Three Days of Summer in Lake Tahoe

To break away from unnecessary pressures of life and to escape from the scorching temperatures of summer in the Inland Empire, Southern California, we took a road trip to the north, and veered through the wooded roads towards Lake Tahoe.

20170801_135915

Lake Tahoe is one of the most visited places in the world anytime of the year, be it spring, winter, summer, or fall, as it is famously known for its gorgeous waterfalls, pristine lakes, fabulous beaches, majestic mountains, and ski resorts, to name a few. Lake Tahoe offers myriads of indoor or outdoor activities, both for the young and old. Water sports include parasailing, kayaking, windsurfing, jet skiing, and the like. For adventurers, there are many evergreen alpine trees shaded trails to hike and great mountain trails for biking as well. Indoors? there’s the beautiful Village center located next to the Marriott Heavenly Village where one can shop, or just hang out in one of the bars and coffee shops. There are big casinos, too, like Harrah’s, Hard Rock, and MontBleu for those who like to gamble.

Lake Tahoe lies between California and Nevada, tucked in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It is the largest alpine lake and the second deepest lake in Northern America. Part of the lake’s appeal is its clear and cobalt blue color. Can you believe that the water in this gorgeous lake is about 99.7% the same as distilled water? It is amazing, too, that the lake does not freeze over in the winter.

We arrived at Lake Tahoe at around 5 p.m. and checked in at the Three Peaks Resort and Beach Club Tahoe Hotel where Bosco, our pet dog, was allowed. The 8 hour drive was quite tiring, but a light snack and a short nap for replenishment and reinvigoration sufficed to get us back on the road to see “one of the most photographed places on earth”, the EMERALD BAY. No wonder why tourists refer to it as paradise, it is because of the stunning view and picturesque scenery. From Vista Point, one can see the tiny Fannette island with an old castle/ tea house atop it. I could not get enough just by gazing at the deep blue and still waters of the lake surrounded by alpine forested peaks. What a breathtaking view! There should be more ways to get immersed into that beautiful creation of Mother Nature!

To catch the sunrise at the Emerald Bay, I took a second trip by myself early in the morning straight to the Inspiration Point to get the best view of the beautiful Emerald Bay. Unfortunately, clouds shrouded the skies and the surrounding mountains, thus resulted to dark photos that I took with my cellular phone. On the contrary, I was fortunate to have driven there that time of day, because there was no traffic and that allowed me to proceed driving to the Donner’s Pass. There were about 4 people including myself in the area. I found myself a good spot to sit and relax. Fleeting as it was, that moment was my best peaceful respite.

For a more thrilling experience, we ventured through the single, narrow lane roads of the Fallen Leaf lake. It was bumpy with some pot holes. I had to carry with me my driving skills, and of course courteousness to the other drivers you meet on the road. Nevertheless, we were rewarded a stunning and majestic, up close and personal view of the Quaint Lily lake, the Glen Alpine Lake, and the gushing waterfalls of Glen Alpine cascading down the boulders.

Like I have mentioned earlier, there must be a better way to experience the deep blue lake of Emerald Bay. Who would resist the call of the lake? Not us!

We embarked on the Bleu Wave yacht, that departs from the Zephyr Cove Resort for a Sunset Champagne Cruise. My kids started to get disappointed due to the weather. It started to rain and there was thunderstorms. I was hopeful, though, that the weather will cooperate. Sure enough, the rain stopped and the cruise began. I took some pictures while cruising the bay:

One of the highlights of Lake Tahoe is riding the Heavenly Gondola to the Heavenly Ski Resort. Just for fun and experience, my daughters, Katrina and Adrienne, and I went for it. I bet the place would be best to visit when there is snow.  As you see on the photos, the place looks a bit dry.

