Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chain Lakes Loop

Stone Bridge
One of my favorites!

Mt. Shuksan

Table Mountain reflecting in Ice lake

The trail we hiked on.

Trekking through the snow.

Mt. Shuksun
Nick and I with Mt. Baker in the back ground
Trail marker!
Steep hill we had to climb! Tried to snow shoe up this hill this winter and weren't able to make it.

So yesterday around 3, I texted Nick to see if he wanted to go for a hike after we were done working. I looked through our day hikes book and decided on Chain Lakes Loop, a 7 mile hike. I backed our bag and camera and meet Nick at Sunset Square to take off. We quickly grabbed taco bell, not a nutritious meal, but it was quick, and we began our 1.5 hour drive up to the Mount Baker ski lodge. By time we started our hike, it was already 6 o clock, and we were afraid that we might not make it back before it got dark. I packed our head lamp just in case.

We did a total of 1800 foot elevation gain. Going up wasn't too bad, but coming back down killed my knees and ankles.

Our hike was amazing! We were above the tree line, so we had unobstructed views of Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker as well as Table Mountain. We saw several tall water falls and about 4 lakes. My favorite lake was Ice Lake. As the name implies, there were large chunks of ice floating in it. It was also really flat and reflected Table Mountain in it perfectly.

The trail was just opened a week or two ago, and so there is still alot of snow on it. We would be walking along, and then all of a sudden the trail would disappear under the snow and we would have to figure out which direction we thought we should go. A few times we had to back track, but we always ended up finding our way. Parts of the trail were very narrow and had a steep drop off on one side. Other parts of the trail weren't really a trail at all, but more of just climbing over large boulders! To finish up the hike, we had to cross this really cool stone bridge!

One of the coolest things about this hike is that the first part of it was the part of the route we did this winter when we went snow shoeing. The mountain looks way different when it's covered in 12+ feet of snow. It was weird to look at areas where people were skiing a few months ago and see rocks, waterfalls, trees, lakes, and buildings that weren't there before.

Overall the hike was amazing and I woulld recommend it to any one. Took us about 3.5 hours to complete and that includes a lot of time to stop and take pictures.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I am finally home, after two days of traveling. We got to the Nairobi Airport at 6 pm our time. The plane left at 10:10 and then it took about 10 hours to fly to Amsterdam where we had a 5 hour lay over. Our next flight was to Seattle and it took 9 hours! Through this whole time, I slept for about 1.5 hours, so I was exhausted when I got home, especially since I hadn't gotten much sleep for the 4 nights before we left.

It's weird to be home. In Kenya life is so much slower. You lived in the moment and didn't worry about what was going to happen next. Now that I'm home, I'm already so over whelmed with everything that I have to do. Nick and I have about 2-3 free weekends for the rest of this summer.

It's also weird to have some of the extras that I haven't had for a while. At my home, we didn't have a mirror, so I went nearly a month with out seeing myself, which was probably the for the best, cause I'm sure that I looked lovely after 4 days with out a shower!! It's nice to know that I will always have toilet paper! People where I lived can't afford this, so we had to buy it for ourselves. At one point we ran out and had to make due with what ever we could find. One time I used the plastic wrapper to a pack of cookies I had eaten! This experience made me feel closer to the people there. The family I stayed with will use old used exercise books, but we can only imagine what those who can't afford these use!!!

I'm really sad that I will never see these people again, and will not be able to keep into contact with most of them. They were all great people and I have high hopes for all of them!

Over all, I had a blast and can't wait to go on my next trip abroad, however next time I am going for much longer, a month was way to short!

Since this blog is meant only for my travles, I wont be writing in it again until then! Make sure you log back on in September to read about our New York/Boston trip. I will also post if we do any good backpacking or camping trips this summer!!

Even though it's a little late, I'm going to go back and add pics to all my old blogs so that people can see a few of them. Unfortunately I can only add a few pics for each one, so if you want to see more then we can get together and I can show them to you!! Thanks again for everyones support!

