“The mountains are calling and I must go” said John Muir. I always feel this pull, a curiosity and desire, to explore the mountains which is a huge reason I find myself in New Zealand right now. There’s something about the the wildness of forests and mountains that makes me feel more free and full of life. So I knew I had to venture to the South Island in winter to witness the majestic Southern Alps coated in snow.
Categories: New Zealand
Tags: Blue Pools, Cardrona, Cardrona Hotel, hike, hiking, lake, Lake Wanaka, Lone Tree, Mount Aspiring, Mount Aspiring National Park, mountains, New Zealand, Queenstown, road trip, ski, snow, snowboard, South Island, That Wanaka Tree, Treble Cone, Treble Cone Ski Resort, Wanaka, Wanaka Tree
For my birthday weekend I needed to stay within a day’s trip of Wellington but I wanted to go somewhere epic! I mean a birthday only comes once a year and how many birthdays will I have in a foreign country?? Probably not many and this is my first! A friend told my flatmates and I about Putangirua Pinnacles, just a couple hours drive from Wellington along the eastern coast. The Pinnacles are also near the striking red striped Cape Palliser lighthouse so seeing some rocks and a lighthouse sounded like a great enough birthday adventure for me!
My first New Zealand road trip is in the books! Our group drove the four hours north to the resort town of Taupo, an adventurers paradise located on the shore of Lake Taupo. We spent Saturday and Sunday exploring the lake, waterfalls, geothermal fields and hot springs! Lake Taupo is New Zealand’s largest lake and feeds the Waikato River which flows over Huka Falls. We were also treated views of the active volcanoes of Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe (aka Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings films) from the lake and we had beautiful Autumn weather all weekend. The most popular thing to do in the area is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, but I’m still working up to be in shape for that all day hike!
Categories: New Zealand
Tags: Craters of the Moon, falls, geothermal, geothermal field, hike, hiking, hot spring, Huka, Huka Falls, Huka Falls Spa Park Walk, lake, Lake Taupo, Maori, Maori Rock Carvings, New Zealand, North Island, river, road trip, rock carvings, spa park, steam, swimming, Taupo, thermal spring, Waikato River, waterfall
It wouldn’t be a Kayla trip without cramming in as many activities as possible in a short time frame. I’ll sleep when I’m dead! Seize the day! You only live once! These cliched phrases are my mottoes when I travel. I never know when I’ll be back to a certain place so I want to see as much of it as possible while I’m there. And my recent trip to San Francisco was no exception to my rule.
Tags: Alamo Square, AT&T Park, baseball, bay, brewery, bridge, cable car, California, Cook's Meadow, Crooked Street, El Capitan, Fisherman's Wharf, forest, Ghirardelli, Golden Gate, Golden Gate Bridge, granite, Half Dome, hike, hiking, ice cream, Lombard, Lombard Street, Merced River, Mist Trail, Muir Woods, Muir Woods National Monument, national park, NoCal, NorCal, Painted Ladies, Pier 39, Presidio, redwood, river, rock, San Fran, San Francisco, seafood, Sentinel Rock, SF, stadium, street car, trees, trolley, Union Square, Vernal Fall, waterfall, Yosemite, Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park
If you google (that is an official dictionary word now, sorry Yahoo and Bing) “best road trips”, you will be hard pressed to find a list that does not include the California Coast. The Pacific Coast Highway (aka Highway 1, aka the PCH) is a must for everyone’s bucket list and a once-in-a-lifetime trip! Literally it is probably a once-in-a-lifetime trip because the scenery might be some of the most breathtaking and gorgeous landscapes I will ever see, but the winding PCH is a slow, car-sick inducing, sometimes scary drive. But let’s not focus on the ONE negative here otherwise I would be doing a crappy job of convincing you all to take this amazing road trip. I mean you can’t get to the incredible Machu Picchu without traveling on rough roads or hiking strenuous trails to reach that far off the beaten path site!