To end this story, I would like to thank  my handsome son, Lance Paolo Cating for navigating for me to  drive to and from Lake Tahoe and Menifee, CA. To Adrienne and Katrina, thank you for understanding your mother throughout the days spent in that beautiful paradise. Our dog, Bosco, you were a great company to us.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

Trek to Mount Pulag

One of the places I’ve wanted to see since my youth is Mount Pulag, the second highest mountain in the Philippines. This is the highest mountain peak in Luzon, with an elevation of 2,922 meters above sea level. Mount Pulag is located in the municipality of Kabayan, Benguet, Philippines.

IMG_20170527_082328_116

The quest to climb Mount Pulag would have been easily fulfilled, because this mountain is nestled between Kabayan and Bokod, which is the place I was born and raised. I realized that it is not expected and it is not true that one is able to visit and see every place no matter how close the proximity is to where you live.

It took me almost two scores since my youth before I was able to set foot on the pristine mountain of the Cordillera, because my dream to migrate to America came first. Life here in the United States had ups and downs, sometimes in circles. I stumbled several times, but these setbacks gave me the strength to get back up to my knees and face what life brings. There is no regret being an immigrant in this foreign land. In fact, me and my kids are very grateful and fortunate that we live in the “Land of the Free”. Albeit citizens of this country, we still look back to our Filipino roots and culture.

Back in January of 2015, we visited the Philippines to reunite with my family, and our itinerary included climbing Mount Pulag.

FB_IMG_1486700245002

IMG_20170527_084006_098

Altogether with my kids, my older brother and sister, nephews, and nieces, we ventured to climb the mountain. The trek started at the Ambangeg trail early one morning. As we moved forward through the meandering trails of the hills and mountains, there were a few spurs of moments in which I felt being one with nature. All I heard was peace and quiet. I engrossed myself listening to the melodious songs of birds and the trickling of rivulets. We absorbed the coldness of the atmosphere as we walked through the trails under the canopies that various kinds of trees provided. We enjoyed feeling the breeze brushing against our faces, and at the same time, sniffing the sweet perfumed blossoms of wild flowers wafted by frolicsome breeze.

Out into the glade and into the grassland is the panoramic view of the beautiful Cordillara mountains under the lofty January sky.

IMG_20170209_205304_601

What an amazing sight! It is here where we first caught sight of the seemingly unreachable summit. From here, we saw trekkers, perhaps excited and wandering how it feels to be at the very top of Mount Pulag.

We halted to rest at this point, and while resting, one of us asked how much more steps before we reach our destiny. Another muttered, ” I will never do this again!” But, nobody gave up. We all got up, and with heads all bowed down, we trudged up and down the mountains, when finally, the lead guide said that we have reached the campground.

Each one dropped their body on the cold ground . We were informed that the  best view from the summit is at sunrise, meaning we had to ascend to the summit starting dawn the next day.  After we took a nap and after we set up our tents, we noticed thick blankets of clouds. It was almost 5 o’clock in the afternoon when the clouds started to disperse allowing the setting sun to cast its rays over the hills and the mountains. On the other side was a brush of rainbow that painted the sky and beneath was a sea of clouds. Before it went dark, we took the chance to walk through the surface carpeted with thick shrubs and dwarf bamboos as well. Before our eyes was a beautiful place decorated with trees and wild flowers. We were engulfed in nature’s beauty where love, peace, hope, and joy dominate. An ethereal experience!

IMG_20170527_084402_592

IMG_20170527_085301_689

 

As the cloak of darkness began to set in, countless starts started gleaming in the skies. Everyone was amazed gazing above the skies until our eyes got heavy and called it good night. We were lulled to sleep on a tranquil night inside our tents illumined by silver moonlight.

At early dawn, we all got up  and it was freezing cold. We packed all our things and everyone was ready to climb the mountain in the dark. With the aid of flashlights, we managed our way up. We reached the summit long before the sun was ready to appear. It was still dark, and many of trekkers were already awaiting for the sunrise. Listening to them, I was amazed that many were conversing in different dialects, and that meant these trekkers came from far places to see what nature offers in one of the Cordillera mountains. There were several of them stretching their arms with their selfie sticks taking pictures. One of my niece took “groupie”, nice one!

