Antelope canyon…for free!

Antelope canyon. On the top of the list to visit. A must before your die list. A must for photograph lovers. A must for natur lover. A must for the facebook profile. For whatever reason, Antelope canyon is simply a must, when visiting USA.

 

Antelope canyon is totally a must for so many travelers that this place is becoming so touristic and crowded. And expensiv!  That is comprehensiv because this canyon is breathtaking beautiful and people are willing to pay a lot of cash and wait in the long line just for a single photo.

What if I tell you that you can visit Antelope canyon cash free and tourist free? It might not be as beautiful as the lower or upper Antelope or it might…I don’t know as I have never been to either of them. But what I know is that the “free” Antelope I know is gorgeous! We had a hard time leaving this magical place. And now only just by looking at the photos brings tears to our eyes.

Ok, I am sorry, I lied! It’s not totally free as you will need to rent a kayak at the lake Powell point marina. We rented our double kayak for 45$ here. From 8am-4pm you will have the kayak so it is totally worth the money! All the information you need you can find on their website.

I have loop in the itinerary from Antelope Marina to Antelope Canyon. It took us about 1hour to paddle from the marina to the canyon. And David was basically the one who did it all by himself.

We meet a couple who snap the photo for us if you are wondering!

Now and then we saw tour boats passing us by at the larger passage. The further in we paddle the more narrow the passage become. And more beautiful and peaceful!

End of the road. Except only by foot.

We didn’t know what to expect when we parked our kayak and walked into the canyon.

The silence, the heat from the stonewalls and the shimmering 50 shades of red tooked us by suprise! The only we heard were our own heartbeats and our footsteps in the sand. I couldn't help myself walking with my fingers stroking the millions of years old walls.

I didn’t mind getting lost in there. For awhile we were imagining that we were the first human on earth exploring this place. We have heard that you can go as far as to the other “paying” Antelope canyons.

But ofcourse our imaginary adventure has to end because it was getting dark and we needed to return the kayak. But on the way back we stopped for a swim.

 

Next time when we have more time in USA we will without any hesitation rent a kayak for a week and explore other wonderful places around lake Powell. We are really looking forward for it!

 

Augstmatthorn, a part of the Hardergrat trail.

Not very long ago I wrote a post about an amazing hike at the Hardergrat. We gave it a try but realised quickly that it was not possible with our toddler sitting in a backpack on her dad’s back. You will understand why if you click Here.

But then I found out that we could do a small part of the Hardergrat trail and walk down from Augstmatthorn. After studying the map and reading blogs we decided that this could be done.

The very next morning we took the first funicular at 8.10am up to Harder kulm from Harder railway Valley station, at Interlaken Ost. It takes about 10 minutes up!

There is a restaurant and a fun balcony with a great view of the surrounding.
The trail starts by the restaurant. Just follow the yellow road sign to Augstmatthorn.

I will divide this hike in 4 parts.

1. Harder kulm to the feet of Suggiture

2. The climb to Suggiture

3. Suggiture to Augstmatthorn

4. Austmatthorn and way back

 

1. Harder kulm to the feet of Suggiture.

This part of the trail is mostly in the forest. The “boring” part as you will be walking up about 400m elevation with no view. It took us around 80 minutes to reach to “the feet” of Suggiture.

At the “feet” of Suggiture was a good picnic spot for us as there were spaces for Mirabelle to run around and shade to sit under.

Eating Miang Kham, a thai speciality!




2. The climb to Suggiture

When you get out of the forest you will se the Suggiture and you will feel very scared just by looking at it. Don’t worry, it looks scarier than it really is!

The trail is steep and very rocky, but very short. It took us about 30 min to take us all up to Suggiture. Now enjoy the view and have a break!

 

3. Suggiture to Augstmatthorn

This part is what I was looking forward to the most; walking on the ridge of the mountain!

But I have to tell you that I got quite disappointed as the ridge between Suggiture and Augstmatthorn is not as narrow as I thought and the distance between those summit is very short. So we have been walking more in the forest than on the top of the mountain.

That said, it was still beautiful! And if you can and want you can walk all the way to Rothorn where the trail suppose to be very “thin”.

