STORM KING MOUNTAIN

Fall 2019 Social Hike? DONE! Today some of my bravest friends met me for the first social hike ever planned by Salvi Nomad. Some were friends I have hiked with several times before, and others who would be joining for the first time.

It was a difficult task deciding which trail to do. I wanted to give everyone enough of a challenge by having a little scramble and elevation. But not be too difficult to discourage anyone from joining in on future hikes. My other concern was knowing there was a good mix of athleticism and not wanting anyone to be slowed down or pushed too hard.

So after going through my pictures to recollect which hikes kicked my butt just enough, but not too badly, I came across the answer. The group would venture onto Storm King Mountain. And it was perfect for today’s group.

We took 2.5 hours to hike 3.0 miles and reached and altitude of 1,339 feet. The beginning of this hike really gets your heart rate going with some steady climbs. And you have a couple of descents where you can catch your breath before another steady climb. I’m also glad to report only one person fell took an unplanned seat (extremely graciously I might add lol).

I followed Hike the Hudson’s guide because he has a great 3.0 mile loop. Make sure to check his page out HERE if you’re venturing into the Hudson Highlands!

Click HERE for the coordinates to the parking lot. And below are the spark notes version of the trails we followed today:

  1. From parking lot follow ORANGE
  2. Continue on ORANGE past ruins 
  3. RIGHT onto Yellow/blue (NOT LEFT)
  4. RIGHT to Stay on blue/yellow (when blue/red intersects)
  5. LEFT to stay on yellow/blue (when blue blaze intersects from right)
  6. Follow BLUE/YELLOW down until WHITE.
  7. Follow WHITE (sometimes BLUE/WHITE) all the way back to car 
  8. Eat snacks you left in car 🙂

Below is a picture of my favorite type of hiker, the four legged kind. We saw at least three of them today and it makes my day every time! You can also see there’s still a lot of green left on the mountains. I was hoping there would be more red and orange. That just means I’ll have to come back again soon to make sure I don’t miss it.

Overall I would say this was a successful hike. We even went into town to have lunch afterwards. There are several places to sit and dine or grab a quick bite at a deli. And maybe I’ll see you out on the trail for the next social hike: Winter 2019.

Life was meant for good friends and great adventures.

– Unknown
Advertisements

VALLEY OF THE GODS

GPS: 37.236771, -109.815529

LENGTH: 17 MILES ONE WAY

DATE: APRIL 28, 2019

While researching for my trip to the southwest I read all about the limitations monument valley has regarding hiking. How there’s only one hike you can do unaccompanied and everything else must be hiked with a Navajo guide. I think guides are important to meet the locals and learn things not otherwise noted. However, I’m an advocate for also being able to explore at my own pace. So I came across Valley of the Gods and was pleasantly surprised to see you could walk right up to buttes and not need a guide. Just make sure when traveling to Valley of the Gods that you’re prepared. There are no facilities and no source of drinking water. And remember to carry out your trash.

We turned onto the 17 mile-long dirt road just north of Mexican hat. It’s a bumpy ride and we were in an SUV. I saw sedans on the road as well so I don’t think an SUV is necessary. But online it states that when wet the area is impassable, even in an SUV. So check the weather and enter at your own risk!

There were tents at the base of some of the buttes. I’m sure people who had stayed the night had an awesome experience there. It’s so peaceful and quiet.

The buttes have names and it’s fun guessing which ones are on the list. We found a very informative map Here. The one that struck me as the easiest to see was the lady in the tub. I couldn’t unsee her in that tub! It totally personified the butte for me.

After we drove the 17 miles we headed over to Moki (Mokee) Dugway. It’s also a dirt road and there are warning signs at the base before entering. Impassable during rain and 10% grades made for an interesting ride in the passenger seat.

But so worth it. The views were a bit hazy and the pictures don’t do it justice. Atop the dugway you can see the Valley of the Gods below. Can you spot the lady in the bath tub? On clearer days you can even see monument valley from there.

Overall Valley of the Gods and Moki Dugway are areas for people to explore with less crowds. You can have a real personal experience here in solitude if you wish. And that’s hard to come by in the ever growingly popular south west.

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”

Jennifer Lee

RT: LGA/EWR – VEGAS $11.50

Intro

“Do you even have a job?”

