Archive | September, 2012
September 26, 2012

Travel Wishlist: Borneo

South East Asia is another area of the world that is high on my travel wishlist. I’ve never traveled to this particular corner of the world, and my previous travels to Asia have been confined to China and North Korea. Thankfully, I will finally make it to South East Asia this upcoming December and January, when I will be visiting Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand for 2.5 weeks.

(Courtesy Wikipedia)

Another area, though, that I will have to visit sometime in the near future is Borneo. The third largest island in the world, Borneo is divided among three countries: Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. The majority of the island’s territory belongs to Indonesia, with tiny Brunei occupying a mere one percent of the island.

Visitors to the island will find that there is plenty to do on their Borneo holidays. I’m a nature lover, so would opt to visit the island’s unspoiled beaches and national parks. Visitors can snorkel and scuba dive near the reefs lining the small islands off the coast of Borneo, while those looking for something less intense can relax on the island’s many white sand beaches. At the northern tip of Borneo is Kinabalu Park, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its vast number of unique flora, fauna, and wildlife; scientists here are continually discovering new species in this part of the world’s oldest rain forest. The park is also home to Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in South East Asia at 13,435 feet and supposedly an easy climb with no technical skills required. And after summiting Kinabalu, there are plenty of opportunities to soak your sore muscles in the hot springs. Wildlife tours, either by boat or jeep are also very popular, and some animal sanctuaries allow visitors to get up close with orangutans, elephants, and rhinos.

September 5, 2012

Crater Lake National Park

A few weeks ago we drove down to south-central Oregon for a long weekend in Bend and Crater Lake. Bend has a lot of excellent breweries (Deschutes, 10 Barrel, etc) and Crater Lake is, well, Crater Lake. It’s been on my to-do list for a few years, and despite the amazing images of the lake used in the Oregon Tourism ads, I was still floored by its beauty and size.

Panorama taken from Watchman Peak.

The caldera that Crater Lake occupies formed approximately 7,700 years ago when the volcano Mount Mazama erupted. Subsequent rain and melting snowfall filled the caldera, creating Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States.

We drove the 33 miles around the rim, stopping at various points to take short hikes. Strangely, the park did not seem very crowded, at least compared to places like Rainier or Olympic National Park.

Wizard Island, a volcanic cinder cone created by subsequent smaller eruptions.

Wizard Island’s cone.

View of the small island known as the “Phantom Ship”

The Pinnacles.

The tour boat in Crater Lake. We tried to get tickets, but unfortunately they were completely sold out.

View from the Watchman Lookout Station. Well worth the hike uphill!

The fire lookout station. Built in 1932. Elevation 8,025 feet.

Crater Lake is definitely a “must see” and well worth the long drive. We are planning to take another trip there in the winter, when the road that encircles the caldera is buried under feet of snow and open to snowshoers and crosscountry skiers.

The rest of the photos are here.