 

4. Augstmatthorn and way back

From here on you either walk back the same way you came or you can walk down to Habkern and take the bus to Interlaken. We decided to take the steep path down to Habkern.

We stop by for a drink and cake. And a play pause for Mirabelle.

But once we came down to a restaurant Jägerstübli at Lombach on the base of the mountain we realised it was better to hitchhike. And I am glad we did it because not only it was another 1 1/2 hours to Habkern and Mirabelle started to be impatience. Beside that, the couple drove us all the way to Interlaken!

 

Another option of how to get to Augstmatthorn

Knowing about this restaurant now afterwards it could have been easier to park the car here and walk up to Augstmatthorn. There are two ways up. The same way we walk down. Not recommended as it’s boring! I suggest to take the path up to the “feet” of Suggiture and from there up to Suggiture and then Augstmatthorn.

We parked our car at indoor parking by the Interlaken Ost railway station. As it was on a sunday it cost only 1chf/hour instead of 3chf. And from there we walked about 5 min to the funicular station.

The funicular timetable.
I am still dreaming of doing the Hardergrat trail all the way to Rothorn. One day!

Hampi, our favorite place in India

India. Just saying the word India makes me think of people, million of people. And million of cars, motorcycles and bikecycles. Loud honkings . Pollution. Street vendors. Cows. Dirt and garbage. Makes my head spin. That’s what India is making to you. She makes your head spin. But there are some places in India that make inside of your head calm. Places that are so peaceful. Making your heartbeats beating slow. One of those places is Hampi.

 

Hampi. Just by saying the word Hampi makes me think of beautiful boulders, millions of boulders. Stacked on top of each other. Looking like someone very strong and bored has stacked them artistically for us to wonder how they got up there. So many of them as far as the eye can reach. So much energy oozing out of them, if you belive in that kind of thing. If not, you will feel it! These boulders what make Hampi so special.

 

Hampi. The people. Not millions but only hundreds. Smiling and waving people. And very kind people. And people who loves to have a photo taken. Kids that run towards you when they see you and making you feel like home.

 

Hampi. The colors. The color of the sunrise and sunset hitting the boulders. The color from women’s sari. Makes me think of green. Green from the rice paddies and palmtrees that blend in so well with the blue sky and the reddish boulders. Making a perfect match for the eyes to see.

 

What to do in Hampi 

If you are getting bored of laying on the hammack on your hostel and do nothing then Hampi has a lot of things to offer.

1. Sanapur Lakes

There are two clean and peaceful reservoir where you can swim with beautiful surrounding. You can rent a scooter or a bikecycle to get there. You will see a sign where it’s written ” No swimming, crocodile!” just ignore it. There’s no crocodile.

 

2. Bouldering

The best way to really take benefit of the boulders are doing some bouldering. There are several places where you can rent the shoes and the mattres. If you are a beginner you can hire someone to show you where and how to climb and get around the boulders. Most of the time you won’t get higher up more than 4-5 meters but it can be more tricky than it looks like. David wears 47-48 size in shoes and the biggest they had was 42. He was in very much pain!

3. Visiting the temples and the ruins

You can ride a bike or scooter and visit the sites or negociate with a tuk-tuk driver to drive you around. Best time to visit the beautiful ruins and the temples are the early morning or late afternoon. Our favorite is the Monkey temple.

4. Explore the area

We really loved our days on scooter exploring the nearby area. It was never ending boulders.

 

5. Sunset

Don’t ever miss the sunset in Hampi. There are many places in Hampi from where you can see a sunset; Matanga HillHematuka Hill and Malyavanta Hill. Or just climb on one of the many boulders and enjoy!


6. Movie nights

Just walk along the “hippie road” where there are most of the hostels and you will see some of the restaurants and hostels organise movie nights. We saw ” Life of Pi” in one of the restaurant.

 

7. Bathing Lakshmi the Elephant

Lakshmi the elephant of Virupaksha temple is quite famous and you can find the elephant taking bath in the Tungabhadra riverfront early morning around 7’o clock. Apart the Elephant you get to see the locals getting themself ready for the day. Some are bathing in the river and some are washing the clothes.