Love you all

Lion Patrol

One of the best pics I have from the Safari
5 legged elephant!! (-:


Vulture eating the intestines of a Hartbeast that the lion had just killed

Me next to lions
Our picnic lunch in the safari... we found out later that there were 4 lions really close to here!!

Look at how close we were to this croc!!
Sans River... one side Kenya, the other Tanzania!!
One of our many flat tires!!

He was mad and blew his trunk at us!!
One of the kids in the Masia Village. They all had this many flies on them
Me holding a two day old goat in the Masai Village
Us with the Masai women
Me with two of the Masai Men
Masai Sunset

Masai Sunrise
Cheetah just after a hunt
Our tent/hut
Pelicans at Lake Nakuru
Dead Wildebeest. Looks like he's smiling

Me pretending to be a flamingo even though I look more like a monkey!!
Mike and I at Lake Nakuru

So we finished up our time teaching at Emmanuel Lights Academy, and decided to end our trip with a four day Safari through the Massia Mara National Reserve and Lake Nakuru. Mike, the guy who took us out to our placement, was our tour guide, which was great because he is a lot of fun and sings all the time.

On our way out to meet Mike, Meg and I heard the dj on the radio say "Micheal Jacksons death may not be an accident." Meg and I looked at each other with our jaws dropped. We had no idea if this was true or not, but we were definitely shocked. You miss out on a lot when you dont have tv, radio, or internet.

We saw a lot of animals which was really cool. I saw a lion eating a wildebeest, a cheetah hunting, lions having sex, and the begging of the wildebeest migration. I stood about 10 feet away from a crocodile and sat about 5 feet away from a Baboon, which was really scary. We saw all of the big five; leopard, buffalo, white rhino, lion, and elephant. We also saw giraffes, zebra's, wart hogs, gazelles, hippos, monkeys, vultures, lizards, flamingos and so much more.

The first two nights we stayed in this really cool place that was a combination of a tent and a hut. It was like an army tent, but then it had a grass roof over top of it and had cement floors and everything. It was really cool, and the food was good (as long as it wasn't banana soup, I wasn't going to complain)!

During the safari, we had 4 flat tires and the car broke down 3 times! When we were changing the tires, one person always had to be on "Lion Patrol" to make sure that we weren't attacked by any unfriendly visitors!

We went to a Massi Village one night which was kind of cool. The Massi's are the only tribe who still wears their traditional clothing and they live a pretty simple life compared to the rest of Kenya and the world. We were able to go into their homes, which are made out of cow poop! They have huge fences around the village to keep out lions. We saw a few of their traditional dances and saw how they live their life which was neat!

When we were done with our safari, we stayed the night with Kate and Raychel at their placement since they were 15 mins away from the airport and our placement was 7 hours. It was really cool to see what they had been experiencing because it was 100% different than what we had.

Meg and I spent our last day in Nairobi, which was an experience. We went to the arcade and bought souvenirs. Getting there was no problem, but we had a little hiccup on our way back. Normally Matatu drivers are really helpful and tell you which one to get onto. However, as we were leaving, we asked a Matatu driver if he was going to Mlongo and he told us to get in. Meg had a bad feeling that this was not the correct one. She asked the guy like 5 different times if we were going to Mlongo, and he said we were. Meg didn't feel like he understood what she was asking though. Finally after a while I realized that I didn't recognize the stuff we were passing, so I asked the lady next to me and she said we needed to get off and get on a different one.

The Matatu dropped us off on the side of the road, and didn't tell us where we were or which way we needed to go. We were in the middle of nowhere and didn't know if we had been traveling in the right direction or not. We asked several people around us, but no one knew how to get to Mlongo. We called Bonafest, one of the guys that works for Fadhili Helpers. He didn't really know where we were, but through his help we figured out that we had been going in the opposite direction that we were suppose to and therefore needed to go back into Nairobi and get on the 110 Matatu. In Kissi there was only one road so it was way easier to know if we were going in the right direction or not. This mistake added about an extra 2 hours to our time getting back home. It took us nearly 3 hours from the time we originally left Nairobi, and without traffic, it should have only taken 30 mins. But still, we had fun, and it gave us something to do rather than just sitting around waiting to leave.