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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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A walk in the clouds: Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu


Photo By: Courtesy of Mansi Bhatia
Photo Courtesy Of Mansi Bhatia

Los Altos resident Mansi Bhatia and her husband, Brijesh Tripathi, hiked Peru’s 28-mile Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, arriving at the ruins at sunrise.

Machu Picchu, located in the Andes Mountains in Peru, is a dream destination for many people. It had been on my bucket list for five years before I finally decided to take the plunge.

Four days, three nights; my first camping experience ever; many mosquito bites; a mildly swollen knee; and memories of a lifetime. The Inca Trail is not for the mild-hearted, not only because the 28-mile hike is a challenge even for the fittest, but also because the views, the history, the triumph of the human mind and the strength of the human body are overwhelming.

There were so many emotions brimming in my heart during the course of the hike, but one was dominant: respect for the towering mountains and the strength of the human spirit.

Landing in Cusco, my husband, Brijesh Tripathi, and I allowed ourselves two days to acclimatize to the rarefied air before heading to the “Camino Inka Km 82” sign at an elevation of 8,923 feet to commence our hike.

Ominous clouds threatened rain as we began the approximately 7-mile hike to our first campsite in Ayapata (elevation 10,829 feet). Fifteen other people joined us as we walked a steady, slow pace parallel to the Urubamba River, hiking poles in hand. The first day wasn’t that bad. It was Day 2 everyone feared. On Day 2, we were going to climb 3,000 feet, then descend 2,000, then back up 1,400 feet before finally camping at an elevation of 11,800 feet.

At 13,780 feet, Warmiwanuscca, or Dead Woman’s Pass, was an imposing challenge. But we survived it. And it was well worth the effort when we camped at Chaquicocha, our highest campsite during the hike, in the shadow of two stunning glaciers, with llamas frequenting our tents.

Day 3 was a breeze. After an initial moderately steep hike, we arrived at Puyupatamarca, which offered stunning panoramic views of the valley below. We had entered the Amazon cloud forest: different-colored moss kissing the mountainside, bamboo trees peeking onto the trail, orchids blooming in crevices. We rested after lunch.

Three days in, all our limbs felt numb, but our hearts were brimming with emotion and pride.

Day 4, we awoke at 3:30 a.m., adrenaline rushing through our veins. This was it. Four hours later, we would experience Machu Picchu firsthand. Sitting there, with the first rays of the sun shining down on the 500-year-old site, I felt like a time traveler. I couldn’t imagine how those “little people” could build such a magnificent structure nestled within these imposing mountains. It seemed unfathomable. But one only had to look closely at the architecture to know not only were they a hardworking people, but they were also extremely intelligent.

When you watch TV and hear stories about 1,000 people living in this once-thriving city growing potatoes, maize, sugarcane, beans, peppers and tomatoes, it’s not easy to understand the scale of the operation. We looked like little ants amid those terraces. With more than 150 buildings ranging from baths and houses to temples and sanctuaries, Machu Picchu (meaning “Old Mountain” in the Quechua language) was akin to any big city in modern times. Think San Francisco, New York, Boston – sans the ubiquitous traffic.

We learned a great deal about the construction and theories behind the techniques used, and we marveled at the Incas’ knowledge of the equinoxes.

Those four days on the Inca Trail that led us to the ruins of Machu Picchu changed me. Aside from the peace and quiet, I learned to appreciate the human spirit during this trip. With only 500 people permitted to travel the trail every day, this had, indeed, been a privilege.

Mansi Bhatia is a Los Altos resident.

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