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…)
Key Largo, Florida
When I was fifteen, I was told about a 4,000 lb. bronze statue of Christ that stood several nautical miles off of Florida’s coastline. I thought it was a silly notion to place something so sacred 27-feet underwater, where it stood essentially elusive and remote. When I discovered that it was an established dive-spot the venture immediately jumped to the top of my bucket list. (more…)
Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
Over 120 caves make up what is now known as Carlsbad Caverns. Uniquely, these caves were formed not by the running water of streams, but rather limestone decomposition by means of sulfuric acid, leaving behind a world of caverns beneath the Earth’s surface. Limestone rock that encloses Carlsbad Caverns comprises of ocean fossil plants and animals from a reef complex created ages before the dinosaurs. At that time the southeastern corner of New Mexico paralleled that of Key West along the Florida coastline. Jim White is credited as the first explorer of the cave in 1898, utilizing a handmade wire ladder to descend 60-ft into the depths of the cave.
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…)
In May we made our move from Houston to Midland (in West Texas) for my Physician Assistant Program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. The PA field, while rapidly growing, is also a very competitive field, so I was grateful to be accepted into the TTUHSC Master’s Program. We immediately jumped into a 16-credit Summer semester, and it was a whirlwind of graduate-level pharmacology, anatomy, physiology, and clinical laboratory studies.
I submitted an application to the Office of Global Health to join the medical team in Jinotega, Nicaragua, and I found myself fortunate to have been selected, but also to be the first PA student to attend a Global Health trip with TTUHSC. The following months included numerous meetings, conference calls, modules, and presentations to educate us, build cultural competency, and to provide us with realistic expectations. (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 (‘Eono: Mount Haleakalā, Iao Valley, Napili Bay)
We woke up early to enjoy fresh Kona coffee, lilikoi, starfruit, and banana bread from the farmer’s market on our balcony, and we watched as a double rainbow revealed itself over Ka’anapali Beach. For me, Maui was an island of diversity – it offered me the ability to snorkel in the most beautiful beaches around the world, while a massive shield volcano loomed miles away, and miles from that boasted a tropical jungle. Today we were visiting the last active volcano in Hawai’i outside of the Big Island, Haleakalā. Dating tests have indicated that it last erupted in the late 1700s.
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…)
Maui, HI (‘Ehā: Rafting & Snorkeling)
Alan and I woke before sunrise for our rafting and snorkeling venture. We chose to tour with a company called Blue Water (known for their personalized, adventurous excursions) in hopes that we may avoid a typical tourist-centric trip out to sea. The Kanaio and Molokini Snorkel and Rafting excursion fit our tall order. The tour allowed us to observe a variety of remote snorkeling sites, sea turtle habitats, and a rare, uninhabited part of the island, the volcanic Kanaio coast. (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…)