8. Meet the locals

What make Hampi so lovely are the locals. India has great people everywhere but we feel that people in Hampi are genuinely friendly. Really friendly. Talk with them. Expecially the kids. They love hanging out with you.

9. Dress like the locals

Sari is my favorite traditionel wear because of the colors. When the owner of the hostel where we were stayed at told us about his daughter coming over to visit I asked him if it was ok if she could help me to get dress in one of her sari so I could walk around and feel  beautiful. No problem he said!

 

10. Taking a boatride

The exact name of this bowl or a floating basket is Coracle. One of these can transfer between 15-20 person!

Where to stay in Hampi

We stayed at the  “hippie” side of Hampi, Anegundi. It’s other side of the river from the main village Hampi where all the ruins are. Along the main street of the “hippie road” you can find many hostel and restaurant. I can’t remember the name of our hostel but the restaurant itself gave me nausea with all the psychodelic images.

So where is your favorite place in India? 

Engstligen falls, the coolest waterfalls in Switzerland?

People who lives in Switzerland or has been to Switzerland knows that this country has atleast thousand of waterfalls. It’s hard to tell which of them is the most special as each waterfalls has it’s own charm.

 

But today, we hiked to the coolest waterfall in Switzerland! Engstligen falls in Adelboden, the second highest waterfalls in Switzerland. 600 meter high with two gorgeous drops.

We found this waterfalls so cool because of the easy access to the waterfalls. From the car park and the cable car station, there is an easy ten minutes walk to the base of the waterfalls. From there you either hike or take the cable car up to Engstligenalp and walk down. Or you could just stay down here…but you would miss the best parts.

As the cable car station was still close for the season we hike up and down. It took around 90min up and 1hour down with about 600 meter elevation each way.

There were still snow on some part of the path. Don’t panic, there is always a way!

We were already very impressed when we saw the lower falls and didn’t expected anything more. But as we walked up to Engstligenalp we came to what seems to be the upper falls, that we didn’t know existed. All three of us were like:

WOW, WOW, woow!

We could have stay there all day…but with a toddler with ants in the pants it’s impossible even with this view!

To get to this point you will need to walk. Walking down about 20 min from Engstligenalp or walking up from the base of  waterfalls about 90 min. Dont miss it as I belive this is the best part!! 


Another cool thing about Engstligen falls is the amount of water pourring down! Please remember that the water flow depends of the season your visit. We were there late spring, at the end of mai when the snow melts.

Another VERY cool thing about this particular waterfalls is that you can get very close to the falls. I hate seeing a waterfalls faraway where you can’t feel the waterdrops, the wind and hear the thunder of the falls.

And again more cool thing about this place are the different levels of the falls you get to see. The streams from Engstligenalp to the upper falls and then splash down to the lower falls and last into the Engstligen river.

An extra cool thing is that beside the awesome watefalls itself you have a beautiful view of the valley.

AND Engstligenalp is very extraordinary aswell! This is where all the water comes from.

Momstotzurich has great information of this place in her post. Please click Here.

Just a few weeks ago I wrote a post about My ten favorite waterfalls. I should add Engstligen falls on that list!

What do you guys say, is this the coolest waterfalls in Switzerland?

8 places to visit in Death Valley NP, USA

For anyone who hasn’t been to USA or visited any national parks Death Valley sound..”dead” right? Some may wonder what you can do in a valley of death?! Read further and you will discover 8 stunning places to visit in this Valley.

 

Death Valley was the only national park in USA I have heard of before I eventually made some research about other national parks. I have heard about Death Valley in Hollywood movies where people got lost in the desert, where the maffia buried dead bodies and that it’s the hottest place on earth!

It was very hot but bearable as we where there in late october when it was autumn therefore cooler temperature. We only had two nights in the park but for being only two nighs we were able to discover amazing places.

Here are 8 places places we visited worth visiting:

 

1. The Mesquite flat sand dunes

This sand dunes tooked me by suprise by its beauty! At first glance by the car park I was not very impress but further as we went into the dunes the less footprints we saw and we were emerged by the beauty of the dunes and the landscape. Most of the people were staying very close to the car park so we were totatally alone and it was great not sharing this special moment with hundreds other visitor.

Three advises. Walk far far out and go for the sunset..and ENJOY!


