derby. This derby is a contest to see who can catch the biggest halibut as well as the biggest salmon. We caught it on its last day — and so far the biggest salmon was 17.8 lb and the biggest halibut was 253 lb! Small quiet fishing town where the Alaskan pipeline ends. Seems to be a bit smaller than Seward.

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Sun, Sep 4

Evening close to Denali

View from bodenburg butte


Sun, Sept 4

Drove from Valdez to Copper Center thru Wasilla (home of Sarah Palin) to Bodenburg Butte. We did a lil hike there and then ended up heading to Denali Brewing Company in Talkeetna. Excellent Belgian strong there.  

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Mon, Sep 5

call for wonder lake shuttle tickets 8am (alaska time) shuttle
http://www.alaska.org/detail/denali-park-shuttle-bus

Drive to Denali


Camp in Denali Riley creek site.

Mon, Sept 5

From Talkeetna, we drove into Denali national park. We stopped for lunch at Prospector’s (it was rainy and cold). Excellent craft beer on top — like 40+ beers! Excellent pizzas as well! After lunch, we walked around the park and then decided to make the sled dog demo. These dogs are so excited to pull!! They’re Alaskan huskies who love to pull a sled. We saw the 6 week old pups! This is the only working sled dog kennel in any of the national parks. These dogs work hard in the winter freeing up debris from roads, hauling supplies to hard to reach places, helping keep the roads maintained — but they love what they do! Gotta say, they’re the hardest working federal employees! We stayed the night in Riley Creek campground (yes you still get a cell signal on AT&T).
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Tues, Sep 6


Tues, Sept 6

Early early morning shuttle bus ride to Wonder Lake — we saw beautiful views of bears, caribou, and moose. It was super rainy and drab…cloudy. We got to Eielson center and decided to take the 12p ranger led hike up Alpine trail. Although we got soaked from the rain, it was worth the 1000+ ft elevation gain to see the different terrain. We learned from Ranger Nick (which this was the last ranger led hike of the season) that there are a ton of earthquakes or at least seismic activity happening in the Eielson area. But we didn’t feel anything that day. Do take a moment to stop and check out Eielson center. It’s full of info and a great stopping point to watch a movie on climbers to summit Denali — 3 weeks, no Sherpas, and you carry your own waste in the freakin’ cold! I don’t think Denali is in the cards for me. We took the return bus (we didn’t make it to wonder lake)…cold and wet. Once we got to the RV, a change of clothes and a beer did the trick to turn our frowns upside down! We hit up Prospector’s again for dinner and it was fabulous!! Night again in Riley Creek Campground. 

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Wed, Sep 7


Wed, Sept 7

We decided to fill up our RV with fresh water and then check out of Riley Campground and park in the Visitors center lot (just for the day). We opted for the Mt. Healy Overlook trail — which is a strenuous 2 hour trail, one way, 2.7 miles, 1700ft elevation, 25% grade, 2 feet width, with native soils with roots and rocks. It was totally rad!! Great way to see the various terrain at the different altitudes. Pack a lunch and have it at the top of the trail as the views are beautiful — even on a partly cloudy day. The descent is much faster than the ascent. There are edible blueberries along the way for a great snack! Dinner tonight at Karsten’s — a new restaurant that has a yummy caribou burger as well as awesome sweet jalape√Īo cornbread! After dinner, we drove to Savage River campgrounds to RV for the night. No AT&T cell phone reception here.

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Thurs, Sep 8

From Savage River campground on Savage Alpine Trail

View from top of Savage alpine trail


Thurs, Sept 8

From the Savage river campground, we walked to the trailhead to Savage Alpine trail. This trail can be started either at the campground or at the end by savage river. If you have trouble with steep descents, I recommend starting at Savage river (from the campground, you can catch a shuttle to take you there) — it’s a steeper ascent by more relaxed descent closer to the campgrounds. The Savage alpine trail is strenuous, 3 hours one way, 4miles, 1500ft in elevation, 25% grade, 2 feet width, and has native soils with roots and rocks and gravel. So, from the campground going up you start a gradual ascent with tall grasses initially that breaks open to subalpine/alpine tundra that’s short. We didn’t’ see any large wildlife along this trail — but there are plenty of warning signs for bears. Once we got to the top (no more elevation gain on the maintained trail), we saw a rocky peak that we wanted to get to for a better look at Denali. So, we forged our own trail. It was rocky and barren and was an extra 400ft or so almost straight up (>25% grade). The wind was fierce and strong — but we made it. At the top, we had an Alaskan Summer Ale beer to celebrate the climb and enjoy the peace of the area around us. Our descent was tricky — super rocky terrain with steep areas. We went carefully and slowly down the mountain back to the maintained trail. I spotted an alpine squirrel who didn’t seem to be scared or even interested in me — he was going after some grub in the ground! The descent was super steep even once we got onto the main trail. After we got down from the savage alpine trail, we opted for an extra 2 miles along the savage river loop trail. Nice and relaxing 45min trail around the river with minimal elevation change. I’m still amazed at the sheer beauty of Denali and could easily come back here. We drove into town to see if we could arrange a flight for tomorrow to circle Denali. Looks like we’re a go with Talkeetna Air!

