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Saturday, November 10, 2012

I've Missed the Northwest


Fairy Falls, Yellowstone National Park
Credit: Melissa Lehuta

I must admit that I missed the Northwest a lot during my travels. Seattle will forever be my home. The California sun was wonderful, Arizona sun not so much, but I had a great time in my travels and look forward to whatever travels may be in my future.

It's been a couple of months since my last post (so sorry!). It's been complete chaos trying to find an apartment, a job and overall just getting resettled. My boyfriend and I found a wonderful apartment on Mercer Island and I got a great opportunity to work with some old friends for a little while at Delve Kitchen and Chefsteps. Such a great group of guys! Best of luck to them with their new venture.


Over the last couple of months, I've incredibly embarrassed myself while revisiting scuba diving (even though it was awesome to get back in the water again), made my pickles, gotten back into my love of rock climbing, made another visit to Orcas Island, went to a wedding, did a 20-mile round-trip hike through Sol Duc to Heart Lake, hit the road for a spontaneous trip to YellowStone National Park to visit an old friend and fulfilled my role of embarassing some kids in the family during Halloween.

Yellowstone National Park
Credit: Melissa Lehuta
Yellowstone National Park
Credit: Melissa Lehuta
Yellowstone National Park
Credit: Melissa Lehuta
Yellowstone National Park
Credit: Melissa Lehuta

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Amazing Photos of 2012

We're only a little over half way through the year of 2012, but there have been an array of beautiful photos created so far. Can't wait for the rest of the year! This cover by The Huffington Post follows Reddit user stoopidtrooper who took it upon himself to compile some of the most amazing photos of 2012 from the photo sharing site Imgur. Here are some of my favorites. Enjoy and feel free to check out the rest of the images here.

"The Waterfall Island at Iguazu Falls" via Imgur/Reddit
"A Seahorse Inspects a Diver's Watch" via Imgur/Reddit
"Maelstrom at Kauai, Hawaii" via Imgur/Reddit
"Seal" via Imgur/Reddit
"Moon Bridge in Dahu Park Taipei" via Imgur/Reddit

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Timpanogos Cave and Antelope Island

US TRAVELS: THE WEST
DAY 14-15: SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH TO RICHLAND, WASHINGTON


I finished the last 2 hours to Salt Lake City, waited for check-in at Motel 6 until 2pm, ate way too much and planned my adventures for the following day.

On day 14, I woke up early to go on a 3 hour round-trip hike and guided cave tour at Timpanogos Cave in Wasatch Mountains, about 40 miles south of Salt Lake City. This is a really fun and cheap activity to do while in Salt Lake City! There is a $6 American Fork Canyon Fee to get into the park (can be used for up to 3 days) and a $7 (adult) fee for the guided cave tour.

There are no dogs permitted on the trail or in the caves due to steep cliffs and bats (and their guano!) in the caves. Luckily, the park has free dog kennels in a covered shaded area by the check-in building as well as dog bowls and water. I swear these kennels were built for Great Danes and Sebastian (my 4lb Yorkie) looked pretty ridiculous in the kennel.

The trail is paved the entire way up, has "danger/do not stop zones" marked with red lines indicating rock slide areas, plenty of benches conveniently set up at beautiful scenic points placed along the trail, restrooms near the top, and emergency stations.

Credit: Melissa Lehuta


Credit: Melissa Lehuta
Credit: Melissa Lehuta
Credit: Melissa Lehuta
Credit: Melissa Lehuta

I read mixed reviews on whether the hike itself is easy or severe and my personal opinion is that it definitely isn't easy but doable. I saw many families and small children making the hike to the top, many were out of breath and looking a bit strained but the rest stops and benches set up along the way gave everyone a chance to take a break when needed.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Into the Desert

US TRAVELS: THE WEST
DAY 13: SAN DIEGO, CA TO SALT LAKE CITY, UT


I woke up early to get cleaned up and the rest of my things packed into the car. I decided to take a quick stroll along the Ocean Beach Municipal Pier, the second longest pier on the West Coast that extends 1,971 feet into the ocean.

Credit: Melissa Lehuta
Credit: Melissa Lehuta

This pier was built in 1966 and even though it may be a popular tourist attraction it serves a dual-purpose for locals as well to be able to fish without a license and not have to worry about their lines getting caught up on the plant life and rocks near shore.

