Hiking adventures: Tanbark and Tin House Trail- Big Sur, Ca.

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For Valentine’s Day I planned a day of hiking for us down in Big Sur. I’ve never really been into the whole commercial part of this holiday…this isn’t to say that I don’t like receiving flowers or going to dinner but I never expect anything on Valentine’s Day because I already know that my husband loves me all year long. Anyway, this is a hike I’ve wanted to do for a while but doubted I could do it. Because I decided that this year is the year I stop being afraid of putting myself out there, try new things and push myself more to get out of my comfort zone I made plans for this big hike. It’s not big in terms of length but it’s ALL uphill to the Tin House. This trail starts out across from the unmarked Partington Cove trail head (a neat, very short trail that takes you to a small cove that, during prohibition ,was rumored to be a favorite spot for alcohol smugglers). The Tanbark Trail is also unmarked and is located across the street. At first glance, it’s an unassuming trail but very quickly you are in a redwood canyon  filled with ferns and big boulders while heading inland. This only lasts about half a mile and then you begin your upward climb.

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This photo is a perfect depiction of the upward trajectory that the trail takes for 2-3 miles. It evens out a bit but it’s still pretty upward until you get to the Tin House.

Midway through the hike we stopped and had lunch on some fallen trees. It was a pretty spectacular view for a Valentine’s Day lunch. Sun streaming through the trees, total quiet other than the small brook running though the valley and moss covered trees to sit on. It was a nice reprieve from the uphill climb we had been enduring. This may not be a very long hike but you definitely need to be in shape to get up these hills.

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The trail tops out at the junction to the Tin House. The trail actually ends at a fire road but off to the left is the trail that takes you out to the Tin House. Some info about the Tin House from this website “The house has an interesting history and was built in 1944 by Lathrop Brown, a former Congressman from New York, who also built the home above McWay Falls that was finally removed in 1965. The tin sheeting and parts came from two old gas stations, and the house was fully finished inside with rich blue walls in the living room.

The story goes that when the house was completed, the Browns spent one night there and soon discovered that the tin structure made a lot of noise as it expanded and shrank with the temperature changes. They never returned.”

At this point the house is in pretty bad conditions due to weather and vandals. Nate was up there about 1 or 2 years ago and I guess it’s become even more damaged than when he saw it then. When you walk around to the ocean side of it though the views are spectacular of the coast and Partington Cove area. Standing there enjoying the view I could imagine the lawn parties they may have had here had they stayed here more than the one night. I wish I had seen the house when it was not falling apart and crumbling. I bet it was a pretty awesome sight.

The fire road that takes you back out to the highway is pretty steep but after you come out of the trees the views of the coast are amazing. The only downside of the hike is that when you take this exit out you have to walk the 1/2 a mile back to the car right on Highway 1. With all the turns and narrow road this can be a bit of an adventure. We had to cross and re-cross to keep on the bigger part of the shoulder so that we were safe.

When we got back to the car we decided to head down to Partington Cove because we hadn’t done this short hike in a couple of years. We spent a little bit of time sitting on the bench watching the waves and resting for a bit.We probably should have spent a bit more time hanging out there because by the time we got to the Point Lobos area of Highway 1 the traffic was at a standstill and stayed that way for almost an hour (just to go 5 miles) due to numerous events happening in the area. It took so long that we just stopped by Chipotle’s and picked up dinner so that we could just stay home the rest of the evening and watch movies. Happy Valentine’s Day to us!

Hike length: 5.6 miles (plus another mile for the Partington Cove trail) Elevation Gain:1600 ft.  Trail condition: Excellent and very well maintained. Trail is unmarked but obvious.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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Hiking adventures: Peralta Trail- Superstition Mountains, Arizona

