List 44: Camp at the Pinnacles National Park (#30)

I can’t believe it’s been months since I last updated this blog. Vacation and school got in the way but hopefully I’ll be back on a regular schedule now. Anyway, back in February 2015 Nate and I headed to Pinnacles National Park for an overnight trip. If you haven’t been to the Pinnacles before get in your car  and head there now. But not in the summer , it’s much too hot. Don’t forget a headlamp also because the caves are a welcoming break from the heat but they are very dark and the headlamps will help you find your way.

When I put this on my list it wasn’t necessarily because the campsite was so fabulous that I *needed* to camp there,  instead it was on my list as a means of getting as much hiking in as we could at the Pinnacles. The campground ended up being really nice though. Part of the campsites are open area sites, with numerous campsites set up and then the other half are single sites along the drive, with some hidden among trees. I heard a rumor that there was a pool also, but we didn’t get that far with our inquiries. We were there for the hiking not the pool. We quickly set up our tent (right by a small creek which was nice but in the summer I’m betting the creek is just a breeding ground for mosquitoes) and headed out on our first hike. The only downside to the campground I can see is that you do have to drive to get to the closest trail head. There is a trail but it adds another mile or so, one way, to an already full day of hiking. We parked in the Bear Gulch parking lot and headed out on the Condor Gulch Trail. This is a pretty easy trail, it’s only about 1.7 miles (one way) and the Condor Gulch Overlook is only a mile into the hike. On our way to the top of this trail we ran into one of the volunteers that help with the condors and we stopped to ask him some questions. We (sadly) didn’t see any condors on our weekend there but we’re told they are out there. I was feeling pretty good on the hike so I told Nate we should go ahead and attempt the High Peaks trail. Let me tell you that I would not have suggested this trail, had I known what the trail was like. Part of this trail is literally some holes cut into the Pinnacles rock with just a handrail to hang onto. IMG_1942I am so afraid of heights. I would never have chosen this hike…but I made it with only a little bit of crying on my end. (yes, seriously…it was some scary shit) It’s not a long stretch of hike that takes you over the top of this peak but it was long enough for me. I couldn’t wait to get this portion done with. The views are breathtaking though and I would recommend the hike to anyone despite the questionable hiking terrain in some parts.

This is a 5.3 mile loop and it’s pretty moderate difficulty level with the exception of the climb over the peaks. I saw kids doing this hike so I can assume they just aren’t afraid of heights like me so you know it is do-able by most people. It does have a 1300 foot elevation climb so it’s not one for those that like their hikes flat and easy.

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The views from the top can’t be beat.














It was a great 3 hour hike (maybe a little more with stopping to take photos) and you get to see both sides of the park on this trail. We opted not to add the Rim Trail that takes you about a mile more around the park and includes the Bear Gulch Cave trail. It was getting late and we wanted to get back to the campground.

Funny story: As I have gotten older I don’t like sleeping on the ground. It hurts my back and its cold. So we started taking a air mattress, that was self pumping, on our camping trips. Due to a “cat claw” issue though we had to purchase another one last minute before this trip. Nate ordered it and when we got it, it was much larger then we had expected. It is also the most comfortable sleep I’ve ever had. I prefer it to my own mattress at home! But…like I said it was much larger then we expected and this is how it fit in the tent. If you are wondering how we closed the tent…we didn’t. Not all the way. It wouldn’t close. The mattress was too big. It was crazy.

IMG_1936After a comfortable night of sleeping we got up early to do the Old Pinnacles Trail over to the Balconies Cave and then back. We were worried it was going to rain and we wanted to get the loop done before a downpour started. We were excited about this trail because we were going to the Balconies Cave which was one of our favorite parts of a past hike here. You could see the effects of the drought already along this trail. When we did the same hike a few years back there was a creek we had to traverse to get back on the trail in numerous spots. Now they were dried up creek beds. As far as the Old Pinnacle Trail is concerned it’s pretty mundane. The Pinnacles around you are gorgeous but the hike offers nothing exciting until you get to the Balconies Cave Trail. Make sure you have a headlamp for this one because you need your hands to maneuver around. the caves. This one in particular is wet and you have to climb and twist your body to get around some areas. IMG_2014

We passed a park ranger on our way out of the cave that asked us if we were trying to get to the Balconies Trail, which we thought we were already on, and so he pointed us in the direction of the loop that goes above the cave and around. This ended up being my favorite part of the hike. The views from this hike were fantastic, especially with the storm clouds moving in. The first photo in this blog entry was taken on that portion of the hike. As was this one:IMG_2020


The total miles on this trail is 5.3 also. This one isn’t as difficult as the High Peak Trail but the views are just as spectacular.

