A Travellerspoint blog

LAKE BRATAN, BALI - INDONESIA

Lakeside hotels with volcano views, temples on the lake, a waterfall, and many crazy creatures for me to hold!

sunny 25 °C

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Today started awesome, and ended of with a pervert. Allow me to start from the beginning ...
I woke up in Jatiluwih and took a taxi for 200,000 Rupiah (about $16) to Lake Bratan. It was a 1hr scenic drive through mountains/volcanoes, rice fields and villages. I checked in to a hotel called Ashram for one night, located on the side of a hill overlooking Lake Bratan, its temple, and volcano on the other side of the lake.

View of my hotel on the hill
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My little bungalow
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It was a fairly basic hotel for 200,000 Rupiah. It had hot water & free breakfast (although not a big selection), but no a/c. But it turns out I didnt need it. It gets chilly at night up in the mountains. I actually had to throw on linen pants, an extra shirt, and use the extra blanket off the 2nd bed to keep warm! Definitely wasnt expecting that at the equator! Normally Indonesia is like a oven, and I'm constantly covered in sweat, but today I didnt sweat at all while exploring. It was nice actually.

View from my room
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My favorite thing about this hotel was the gardens. Actually I dont think it was a garden, Bali is just covered in tropical flowers wherever you go!
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After walking around the garden for awhile, I headed to the temple on the lake. I could see it clearly from the hotel's vantage point on the hill overlooking the lake, so I didnt need directions, I just walked over there. It was only about a 10min walk along the lake to get there.

The temple's name is Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. Admission was 30,000 Rupiah ($2.50 Canadian). These were the entrance gates.
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The grounds were quite large, but not at all what I was expecting. There were giant plastic dragons, frogs, eagles, etc everywhere. It looked like a child's playground. I dont understand why these tacky, plastic things were everywhere, but if you can look past that, it was actually really beautiful.
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Steps tiled in tiny stone mosaics.
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There were colorful boats to rent lined up alongside the temple (and also tacky plastic swan paddle boats)
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Stupa
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And finally, the part of the temple that was on the lake.
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As I was heading back to the main gate to leave, I noticed an area with a bunch of animals. Real animals, not plastic ones. For $8 I could hold as many animals as I wanted, for as long as I wanted, and take as many photos as I wanted. Deal! First up was a Giant Fruit Bat! And by giant, I mean GIANT! I didnt know bats could get this big! LOOK AT IT! Once you agree to hold it, they dont give you any time to freak out or change your mind. They just tell you to put your hand a certain way, and suddenly BAM, your holding a giant bat!!
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He's even kinda cute. He has the face of a small dog.
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Then I held some absolutely adorable baby owls!!
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Then I held a Hornbill! I dont know what kind of hornbill it was because the guys didnt speak enough English to know its name. All I know is it was WAY bigger than the ones I saw in Africa! They covered my arm with something so the its claws wouldnt dig into me. This guy made me a little nervous, not gonna lie. Look at that footlong beak!! I was scared he'd stab my eyeballs out with it! But he didnt. Turns out he's not as scary as he looks ... he liked belly rubs, lol!
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The yellow bulge under his chin felt like a balloon.
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I was told to put my hand in its beak. I'm not sure why I did it, perhaps cuz the guy went first showing me it didnt hurt. It didnt hurt at all, just a little pinch.
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After spending about 1.5hrs at the temple and with the animals, I walked across the street to a restaurant for lunch (I cant remember the name of it). I was expecting it to be super expensive, considering it was located right across the street from a tourist attraction, was 3 stories high with lakeviews, and offered free wifi ... but it wasnt. For $3.35 I had crispy teryaki chicken, a huge pile of sticky rice, and a salad. Food here is SO cheap! I also had an iced hazelnut mocha for another $3. It was so tastey I ordered a 2nd one! Much better than anything at Starbucks ;)