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One of the adventures we had planned on this trip to Arizona was a day of hiking in the Superstition Mountains. Since we’ve always gone to Arizona in the dead of summer, hiking has never been an option. Now that dad lives out in the middle of nowhere (Queen Creek) the Superstitions are just a quick drive from his new house and so we headed out one morning to tackle the Peralta Trail. It was the perfect length (almost 5 miles or so- round trip) from the trail head to the saddle view of Weaver’s Needle. According to my dad, I’ve been on this trail before when I was younger (under 12) when I backpacked in with my dad and a group of other backpackers. I didn’t remember of course. The road to the trail head is dirt but a there is a large parking lot and bathroom facilities There is no water available though to refill your containers with so plan accordingly. I read numerous sources that said there was a parking fee but when we went the parking was free. Apparently Peralta is the most popular trail in the Superstition Wilderness and can be very busy at times . We went on a Tuesday and it seemed pretty quiet to us. We passed a few people but after hiking the Pinnacle Peak Trail  just days before, this one was so quiet and peaceful. (with the exception of the guy who was hiking while blasting his music- we let him get way ahead of us so that we didn’t also have to listen to his bad music choices).

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The views on this hike are amazing. The saddle with the view of Weaver’s Needle was awesome but I think almost every view on the hike was breathtaking. It’s so different from what we usually see on the Central Coast and it was a welcome change. It’s a pretty easy hike even with the noticeable elevation gain. It’s gradual for the most part and didn’t give me any problems at all. I think the biggest hindrance of the day was the weather. Cool weather in Arizona is like hot weather where we live and so by the end of the hike we were exhausted and had both run out of water. I can’t believe there are people who would do this hike in the dead of summer. Even in January it was almost 80 degrees midday. I would suggest doubling the amount of water you think you might need. I had also misjudged the amount of time it would take to do the hike and didn’t bring lunch food with me and so the last half an hour of the hike was pretty rough on both of us (me because I was so cranky and Nate… because I was so cranky) If you find yourself in this part of Arizona I highly recommend that you explore this trail. You don’t have to be in amazing shape to do this hike but you should be, at the least, at an average fitness level. Beginner hikers may find parts of the trail tough. There are some narrow parts and the trail is not marked in any recognizable way but is still pretty easy to maneuver. Nate is a natural with hiking and he always seems to know exactly where the trail is even when it’s not obvious to me. After we got to the top of the saddle we explored a bit around the area (adding another mile or two to our final total) as Nate was hoping to get closer to Weaver’s needle. It’s much further than you think it is though and after walking an additional mile or so we decided to turn around( due to my lack of food).

Hike length: 4.9 miles to the Fremont Saddle view (round trip)  Elevation gain: 1380  Trail condition: excellent even though it is not marked in any wayProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIMG_3226.

Thanks for reading!

Jennifer

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Hiking adventures: Pinnacle Peaks Trail- Scottsdale, Arizona

 

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Now that we’ve pretty much stopped drinking we find that we are often filling that time with hiking. (Actually, friends have also noticed this and pointed it out to us too , which is pretty funny) When I plan trips now, I no longer look for breweries or drinking establishments, I look for hiking spots. It’s our new favorite way to spend time together. There is no doubt, in either of our minds, that this is a much better way to spend our time together. I feel so much better and being outdoors and active is so much better for us as a couple. Traveling has changed a bit because of this lifestyle change though. We normally make it out to Arizona at least once a year to see my family but in the past it’s always been in the summer ,mostly because of Alex and school, and because my dad had a pool. Not a fancy pool by any means but a pool that I have enjoyed on and off for the past 25+ years of my life. He sold that house though and opted for a new house, in a new housing community, where the pool is a community pool. Now, I don’t have anything against community pools per se but the convenience of rolling out of bed, donning my swimsuit and jumping into the pool by 9:00am is gone. I am a little heartbroken about this still, btw. Anyway, because of his residence change, we opted to travel to Arizona in January this time. This worked out better with our current lifestyle too. IMG_1613In the past we would spend our time in Arizona visiting breweries and hanging at the pool because in Arizona, in the dead of summer, there isn’t much else to do. We stayed with my sister in Scottsdale for the first few days (my dad moved out to the middle of nowhere) so that meant our first hike needed to be near or around Scottsdale. Nate had already done Camelback Mountain years ago so I was looking for a hike neither of us had done before. Pinnacle Peak seemed like the perfect hike to start with. Not too long. Not to far from my sister’s house. (Nate hates how spread out everything is in Arizona). I read a few things about the hike and it seemed like it would work for us. Even though the weather in Arizona this time of year is wonderful it’s still 10 degrees more than we are used to. IMG_1632I had read that this hike was busy on weekends but I was not prepared for this kind of busy. It was almost like a conveyor belt of people. There was always someone right behind you or right in front of you. The hike itself was great. It’s been referred to as the “stairmaster” hike and that name fits it. It’s a steady climb up to the peak (1300 ft elevation gain) and the trail itself is only 3.5 miles round trip but the views of the Valley are great. The houses out there are amazing too. We spent some of our time discussing which house we would live in if we had that kind of money. It’s a fun  hike but if you are looking for a one without tons of other hikers, this is not the trail for you.  Can’t beat the view though. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAs I’ve grown older I’ve begun to appreciate the landscape of Arizona much more than when I was younger. I disliked everything about the desert when I was growing up here and couldn’t wait to leave it. Looking back now though I’m sure it was just that I was looking for a change. Looking at the familiar landscape now just makes me feel nostalgic and I appreciate the beauty of the desert. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

