Cartagena, Colombia by Kelly Young

After two trips to Hawaii I wanted to check out somewhere new for our yearly winter pilgrimage for vitamin D. When we were thinking about a destination, we didn’t want to spend two days traveling, so it narrowed our options to Central America/ the Caribbean. Cartagena had peaked my interest with its bright colors and architecture. I remember asking Tom, if he wanted to go to Colombia this winter and he raised his eyebrows at me and said “Colombia? Are you sure?” After convincing him he wouldn’t be killed by a drug cartel he was in! Cartagena is actually a safe place to travel to as long as you exercise the normal precautions you would while traveling. Our friends Jeff and Nicole also joined us for the trip to celebrate Tom and Nicole’s birthdays (they are birthday twins).

All and all we had a fantastic time and I am still amazed by what a cool city Cartagena is. We stayed within the old town part of Cartagena which is a walled city - founded in 1533 (whoa!). The old town is very walkable (nice and flat) and you can pretty much walk anywhere in about less than 10 minutes. The streets are very narrow and almost all the buildings are Spanish colonial. We spent most of our days cruising around the city, eating the best ceviche, and hanging by the pool.

La Passion Hotel

We stayed at La Passion Hotel, small boutique hotel built in 1820. It was laid back and great for lounging by the pool. The staff were really friendly and helpful. And it was incredibly beautiful.

Colorful Streets

We got up early a couple of the mornings to walk around and explore the city. It is so hot during the daytime (unless early morning or evening) that walking around is pretty unpleasant, so most days we spent by the pool. Every street within the walled city is colorful and beautiful (that’s why I have so many pictures!)

Rosario Islands

We took a day trip boat to the Rosario Islands to check out some of the better beaches in the area.

Mud Volcano

The day before Tom & Nicole’s birthday, Jeff and I decided we should all go to the mud volcano because it is said to make you 7 years younger. Jussttttt kidding, this was Nicole’s idea :) I was initially skeptical, but it was super awesome and I would highly recommend.

Pink Sea Salt Mines

Our tour to the mud volcano also included a stop at pink sea salt mines. They were cool to look at, not nice to walk on.

The Food

I tend to not really take pictures of food, but I couldn’t talk about the trip without mentioning just how incredible all the food was! Tons of great seafood and ceviche, so if fish isn’t your thing, you may not enjoy Cartagena as much as we did. Some of the restaurants we enjoyed were Carmen, Interno, La Cevicheria, Maria, and Cafe Epoca. We seriously didn’t have a disappointing meal the entire time we were there.

Grand Teton National Park & Yellowstone National Park by Kelly Young

In September we spent 2 days in Jackson Hole and 2 days in Yellowstone. We really wanted to see a lot of wildlife on this trip, and I’d say we were pretty successful :)

Grand Teton Day 1

Grand Teton Day 2

Grand Teton & Yellowstone Day 3

Yellowstone - Lamar Valley (mostly) Day 4

Seattle Girls Visit by Kelly Young

As many of you know I am in school part time right now and I go to class every Saturday (ugh).  So obviously I haven't had much free time for travel or photography... or a social life.  I had a weekend off in June between semesters and I invited some of my girlfriends from the East Coast out to the PNW for a visit and some fun.  Here are some of the things we did... 

Kayaking on Lake Union 

And in case you are wondering, yes I did make everyone wear primary colors for this outing.  

Lunch at Paseo's 

Volunteer Park

Really this was just a bunch of pictures of us looking away from the camera at plants for the 'gram

Mount Rainier National Park

We were not expecting this much snow...

Flower Fields

Big Island by Kelly Young

One word of advice if you are considering travel to Hawaii over the holidays, make sure you book your car rental as far in advance as possible. When we went (day after Christmas)all of the major car rental companies were fully booked and we rented a car from a local guy on the island for way too much money! Everything worked out, but it was a little touch and go when we picked up the car in a gravel parking lot with the key hidden under the floor mat...

Anyways, here is everything we did :)

Epic Lava 

We booked a tour through Epic Lava tours to check out Madame Pele in her glory.  This was a sunrise hike through lava fields and we had to meet the group at like 4 AM.  This was a highlight for me because I have always wanted to see lava up close and the terrain looks so alien! It was really cool.  Our tour guide, John, pictured above (and stomping in the lava) was so passionate about lava, I am certain we will never meet anyone who loves lava as much as that dude.  

