Sunday, May 18, 2014

Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, etc.

Tina and I took a trip recently to Arizona and Utah to visit various places, including the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce Canyon National Parks.  We had an amazing time, especially since we had never been to that part of the country before.  It reminded me a lot of the Australian Outback, with the red rocks, open landscape, and dramatic cliffs.

We flew in to Phoenix, AZ, and from there, drove up to the Montezuma Castle National Monument in Camp Verde, AZ.

Montezuma Castle National Monument, Camp Verde, AZ

From there, it was a 2-hour drive to the Grand Canyon National Park.  We only spent a full day at the Grand Canyon, but it was enough for us, since we weren't planning on camping there overnight.

Grand Canyon National Park
View from Bright Angel Trail.  We only went about 1.5 miles down this trail and then came back up.
Grand Canyon National Park.

From the Grand Canyon, we took a 2-hour drive to Page, AZ.  This was probably my favorite part of the trip.  We got to see Horseshoe Bend, which was breathtaking.

Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ.
Tina and me at Horseshoe Bend.

The best part of Page, however, was Lower Antelope Canyon.  It's this really narrow sandstone canyon that was carved out by flash floods over time.  We entered through this narrow slit, and once we were below, it was incredible - unlike anything I've seen or experienced before.

The exit of Lower Antelope Canyon, but it gives you an idea of what we climbed down.
The view from Lower Antelope Canyon.
Tina and I in Lower Antelope Canyon.
Tina walking around in Lower Antelope Canyon.

From Page, AZ, we crossed the Arizona-Utah border and arrived at Zion National Park after about 2 hours in the car.  We stayed in Springdale, UT, which was right outside the park.  We spent two days here, but it was two days well-spent, because Zion has some neat hikes.  My favorite hike was Angels Landing, which was a pretty strenuous 5.5-mile hike covering an elevation change of 1,500 feet, but it was a fun and exciting hike, and well worth it.  At some points during the hike, there were chains installed to hold on to to help prevent people from mis-stepping and falling.  It was kind of scary, but kind of cool too.  Another memorable hike was Observation Point, which was an 8-mile hike to the highest point in the park.  The hike itself wasn't as thrilling, even though there was a neat mini-canyon we walked through, but the view at the end was still spectacular.

Zion National Park in our matching shirts.
View from Observation Point, the highest point in Zion National Park.
This is one of the many stunning views we had as we walked along Angels Landing.
Hiking up Angels Landing.  This hopefully gives you an idea of how steep the elevation change was, and how fun the hike itself was.  When you have a hike that has chains installed to hold on to in case you misstep, it can feel somewhat dangerous.
View from atop Angels Landing.

After time at Zion National Park, we took another 2-hour car ride over to Bryce Canyon National Park, where we didn't do much hiking (we were pretty tired by that point), but still were able to enjoy some nice views.

Bryce Canyon National Park.
Tina and I at Bryce Canyon National Park.
The sun setting over Bryce Canyon National Park.

From Bryce Canyon National Park, we drove to Salt Lake City, UT, and flew back to Seattle.

Overall, it was a great trip, and to be able to see and experience all that we did really reaffirms to me how complex creation is and how I find it impossible to believe that all of it could have happened without an intelligent Creator behind it all.  And to think - this is just one region among many in all of America, which is just one country among many in the entire world, which is just one planet among many in our galaxy.

Appreciating God's creation.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Washington State Fair

A few weeks back, Tina and I decided to check out the Washington State Fair.  We heard good things about it, particularly about the scones (which didn't sound like fair food to me, but whatever), and the weather was supposed to hold up enough to allow for a rain-free time.  So we asked some people from our church if they would be interested, and we found enough people to come with.  Below is the day, chronicled in photos.

We got to help move the giant pumpkin that this guy was going to carve.  We wanted to stay and watch him carve it, but he said it generally takes him 5 hours to finish a pumpkin.  So we left.

The Zwitt boys (my pastor's sons) went on a tractor ride.  They were supposed to pose for a photo before they got to ride the tractors, but I don't think they really understood what was going on.  Or wanted to.

There were lots of animals, as you'd expect from a state fair.

I finally get to try a scone.  This is probably my favorite photo from the day.  Partly because I am about to eat this scone, and partly because Moses is hanging out with me.

A group photo at the end of a long, but fun, day.  :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Summer 2013

Summer has come and gone here in Seattle, and 2013 was an eventful one for Tina and me.  We didn't take nearly enough photos, but of the ones we were able to capture, there were a few that are worth showing.  So here goes...

Jen and Trudy came to visit again.  :)  We took them to Vancouver and stopped by Granville Island.  In my opinion, it's a nicer version of Pike Place.

Our good friends Carol and Jez got married in sunny SoCal.  Tina was in the wedding, and we got to see friends from NC, which is always pleasant.

My family came to visit, and we spent a dinner atop the Space Needle, with a nice panoramic view of the city.  We could spot our apartment complex!  Among other things, of course.  And the food was better than I thought it would be, especially considering it's such a touristy thing to do.

I took my family to Spray Falls near Mt. Rainier for a day trip.  It's hard to get to, but well worth it.

Tina and I went to Olympic National Park for our anniversary weekend.  Here she is dancing in a field of white flowers.  4 years of marriage... Time has flown.