We made it back to our car just as the rain was starting. Could not have planned it any better:)

Hike 1:

Condor Gulch to High Peaks Loop
5.3 miles round trip, 3 to 5 hours
Elevation: 1,300 feet

Walk through the heart of the Pinnacles rock formations, particularly along the Steep and Narrow section of the High Peaks trail. Add the Rim and Moses Spring trails to extend the loop to 6.1 miles.

Hike 2:

Old Pinnacles Trail to Balconies Cave
5.3 miles round trip, 3 to 5 hours
Elevation: none

This sunny hike to Balconies Cave also leads to towering rock formations: Machete Ridge and the Balconies Cliffs. Begin at the Old Pinnacles Trailhead. Flashlight required in the cave.


Thanks for reading.


*Every year I make a list, correlating to my age, of goal/things I want to do that year. The original list can be seen here: List 44. I am currently working my way through my List 45.



List 44: camp at Big Basin in Santa Cruz (#36)

IMG_3605IMG_3281 Big Basin has been on my radar for years. We did an impromptu day trip there one year but it was so busy that we couldn’t even find parking. Thankfully Nate forgot about that detail when I told him I’d reserved a campsite there for our anniversary weekend. He remembered  it as we pulled up to check in at the park but at that point it was too late;)

This is a busy, BUSY park. Fortunately the weekend we went the weather was predicting rain (which happened) and so I think this deterred some people from keeping their camping reservation and so the first night (Friday night) was very quiet. We knew we had a long hike the following morning so we didn’t want to have a late night anyway. You can’t tell by the photo but the tent we took was HUGE. Like for 8-10 people and it was just the two of us…Nate had recenlty found the tent at a second hand store and this was our first weekend trying it out. It fits our air mattress (no judging) with plenty of room for a few other people. The only thing it didn’t come with was a rain flap so Nate fashioned one out of a large tarp. He did an amazing job but unfortunately, even though the prediction was for light rain for a couple of hours, it rained from 10pm until 6am the next morning with almost no break. So the tent flooded a little bit. We were dry and we had the foresight to put all our stuff in garbage bags so overall we were good. But a cold damp tent is not what you want to wake up to. We had a long hike ahead of us though so being cold ended up being a good thing as it forced us to get up and head out as soon as possible.

One of the reasons I waited so long to plan this outing was because I wanted to be able to do the Berry Falls loop which is almost 11 miles. Last year at this time I could barely walk a mile because of my Plantar Fasciitis issues. My podiatrist had me limiting my walking to about a mile only each day. That was a tough time for me. Thankfully I healed up pretty quick (by following his advice) and a year later I am doing 11-12 miles with no pain at all. I guess giving up a couple months of my life for healing was worth it!



Anyway…the Berry Loop Falls Trail. It’s a must. It is one one of the most enchanting hikes I’ve ever been on. The amount of lushness and growth in this little valley is mind boggling. Redwoods and ferns and creeks running through it. I love the fact that when trees fall down the park just leaves them down and just cuts out enough of an area so you can walk the path. This loop features a couple of really impressive waterfalls that run year round. We took the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail and hiked uphill to the falls (usually people do the trail the opposite way) and then out to park headquarters on the Sunset trail. I think that the way we did the hike worked out better than if we had followed the directions most websitse give. All the tough hiking (ascending and descending numerous times through a gorge in the redwoods) was in the beginning so by the time I was tired, we were on Sunset trail which is pretty much a descent all the way down to the main park entrance.

It took us a little more than 5 hours to hike the trail with a short break to eat lunch after we passed the falls. Nate also took a detour up to check out the camp sites at Sunset Camp while I opted to rest:)










































By the time we finished the hike the sun was out and the day was beautiful although the chill in the air was still quite cold. We arrived back a the camp by 3:00 and just couldn’t get warm. We didn’t want to start the fire too early and run out of wood by 7:00pm so we opted to sit in the car and read for a bit until we both started to fall asleep. After much deliberation we decided to pack it all in and we packed everything and left. Seriously. We were cold and exhausted and neither of us were looking forward to another possible cold wet night. This is not the first time we’ve packed up early. Sometimes one night is enough…LOL.


My goal was to camp at Big Basin and hike the loop and both happened even if we didn’t stay the whole weekend. We ended up getting back to Monterey in time to pick up food at our favorite tacqueria and veg-out on the couch watching movies. And we enjoyed sleeping in our warm dry bed that evening too:)

Thanks for reading!







