Friday, January 30, 2009

Avoiding Yosemite's Crowds

If you've been to Yosemite National Park on a summer weekend, then you know how nasty things can get here. Traffic jams, pollution, crowds, noise, mosquitoes, heat, ..., ugh! This place is supposed to be one of California's most prized nature retreats?

Well, the reality of the situation is that California is one of the most populous states in the country and it's also world famous for its waterfalls as well as awesome granite formations (among other things). So it's natural to expect crowds since we're all generally there for the same reasons!

But going to Yosemite doesn't mean you have to put up with crowds. In fact, we've been there often enough to figure out just how to avoid them or at least not have it adversely affect your trip more than it should. So let's get to it...

First off, if you've never been to Yosemite Valley before, try your best to avoid going there on a Summer weekend. Why? Because school's out and lots of families like to go there when parents don't have to take vacation days off. If you can, try to go to the Valley in April or May (except Memorial Day weekend). That's because the waterfalls are pumping, school's not out yet, and the weather's generally benign though every once in a while you do get the occasional late Winter storm.

If you go on a weekday, then it gets even quieter. But at least the weekends should be more tolerable. And if you visit well outside the busy period (between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend), it gets even quieter still! In fact, we once went to the Valley in February and we were able to hear our shouts echo as the sound bounced within the towering Valley walls! Imagine that!

If you must visit the park in Summer, here's a suggestion. Check out the other parts of the park! In particular, you could check out the Southern section of the park near Wawona (though Spring time is an excellent time to visit this part as well) as well as the High Country when the snow is cleared up and the Tioga Road is open. As a matter of fact, we were able to do hikes in the High Country on a July 4th weekend where it was relatively quiet compared to the chaos of the Valley. Plus, on a dry year, we were able to explore the Glen Aulin/Waterwheel Falls trail on a Memorial Day weekend!

And if you really want quiet, you could show up to the park in the Autumn as well as the early Winter. Although this time isn't good for waterfalls and you do have to pay more attention to the weather, it is good for one thing that we all want - peace in Nature!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Waterfall of the Week

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Follow Us On Facebook!

Yep, you heard right!

We have a Facebook Page where you can upload waterfall photos and videos, meet like-minded waterfall lovers, and even discuss or ask waterfall questions.

Become a fan! Join in the fun!

WoW on Flickr

If you're looking for larger photos than what's on this website, come check out the Flickr account. Actually, I've had this account for a while, but I figure I mind as well make the announcement now so you might see something there that catches your eye that you might not have found here (yet).

I had spent the last week or so updating the account so if you're interested in reading more about a particular photo, there are hyperlinks to take you to its corresponding content page. Come check it out and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Waterfall of the Week

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another Update On This Historic Day

While all the attention is deservedly on the historical inauguration of President Obama, I managed to update the website with new videos as well as new pins on the world map on the home page. These are all related to the recent Thailand trip.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Asia Region and Thailand Pages Added

Well it had been a struggle this past week trying to get the website updated due to a gnarly combination of food poisoning complications, jetlag, work, and lots of personal social activities all rolled together. I was certainly glad I had gotten some of the photo arranging and blogging done during the downtime on the trip.

In any case, there is now an Asia section of the website (which will include other Asian countries if and when we finally get to those destinations). For the mean time, it only has Thailand since that was the focus of our most recent trip. Within Thailand's pages are the usual assortment of waterfalls we've visited, travel stories, and some miscellaneous things like when is the best time to visit, non-waterfall attractions, and the books we've used on this trip. Have a look!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Waterfall of the Week

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Back From Thailand And Cambodia

As I compose this entry, Julie and I are currently stricken with yet another bout of food poisoning. Both of us have had or either have fever, constant diarrhea, and nausea.

We couldn't figure out what did it this time though the primary suspects are the som tam and Thai iced tea at an overpriced and subpar airport restaurant in Bangkok, me brushing my teeth at one of the departure gates in Bangkok without bottled water (certainly a candidate since I got it first before Julie which is very usual), Bangkok Air sandwich with raw lettuce, or Cathay Air meals (which I'm less inclined to believe since it's all stir fry and I had lost my appetite by then).

Exacerbating this was that nothing seemed to work at home. Phone, cable, internet, and even our water filter seemed to give the water a mouldy smell. It wasn't until around the time I'm composing this blog entry that the internet was finally working again. It was also somewhat ironic that there were lots of dead crickets strewn about on the floor (and no I'm not going to try to eat them). The price shock of going from Thai and Cambodian prices on food back to American prices didn't help matters.

In any case, we're back from our first Asian adventure together. While it wasn't optimal in terms of waterfall hunting and a bit heavy on the temples, it was certainly fun and educational nonetheless. Health, time, and technological troubles permitting, I hope to update the World of Waterfalls website with content from this latest escapade. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Waterfall of the Week

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

One More Night In Bangkok

Murray Head's old 80s song once said that "One night in Bangkok makes the hard man humble." I wonder what happens if you spend another night in Bangkok?