We invited our friend Ian along for the hike and it is always fun to hang out with him. He and Nate have been friends since elementary school and I’ve always appreciated that when we’re in Arizona that Nate has someone he can also connect up with. Arizona trips are often filled with seeing my high school friends so it can be a bit boring for Nate when I’m off having lunch or shopping with girlfriends. Or dragging him to happy hour reunions filled with people he doesn’t know. Neither of us are good in new social situations so I can understand his anxiety when I drag him places like that. I appreciated that Ian came out and hiked with us. His wife and kids were out of town and he had a BBQ to go to but still he made time for us. We were rewarded with a special treat at the end of the hike too. One of the animal rehab organizations (Wild at Heart) had brought out a variety of birds/raptors for people to see. They had a Great Horned Owl, a Red Tailed Hawk, a Peregrine Falcon and an amazing Bald Eagle. I’ve never seen an eagle up close like this. It was a wonderful way to end our morning of hiking.Even though I wasn’t allowed to hug(or even touch) the hawk like I wanted to;)

 

Hike length: 1.75 miles each way. (3.5 total)  Elevation gain: 1300ft   Trail condition: excellent
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List 44: Visit Point Reyes Lighthouse (#22)

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Back a few months ago I saw a photo posted on Instagram of this lighthouse and I immediately sent the photo to my husband and told him “I want to go here”. On the list it went. When I decided to plan a birthday weekend out of town I had a different destination in mind but then I remembered this lighthouse. Neither Nate or I have ever seen this part of California before. San Francisco to L.A., we’ve seen most of the coast. And up farther near Humboldt area too. But there is a whole section of unexplored coastline that I needed/wanted to see. So off to the Point Reyes area we headed for a weekend. I’ve lived in California now for 20 years and I can tell you that I’m always still amazed at the awesomeness that is the Pacific Ocean and the coastline running along it. I can sit and stare at it for hours. I also have accumulated quite a stash of  photos of coastal scenery.

This reminds me that as a kid my dad would come back from these big backpacking trips and he would sit us down for a slide show (yes…a slide show) of all the photos he took on his trip and I can remember being completely bored by all his scenery shots. I’d ask him “Why do you have so many photos of the scenery? They aren’t very interesting” These mountains/rocks/desert fauna must be like, for him, what the ocean is for me.

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If you’ve never been to this lighthouse, it’s definitely worth it. You have to want to see it though because it’s a 45 minutes drive just to the parking lot and then another 1/3 of a mile walk to it which included 308 steps down (and back up) just to get to it. Even with my foot issue I was determined to get down to it. It was actually much easier than it looks. but oh my gosh it was SO freaking windy.

Point Reyes is the windiest place on the Pacific Coast and the second foggiest place on the North American continent.” – nps.gov

Nathan, being the show-off that he is practically ran back up the stairs, came back down to meet me, and then raced up them again. Whatever. I did it and can cross it off my list despite my slow crawl back to the top.

I was rewarded for all this stair-climbing with some locally made sourdough and some Marin French cheese (both of which were absolutely delicious!)  That was really the highlight of the day. (jk)

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1 down, 43 to go.

 

 

 

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