Travelogues (Ongoing Updates)

Below are trip summaries in reverse chronological order. Each link provides personal accounts of the journeys, some short and some long, but thus far have all been enjoyable. I'm in the process of catching up, with many more trips within the US and abroad. This may be a hopeless task since before I catch up with a report, I may wind up with two more trips to do. But I suppose that I have my priorities straight. Travelogues are also listed by category, or by name.


Supermoon Eclipse over Godlen Gate Bridge- It was wishful thinking on my part that people would spread out to observe the rare supermoon eclipse - thousands of photographers parked along the Marin Headlands road, many illegally, for a chance to capture the eclipse with the Golden Gate at the foreground. It was more crowded than some 4th of July fireworks crowds - it made it more festive though. My position was not the best, but reasonable. More about what I learned, what I should have done later... Eastern Sierra Fall Foliage: My wife and I took a break and drove to Eastern Sierra from 10/8-10/10/2015 to check out fall foliage. Difficulties in booking hotels caused us to stay in June Lake and Bridgeport - a bit further from the actions than we'd like. However, staying in Bridgeport gave us the chance to visit Bodie again and to drive back over the Sonora Pass. In a nutshell, colors seemed both later and the quality of colors in comparing to past-years visits, potentially due to the drought. The good news is there should still be good colors for visitors in the latter half of October. We visited Rock Creek, McGee Creek, June Lake Loop, Parker Lake, Lundy Canyon, Twin Lakes and Sonora Pass.      



Benelux Tour visiting The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany and Belgium (April 2014)

Mount Rainier camping trip with friends in search of wildflowers (August 2014)- A rare camping trip with old friends. We visited Mount Rainier during the peak of wildflowers season, albeit inundated with rains. Some of us got great pictures while the unprepared like me got passable ones.

Georgetown, SC - On a trip mainly to pay respect to people I loved, my friends took me on interesting excursions to historical churches, wooden boat festival, and kayaking, etc. (Oct 2014)




Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve - Old friends took me to this reserve in hope of catching skimmers in action. Shooting birds in flight is not my strength, but I managed to capture a few decent shots. Northern California and Southern Oregon parks - Trip with old friends to Redwood National Park, Oregon Caves, Crater Lake National Park among others. San Francisco - I took several friends to check out lesser visited locations in San Francisco. We accomplished a third of the plan, but had a lot of fun doing it. South Falls Motivated by the fall changing colors and a need to change environment, I headed out on a solo trip heading north toward Oregon and Washington. The government shut down caused substantial changes and disruptions to the original intent. Yet at the end, I was reasonably satisfied with what I was able to see and do. Late October - I revisited and explored several Utah national parks and state parks. This time, I was lucky to be at the parks at or near the peak of fall foliage season.
Northern California and Southern Oregon parks - Trip to Redwood National Park, Oregon Caves National Monuments, Crater Lake National Park, Lassen National Park and others. Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve - Friends took me to this reserve in hope of catching skimmers in action. Shooting birds in flight is not my strength, but I managed to capture a few keepers. Sunol Regional Wilderness    


Wildflowers- Spring trip to Merced River to check out Hite Cove wildfowers, then Yosemity and Red Hills Sunol Regional Wilderness: Hike a local wilderness park with an interesting attraction called Little Yosemite Celestial Events: Photographing an once in a lifetime event called Venus Transit Zion National Park Interesting Hikes: A longer visit to Zion specifically to hike three major trails - Angel Landings, The Narrows, and Subway
Central California Coast: Excursions to various coastal destinations from San Mateo to Santa Cruz and Monterey counties Oregon Coast : A trip north to Oregon coast to Florence and Depoe Bay Space Shuttle Fly-Over: A special event for the retirement of the space shuttle program with fly-overs various cities including the Bay Area Niles Parade Of Lights: An annual Thanksgiving nighttime parade in the Niles district with participation from the larger Bay Area, with light theme



Hearst Castle and Vicinity - We made the trip to this destination south of Monterey Bay for two main attractions - Hearst Castle, and the Elephant Seals Rookery in San Simeon.

Yosemite and Merced National Wildlife Refuge:

Yosemite National Park - We returned to Yosemite in February for the fifth time both to celebrate our anniversary and (ahem!) for me to attempt to catch Horsetail Falls with the right light and water volume at sunset. We were lucky this time! For photographers, I'd recommend making the trip since the waterfalls light up like fire under the right condition. Beyond this climax, we also visited typical Yosemite Valley destinations such as Valley Drive, Mirror Lake trail, etc. However, we stayed clear of Tunnel View due to my laziness about putting on tire chains.

Merced NWR - I have always been intrigued by images of bird migration, especially those where they fill the sky. We heard of reports of thousands of snow geese and sandhill cranes in February and March at Merced National Wildlife Refuge. After talking with helpful rangers, we made this a stop on the way to Yosemite and were happy we did. It was breath taking to see so many birds in one place. Only wish we could get closer but had to observe the rules of the Auto Tour.

Carrizo Plain & Central California East Bay wildflowers
Vietnam Cambodia Costa Rica Oregon Wildflower & Geologic Tour - We visited Crater Lake, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and Oregon Dunes on the way back. This trip was our backup plan to the one to Mount Rainier for the wildflower season. It turned out we got to see a lot of colors - from the deep blue of Crater Lake to beds of wildflowers at the park's water streams, the eternal colorful volcanic ash at John Day Painted Hills and vibrant sunset along Oregon Coast.
Great Smokey Mountains National Park Georgia State Parks Oregon Fall Foliage  
Kim Sơn Monastery Lunar New Year - We made the traditional Lunar New Year trip to Kim Son Monastery in the mountain above Watsonville. The crowd was large but not too bad since the new year day falls on a weekday. People behaved well, and volunteers were quite efficient and courteous, evidently familiar with handling large crowds. Took a few pictures to capture activities - lots of flowers, lots of food, and lots of incense smoke too.

Reconnecting with old friends is always a pleasure. Coupling that with learning new things is quite a treat. My old friends are serious geocachers. Tagging along to relearn how to use my trail GPS and practice photographing birds made it more interesting for me. Below were the small trips we made.

Hayward Regional Shoreline Park - Per the East Bay Regional Park District, this park comprises of some 1700 + acres of salt marsh with salt, fresh and brackish water and several hiking trails -Hayward Shoreline has five miles of graveled public trails along the shoreline. Shorebirds such as egrets and curlews are abundant.

Coyote Hills Regional Park - Coyote Hills Regional Park was dedicated to public use in 1967. Comprised of nearly 978 acres of marshland and rolling grassland covered hills, this busy park is located along the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, northwest of the cities of Fremont and Newark. The most popular visitor activities by far are bicycling, walking, bird watching, jogging, nature exploration, and picnicking. Source (including trail maps and useful information): East Bay Regional Park District




Alaska and Western Canada - This auto trip took us over 9,000 miles and almost 4 weeks. Over the next coming months, we'll document places we visited and our driving experience through the less-traveled highways including the famous Alaska Highway. Posting mostly complete, with videos and highlight photos to come. Yosemite Wildflowers - Gorman Anza Borego
      Utah Fall Foliage - In October 2010, we made a family road trip to Utah, first to visit Salt Lake City and friends, then to check out the touted fall foliage and the national parks. Most things worked out well although not as we had envisioned. After days of getting ready for the camping trip, the weather did not cooperate and practically rained the whole time we went sightseeing. We visited some familiar parks such as Bryce and Canyon, but also not as well-knowned places such as Mount Nebo (above).

Resumed my retirement, celebrating by a big auto trip to Alaska and see part of western Canada.