So, next comes the pervert. I walked around negotiating rates for a ride to Gitgit Waterfall. I ended up choosing a guy (the wrong guy as it turns out) who offered to drive me there, wait for me, and then drive me back, for 140,000 Rupiah (about $11). As soon as we hit the road he was trying to hold my hand, or put his arm around me. I just removed his hand & shrugged his arm off of me and turnt away from him to look out the window and ignore him. He stopped the vehicle and I thought he was gonna leave me in the middle of nowhere cuz i rejected him. But instead he was stopping so I could take photos of a viewpoint over the lake.
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Then we got back in and continued on our way. Once again he started trying to hold my hand, and I kept pushing it away saying 'no' as firmly as I could. But he spoke 4 words of english, and apparently NO wasnt one of them. And of course I dont speak a word of Indonesian. Again I just turnt away to look out the window. He tapped me on the shoulder, so I looked, and with his hands he was making an absurd jerking off motion!!! Ugh! What does it take for this loser to take a hint?! I would've just made him stop and let me out, but we were literally in the middle of nowhere and there wasnt much traffic. I didnt want to end up stranded somewhere. So I did the only thing I could think of that would be universal in every language ... I gave him the finger. And he finally understood!! But he wasnt impressed. He then proceeded to drive with road rage along the twisty turny mountain roads at high speeds! Now I was scared for me life, as he was only using one hand to make these turn, while he smoked a cigarette with the other. Finally we arrived in a small town. I got out and slammed the door. I assumed he was going to either take off and leave me there, or actually wait for me while I walked down to the waterfall. But instead he led me all the way to the falls. But he was walking so fast he was practically running, I could barely keep up! I wanted to take a leisurely walk to the waterfall, enjoy the scenery, and take photos along the way. But wouldnt have any of it. Every few minutes he'd turn around and see that I was waaaay behind, and wave frantically for me to hurry up. It was a 20min fast paced walk amongst many, many souvenir vendors.
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When we finally arrived at Gitgit Waterfall, the cool mist from the falls was very welcome after that sweaty high speed race through the jungle. I gave him my camera to take a photo of me ... and then he was ready to leave. Really? I didnt just drive 30min dealing with your bullsh!t the whole way, race down to the waterfall, take one photo ... and then leave?!
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He was honestly SO mad at me, although he's the one that was the perv. After about 7min at the waterfall we raced back up to the parking lot, got in the vehicle, and drove like a crazy person all the way back to Lake Bratan in silence. What a waste of time that was, sigh. And then, get this, he DARED to ask for a tip!!! I flipped him the bird again and slammed the door! Good riddance. So like I said in the beginning, the morning was amazing, the afternoon not so much. Unfortunately I dont think theres anyway to avoid pervs. As a single woman traveling solo, you never know what you going to get when you get into a cab. I ended my day by purchasing some fresh strawberries from a street vendor and heading back to my room. Northern Bali is known for its strawberries, so make sure you try them, they were tasty. Well thats it for Lake Bratan, I left the next day. That guy ruined it for me. Jerk. My next post I will be in southern Bali :)

Posted by ChantelleS 28.08.2014 14:03 Archived in Indonesia Tagged boat bali wildlife indonesia temple lake waterfall animal asia båt owl Comments (0)

JATILUWIH, BALI - INDONESIA

UNESCO World Heritage Site - Home of more terraced rice fields that you can count!

