Travel Diary II: Mount Rainier, a dreamland.

As many states that I have seen until date in US, each one has had its own charm. There has been something different about each place that I would differ to rank them. Iowa is famous for its cornfields and rolling plains, while the vibe at New York is amazing. Our last trip to Seattle was awesome too. We took the city pass and covered five different spaces around the city. The glasswork at Chihuly garden was spectacular, with the collection café, which is inside the compound; we discovered the marine life at Seattle Aquarium, which was amusing while the Mo Pop would fascinate the Marvel fans. We went on the top of Space needle and the view of the city was glowing from up above. The pass also included a cruise wherein, we were introduced to many interesting facts about Seattle. The Pike place market had its own attraction, the gum wall surely being one of them. We spent an entire day at the city followed by fireworks at Lake Union in the night for Independence Day celebration.

The next day we head to Mount Rainier. On our way, we crossed a small town, named Elbe. It is a cute little place and one defintely needs to check the souvenir shop. I believe this is the only store in the area and is famous for the huckleberry ice cream (which surely is the best that I have eaten until date). There is a tiny little church which is the smallest functional church and the setting of the rail track restaurant is pretty cool. This is the best place to buy the Rainier cherries too.

 

As we drove from Elbe, we did a small stop at Narada falls. It is a must visit and one of the popular destinations. A five-minute trail leads to the most spectacular waterfall that I had ever seen. The rainbow in front of the fall makes it look prettier. We enjoyed the sprinkles of water and after clicking some pictures head to Mount Rainier. We wanted to cover two sides at Mt Rainier, one was the Paradise and the other one was Sunrise.

 

As we drove, the green tall trees were on a line on each side, and it seemed that they were opening for us. The roads created so well in the mountain area that we were so close to the mountain. Each scene was beautiful and was magical. Little did we know that this was just the start?

 

We parked our car and chose our trail. The walk towards the visitor center was splendid; the narrow roads made one way did make the parking a bit tricky. As we reached the base of Paradise, we saw many tourists, people of different ages, some were starting the trail, while some had just finished, and some kept admiring the beauty.

We traveled on a weekday; still there was a huge footfall. July, being the best time to visit Mt. Rainier had attracted many. The mountain, also called a shy mountain, as most part of the year, covered with clouds, we were lucky and blessed to see the top of the mountain clearly, which is 14411’.

There were many trails, and depending on the time, one could chose them or take information from the visitor center. As we chose our trail, we saw kids of 4-5 years of age, walking along us. We saw different types of trees, the Pacific silver fir, western hemlock, mountain hemlockDouglas fir, Alaska yellow cedar, and western white pine, there were patches of snow that we walked across. There was one view that we can never forget, and captured through the eyes. The mountain standing tall, the meadows with wild flowers and the waterfall, was a bliss. The active volcano had so much to offer, and it was so nice to see Asian elderly people experience the same feeling. The fact that roads were accessible and the trails made properly got many to reach. The trails were nicely marked and the place having so many visitors yet, felt empty because of the huge space. We looked at the mountain, which was crystal white and the area being a dreamland, we could hear the mountain. We played with snow and walked down from a different route. As we drove from Paradise, we stopped at another spot wherein the reflection of the mountain seen in the river. The drive was as pretty as the walk and we reached the nearby area Packwood. We spent the night at one of the lodge, and walked towards the street with restaurant. A mile walk made us witness the sunset on the mountain, and the purple color of the sky was so vibrant that we can never forget. The area had limited restaurants that were open in the night; we were done with a quick dinner.  The next day, after the breakfast, we went to the Grove of patriarchs. It is a loop around Occapeloch River. We saw different types of trees some 1000 years old, some 200 ft. tall.  It was interesting to see kids draw and learn 100 types of leaves while they hiked. The different color of the river was interesting with pebbles beneath and at the same time very cold. There were interesting facts written around each block, which made it an hour walk. There were some dead trees, which still gave nutrients to the other trees.