FB_IMG_1495900101730

IMG_20170527_083854_190

Then there was silence, followed by sounds of  oh’s and ah’s  as the sun started to unfold its colorful garments, with its golden rays kissing the hills and mountains and spreading throughout the vast expanse.

We were all amazed with the beautiful sceneries and the wonders of nature. It was an incomparable experience!

 There were good thoughts and wisdom caught throughout the journey that I would like to share, and these are as follows:

       In faith, hope, patience, and endurance, dreams are realized.

       In unity, love, and peace, there is no fear.

       To love beauty is to love nature.

       A day ends when the sun sets, and a new day begins when the sun rises.

As trekkers and visitors, let us keep Mount Pulag beautiful as ever, and keep respect of the inhabitants of the nearby villages, the  Cordillerans!

Trek to Mount Pulag

One of the places I’ve wanted to see since my youth is Mount Pulag, the second highest mountain in the Philippines. This is the highest mountain peak in Luzon, with an elevation of 2,922 meters above sea level. Mount Pulag is located in the municipality of Kabayan, Benguet, Philippines.

IMG_20170527_082328_116

The quest to climb Mount Pulag would have been easily fulfilled, because this mountain is nestled between Kabayan and Bokod, which is the place I was born and raised. I realized that it is not expected and it is not true that one is able to visit and see every place no matter how close the proximity is to where you live.

It took me almost two scores since my youth before I was able to set foot on the pristine mountain of the Cordillera, because my dream to migrate to America came first. Life here in the United States had ups and downs, sometimes in circles. I stumbled several times, but these setbacks gave me the strength to get back up to my knees and face what life brings. There is no regret being an immigrant in this foreign land. In fact, me and my kids are very grateful and fortunate that we live in the “Land of the Free”. Albeit citizens of this country, we still look back to our Filipino roots and culture.

Back in January of 2015, we visited the Philippines to reunite with my family, and our itinerary included climbing Mount Pulag.

FB_IMG_1486700245002

IMG_20170527_084006_098

Altogether with my kids, my older brother and sister, nephews, and nieces, we ventured to climb the mountain. The trek started at the Ambangeg trail early one morning. As we moved forward through the meandering trails of the hills and mountains, there were a few spurs of moments in which I felt being one with nature. All I heard was peace and quiet. I engrossed myself listening to the melodious songs of birds and the trickling of rivulets. We absorbed the coldness of the atmosphere as we walked through the trails under the canopies that various kinds of trees provided. We enjoyed feeling the breeze brushing against our faces, and at the same time, sniffing the sweet perfumed blossoms of wild flowers wafted by frolicsome breeze.

Out into the glade and into the grassland is the panoramic view of the beautiful Cordillara mountains under the lofty January sky.

IMG_20170209_205304_601

What an amazing sight! It is here where we first caught sight of the seemingly unreachable summit. From here, we saw trekkers, perhaps excited and wandering how it feels to be at the very top of Mount Pulag.

We halted to rest at this point, and while resting, one of us asked how much more steps before we reach our destiny. Another muttered, ” I will never do this again!” But, nobody gave up. We all got up, and with heads all bowed down, we trudged up and down the mountains, when finally, the lead guide said that we have reached the campground.

Each one dropped their body on the cold ground . We were informed that the  best view from the summit is at sunrise, meaning we had to ascend to the summit starting dawn the next day.  After we took a nap and after we set up our tents, we noticed thick blankets of clouds. It was almost 5 o’clock in the afternoon when the clouds started to disperse allowing the setting sun to cast its rays over the hills and the mountains. On the other side was a brush of rainbow that painted the sky and beneath was a sea of clouds. Before it went dark, we took the chance to walk through the surface carpeted with thick shrubs and dwarf bamboos as well. Before our eyes was a beautiful place decorated with trees and wild flowers. We were engulfed in nature’s beauty where love, peace, hope, and joy dominate. An ethereal experience!

