Tuesday, March 18, 2014

{Exploring Utah} Bonneville Salt Flats

Shot by Heinz Grunendahl

The Bonneville Salt Flats are an unusual piece of beauty, located in the northwestern part of Utah. With the white, dried up salt beds and the small desert mountains, you realize right away that this place is dying to be explored. H & I thought of so many different photo opportunities and different ways of really checking this place out while walking around. Since this was our first time to the salt flats, we really just stopped to scope it out, take a few shots, and get some ideas...

I hope life is treating you splendidly.

Until next time,
Happy Trekkin'.

Friday, March 14, 2014

{Colombia} Playa Blanca

On our last day in Colombia, Amber and I decided that having another beach day was in order. Playa Blanca came highly recommended so we jumped on the chance to check it out.

 Playa Blanca in my opinion was the most beautiful beach we went to while traveling in Colombia. Although very touristy, the white-flour sand and blue-green ocean truly makes Playa Blanca absolutely stunning. 

Leaving the bay in Santa Marta.

Happy we are finally on the boat and headed to Playa Blanca.

On the way out to Playa Blanca, we made a quick stop to pick someone up and these little boys would paddle or swim right up to the boat and ask for money.

This was one of the beach "bar tenders".

From Santa Marta, you have to arrange a boat ride (we made arrangements through our hostel the day before) to get to this small piece of paradise. The frustrating part about getting to Playa Blanca is the long wait at the dock for your boat to leave and the zoo of people scrambling around. There are several different companies taking "boat" loads of people out and you just have to wait until you're called. Put your patient pants on and expect to wait at least an hour before loading up in the boat.

{Side note:  Be aware that when you are getting off the boat in Playa Blanca, there will be people "helping" you off the boat and before you know it they are trying to sell you something. You don't even realize it's happening and it's pretty confusing at first. These vendors will literally put things in your hand and at first. Just politely say no thank you and walk away. Nothing is free. Also, everything on Playa Blanca is quite expensive, from food & drinks and everything in between. You will expect to see/pay roughly the same price's as the US $.}

Getting to Playa Blanca makes all the tension from waiting dissolve. 
Just sit back, relax, and soak in the beauty. 

And that my friends is the Caribbean coast of Colombia. What a trip, from trekking through the jungle to the beauty of the beaches, you must go, see and explore for yourself.

Until next time,
Happy Trekkin'.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

{Trekkin' Tuesday's} Hughes Canyon

Hughes Canyon is so close to where I live, I can't believe I haven't explored it until now. Located off of Wasatch Blvd (above the Old Mill Golf Club), turn east onto Canyon Cove Drive and follow the road until you see the street sign for Hughes Canyon Circle (about a mile or so). You can't park in Hughes Canyon Circle due to residential properties, so park on the street below on Canyon Cove Drive and walk up to Hughes Canyon Circle where the trail head begins. Be aware that there are no trail head signs but the trail itself is obvious. I'm not sure the reasoning for not having any trail information what so ever because the trail is in great shape. I suspect it might have something to do with the residents that live right there. 

Signs of spring...

The trail itself is well maintained and would be a good running trail. 

Looking down Hughes Canyon into the SLC valley.

Heinz perched in the opening of a old mine.

This Hughes Canyon trail is great because you feel like you are getting away from the city after just a few minutes of hiking. It is not widely used like some of the more popular Cottonwood Canyon trails, so it is nice having a bit more seclusion. 
The Hughes Canyon trail [to the waterfall] is a great pre-season hike. At 4 miles round trip, I would rate this trail as easy and a great warm-up hike if you have been hibernating all winter long. 

Until next time,
Happy Trekkin'.

Monday, March 10, 2014

{Colombia} La Victoria Coffee Farm

When Amber and I arrived in Minca, we new right away that we wanted to tour a local coffee farm. La Victoria came highly recommended so we made our way, with various detours, and had a wonderful experiences seeing the process of coffee, from beginning to end. It was really neat to see a place that still used originally machinery and takes great pride in their business. We were lucky enough to meet the owner and chat with him a bit about the process and history. I can't tell you how amazing the coffee is. Fantastic. I have never tried anything better. 

Getting to La Victoria was half the fun. We decided to walk to the coffee farm and take a few detours along the way. This made for a very eventful day. [Side note: Most people take mototaxi's to La Victoria's as it is a long walk, but walking is much more fun.]

 Pozo Azul
Photo shot by Amber Walker

Funny story behind the "birders". When we were staying in a hostel in Santa Marta, we were striking up conversation with two young(er) girls who had already been to Minca. We were asking what they did, how they liked it and so on. One of the girls said that they spent several days bird watching. Now birds are cool and all but really? Bird watching... for several days? I didn't know that bird watching was a thing and apparently, Minca is the place to do it. When Amber and I were making our way to the coffee farm, we almost died with laughter when we saw this "birder" group. Yup, I guess it is a real thing. It made for many great laughs.

Amber with the owner of La Victoria.

Photo shot by Amber Walker

The beans drying out in the hot sun.

This is the actual roasting process of the coffee bean.

One thing that surprised me was that most of the Colombian coffee that is grown, harvested, and processed right here, is exported out of the country. When you go into a typical coffee shop (except for the really fancy ones) you don't get the glorious Colombian coffee, but rather some cheap imitation stuff. 

Touring La Victoria was a great experience. I really had no idea how much work and effort goes into producing such a high quality product. It was neat to see the coffee bean in all different stages. From start to finish. Awesome. We were even given free coffee samples and of course I bought a few bags of this caffeinated goodness to bring home. So good.

Wow, my Colombian trip recap is almost coming to an end. Stick around for our last day of adventures in Colombia. It involves a boat, some sand, and  some unbelievable beauty.

Until next time,
Happy Trekkin'.