Four weeks before this trip a friend of mine called me and asked if I would like to come to the Bahamas for his birthday. That was obviously a rhetorical question and of course, I said yes. A lot on this trip was a surprise for me as he didn’t want to tell me much upfront. Only that I should bring an ugly Christmas Sweater, which in the end I didn’t use. So I packed a couple of things, a shirt, T-Shirts, and some shorts plus a jeans.
I flew from Dallas to Miami to meet my friend, Marco, and then we took the next flight to Nassau. The flight from Miami to Nassau is quite short and a little over 30 minutes and the view out of the plane was amazing and I could see the almost crystal clear water below the plane.
To my surprise, we were picked up at the airport and driven to the hotel Atlantis on Paradise Island. The Atlantis is a big resort like hotel and we stayed at the Cove tower, which was pretty cool. As it had its own beach area which wasn’t that crowded.
The hotel Atlantis is pretty big and had a lot of aquariums and I was able to see all kind of fish including sharks, mantas and of course clownfish. In addition, they have a big waterpark with waterslides, which was a lot of fun. Actually, you stay the whole time in the hotel without seeing much of Nassau or the rest of the island because everything is there from a casino to all kinds of restaurants, bars, and two clubs. Marco was invited to play at a Team Slot Tournament in the hotel and some commitments due to that we or better I, unfortunately, couldn’t explore the island and Nassau as much as I would have liked. It was nevertheless a great and relaxing weekend and instead of writing much about it I’ll let the below pictures do this job this time for me.
Again another special experience and totally different to the trips before, but I have to say that I enjoy my nature trips a little more as I like to be out in nature and resort style trips are not really my thing. With that being said I’m off to my next adventures.
While being in Flagstaff I had the idea to hike up to Humphrey’s Peak, the highest point in Arizona with an elevation of 3,852 m (12,637 ft). I’m always up for a challenge and doing this hike sounds interesting as it is rated as a “hard” hike and has a total length of 15.4 km (9.56 miles) for the ascending and descending. The total time of the hike up was 2 hours and 38 minutes without stops on an ascend of 926 m on a 7.7 km (4.28 miles) partly icy and snowy trail. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time for the hike down.
These are the blank facts, the data, but it is just that. It doesn’t take into account the experience, the feelings, and the effort of anything. And in order to do this posts/articles/blogs like these are for, to tell the story of such a hike.
Phil, a friend of mine and my host for this trip, and I went up early to be on the trail in time. We stopped at “Late for the train” for a quick coffee (I can highly recommend the Dave’s Rockrammer – a triple shot pulled short with raw sugar with almond milk) and were at the trailhead at around 8am, which was the perfect time in hindsight. We got our daypacks with 3 liters of water, some light food (protein bars, nuts, and sandwiches), and important microspikes for the shoes and made our way up. The trail started with a walking over the end of a skitrack on which snow cannons already started their duty. (In my humble opinion, this is a huge waste of natural resources and environmental unjustifiable, especially when the temperatures are above freezing)
Immediately after the skitrack the trail leads us into the woods and from here on we were constantly moving upwards not to steep, which made it a comfortable and long hike. After roughly one and a half hours we had to do a small break and I had the best loo view of my life 😂. After 15 minutes of further hiking we reached the first ice patches and we had to put on the microspikes. I tried to move over them without it but I fell two times on my butt and finally gave up. I just can say microspikes make such a huge difference and after putting them on walking on these slippery and icy patches was like walking in the park. A personal note please put them off as soon as those slippery patches are over. These spikes will do some damage to the ground or on any roots, you step on, so please be mindful.
Roughly 20 minutes later we reached the end of the forest and we were on the almost on the top. The sun was shining and it was such a warm day even if we were surrounded by snow, it was such a beautiful day and we couldn’t have asked for better weather conditions. From this point on we used the microspikes again and started the final ascent to the top. The view from here on was just mesmerizing and I had to stop every couple of meters to soak everything in and to take pictures. A week later and I’m still in awe when I think about it and look at these pictures. At the top, we meet a couple and had a long chat with them. Phil had the great idea to put our names into the summit register, which we did after we got it out under the snow.
It’s now official I have summited my first peak, the highest peak in Arizona, which is amazing and I have to say, that I would like to do more, which I probably will.
Another awesome experience and totally different to what my trip through Washington and special in its own way. With that being said I’m off to my next adventures.
“The wonderful things in life are the things you do, not the things you have.”
Like everyone else, I have seen countless movies about Washington D.C. from the Bourne Trilogy, to Olympus has fallen, to probably hundreds other political, spy, romantic, or other types of movies. We have all seen the White House a million times on TV, in the newspapers, or in any online media outlet. Besides the White House, there is Washington Monument another iconic landmark, the Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, Arlington House, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, World War II Memorial, and the Korean War Veterans Memorial and so on. Washington has a lot to offer.