sunny 40 °C

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The village of Jatiluwih (pronounced jah-til-away) is about 2hrs from Ubud. I just took a taxi there, cuz frankly I'm not on that tight a budget that I need to waste my day stuck on a hot crowded bus all day just to save a buck. Anyway you travel around in Asia is 100% cheaper than Canada. Plus I was still a tad jet lagged and wanted to sleep the ride there.
I can't remember the name of the hotel I stayed at, but this was the view from my terrace!!
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The orange building in the background was my hotel.
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I spent the entire morning walking around in the fields, watching the locals working, taking photos, and sweating. Lots of sweating!
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I walked to a lookout point over the entire valley! This place is just stunning! The terraces just keep going & going as far as the eye can see!
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I stopped for lunch at a little restaurant overlooking the terraced rice fields. A much needed break! Its more of a hike than a walk, as you have to climb up and down all the various levels of the terraces. I had some chicken fried rice that was served with a fried egg on top, some veggies, and whatever those white things were supposed to be. I thought they'd be rice crisps, but they had a fishy taste to them. Puke! I hate fish. When I asked what they were, I was told they were crackers. Lol, just a tad different than what we call crackers in Canada.
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Here's a couple views from the restaurant ...
You can carry anything on a motorbike!
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Even your whole family, lol!
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There were more bikes than cars
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Jackfruit
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Just as I was preparing to continue my walk/hike, a guy came by on his motorbike, blaring 'ice cream truck' music, and selling ice cream from a cooler strapped to the back, lol! Only $0.40 for a fudgsicle, although I'm sure I paid double cuz I'm a tourist. Oh well, its still 1/4 of the price at home, and was delicious :)
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After lunch I continued on in the opposite direction this time. I followed a path that led to this pretty little temple.
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Gate to the temple.
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Close-up of the rice.
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I had assumed all the little huts that could be seen throughout the fields were homes. Nope. I hiked down to one only to find out it was a hut for a cow! Every single hut had one cow in it.
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After a long day of hiking I showered, then picked up some snacks at a nearby store for my drive to Lake Bratan tomorrow. I got a bag of chips, a chocolate bar, and a 3pk of oreos all for only $0.54!!! I can feel myself getting fatter already, lol!

Posted by ChantelleS 26.08.2014 13:31 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali indonesia green rice field terrace asia Comments (0)

UBUD, BALI - INDONESIA

Monkeys, monkeys, monkeys!

sunny 40 °C

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So Bali is sooooOOOoooo fricken far from Canada, its ridiculous! It literally took 2 days to get there! I flew from Saskatoon to Minneapolis, which was only 1.5hrs, with a 5hr layover there. Then Minneapolis to Singapore 20hrs & 20min!!!!! TWENTY HOURS!!!!! I dont even know how I survived! I really, really dont! But it doesnt end there. I had a 7hr layover in Singapore, which I spent most of trying to sleep. And then one more flight, about 3hrs, to Bali, Indonesia. I finally arrived at 11am on Day 3. I hopped in a taxi and headed straight to Ubud. I dont know how long of a drive it was, cuz I fell asleep part way. I checked into the Ganesha Hotel for 1 night. Only $27 booked on Expedia ... it was great! King bed, a/c, tiled floors so shiny I could see my face in them, free wifi & breakfast, pool, etc. After 2 days of flying with nearly zero sleep, all I wanted to do was fall flat on my face and sleep for a week. But, I knew if I let myself sleep at 11am I'd be all mixed up, waking up in the middle of the evening. And so, I put a few things in my daypack, and walked 15min to Monkey Forest.
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This place did not disappoint! For under $2CAD, I saw more monkeys than I could dream of! Big monkeys, baby monkeys, fighting monkeys, grooming monkeys, and thieving monkeys! Monkeys, monkeys, monkeys! I thought I'd have to search for them, but they were literally everywhere. On the paths, in the trees, on the walls & statues, and even on the tourists!
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Before entering you can buy a bunch of little bananas to feed to the monkeys ... or you can just let them steal your bag and search for goodies! Or knock your water bottle out of your hand and proceed to twist the cap of and drink from it! Be warned ... do not bring in food you do not plan to share with them! They can smell it, even if its packaged, like a granola bar. They will follow you and take your bag. For real. Just dont bring in food. Dont do it. I had read this warning on someone else's blog, so I knew not to bring in food, but I did have a bottle of water with me. After I saw a monkey snatch someone else's, I put mine in my daypack and buckled it up. No monkey is stealing my stuff! Thieves!

Searching for food in a stolen purse
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Drinking water from a stolen bottle
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Trying to steal my glasses!!!
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Absolutely everything is covered in moss! Its so humid you can barely breathe, but I suppose thats part of why everything is so wonderfully green!
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Theres so many trails to follow. I was here for 4hrs! So get ready for a ton of monkey photos, lol!
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My favorite were the little babies! They were so active, running & playing & stealing bananas from one another, lol! Adorable!
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One trail led to a huge tree (Banyan I think), a bridge over a stream, and some green statues.
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At around 5pm I grabbed some lunch, or supper, I'm not sure really, my body was so jet lagged. I had noodles, thats all I remember, lol! Then I walked back to my hotel, showered and passed out til morning! Good night!