Well, that's exactly what we're doing as we're concluding the Thailand portion of our trip. Tomorrow, we're headed to Cambodia for a brief jaunt to see Angkor Wat. I'm actually pretty templed out since Thailand has no shortage of them, but Julie promised me that this one is on a different scale than the Thai ones we've seen so far.

Unfortunately, we're not seeing any waterfalls in Cambodia, but after seeing a particular tourism TV ad about it during this trip, I know for sure there are some nice waterfalls here. That'll have to wait for a future trip...

In any case, I can see the end of the trip is near. Even though I might be a tad homesick at this point in the trip, I'm pretty sure that the travel lust will return shortly thereafter and I'll be longing for our next trip...

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Waterfall Portion Of Thailand Trip Concluded

Today, we visited the last waterfall of the trip at Khlong Lan Waterfall about an hour's drive from Kamphaeng Phet (4 hours north of Bangkok). Prior to that, we bagged Thailand's prized Thi Lo Su Waterfall (yeah, I know there are a zillion ways of spelling this) as well as a couple of smaller waterfalls along the way. Even with these waterfalls bagged, there were more waterfalls I felt we could've visited had our program been a little more flexible (one near Lampang, another near Mae Sot, and yet another in Lan Sang National Park come to mind). Oh well, in any case, we've gotten our fill of waterfalls as well as temples (which Thailand has no shortage of) and beaches, which occurred at the very beginning of our trip.

So with all this sightseeing, we figured to treat ourselves to a little Thai massage. Well, a few sores and bruises later, I can say that it was quite a different experience. Though I'm not sure if I'd call it "relaxing."

Stay tuned as later this month, we'll update the website with a new Asia section as well as include some travel stories of our most recent escapades...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Looking Back On 2008 And Another Eventful Year Of Waterfalling In 2008

We thought 2007 was a busy year of waterfalling, but then came 2008!

Indeed, after coming home on New Year's Eve hung over from our Patagonian Adventure, we had some down time before doing a pretty spontaneous Super Bowl Weekend trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. However, torrential rains on the Hilo side ruined the waterfalling plans and turned the trip into an expensive mistake.

Over a week later, we had a Valentine's Day and subsequent weekend visit to Julian, California. It was during this time that we saw San Diego county's most notable waterfalls Kitchen Creek Falls followed up by Cedar Creek Falls. Unfortunately, a romantic getaway turned into an unexpected adventure in the snow!

In early March, we sought redemption for our failed Big Island Super Bowl Weekend trip earlier and went for it again. This time, we were more successful though vog became more of a problem instead of the torrential rains on this trip.

Another few more weeks passed before we did a brief trip to Peru, where we saw the obligatory Machu Picchu as well as the prides of Northern Peru - Kuelap and Catarata Gocta! Although I didn't have fun enduring food poisoning and having my Canon EOS 20D die on me during the trip, experiencing this part of Andean South America was certainly worth the pain!

But the Peruvian trip was merely the precursor to big trip of the year - a two month journey to Australia and Africa! Indeed, the Australian portion of the trip focused on northern New South Wales and Queensland; the only main regions of the country we hadn't visited yet. It turned out to run pretty smoothly though our adventure to see Blencoe Falls (featured on Survivor II) resulted in some slight damage to the underside of the rental car. Plus, I learned that I can also get seasick snorkeling!

Then, we spent the next 6 weeks in Africa. Indeed, we saw Victoria Falls (both the Zambia and crisis-ridden Zimbabwe side), northern Zambia (including a safari vehicle breakdown), Tanzania, Uganda (enduring a malaria scare), Kenya (enduring another bout of food poisoning here), and Egypt (enduring a ripoff attempt before Julie would have none of it). This part alone could've constitute the trip of a lifetime, and indeed our visit here changed our perspective of the world - both in how the world works and in how thankful we should be for our parents as well as the life we live.

While still recovering from that epic African safari, we did a Labor Day weekend trip to Guyana. It was certainly a crazy trip since we probably spent more time in airports and on the plane combined than at Kaieteur Falls (the main reason for going there) and Orinduik Falls.

Then came Thanksgiving weekend where we went to St Lucia. Julie considers this place as a rival to Bora Bora in terms of natural beauty. I think the waterfalls on that island helped that perception!

Finally, we explored the bush in Thailand (though we certainly saw our share of beaches, temples and ruins, night markets, and local markets). Even though the country is in the midst of more political turmoil and a suffering economy, the trip wasn't cheap! Indeed, with all the fears of self-driving and the consequences of getting in an accident (even if it wasn't your fault), we did the guided private tour thing and the extra cost that goes with it as sort of an insurance policy on that trip. Plus, traveling during peak season didn't help our pockets either. It was our first trip together in Asia and perhaps a precursor for things to come on our upcoming (last hurrah) China and Japan trip!