redefining wanderlust

a life blog by Bekka

Posts for Hiking

I Love To Stay Home on New Year’s Eve

I love to stay home on New Year’s Eve and here is why!

It’s 6:00 pm on New Year’s Eve and I’m in yoga clothes getting ready to go to Whole Foods to pick up ingredients for a delicious dinner for Dan and me. The only alcohol I will be drinking tonight is from the classic kombucha Dan purchased me a few days ago, and I’ll be falling asleep by 10:00 pm with Star Wars playing in the background.

I love to stay home on New Year’s Eve because for the last 2 years Dan and I have woken up before the sun and head out on an early hike. We chase the sunrise up mountain trails and breathe in the new day, the new year. My favorite NYE before being with Dan was cleaning out my closet while watching John Water’s films. It was that year (2012), I decided I would no longer chase the New Year’s Eve dragon. Since I’ve been with Dan, he’s been on board about avoiding the NYE expectation monster. Instead, we have found our own way to celebrate the ending of a year, and have finally come to create a real tradition.

Dan and Bekka Rose Parade

Rose Parade Dr. Seuss

Rose Parade 2013

Our first NYE together (2013), we stayed at home and then woke up early for the rose parade. I grew up watching the parade on television and it was time us SoCal kids sat in the cold grandstands to watch the parade in real life. It’s basically a SoCal bucket list item.  The following year (2014), I locked myself in my office all New Year’s Eve until 10:00pm when I finally finished the manuscript for a young adult novel I wrote with my sister. Dan was ready to stay in, but since the night was still young we went out to an event our friend was DJing at. Although we had a great night at the club, we also decided that it just wasn’t a scene we wanted to be a part of. So when it came to the start of 2015, we turned to our love of hiking.

Crystal Cove 2015
Crystal Cove 2015

A few months earlier we traveled the country, hiking amazing trails in Utah, and never felt more alive than when we connected outside and in nature. Since we had rediscovered this love and made it a resolution to hike more, we started our year hiking in Newport Beach with coastal views. Then in 2016, we headed to Malibu. Now this year, we’re headed back to Pasadena to explore the foothills. I love our hiking tradition and now look forward to New Year’s Eve. In the past, the New Year’s Eve Expectation Monster haunted me and I sort of dreaded the night. Except, I did have one other great New Year’s Eve in San Diego ringing in 2010, but later that year my heart was ripped out of my chest by my new year’s kiss. So, I’m happy to hike and be asleep at midnight next to the real love of my life.

2016 Hiking

Crystal Cove 2016

Charmlee Wilderness Park 2016

I hope you all have a wonderful new year’s eve and day, whatever you end up doing.

May 2017 bring more love, laughter, and light into all of our lives.

 

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VIP Access to Petroglyphs

We seriously had VIP Access to some of the best petroglyphs in Utah, along with the amazing views of Natural Bridges.

I have a friend who is a park ranger. She is still at the start of her career, so she will jump from site to site until finding a permanent position. But the year Dan and I were driving around the country, she was working at Natural Bridges National Monument. I’d never heard of the place, but as I love nature and free lodging, we decided to spend a few nights with her.

Hiking is fun, but hiking with a park ranger is a flipping bad ass adventure! Without my friend, we would have hiked around the park following designated trails and such, seeing the sites but never going deep in the canyons. With my friend, we were opened up to a whole new world of Ancient Puebloans architecture and petroglyphs. My imagination swirls drawing up scenes of the Puebloan people carving their stories into the stone, messages for their community. We picked up two small books on deciphering the symbols, that I have tucked away somewhere, so well hidden I’m not sure where they are located. Perhaps I should have made a petroglyph map to them on my bedroom wall. (oh, the jokes!)

We seriously had VIP Access to some of the best petroglyphs in Utah, along with the amazing views of Natural Bridges. I’d love to return and explore more, this time in better shape. When we went I was way less fit than I am now. When I bemoaned I was in pain, my park ranger friend asked what I had hurt very concerned, I informed her oh nothing – I’m just severely out of shape.  This trip also inspired Dan and I’s New Year Morning hike tradition. We were so inspired by the beautiful scenery and burn from the hike, we really felt alive.  We feel the rush is the best way to start a new year.

Here are the photos from our awesome VIP hike.

Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs

Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Dancing Man Petroglyph Utah hand petroglyph Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Natural Bridges National Monument_ Petroglyphs Utah Petroglyphs

The above image is the view from the ground of where the large collection of petroglyphs are hidden.

 

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Mystic and Wild Mushrooms of the PNW

I find mushrooms to be so magical! I remember being fascinated by their sudden appearance in our front lawn and learning about the unique bio-makeup of fungus in school. One of my earlier memories was my dad making sure I knew NOT to eat wild mushrooms on our front lawn and only mushrooms from grocery stores. I love the various formations mushrooms grow in, and I think their spectrum of toxicity is so mystical. Mushrooms are so witchy wonderful and when we were on our Pacific Northwest road trip I had the opportunity to see so many unique mushrooms growing in the wild. I don’t know the names of any of the mushrooms I found, and Bowerbird did try to identify a few although I wouldn’t dare try to eat any without proper mushroom education. If I ever moved to the PNW or Northern California where wild mushrooms flourish, I think I’d become a mushroom hunter, spending my weekends hiking around to see what new fungi I could discover.