On one of my most recent trips to the southwest I was asked this very question. It was not asked with malicious intent, but genuine curiosity. The couple was only the second one we’d seen on the trail after hours of being there and we’d struck up a fun conversation. She was surprised to see how far we were from New York and even more surprised to learn I had just been to the Pacific Northwest the previous month. She followed the question with, “I mean, I assume you work.” Followed by a look in her eyes that just wanted to understand how.

Truthfully I get a chuckle out of it. I’M not even sure how I do it either. When I stop and analyze the how, it’s actually very simple. I have always been very frugal, especially with travel. I didn’t have the greatest jobs in college and I yearned to see more of the world. So my first couple of trips were promoted flight specials sent via email. And I always travelled in groups to save on the shared expenses like car rentals and hotels. I even ate fast food where I could, dollar menu please! Back then my stomach could handle anything lol.

From the moment I researched my very first trip, to the next one I have coming up in a week, I have always tried to spend less than the average person. This isn’t the method in which I book every trip, but for Las Vegas it was perfect. I learned I could fly there for $11.50 and I was all over it!

Did you just say $11.50?!

Yes I did! I’d like to begin by saying this is not an ad. I repeat, this is NOT AN AD. I DO NOT get paid for writing/posting this on my blog. BUT! If you’d like to contribute to my adventures and don’t have an American Express yet, I would really appreciate you using my link below…

MARIANA’S AMEX LINK

Do your due diligence as I did and read the fine print. If this seems like something you’re interested in then please, use my link and tell a friend 🙂

Anyways… a very good friend of mine referred me to this card three years ago and I received a total of 60,000 bonus miles with Delta Airlines for spending $3000 in the first 3 months. I love to shop, so that wasn’t hard for me to do. Not to mention I threw as many bills as I could on there to help.

I also got married last year and that was a great boost in miles as well. Unfortunately, some vendors only accepted bank transfers or Visa/MasterCard. But we paid as many vendors as we could with the Amex and was happy to see the miles accumulating at the close of each monthly statement.

So after having my Gold Amex for a few years I had accumulated more than enough points for my husband and I to travel to Las Vegas. Here’s the thing though, Vegas is now our third destination we’ve purchased with miles. I have really worked out a system to pretty much pay for everything with my Amex, and then pay off the Amex to not carry a balance (or get charged interest). But seriously though, I mean everything.

So how did you actually pay $11.50?

My friend and I have mulled over the idea of having a road trip through Utah and Arizona for a while. We have even watched documentaries and done a ton of research. So when her 30th birthday was approaching she decided she wanted to pull the trigger. She came over and we started looking up flights. Not happy with the costs associated with flying to Las Vegas in April, I recalled a post by The points guy.

I’m going to let you in on one of my secrets. I religiously follow a twitter page @thepointsguy I even have text notifications set up for new posts because this page is amazing! He’s consistently posting about mile deals and all sorts of travel gold. Gold I tell you! And he is in large part the reason why I thought about looking into using our miles the first two times. My friend also has the Amex Gold card and had miles available to use.

So I went into my Delta app (apple or android), clicked on “book” and selected “Show Price In: Miles.” I put in the dates I wanted to travel and after messing around with dates for a while was pleasantly surprised. I found round trip flights from La Guardia to Las Vegas (returning to Newark) with a price tag of $11.50 and 25,500 miles. These flights had a 1.5 hour outbound layover and a 1 hour inbound layover in Minneapolis and Detroit respectively.

Would I have preferred to fly direct? Duh -_-

But honestly, for that price! I did not care about the layovers. Nor did I care about finding my way home from Newark as I have done many times before.

So like I said, it really is that simple. I would say it’s a matter of consistently using your card to accumulate miles. You get 1 mile for every dollar you spend. That way when you least expect it, you can pay with points and not with cold hard cash. Also the responsible adult in me is screaming to add this as well: please be responsible if you do get the card. It’s very easy to spiral into debt and that’s the last thing I would want to come out of this. Swipe responsibly ; )

If you found this at all helpful and are considering getting the card, please don’t forget to use MARIANA’S AMEX LINK. I get some bonus miles thrown my way for referring you and every mile helps.