I have actually driven the PCH twice in my life now, so it’s been more than once-in-a-lifetime for me! [I’m an over-achiever like that.] The first time was on my drive to San Francisco in 2011. The California Coast is truly an exhilarating drive that offers constant breathtaking views. Make sure your camera has lots of memory space for all the gorgeous vistas! My friend Hillary (and co-host of my other travel blog) and I wanted to explore central coastal California, specifically Big Sur, and we set out for a four day adventure we titled our “Classic California Road Trip”!
California’s Highway 1
Tags: 17 Mile Drive, 17-Mile, beach, Big Sur, Bixby, Bixby Bridge, Carmel, coast, Disney, Disneyland, Highway 1, hike, keyhole, light station, lighthouse, Monterey, ocean, Pacific, Pacific Coast Highway, paddle boarding, paddleboarding, parasailing, Partington Cove, PCH, Pfeiffer, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Pfeiffer Falls, Pfeiffer State Beach, Pismo, Pismo Beach, Point Sur, redwoods, road trip, Route 1, stand up paddleboarding, stand-up, waterfall
If you had asked me six years ago if I enjoyed hiking I probably would’ve given you a “are you serious?” look. Honestly I’m not even sure I went on a legitimate hike until my first true camping vacation in the great outdoors in the summer of 2008. I spent six days rafting down the Green River and Colorado River in Cataract Canyon and experienced my first challenging 1200 foot hike up to the Dollhouse. That hike was an incredible experience, full of rookie mistakes such as awful blisters and not bringing enough water, but I think it was a subtle turning point in my life where I connected more with nature. From then on I visited several Missouri State Parks and walked/hiked to some great sites, and my interest in hiking has only risen since my move to the beautiful state of California.
Tags: hike, hiking, Knapp, Knapp's Castle, Los Padres, Los Padres National Forest, Nojoqui, Nojoqui Falls, Nojoqui Falls Park, ruins, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Solvang, waterfall
I’m a Missouri girl always…even if my birth certificate says “Kansas” and my driver’s license says “California”.
With Labor Day weekend upon us, this is the unofficial last weekend of summer. School has or is starting, vacations are concluding, and the last of the barbeque parties are rolling out this weekend. Therefore, I’m saying farewell to summer with a post about my home-state’s quintessential summer weekend getaway.
In Missouri when people say they are “going to the lake” it means only one thing: the Lake of the Ozarks, which is probably Missouri’s most popular summer destination for local Missourians and neighboring states. The Lake of the Ozarks is a beautiful and large lake set in the lush Ozark region of southern Missouri that has grown into quite the tourist destination for Missourians and neighboring states. (Side fact: Missouri is tied with Tennessee for most neighboring states; each has eight.)
The Gravois arm of the Lake of the Ozarks…our neck of the woods. 🙂
Tags: Boonville, Bothwell, Bothwell Lodge, Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site, castle, Gravois Mills, Ha Ha Tonka, Ha Ha Tonka State Park, hike, lake, Lake of the Ozarks, mansion, natural bridge, ozarks, Ravenswood, Sedalia, Seven Springs Winery, summer, Tipton, winery
I embarked on a “Griswold family vacation” this summer with my parents and brother across the beautiful states of Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Lots and lots of hours in the car, plus several fun stops and views of beautiful countryside, made for a successful road trip. It’s been a long while since my family has spent this much time together, and perhaps it helps that my brother and I have moved past the arguing, bickering and fighting stages of our sibling relationship, but we all got along pretty swell! My Family = 1 / Disastrous Road Trip = 0. Winning!
Categories: Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia
Tags: antique, BBQ, boat, boating, Bodie, Bodie Lighthouse, Body Lighthouse, Carter Caves, Carter Caves State Park, cave, cavern, Charlottesville, Cheerwine, Cheerwine float, chicken, colonial, Colonial Williamsburg, cow, Croatoan, farm, ferry, hike, James River, Jamestown, Jones Creek, Kentucky, lighthouse, lost colony, Louisville, Manteo, Merchant Square, Michie Tavern, Midland Trail, natural bridge, Newport News, North Carolina, Old Central City, Pagan River, Pop's Southern Style BBQ, road trip, Roanoke, Roanoke Island, Roanoke Sound, scenic byway, Smithfield, sunset, Virginia, Williamsburg