Mauna Kea

We almost killed our little dinky Chevy Spark rental car driving up to the Mauna Kea visitor's center.  The incline is so steep and the car engine was struggling so much we were certain it was going to die.  But the Spark pulled through and we made it to the visitor's center, which is 9,200 feet above sea level.  From there you need to take a 4WD vehicle to the top of the mountain, which are the pictures above.  The top of Mauna Kea is 13,700 feet above sea level.  I enjoyed photographing the telescopes (big dome buildings) way more than I thought I would.  I feel like it looked like something out of a sci-fi movie.  

Snorkeling on the South Kona Coast

Can you go to Hawaii and not go snorkeling?  We got a brief glimpse of a humpback whale.  It was also cool seeing the coast line from a different perspective.  

Night time Manta Ray swim

Manta Ray swimming was definitely Tom's favorite activity.  We took a small boat about 5 min out into the water at night.  When you get into the water you hold onto a board with handles (think like a long surfboard) and it had lights attached to the underside of the board.  The Manta Rays feed off the plankton in the water, and the plankton is attracted to the light.  These Manta Rays have gotten used to the tourists coming and will swim right up to the board to get mouthfuls of food.  Other parts of the Island have tried to start more Manta Ray night swims, but the Manta Rays are not as dependeble and they don't always come up to the boards.  They believe these ones have become accustomed and used to the tourists.  They have a 14ft wingspan, it's difficult to tell how big they are from the pictures! 

Wyoming Girls Trip - Jackson Hole & Gros Ventre Wilderness by Kelly Young

A western dude ranch trip has been on my travel list for a long time now.  My girlfriends and I finally got our act together and were able to make it happen this year (everyone finally has jobs! cough cough... Maggie!).  Here is what we did during our stay in Wyoming.  

Day 1 - Arrival/ Jackson Hole

We got into Jackson mid-day on Saturday.  We spent the afternoon doing a bit of shopping (picking up cowboy hats, obviously) and grabbed some lunch.  We checked out the Jackson Hole Rodeo later that evening and stayed at the very cool Antler Inn.  Also, shout out to the 12 year old girl who took our group picture. 

Day 2 - Grand Teton National Park

I have a travel goal of trying to see at least one new National Park each year.  I have yet to be disappointed by any of the parks.  Grand Teton was incredible and I wish we had more time to tack on Yellowstone.  

Days 3, 4, & 5 - Goosewing Ranch in the Gros Ventre Wilderness

After we finished touring the park, we headed to Goosewing Ranch in the Gros Ventre Wilderness.  Though it was only about 20 miles away from Jackson Hole, the drive took an hour and a half because of all the back dirt roads.  At Goosewing, we were each assigned a horse and spent the rest of the week exploring the wilderness via horseback.  

India by Kelly Young

We were in India for 11 days and it's probably my favorite place I've traveled to thus far...  Our itinerary was as follows: Delhi - Agra - Ranthambore National Park - Jaipur.  Here are some photos and some of what we did along each stop.  



Ranthambore National Park & Local Village


Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip by Kelly Young

San Francisco to LA to Joshua Tree in 8 days in a camper van.  Our trusty Dodge Caravan, Terry, we rented through Lost Campers got us where we needed to go.  

Day 1 - Monterey

Day 2 - Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium was my favorite spot.  It was my first time shooting at an aquarium and I had so much fun.    

Day 3 & 4 - Big Sur

The weather in Big Sur wasn't great and was rainy when we arrived the first day.  Regardless, there is no denying how spectacular the landscape is in this remote stretch of the highway.  You can see our trusty camper, Terry, in the last two pictures (background).  And Tom "getting back to nature" on his Nintendo DS... 

Day 5 - Santa Barbara

We stayed at the most amazing campground in Santa Barbara, El Capitan State Beach Park.  It was right on the beach!

Day 6 - Santa Monica

For whatever reason, I didn't take any pics here... 

Day 7 & 8 - Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree is so magical.  There is something very special about it that's hard to describe.  The Joshua Trees (pictured above) are only native to this region in the United States and require very specific conditions to survive. We were there in November so the weather during the days was very pleasant, but it was very cold at night.  The star gazing is top notch and great for night photography because the park is open all night!  Also, just a word of caution, stay on the paths in the cactus gardens, those prickles are for real.