Laguna Torre, El Chaltén, Argentina

We left El Calafate pretty early in the morning so that we would have time to hike in El Chaltén the same day, although it doesn’t get dark until almost ten o’clock at night.  On the three and a half hour drive, I kept wanting to close my eyes and sleep, but I couldn’t stop looking at the bright blue water next to the road, the dry brush, and the occasional huemel looking back at us.  I find it fascinating that you can travel halfway across the planet, and see things that look so familiar.

Once in El Chaltén, there are a ton of amazing hikes that begin from various parts of town.  When we arrived, we dropped off our luggage, and set off for Laguna Torre.  It’s about 6-hours round trip–we started in a flower field, passed through a forest, wandered by a glacial river, and into a rock garden before we reached Laguna Torre.  It was pretty warm the entire hike, until we passed through the rocks and saw the water, and then it became freezing and windy.  We finally were grateful for all the layers that we had been carrying.  We sat and ate lunch by the water, surrounded by white-throated caracaras who seemed to be enjoying the wind.  On the way back, I thought for a second that I saw a huemel who was standing still enough for me to photograph, and then realized it was just a dog.

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© Sarah Milstein 2016

Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

My favorite part of my trip to Argentina was hiking on Perito Moreno Glacier.  Seeing the glacier for the first time, hearing it crackle, watching pieces fall into the surrounding water, walking on it, and drinking the water from it was truly a full-sensory experience.  I felt like I was walking through a Georgia O’Keefe painting where piercing blue crevasses separated snow capped peaks.

We went through a tour company called Hielo y Aventura, which I would definitely recommend.  They picked us up from our hotel, drove us in a nice bus to various lookout points, supplied us with crampons (and put them on our shoes),* guided us on the glacier, and gave us scotch on the rocks at the top!

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* At first the crampons that tied onto our shoes felt a little weird, but by the end of the day, I didn’t want to give them back.

© Sarah Milstein 2016

El Calafate, Argentina

This blog post is long overdue.  Last weekend, I got back from a 17-day trip to Argentina to visit my friend, Clau.  From Buenos Aires, we flew down to El Calafate in the Santa Cruz Province on the Argentine side of Patagonia, which was our jumping off point to Perito Moreno Glacier and to El Chaltén.  I don’t think that I appreciated how far south Buenos Aires was from California, and Patagonia from Buenos Aires.  I could have stayed in Patagonia for months, it’s so incredibly beautiful!  When we arrived in El Calafate, there was a problem with our hotel (namely, that it was closed for business), but we were able to find a place that was a little further from the town center, but closer to the unbelievably blue Lago Argentino.  All of the cab drivers refused to drive on the road below, and instead insisted on driving around the entire town.  So that was special.

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© Sarah Milstein 2016

 

 

Carmel, California

On our way to Carmel, we stopped at Point Lobos and wandered through the trees and along the coastline.  We were told there would be whales, but they were apparently gone for the day.  We did however see a deer, which prompted the singing of “Do a deer, a female deer. . .”  So that happened.

In Carmel, we walked along the beach towards one of the golf courses at Pebble Beach, and also drove along 17-mile drive.  Although there are 21 “points of interest,” I was really only interested in Point 16—“The Lone Cyprus,” where I took a bunch of photographs.

© Sarah Milstein 2015

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur

Greg and I “hiked” in Big Sur, both to McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and to Pfeiffer Falls in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.  McWay Falls is beautiful, and easy to get to without even breaking a sweat.  I’d recommend parking on the street, and not in the parking lot, which is practically the same width as the trail.  Pfeiffer Falls 11 miles to the north isn’t nearly as majestic (at least during a drought), but it’s a good 2-mile round trip hike through redwood trees.

© Sarah Milstein 2015

Flora Grubb Gardens

Someone recently told me about Flora Grubb Gardens.  While I love all things floral and leafy, and thus, immediately fell in love with this spot (and the Ritual Coffee shop inside), I did not inherit my mom’s green thumb.  Nevertheless, I bought my first ever large plant (a ficus lyrata) and was forewarned that upon bringing it home, that up to 3 leaves would likely fall off and was assured that “it wouldn’t be [my] fault.”  Who knew plants got depressed?  Despite my photos below of succulents, they have all types of plants, large and small!

© Sarah Milstein 2014

Sutro Baths & Lands End Trail, Part II

I know I’ve posted about the Sutro Baths and the Lands End Trail before, but I’m posting about them again because well, they’re beautiful.  We grabbed brunch at Louis’, and I was pleasantly surprised (okay, shocked) that there was no line for brunch on a Sunday, the food was decent, and it had an amazing view of the Sutro Baths.  I took the first two photos from our table.

© Sarah Milstein 2014

Point Reyes, California

And now, my favorite part of the road trip to Point Reyes Lighthouse: The cows!

Take Sir Francis Drake Boulevard for what feels like an eternity.  Once you arrive at the Lighthouse parking lot, walk 0.4 miles up the hill.  There’s another sign at the top warning visitors that the climb to the Lighthouse is the equivalent of a 30-story building.  I thought that was an exaggeration until I had to climb back up it.  Bring a bottle of water and a jacket, it was windy!

© Sarah Milstein 2014

Highway 1, California

I left San Francisco this morning intending to head to Tomales Bay to take photographs, eat oysters, and maybe hike, but I got sidetracked after seeing a sign for the Point Reyes Lighthouse, which took me on a 22 mile detour.  What can I say?  I’m a sucker for lighthouses.

I clearly took the least efficient route to get to Tomales (err, Point Reyes).  I drove on Highway 1, which has breathtaking views.  (Pay attention to the road though, or you’ll end up driving off a cliff.)  The winding highway takes you through fragrant eucalyptus trees, past Stinson Beach, and through Bolinas Lagoon Nature Preserve where if you’re lucky, you’ll see seals, hawks, crows, and other birds I can’t name.  I also saw a dead skunk on the road.  And then I smelled him for some time thereafter.

The 22 mile drive to the Lighthouse was quite beautiful and I’ve never seen so many happy cows.  Point Reyes Lighthouse and cow photos are forthcoming.

© Sarah Milstein 2014