Showing posts from August, 2018

Anita & Bob's Big Fat Indian Wedding - Mehndi

We had never been to an Indian wedding before and were very much looking forward to the 3-day experience.  The first night was the Mehndi party held at Anita's parents' house.  This is where the women gather and get henna applied.  Anita had already spent 6 hours having hers done - how she sat still for that long I haven't a clue!
 When we arrived we were introduced to mountains of delicious food cooked by Mama Rai.  I have no idea what any of it was but it was very good and full of flavour.  After dinner we took turns having henna done - not hours luckily, just a few minutes each.  It kind of looked like they were putting puffy paint on our hands.

The designs were all really intricate and pretty.  The problem with henna is then you can't do anything or touch anything while you let it dry - and it takes awhile!  Fortunately I only had it done on the backs of my hands, it was hard enough not messing up that part!  The "aunties" set up a band and starting playing…

Classy Cleveland

We never thought we'd find ourselves vacationing in Ohio (especially while living in Australia), but our wonderful friend Anita was getting married there and we couldn't miss it.  So after a few days relaxing at Sequoia Lake, we drove to San Jose and took a red eye flight to Cleveland. Who knew Cleveland would be such a pleasant surprise.

Our friends from the bay area are living in Michigan for a few months and drove over to visit.  We decided to take the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad through Cuyahoga National Park, about 20 minutes South of Cleveland.  It was a cute old restored train staffed by volunteers who where absolutely tickled to share the journey with us.  As one volunteer told us, "Where else can you ride a train all day... for free?!"  Fair point train dude, fair point.  We enjoyed a pleasant ride down along a creek and back again.  

 After the train ride we drove through the park and stopped at Brandywine Falls.  It was very warm, so fortunately it was j…

Mitchell Peak

Phil had wanted to climb Mitchell Peak and my dad told me there were great views from the top but I almost didn't want to go.  Luckily I got over myself and we headed out just after breakfast.  The start of the trail is before Lookout Peak, a climb we've done previously.  After driving for an hour and a bit, somehow we ended up at Lookout Peak.  We turned around and back tracked until we figured out where we went wrong - the turn off was just before the road goes from pavement to dirt.  Not long from the turnoff was a small parking lot with the Marvin Pass Trailhead sign.
 We started at 8100 feet of elevation just before mid day.  The first part of the trail was really pretty, covered in pine trees and nicely shaded.  The switchbacks took us up very quickly though, and that elevation made breathing a bit more effort than we were used to.
 We kept hiking up, and up, and up some more.  The shade disappeared and the sun got warmer and our breath kept getting more shallow.  We stopp…

Buck Rock

One of our favourite things to do while staying at Sequoia Lake is visiting Buck Rock.  It's a fire lookout that was built on top of a granite dome with great views of the area from the top.   You climb up rather steep 172 steps to the top, and there's a small room where the fire lookout worker eats, sleeps, and works while on shift with a narrow platform surrounding the outside.  
The lookout fits a single bed wedged against one wall, a stove, tiny little kitchenette, visitor nook with books and things for sale, and a desk where the worker lays out maps, radios, and binoculars to scan the 360 degree view.  I can't imagine staying in such a small space - I'm pretty sure the only toilet option is to descend the 172 steps down to the small outhouse below.  I'd hate to have to go in the middle of the night during bad weather!
Besides the view, my favourite thing about this spot is th hummingbird feeder.  I love being able to watch the birds fly around with the views of t…