Coming to Life in Desolation Wilderness

This gallery contains 18 photos.

You know when you’re hiking and you’re tired and your knees ache and your feet swell but you walk on? A rhythm governs your pace, and one, two, three, five more miles later your feet, knees, and legs feel like … Continue reading

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Graffiti Train Urban Art Gallery

This gallery contains 7 photos.

There used to be an active train tunnel above Donner Lake. Now, it’s a concrete canvas. br />

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Photos From Flume Trail

This gallery contains 15 photos.

After a grueling 4 mile climb, visit with the bike patrol and a thick roll of gauze the Flume trail showed why it is one of the most famous bike trails with jaw dropping vistas of Lake Tahoe. Thanks to … Continue reading

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The End of Picky Eater-hood

Last week, I ate a bowl of the best clam chowder I’ve encountered thus far in my life. Walking off my food baby, I stumbled upon an electronic palm reader, which ominously told me to seek help. After some serious soul searching, my help came to me in the form of a realization about picky eating.

I remember when I would do just about anything to escape eating most foods. Napkins make great hiding spots, and slyly sliding asparagus to the dog is a classic picky eater power play. This is a story about the time I didn’t use a napkin or my dog, and how a bowl of clam chowder saved me from a lifetime of being doomed to picky eater-hood.

The line of the beach town diner wound past the front windows and bent around the corner to reach back into the side ally. The chitter-chatter of anxious foodies talking about the clam chowder filled the air thick as the ocean’s scent. The line began to move and I was one step closer to swimming my taste buds in what would be my very first bowl of clam chowder. I was in the door way. The Splash Cafe was in high tide with beach goers. There wasn’t even space for the sound of waves in the joint and the fresh bread bowls filled with clam chowder were all I could smell and see and think. I was next in line.

“I’ve never had clam chowder.” I said to the cashier.

Drowning under the swell of customers she flashed me an “Are you serious?” glare. It was kind of like the stink eye but with less stink and heightened disbelief. It’s not like I said I’ve never ridden a bike or read Harry Potter. Tons of people have never tried clam chowder, I’m not the only picky eater. Right?

My order was taken, one bread bowl of the best clam chowder please, and then I waited. At the age of 20 I would have my first bowl of clam chowder and my picky taste buds were to blame. What if I like clam chowder? I thought. What if I REALLY like clam chowder? And what if there are millions of other unsuspectingly delicious meals waiting to show me the light? Pessimism also invaded my thoughts: What if I don’t like it?

I squeezed through the tightly packed walkway leading to the back of the restaurant lined with hungry tourists in search of a vacant spot to wait in. Yellowed newspaper clippings praising the Splash Cafe’s clam chowder adorned the walls and mixed feelings of hunger and anxiety washed over me. Clam Chowder… for a meal so domestic it sounded and smelled so foreign to me. Next to a counter, under the display of Splash Cafe t-shirts for sale, was a retro electronic palm reader that caught my eye. “What the hell! Why not!” I muttered, thinking that since today’s the day I’m trying clam chowder today can also be the day I consult a machine for advice. I slipped a quarter in the machine and placed my hand on the sensor, hoping for a distraction from my growing anxiety about the gooey shellfish dish awaiting me. There were lights blinking and buzzes ringing and eventually I got my reading: Seek Help. Seek help? Help with what? Why should I seek hel–

Then, I heard it: “Green Lantern!”. (my favorite name to give at restaurants) My order was ready.

Hesitantly, I reached towards my spoon. It dragged through the sloppy mixture as I played with the chunks of shellfish that floated in the creamy slop that was my lunch. Then, when I was ready, I placed a carefully measured spoonful gently on my tongue… Then another. My petite spoonfuls turned into entire servings. Then another. There was clam chowder coating my face. And another, until I’d finished it all and the bread bowl was the only survivor. I ate that too.

