Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New York, December 29

Last post of the year. These are a few pictures taken before and after the big snowstorm of December 26-27, 2010 which dumped more than a foot and a half of snow on the City. We are waiting for the visit of Luka who is coming from his parent's house in Maine where he spent Christmas. He was supposed to fly in from Portland on Monday but his flight was cancelled because of the snow and rescheduled for Wednesday (today).

Today, when he arrived at the airport in Portland he was told that a pilot for the flight could not be found. He was however offered to take a free bus to Boston and to fly from there to New York this afternoon. He is now on
a plane on his way here. During his stay with us we are planning to visit the exhibit on contemporary Serbian artists at the Austrian Cultural Forum. We are also planning a dinner at Kafana and a coffee or drink at Via Della Pace.

Pictures from top to bottom: The Red Cat restaurant on Ninth Avenue in West Chelsea, view of the Hudson river from Hudson River Park, the High line at 14th street, a lonely bike parked in the Meat Market on Christmas day, the temporary ice skating rink at the Standard Hotel, our neighbor's roof after the snowstorm, Washington Square Park on December 27.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mount Shasta

The first series of posts did not show Mount Shasta; an unfair omission. We stayed for a night at the lovely small town of Mount Shasta, at a Bed and Breakfast called the Dream Inn (pictured). Mount Shasta (the mountain) was visible from the Main Street and behind the B&B. This is a mountain for serious climbers who may need guides to take one of the trails up the mountain. The following morning, after a brief stop at the visitor center in town, we drove to the foot of Mount Shasta and went on a trail called "Grey Butte." This hike offered beautiful views of Mount Shasta and went through Panther Meadows which has several springs sacred to Native Americans. (Last picture: Mount Shasta at sunset seen on the way to McDoel. Picture at right: Vlada taking a dip in extremely cold McCloud river, at the foot of McCloud falls).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic is the least visited National Park in the contiguous 48 states. This means very few people on the trails. Despite this lack of popularity, this Park has spectacular views of volcanic mountains, amazing rock formations, otherworldly sulphur springs, lush meadows with streams and wildflowers, fields of wild lupines (in full bloom in late August), pristine lakes and many hiking trails. We spent two days in the Park. On the second day we hiked from Summit to Echo Lake and Twin Lakes, where we went for a swim. Then around 4pm, we drove straight to Sacramento to get ready for an early flight back to New York the next day.

MacDoel, California

We arrived at the Double R Ranch (for "Richard and Rosa" I assume, although I forgot to check with them) in the evening of August 23rd. On the way to MacDoel, we took in impressive views of majestic Mount Shasta. We received a warm welcome from everyone including Richard and Rosa's three dogs: Rippy, Rena and Roxy (hmm... shouldn't this be the 5R Ranch then?). We spent two full days at the ranch, during which Rosa cooked for us a succession of delicious vietnamese specialties, among which: summer rolls with seafood (squid, shrimp, salmon, lettuce leaves, mint, tomatoes, cucumber, and rice noodles, wrapped in rice paper), lemongrass chicken, fried rice, cuttlefish...

On the morning of the first full day at the Ranch, Richard took us for a swim at Juanita Lake. He told us how he and Rosa fell in love with this part of Northern California while stopping for a fishing break at this lake during a trip to Washington State years ago. During our stay, we rode quads(or ATV's) for both fun (riding in the dirt roads around the ranch, visiting a Native American sweatlodge - a natural volcanic rock formation shaped like an igloo) and some,work (cutting and dragging juniper branches for the sheep and goats to eat). We helped feed the animals. Vlada learned to use a chainsaw to cut juniper, though Richard said he still has a way to go. We chopped up wood and neatly filled the wood shed at left (kidding!). One afternoon I laid out a brick path in front of the house. On the third day, before heading out to Lassen Volcanic National Park, we walked around the property. We truly had a fantastic time in MacDoel.

Kings Canyon National Park

These pictures were taken in Kings Canyon National Park on August 19, 2010. We first drove to a place called "Roads End Permit Station," appropriately located at the end of the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway. We then went on a spectacular 9.4 miles long hiking trail, surrounded by canyon walls, huge boulders, big trees, Manzanita bushes and the beautiful Kings River. A couple of backcountry hikers told us they had just seen a female bear with her cub. We ran into another group of hikers who had spotted two rattle snakes on a sunny patch of the trail surrounded by boulders. One of them lifted the snakes with a pole and threw them away from the path (not a recommended operation as we later learned). We ended the hike with a swim at Muir Rock. The last two pictures were taken on the car trip back to our camp, along the Kings Canyon Road.