Kessler Peak and Donut Falls

I met Jessie at the airport this summer and we’ve recently become hiking buddies. We did Kessler with stunning views of snow-dusted, soon before a much heavier snowfall. Perfect weather and perfect timing.

This hike is a strenuous 4.5 mile hike with an elevation gain of 2,926 ft. And it’s once of those peaks where you think you reach the top, but then you notice another, slightly higher peak. Then another, and another, until finally…Kessler Peak. It took us about 5-6 hours round-trip, although we hung out for quite a while at the summit.

The trailhead is about a 9 mile drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake City. Turn right at Jordan Pines Picnic area to a dirt road and drive to a parking lot at the trailhead for Donut Falls.

There are a few different trails for Kessler, and we unintentionally ended up coming down on a different one that what we started! The side trails are past a small bridge, up a small dirt 4×4 road.

Backpacking Into Point Reyes National Seashore

I took a solo trip to California, went to the Visitor’s Center to inquire about permits, and went with a few girls on one permit, and we spent the day hiking in, setting up camp, making our way to Alamere Falls, and was such a nice, peaceful time. Attempting to get a permit the day of isn’t always a certain bet, but online permit for the backcountry book up to six months in advance. My favorite part was waking up to all the ocean mist in the morning. I also stayed a night in the hostel and drove around, and did a short hike to see the elephant seals.

Chaco Canyon

I took a solo road trip to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, as well as Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Arizona, and Monument Valley in UT.

I lost most of my photos, but this was such an incredibly memorable trip for me, especially driving through the Native American reservations. There’s a deep sadness, loss of pride, and spiritual auras in these places. Never in my own country have I experience someone begging for money at a gas station, trying to sell jewelry. I was also shocked by the lack of healthy food options on the reservations.

I’m a huge nerd so Chaco Canyon made me extremely happy. The amount of history here and how fascinating is is to learn about; and to be there. I tried to imagine when people lived there and what the lifestyles were like. It was hard to leave with my time constraints; I’d like to go back there someday and explore further.

Ranch Life in Canada

My friend Tonya invited me to Canada during Thanksgiving break. We drove up to Calgary and then to a ranch near Rocky Mountain House.

Our first stop was, of course, Tim Horton’s.

Staying at the ranch house was a unique experience. What I loved was how connected this family was to their land. They new approximately how many bears were in the area, how to hunt, how to distinguish between various animal tracks (such as Black Bear vs. Grizzly), and an appreciation for beautiful things, such as the morning hoarfrost.

 

Adam’s Canyon

My friend Erica and I did a hike up Adam’s Canyon near Layton, Utah.

Pre-hike we decided to check out La Barba, a coffee shop in downtown. Starting the day with drinking chocolate (legit dark hot chocolate from a local company) is a great way to go! What’s cool about Utah is we can be downtown feeling hipster and 25 minutes later up a canyon in the mountains.

The trail intersects with the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, which would be ideal for a trail run or more extended hike.

The canyon is beautiful. Steep on the way up, easy on the way down. It’s shady, so later in the day in spring or fall you are likely to experience sunshine and warmer temperatures. I could have brought my microspikes along as there were a couple of icy sections.

Surat Thani’s Markets

There are many different markets in Surat Thani, which are all fun and interesting to explore. Coming from the U.S. to me there are many unfamiliar sights, smells, and tastes. Shopping at markets is also a great way to give back to the local community. Here’s the lowdown on some of the popular markets in town:

Sunday Night Market

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This market starts at about 3 PM. It is located next to the river near the bridge. At the Sunday market you can watch people on jet skis and waverunners, and sometimes there are competitions on the water. It’s also a great place to watch the sunset over the river and live performances.

Food you can find: Mango sticky rice with coconut milk, chicken skewers, sushi, waffles, pad thai, fried coconut balls, salads, small spring rolls with a sauce, coconut and corn bowls, squash/pumpkin coconut bowls, and there is a kebab stand along with other unique meals and treats.

There is also a table near one of the small boat ramps where you can buy tickets for 50 baht to go on a boat and see fireflies along the river for about one hour.

Everyday night market by the pier

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This market starts going around 4 PM. It is located down the street from the pier the pier fruit market. At the market near the pier you can find mochi ice cream, cheap clothes, corn on the cob, pre-made mixed fruit and vegetable salads, curries, all kinds of meat on a stick, fresh-squeezed tangerine juice, and many other savory and sweet treats. The kabob stand is popular with the expat teachers.

Fruit market by the pier

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The fruit market at the pier is open every night starting at about 5 PM. Depending on which types of fruits are in season, you can find bananas, papayas, oranges, grapes, rambutans, lychees, mangos, apples, watermelons, pineapples, coconut, and more.

Morning market across from the pier
This market gets going around 6 AM. It is located across from where the fruit market is held. At this market there fish, fish, and more fish! There are also live eels, small sharks, prawns, and crabs.

Market at Karunrat

At this market there’s fried chicken, massaman and panang curries, pork steaks, pad kra pow, kao pad gai.

 

Scuba Diving and Wining on Koh Tao

Ali and I took the night boat from the pier in Surat Thani to Koh Tao for the weekend. We were able to find a bungalow to share for about $10 U.S./night.

I took a refresher course for scuba diving while here! It was a fun experience, although I have no pics from it. We also enjoyed mango sticky rice and all the “Western” style foods we don’t experience much living in Surat Thani.

The best curry of my life is the Panang Curry at FIZZ Beach Lounge. Highly recommended!