The combination of traveling, new foods and palm readings lead me to my picky eater revelation: Seek Help, embrace the uncomfortable and Try New Things. Eating new foods, although a small and temporary action, can take just as much courage as jumping out of a plane and praying your parachute will open before you meet the earth, or, leaving behind friends, family, jobs, everything, to travel the world. Trying new activities and visiting new places are two things I love. Trying new foods is just as important for the travel experience as the people and attractions. A bowl of clam chowder was the help I needed to begin facing my food fears and more; trying things I don’t desire to taste, see, feel, hear, smell, or do. Because you will never know if you like it until you try it.

With a full stomach and chowder inhabited mustache I left Splash Cafe with a new mindset on picky eating. For dessert, my friend insisted on lollipops with scorpions in them from the candy boutique down the street. I got ice cream… There are some things I just don’t need to try.


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Surfs Up at Pismo Beach

This gallery contains 9 photos.

Would you rather live in the mountains or on the beach? Round 2. The weather: perfect. The view: unbeatable. The lullaby that is waves crashing on the shore: priceless. The cliffs at Pismo Beach were the perfect place to watch … Continue reading

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Pismo Beach’s Cave Carvings

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While exploring the Northern end of Pismo Beach I came across a cave. Carved into the walls of the cave were names, numbers, dates and hearts. A time capsule of all the other travelers, tourists and curious vacation goers safe … Continue reading

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The Essential Summer Holiday Packing List



Author – Robert Cannizzaro

With this category I want to make it as simple and easy as possible, as packing and planning isn’t stressful enough. So to start off I’m just going to have a packing checklist for those going on a summer holiday. I will have posts on packing for winter, ski, trekking and city essential packing lists coming soon as well as planning tips for holidays. But as the northern hemispheres summer is fast approaching, here’s a checklist for all you sun loving beach babes.

The Essential Summer Holiday Packing List –

This list is directed towards traveler’s heading to European, American, and Asian holiday destinations.

All Important Items –

– Passport

– Passport Holder

– Credit Cards / Currency Cards

– Visas

– Flight Tickets

– ID (driver’s license, proof of age)

– Photocopies of Passport

– Itinerary

– Mobile Phone

– Camera

– Chargers for Electronics…

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Shakespeare Lived In The Wrong Renaissance

Crash! Wood splinters shoot into the air and the green knight is flung from his saddle! With a metallic thud he met the ground. The black knight triumphantly trotting cockily around the crowd thrusts his jousting pole high up in the air. For the blood thirsty crowd the joust would not quench their throats; the fight to the death had only begun. Like hungry animals they shot at each other. What was once an even and chivalrous match became a game of survival for the black knight when a second green knight flung into the fray. Swords collide in a dance of flashes. Three knights suddenly became two knights and green garb went red. Only one knight would walk out of the ring. Waving a 4 pound turkey leg in one hand and a camera in the other I jeered my best Renaissance taunts: “What would Shakespeare do?! Cleave his f^%ing head off!”. Like a barbarian I lusted to join the fray! With my mace of turkey I wanted to bash in shields and splinter armor. For the 900 actors and 100 merchants that resurrect Shakespeare’s, Michelangelo’s and da Vinci’s Renaissance at the Valhalla Renaissance Faire hosted at Camp Richardson in South Lake Tahoe the real fun begins and ends with the wonderful people that revive Europe’s renaissance days.

The first thing I noticed about the event was not the geeks in tights nor the perky breasts bursting out from corsets. There was an air of community about the place. The merchants traded merriment and the taverns had hearty laughs on tap. It seemed all were wealthy in merriment and poor of sorrow. We were the deserters of our world for this world of dreams. All of us together, sharing the wealth of our elaborate imaginations and knowledge of a time seemingly forgotten. Families, adults, pirates, barbarians and even Irish and Englishmen, joined together to live out folk lore and fairy tales. A bard, recounting the stories of old revives the art of storytelling with legends he once heard from a bard. A knight in shining armor, gallops on the rehabilitated horse he sponsors and reminds his onlookers that chivalry isn’t dead. A musician, moving the dancers with musical melodies casts her magic on the crowd. And a writer, failing to take it all in he loses himself in the violin’s story.

