Weekend Reading

  1. A thoughtful post on finding happiness– through struggle.
  2. A guide to DC’s best ramen spots. We’ve been to Daikaya and Toki. Other places in the area we’ve tried include Temari and Ren’s Ramen in Montgomery County, but Daikaya is still the top contender in the area, in my opinion.
  3. The craziest OkCupid date ever. Sounds like my idea of fun.
  4. A bacon-washed bourbon recipe from one of my favorite mixology blogs, The Boys Club.
  5. Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Chad Stafko entitled, “OK, You’re a Runner. Get Over It” that evoked a wide range of emotions from the running community. Mark Remy over at Runner’s World wrote a response that garnered some chuckles from me. I just ran my second marathon last month, so let that tell you whose side I’m on.
  6. Alarming news about Baltimore’s beloved Berger cookies. Must. Stock. Up.
  7. Martha Stewart’s Instagram photos are less than inspiring.
  8. Last but not least, a certain someone was the Daily Puppy’s dog of the day yesterday! Go give him some biscuits =)

Happy weekend!

Coming Soon…A New Addition to Our Family!

bowtie

source

Hello, world! It’s been a while, and a lot has happened. In the past month, I moved in with D, his parents moved away from the DMV, and now…Darren and I are excited to announce that we will be welcoming a new member to our family!

More after the jump.

Read the Post

Travel Notes: Arequipa and Colca Canyon

DarwinDiscovered_Arequipa-13

After a whirlwind 2 days through Puno and Lake Titicaca, we were down to the final leg of our two-week trip across Peru. I had never heard of Colca Canyon before beginning to research places to visit in Peru, but after reading about the graceful condors that can only be found in the canyon, I knew we had to check it out.

DarwinDiscovered_Arequipa-1

DarwinDiscovered_Arequipa-3

DarwinDiscovered_Arequipa-7

From Puno, we took the 4M Express bus to Arequipa, passing through packs of alpacas (cuteness overload), a lake situated even higher than Titicaca, a series of volcanoes including El Misti, and a high point of 4,910 meters- just over 16,000 feet. The bus ride took about 7 hours and dropped us off directly at our hostel, Colonial Inn. Arequipa was by far the most European of the cities we had visited, with gorgeous Spanish architecture across town. We didn’t have much time to explore though- the next morning it was off to Colca Canyon!

Read the Post

Engaged!

Hi friends! Over the weekend, this happened…

darwindiscovered_engaged1

…and I said yes! Here’s how it went down.

Read the Post

Travel Notes: Puno & Lake Titicaca

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca

After our exhausting Inca Trail hike, it was off to the legendary Lake Titicaca. The 3,200 sq. mile lake borders Peru and Bolivia, accessible on the Peruvian side via Puno, and is the largest lake in South America. ‘Titicaca’ roughly translates to “stone puma,” which the lake’s shape is supposed to resemble. I suppose this is true if you have a highly creative imagination and squint 🙂 At any rate, the day long tour of the Uros and Taquile Islands was a much needed break to recover from the fast pace of the Inca Trail. The tour began at 6:30 AM (it takes about 1.5 hours to get to the Uros Islands and another hour from there to Taquile) and ended around 5 PM.

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca
We arrived in Puno on a Sunday, only to find the Plaza de Armas almost completely deserted. 

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca
Finally got to eat at a chifa (Peruvian term for the numerous Chinese restaurants that can be found across the country). Cheap and delicious!

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca
 En route to the Uros islands. The lake’s water was a glistening deep blue.

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca
 Reed houses and boats on the Uros Islands

DarwinDiscovered_Puno-8

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca

DarwinDiscovered_Puno-12Ta
Taquile Island

Additional notes and tips after the break

Read the Post

What to Pack for the 4 Day Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu

What to pack for the 4 day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu
I love packing. The thrill of making many items fit into a small container, the stress of figuring out what the bring, the panic that sets in when you wonder if you’ve brought enough…it all makes me giddy. But I understand that I am an anomaly, and that most people find packing tedious. Which is why I am going to tell you exactly what to bring on the 4 day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu. I’ll let Darren cover the actual hike in a separate post, but in order to survive the hike, you’ll want to read my list closely. Onwards!
DarwinDiscovered_Peru_WhattoPackIncaTrailHike-2
This is the duffel that Wayki Treks provides for a shared 2-person porter (15kg)
What to pack for the 4 day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu

1. Waterproof Hiking Shoes– I wavered for a long time between hiking boots and hiking shoes, and ultimately decided on these Columbia hybrids (sorry, forget the model number) because they were a) waterproof; b) lightweight; and c) $24.99. I stuck my running insoles in them prior to departing and they served me well throughout the hike – after 8 hours of hiking, your feet are going to be tired no matter what. That being said, I would recommend considering the following factors when debating whether to go for a hiking shoe/hybrid or a hiking boot. First, how agile are you with your feet? I tend to forget to pick up my feet sometimes, and as a result did roll my ankle a few times throughout (no injuries though!). Ankle support would have been useful in those instances, but of course the tradeoff is weight. Second, how much time do you have to break in the shoes? If it’s a matter of brand new versus well worn, choose the latter. Third, make sure the shoes are waterproof, even if you go in dry season as we did. Weather in the Andes is highly unpredictable, and blisters are no fun! I did see a few others doing the hike in trail running sneakers, but hiking shoes (examples herehere, and here) and lightweight boots (like these and these) were the trail norm.

2. Flip Flops– Although it got cold by the time we entered camp each day, I was grateful to slip into my flip flops for a few minutes and give my feet a break from my shoes. Others also brought old running shoes, which probably function better especially when using the toilets (watch where you step!).

3. Hat, Scarf, and Gloves– We hiked the trail in August, and temperatures plummeted to just below freezing at night. Night 2 was particularly cold. Preserving body heat is essential especially during the evening and early morning.

4. Waterproof Duffel– I’ve blogged about packable duffels before, and this waterproof Oakley duffel that we brought along was the perfect size for the hike. Although Wayki Treks (our tour operator) gives you a duffel to store your belongings for the porters to carry (see picture above), their duffels aren’t waterproof. If it rains…yup, you’re screwed! In fact, on the last evening we experienced a torrential thunderstorm that left a few fellow hikers with damp clothing even though their things were inside of the tent. Store all of your goodies in plastic bags or a waterproof duffel, folks. Darren and I stashed our belongings in my Oakley duffel, which we then put into the trek operator duffels.

5. Underwear– You’re not showering for four days, but that’s no excuse for swamp ass.

Read the Post

Copyright © 2019 Darwin Discovered · Theme by 17th Avenue