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On The Road With Chuan

Rediscovering the
great outdoors

Under The Open Sky

My Camping Chronicles

Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite is a magical place with a special spot in my heart, as it's in my California backyard. I've spent countless days exploring its iconic cliffs, serene meadows, and challenging trails. My favorite hike has to be the Half Dome - it's tough, but the panoramic views at the top are absolutely worth it. Camping in the valley under a blanket of stars is an experience I recommend to everyone.

Glacier National Park, Montana

Nicknamed the "Crown of the Continent", Glacier National Park boasts a landscape that is awe-inspiring and humbling. Hiking the Grinnell Glacier trail with turquoise glacial lakes and rugged mountain vistas was a memory I'll never forget. And camping at the Many Glacier Campground was a tranquil retreat for the soul.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Shenandoah is a paradise for those who love the quieter, gentler side of nature. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the over 500 miles of trails and spotting wildlife, from deer to a several varieties of bird species. The Big Meadows campground was a dream, especially during fall when the forest explodes with color.

Olympic National Park, Washington

This park's diversity is astounding, with a mix of temperate rainforests, alpine highlands, and rugged coastline. Hiking in the Hoh Rainforest felt like stepping into another world, and the Sol Duc campground offered a perfect base to relax after a long day of exploring.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The Grand Canyon is a must-visit on any hiker’s bucket list, not just for its breathtaking scale but also for the variety of unique trails it offers. Descending into the canyon on the Bright Angel Trail was strenuous but rewarding. Mather Campground on the South Rim was a great spot to rest and soak in the unbelievable scenery.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia's rocky headlands and cool, foggy mornings provide a unique coastal camping experience. The Jordan Pond Path was a serene, leisurely hike, and watching the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain was a moment I'll cherish forever. The Blackwoods campground offered a cozy, wooded retreat.Remember, every trip into the wilderness is an adventure waiting to happen. So gear up, venture out, and make some memories!

Hi there! I'm Chuan Teik Ying, a California-born and bred adventurer with an unquenchable thirst for the great outdoors.

I'm 29 years old, speak English fluently, and if you catch me on a good day, you might hear me using a smattering of Malay, a beautiful language I learned from my beloved grandparents.

A little about my background - I graduated with a degree in economics from California State University – Northridge (go Matadors!). Numbers and finance have always fascinated me, but another part of me has been head-over-heels in love with Mother Nature for as long as I can remember. My studies and work commitments initially kept me from spending as much time as I would've liked in nature's embrace, but life has a funny way of getting you where you need to be.

In 2022, I took a leap of faith and purchased a van that has since become my companion on countless escapades. Renovating it has been a labor of love and a constant work in progress, much like my journey with nature. Despite juggling my time studying for my CPA exams, I make it a point to explore the outdoors as often as possible.

I decided to create this blog not just as a record of my personal escapades, but as a platform to connect with others like you, fellow travelers who are just as excited by the prospect of a starry night sky or a picturesque campsite as I am.

So, come along with me on this journey. Let's share stories, learn from one another, and cultivate our shared love for the wild and wonderful world that's just waiting outside our doorsteps. Here's to the road less traveled and the adventures that await!

Gear Reviews

Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 Backpack

Ah, the Mariposa 60, my trusty companion on so many treks. It's lightweight yet durable - a godsend on those longer journeys. The multiple pockets have been perfect for organization, and the padded hip belt has been an absolute game changer for comfort. One minor gripe: the hydration sleeve could be a little more accessible, but overall, it's a solid, reliable backpack.

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BioLite CampStove 2

This innovative little stove does more than just cook your food. I was amazed by the feature that converts heat into usable electricity, allowing you to charge your devices. Talk about multi-purpose! However, if you're in a rush, this might not be your go-to. It took me a bit longer to boil water compared to my old propane stove.

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Eno DoubleNest Hammock

Relaxing in the Eno DoubleNest Hammock has been some of the most comfortable moments in my camping life. It's spacious enough for two people, although I often luxuriate in it alone. The downside? While it's perfect for sunny, clear days, it leaves much to be desired in cold or wet conditions. An additional tarp or underquilt is a must-have for those circumstances.

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Coleman Sundome 2-Person Tent

While Coleman has always been a reliable brand, the Sundome Tent left me somewhat disappointed. It's easy to set up and the ventilation is good on warmer nights, but in the face of a storm, I found it underperformed. I encountered some leakage during a heavy downpour, which was far from ideal. It's okay for fair-weather camping, but for anything more challenging, I'd suggest looking elsewhere.

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Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Premium

Sleep comfort on the trail? Yes, please! This inflatable pillow has been a dream to rest my weary head on after a long day of hiking. It's lightweight and deflates to a super compact size, making it easy to carry. One minor issue: the slippery surface means it can slide around in your sleeping bag. I've found wrapping it in a shirt helps keep it in place.

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Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Sleeping Pad

This sleeping pad hasn't quite met my expectations. While it's lightweight and has decent insulation, the comfort level is less than impressive. If you're a side sleeper like me, it can be a bit rough on the hips. It's a good option for the ultralight backpacker, but if you're someone who values a comfortable night's sleep, you may want to consider other options.

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Remember, these are my personal experiences and preferences. Your mileage may vary! Happy camping, everyone!



Unplug and Embrace Nature

I love hearing from fellow adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts. Connect with me on Twitter to ask a question, share a camping tip, or chat about your favorite trails and campsites.

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