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Fri, Sep 9
Denali to Talkeetna

Denali


Fri, Sept 9

Today we drove from Denali to Talkeetna to catch a plane that will go over some glacial ice fields and then circle Denali from Talkeetna Air.  Impressively spectacular views from the plane!  I highly recommend it!  Dropped off the RV back at Great Alaskan Holiday and arranged for a taxi to Moose’s Tooth — a must stop for awesome pizza and craft brew in Anchorage!  After that, we took a taxi back to our RV and then picked up our luggage and then headed to the airport for a midnight flight.

Talkeetna to Anchorage: about 2 hours

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Sat, Sep 10


Sat, Sept 10

Flight home from Anchorage waaaaaaaay early!


Itinerary to Valley of Fire, Zion, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Grand Canyon, and Havasupai Falls

April 12-19, 2015
Valley of Fire State Park (Nevada): http://parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire-state-park/
  • Map:¬†http://www.nps.gov/glca/planyourvisit/upload/Horseshoe%20Bend2.pdf
  • Approximately 5 miles south of the Carl Hayden Visitor Center on U.S. Hwy 89, just south of highway marker 545, turn west on the dirt road which ascends the small hill. Drive a short distance west on the dirt road and park at the base of the hill. Climb up and down sandy hill.
    1.5 mile (2.4km) round-trip
    Easy
OTHER IDEAS
Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point

This 10.7-mile out-and-back dives more than 3,000 feet to a photogenic perch offering five-star views of the Colorado River and the second deepest canyon in the United States.

South Kaibab Trail to Bright Angel Trail

Trek to the bottom of the Grand Canyon on this 13.7-mile shuttle hike that tours rugged canyons, visits the Colorado River, and features stunning cliffside views.

Beaver falls

Friday, April 17

There was an incredible amount of wind and rain overnight. It was extremely gusty and felt like the tent would be lifted up off the ground. My biggest fear through the night was whether a tree would fall on the tent or a flash flood that would wipe out the campsite.  Then came the rain. A full on downpour for about two hours. Good to know that my tent can definitely handle a good windy downpour. 
Woke up around 8am and enjoyed another delicious freeze-dried meal: Mountain House scrambled eggs with red and green bell peppers, potatoes and sausage.  This was delicious!! I have been supremely impressed with these meals! After breakfast, we moved the tent to a drier spot and headed out for the three mile hike to Beaver falls. The descent down to the base of Mooney falls was steep!  Plenty of caution signs to travel at your own risk. 
  
There are chains along the way to help climb down as well as wooden ladders appropriately placed. 
   

     

As you travel along the path, you will come across several river crossings that will require traversing. 
  
Bring either some old shoes you don’t mind getting wet, water shoes, or your bare feet. Today, the highest level of river to pass was roughly knee deep on a 5’7″ gal. The water was chilly, but extremely refreshing. It took about two hours to reach Beaver falls from the campground. 
   

   

Once at Beaver falls, go for a dip or explore the area. It’s one of the most scenic landscapes I have seen in the desert. Several guys were jumping off the falls. We opted to climb up the right side of the falls and wander around the upper pools. 
We had some lunch on a rock overlooking Beaver falls. These Epic bars made of organic meats and seasonings were like a thick jerky but fancier. The first one we tried the other day was a buffalo and bacon one. That was our fave. Today, we had the turkey, cranberry and almond. We also had the lamb, mint, and chutney. Both were ok, but not as good as the buffalo bacon one. 
After an hour exploring the area, we headed back towards the campground. There was a neat little offshoot to the right off the trail. Like a little slot canyon with a pretty dry/sparse area of water. The boulders were massive. We got back on the trail and enjoyed the impressive volume of water flowing at Mooney falls before climbing up the chains/ladder scramble. Note: tons of centipedes on that lil part. 
Made it back to camp around 3p and started another freeze-dried meal. This one was Mountain House beef stroganoff.  Let me just say… This was a delicious take on classic comfort food.  So far, I’m really enjoying these freeze-dried meals! I may have to go hiking more often to just eat these meals!
Minor blister on the left pinky toe from the water shoes. But there was plenty of dirt that could’ve been trapped to cause it. These Keen water shoes held up for the 6 mile trip (3 mi out and back to Beaver falls). 
Decided to share another small freeze-dried meal since we started smelling the yumminess that was coming from our campsite neighbors. This one was AlpineAire Spicy sausage and pasta. The flavor was just as it was described. If I had a spicy sausage pizza craving, this would hit the spot (minus the tomato sauce). Matter of fact, this pouch would’ve been super delicious with tomato sauce!

