A lazy afternoon in Ubud

When I started planning my trip to Ubud, Bali, I got the feeling that my best bet would be making no plans at all. I was right. My best days there were spent visiting one or two places and leaving the hours in between open for wandering.

My afternoon walking the Campuhan Ridge was one such perfect lazily planned day. The trek begins at a blink-and-you'll-miss-it entrance next to Hotel Ibah near central Ubud. Keep walking, following the signs to Karsa Kafe, and eventually the view gives way to this:

Keep going and the hills turn into rice paddies and a smattering of tiny villages with roadside art galleries and warungs. After about an hour or so, you'll reach Karsa Kafe. The open-air, two-story space neighbors Karsa Spa, one of the most popular in Ubud, and offers a menu of healthy and organic dishes — think juices, fruit salads, satay, etc. . 

 

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Karsa Spa is popular for a reason. Its stunning setting made it one of my favorite Ubud experiences. From inside my treatment room (more like a treatment villa, actually, it was so huge) I could hear the trickling of the nearby lotus pond, and my traditional Balinese massage hit that elusive combination of effective yet relaxing (why does it always seem to be just one or the other?). Heavenly.

Do it: the Skyline Trail at Mount Rainier National Park

Our hike at Mount Rainier National Park didn't start off so promising. For the first 45 minutes or so, it looked liked this: 

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Stunning! But onward, upward. After huffing and puffing up the steepest part of the trail, the fog started to clear a bit and we finally got a glimpse of Mt. Rainier's snow-tinged peaks.

I love how dramatically the landscape of this trail changes — sheets of snow and glacier ice quickly turn into swaths of brush and rock, verdant firs give way to colorful fields of wildflowers. Around Glacier Vista, it all begins to feel very otherworldly, like you're hiking across Mars. 

The trail is renowned for its diversity of flora and fauna and it's definitely worth stopping along the way to get a closer look. 

In total, the 5.5-mile Skyline Trail takes about five hours, but that's with lots of breaks for snacks and snapshots. We followed directions laid out here and here. Happy trails!