Posted by ChantelleS 26.08.2014 12:32 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali wildlife indonesia temple monkey green forest asia ubud Comments (0)

HUATULCO, MEXCIO

January 21-28, 2014 Waterfalls, iguanas & butterflies, and a stunning sunrise!

sunny 37 °C

My first trip of 2014 was to Huatulco, Mexico. I was hired to photograph a Destination Wedding there :) The bride & groom put me up at the amazing Dreams Huatulco Resort. As I was going through my photos to select ones for this blog post, I realized I didnt actually take that many of the resort itself, but this was my room. large_IMG_4893-001.jpg

View from the beach bar :)
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One of 6 pools (3 of which were infinity pools).
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The resort was located on Tangolunda Bay, one of nine bays in Huatulco.
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I went for a walk to the other end of the beach where there was a pier (above photos), lots of birds fishing, local fisherman, and loads of tropical flowers/plants.
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I only had 2 days of 'work' while there, one day to shoot the wedding, and a second day to do more family photos, otherwise the rest of the days were mine to do as I wanted. So one day I headed to the Yee-lo-bee Butterfly Farm. I just took a taxi and paid the entrance fee once there. Taxi & admission was around $30. Much cheaper than the $80 the resort wanted for a tour! I met 3 Canadians ladies there, and we toured the place together, then stopped for freshed squeezed lemonade afterwards :)
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The 'farm' is a giant greenhouse dome filled with tropical plants and 100s, if not 1000s of butterflies! I think I spent about 1hr in there, trying to photograph each kind of butterfly. If your patient they will eventually land on you :)
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Caterpillar
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Also at the butterfly farm was an iguana hatchery! Bonus! They had Black Iguanas & Green Iguanas of various ages. They breed them here, then release them into the wild ... or so they say.
Black Iguana
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Green Iguana
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They asked if I wanted to hold them ... of course!
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The baby Green Iguanas were my favorite! So cute! They look like the little Giecko gecko from the commercials, lol!
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Colorful bougainvillea were everywhere!
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There was also a pond area at the butterfly farm with these odd looking ducks.
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After a few lemonades, I hopped back in my cab, which had waited for me, and headed back to the resort. Its really only a 10min drive or so, so dont let a cabbie charge you a ton of money! So on the drive back my cabbie decided to hit on me. First he asked if I liked Huatulco. I said yes. Then he asked if I'd like to move here. I saw where this was going right away, lol! This isnt my first time out of the country, I'm no fool. So I answered him with a big NO. But that didnt deter him. He then asked if I liked dancing. NO. He still proceded to ask if I wanted to go to a disco with him that night. No deal. And then finally he asked if I'd like to go to a nude beach with him! Hahahahaaaa, no thank you greasey Mexican, no thank you!!
Back safely at the resort I enjoyed a beautiful sunset.
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The next day I took a stroll through town and found a little spa and got a 1/2hr massage for a fraction of the cost of one at the resort's spa. I also came across a local tour agency offering all the same excursions that the resort was. I booked a tour to a waterfall. Resort's price ... $85. Local agency price ... $40! If you've never been on an all-inclusive vacation before, my #1 tip would be to never ever book excursions through your resort. Just walk across the street to a local agency and get the same tour for half the price. Literally. Resorts always tell you that the local places will rip you off. Not so. I use local agencies wherever I travel. Its the big resorts that are ripping people off!
The drive to the waterfall, however, is brutal! Long, potholes, twisty & turny, up & down! If you get motion sickness easily, take Gravol beforehand, and try to sit in front of you can.
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The walk from the parking lot to the falls is easy, but theres is 2 sets of steep stairs.
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But the walk back was a different route along the river with no steep stairs.
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The waterfall is named Cascada Magica. It has many tiers, a rope swing, and shallow areas for safe swimming. But my favorite part was that there were only 5 other people there!
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After a few hours at the falls, lunch was at a coffee plantation. I'm not one for trying new food, but I did try fried cactus (yuck), and hibiscus juice (yum). They actually put the flowers in water. Let it sit overnight. Then drain the water out & add sugar. It tastes a bit like fruit punch, but not as sweet.
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On the last day I got up at the butt crack of dawn to watch the sunrise. The sun doesnt rise at my beach, so I hitched a ride with the front desk girl's surfer boyfriend to a place called La Bocana.
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The sunrise was the best I've ever seen!
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There was a little pond/pool of water where the river ended with a perfect little boat with peeling turqoise paint floating on it. It was just screaming for a photoshoot ;)
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Silhouetted heron
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After taking more than enough photos of the little boat, I walked across the beach to the ocean where there was a giant piece of driftwood covered in birds sunning themselves as the sun came up.
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I was the only one on this beach, other than the friend that came with me, and a local surfer girl.
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2 birdies gossiping
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So many birds!!
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I took a walk to the far end of the beach where there was a massive flock of American Black Vultures. No one else was on this beach, just me & the vultures! In that moment I forgot I was in one of the most touristy countries in the world!
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I walked very slowly amongst the vultures. They didnt fly away, not even one.
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But they all had their beady little eyes on me! Every time I took a step they'd turn their heads collectively as one, and stare at me. I'd stand still and wait for them to go back to feeding, then take another step ... and they'd all turn & look at me again.
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They were busy feeding on a stingray carcass.
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Not gonna lie, I was nervous that'd they'd attack me. But they didnt. One thing I learnt in Africa is to give wildlife space, move slowly, and they'll mind their own business.
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Cute little hut on the beach.
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After 6hrs at this awesome beach, I had no choice but to head back to my resort. It was time to checkout and head to the airport :( But not before I found a cute little parrot!
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Thats it for Mexico. Next up will be Indonesia :)