After exploring that area, we went to the Sunrise point, which again was so scenic. There were couple of trails but sadly, we could not do any, as it was time for us to leave. The two-day trip to Mount Rainier was just not enough; and it stands to be one of the beautiful places that we have ever been to. To more of travels and exploring!

Our hearts will forever remember you

 

One and a half years since we saw you,

Still have the same question why did he choose you,

So long that we messaged, mailed, spoke to you,

The number still memorized and spoken when asked to.

Why do I reason out and still ask questions?

Why do I not want to admit, as there is no solution?

The conscious mind knows it well and strong,

While we feel that, you are just around the dorm.

Why do I still want that goodbye, when there is none?

Why do I cry, as I think about not being able to talk just once?

I know just one time is too short of a conversation,

And we all know, there is no right or wrong in this situation.

 

The art of messing up several things at once:- Multitasking!

As I walk to my gym, which is a 15-minute walk, I see a lot people walking past me and everyone looks busy. Similarly, when I wait for my friend at the coffee shop, I observe lot of individuals being on the phone than having a conversation and I think about starting a new coffee place named: Coffee over cellphones. We all know how addicted we are to our phones these days, be it on a bus ride, or at the airport waiting, we are using the mobile for  finding out some important information or choosing the picture as our WhatsApp display or it could be as simple to pass time. There is something or the else we keep doing and it has been a part of our lives. We realize yet ignore it.

In all situations, there is something new I perceived and that is, we love to multitask as individuals. We might not recognize this but do it often. I was not ready to accept it myself, so I analyzed my everyday routine. I was surprise to know that I want to do three different things at the same time, if not two, right from the start of the day. There has to be music playing while I research, some good audio book on the side when I cook, have conversations with friends and family while I walk. There have been moments when I walk, message and talk at the same time. I also realized the time I do not do this, I feel I am not making the most of the time. There are circumstances that I multitask for sure but for each one of them was shocking. What do you think about it? Being involved in one thing is better or two. Does it reduce our concentration and make the activity slower? Does it make us miss the enjoyment of doing one sole movement? Does our mind need rest without having to multi-task too much? Do we think that 24 hours in a day is short we have so much to do?

Even during our time on the laptop, if we start doing ten different activities all at once, how efficient do we get? In everyday work, when a chat window beeps, with an incoming message, we swing over it, and email notification when comes gets the most attention.  The focus changes and is more of polling behavior. Do we actually forget the first task what we had planned when we are browsing for ten different information?

All of us would get our answers if we constantly remind ourselves and trace our actions in a day. Doing all the work at once is an art but it can be unhealthy too. There are studies, which say it contributes to lower achievement levels, and add, that we are task switching, and it is always better to finish one task before moving to another. While there are some jobs that can run parallel, multitasking come certainly for them, while one is playing a sport, running in basketball and examining where to pass could be one example.

Overall, one person should not do more than one thing at the same time; the quality of the job might deteriorate. So, multitask where you can, shift when you have to, and put your emphasis on the job that you are performing for the utmost results.

 

Travel Diary I: Northern Cascades & Raspberries picking

It has been the longest since I have written my travel diary. Since there has been a couple of exploration after moving to the US, I would love to share in my experiences with the readers. If you are not in the habit of writing one, it is an amazing activity to relive the vacation days, and keep it in your memory log. There is no best time to pen down your thoughts, but the fresher it is, the better. I would suggest taking some time off and writing while you are on the trip or as soon as the holiday gets over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Without further delay, the first one for me has to be about my first ever-camping trip. This one was at Northern Cascades, an alpine landscape, around three hours away from Seattle. After heavy breakfast, we left for our trip .Since everyone was an experienced camper, had taken care of all the provisions and requirements that were required. The car was full, so were the seats with the passengers and other supplies we picked on our way. The last hour of drive was pretty with scenic view.

 

There was no room at all in the vehicle making it super fun. We were a group of five and with the conversations that were, flowing and music played; we did not realize how fast we reached our campground (Newhalem), which was booked online.  We were located in the central and near the washroom area, which was convenient, for us if we were to use in the night. The visitor center was around the corner and there were lot of school kids who had come for the camp. I found this to be such a perfect outing for the kids.