Here nor there would I find my old self among the crowd. One moment I was a peasant taking part in a simple country dance and a moment later I was plagued by the Black Death. I was a risky gambler wagering on a game of tops and I was a young man who traveled far to hear a tall tale told by a traveling bard. The Valhalla Renaissance Faire proved more than a travel machine. I expected to feel like a visitor but I did not expect to become a part of the Renaissance.










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Get Paid To Travel Over Summer

I liked my summer job at home before I left for college but returning to Roseville for summer meant taking a step backwards in my life and losing out on adventure elsewhere. The travel bug injected its addicting venom into my veins during freshman year of college and the only cure was travel. Being a typical poor college student meant that if I wanted to travel I would need someone else to pay for it. As you can imagine, the parents weren’t exactly loco about the idea of them paying for me to travel through South America for the summer so with my options limited I took a leap of faith and applied to work at a summer camp. I got the job a month before camp commenced and after what felt like a few days later, I was on a plane to New York and a bus upstate with all expenses paid in full. If I can find a way to travel for free so can you.

According to the American Camp Association there are 3,020 camps in the US; 7,760 programs; and 23,510 camp sessions. That means that thousands of businesses around the U.S. NEED employees and are willing to pay to get them to their camps. When I worked as a camp counselor my camp paid my fare to fly from California to New York and then paid me for my work. while I was at camp I spent my days off going on trips that would not have been affordable if I had paid my own way across the country.

I want to share how I was able to travel and how to find someone else to pay for your travel adventures. Consider this an unfinished guide to finding a summer camp that will help you see the world.

Step One: Make a list of activities/hobbies/interests that you have skills in. There are people who will pay you to share your skills.

Step Two: Consider locational preferences. Travel for yourself and give yourself to your travels. If you love the beach find a camp near one. If you love mountains find a camp in the mountains. To find the summer of your dreams you have to look in the right place.

Step Three: Find that person who will pay for your skills. With 3,020 *registered* camps in the U.S. alone, there is a camp for everything: sports camps, extreme sport camps, camping camps, science camps, art camps, music camps, horse riding camps, water sports camps etc etc etc… Google is your friend.

Step Four: Apply Apply Apply. Play to your strengths and highlight how your skills will contribute to their programs. Remember: camps need people like you, people like you don’t need camps. Even if you don’t think you can get the job, apply apply apply.

Step Five: Practice for your interview. It is important to remember that camps want to hire people who have qualities that will contribute to their mission. Brain storm a list of desirable qualities that you possess and examples of when and how you have demonstrated them. Are you applying to be a water sports camp counselor? Think of water sports experience, prior teaching experience, experience working with youth, leadership experience etc… Camps aren’t looking to hire counselors who are the best at what they do. Camps are looking to hire counselors that can support, lead and/or teach their campers in the best manner to do what they do.

If you are accepted to your camp of choice then skip to step seven.

Step Six: If you aren’t hired by your camp of choice it’s not the end of the world. That camp probably sucks and doesn’t deserve to have you anyways. Remember that traveling is more than about where you are, it’s about who you’re with and the people you meet along your journey. I worked at a camp that specializes in working with kids with behavioral disorders and cognitive disorders. I worked harder than ever before and have never been so frustrated and strung out. I also met some of the greatest people in my life that summer that I will never forget, campers included.

Step Seven: Pack your bags, turn off you cell phone, buy a journal and record your experience. Summer camp will be unforgettable. Unfortunately, you’ll forget most of it but a journal will preserve all the delicate and laugh out loud memories that you hold so dear to your hear.




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Tahoe’s Five Lakes Trail Leads To Two And Is Too Beautiful.

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