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Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Good views of the bad lands, the devil and the rush!


We flew down to Denver and rented an RV from Cruise America. Due to lack of sufficient communications, we had to wait till the evening for our RV and so, had to make adjustment to our last destination where we would camp for the night. We wanted to get out of the city as soon as possible and as we drove through Nebraska, we stopped briefly to checkout the Chimney Rock, just because it was not a detour.
It was going to be our first night in RV and we spent it closer to some remote community, right next to a corn crop field, eating whatever leftovers we had from the afternoon (bit of miscalculation about our noon hunger!)

With a briefing from our chotu on our next destination, we got excited. There was this small place called Car Henge(yes, similar to Stone Henge), which was a pretty small museum and a good place for some photography. Learned that people take some of the cars from here to the Burning Man  Festival





We then headed to the bluffs and the badlands, which spread over a wide area. When I was taking a look at these places, I was wondering why anyone would call this place as "Badlands" (unless the human greed to occupy the place was not achieved, as the story goes!)

Many of the ranges had deposits of multiple colors and did remind me of the painted hills, which was on our list to visit during our last year's travel to Oregon, which we could not make it to. There are many small trails to take the view and I would say, pick anything!

We loved this one place, for when I saw it from an angle, it looked like pyramids stacked! Here is a pic I took!


We briefly stopped for the mandatory lovely chai which was needed and why not have a tea with a view!


With the tea session complete and invigorated with new found energy, we set off to Mount Rushmore. Our hope was to reach in time to see the sculpture just in time to park in a campground and then start to next location the next morning. The back up plan was to wake up and see this first thing in the morning - we did not need the backup plan as our driver made sure we were just in time for the viewing and then the show at 8:30. I was amazed at the vision of the artist to have thought about having sculptures in these Black Hills. I mean, who would have the conviction of something like this in the mountains, confidence to ask for funds and to deliver such an amazing end result!
What was more amazing to me was to know about the history of how these 4 Presidents were chosen. At the end of the show, all of the veterans were invited over to the stage and thanked, which filled my heart  and what an amazing way to recognize and thank - not just on the Veteran's Day or the Memorial Day! Every soldier deserves that respect from their fellow citizens!

It was full moon and was brimming with the blood red color as we hurried in search of our camp ground and we were pleased at the location, the calmness. Moon was our only source of light for a while when we decided to take in the beauty of that night, before we slid into the comfort of sleep. Woke up to see that a small stream was peacefully flowing right next to our RV while two deers were crossing over!



Our list had this place called Devil's Tower, which was also the picture on the back of our RV and we went up that place for a hike around this rock tower, which had nice myth about how it grew so big. Except for this huge tower and our chit chats on the rocks, coming up with our own versions of story on the rock as we hiked, there was not too much to take in as a view. However, what was interesting is that, the Native Americans held a spiritual value to this place and was sacred to them. We could see some ceremonial threads and clothes tied around some of the trees, closer to the stone. When I read a bit more about this, learned that a kid as yound as 6 years and grand pas as old as 87 years have made a climb to the top of the tower!!
If you are one of those rock/cliff climbers, make sure to check out on the festival dates as you won't be let near the sacred rock for ceremonial purposes.


Read all about our Cowboy Country Trip

A twist to my long weekend travel plan - Cowboy Country!

So,  it happens that my husband hardly gets time off from his work and we try to club the long weekends and wander off to some new location. As it was time for labor day weekend, my initial plan was to plan on flying somewhere close to Yellowstone and have that national park covered this time. While I was in discussion with a friend at work, she spoke highly of some smaller villages around Grand Teton and when I looked up the images of this place, my heart wanted to skip anything else and go straight up to this place, so was wondering how to fit everything in one long weekend. Fast forward to few days, my husband smiles and says, we are going to do a bigger trip around this place for 2 weeks!! The surprise doesn't end there - he says "we are going to be in an RV with Tarun and Ananya (our friends who apparently were also planning trip towards these locations but a longer one)

Let me tell you, I had never been in an RV (recreational vehicle - for my Indian friends, it is the Caravan which Shah Rukh Khan travels in Swades movie :) ), kind of never been on a 2 week vacation roaming around different places in a stretch and etc etc.... I was honestly not sure what to expect and in times like that, I keep my expectations very very, very low - which has always worked well for me!

Our friend had some RV experience and was not a novice in long hikes and all. He shared the entire plan of what all will be covered each day, what food we plan on consuming, how much clothes to carry and how to be prepared for the RV stay. Usually in our family, I get to plan vacations and here, I kind of was relieved that I had to do nothing! Also, this particular plan looked no less than a project plan. Being agile, I knew and anticipated, it would get changes once we started! (Ok, I will not get into the work lingo anymore!)


So, here is the map of what we intended to cover in our 2 week trip:



Since this involved so many beautiful places, it would be unfair to put everything in one single blog. So, I plan to break it up into multiple of them and share with you all:












PC: our phones and Tarun(aka Chotu's Camera :) )


Continue the journey  to 

The Good views of the bad lands, the devil and the rush!

Friday, July 20, 2018

I dream of rain....!

Water has the power to clean the path where ever it flows and also with it's flow, relax the strained mind. Rain has always has great impact on me. Like a peacock always enjoys the rain, I always yearn for it to bring the freshness along, the lush green and also to inspire me to take action on various thoughts whom I put to sleep in the mundane life. Rain, is that life to me, which I have used in a different context  - something which might take you to some point in your life, where rain had/has an impact.

PS: This poem is being published at the time when the weather where I live is way too hot but believe me, this poem was written months ago :)




Thursday, June 7, 2018

Smokey Mountains - perfect summer destination!