 

There were various campsites around the area and as soon as we reached, we started putting up the tents. It was such an interesting experience to learn how to make one and reminded me of my tiny camp that I made when I was in school. On the other side, the lunch was being prepared. It was super fascinating to see the different types of utensils that we were using to make the meal. The hammock was up, the greens looked beautiful and the weather was perfect. I was warned that it would get cold in the night, especially while sleeping on the sleeping bags. After lunch, with some quinoa and veggie sambar mix, the most delicious meal, we went out on a River loop trail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An hour of walk was splendid, seeing hundred types of leaves, to big bark trees, I was mesmerized seeing the greens and at the same time blessed that the nature has so much to offer. There were some trees, which had algae on them, yet looked pretty and some affected by lightning. We saw some wild mushrooms and berries on our way as we reached the riverside. The water was extremely cold and we could not stay with our legs dipped for more than couple of seconds. As we walked, we saw an amphitheater, in the middle of the park; as we discovered that different activities are held in the morning. We sat on the benches and closed our eyes; we could hear the river gushing and the sound of the leaves swaying clearly. We were so close to nature and there was so much calm. Everything was perfect in this nature world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cellular network was down and it was a bliss. I feel in our everyday life the way we have been addicted to our phones, this seemed to be the best way to connect to nature and ourselves, get answers for many questions that we are looking for. We did not miss our cellular connection for a bit, as we were connecting to something more humongous.

   

 

After getting to our campground, we started playing some board games and doing the things that we love doing. It was time for dinner and I witnessed the best barbeque ever under the stars so bright. We ate variety of peppers, corn, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, potatoes for the night with the peanut achar on a perfect-lit campfire. With conversations over a game, we did not realize how four hours passed by quickly. We did not gather it was getting colder, as we were next to the campfire but as the night passed, the air was becoming chillier. We put all the food materials back in the car, as the bear loves eating them if kept outside.

 

There was a couple trying to figure out where to keep their remaining food that they wanted to carry with them on their backpacking trip since they did not have a car. That was interesting. With all of this stories, I almost started wandering if the bear does come in the night, what would the repercussions be. The night passed by fast as we snuggled into our sleeping bags and we were up for yet another adventurous day.

 

We started the day with some crisp bread with bukunu. After disassembling our tents and keeping our supplies back in the car, we set ourselves for more exploration. We reached Lake Diablo, which was gorgeous. It looked like one from the postcards, turquoise blue water and a fleet of ducks passing by, green trees all around the hills and the lakeside covered with pebbles. It was the best place for each one of us to immerse in natural surroundings. After spending about an hour, it was time for us to leave.

On our way back, we wanted to grab some huckleberry ice cream (which is the best-est ice cream I have ever eaten), but ended up raspberry picking. That was a lot of fun, as we went inside the farm and chose our own raspberries. The scorching sun made it more exciting as it was our first time. We did not realize the amount of berries we had all collected, and it turned out to be much more that we had to think of alternatives about the berries.The clock was way past our lunchtime and we wished we could teleport ourselves to the restaurant. We were an hour away because of the traffic and started running our imagination guessing different objects formed by the cloud. We finally reached, enjoyed the best South Indian at Chilies and as tired as we were, we set to explore a little more of Seattle in the night. To one of the best experiences and perfect camping trip !

Sometimes people just need someone to listen

We have all been over phases, moments and situations where we have high level of emotions going on in our mind. It could be through an experience that we pass or it could be through a startling situation in our lives, something that we never anticipated.  There are many thoughts in our mind when this happens that it is hard for us to comprehend by ourselves. Some of us like venting our feelings through writing, while some like to divert our mind to different other activities. There are many of us who so, like to talk about it to our best friends or closest family members while there are some of us who find solace in talking to a person who has experienced the same whereas there are a few of us who would not mind conversing with a stranger. Which category do you belong? After answering that question, just give in a thought on “Why do we need someone to just listen”?