Last Day in OB

US TRAVELS: WEST COAST
DAY 12: SAN DIEGO, CA


I started off my morning at Jungle Java in Ocean Beach. This whole-in-the-wall, eclectic cafe was a lovely, quick retreat from the chaos on the roads outside. It stretched further than you would have expected looking at it from the outside and had plenty of tables to choose from amongst a little fountain, succulents intermingled in window shutters hanging on the walls and a central chandelier. The business itself isn't really enclosed in a building but has sort of a tent-like space set up for "indoor" seating at the front as well as plenty of space outside in the back area.

Credit: Melissa Lehuta
The barista was busy with other orders as I approached the counter and seemed a bit irritated by my presence at first. I sat patiently as she prepared a blended drink for a scruffy looking man with a cat in his backpack. Her appearance reminded me a bit of Jasika Nicole (actress "Astrid" on Fringe) who I think is quite beautiful and it was a nice change from all of the blonde hair, spray tans and fake boobs. She was very sweet after she got caught up with orders and a kick-ass barista.

I was preparing to hit the road the next day, so I went back to the apartment to finish up laundry and get things organized. I met Joey's elderly, cancer-recovering apartment manager who remarked "I don't mean to be rude, but who exactly are you?" when she spotted me in the laundry room. Joey warned me that she is upfront and doesn't hold anything back but very sweet. I told her I was staying with Joey and she nodded and continued on her way.

Joey and I had attempted to go to South Beach Bar & Grille in Ocean Beach a couple of days prior and learned our lesson to take a cab this time around for dinner. The security guard turned us around immediately after checking Joey's ID and pointing out that it was expired. This guy must have been having one of those days or power tripping or both. Joey doesn't look under 21 and had an ID that was valid until quite recently. So we got back in a cab to go to the apartment to grab his paperwork from the DMV and then back to the bar. Being the Californian that he is he just let it go, no hard feelings.

We were starving and ordered salsa, chips and guacamole, fried mushrooms, shark tacos and the carne asada mini street tacos. It was my last night there, and the last night I could ruin his diet so we ate like kings! After nearly finishing all of the food and bouncing back and forth between watching the baseball game and some guy hitting awkwardly on two girls at the bar, I was now in a food coma and ready to head back to the apartment for some sleep.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dog Beach and Good Coffee

US TRAVELS: WEST COAST
DAY 11: SAN DIEGO, CA

Now that I'm in vacation mode I've really been taking advantage of my time here!

Sebastian and I began our day at Dog Beach, found a great quiet spot and settled down to play some ball and jump in the water. It was a beautiful day and it was fun to see everyone walk down the beach with their dogs jumping in the water along the way. Sebastian braved the water to rescue his ball a couple of times and began to be a little more comfortable throughout the day.

Credit: Melissa Lehuta
Credit: Melissa Lehuta
Credit: Melissa Lehuta

After dog beach, I took my friend Nicole's suggestion to hit Cafe 976 in Pacific Beach. Thank God for a decent cup of coffee...finally! Thank you Nicole! I've noticed people don't really drink coffee around here and when they do, it's Starbucks (which is fine) but I've really been craving a cup from someone who puts a little more artistry into their work as a barista. I wasn't super hungry so I ordered a 16oz. Nine-Seven-Six (a white chocolate & hazelnut latte, $3.95) and a slice of the gluten-free coffee cake ($2.35).

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hitting the Road

US TRAVELS: WEST COAST
DAY 8-10: OCEANSIDE, CA TO SAN DIEGO, CA


The morning of Day 8 I found the inside of my car covered in spider webs. Looks like we my have some hitchhikers! I grabbed some much needed tacos and decided it was time to do some laundry. Sebastian and I ended up sneaking back to the hotel laundry room after discovering that laundry costs $3+ a load at the local laundromat and the hotels only costs $1.25.
I called a cheap hotel in San Diego I thought I had lined up but it fell through and after making several attempts to line up a hostel that also fell through I decided to camp outside of a 24-hr Walmart for the night. I was prepping the car to sleep in the back, when Aunty Viv saved the day! Tyson called and said that when he mentioned the situation to Viv she disappeared and got on the phone asap.


Credit: Melissa Lehuta

She called a long-time friend who's kids live in San Diego to see if I might be able to stay with them. I got a hold of Kim and Kim got a hold of her brother Joey who had an extra room available to crash at. I was really happy I didn't have to spend the night in the car and Sebastian and I hit the road from Oceanside to Ocean Beach where we are staying now. Sebastian has made a friend (a kitty named Captain) and loves the huge dog park and beach. We've really been enjoying our time here!