Teen Book Scene Blog Tour.
I asked Catherine to list her top ten vacation spots that she's been to. And she was even nice enough to put links to her photo galleries from each location (I'll include one picture for each too!)
#1 Machu Picchu
I backpacked from a trailhead outside Cusco to the monument, meeting my mother there (she came up on the train). It had been a dream trip for both of us. I’m not usually a history buff, but this place is amazing. An ancient city in the clouds. With llamas. What’s not to like?
#2 Back-to-back cruises in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas
I had a chance to take these cruises as a speaker (just for the cost of airfare and extras). Otherwise I doubt I could have afforded a trip like this. Some of the highlights were Rome, Venice, Tunisia, the Greek Island of Santorini, Athens. I’d never been on a big cruise ship (not so much my thing, it turns out) and I’d never been to Europe. Memorable trip!
#3 The Grand Canyon
One of my absolute favorites. I’ve hiked the Canyon three times now to really breathe it in, and I’m going back in early December. Staying a couple of nights at Phantom Ranch (at the bottom). It’s a real trial climbing out, but so worth it! There’s just nothing else quite like it.
#4 Bryce Canyon
Just got back from my second time there. Otherworldly. Not sure what else to say about the colors, the shapes. If you haven’t seen a hoodoo, it’s a tricky thing to describe. That’s why I always bring back plenty of photos. The first time I was there, I hiked the Peekaboo Loop. This time, the Fairyland Loop. Both amazing!
#5 The Columbia River Gorge, and the Oregon Coast
About a year ago I took a long motor home trip up through Central Oregon, along the Columbia River Gorge, and then down the coast all the way to home. The waterfalls along the gorge were amazing, and Highway 1 from Northern Oregon was scenic beyond belief. I love Big Sur, and my local Highway 1, and I’m not saying it was better up there… but it was different, and the views just went on and on. Love waterfalls, love rugged coastlines. Good for the soul.
I traveled to Rishikesh in 2005 to meet with a Swami who was a big Pay It Forward fan. Stayed at an ashram for about two weeks. The trip was life-changing and unforgettable, but I have to say that India is an acquired taste. There are wild monkeys everywhere, the poverty is horrifying, the sanitation all but non-existent. It took me awhile to adjust. But then I could definitely feel the way the area had gotten under my skin (in a good way). It pushed me over the edge into a Yoga and meditation practice, and I still have those to this day. That, the photos, and some very adventurous memories.
I feel fortunate to live so close. I can drive there comfortably in a morning or afternoon. As a result, I’d guess I’ve been there maybe ten times or more. I’ve hiked Half Dome (though I chose not to go all the way up the cables), I’ve done Cloud’s Rest from the Valley (the longest and highest day hike I ever did). I got “lightning-ed out” of a hike over the Panorama Trail last fall, and hope to make that up next month, weather permitting. The first link to the photos below is Yosemite in Winter, because I think it’s at its most beautiful then. I’m also including a May trip.
#8 Zion National Park
Great hiking. A shuttle system that drives you through the valley and drops you off at all the best sights and trailheads. There’s an epic hike you can do through the Narrows, but the wading aspect and the specter of flash floods have caused me not to try it. So far. But I’ve hiked all but the last horrifying cap of Angel’s Landing, the Overlook Trail, the Watchman Trail, Emerald Pools. It’s just a spectacular park.
#9 The Wave
This is a little-known spot. I found it by searching online for world-class hikes. It’s an acre or so of red rock sandstone in the most amazing wave-like pattern. You have to see pictures of it to really get why it’s so special. It’s located in Coyote Buttes North, the Vermillion Cliffs area of BLM land. Right on the state line separating Arizona and Utah. To get to the trailhead, I had to drive my motorhome about 5 mph down a 20-mile dirt road with ruts deep enough to take out my exhaust or sewer pipe. But it was worth it. It was a hike unlike any other.
#10 Cambria, CA
Okay, this is not so much a place I’ve visited. It’s more a place I live. But it is a really nice vacation spot. Just a quick drive north from Morro Bay, where the estuary makes for great kayaking. Just a bit south of the southern gate of the Big Sur Coastline. Doesn’t get much better than that. I just happen to be very fortunate to live in a town that many people consider a vacation spot. Every day I take a walk by the ocean on Moonstone Beach Drive. It’s like being on vacation all the time. (Except I still have to get my work done.)
Wow! These places are GORGEOUS! (I especially liked The Wave!) I'm so jealous you've been to all of them! Thanks for sharing!