THE BAY OF LA

JUNE 2016

We have wanted to explore the Bay of LA for a long time so we decided to take a week off, pack up our inflatable boat and hit the road. June in Baja is usually very hot with really warm water in the Sea of Cortez. So this is exactly what we were expecting and unfortunately not what we got. The water was cold, not mildly cold but the kind where you can only last 5 minutes without hypothermia cold. And although it was warm it was very windy, so I would not say it was even close to being hot. Luckily it is beautiful in the Bay of LA and there is a lot to explore. Because of this we decided to hop around, by strapping our inflatable to the roof of my suburu and hoping for the best. This did give us the ability to check out different camping spots but it also gave us a few holes in our boat, which thankfully we were able to find and patch. We were also excited to take my all wheel drive on some of the dirt roads into some of the more remote bays, however when you are weighted down with a motor, tons of gas, a boat and all of your camping gear this may not be the best idea. But we went for it, and got stuck in the sand about 4 miles from this magical bay. We did get out and decided not to risk the last stretch. Luck just didn’t seem to be on our side this trip but that still didn’t deter us from exploring, fishing and getting to know the areas around LA Bay. And after all of these little frustrations, we can’t wait to go back but the next time we decided that we’ll bring a bigger boat along for the journey.

 

BEA-UTAH-FUL

APRIL 2016

We finally got out to Utah this spring to explore Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, and I fell in love. We were immediately greeted by Big Horned Sheep in Zion while hitching a ride to the trailhead our first morning there. The hikes were stunning and highly recommended, the East Rim trail to Observation Point and then Angel’s Landing (first thing in the morning before the crowds). We only had a few days there so we tried to make the most of it and we were not disappointed. But we agreed that the next time we go we will dedicate more time to exploring this park. After Zion, we headed over to Bryce Canyon, and to our surprise there were no crowds because of the colder weather. We got to spend some quality time with the hoodoos, observe some prairie dogs and we even ran into a pack of pronghorn. We capped off this adventure with some spring skiing in Brian Head. It was the perfect Utah get away.

 

NICARAGUA

MARCH 2016

This was my first time in Central America… we went to Las Penitas for a surf trip with two of our good friends. Unfortunately my time spent there was fighting off the flu and not doing much surfing. But Nicaragua is a beautiful country and Las Penitas was a perfect little beach town with an extremely nice community of people. The others got plenty of surf time in, and we also got to go on a mangrove tour via panga and we got to check out Leon during the easter holiday (and some really cool sawdust art!). Overall it was a great trip, but the next time I find myself down there I hope to be in full health.


 

ANZA BORREGO

FEBRUARY 2016

We tried a new kind of backpacking trip, on our dirt bikes. Our bikes allowed us to explore the many dirt roads within the Anza Borrego limits. This area is incredibly beautiful and there is so much to see whether on bike or on foot. We are very lucky to have a place like this right in our backyard.


 

SEPTEMBER IN THE SIERRAS

SEPTEMBER 2015

We had a wedding in the Bay Area this September, so we decided to take a week off and road trip up north. We also decided to hit up Yosemite (finally!) since I have been in California for 6.5 years and I have yet to lay eyes on Yosemite’s massive walls of granite. I was really excited.

To start off this adventure, we spent our first night in Lone Pine, camping at Tuttle Creek. From there we went on to Bishop to visit friends and do some bouldering. Next up, we drove to Saddle Bag Lake Campground. This leg of our trip involved Mt. Conness, a 12,589 ft peak located in the Inyo National Forest right outside of the Yosemite boundary. This peak was to be my very first alpine climb!

During our time at Saddle Bag, San Diego was experiencing a heat wave and when we checked the weather prior to our trip, Yosemite was also showing warm temperatures. Needless to say we showed up for this climb unprepared without rain gear. When we arrived at the Lake, it was pouring, of course. But we decided to wake up at 4am to check things out and the sky was clear. We decided to go for it, but grabbed some trash bags just in case.

Mt. Conness is a pretty easy climb, but it has a lot of exposure that definitely made it mentally challenging. The route ended up looking much harder and scarier than it actually was technically which made for a thrilling (first climb) experience. Luckily it remained clear throughout our ascent, but as we neared the main peak, the sky started to turn. When we reach the summit, it started to snow on us! Thankfully, we had trash bags, now our makeshift ponchos. At this moment I had to appreciate that last year I almost missed snow fall completely (and was pretty upset about it) and this year I was experiencing it in September from the top of a mountain. So my spirits were still high at least until we descended enough for it to turn into rain. However, even with the rain, the descent was absolutely stunning. Flowing creeks and hillside meadows led us further down the mountain to where we began our day about 13 hours earlier. Luckily the hard rain held off until we made it back into the van, then it proceeded to come down non-stop all night long, until the morning when we were greeted by frosty temperatures and snowcapped peaks. We definitely lucked out with our small window of clear skies and moderate weather. We heard that during clear skies, the views form the top of Mt. Conness are unbelievable, but even alongside the dark and ominous clouds, the view was quite breathtaking. All in all, this was an unforgettable and rewarding experience that I definitely endorse.