Thanks for reading and happy travels!

fullsizeoutput_7b58.jpeg

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” – Jennifer Lee

HOH RAINFOREST

GPS: 47.860714, -123.934639

DATE: MARCH 8, 2019

HI THERE!

While doing my research for visiting Olympic National Park I found some pretty interesting things about the park. It has mountains full of snow and everything winter while simultaneously being home to a temperate rainforest. It sounded interesting and I began looking through pictures and could not believe the amount of moss present. So without hesitation I added it to the list of must see places while in Washington.

For context think about this: In New York we get about 42 inches of rainfall annually. In the HOH rainforest however, they get 140-170 inches of rainfall annually. And 30 inches of that is from the fog alone! The visitor center has plenty of information for those seeking to be informed hikers. They have free pamphlets with drawings to help you identify plant life and animal prints.

fullsizeoutput_6aa7

GETTING THERE

From the town of Forks, WA, the drive is 45 minutes. From Port Angeles it’s closer to 2 hours. And what a drive it is! You can watch the trees changing in height, color and type as you approach the park. You’ll arrive to the booth to pay admission. We paid $30 on a credit card. The fee grants you access for the week.

fullsizeoutput_6a9f

HOH RAINFOREST

I just love seeing these brown signs! I get so excited when I cross the threshold of a national park. As though I have made it to a secret land where only beauty, fresh air and freedom exist! This is one of two we saw on our way in.

fullsizeoutput_6aa1

Right outside the visitor center there is a bulletin board with information about the surrounding area. There are maps and daily weather updates which are super helpful if you’re doing the long hike. The hall of mosses is .8 miles, the Spruce Trail is 1.2, and the HOH river trail is 35 miles to Blue Glacier (not this time ONP!) and back.

fullsizeoutput_6aa5

I spotted this wild Diana perched on a trail sign (Haha!) The trails are all very different lengths and the mini trail which isn’t shown here is wheelchair accessible.

fullsizeoutput_69ae

Right after crossing a cute little bridge over a stream that’s a small vein of the HOH river you climb a short way up. Passing this gorgeous tree just commanding your attention. It’s impressive when you look to its last branches. IT. IS. TALL.

fullsizeoutput_6aa9

Soon you arrive to a sign pointing you in the direction of the Hall of Mosses loop. It was fun reading that we were entering an older part of the forest. Primeval spirit? Yes, absolutely…

fullsizeoutput_6aab

The higher we climbed the more snow was present. Or ice I should say as it was a little slippery. This beautiful tree looked like it was taking a nap. Or taking a bow. I don’t know. I just know this tree was way more graceful than anyone I’ve ever seen.

fullsizeoutput_6aad

Look at this amazing moss!!!

fullsizeoutput_6aae

So green!!!

fullsizeoutput_6ab0

I couldn’t help myself so I hugged this gentle giant. I owe so many good shots to my sister Diana. She grabbed some great pictures. But we also shared some good laughs with the phones put away in our pockets or backpacks.

fullsizeoutput_6ab4

Amidst our walk we spotted this hoof print. We weren’t sure how fresh it was but how cool!? Was he coming or going?

fullsizeoutput_6ab5

My sister saw this tree and claimed it as her own. She said there was enough room in there to call it a condo. A one bedroom condo she said by New York City’s standards lol.

fullsizeoutput_6ab6

This fungus was interesting. When seen higher up in the trees it looks like there are sea turtles sticking out from the tree showing their under bellies.

fullsizeoutput_6ab7

I asked my sister to sit on the other side of this log. We sat for a couple of minutes in silence and closed our eyes. We concentrated on the sounds of the rainforest, birds, stream and trees. There weren’t many other people at the park so we were able to take it in unbothered.

fullsizeoutput_6abb

Before leaving the HOH rainforest (when I least expected it and wasn’t looking at her) Diana was taking a rest. She said that it helped her hips and back after laying there for a little bit. I believe the poor thing. We were using every ounce of daylight to sightsee everything we could.

fullsizeoutput_6abd

The hall of mosses was gorgeous. We were so happy to have seen this part of the Olympic National Park. Considering the time of year it was, it wasn’t nearly as cold as we anticipated. Chilly yes, but not cold…

If you’d like to see more about this trip, click the links below:

“Do not call the forest that shelters you a jungle”

-Unknown