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D-Mad Travel Adventures!

The world through our lens and our fun(ny) experience!

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National Parks

Alaska: Beyond Your Dreams, Within Your Reach!

This is by far the most amazing place we have been to. I just cannot put it in words the beauty of this land, hence, I will not even try. I will just tell you the things you can do when visiting Alaska in Summer.

Anchorage:

Denali National Park – Reflection Pond at Wonder Lake. This is totally worth it if the sky is clear and you can see the mountain. Try to reserve the early morning shuttle if you are planning to go all the way to wonder lake. Camp at wonder lake and take the first shuttle back the next day. This way you can expect to see maximum wildlife on the way!

Seward: 

Harding Icefield Trail, Exit Glacier: If you love day hikes, Harding Ice Field is not to be missed. We almost didn’t do this hike as we were so exhausted after hiking and traveling for 11 days in Alaska but on the last day we decided to push ourselves to do this. That was the best decision and 8-miles of pure paradise. The expansive ice-fields on top is breathtaking! We kind of started very late on this trail (~3pm) but thanks to the long days of summer, there were fewer people and more bears on our way back (~9pm)!

Kenai Fjords National Park: Take the day trip ferry to see some of the brilliant glaciers, listen to/see the glacial calving and spot some dolphins, puffins, otters, humpbacks and orcas on the way!

Russian River Falls: A short hike to see the Alaskan wild salmon migration. We spent hours here watching salmon leap up to cross the waterfall and a few little bears who were there to hunt. If Katmai is not on your list, this is your cheaper and easier second option.

Bear Glacier: Stand up paddling in Bear Glacier cove was the highlight of our trip. Paddle through the calm water around some magnificent icebergs and  take in the view and feel insignificant! This tour is only offered by Liquid Adventures so make sure you reserve a spot.

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Juneau:

Glacier Bay National Park: The best way to see the glaciers up close is by taking the local ferry from Juneau to Gustavus and staying at the Glacier Bay lodge. This way you can take the national park ferry for a day trip to see some of the best and pristine glaciers in the northern hemisphere. An additional advantage to this is you can rent kayaks and paddle out in the bay and get up close and cozy to some of the largest mammals in the world!

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Mendenhall Glacier:  Want to see how it is to be in an ice cave? A day trip to Mendenhall glacier will let you experience just that! We took a guided tour to the glacier and once we hit the glacier, we put on our crampons and walked on the glacier a couple of miles to explore the caves and the river system which flows underneath the glacier. It is quite fascinating! The rain forest hiking detour you take on the way back is well worth it!

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Alaska is expensive, start saving up so you can take back a life’s worth of memories!

Ideal time to visit  – June – July

Number of Days – 10 full days at the least!

Photography Tip – Be ready with your telephoto as you never know when a bear or whale can prop up in front of your eyes! For more photos visit our FB page.

D of DMad!

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Rocky Mountains of Colorado!

Colorado is one state in US which is extremely beautiful year round! We had the privilege of visiting this state in summer when the mountains were lush green with streams full and flowing as well as being buried knee deep in snow when we tumbled down the back bowls of Vail in our attempt to ski the ungroomed black diamonds. And both times it was beyond beautiful.

  1. If it is your first time going to Colorado, THIS is the route I would take.Drive west on interstate 70 on the winding roads and through the tunnels as you take in the beautiful scenery all the way till Glenwood springs. Why Glenwood springs? To hike to see the spectacular hanging lake! And take a dip in the largest hot water spring pool in the country!Image
  2. Stop at the Vail village and experience the charm of this quaint German town.
  3. Make your way to the gorgeous Rocky Mountain National Park. Enter through Kawuneeche Visitor Center in case the Trail Ridge Road is open. (It is closed in winter).
  4. Drive through the trail ridge road taking in the scenery. There are a lot of vista points and hiking trails here. In winter, you will have to enter and exit through Estes Park area.
  5. Reach the Estes park area of the National park to watch the herd of Elks grazing during sunset. 3 lakes not to miss – Sprague lake, Bear lake and Emerald lake.
  6. Drive to Denver through Boulder. Denver downtown is pretty pretty with some good places to eat especially in the LoDo area.

Ideal time to visit  – Beautiful and unique year round.

Number of Days – 3 full days

Misc Tip – Buy a national Park Annual pass if you are planning on visiting more than 3 parks. It is valid for a year and can be used in all National parks in US and costs $80.