2. Zabriskie Point

Another beautiful dunes! Very easy access to the parking lot and a very short walk to the point view. Our initial plan was to hike for the sunrise into the dunes but unfortunally David and I got into an argument ( ahh yes couples do argue!) and we went separate ways for a couple of hours so we didn’t enjoy this site as we could have. Now we just tap our head and wonder why we missed an opportunity to explore such an unique place!

Two advises. No matter what happen, take a walk into the dunes and go very early!


3. The racetrack – mysterious moving rocks

This place was hard to get to as normally you will need a 4WD to get there. But we tried our luck with Jucy, our rented car. We tooked our time and many times we thought we were going to get flat tires but we made it! It was an experience and the scenery was beautiful.

Still today nobody really knows why or how the small rock moves but I must say that the rocks are so much smaller than I expected! Most of them were as big as a handfist while I  thought at first they were boulders big as a car..haha! Neverless, it was cool to see these mysterious moving rocks!

4. Artist drive

This is a short scenic drive along colorful volcano deposit colored by various mineral pigments.

5. Dante’s view

A pointview of Death Valley where we had our homemade dinner watching the sunset. I don’t recommend a car with trailer as driving up is very steep! Easy acces because you have the view directly from your car at the car park but stepping out of the car is definetly recommended!


6. Ubehebe Crater

We drove pass by this on our way back from the Racetrack. Personally we were not impressed by this crater because we have done hikes on massive volcanos few month earlier in Indonesia. It’s still worth walking around the rim. It should take around 30min-1hour.

7. Badwater basin

Badwater basin is the lowest point of North America with an elevation of 86 m below sealevel! Easy acces, just a few meter from the car park. And very hot!

 

8. Devil’s golf course

There is no Death Valley without the devil right? And who says that the devil doesn’t like to play golf? Easy acces as it’s just infront of the car park.

 

Don’t miss Death Valley if you are nearby…it’s totally not dead here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A sea of Narcissus in Les Pléiades, Switzerland

Everybody loves a field full of wildflowers. Imagine a field full of wild white Narcissus, thousands of them spread all over on green hills with mountains behind as decor. You think that I am dreaming. If I am dreaming please don’t wake me up!

 

Ever since I have discover the Narcissus hikes around Montreaux, Blonay and Vevey area by the lake Leman I was waiting with patience for the wild Narcissus season to begin. They are in fully bloom between mid-may and last until mid-june. The Narcissus flowering is dependent on height and sunshine as well as the weather conditions. Click here where you can get all the information of all the six Narcissus hikes and you can enter your planned date to be informed if the Narcissus are in bloom or not for that particular hike you want to do.

A few weeks ago as the Narcissus were in fully bloom at the Les Avants I was so excited to take our first hike on mountain slopes covered with white flowers. All I can say is that I was heartbroken as it was not as dense and beautiful as I have imagined. I didn’t want to give up on laying on a bed of thousands of Narcissus so when the Narcissis forecast for Les Pléiades (and the weather ) looked good we decided to head there.

And I am so happy for our decision as the place was so beautiful! So dense and so much more white flowers on places all along the hike.

It’s not a stroller friendly hike but it is very short, 4km with not much to climb. You can take the train either from Vevey or Blonay to Les Pléiades. We parked our car at the parking Motalles in Lally and then walk up 20 min to the Les Pléiades. It’s a loop hike so you will end up at the parking lot.

Parking aux Mortalles, Lally.

Walk direction Les Pléiade.

Take right where the couple are standing and then about 10 meters on the right again. 



You can pick the flowers but only a handfull without the leaf and the root.


 

So what do you think, has you seen anything as beautiful and unique in Switzerland ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our misfortunes on our travels

We all have heard stories about peoples problem they have during their travels. Most of the stories are about getting sick, rain on the vacation, car accident or lost item. I wish I could say that none of these things never has ever happen to us but unfortunally we have our own misfortune stories to share.


Getting sick

Yes, getting sick is not uncommun and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t got sick during a long travel.

Apart that David is vomitting almost in every country we have visited the worse time for him was in Nepal and India! David caught the famous the tourista that lasted for over two month, from Nepal all the way to India!

