Adrenaline

First Flight, Amarillo, TX

My incredible husband earned his private pilot license in July. With grad school, moving, and all things pertaining to everyday life, we haven’t made it out for our first flight together until this very day. Let me tell you – it was well worth the wait! (more…)

Palo Duro Canyon, Canyon, TX

We drove for 30 miles, only a short drive from our current home in Amarillo, before patches of farmland started to fade and fall off of the landscape ahead of us. If I hadn’t observed a flash of narrow ravine out the car window, I would have never known that a canyon existed, as the flat farmland around us began to slowly evolve. As we passed the state park entrance, we began to see the various ripples of orange, yellow, and white lining the canyon below. (more…)

Guadalupe Mountains, Texas

Spanning 86,416 acres, the Guadalupe Mountains rise to it’s highest summit, Guadalupe Peak. Guadalupe Peak Trail is a strenuous hike with a 3,000 ft elevation gain, ultimately rising to 8,749 ft. making it the highest point in Texas. As we approached the mountains from New Mexico, a monolithic wall rose from the desert terrain of West Texas.  (more…)

Enchanted Rock, Fredericksburg, Texas

Enchanted Rock has been on my destination list since I moved to Texas. It took me four years to make my way out to the lovely, quaint German town of Fredericksburg, known for the German cuisine, boutiques, warm B & Bs, and the most famed, Enchanted Rock.  (more…)

Maui, HI (‘Elima: ‘Ohe’o Gulch, Pipiwai Trail, Hamoa, Red Sand Beach, Wai’anapanapa State Park)

Our journey along the backside of Mount Haleakala started early Wednesday morning in hopes that we would make it to the ‘Ohe’o Gulch and Pipiwai Trail before the crowds. Traveling up the backside of Mount Haleakala also allowed us to avoid traffic, as a great number of people forego this beautiful drive due to rental restrictions. The backside of Mount Haleakala is known to host particularly sharp, curvy, unpaved roads with high cliffsides overlooking the coast. While it can be considerably dangerous, particularly during heavy rainfall, I cannot imagine traveling to Maui and missing out on the beautiful views of the upcountry fields or the volcanic cliffsides. (more…)

Hang Gliding Maui, Hana, HI

Hang gliding in Maui proved to be the highlight of our trip! We arrived at the Hana airport to meet Armin, an FAA-certified flight instructor and tandem hang gliding pilot, who was going to be teaching us how to pilot a motorized hang glider, commonly referred to as a “trike.” The aircraft featured tandem seating (much like that of a motorcycle), as well as dual control from front and rear seats, and a backup ballistic parachute system, which acted as a way to insure our safety. The micro-light aircraft featured a hang gliding wing and weight shift operation, very much like a traditional hang glider, but was powered by a reliable 912cc 4-cycle Rotax aircraft engine. This type of trike offered comfort and convenience, allowing us to enjoy more flight time high above Hana.  (more…)

Mount Rainier, WA

My husband and I had a quick, but memorable two-day trip to Washington State, where we celebrated Adam and Deb’s wedding at Mineral Lake Lodge. Unfortunately, the “mountain wasn’t out” that day, which is how the locals refer to cloud cover of the mountain. The day was warm, and the view was beautiful.

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Piloting an R-22 Helicopter

By June the adrenaline junkie in me was restless again, so I decided to take a piloting lesson at Vertex Aviation Group. Believe it or not they let me pilot a Robinson-22, which is a two-bladed, single-engine, light utility helicopter. After my pilot went over the design, controls, and checklist with me, he allowed me to take off and even work on my hovering skills. Of course he piloted most of the flight, but I felt surprisingly competent for my first take-off and landing.

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Costa Rica (Day 7: Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio)

For our last day in Costa Rica, we visited Manuel Antonio National Park. Elba, Nilla, and Mario spent the day relaxing on the beach, while Andrea, Alan, and I hiked some of the trails. What was unique about this National Park was the natural exposure to wildlife. There were capuchin monkeys running around a few feet away from us. The locals call them the “white-faced monkeys,” and they are also known for their thievery. In one of the pictures Alan was wearing a baseball cap and got a little too close. Being 6 ft 3 in., he scared the poor primate, who nervously glared as his ball cap. You can see the capuchin monkey’s reaction to his unexpected proximity. Close by, there were also monitor lizards, iguanas, and macaws. We could hear howler monkeys in the distance, and somewhere way up in the canopy there was a sloth or two. (more…)

Costa Rica (Day 3: La Virgen Del Socorro)

We drove to a remote part of Costa Rica near Alajuela. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you where it is or how we got there. I only know that we passed strawberry fields as we traveled up through the mountains on a tiny road (that was currently being built). A platform for a road hadn’t even been established yet, and there were pebbles that were being laid for traction for the tires. There were several times we had to get out and heave our van forward to move it uphill. Mario’s friend, Antoine, was building a farmhouse out in the jungla (jungle). Essentially, “La Virgen Del Socorro” translates to “untouched relief” referring to the area’s untouched wilderness.

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