IMG_20170527_084402_592

IMG_20170527_085301_689

 

As the cloak of darkness began to set in, countless starts started gleaming in the skies. Everyone was amazed gazing above the skies until our eyes got heavy and called it good night. We were lulled to sleep on a tranquil night inside our tents illumined by silver moonlight.

At early dawn, we all got up  and it was freezing cold. We packed all our things and everyone was ready to climb the mountain in the dark. With the aid of flashlights, we managed our way up. We reached the summit long before the sun was ready to appear. It was still dark, and many of trekkers were already awaiting for the sunrise. Listening to them, I was amazed that many were conversing in different dialects, and that meant these trekkers came from far places to see what nature offers in one of the Cordillera mountains. There were several of them stretching their arms with their selfie sticks taking pictures. One of my niece took “groupie”, nice one!

FB_IMG_1495900101730

IMG_20170527_083854_190

Then there was silence, followed by sounds of  oh’s and ah’s  as the sun started to unfold its colorful garments, with its golden rays kissing the hills and mountains and spreading throughout the vast expanse.

We were all amazed with the beautiful sceneries and the wonders of nature. It was an incomparable experience!

 There were good thoughts and wisdom caught throughout the journey that I would like to share, and these are as follows:

       In faith, hope, patience, and endurance, dreams are realized.

       In unity, love, and peace, there is no fear.

       To love beauty is to love nature.

       A day ends when the sun sets, and a new day begins when the sun rises.

As trekkers and visitors, let us keep Mount Pulag beautiful as ever, and keep respect of the inhabitants of the nearby villages, the  Cordillerans!

Lost in the Darkness

IMG_20170315_201652_747When you feel lost and perplexed

Under the canopy of darkness,

Focus and be calm

Seek that He will cast light upon you,

And follow that shaft of light which will

Lead you to a brighter future.

Open your heart to the Lord,

And listen to His guiding voice.

Remember that He is the light

Of the entire universe!

A Dream so Real

Was it a dream? Or was it a spiritual visit?

Could it be the dead’s way of conveying a message?

One night as I fell to slumber, I was taken aback to a life when we were younger.

The scene took place at the old family house situated behind the elementary school that was built eons ago. Overlooking the house’s window at the east, is the school playground where some sort of ball game was taking place. As me and my sisters were watching the game through the window, another scene took my attention. This time, I saw my sick father in his bed speaking to us his wishes. His message was so touching that carried us to tears. I held his hand to feel it in my face. Feeling my face drenched in tears, I stirred half awake only to realize that I was dreaming. Forcing myself to close my eyes and go back to sleep, it felt strange in my bedroom, like there was a presence of somebody I can’t visualize. I heard some rustling and footsteps inside the house, too. Having convinced myself that what I was hearing and feeling was a result of pure imagination, I fell back to sleep for few more hours. It was already past midnight when I sensed a whiff of cigarette smoke from nowhere in my bedroom. I wanted to wake up and find out where was that smell coming from, as nobody in my house smoke, but something was preventing me from doing so.  It was not easy to open my eyes and moving was a struggle. I felt so exhausted, that breathing started to get labored, too. I thought I was calling for my kids, but perhaps they heard nothing. I fought, and I fought so hard and finally managed to wake up and shifted myself to another side and went back to sleep as my body felt weak.

Oh, Lord! Dream continues, or maybe it is real!

This time, my father was by the door of  the bedroom and mumbled something that to my understanding, he is making sure that me and my kids are doing fine. In my reply, I caught myself talking in my sleep, then I woke up with ease. I got up and went to the kitchen, brewed some coffee, and offered it to the souls of the departed. For fear of dreaming again, I just laid in bed sniffing the aroma of the coffee that permeated through my bedroom, and lingered until dawn.

This is a dream I dreamt on the fisrt death anniversary of my father.

In our Filipino culture, it is a belief that when you dream of somebody who has passed away, it may be a sign of their soul roaming or visiting . One of the cultural practices in regards to dreams like mine, is to acknowledge their presence by offering food and saying prayers for them. Although some of the younger generation may not believe or practice the culture/ rituals anymore, older people like me, still do.