Tis’ the season for apples.
Jared and I go up to Apple Hill every year to eat apple doughnuts and buy raw, freshly pressed, apple cider. We make it a habit to tour High Hill Ranch and make sure we don’t miss out on any frivolous, apple merchandise…enter apple, pumpkin butter (amazing!).
After our outing this year we went back to Villa Rita, my parents current digs, and gathered apples, explored the wild woods, and picked the roadside grapes. It was a perfectly rustic weekend.
Legend has it that two Native American lovers leapt to their death off a tall summit near Strawberry. The name from then has been Lovers Leap…Jared claims they were free soloing on their way up, but whose to know.
There are a couple reasons that we love climbing at Lovers Leap. 1) My parents live close and there’s only an hour-or-so drive to reach the comforts of a home cooked meal, Oreos, and a hot shower. 2) It’s almost, always sunny and warm…even in late October! On this particular occasion, Jared and I reached the base around 10am (hooray for sleeping in!) and started up The Line (drug reference, naturally – ah, 70’s climbers). This route was pretty awesome and had really good feet placement on these little lips that jutted out of the wall. The route took us all over the wall and finally up and over a nice looking roof with some pretty good jugs in the hidden cracks. I was pretty stoked to get through it, roofs were never my area of expertise.
The second route was Hospital Corner. This was a more standard crack with hand and foot jams, maybe a 5.10, I can’t remember. Jared made it all the way up, but it was getting too late for me to finish. So, naturally, I took some pictures of the scenery and the cool, orange moss growing in and all over this one crack in the wall – it’s seriously beautiful. We had a bit of trouble with the rope in the end, but made it down just as the final glow of the sun was gently falling back westward.
October 19, 2013
…or Columbus Day…or Indigenous People’s Day…I prefer my title.
On this wonderful holiday celebrating exploration the government had to do something stupid and shutdown the parks. Typical. After reading the closed sign due to the shutdown we proceeded to go on our hike to Tomales Bay Point. The sun brilliantly shined over the rolling hills and sea. About a mile or so in we finally came upon the main attraction: elk. There was the king and then all of his hand maidens around him eating grass and basking. Just over the next hill there was a whole party of elk. It’s a bit frightening to see such big animals with four foot horns. I had a little anxiety that they would charge if we didn’t play by their rules and stick to the human path.
The very point of Tomales Bay is exceptionally beautiful. The water was sapphire blue and the algae shone lime green. We took our lunch at the very point and later ended up down at a beach with a great view of Bird Rock (just an island that birds live on…and poop on, I’m sure).
What a hike.
What a day.
What a sunset.
During our first year, Jared and I bought our first tent. This is sort of like picking out a baby, if that’s how it worked. Jared researched tents for a few weeks, then when we finally got to the store we talked to an REI rep about tents and then once I approved the aesthetics and color, we finally made a purchase…right before the store closed. Now we have Big Agnus, Aggie for short. We love our tent. She doesn’t quite compensate for an actual child, but we hope we have her forever. This most recent trip with Aggie was to Big Sur with friends for some hardcore, car camping. It’s not everyday that we get to break out the hot chocolate and s’mores sticks. I was freakin’ excited to say the least.
Before everyone got there, Jared and I set up camp and headed to the ocean to check out some sea caves and marine life. The beach was mystical and foggy and we naturally ended climbing up some sea cliffs for fun and the spectacular view. The chill, the barreling waves, the intricate sandstone; it was all so great.
After our sea explorations we made it back to camp just in time to make dinner with the Lambert’s. Italian sausage with “grilled” veggies and a big (regrettable) helping of horseradish mustard. I think I cried throughout all of dinner. After that miserable experience, the Perry’s arrived with the dessert fixin’s – thank goodness! We roasted anything we could find and eventually made our sleepy way to our tents. The next morning was forest heaven; the smell of wet branches and the sound of the small drips of rain on the tent, simply lovely.
Once our leisurely breakfast was cleaned up we all headed out to start our hike. Buzzard’s Roost was the route of choice. The rain from the morning made everything damp and colorful and the hike was moderate enough to enjoy the surroundings. It was quite a way to spend the weekend.
10pm: “Hey, let’s go to Eureka tomorrow for our two year anniversary!”
10:15pm: Email boss that I’m not coming in tomorrow.
4:00am: Wake up.
4:30am: Start driving to Eureka.
5:00am: No regrets…loving every moment.
After driving for almost five hours through golden hills, tall trees, and bizarre tourist traps, we arrived at our breakfast spot, Hangar Cafe. An old airport hangar with a tucked away diner that seats ten. The adjoining airplane gift shop makes this the most adorable place to eat breakfast. We were just thrilled to be eating biscuits! (Biscuits are Jared’s absolute favorite!)
The detour to the beach was worth it, as always. After, we headed to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. We decided on a 4 mile hike through one of the oldest forests in America (I’m not sure if this is true, but whatever). We toured and surveyed the trees and one after the other we said, “Look at that one!….Oh, wow, that one’s huge!” – we’re pretty dorky. Even by the end we were still impressed by the gigantic trunks and the height of the scarlet beauties.