List 44: Attend the SF Chinese New Year Parade/ Hike Mt. Sutro (#4 and #20)

IMG_2626 Some of the items on my yearly lists come from pretty random sources:

Hike Mt. Sutro #20

In the case of Mt. Sutro, I saw an Instagram photo by a photographer I follow, that instantly had me making a note about it in my planner (even in this big world of technology driven apps and calendars  I will still choose paper over everything else). When I finally went back and checked out the trails and photos online for Mt. Sutro I was sold. It’s like a little forest oasis in the middle of San Francisco. And on some days it looks magical even. The photo I saw on Instagram and what I read on this site had me hoping for a foggy day for this hike but leave it to me to pick a wonderfully sunny day to visit San Francisco (just kidding…who doesn’t love a clear beautiful day in SF). We had some difficulty finding a spot to park initially. If you are looking to hike this park and try to follow Google’s map directions,  it will take you to the heart of the park and there is no parking there. And most of the parking around the park is for UCSF students. The website I linked to has better options for finding parking than the way we did it. We lucked out with a spot right off of Parnassus Ave, just steps away from the park. We cut through the back of the school, up quite a few wooden stairs, winding around different school buildings until we located a trail. The trails themselves are very easy to navigate. After some of the hikes we’ve been doing lately this trail was almost too easy. We did the whole park in just about an hour and a half (3.45 miles).IMG_2611

IMG_2608If you find yourself in the city and want an easy, short hike this definitely fits the bill. This is a good one if you want to take your kids on a hike too. I can see this being a reprieve, of sorts, from the city life. When traffic and people are just too much, you can just take a quick break and hike these trails. Even though it’s right in the middle of the city the trails are quiet and it’s hard to believe there is a whole big city surrounding it.

**We had some time between the hike and the start of the parade so I looked up what  other “must see” place was close by and the Painted Ladies popped up. All the times I’ve been to San Francisco I still hadn’t made it over to see these iconic houses. So on our way to Chinatown we made a quick stop to check them out. Beautiful weather in San Francisco means there are tons of people out and on this day the park was packed with people. One area of the park was so busy you couldn’t walk on that portion of the grass. I’ve never seen anything like it. Nate and I talked about how this was not something you would see in our area. Monterey, for all it’s beauty, is lacking any kind of an interesting social scene that other, bigger cities and towns seem to have. It was cool to finally see these houses in person and I’m happy I can cross that off my list of things to do in San Francisco.

Attend the Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco #4


My (year of the) dragon guy next to a cool dragon

I added this to my list when I turned on the news one evening in 2014. The 2014 parade had happened that day and the news was showing video of the it and I thought it looked like it would be really fun. What I learned from this activity was that I hate parades. I think its funny that I just realized this though, having been in numerous parades back in my marching band days. And I can remember liking them as a child but maybe I was just easily excited by things as a child. 90% of this parade was b o r i n g. I loved the different costumes and the excitement of being in a crowd and all the fireworks and poppers being set off. I loved the long, colorful dragons they carry along the parade.  I loved being in the middle of all that chaos and being near all the other people enjoying the parade. The boring part, the politicians and other folks driving by in cars or walking by is what I discovered is not really my thing. having never been to Chinatown before we wandered around for a bit before the parade started. I was looking for a little trinket to pick up inChinatown and we tracked down the fortune cookie factory for Nate. They make them right in front of you and when you buy a bag they also give you a handful of the unfolded ones, right off the “press”. Warm and buttery and so crisp (I didn’t actually eat any of these but that’s how these smelled). Nate was in cookie heaven! We left a little early from the parade so we would hopefully (ha!) beat the traffic and we learned later that we missed the big, really long dragon that makes an appearance towards the end of the parade.Kind of  a letdown to find that out. Despite that disappointment we both felt it was a fun day.IMG_2652The thing about San Francisco is that even if you spend a day sightseeing there is still SO much more to do up there. I’ve lived here almost 22 years and I still haven’t seen half of what this city has to offer. Looking forward to some more SF adventures this year. There are at least 3 or 4 on my #45list!




List 44: do my first 5K AND run The Color Run (#13 and #14)

Before the mayhem started

Before the mayhem started

Two bucket list items done in one event!

Item 1: I’ve always wanted to run (aka jog) a 5K. This particular item has shown up on my yearly “bucket list” since I was 38 . I just thought I should try it, at least once. I’m not a runner though. In fact, I don’t even like running. It hurts my knees and right hip. My breasts already sag enough, they don’t need more help. Seriously. Even when I was younger the act of running never appealed to me. I wish it did. Nate ran a 5K years ago and that snowballed in to him training for the Big Sur marathon. And my friend Martha started with a 5K and now she runs all types of races, of all different distances,  all the time. It’s just too hard on my body. I already have to be careful of what shoes I wear and I have to make sure I stretch my feet often because my feet, I discovered last year, have issues. Or so my podiatrist says. They have some mechanical defects that make things like running a bad idea.  Despite their issues though I wanted to attempt at least one 5K in my lifetime.