The story that has to be told is the story when David got badly sick on the ghat in Varanasi. The same day we ought to catch our train from Varanasi to Mumbai David suddently felt nausy while walking with our backpack by the river Ganges, hurrying to take the train. David said that he has to lay down and so he did. He was complaining of stomach cramps and he was in agony of pain. “Here it comes again” I thought. And it did, right in a plastic bag. I managed to ask a tourist helping us carrying Davids bag to the nearest hotel. We were spending another week in Varanasi. Lucky we had time to lose.

I was not really puking. I was making fun of David. Luckly we were staying at a friends house in Katmandu.

And I myself who rarely get sick neither at home or on a trip got a very high fever and very sore throat for over a week in Vietnam in 2011 and in Nepal in 2014. I thought I was going to die!

Accident

Being in an accident is something we all try to avoid no matter where we, at home or out travelling.

Scooter accident in India

We were crusing around feeling the wind on the hair when a dog came out of nowhere chasing after us. David lost the control and I was thrown off and glide about 10 meters away. Luckly I wore jeans that day which I normally do when we are on scooter.

A car crash

We were on a tourist bus going to Huatulco in Mexico when we suddently heard a crash and the window opposite side of me shattered into pieces. Apparently a truck crash onto the bus and drove away. The lady who sat beside that window got injured of the glas splitters. Lucky that I have chosen to sit the otherside!

Overcrowded boat

TWe were on a small remoted island in Indonesia and the resort offerd all the guest a free boat transfer to another island to catch tbe ferry going to the mainland. Ofcourse in Asia a transportation is never full enough. We were about 30 people plus heavy bags for a boat for maximum 10 people. Luckly we were not far out when the boat started to swing high up from side to side without any control. Luckly that the boat got so heavy we got stuck on the corals so the boat stopped swinging. We sat there till they send us a second boat.


Lost items

Camera

David was responsable for our Canon. For ten days David had it hanging on his neck when we trekked to Annapurna basecamp. The day after we got back to the civilisation still very exhaustes we realise that the Canon is gone. Where can it be? Luckly we used two camera so all the photos are not lost.

Our photos!

Our backpacks

We were once again on a remoted island in Indonesia. The same morning we were leaving there were two boat coming. One was going to the mainland and the second one going to another island. We put our bags down among the others while eating our breakfast and the first boat left. But then when it was our turn to leave an hour later our bags were gone! I knew straight away that the other boat took ours by misstake. So we had to charter a longtail boat to catch the other boat going direction mainland. 2 hours later we even arrived almost as the same time. Our bags where back in our possesion but now with the same longtail boat we have to go all the way back plus another 2 hours to the island we had in mind. And lucky we made it just in time before it started to rain!

5hours on a longtail boat one better find something to do.

Moneybelt

David was wearing a moneybelt when we flew from Indonesia to Australia. In that belt we had a lot of cash and our passport. When we got of the plane and out to the terminal hall someone was poking our back. Is this yours that person ask us. Yes, it is our moneybelt!!! Thank you! THANK YOU! David didn’t even notice that he had dropped it! Lucky that there are honest people!

 

Getting lost

David got lost in Bangkok once when my family and I were praying in a small temple near the china town. David wanted to take a walk. Don’t go far and don’t be to long, I told him. He came back almost 2 hours later in a taxi. I got lost, he said. Luckly that the taxi driver understod Davids explaination about the temple. And we were all sooo worried as he didn’t have any money or phone on him.

 

Car problem

Once…or rather twice our hired campervan let us down. Lucky that there is Couchsurfing so we were happy to be sleeping on a real bed.


Anoter rented car in Australia and this time a 4WD. We thought yeay atlast a 4WD so we could drive out of “the beaten track”. But ofcourse we got stuck in the sand. We were quite nervous not knowing if anyone would pass by because after all we were middle of nowhere. Lucky that an hour after THE RANGERS passed by...oh how I love them.

Thinking about these incidents we were quite lucky at the end. It could have been worse, a lot worse! There were many many time we thought we are not going to get back home safe and sound. But we did!

 

And you guys, do you have any stories to share?

 

A small family of three trying to create a life full of travel and adventure. We love the mountains, the forest, the sea and everything in between! @familyearthtrek

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