Firstly, there are times where we all know what the right thing is and the most practical decision be during many positions, yet we look for that push. We want to discuss with someone who has the same wavelength and would think on the same page while taking any resolution. We seek for validation at the place, at that point in time. Secondly, there are heaps of sentiments in our hearts and we would want to let it out and get off our chest, express and say things aloud. Herein, there are no judgements, no reactions, but only the act of listening that we seek. Similarly when we talk to someone that we hardly know and are going to part ways in no time, there is no exploration in whatever we share and there definitely will not be any connection further. Thirdly, the most basic need of all humans is to communicate, be understood and the best way to do is to listen.

 In these circumstances, many of us who are on the recipient side do not know how to react. There is no clear indication on what is required from us and what we are supposed to do. Are we here only to listen, or are we to give our expertise, proficient advice? There can be lot of confusion over it if the motto of the talk is not clear. My best mantra to these situations are people are smart and mature enough to make their own choices, and they do not really need an advice, unless they seek. What they need is a hand to hold, ear to listen and a heart to understand them.

Our perception towards life:*

Why do we think that we have forever? Why do we not comprehend that there is an end and life is more than what we are striving and living for? Why is it difficult for us to accept that we are not immortals?

We never think about this, as we are busy in our everyday life, as everything is running smoothly and we do not realize how swiftly time is passing. To think about it, how would we? We were not taught in our school nor did our academics have this topic. The Art of Living, which is the most important subject of life, is overshadowed. I personally would never understand unless I bid goodbye to my dad last year. There were lot of questions, emotions that did not have an answer but this happening surely gave a reality check about what life eventually comes to.

It taught everyone closer and me, value each day, to feel blessed about the small things in life, to spread more happiness, to do that little extra for someone, to help, to smile, to live. Unfortunately, we had to go through this to apprehend what it truly means to live each day to its fullest. The phrase “life is unpredictable” resonate and some situations when we keep finding the right time when there might be no more time started making more sense. This again does not mean that we do not hope for tomorrow, to welcome new relationships, and worry about what will happen because it definitely will. It is the unchangeable. We should dream, make plans and not worry about the end.

What we need to do is very simple. Break our long-term plans to short-term; execute them rather than only planning one long term. It is with these small ones, we will feel motivated and happy as and when it completes. We all have read the quote from Steve Jobs “If you live each day as if it were your last, someday you will be right”. Living might be difficult, but the feeling of it being the last, if it stands with us, changes many things, and having experienced that, I believe on it more. Our behavior to someone, our actions, and our decisions in life will not remain the same, and we will make more choices that are conscious.

In addition, we should not stress, as these smaller scenarios, which seem like the biggest one now might not be worth losing out time of dismay. With all of this we need to give gratitude to the healthy body that we have, and enjoy, do the things that our body permits for us to do now. This is for us to think that the day it stops being fit, all of the running around and being upset about the minutest of things, which could be the weather, wouldn’t really matter. The time that we think, we would be able to relish will no more be there.

The point here is if it would not matter the future then, it should not matter now, we need to live keeping the bigger picture in mind. The mantra is simple. It is for us to choose.

Goodbye in words:)

Been in K-Town for more than two decades,

Was out for six years, such was the phase,

Born and brought up at 1045, since start,

Unlimited memories, get together, family being the best part.

As I travel across 15000 kms to start a new life,

Super excited, all set for the new jive,

As I go across the ocean with these smiles,

Wouldn’t have been possible without the blessings from all sides.

Be it work, social, radio, writing or exploring,

Each activity and event has been inspiring,

Be it with the kids, friends, family and the ones who have seen me growing,

Each good bye has been overwhelming:)

500 days without you:*

And they said “this is how life goes on”

They did not realize our hearts are still naive and off,

When they said “he is everywhere with you”

Did they believe it or was it only for you?!

I do not have more questions nor seek any explanations,

In all of this I would quote “its not the same”

My heart still melts when I talk about that day,

Wish it was still a dream since I have so much to say.

Its not just me, but expressing on behalf of everyone,

Be it mom or dadaji, who haven’t smiled since you are gone,

Home can never be the same, ever again,

Cause you are the one, that rare gem.