Showing posts from October, 2012

PANAMA CANAL: The World's Most Famous Shortcut

Cruising is my least preferred way of travel. But in order to have a full transit experience of crossing the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean through the Panama Canal, I booked myself on a Holland America Cruise. I knew very little about the history of the canal, except that it’s an engineering marvel. I’m sure there are many books written about this subject, but the tagline from a promotional video, “… to create a canal to join the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean…to cut the continent in half and carve a waterway on one of the most astounding and unforgiving terrain on earth ”, pretty much summed up the wonders of Panama Canal for me. Luckily we had a travel guide, Wallis with a PhD in geophysics, on board. She shared a few “Did you know…” questions, and explained the Canal’s history, construction, and the step-by-step process of going through the canal. The scale of Panama Canal is astonishing: The canal runs through Panama North to South, connecting the Caribbean Sea (No


DIPSEA TRAIL:  FROM MUIR WOODS TO STINSON BEACH Some of my most memorable trips and adventures happened without a plan. On a recent unseasonably warm California day, I was invited to hike the Dipsea. I was not really familiar with this hiking trail, or with its level of difficulty. Known to be one of the most difficult hiking trails in Northern California, the trail stretches more than nine miles from Muir Woods to Stinson Beach. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, drove the steep and winding Highway 1 to Muir Woods National Monument, a popular national park. It was Saturday, so it was hard to find parking. But we got lucky and found a parking spot just a few steps away from the park visitor entrance. We skipped the line and set off to hike from the tiny path from the parking lot. After crossing Redwood Creek, we immediately started our ascent. The trail was lined by ferns, and the hillside was covered in lush foliage. After a quarter mile, the lush landscape transitioned in