Posted by ChantelleS 26.07.2014 12:00 Archived in Mexico Tagged wildlife beach mexico bird waterfall iguana animal butterfly Comments (0)

DOG SLEDDING & SNOW SHOEING - ANGLIN LAKE - CANADA

Dog sledding & snow shoeing at Anglin Lake, Canada

all seasons in one day 6 °C

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My best friend and I drove up to Anglin Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada for a day of dog sledding & snow shoeing ... 2 things which I've been wanting to cross off my bucket list for awhile! We live in Saskatoon, so it was only about 2.5hrs drive north to Anglin Lake. It is located about 65km north of Prince Albert.
This is a photo of the snow/ice covered lake.
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It was only $50 for a 1hr dog sled run, with complimentary snow shoe rental which we could use before or after the dog sledding. We chose to go snow shoeing first, as we had arrived about 1.5hrs early just in case the roads were bad ... but they were fine.
Here we are all geared up and ready to go. It was +6C this day in January, if you can believe it! No worries of getting cold thats for sure!
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The snow was really deep ... up to our knees in some places. We were snow shoeing virgins, lol, neither of us has done this before and were under the assumption that snow shoes allowed you to walk on top of the snow! But with snow this deep you still sink in quite a bit, making for a good workout!
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We stopped for a break at some chairs we came across ... and built a lil' snow dude and attempted to make snow angels :)
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Next up was the dog sledding!!
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This is where the dogs were kept. They each had their own dog house with their name on it :)
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This is Blackjack ... i this he's drunk in this photo, LOL!
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I just love his eyes!
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We were introduced to our team, and then shown how to harness & hook them up to the sled.
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The dogs were SO EXCITED! And LOUD! So much barking & excited whining ... they just wanted to GO! LOL! In the next sequence of photos, watch the lead dog! She was like a bucking horse, so eager to go!!
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Come on guys, lets GOOOO!
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All 4 legs off the ground, hahaha! I love this dog!
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Ignore my dorky pants please, lol!
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And we're off! SO MUCH FUN!
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It had been really windy the previous day and there were a few fallen trees that we either had to go over slowly, or stop, get off the sled, and help move them off the trail.
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Then outta nowhere it started snowing perfect, fluffy snowglobe-like flakes :) Beautiful!
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A fan-fricken-tastic day! We absolutely loved every minute of it :)
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Posted by ChantelleS 03.02.2014 11:02 Archived in Canada Tagged trees snow winter dog canada sledding snowshoeing Comments (0)

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