Friday, April 10, 2009

Rave of the Day: My Favorite Vacation Spots to Get Away From It All

I know, I know, I've been neglecting this blog, and I'm sorry.  My mind has been on other things the past few weeks because we had to put our dog down. (Bone cancer.)  But as hard as that was, I have to say I was completely uplifted by the support we've had from friends, family, even complete strangers.  The love and compassion we've experienced has been pretty amazing.   

We still miss our Sami, and will forever remember the silly "clown face" he made when he was really happy.  (This picture is just a hint of that face.)  I thought I would honor him by showing you some places that have given me the same type of face and feelings of pure joy and happiness.  

These specific getaways allowed me to connect with nature, and slow down enough and pay attention to stuff that often goes overlooked and is taken for granted in everyday life.  Places Sami would have really enjoyed.  Here they are, in no particular order:

Remember the old Loony Toon cartoons, when they would go away for camp somewhere?  You know the ones, where there's a huge lake with crystal blue water surrounded by mountains and trees?  Well, I'm pretty sure the animators used Lake Tahoe as their inspiration.  In one word: picturesque.  

I was fully in-tune with my senses here - the warmth of the sun on my skin, the sound of the water hitting the rocks on the shore, the fragrant flowers (smelled soooooo good), the uber fresh air.  It was amazing.  Time moves at a much slower pace in Tahoe country.  (Hint - go early.  We went to a NV state park at 7 a.m. and basically had the whole place to ourselves.  As we were leaving, busses full of kids showed up and we were so happy we decided to get up early that morning.)  Lots of very cool shops in the resort towns surrounding the lake too.

I had a very similar experience here too.  Everything is just stunningly beautiful, particularly at Yosemite Valley, which allows you to really see the grandness of it all from a distance. (There's a reason Ansel Adams was drawn to this place.)  

I can't wait to go again, and next time, I'm doing it right, hiking, backpacking, and camping for a few days and really getting to the core of Yosemite.  A perfect 10 in my book.

Amazing red rocks in cool pipe-like formations, deep blue skies, (moderately easy) hiking trails zig-zagging through it all - who ever knew Utah was so frickin COOL? These natural ampitheatres reminded me of castles, and are breathtaking. Some of Mother Nature's finest work, in my opinion.

Sticking with Utah (such a great state - so much more than Salt Lake City and skiing), Zion National Park was AWESOME.  It's biggest claim to fame is that it's one of the best places in the continental United States to star gaze because a) the high elevation and b) lack of light pollution.  

Of course, there's lots of great stuff to do during the day too.  We did a ton of hiking through the canyons, and cooled ourselves off by wading through a shallow riverbed and getting into a water fight.  Sami would have been ALL over that, trust me!

I have to show the East Coast some love too.  If you're looking for a road trip, it doesn't get much better than this beautiful drive. 450+ miles, spanning from Shenandoah National Park in VA to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in NC. And no commercial traffic is allowed, so that means no big rigs riding your butt down the mountain passes. Booyah!

There, I've showed you mine, now it's your turn to show me yours! 

1 comment:

  1. I am so sorry to hear about your dog. They bring such joy to our lives and it's incredibly hard when they leave us.

    But I love all the places that you named, and am in full agreement with you on Tahoe and Yosemite. I've never been on the Blue Ridge Parkway - will have to check it out. Thanks for the info!