The redwoods were pure amazing, but I was completely taken aback by our next destination. This place is called Fern Canyon and it was like a secret fern palace. Not many people were there (this was a Tuesday after all) and the sun was shining enough to illuminate the layers of fern through the canyon. The walls of ferns were incredible. Just go, okay.
After one more stop at the beach we finally headed back into old town Eureka. We saw some weird mansion and the original painted lady (which is pink, my favorite). We finished our anniversary with some halibut and truffles. It was one of my favorite adventures to date!
p.s. On the way out of Eureka we felt our way through the dark past tiny houses and fields. Then we came upon the house where my dad was born and slightly raised. It was such a joy to know his house is still there.
August 31, 2013
Unfortunately for all the world, and especially Jared, parts of hwy 120 to Yosemite and the surrounding areas were in flames due to the Rim Fire. It was like his little baby was in danger and there was nothing we could do about it. However, there is always a will and way to go rock climbing with Jared. We drove through Sonora Pass and after five hours we finally got to our pull out on the east side entrance next to Tuolumne.
We woke up early the next morning and drove into the park. It was the most eery scene, like something out of the Steven King movie The Stand. There were a few empty cars parked along side the road and the whole valley was full of a smokey fog. No humans in sight, no birds chirping, was this a bad idea to climb while a fire was blazing on the other side of the park? Maybe. Regardless of the creepy surroundings though, we set off to do our climb.
I didn’t realize the impact that the smoke had until we started our up hill hike. At all times during the five mile to the base of the climb we were surrounded by the settled smoke cloud. This came as a major let down as one of the reasons to even get through the approach is to see the beautiful lakes, trees, and green scenery. I was almost saddened by the whole thing when I turned to my left and saw the cutest, wild, bunny eating. It gave me hope that not all the animals in Tuolumne turned to mutants or died off because of the fire.
As we got nearer to the base I looked up in amazement at the climb we were about to do. I was feeling exhausted from the hike, but pushed on as this climb was also on my bucket list. We started the climb around 11am and it was a breeze. Perhaps it was the smoke hiding the daunting elevation gain, but I was almost jogging across the ridge. Jared even had us simul climb and let me do the last “pitch” to our summit. I never get to summit first so this was a big deal. We made it to the south summit, had lunch, down climbed and then climbed the north summit. Once we signed the log book we rappelled and headed back.
The hike back was brutal and Jared had to coax me along if he wanted to eat dinner that night. I was fine just dying in the woods and told him to go on without me (I can get pretty dramatic after an 14 hour day hiking and climbing). I suppose he likes me too much because he held my hand practically the rest of the way. We finally reached the car around 10pm and quickly drove to our spot, set up camp, ate, then fell into a deep sleep.
The next morning we woke to the beautiful sun shining and the nearby river babbling – the wind must have swept the smoke northward and out of our midst. Thankfully the east entrance is very close to Lee Vining so we were able to grab a proper breakfast of pancakes, eggs, hot chocolate, biscuits, etc., the meal after climbing is always something to look forward to.
We spent the rest of our day exploring Lee Vining, back roads, less traveled routes through unknown towns and unfrequented ice cream shops with mom’s and pop’s. It was the perfect, long weekend we needed, minus the smoke. We’ll be back for Matthes Crest…just not during fire season.
It’s almost torturous at times for Jared because there are so many freakin’ girls in my family. With five sisters, four nieces, a step-mom and a regular mom, it gets all sorts of wild and loud when we all come together. I do want at least three girls, out of our six kids (crossing fingers), so I suppose he’s just going to have to get used to it.
I can’t decide if our theme song should be I Enjoy Being a Girl or I’ll Tell you What I Want (what I really, really want)…
I love all these women so, so much…(tearing up)…
p.s. this is after waking up from the most awesome 50th birthday party for my mom. Hence pj’s, hence crusty eyes…or sunglasses (cheater).
My two sisters, Harmony and Staysail, came to visit California for the first time since they were babies. These two spent half their life living in Panama with our dad and the other half living with their mom in Florida. I don’t know these girls at all, but for some reason that doesn’t matter, I still love them.
Jared and I tried to show them everything we love about where we live: Fentons, Dolores Park, Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower, Chinatown, Hot Cookie, the Mission, Harden, Yosemite (duh), Muir Woods, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio, Palace of Fine Art, Temple Hill, UC Berkeley. I think we gave them the best tour ever.
I miss them and can’t wait for their next visit.
July 20, 2013
This was the longest route I’ve done. It was long as ever and pretty epic…poor Jared had to lead every pitch. About pitch 7 or so we saw lightening in the distance and both of us freaked out and our words got very colorful. After getting off the dome I dragged Jared into the depths of the woods and off the trail into bear territory. Thankfully some Kiwi’s bailed us out and showed us the way to our car. On the drive out to the north entrance I puked three or four times and was totally spent. We made it to Groveland and got into the convenience store for some cup o’noodle and ginger ale 10 minutes before it closed. Then there was the good 2.5 hour drive back home.
Perhaps epic is an understatement.