Indian Basin的景色和Titcomb Basin其实差不太多，有了前两天的感官轰炸，这一天前半程并没有感觉怎样。然而这条路徒步的人比Titcomb Basin还要少很多，我们一天可能只遇到了两三拨人，于是中间偏离了trail开始在野地里边走边找路，就这么走了大约得有一英里，终于遇到了一个ranger才找回正确的路上。这一段路线hikingproject上标的就完全不对……而且地形复杂trail也不明显，有时候离trail就几米远都会由于植被看不出来。感受就是走野地真的很累，还是trail好。。
When I came to the States, I stumbled upon a site called Frommer’s Travel Guide that uses “experiences” to describe travel destinations and their attractions. So instead of “a beautiful waterfall”, an experience is “jump into a clear pool under a beautiful waterfall”. It struck me how proper this way is. You can know a mountain pretty well from a photo or a Wikipedia page, but you can only experience a mountain when you go there. Weather, companion, food, activity, animal, random encounters, all these define your particular experience with that mountain, and it’s your unique memory.
Some experiences can be easily copied, some cannot because of rare elements. Experiences gained from efforts (e.g. long hikes) tend to be more memorable, but some easy experiences can also be very appealing.
I want to write about national parks because I really love the national park system. It’s one of the best aspects of the United States we can experience and enjoy. Especially in the era that so many other things feel so messed up, we can always seek serenity, order, peace, and civilized behavior in national parks. I’ve been to 34 of them and they covered most of my best travel experiences.
10. Petrified Forest: Devil’s Playground
Petrified Forest NP is such a secluded national park that when I walked into their visitor center, there are only two rangers and zero visitors, zero. One of the rangers welcomed me: “Welcome to Grand Canyon!”
Without little hope, I asked, “do you still have permits for Devil’s Playground?” It’s an area that they only issue 3 permits each week. To my surprise, they still have!
It was a 4-mile-ish hike, starting with finding your own way to descend into a dry riverbed and ending with one of the most untouched lands I’ve ever seen. Those elephant-skin surfaces look like they have been there for thousands of years, so otherworldly yet so fragile.
On the way back I saw an amazing desert sunset with a light pillar at the horizon. It looks stunning.
Cedar Grove是个游客相对比较稀少的区域，因为比较偏远，从Kings Canyon的中心区域要开一小时到公路尽头才能抵达，加上Kings Canyon公园本来就比相邻的Sequoia公园游客要少一些。但Cedar Grove这儿其实是有一个很好的backpacking环线的。我这次走了一个Mist Fall trail，是这个环线开头的一小部分，往返合计8英里。主要收获是遇到一头熊妈带着小熊在路上悠闲散步。走到中段就有迎面来的hiker告诉我路上可能有一家熊，走了一会儿拐过一个小弯果然看到了他们两口子了，就在trail上和我同方向走。小熊不停回头看我，有点紧张，熊妈则一副见怪不怪的样子看了我一眼就继续慢慢走。我在后面小心的保持距离一边跟着一边拍照。跟了一两分钟，熊妈带着小熊如履平地一般爬上trail旁边的山坡走了，把路让了出来。之后我在瀑布那里休息的时候居然又看到了她们俩，还是在trail上继续走，感觉是住在这儿的本地熊。
I started a keto diet on Jun 1 and have lost 10 pounds so far, after 6 weeks. One motivation is to cut some weight before a backpacking trip I planned for late Aug. Every extra pound will count at that time. Another reason is my weight has reached a peak number in the past 10+ years, which is how I got vaccinated in an earlier batch… I Gotta do something about it.
I did an Atkins diet years ago and lost probably 15+ pounds in two or three months. Keto’s basic idea is not so different from Atkins except keto recommends taking in more fat. So I know this kind of low-carb diet will work for me. On the other hand, I know exercising without diet control doesn’t really work for me. I did quite a lot of exercises earlier this year, then stopped after the fever from the second vaccine shot, then my weight peaked.
After starting keto, I found it much easier than when I did Atkins in China. In this work-from-home era, it’s easy to cook my own meals. My cooking style has switched to a mostly American style over the years: bake bacon and salmon and all kinds of vegetables in the oven; pour some balsamic into a box of leaves and call it a salad; grill a ribeye steak or lamb chops. All of these are pretty convenient options. Unsweetened almond milk, pine nuts, and chia seeds are my go-to snacks.
I probably still order half of our meals from delivery. Options are much more limited, especially for Asian food (bye noodles, rice, and sandwiches…) but there are still some options. Restaurants that mainly serve salads and mark themselves as “healthy” usually have plenty of safe choices. Midterrianian and BBQ places are more keto-friendly. Chinese/Japanese/Korean restaurants have very limited low-carb options in general…
Social occasions can be challenging when doing a strict keto diet. Alcohol is a big no-no, so I’m often drinking some almond water or club soda when hanging out with friends. I also become the picky person when picking restaurants. Fortunately, there are fewer social occasions these days due to the pandemic. Last year was really a good opportunity for doing a diet.
I went into ketosis pretty easily this time. No “keto flu” or any other uncomfortable feelings in the first few days, unlike the last time. And the urine strip turned very purple when I tested at the end of the first week. The weight loss progress was as expected, rapid 4~5 pounds of water weight loss in the first week, then a gradual decline of ~1 pound per week. I weigh myself a lot more these days, usually before sleep and after wakeup. I’m surprised how much my weight changes after a night of sleep, often 2 or 3 pounds! I’d imagine myself emitting steams at night.
I do drink a lot more water these days. The theory is after losing those water weight, I don’t have as much “reservoir” as before. Having a big water bottle at hands definitely helps… I use a 2-liter jug and go through about 3 jugs of water every day.
I’ve been also doing regular workouts about 5 or 6 days a week, mostly with Apple Fitness+, alternating between HIIT and strength exercises. I make sure to get some workout at night if I don’t go out all day. It makes me feel more energetic.
I plan to continue on for 2 more months. See if I can hit my goal of losing 20 pounds, then probably continue with a limited-carb diet. From last time, I knew I’d quickly gain all the lost weight back if I just go back to my previous usual way of eating…