Up until last October, I had only ever visited Playa del Carmen in Mexico before. So when my friend Monika told me she was having her wedding in Los Cabos, I couldn’t wait to check it out. Los Cabos sits at the southern end of the Baja California peninsula: it’s hot, dry and covered with cacti (much like the rest of southern California). My only disappointment in the area was my discovery in that swimming along the coastline is limited because of the currents!
Here are some of the photos I took on my Canon AE-1 during that week.
“You either love it or you hate it.” This was the phrase I heard most often when I asked other travellers about India.
It wasn’t, however, enough to deter me from fulfilling a life-long dream of travelling to this wildly fascinating place.
My time in India was an experience in numbers: 60 days spent in 8 cities and 9 regions (there are 28); nearly 5,500km travelled; and 17 pounds gained. Numbers though are easily an extension of the country: 1.2 billion people (the most populated nation on earth); 122 languages; a handful of spiritual faiths and religions; and a billion other stats I’m sure I could reference.
The numbers help, but when I think back on my time here I’m left speechless. It’s hard to describe just how overwhelming this country is.
It is an assault on the senses. Colours in every pigment possible, from the billowing saris draped around the curves of women walking in the street to the distinct, bright yellow taxis that veer noisily through the congested traffic that chokes Kolkata’s streets. Food, worthy of their own post alone, from rich curries and spicy kheemas to steaming hot chai served in clay cups rough to the touch and sipped slowly and carefully on the street next to the chai stand. From the fervor of New Delhi and Mumbai to the peaceful meditative surroundings of Rishikesh and Darjeeling and countless other landscapes that slip almost seamlessly from desert to jungle in between. And above all: extreme beauty in contrast to extreme poverty at (almost) every corner.
And still – I barely scratched the surface of this immensely beautiful and challenging country. What follows is a round up of my time in India; how I travelled to the places I stayed; my favourite meals; and general hard-learned tips and tricks that, had I not learned, might easily have shifted my answer from “I love it” to “I hate it” when asked.
A wet, moody day on the north coast.
I wrote about my recent adventure backcountry hiking and camping for the HelloBC blog.
“To see the moon cast its glow over the valley below, illuminating mountain peaks in the distance was otherwordly. Slowly, voices in the campsite dimmed, the unmistakable sound of zippers opened and closed, and the only light left was the glow of this full bright orb in the dark night sky.”
Click to read the full post here.
(Photo: Hayley Morgan)
To me, the drive from Valemount to Kamloops is one of the most drastic transitions of scenery in BC. Heading inland the deep-rooted spruce and pine trees of the Robson Valley begin to thin. Mountain peaks become flatter and rounder and eventually turn into dusty hills that extend beyond one another like folds in a blanket. On a recent drive in August, we passed entire entire hillsides, scorched from recent summer wildfires, dotted with dead trees still standing stiff and upright. In the evening light, they cast long shadows across a yellow-gold landscape. It was beautiful in a stark sort of way.
Later, we would detour to Helmcken Falls to watch the rush of water cascade over the rim of a rocky bowl, a never-ending confrontation between land and liquid, and fall to thunderous applause some 450 feet below.
Back in August, I took a weekend road trip to Chetwynd with my Mom. After four hours driving in the car listening to the same 10 songs repeat on the radio, we rounded a bend and came to a lookout point over the Peace River Foothills. It had been 40-something years since my Mom last visited the area where she spent her childhood. We pulled over and stopped the car, gingerly stepping out onto the pavement feeling the terra firma beneath us. “Do you hear that?” she said. We listened intently to the sound of thin poplar trees rustling in the breeze (so called ‘quaking aspen’ for that very reason), feeling the late afternoon sun beating down on the back of our necks, the bright rays filtering through the golden stalks of red fescue against a deeply wooded and green valley below us. We had arrived in the Peace River district.