Wed10222014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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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

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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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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