You might by now know that I get all excited about the long weekends and would never want to spend it at home. I had been longing to go to the mountains from quiet a long time since my last such weather and vegetation was almost a year ago to Seattle and Oregon. I had two places in mind Smokey Mountains and the Rocky Mountains - both very popular for their own charming beautiful views, landscapes and the fresh and soothing experiences, both almost same distance from home. With our newly developed love towards really long  drives and road trips since the end of last year, we were OK with 11-12 hours of drive to reach either of this place. Any trip is fun when accompanied by good friends and we all agreed on stopping over at their place and then head to the agreed upon Smokey Mountains.

Now that the destination was finalized, we wanted to find a place to stay and enjoy the vacation with less of tourists around us, yet closer to mountain, comfort and peace around to escape everything else we left behind. After couple of hours of searching the internet, we found a place which all of us could agree on, thanks to airbnb. We found the perfect place, which we were a little doubtful of until we reached there.

This was a beautiful place in Sevierville maintained by super awesome host Hannah, who made sure we were comfortable and had everything we needed, at every step. I am for sure advertising this place for, this played a crucial role in making our trip memorable.

It rained almost all the 3 days we were in Smokey Mountains. One of my friend had suggested we take the Sky lift ride and I am in agreement for it gave some of the best view of the super cute Gatlinburg town hustled in those beautiful mountains.
Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are two small towns which is flocked with tourists and has lots of entertainment to offer, for those looking at family entertainment as well as adventurous coaster rides other than the Sky lift.

After doing the touristy things in Gatlinburg for most of the day, we went on a hike to Grotto Falls, where you can get behind the waterfall and continue your hike, if you have energy for a longer hike.





We ended the day by soaking ourselves in the hot tub and playing some pool to get prepared for the next day.
The next day, we woke up and decided  to go up to the Clingman's Dome and so in the process crossed Tennesse and entered North Carolina to reach to the highest point to view the Smokey Mountain. Was it worth it?  - Every step of it!! It was cold, breezy, raining and yet was inviting. The mountains lived up to their name  "Smokey" and drew curtain to the view :)

Once we were satisfied (could not stand the cold), we make our descent to drive through the Cades cove loop to take more view. However, after evaluating the reality, we agreed that, because of so much rain, the view would not be there and decided to go for one more hike to Lauren Falls and it did not disappoint us as well.
The drive throughout was just so beautiful with the streams running parallel to the road, making its dance through the mountain and pleasing our eyes ensuring we had a good show.
The hike to Lauren Falls was not the hardest but yet was a not so fun hiking as few returning scared me about the snakes they had seen (Thank God, we didn't see any!) The wild flowers on the way released such amazing perfume and these Mountains just offered me everything I was looking for!


The Lauren falls, though didn't have the passage behind the falls, had its own mighty display for which I sat down there, listening to all the  chiming!  Nature teaches so much and if you try to listen respectfully, sings to you the best melody. I love nature and respect it even more and feel ashamed even more for what we are doing to this beautiful world out here. And with that thought and all the beautiful, mesmerizing moments etched in my heart, I bowed in respect to say a thankyou, just before we hiked back to our car.
As many of my family and friends know, given a chance, I would never want to come back, but reality check always wins lol!
This blog doesn't  contain much about detailed info on what to see and what not, because nature seen from any point is beautiful, so just go stop where you want, look at the painting the nature has painted there and move on :)

Oh wait, did I tell you that there was a lovely swing in the cabin we stayed? That was the best to sit with a cup of tea, to listen to the stream flowing down and watch the clouds play right in front of you - over the mountains! :)


And signing off with one of my fav photo of us all from our last hike there :)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

But it is moonless night...!

Ever imagined how it would be to daily get out of the house and have a conversation with the nature and how the absence of the moon could probably dull the moment where you all used to have group chat? I here present to you such world where a young girl is missing the moon who slowly vanishes every fortnight from her sight. When I read it again, I felt this could be applied to any one who is in love and have a regular separation written in their fate.... sip it up one word at a time and let me know what you think :)







Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Freeze the time, now!

There are often moments, which we want to be over as soon as possible and there are some moments which just flash like a falling star and you wish it lasted for some more time. What is your moment, which you want to freeze in time and lock it up? Do the lines in this poem reflect your thoughts? Share with me  in comments :)



In the pic, one of my beautiful friend Akanksha,  who was admiring first super moon of this year! :)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

ಸ್ಪೂರ್ತಿ!


In the pic : Maneet, my friend's son :)

dinavu udayisuva sooryanalla
tampereva irulalla
beesuva gaaliyalla
suriva maleyalla
naguva maguvalla
aluva mogavalla
hita mitavada mishranadi adugeyu poorti
anteye kaviya manadalli mooduva spoorthi

novige nalivina lepana
malagida nenapina sinchana
bhavodvegada narthana
sallapada aalaapana
jagake hidida darpana
kaledukonda ashrutarpana
bhavanegalu aadaga bharti
kavite geechalu mooduvude spoorthi

Translation:

It is neither the rising sun
nor the soothing night
It is neither the wind
nor the pouring rain
It is neither the smiling baby
Nor the weeping face
Inspiration to a poet is
Such that the essences of a satisfying recipe

Smearing of happiness to the pain
Sprinkle of memories to sleeping heart
Dancing of the emotions within
Beginning of romance
Mirror to the world
Mourning to the lost
Inspiration to a poet is
That which happens when emotions can't be held anymore!

Voices in my head

I am never alone Those days have gone long There are voices, there are voices… There are voicessssss up - when I close my eyes ...