Email us @ d.mad.photography@gmail.com if you need more info :)  For pictures – D Mad Photography (Album : Landscape)

– D of D-Mad

Florida – Beaches, Gators, Dinsey & Dives

Florida never ceases to entertain us, we haven’t been blessed with the best weather there all the time but despite that it is definitely one of our favorite vacation destinations. I have made 4 trips to Florida and each time I have been as enthralled about the place as the first time.

The good thing about going to Florida is that you have an option to fly to one of the many fairly big airports (Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Panama City beach) there, so you can choose the one with the cheapest airfare.  And every other popular city is just a ~3 hour drive away. More often than not, you may find Fort Lauderdale to be the one with the cheapest airfare.

Here are probably the best places to visit in Florida. Continue reading “Florida – Beaches, Gators, Dinsey & Dives”

Utah – Life Elevated!!

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We did a road trip a year ago from Las Vegas,NV to Denver, CO driving through the beautiful landscape of Utah. Our goal was to get a lot of hiking done and cover most of the national parks on the way. We covered 5 national parks and few other amazing sites. Here is an account of the same.

We drove from Vegas straight to Zion National Park. You require at least 1.5 – 2 days to explore Zion. We did 2 long hikes Angels Landing and Observation Point. We could not do the Narrows hike as the water level was too high. But, on good days I would skip Observation Point hike for Narrows. So keep these 3 in mind. Zion also offers great views and shorter hikes. You can drive around for 2-3 hours and be amazed!

Our next stop was Bryce Canyon National Park which was around 2 hours from Zion. We reached there before Sunset and did the Sunset Point hike which takes you into the canyons where you feel so insignificant around the hoodoos surrounding you. You can decide the length of your hike depending on the amount of time you have. Make sure you get back in time for Sunset at the Inspiration point. This is a great panorama point to soak in the beauty of this place when the sun setting behind you lights up all the hoodoos.

Oh I just remembered something. You need to book a hotel at Zion well in advance if you are planning to go there during any long weekend. It is a small town and there are way too many visitors. We were not aware of this and our plan was not yet concrete so when we actually started looking at the hotels it was too late and everything was booked out, including the campsites. Even the first come first serve campsites were taken when we reached there. So we drove into some deserted crossroad and slept in the car! If you end up in that situation make sure your car has a moon roof because if the weather is good and skies are clear you see millions of stars in the sky!

We crashed at a hotel in Kenab the next night, which is a good stopping point between Bryce and Page AZ. Next morning we drove from Kenab to Page, AZ stopping at Lone Rock beach, Glen Canyon dam and other vista points of the Glen Canyon National Park. Though this park is very picturesque, most of it is only accessible  by water. So if you own/rent a boat, you can explore a lot. The color of the water is beautiful and with a lone rock at the center and many mountains behind. This is a nice stop for some pictures. Continue reading “Utah – Life Elevated!!”

New Mexico – The land of Enchantment!

Three reasons to visit New Mexico –

  1. Food
  2. Culture
  3. Balloon Fiesta!!

My dad agreed to come and visit me in the US only after I promised him that I would show him that part of USA which usually do not feature on postcards. To keep that word we narrowed down on New Mexico. The timing was perfect! It was my birthday and there was the International Balloon Fiesta – the largest hot air balloon festival in the world!

We woke up at 4am in the morning and headed to the fiesta grounds for the Dawn Patrol at 5.30am followed by mass ascension. When we reached there I realized that I had over enthusiastically bought more tickets than we needed. I made Madhu stand there and sell the extra tickets but since people got very suspicious (given that we were brown and also had 2 tickets on one sheet printed back to back to save paper), we had to give them out for free (they did not care about our skin color then 😐 ). Our day started out with a net loss of $53. But once we were in we just forgot about it. The balloons being fired is so magical in the dark. It just illuminates everything around you and you realize there are hundreds and hundreds of people there!

The mass ascension was so dramatic. It was set against the back drop of Sandia Mountains with sun gradually emerging providing silhouettes of thousands of balloons in air. In less than 30 minutes there were many balloons in air than I could count. Mom and I just wrapped ourselves in blankets and lay on the grass gazing at the sky filled with balloons of all shapes, sizes and colors. 

If that did not inspire you to get to NM, this definitely will. Food is amazing in this part of the world. Being a vegetarian Indian, I absolutely loved the food! It is cheesy, spicy and yummy. They have red/green chili sauce on everything! We even got to eat Indian Naan with Chili on top at one of the many stalls at the Balloon Fiesta. We devoured so much on great spicy New Mexican cuisine that we ended up with stomach cramps. Oh No!

Continue reading “New Mexico – The land of Enchantment!”

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