After sleeping a full night and then some… we were pretty tired, we drove into Yosemite Valley. Unfortunately the weather was not on our side. But it was clear enough to experience its grandeur. Also noted, the bad weather does not deter people from visiting. There were a lot of people, I can only imagine what it is like on a nice day. But I am happy to say that I have finally visited this famous park and I look forward to going back one day. From there we kept moving north, visiting lots of friends and family until we made it to the wedding in Marin. Overall, it was a pretty great trip and I am looking forward to the next one.


 

SUMMER WITH SOFI

Every summer we fly my niece out to San Diego (from Boston) to spend some quality time with us. This summer marked her fourth year (and fifth trip) west. It was also her longest trip to date, a whole five weeks. Five weeks with a 6 yr old is extremely rewarding, but also quite exhausting and sometimes challenging. Although some patience was tested on both of our ends, it was an adventurous and memorable trip. Every year we try to spend her time here doing things that she is unable to do at home- camping, surfing, fishing, climbing… we definitely pack it in. We even got to do a boating/camping trip to Catalina with our/her friends this year. And although we did all these different things, fun things that I know she will always remember, she is still a 6 yr old little girl whose favorite activity here was just the opportunity to be a princess at Frozen camp.

 


 

MAMMOTH SNOW

I am an east coaster that now lives on the west coast, i.e. I’ve never experienced a winter without snow. Even in the six years I have lived in San Diego, I have spent time in the snow every winter. But this year that almost changed and I was struggling with the idea of having my first snowless year while my parents were experiencing their hardest winter on record in Boston. I realize I shouldn’t complain, living in San Diego is great but a year with only sunshine and 70+ degree days can be frustrating especially when our current drought conditions desperately need the rain and snow.

As the days passed and winter turned into spring I came to grips with the fact that I am officially a southern Californian, and there would be no snow this year. But thanks to my husband and his family, I was lucky enough to experience one of Mammoth’s last snowstorms of the year. I haven’t been defeated yet!

We headed up to the mountains during the last week in April, to spend time with Danny’s brother and wife and our 3 yr old niece. Yes there was definitely sledding involved and also a beautiful and snowy hike up 2,500ft outside of June lake. I finally got to experience the Mammoth hot springs as well, and of course local craft beer from Mountain Rambler (in bishop), Mammoth Brewing Co and June Lake Brewing. It was just what the doctor ordered, snowy mountains, family, hot springs and beer!

 


 

GONZAGA BAY

MAY 2015

We recently went down to Gonzaga Bay in Baja for the weekend with a couple of friends. This is the same place that Danny and I took our first trip together, four and a half years ago. On that trip we brought a canoe, for this one we brought our little inflatable so we could venture out to the islands to fish. We ended up catching more fish in the canoe! But even with crappy fishing conditions, there is something really special about being offshore in a little boat in such a wild place, surrounded by the mountainous desert landscape and rocky islands. This place always reminds me of what’s important in life (to me), to continue having experiences that make you realize how beautiful and diverse the world is. Because nowadays its a pretty easy thing to forget.

 


 

BACK TO BAJA

MARCH 2015

Our friends from Idaho came to visit in March for their Spring break so we decided to head back down to Conception Bay for a spring fishing trip. But on our way down we stopped in San Ignacio to see the gray whales. This is something I have been wanting to do for a while now so I was especially excited to have this experience. For anyone that isn’t aware, gray whales travel down to Baja to have their calves. There are a couple of different bays that the Gray whales will give birth in and you can hire a trained guide to go into these bays by panga to see the mothers with their calves. The whales are not afraid of the boats and will come up to check the pangas and it’s passengers out.

This was an incredible start to our trip. Seeing and touching these humungous, powerful and gentle animals was an unforgettable experience and one that I highly recommend.

After San Ignacio we continued down to Mulege for the rest of the week. A week that consisted of 4am wake up calls and non stop fishing but one that also resulted in a whole lot of yellowtail to bring home. There was also a lot of life on the water… specifically the giant mobular rays that were swimming around offshore. They were everywhere, jumping out of the water and circling underneath the boat. But the biggest highlight of the week unfortunately happened on the one day I decided to sleep in, Danny and our friend Steve saw a pod of Orca Whales! Lets just say that I learned my lesson and I’m never taking a day off again. 🙂

 


 

OFF TO ARUBA

FEBRUARY 2015

This past February Danny and I were able to vacation in a place we would have never traveled to on our own, Aruba. Thanks to a family raffle, my sister won a vacation in Aruba and graciously gave it to us as her wedding gift. This was definitely a different kind of trip for us, solely based on the fact that we would be staying in a nice resort and not in our camper van or outside. We will never be “resortists” but it was nice to live in another person’s shoes for a week.

I am pretty sure we did almost everything that Aruba had to offer. Danny went scuba diving and windsurfing, I went SUPing, we snorkeled, we rented a dirtbike, we went sightseeing, we tried to do it all. But in the end, I think we had the most fun sitting by the pool, drinking pina coladas and playing with the resident iguanas. Also, spending some quality time with my family that happened to be there as well. I don’t get to do that enough nowadays.