Trek to Havasupai Falls

Thurs, April 16

After staying in Canyon Lodge (super stay!!) on Rte 66, we made the long drive from Seligman, AZ to the trailhead (Hualapai) for Havasupai Falls on a long straight road.  It took roughly 1-1.5 hours.  Organized our gear for a backcountry hike with a two night overnight in the campground. 
Made the 8 mile trek to Supai village. The trail has gravel, sand, and larger rocks throughout. They have mules/horses that you can reserve ahead of time to haul your gear down to the campground. We did not do that… We hauled our own gear; just part of the experience. 
  
We checked in at the office and they had openings (basically we took a chance without a reservation bc they were full online about a month ago). Got our tags and bands and headed the two miles toward Havasupai falls. On our way out of the village, we saw a helipad where they take visitors from the village back to the trailhead start for $85pp. Also, if we were out of luck with getting a campground permit, we would’ve had to hike back out to where we started (not fun since I had a 25-30lb pack on).  
   

 

On the way out of the village, you will come across a beautiful fall…Supai falls!  It is stunning and deserves a bit of time and pictures!  We got back on the beach sandy trail towards the campground. Right before reaching the campground, you will see a massive waterfall with a beautiful canyon backdrop – Havasupai falls. After basking in its sheer awesome strength and beauty, we headed further toward the campground and staked out a site and setup camp.  The bathrooms were extremely clean. It was a toilet seat base that dropped waste into a hole deep in the floor. For breakdown of bacteria, they had wood chips to place after every toilet use and it really reduced bathroom stench (in fact, no stench at all!). 
The freeze dried dinner of the day was a delicious Thai curry. It completely blew my mind! How could something packaged like that taste so darn good? Honestly, it could rival some Thai places I’ve experienced in town.  Let it be known that it was also my first taste of a freeze dried meal. I couldn’t be happier… Especially after the hangriness kicked in from a really small lunch (half a clif bar and some pork jerky) for a 10 mile hike. After our bellies were full, we took a short walk toward Mooney falls (another gorgeous waterfall)!  
After the falls, we went and checked out the fry bread which is exactly what it is — fried dough. Got the Indian taco which is basically a tostada on fry bread. It was pretty good!
Now the bellies are full and the body is tired. Time to quiet the mind. This place is incredibly relaxing!

Zion national park: The Narrows and Orderville Canyon

Woke up to a rather relaxed morning start after 12 hours of sleep (that was much needed!).  Picked up our gear from the outfitters around the corner from Watchman campground (literally walking distance and we didn’t need a reservation!).  Took the shuttle to the last stop Temple of Sinawava.  There’s a 1 mile hike on a paved road down to the river. 

 

From there you will walk roughly two miles through rocky River beds and cold water (today it was 50 degrees; yesterday it was 45) to the start of The Narrows.

The Narrows itself is gorgeous. Amazing how the river carves it’s way through the canyon. For any of you who live in a big city, sky scrapers are the norm; this is nature’s skyscraper downtown. Beautiful architecture! 

 But The Narrows isn’t the only amazing trail down here in the water… the Orderville Canyon is absolutely splendid (and I think it’s more glorious than The Narrows).  Why? It was less crowded, had stunning views of the tops of the canyons, offered more options for mountaineering, and had nice carvings as well. If you’re running short on time, I would recommend this offshoot right before The Narrows! It’s a gem!   

  

      

 After this terrific out and back hike (dunno maybe 6-8 miles total?), we returned our gear and grabbed some dinner at the Brew Pub next door. We found out that there are showers for $5/token for a 5 minute hot shower!   

Great way to end a wonderful day! 

Valley of fire and Zion National Park

Saturday evening took the 9:30p train from San Diego to LA’s union station. It was a very pleasant rise and put me in LA around midnight. 

   

 

After that, drove with a friend to Valley of the Fire. 


Valley of Fire State Park (Nevada)http://parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire-state-park/

   

 

After a quick exploration, we headed to zion. We got there around 11am and checked into our campsite in Watchman.   On to Angels Landing! Roughly a 2.5 mile out and back (so 5 miles total) with incredible views and a steep elevation gain. 
 Young and old alike were on the trail looking for a challenge. 
   

  

This is a truly wonderful hike that I would recommend. It’s tough, so go at your own pace. 

We grabbed a bite at Meme’s cafe and then grabbed some groceries and gear for The Narrows tomorrow. The water temp is 45 degrees.  I am extremely exhausted!