Honestly, I never would have thought that I would finally be in Washington and stand in front of the White House or the Washington Monument. It feels amazing and I feel blessed to be here, to have the possibility to see and experience all of this. Just to be able to walk around National Mall is astounding to me. Simply seeing all this and breathing it all in, and to be aware of this amazes me. I’m not a city dweller and usually like the outdoors and being in nature more than walking around a city, but this time I was just mesmerized and grateful to be in this city.
I started my tour in Arlington at US Marine Corps War Memorial and took a Bird (an electronic scooter) to go from there over the Arlington Memorial Bridge to Lincoln Memorial.
Lincoln Memorial is an astonishing place and I spent a long time there to read the inscription of the Second Inaugural Address from Lincoln. The marble statue of Lincoln and the whole setting is impressive and made it worthwhile to spend some time over there and soak everything in.
From there I walked straigth by the Reflection Pool to the National World War II Memorial and found the pillar for Texas, the state where I currently reside. All these war memorials remind me of the lifes lost and pain endured during and after all those tragic wars and in my mind every war is a tragic event. We should learn from our history and don’t repeat the mistakes that generations before us already have made.
It could be said that the Washington Monument hovers above the National World War II Memorial. It probably is one of the top 3 monuments in Washington and it commemorates George Washington, the first President of the United State, and with its height of 169 m (554 ft), it is the tallest obelisk in the world. Made out of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss towers it over Washington. Regrettably, it was closed due to some constructions and I couldn’t get that close.
I walked another half a mile to stand in front of the Capitol the view was not too spectacular at the time and the pond in front of it didn’t have any water in it. So I decided to turn around and go to the White House via Constitutional Avenue. A lot of Federal Departments plus some Museums residing on Constitutional Avenue and besides that not so much to see.
The White House on the other side is exactly like you have seen it a thousand times. It has this iconic shaped roof and the four pillars. It was still mind boggling for me to stand in front of it or the fence. I still don’t know if the President was there at the time or not. But honestly, that didn’t interest me. It was more the fact that I really stood there and have seen the above-mentioned landmarks and that I walked at National Mall. All this made me feel so grateful and so blessed. These feelings and being there is something I’ll never forget.
It’s all about the experiences we have and this was a special one. With that being said I’m off to my next adventures.
Since I have been the first time in San Francisco I always wanted to see a giant redwood tree. But in all the years since 2012! and all the time I’ve been in and around San Francisco, I have never made it out to see one. Been to Alcatraz, walked multiple times to and over Fisherman’s Wharf. Had an Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista Café walked over the Golden Gate Bridge, eat sourdough bread at Boudin, and bought chocolate from Ghirardelli, but one thing was missing and that was seeing a giant Redwood.
Last time I visited San Francisco I made it my goal to visit the Redwoods and extended my trip by a couple of days to make it finally happen. I was also lucky that a friend of mine has offered to drive and show me one of her favorite hikes in the Muir Woods, so we went on a Sunday morning. The weather was great neither too hot nor too cold. Just perfect for a hike through a forest.
The Redwoods are just beautiful and it’s mind-boggling to know that these trees can live thousands of years and that they are part of this worlds for hundreds and hundreds of years. It certainly put some perspective to my understanding of a lifetime. A lifetime can be very short from Mayflies (24 hours), to Dragonflies (4 months), a human (avg. 80 years), Greenland sharks (300 – 600 years), and then the oldest Redwood with 2,520 years or 31.5 human lifetimes.
These trees are just remarkable and I felt a certain connection there. For a tall tree with a height of 107 m (350 ft) and a diameter of 7 m (24 ft) they have shallow roots. What’s makes them so special is that their roots spread up to 30 m (100 ft) and intertwine with roots of the neighboring Redwood trees. They create a huge network in which baby redwood trees can latch onto the roots of their parents for nutrients.
The whole forest felt very special and there was a certain vibe/energy, which was fascinating and as I touched the bark of the tree as strange as it may sound, I could feel a connection, an energy going through me. Especially touching the tree with both hands and it felt likes it goes right through and I’m nurturing the tree and he is nurturing me in a way. I felt at peace and could exchange stories with a friend, which I probably otherwise couldn’t have exchanged.
The whole experience left me with a new sense about time and appreciation of nature and it’s infinite wisdom. I think we can a learn a lot from it as it has been here much, much longer than we are. And it probably and hopefully will be much longer here. Needless to say, that it was an unforgettable experience and I’ll be back again. I would like to close this was a quote from Henry David Thoreau from his book Walden.
“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods