Posts by Country

Friday, May 19, 2017

Mỹ Sơn

Mỹ Sơn (pronounced "Me Sun") is an abandoned group of temple buildings from about 400-1400 AD. On Friday, May 19th, I had my free egg rice breakfast that was included in my $5 hostel booking, and then started my ride over to Mỹ Sơn sanctuary. It was during this ride that I saw the most legitimate examples of bad driving that I've ever seen in my life. I had already witnessed some pretty interesting driving in the city - this shirt I bought says it all.

It turns out you can pretty much do whatever you want on the roads in Vietnam. For example, passing into oncoming traffic is routine here, and I can't even tell you how many times I saw people talking on their phones while riding. I even had a chat with Vinny the night before while he was giving me a tour on his scooter, and I couldn't help but notice that he wasn't even looking at the road half the time - even when we were entering an intersection...

Anyway, I thought the temple ruins were interesting but, for me, the ride over was the best part. The rural areas are also really nice in general. The rugged roads and natural beauty of the countryside were really impressive to me. The undeveloped areas give a nice sense of balance between civilization and untamed wilderness. If I had my way, and I know many would disagree, but I would like to see the whole world preserved in such a natural, "uncivilized" state. At least to me, the trade off seems well worth it.

After another few hours ride back to my hotel in Da Nang, I decided to find something to eat. As I was walking around the neighborhood, using my broken Vietnamese to ask about places to eat, a random guy on a scooter rolled up and told me to get on. Now I know what you're thinking, sounds like a scene out of a horror movie, right? Well, I didn't feel like the guy was threatening in any way and, in any case, I was twice his size. Worst case scenario he takes me a few blocks further than expected and I force him to stop.

As we rounded the corner, we came to a stop at a dirty little garage. I wasn't sure what to make of the place until a lady came out with a plate. Turns out he had taken me to a neighborhood restaurant! This was technically what I was looking for, so I sat down and had a look at the strange egg she had brought out. I peaked into the opening on top and quickly realized what I was looking at... this was no ordinary egg... this was Balut.

If you don't already know what Balut is; it's a boiled duck egg. The only thing is that this duck egg is fertilized... meaning that the bird inside is half-formed. I started peeling away the shell and eating the yoke (which was actually on the outside) when the guy put down his cigarette, took my egg and shoved his thumbs inside. I was then greeted with the lovely sight of internal organs, veins, beak, eyes and the beginnings of feathers. Still, I thought to myself, "how bad can it be?"

It's pretty bad. I've eaten a lot of weird stuff: Durian in Singapore, scorpions in Beijing, intestines as well as stinky tofu in Hong Kong, Haggis in Scotland, Kangaroo burger in London (imported from Australia of course), Possum in New Zealand, Dog Soup in South Korea, etc. But this... this was not an easy one to stomach. After eating most of one, along with lots of spicy greens, I had had enough... then they brought out another one. I didn't want to be rude, so I started eating the yoke on that one, but then realized I had a good excuse to stop - I was full. So, I did the appropriate gestures to show that I couldn't eat anymore - I had realized by this point that the Vietnamese that I had learned over the last month on Duolingo was pretty much incomprehensible to locals. I then got my host to finish it for me. Talk about dodging a bullet! Or, at least, to an extent. I'll never forget the texture of the innards, beak and eyes of that first egg that I actually had intended to fully consume.

I figured this was enough adventure for the day, but it seems my new friend had other plans. We hopped back on the scooter on our way to some random backwater street where we stopped at a bar. Before I had a chance to say anything (it was actually getting close to time for me to go meet my friends who I would be joining for a wedding the following day), he ordered the strangest drinks for us. I had a go at it - it was some kind of coffee liquor. Not my favorite. Then, as I had been dreading since having seen the drinks, we got back on the bike. Mind you - we had no helmets. My driver insisted that he would be careful (at least that's the message I got), so we slowly began our short trip back to his "restaurant". Slowly at first, but then he got it up to a reasonably uncomfortable speed as he swerved drunkenly along the road. Thankfully, we made it back safely. I walked the rest of the way to my hotel grateful that I wouldn't be later be telling the story of some horrible accident experienced on this, what I would call, an otherwise worthwhile, unique and exciting adventure.

Later that evening, I met up with the wedding party at a popular local restaurant scene called Tran Food. It was kind of cool because they gave us all of the stuff for making spring rolls in which we were free to put whatever we wanted - a welcome change from eating duck fetus surprise!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hoi An

Good evening, Vietnam! On Wednesday, May 17th, I arrived in Vietnam where I began my search for a functioning ATM. After ordering a GrabTaxi (similar to Uber), I went to the first ATM I could find at the airport only to find that it was not even plugged in. When the GrabTaxi arrived, I explained my situation and asked to stop at an ATM on the way to my hotel. The driver seemed to be okay with this idea... unfortunately, this was because he didn't understand. As we approached the hotel, I found myself awkwardly explaining why I didn't have money for him. Eventually, I found that pronouncing ATM with Latin pronunciation (Ah-Tay-Em) got my message across - this actually makes sense because of the French colonial influence in Vietnam. So, we found an ATM... but this one didn't accept cards with the security chip. Who knew that more security could be the cause of the problem? Visibly exasperated, the driver took me to another ATM where I had to wait in a line. When I finally got to the front, I found that this one was not working very well either. Fortunately, it was just a matter of mashing the buttons really hard.

Back at the hotel, I gave the driver twice the fare - $10. This would have been reasonable even if he hadn't driven me across town. The bargains didn't stop there - my $10 room had air conditioning, queen-size bed and a balcony! I would later discover that this was just the beginning of my budgeting dream come true.

Later that evening I took a GrabTaxi to a friend's place across town where I met with some fellowship contacts. Quang is a local in Da Nang and Chas comes from LA. We spent some time talking, reading, and eating some interesting local snacks, then I headed back to my hotel for the night.

The next day I found my next bargain - a scooter rental for $5/day! And here I thought the GrabTaxi couldn't be beat. I then began my journey down the coast on my way to Hoi An. My first stop along the way was a gas station. I think that was about $3 to fill up... and they even do it for you. As I was continuing down the coast, I came across Marble Mountain. This was actually one of the stops on my itinerary, but planned for another day. Nevertheless, I ended up making an unplanned stop. As I was riding along, another scooter pulled up next to mine and its' driver decided to start a conversation with me! The lady on the other bike asked me if I'd been to Marble Mountain and, when I told her that I had plans to see it, she insisted on showing me where to go.

I followed this lady up to her shop and we parked there. She then gave me a ride to the entrance at which point I explained that I was actually planning to come back with friends on another day. So, she took me back to the shop and started her pitch. Well, in retrospect, her pitch started back on the main road. This was all an elaborate scheme to get customers into her store and price gouge them. Feeling guilty that I had wasted so much of her time, I offered to buy a couple little items. I assumed that the prices would be Vietnamese prices... naturally, I was wrong. I chose a few small marble figures thinking that it would be no more than a couple bucks. She then went on to quote me over $100! Well, I had already agreed to buy something so I offered to buy one cheap one. She went on with all of the funny lines, like "you're on holiday - live a little!" or something like that. She clearly had assumed I was one of the average tourists with a bit of extra cash. Well, after repeatedly assuring her that I was not, she agreed to let a small figurine and a bracelet go for $25 USD... you can imagine my sense of buyer's regret after I left that place. Even after talking her down to a fraction of what she was asking, I had still gotten completely and utterly ripped off. I would later see these same items on the street for spare change.

Oh well! I continued my ride down the beautiful coastal road to Hoi An - a traditional Vietnamese village packed with tailors. I had taken the advice of a guy I met while wandering around on Hong Kong Island a few days before, and plotted my route to a place called Yaly Couture. Apparently, this place uses state-of-the-art technology to produce super high-quality suits at unbeatable prices. I later found out that, not only did the store I went to not use the high tech computer scanning tech, but that they actually give a pretty average rate for that part of the world. A few months later I would learn of $50 suits in Thailand - 1/3 of what I paid! In any case, I got measured twice that day and had a pretty darn nice suit delivered to my hotel that evening.

Meanwhile, I went to lunch and practiced my Vietnamese with a local named Vinny... Actually, his name was Vĩnh Trần, but I suggested what I thought was a fitting English name and he seem to like it. So, after I got to know Vinny over lunch, he offered to show me around his village. He had to work for a few hours though, so I went for a message at a place recommended by my hostel, called Su Bi. It was actually a lot different than previous messages I'd had. It started out with a tea based foot soak during which they gave me some really tasty sweet coconut to eat - this indeed was quite good, especially when you consider that I usually hate coconut! After that we went upstairs for a really nice full body message. I was surprised there as well because I usually don't enjoy the whole message - it's usually a bit too aggressive. At one point the lady was doing something that made a clacking sound as it hit my back. It was nice but I honestly couldn't tell you what the heck it was. Overall, my hour message was a pretty good deal at $10 (about 230,000 Vietnamese Dong).

Later on I met up with Vinny for some really awesome local Vietnamese food. First he took me for some street food (only like $1 - 20k VND) followed by a restaurant where I got clay pot steamed rice with chicken and a drink for probably about $2. Finally, we headed over to the street market to see the famous Hoi An lights, more street food (including the most delicious lemonade-type drink I've ever had), and souvenirs - which some guy promptly tried to steal from me as we were walking through a crowd. The cheeky little sneak tried to grab my stuff right out of my bag that was in my hand! You can imagine how shocked he was when he realized I was actually paying attention. Off he ran.

That evening back at the hostel, I met my only roommate and we had a good chat before bed. Backpackers in this part of the world are always on the coolest adventures. Thanks to the low cost of travel here, most people you meet are on a long-term journey - anywhere from a few weeks to several months... even years! It's hard to imagine living this way in most any other part of the world. Southeast Asia really is the backpacker capitol of the world.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Camping at the Cliffs!

On Sunday, May 14th, Chu Sum and I started making our way over to Sai Kung to go camping. Chu Sum actually went home first to get his stuff while I stopped off to have a quick lunch with Jo over in Quarry Bay. We caught up a bit then I continued heading over to Sai Kung where Chu Sum was having a panic attack - somehow he had left his wallet at home. This is strange because he somehow remembered his Octopus card which would have usually been in his wallet. It didn't take long though before we realized that he really didn't need it... or it may have been that he found it - I don't actually remember. In any case, we caught the bus to Sai Wan Pavilion and did the usual hike to the cliffs. Once we arrived we did a few cliff jumps then set up camp on the rocks.

We had planned on camping up higher in the grass but Chu Sum didn't feel comfortable scaling the wall with the gear. Later that night this proved to be more interesting than we could have imagined. Not only are rocks a bit hard to sleep on but the weather soon became a major concern. The next morning we woke up to rushing water... this had me fearing the worst. As I opened the door I found that the water level had risen almost all the way up to our tent! The rains had caused the river to flood so we were lucky to be just high enough that it didn't get us. Nevertheless, the loud waterfalls were enough. Unable to sleep anymore, we packed up our gear. The hike back was a bit different with the higher waters, slippery paths, etc. but nothing crazy... except for the giant snake hanging out on the path!

Seems heavy rains cause more than just high water. We were soon back at the pavilion where we waited about a half hour for one of the first buses to arrive. We then continued back to Chu Sum's where I started preparing my bags for Vietnam. I spent the next few hours getting to the airport and trying to check in for my flight... unfortunately, that didn't quite work out. Turns out Americans need a visa to go to Vietnam. I tried doing a VOA (visa on arrival) but, even with the paid services, that process wasn't going to be fast enough for me to use my ticket. So I missed my flight.

This left me with one option. I applied for an electronic visa (E-visa) through the Vietnamese government website and re-booked my plane ticket for two days later. Thankfully, Chu Sum and his family were happy to have me for a couple more days while I sorted everything out. It's also good that this happened in Hong Kong where the cost of my mistake was easily absorbed as a miscellaneous travel cost rather than the travel nightmare that it could have been.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Stream Trekking

On Saturday, May 13th, Chu Sum and I met up with Jurgen to go stream trekking. Chu Sum has been meeting up with local trekking groups for walks up and down Hong Kong rivers for about a year now. He really likes it a lot so he took us to a spot that he had been looking into.

After visiting with more of Hong Kong's wild cows, we took a dip in a rock pool and began the trek. Pretty much right from the start we realized that we couldn't take two steps without running face-first into spider webs. The air was thick with them. Nevertheless, we continued until we found some good rocks to jump off of. The best part wasn't until the end though where we found a really nice pool and a tree to jump off of. The water was also much warmer by this point.

As we left, we said goodbye to the cows, monkeys and other wildlife as well as some cosplay people dressed as anime characters. Cosplay is a pretty big deal in Hong Kong from what I have seen and heard.

As it started to rain I felt really happy to be in Hong Kong where that's actually a good feeling (due to the warm, humid climate). That evening we went out for dinner to celebrate Mother's Day with Chu Sum's mom.

Then, while Chu Sum worked on a project back at the house, I went to see my old colleague Jo. We spent some time hanging out with some of his friends talking about all our experiences teaching in Hong Kong. He had finally had some success with getting registered after so many years of being rejected because of his three-year degree. This was hard to believe because, while he had studied education, I was qualified on the basis of having done four years in a field that was irrelevant! Anyway, during our conversation I found out about a little job lead of my own - teaching online through a local company. Seems I'll be able to continue working in Hong Kong after all!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Wandering in HK

On Sunday, May 7th, Chu Sum and I went to a park in West Kowloon with his family for a picnic. it was a special day out in celebration of Chu Sum's mum's birthday. We played Frisbee, taught a girl how to ride a street surfboard and ate some classic Cantonese food.

That night we went out again to continue celebrating Chu Sum's mum's birthday at a traditional Cantonese restaurant.

The next day I wandered around with my friend Ayden who, later that month, had invited me to be a guest at his wedding in Vietnam. We visited Ayden's old high school where he used to teach English; an experience which, quite surprisingly, had turned out to be one of several that we had in common. In fact, up till about two years before, we had been living parallel lives. We both had traveled Australia and New Zealand over the same 2.5 years and then made the transition to teaching in Hong Kong. It was there that we met through mutual friends and found out that we both had, not only the same job, but the same history. After our nostalgic visit to his old school, we had lunch and went on an exciting hunt for wedding tablecloth fabric.

Over the next couple days I continued wandering around primarily on foot until I made some new friends on Hong Kong (HK) island. After they told me about their time living in HK as students at HKU we walked around the island a bit. We eventually ended up at Happy Valley where we watched the horses a bit and watched some new age musical performance by a band of local hipsters. Finally, we took the street car across the island. It was getting late by this point but I lucked out with a minibus that happened to be going directly back to Chu Sum's place.

The next day I met up with another teaching friend, Debbie. We went to Ning Po Secondary School where she teaches and I joined a couple classes as a guest teacher. After I finished reliving my days of teaching English in Hong Kong, we went out for Yum Cha then returned for the students' talent show. As with most student events in Hong Kong, it was quite long but this one was reasonably entertaining. They did lots of singing, dancing, plays with the typical "work hard or fail" moral, etc. You could tell that most of them had spent several months preparing, if not years. After the show we navigated the trusty HK public transportation system on our way to a home meeting for dinner.

Getting around Hong Kong really does make you appreciate how well a well-designed public transport system can work. Still, Hong Kong being the exception, I could never really see myself depending on public transport in the long term. Most of these systems just don't even come close to providing the sense of mobility that one gets from having their own vehicle - this includes bicycles.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Kayaking Tap Mun

On Saturday, 6th of May, Chu Sum and I went to Hoi Ha for a kayaking trip to Tap Mun (Grass Island) - an island we had previously camped on. The buses from Sai Kung would have been the best deal but they were few and far between so we took a taxi. I think we spent about double the bus price (only about $5-10 USD anyway) but got there in half the time which actually ended up being the difference between going and not going. At the kayak rental office we decided to hire two kayaks... so that nobody got stuck doing all the work.

Soon after we began our voyage we made a stop in the rocks. Chu Sum was wearing a special hatbrella that I got for him - a very functional and envy inducing accessory that I would have liked to have had on such a hot day. There we disembarked to take some photos, at which point Chu Sum's kayak began to float away. We quickly recovered his kayak and continued on toward the island.

Upon arriving at the island we quickly pulled out lunch before taking a quick swim with the sea urchins - there were dozens of them! At this point we really didn't have any time left so we paddled back as quickly as we could.

It was getting late as we arrived back and we were tired but I managed to get a pretty good shot of some of Hong Kong's ubiquitous wild cows grazing up on a hill. After returning our equipment we rushed to rinse off as the mosquitoes came in full force. The kayak company had a barrel of water with ladles for scooping out cold water and pouring it over yourself... pretty sure they added insect attractant. Finally, we caught the last bus back to Sai Kung and had dinner before making our way back to Mong Kok. There Chu Sum and I had some rather interesting fermented coffee...

Friday, May 5, 2017

Back in Hong Kong!

On Wednesday, May 3rd, I went to the airport to catch a 15 hour direct flight to Hong Kong. It had been a couple years since my last visit but, aside from that, my return was largely for the purpose of attending a friend's wedding in Vietnam. Of course, Hong Kong is a friendly port for two reasons: it's cheaper to fly there and I have a good friend there who only just recently visited me in the states.

After a day of travel (factoring in time zones) I arrived. As I wandered the streets the next morning I found some familiar experiences. Egg tarts at the wet market bakery for about 2.5 HKD (30 cents), ice cream at McDonald's for 4 HKD (about 50 cents) and a cheeky Circle K lady with a fake smile calling me a mean name in Cantonese while assuming that I don't know what it means. Of course, it's always possible that I misunderstood but, considering how much swearing one hears while living in Hong Kong, I think I can tell the difference. I also stopped by the Ladies' Market (famous street market with stuff for everyone... not just ladies) on the way to my old high school where I used to teach - Lok Sin Tong Yu Kan Hing Secondary School.

As one of the most financially well endowed schools in Hong Kong, YKH had some new toys. Even when I was there before they had $10k talking/dancing robots and cutting edge studio equipment for campus TV. This time I found myself drinking a cup of coffee with a picture of my face printed on it while looking at one of two private aquariums as well as a set of 3D printers. Why 3D printers? Well, for printing pancakes of course!

Later that evening Chu Sum and I went to a home meeting then took off early so we could use his Groupon for a Korean BBQ buffet (above).

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Winter in Washington

On Sunday, the 13th of November, I was on my way to Seattle for a church meeting. As I was riding I noticed small pieces of something flying by my face. After a second I looked down and discovered the problem: somehow during the journey my rain gear had literally begun to disintegrate!

Over the next four months I worked a lot, spent time with friends and family, etc. Your usual winter in Washington - waiting for the weather to stop being horrible. During this time I think everyone gets a little crazy from the old work, eat and sleep routine. In fact, one day I even had a nutcase follow me into a parking lot to scream at me. Gotta love road rage... seems he was under the impression that there's some law against changing lanes near an intersection (I checked - there's not).

Later in March I went in for some studies on what turned out to be a deviated septum - a problem that a lot of people seem to have. It seemed like overnight my nose had become permanently stuffed up so I went under the knife to get it fixed. I actually took some interesting videos of my post op procedures for anyone who might be considering this surgery (septoplasty). You can check out my post op day-to-day experience  or just the stent removal. I only recommend it to those who want to know what the procedure is like... maybe don't watch if you're squeamish.

As spring began to bring slightly better weather, I started taking advantage of more outdoor opportunities again. I got back to riding the dirtbikes, went to a baseball game and started doing more work outside. Still, it just wasn't enough, so I got on a plane and went to Hong Kong, Vietnam and South Korea!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Rafting the Puyallup

On Saturday, November 5th, it was a bit rainy but it was also the last chance for Chu Sum to do the Puyallup... river. So, soon as I got off work, we grabbed the raft, rain gear and some snacks, and headed to the drop point. As we drifted down the first stretch we spent some time figuring out how to coordinate our paddling. Unfortunately, unlike in the movies, it's not always so easy as beating a drum and maintaining a simple rhythm. In fact, seeing as Chu Sum can't read minds, he often would paddle the opposite way that I wanted him to... regularly resulting in a seemingly endless turn. Nevertheless, we saw many interesting things: homes built at the edges of cliffs, cars at the bottom of the cliffs... a whirlpool (which didn't help with our coordination issue), as well as a pointy fallen tree on the edge of the whirlpool, and several fishermen.

As we continued down the river we found ourselves on the wrong side of a gravel bar at which point Chu Sum ended up having to get out and drag us because he was in the front. Overall, even with the rain (maybe even because of the rain), we were pleasantly surprised at the beauty of this incredibly local attraction. In fact, the majority of the river, while still technically in the city, felt like it could easily have been in the middle of a vast wilderness. At the end of the four plus hour voyage we pulled the boat onto a random river bank in order to meet my mom for pickup. We may have startled a lady whose yard we had to pass through (she was actually a bit irate) but it was an otherwise ideal landing only a minute walk from a reasonable pickup spot. The next day we met with the neighbors and had some donuts. Then, as the eve of Chu Sum's final day came near, I used the remaining daylight to teach Chu Sum how to ride the dirtbike.

Finally, the following day, we both took the bike, along with all of Chu Sum's stuff, to the airport just in time for his flight. The ride through morning traffic on 167 no doubt left a strong impression on Chu Sum causing him to further appreciate the convenience of the MTR - the subway that connects every major point of interest in his home town of Hong Kong in the PRC (People's Republic of China).

Friday, November 4, 2016

Mt Saint Helens

On Tuesday, November 1st, Chu Sum and I went back to my dad's for a couple days followed by a trip to Mt Saint Helens. It took several hours of riding before Chu Sum and I finally pulled up to our first stop - the Ape Caves.

Upon entering the caves we soon realized that my lamp was rather useless. As we stumbled in the darknees, with occasional illumination from passersby, we found our eyes were able to adjust just enough so that the dim light actually seemed to be helping. Of course this was ruined by every subsequent exposure to regular strength light. What's more, Chu Sum wasn't really a huge fan of my idea of walking with the light off for intermittent lengths of time as a way to improve our night vision. Thankfully we were soon joined by some new friends who had lamps bright enough to light up whole sections of the cave.

Soon we arrived at the end of the cave where we were both able climb up into a smaller area for some spelunking. I had been down there a few years back and knew that it was a tight squeeze so I let Chu Sum have a go at it... Well, poor Chu Sum smacked his head pretty good for the second time of his visit (the first time on a low metal bar at Wild Waves).

That night we set up camp and Chu Sum, motivated by tales of killer bears, prepared to fight for his life. I probably should have clarified how uncommon bear encounters tend to be... seems the idea gave him nightmares.

The next day we drove up to a scenic spot for some photos of the mountain. Already a bit weary, we continued a bit further to Lava Canyon. We took a short walk to a waterfall and some interesting rock formations then decided we were ready to start the bum-numbing ride back to Puyallup.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Salt Lake City

On Wednesday, October 26th, after I finished work we went to Josh's so we could all make the early morning departure together. When we got there we found out that Josh had bought the Vive virtual reality gear from the meetup the other day so we spent the evening fighting zombies and trying not to punch holes in the walls...

We spent the next day on the road driving for something like 13 hours to get to Salt Lake City, Utah. That evening, and the whole next day, we walked around town. We ended up stopping in at Leonardo's Museum of Flight for some oddball exhibits with mirrors, illusions, general weirdness as well as, believe it or not, some actual airplanes!

Finally, game day arrived so we went to the stadium to hassle the local fans about their signs... as you do. After about an hour of standing in crowds with cameras whipping overhead the others went to the game while I took a hike up to "the Living Room" as it's called. Not being antisocial mind you - we just didn't have enough tickets.

Well, maybe I'm weird, but I'll take mind-blowing views from mountain tops over watching a football game any day. After the hike I went back at Ute Stadium where I met a lady at the crosswalk. She was leaving the game so she gave me her ticket stub so that I could go inside with the others. In the end we cheered as the Huskies won the game then we made our way Boise, Idaho for the night.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mt Rainier

On Tuesday, October 25th, after I finished work, Chu Sum and I hopped on the bike for a two hour journey - destination: Mt Rainier.

As we arrived we found that the weather was turning for the worse. At first this seemed like it might be a bad thing, but then we saw that the rain was actually thawing the roads... the mountain had recently experienced something of a blizzard.

At the top of the access road we pulled into an empty car park. Looking around we realized it wasn't exactly business hours. In fact, the rangers eventually showed up on their way passing through. They gave us a curious look, explained the trails and pointed out the mountain to us. Apparently, if the air was clear, we would have had the mountain dominating the backdrop of the few trees currently visible. Nevertheless, this was the first time Chu Sum had ever seen snow and he was LOVING it!

After making a snow man, we decided to go for a hike along one of the paths. Most people stepped out of their cars, looked around and immediately headed off back down the mountain (one guy was actually wearing shorts and flip flops!). We gave it a fair go though; slipped around on the icy tracks for a ways, saw a river, some more snow and trees... Finally, we took a few more photos in the car park then, on the way back, had a look at Narada Falls followed by the Nisqually River at the terminal end of the Nisqually Glacier.