Maui Cliff-hangers Await the Wanderlust

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‘Aloha’ they say. Whether one is searching for an oasis of calm or an adrenaline rush, Hawaii’s Maui offers a plethora of both. From the drive through majestic, luscious valleys of little-known Kahekili Highway – a one-lane strip at the northwest – with jagged blind turns at every pulse, yards away from cliff drops, to the tranquil southeast at Haleakala Crater climbing at over 10,000 feet above sea level, methinks we’ve seen it all. The minute we set out in a new direction, we experienced a cultural shift from indigenous neighborhoods, Amish in lifestyle, to the buzz of urbanites populating the beaches along the West coast of Maui.

After merely keeping afloat on the Kahekili Highway one day and then the Hana Highway on another, a re-entry into the rhythmic calm was in order. Finally reaching the easternmost part of the island, a slither of path branching off from the road to Hana revealed the rejuvenating, hidden cove of Waianapanapa State Park. The waves became refreshing mist through blowholes, polished black-lava pebbles paved cave floors, and vibrant unruly vegetation grew over rocks.

A view of the life in the sea through a visit to Maui Ocean Center aquarium and a swim on Lahaina Beach triggered fascination with the world beneath, including the idea of standing over a volcanic hot spot amidst the vastness of the Pacific. Like my swim in the Great Barrier Reef years ago, this was also surreal. Being so close to the coral reefs of West Maui with colorful fish and giant turtles, rekindled childhood fantasies. Under water, the subtleties in new sounds and the increased intensity of the inner voice made for an even more sublime experience.

We sang ‘Aloha’ upon departure, fanned by totemic palm trees and quieted by rows of bamboo groves.

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Vancouver’s Green and Growth

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Vancouver’s hidden gems include its cluster of green parks, variety of architectural designs and beaches adjoining the city. Bike trails can lead right into the suburbs with houses that sit on steep slopes, similar to San Francisco. The trails bring fresh, new views at every turn and corner. Bicycling along the seawall easily took us on a scenic loop around Stanley Park. From there, we rode to the old industrial area, Granville Island Public Market, now a bustling urban hub, and to the Bloedel Floral (and aviary) Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park where we met “Kramer”, the talking peach cockatoo. Our bike ride reached as far and wide as Gastown and Kitsilano, passing through the coastline of False Creek and the English Bay.

For an aerial view of Vancouver, we took a short cable-car ride to Grouse Mountain and hiked to the peak. At the summit, we were entertained by a comedic skit performed by lumberjacks and watched a couple of grizzly bears at play in the fields. We strolled along Yaletown and David Lam Park to the city center, and visited the Vancouver Public Library, which closely resembled Rome’s Colosseum. By chance, we discovered that the library had a well-preserved collection of black-and-white photography of Vancouver in the 1900s, including an extensive archive of the library catalog of photos and children books.

Vancouver’s arrangement of public spaces shows how it embraces community, while offering a comfortable lifestyle for its residents and vacation spot for its visitors.

 

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Toronto’s Transformation Today – Ontario’s Spring

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Rediscovered a new disheveled Toronto in the wintry Spring, while sprinting from Downtown to Uptown and back. Modernism intersects old-world charm evident in the following visited sites: University Avenue, Distillery District, Queen Street, Dundas Square, Spadina Avenue, The Bata Shoe Museum, Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), The Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre, etc.

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Arizona – Upper Antelope Canyon – Light Geometry

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Visiting Antelope Canyon on Navajo Nation boundary at the American Southwest. This slot canyon is a geometrical splendor, preserving the footprints of wind and water.

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Arizona – Grand Canyon – a second look

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Summer hike at the South Rim. Overlook views of Grand Canyon include Hermits Rest, Pima Point, Monument Creek Vista, The Abyss, Mohave Point, Hopi Point, Powell Point, Maricopa Point, Bright Angel trail, Yavapai Point, Mather Point, Yaki Point, South Kaibab and Pipe Creek Vista.

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Arizona – Sedona Red Rocks and Escapism

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Glen Canyon Dam

Horseshoe Bend

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Whale Waves Watch

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Exploring the resilience of water and the dynamic home it provides for whales.

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Under Dunes of Salisbury Beach

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