The following photos were taken while on a hike up Mt. Ellinor in Washington and a trail in the Redwoods National Forrest.

wild mushroom in the sun

Redwoods Wild Mushrooms

hidden wild mushrooms

Wild Mushrooms Redwoods

nibble mushrooms

redwood mushrooms

redwoods wild mushrooms fungus

flying saucer mushroom

 

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Road Trip Adventure from Nor Cal to Oregon : River Trail & Camping Romance

October 18, 2015 | Day 4 of #OntheRoad1015 ( previous day )

We woke up before the sun and filled our bellies with the slim pickings at our motel’s continental breakfast. On this trip I started putting Cheerios in my Yoplait yogurt to make it more filling and fuel me for our adventure. Plus one can never go wrong with a little extra fiber. The Northern California coastline is like no other, especially in the morning when the low clouds and mist of the waves combine to create an ethereal landscape. The soft pastel colors of the sun rise is accented by a pearlescent lining above the sea foam.

Seeing deer signs are not uncommon while on a road trip, but seeing a deer grazing by the road can be unique. When we came upon an Elk sign we figured it was the same thing, until we noticed dozens of Elk all around us, munching on their breakfast right along the road. My car was rolling along at a snail’s pace as we tried to take pictures and not explode with cuteness overwhelm. Then about 20 miles after the Elk party, we saw a perfect “Back to the Future” DeLorean drive past us. Sadly, I couldn’t snap a picture of the car but talk about an insanely cool morning drive!!

Northern California - Blanket Fort Adventures

Salmon in a Heart - Blanket Fort Adventures

Golden Bear in Nor Cal - Blanket Fort Adventures

Paul and Babe - Blanket Fort Adventures

We arrived to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park around 9:00am and aside from the park ranger cleaning out the bathrooms, we were first on site. I’ve expressed this on the blog before, but I LOVE being the only couple or person at a place. I enjoy the feeling of privacy and it makes the moment extra special. Even just arriving to an event before everyone else, so I can take in the silence, the electric hum before the world starts up. We took the river trail in Stout Memorial Grove and lost ourselves in nature; looking up at the tall trees, finding wild mushrooms, and letting the birds and river be the soundtrack. After walking along the marked river trail and ending up at the side of the road, we turned around and upon inspecting some interesting moss found an unmarked trail that led right out onto the river. Inside the trail the tall trees created a shadowed canopy and walking out onto the river bed was like opening up the blinds to let the sun shine in; white rocks made the sun brighter and the sky appear bluer. We played along the river for a while and if we weren’t pressed for time, I could have seen us lay down a blanket and read beside the rushing water.

As we walked back to the parking lot, the trail started to fill up with other tourists. We really had the Redwoods all to ourselves.

Redwoods Hike - Blanket Fort Adventures

River Trail Hike - Blanket Fort Adventures

It was 11am by the time we returned to the car and our next stop was Grants Pass, Oregon to grab lunch before heading to our campsite in Bend, Oregon – four and half hours away. The rest of our drive was beautiful and fun, filled with singing and naptime. We were starved by the time we reached Grants Pass. Bowerbird had looked up a cute organic restaurant on Yelp called Ma Mosa’s. The coffee was self-serve and we ate a delicious brown rice bowl filled with black beans, blackened salmon, avocado, tomatoes, corn and some other yummy real food. It’s funny because the bowl is totally something we could make at home but of course, would never taste as good.

Once again, we were trying to beat the sun and get to our campsite before dark, so we made very little stops or detours. I had to be the grump and tell Bowerbird we couldn’t make a 2-hour detour to Crater Lake. When you’re used to packing adventure into every hour while on the road, a 2-hour detour doesn’t seem like that much but it makes a huge difference if you’ll be setting up a tent while there is still light outside. The one stop we made was at a little café at the end of the highway, a mountain range in front of us and the merging freeway running North and South. We darted across the empty highway to the Diamond Lake Junction café in order to use the restroom. I have no idea who would go to this restaurant as there wasn’t a city or town close by, it was basically made for travelers. We went inside and I ordered a muffin and coffee to be able to use the restroom. I went first but as Bowerbird was relieving himself, I talked to the owner/cook/waiter about Time Life magazines and almanacs. The owner was a sponge for knowledge and loved knowing about different decades and history. He looked like he could easily be a member of the Sons of Anarchy and that café might moonlight as a clubhouse.

PNW Road Trip - Blanket Fort Adventures

As we reached our Tumalo State Park campsite the sun was starting to set. This was a very posh campsite and not very far from the bustling city of Bend. We were slightly bummed that the campsite wasn’t as removed from civilization as we had hoped, but while I was setting up our air mattress in the tent, Bowerbird went to Trader Joes to get us dinner and find some fire wood.

This was my favorite night of the entire road trip, aside from the day we got engaged. We sat by the fire drinking red wine and eating French bread with brie. Bowerbird and I talked about our future together, our plans, hopes and fears. We had fun adding wood to the fire and shifting where we sat on the bench depending on where the wind was deciding to blow. I put away my phone and computer, I unplugged for the night and was present in that moment. Sleeping on the air mattress bundled under multiple blankets and sleeping bags I fell asleep instantly in Bowerbird’s arms and we let our bio-clock wake us up instead of our phones. It was perfect, pure bliss.

Campfire at Tumalo Park - Blanket Fort Adventures

Romantic Camping Spread - Blanket Fort Adventures

Camping with Bowerbird - Blanket Fort Adventures

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