Tuesday, April 7, 2015

WASHINGTON: Mt. Rainier | Part 1

After arriving in Seattle, Washington, we decided to spend our first full day at Mt. Rainier National Park. One of our main goals of the trip was to hike some amazing destinations and get some great photos, which we definitely succeeded with on our first day out. The trip there alone is worth the "price of admission". Beautiful curving roads, landscapes and trees surrounding us the whole way there. Coming from Florida, the change in scenery was very much welcome. 

Inside the park, we decided to travel to one of the main welcome centers and were greeted with an array of different choices around the mountain. We went with one of the more popular hikes, which was a 6 mile hike called the Skyline Trail. Being in such high altitude and such different landscapes was a little strenuous near the end of the hike but it was well worth it. 

The views on even the drive up were fantastic. As you make your way closer, Mt Rainier becomes more visible. Once you begin the hike, there are tons of adorable chipmunks and marmots along the trail.

Every aspect of the hike is breathtaking. There are several different trails available that range in time and mileage, but we would recommend the Skyline. While a little difficult at times, you can experience a nice variety of terrain, from snowy rocky areas, to beautiful meadows scattered with wildflowers, and waterfalls. I think it's safe to say that Mt. Rainier was among our favorite experiences of our west coast adventure. 

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

FLORIDA: Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is a historical mansion built in Biscayne Bay, Miami. It's great spot for a quick day trip. While there is no photography allowed within the estate, there is plenty to see and photograph in the surrounding gardens. The property is full of tropical flowers, classical statues, and even a beautifully crafted Barge. The estate is former summer home of James Deering of the Deering McCormick-International Harvester fortune. If you are in the area other activities include the Miami Seaquarium, which looks like it hasn't been renovated since the 70's and also the a childrens science museum which does a great 3D laser light show during the first Friday of every month. 

We visited in June, and while it rains nearly daily during Florida summers, the rain doesn't last too long. It's easy to avoid the bad weather by exploring the inside when it's raining, and then checking out the gardens once the skies have cleared. 
All in all, it's a great spot for nature or architectural photography, and it's certainly one of the most classically beautiful places Miami has to offer. If you're visiting South Florida, and you want a contrast to the beach or swamp scenery, Vizcaya does have a nice blend of art and nature. 

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