I went to Hotlanta for a week to celebrate my boy Clement's wedding.  This is proof that we actually had a bachelor party in a cabin in the mountains.  This was the only photo I took all week.  Well, besides Instagram photos.  It was fun seeing these guyz again.

Our church had a retreat near Ocean Shores, WA.  It was a... cozy place.  But the fact that it was right by the ocean was super nice.  I enjoyed the time spent there.

Tina and I spent Labor Day weekend driving around Oregon.  I wanted to go see Crater Lake, so we took our time getting down there, stopping in Portland, Mt. Hood, and Eugene over 4 days.  I finally got some Voodoo Doughnuts, too.  I personally think it's a little overrated, but still tasty.  Thanks to Gloria Louie for her wide-angle lens, which made this selfie possible.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Long Time No Post

Apologies for the lack of posting, but to be honest, there hasn't been a whole lot to post, since winters in Seattle aren't particularly conducive to lots of activities.  But to fill you in on what has happened since last fall...

For Christmas, Tina and I went back to North Carolina to visit family and friends.

Dinner with the families.

Fun times with friends.

Fast forward to March 2013, and Tina and I are back in California..

We first visited Veronica and Kevin in San Jose, where they graciously hosted us and took us around to all of their favorite places to eat, including this ice cream / custard shop called Willow Glen.

We then drove down the coast, seeing many beautiful sights including this one.  It was nice to be able to just hop out of the car and walk around along the coastline.

We spent a night in Joshua Tree National Park, where we set up a tent in the middle of park.  We had to hike a little ways to get out here, but it was worth it.

Tina then went to Carol's bridal shower in the LA area.

Fast forward another month or two...

The cherry blossoms at the University of Washington were in bloom, so Tina and I go check them out.

Tina celebrates her birthday with friends at Mediterranean Kitchen in Bellevue. 

Tina and I go hiking up Mt. Si, which is an intense hike, but it's worth it for the great views at the top.

Tina's mom comes to visit us in Seattle.  We are only able to spend a day with her, but we take her to a few parks, including Gasworks.

We are excited for the summer, because a lot of things are happening - visits, traveling, weddings, the sun.  Hopefully we'll be able to keep you all in the loop as they happen.  :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Trip to Los Angeles

A few weekends ago, Tina took Monday and Tuesday off from work, and we decided to take a trip out to the sunny city of LA.  I think it was a much-needed break for Tina, and it was great to see friends. 

We arrived Friday night, and on Saturday, Tina shot a wedding with Carol while I hung out with Laura and Andrew.  We had lunch at Porto's Bakery with Lawrence (sorry, no photo).  Then Laura took Andrew and I to the Huntington Gardens, where we saw lots of cacti, ate strange fruit, and read the Gutenberg Bible.  It was a very nice place, but it was huge and we weren't able to see it all.  I think I got enough of a feel for it to know that I'd like to go back on a future trip to LA.  For dinner, we ate with Tara at Musha Pasadena, a Japanese tapas bar that was quite delicious.  Tara was in LA for a health care conference, so the timing was perfect!  :)

Dinner with Laura and Tara at Musha.

Sunday morning, before Tara had to go back to NC, we ate at Huge Tree Pastry, which was probably my favorite meal of the trip.  It was a Taiwanese breakfast full of soy milk, "oil sticks" (you tiao), flaky pastry bread? (sao bing), scallion pancakes, sweet tofu (dou hua), and my favorite: sticky rice wraps (fan tuan).  I probably wrecked the English translations, but hopefully you get the point.  It was delicious.

Dou hua with soymilk in the background.

Fan tuan.  So tasty.

The rest of Sunday was spent at the Grammy Museum in downtown LA, followed by a meal at UMAMIcatessen, which is part of the Umami Burger chain.  The burgers were ok, but I was most impressed with their home-made ketchup.  And it's hard to go wrong with cheese tots.

On Monday, we started the day with a meal at Dorados Ceviche Bar, which had awesome ceviche.  We don't get a lot of that in NC or Seattle, so it was a good choice for a meal.  Plus I ate too many tostada chips.

The ladies at Dorados Ceviche Bar.

We then spent most of the afternoon in Santa Monica.  First at the beach, then at the Promenade.

Laura and Carol playing Laura's paddle ball game at the beach.  I think the record for the day was set by Laura and Tina, but I don't remember their score.  We spent a lot of time playing this game.  And just sitting on the beach, which was nice too.

Dinner that night was at Road to Seoul in Korea town.  All-you-can-eat Korean BBQ = amazing.  Plus, they had a pretty nice selection of meats to choose from.  Laura and I were of course distracted by the Monday Night Football game going on in the background, but it was still good to eat with Jez and his brother Philo.

All in all, a wonderful and relaxing trip.  Thanks to our wonderful friends for helping make it happen!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Snow Lake

Tina and I took a day-trip to Snow Lake for some hiking on one of her rare days off.  It was a cloudy day, and a bit chilly as well.  But the rain didn't come to ruin our day, and it was still an enjoyable hike.

We had to climb up a mountain in order to climb down to the lake.  There were some nice views on the climb up.

Our flight up the mountain made us quite warm, but as we descended down to the lake, things definitely got chilly.

Tina by the lake. :)