While in Tucson, Arizona, some of the PSL team took a little hike at Saguaro National Park. It is a unique desert landscape that has visitors driving a one-way 7 mile loop with occasional stop offs to take in the views and get some nice photos. The time there was made unique as we could see a looming storm in the distance towards the end of the time there. It made for some seriously atmospheric photography! I hope you enjoy!
Recently a member of the Plant-Smart Living team went out to Arizona to visit family for the Christmas holiday. They landed in Phoenix, Arizona and proceeded to drive 2 hours south to Tucson. Along the way, they stopped off a the notable half-way point that is Picacho Peak State Park. It becomes visible in the distance nearly 30 minutes before arrival, and provides some really great views that we are not all that accustomed to in Pennsylvania. I hope you enjoy some of these beautiful photos!
Swimming and snorkeling through the Sac Aktun Cenote system was a very surreal experience. It felt like I left the planet and arrived somewhere totally unique. The spectacular sights of stalactites and stalagmites paired with sometimes large expanses of water, and a network of interconnected caves that create the 2nd largest cave network in the world is phenomenal. This experience in Mexico definitely goes against the grain of normal life in rural Pennsylvania, but will be remembered for the rest of my life.
We did the best we could to capture video of this place, but in reviewing it, it hardly does it justice. It is one of those experiences that are best experienced by you, but I hope our photos and video of Sac Aktun will fill you with a desire to want to journey to this place yourself in your travels.
Tulum is an ancient Mayan city that overlooks the Caribbean Sea. While the architecture is not on the same scale as Chichen Itza or Coba, it stores a unique beauty when viewing the city in its currently preserved form. While in the past Tulum served the purpose of being a port for trade within the Mayan empire, at its current it is a reflection of history of the Maya, who have virtually ceased to exist as a dominant civilization. Only remnants of the Maya remain in small villages painted around the Yucatan peninsula, maintaining many traditions of the past while merging with some modern amenities and sensibilities.
If your enjoy our photos from our visit to Tulum, maybe it will inspire you to take a trip there one day too!
Chichen Itza is instantly recognizable because of the famous El Castillo pyramid. You have likely seen pictures of it around the web, as well as featured on a variety of television shows ranging from normal travel-centric pieces (like in Travel Channel’s Expedition Unknown with Josh Gates) to stranger ones talking about it being the work of alien lifeforms (like on History Channel’s Ancient Aliens). Regardless of your thoughts on the place and its significance to the world, it is hard to ignore that there was an allure for me to go there and experience it myself. Being someone who enjoys history and educating myself about new things, having the opportunity to tour the Chichen Itza ruins with a professional archeologist was excellent and made what I was seeing far more memorable.
Let me preface this batch of photographs by stating clearly that the hike to Adams Falls is not easy. There is one particular section that will be challenging for those who are unstable on their feet and not athletic, which requires you to scale this rather high, vertical rock wall. We witnessed one family with small children turn around at this point, which was probably a wise decision but unfortunate as well because the falls lie right beyond this section.
With this out of the way, I overall enjoyed the natural beauty of the waterfall and hiking trail that led to it. The actual enjoyment of the falls was only blighted by the large quantity of people who were there, some of them not so respectively as they were smoking cigarettes (among other things from what I could tell). I have since learned that this is more or less a “hot spot” for college aged crowds. Of course, this is no problem at all, but let’s all at least respect each other and the environment we are in.
Found within San Diego’s major lure, Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo is internationally renowned as one of the “best zoos” in town. And by town, we mean, the world. As animal lovers and nature enthusiasts, it’s hard to resist the urge to go to a zoo, whether it be a local one or this major tourist attraction. To see some of these animals, especially those that would be considered more “exotic” in nature, in person is a real treat and spectacle. I am glad we did not pass up the opportunity to visit the San Diego Zoo, even though we had to rush through it somewhat because of having to get somewhere with family. Needless to say, though, we soon discovered that this zoo is really too large to be experienced in just a couple of hours. Spend a whole day, or even multiple days, checking out all it has to offer!
One of the unexpected treasures of San Diego discovered during out 2015 trip out West was Balboa Park. This is a huge area filled with lots to see and lots to do. No doubt, we at Plant Smart Living spent quite a lot of time exploring the beautiful use of nature as is exemplified in the Japanese Zen Garden and the Arboretum, but there were also other man-made sites to see that are too cool to ignore.