Hiking & Nature

Take the journey and explore places of wonder and blight. You’ll enjoy seeing and learning about some of the nations national parks, beautiful beaches, and several hiking trails across the country.

Arizona
Camelback Mountain * Echo Canyon Hike
If you are looking for a weekend getaway and a moderate yet challenging hike, you may be interested in experiencing Camelback Mountain. This trail includes a little bit of everything such as gradual inclining gravel paths, switchback steps, boulder and large rock areas, and a spectacular 360 view at the summit! Oh, don’t forget on those extra hot days, don’t forget your gloves as the boulders and hand railings are as hot as fire to the touch!
Knowing ahead of time the weather forecast for Arizona that weekend, we knew were in for a steamy and hot few days. Temperatures were forecast to be around 110 degrees approximately. But that did not discourage us, we still took advantage of our long weekend and drove to Scottsdale, Arizona from San Diego to enjoy a weekend of fun. That fun would include hiking a mountain or nature trail somewhere in the area. So we decided we wanted to check out Camelback Mountain-Echo Canyon located nearby Paradise Valley, Arizona near Scottsdale.  And wow, was it hot, I had found myself taking several breaks and breathing very heavy. We had plenty of water and had our lunch with us. Otherwise, it was quite a challenging hike in the heat, but it may be a more enjoyable hike if you do it in the fall when temps are a little more comfortable. Although, you may encounter more crowds then versus hiking it in the summertime. Anyway, here is a look at our hike just to give you an idea of what to expect.  Click on the video below.

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Hawaii

Wiliwilinui Ridge Hike:
We were hungry for a scenic yet challenging and adventurous hike on one of our travel days in Hawaii recently. We started off the day with a little sun and clouds hoping that the rain might stay away for this particular hike. I don’t know about you, but the word Ridge places just a tiny bit of fear in me being this is the first time we’ve hiked this trail.

Ignoring the on-slot of a bit of fear I seemed to develop, we proceeded to gather our water, hats, sunscreen and sunglasses and piled in the car and drove towards East Honolulu area. Actually, the journey to get to the trail head was quite spectacular by itself as we cruised to higher altitudes through what seemed to be an upscale neighborhood of homes and hills. I noticed as we reached the trail head there was not a guard or official person around at this time, so we proceeded to park in the appropriate designated spots.

The clouds started to build up around us making for a possibly muddy, wet, and slippery hiking experience. Early in the hike, we approached a beautiful canopy of trees of all sizes but mostly tall and large. The wind began to swirl and howl making for an eerie stroll through this part of the trail.

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As we made our way through the tree tunnels, we encounter some of the challenges and views that this hike presents. The steeper sections of the ridge continue closer and we use the ropes when needed to assist in the climb to the top.
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Wiliwilinui Ridge Hike

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This part of the hiking trail offered a few challenges and obstacles. The rope was very helpful in climbing to the next phase. This trail can be muddy and slippery when it rains, so take it slow and careful and you will gradually make your way to the summit.
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But don’t be in too much of a rush to make it to the summit yet. You’ve got to experience the ledges and ridges that comprise this spectacular hiking trail.

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The further we ventured up the trail, more and more pristine views started to appear.
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Another view point on the Wiliwilinui Ridge Hiking Trail.
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The views and beauty of the trail aren’t the only things to be excited about. If you blink you may miss some of the most beautiful plants and flowers that are displayed on this adventure nature trail!

Be sure to take a rest on the ‘Swing’ and tree area, and if you are hiking the trail on a weekday, you may be lucky enough to get a seat on the one lonely bench that sits at the summit of the trail. The views are incredible! Hang on to your hat as the winds can be quite wicked up at the top.

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Hawaii: Koko Head Stairs Hiking Trail

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Koko Crator Head Trail:  ‘Koko Head Stairs’:  The spectacular views will not be the only thing that gets your heart racing during this extraordinary hike up the Koko Head stairs.  This climb of approximately 1,050 stairs (or railroad tithes) is a challenge for any exercise enthusiast and will definately offer a cardio workout like no other.

Koko Head is the eastern side of  Maunalua Bay and the southeastern side of the Island of Oʻahu in Hawaiʻi. On its western slope is the community of Portlock, a part of Hawaiʻi Kai. You will enjoy wonderful views of Haunama Bay and beyond.  The climb can be grueling and scenic, so its a good idea to take a rest and take in the views.

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There is a section where a larger drop to a ridge is located below, so you take your time and go slow if needed.  You may be huffing and puffing half way up the climb, only to learn you have quite a ways to go and are getting higher and higher.

 

 

This is a view from below it may be approximately half way up, but it still looks like there are quite a few steps to go to reach the top.

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When you reach the summit you will be blown away!  It seems to always be windy up there, so be prepared to hang on to your hat or water bottle and be safe.

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Things to remember:
1.Wear sunglasses and sunscreen
2. Drink plenty of water
3. Bring camera
4. Hike may take between 1-3 hours

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View up top Koko Head
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View from top of Koko Head
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Koko Head views

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Palm Springs, CA: Art Smith Trail and PS Art Museum
There is no place like the desert for a peaceful serene enjoyable hike in the hills and mountains of Palm Springs.  It was a beautiful sunny Sunday in February, with 80 degrees of perfect weather, as we made out way to the Art Smith Trail for a morning hike.
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As much as I enjoyed the spectacular high views looking down onto Palm Springs, I was able to take in a little art and sculptures at an outdoor museum trail.  I came upon the Fay Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden at the Palm Spring Art Museum. The tranquil sounds of the rock waterfall, and approximately 10 significant sculpture works positioned throughout these beautiful gardens.  It does not take long to view and browse through the gardens, but it is a nice way to spend an hour or two enjoying the quiet and peaceful waterfalls and birds.

 

Beautiful art and creations throughout the Palm Springs area.  Below, this is near the Shadow Ridge Golf Club in Palm Desert.

 

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Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, Poway, CA

A 700 acre oak-lined canyon with views, natural beauty, and coastal sage shrubs set the scene for this beautiful hiking trail.  There are four habitats of the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve;  The Chaparral  Coastal or Inland, Sage Shrub,  Oak Woodland,  Riparian.

The animals of this natural hiking trail reserve include the following:
Bobcat, Mountain Lion, Coyote, Mule Deer, Rabbits, and Ground Squirrel. Take a look and tour this hiking trail with us.   Lake Ramona Hiking Trail

 

 

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Siesta Key Beach, FL

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Siesta Key Beach is located on Siesta Key, in the state of Florida. Its white sand beach is very well known and was voted #1 beach in America in 2015! There is actually a realty show called ‘Siesta Key’ based on a group of youngsters living the fabulous life in Siesta Key. The sand at Siesta Key Beach is quite unique as it does not get too hot for your feet to walk on those brutal scorching days.  The sand is 99% pure quartz and is actually cool on the feet. If you visit the beach on Sundays, you will have a chance to see a large group of beach goers gather to sing, play music, and dance. It’s called the Siesta Key Drum Circle and has become an weekly ritual and a phenomenon that began spontaneously some time ago.  Here is a peek at the event.

Siesta Key Drum Circle 

 

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