Item 2: My interest in doing this particular 5K came about from seeing a friend of mine, Nicole and her Instagram photos. Those photos immediately made me want to participate in one of these fun runs. For me, if I’m going to go out and run… there better be fun involved because I… will never be a serious runner. Never. And this one was colorful and ended in a big party at the finish line. Who wouldn’t enjoy that kind of fun!

Scratching these items off my list,  in the past few years though, just wasn’t working out. Scheduling issues normally. We just never seemed to be available the weekends that a Color Run was happening. Or I found out about it too late and they were sold out for that run. Or they were happening during hot months in very hot areas and I don’t even like walking around in really hot weather let alone attempting to run in it. I felt like the universe was working against me. I thought “It’s not going to happen AGAIN this year”

Back in November 2014, I was planning our vacation to Arizona in January, and was still undecided what week we were going to be out there when on a whim I decided to check the Color Run website.  I couldn’t believe it. There was a run happening in Tempe during the same time period!  And just like that it all fell into place. Nate even agreed to run it with me! It was meant to be this year:)



We could not have asked for a better day to do this run. The weather in Arizona, in January, is amazing. It really is one of the best times to visit this area. This would probably not have been as popular inthe dead of summer. There were so many people participating in this race. It’s a popular race with young people (aka college kids). Just look at the wave of people behind me in the above photo. And we didn’t leave in one of the early waves. We’re probably in the 10th or 11th wave at this point (the line to the bathroom was ridiculous and the reason we weren’t in an earlier wave). “Runners” as far back as the eye can see. It was totally crazy!

 Even with my recent 50lb weight loss this was still tough on my knees and feet. I told Nate to go off and run it at his speed and we would catch up with each other at the finish line. Awesome husband that he is though, he finished and then turned around, found me and ran the final leg of it with me. He really is such a great guy. I’ve lucked out on so many level with him as a husband. And this race…it really does end in a big party. They hand you more color packets (you get colored corn starch thrown on you during the race) as you cross the finish line and this year they’d added a “sparkle” to the color lineup and so everyone starts throwing the colored cornstarch in the air on & on their friends and it’s just everywhere. It is crazy. Nate and I were finding glitter for weeks after this run, on everything. Even items we didn’t have with us on the trip.

























I was thrilled to get two items off my list accomplished on this trip. 44 items doesn’t sound like a ton but you’d be surprised at how much your regular, everyday life gets in the way of accomplishing things (even easy items).  And this is exactly the kind of items I want to accomplish. One that takes me out of my comfort zone and makes me try something I’ve been scared to attempt before. Looking forward to even more adventures this year. Jen

List 44: Weekend trip to San Diego #9

My sister turned 40 this year and what she wanted was to NOT be in Arizona for it. After bouncing different ideas off each other over the past year we decided a 4  day weekend in San Diego was the plan. Kristy just started a new job with the State of Arizona last year and so her vacation hours were limited. No 2 week jaunt to Australia for us at this time.  This was the best option for us though because it would also allow my sister to bring her dog, Jax, with us. IMG_9378 I flew out to Arizona after work on Wednesday evening so we could leave early Thursday morning. San Diego is about 6 hours from Scottsdale and we wanted to be able to get as much time as possible in San Diego and also get out of the inferno that is Arizona in July. I was surprised, by my own realization, that I had not been to San Diego in over 20 years. I think it’s a misconception for a lot of people (me included)  that if you live in California its a short jump, skip, hop to all of California. But California…it’s a very large state. It’s 10-12 hours to San Diego. That is much farther than I want to go for a weekend. Therefore, I’ve not been to San Diego since I moved here. Let me tell you…it’s changed. A lot. It was almost like visiting a city I’ve never been to. I wasn’t familiar with anything on the drive over, the city, how close it actually gets to the border. Nothing seemed familiar. IMG_9406 Kristy and I rented a little bungalow from AirBNB and  this was the best idea ever. The place had a tiki theme and had a small yard for Jax. And the host, Mike was awesome. I’m definitely planning a trip back (if I can drag Nate down there) and hope to stay at this little rental again.

Some of my favorite highlights/memories from the trip:

1. The sunset cliffs at sunset. Spectacular.

2. Watching Jax, over the course of 3 days, go from hating the beach to loving it. He made some friends too!

3. Ranchos Cocina. At Point Loma. Seriously, Kristy and I would move to San Diego just to be near this little treasure. Love that we found a place with vegan and regular mexican food and a patio for Jax. Food highlight of our trip. We ate at the North Park one also but it lacked something and was a big disappointment. I can’t recommend the Point Loma one enough though.

4. Sitting on the patio, sharing a bottle of cold white wine , coming up with the idea of a sister adventure every year. (Next year: Austin!)

5. 70-75 degree weather. Arizona is too effing hot. Except in December. And Monterey is too freaking cold usually. I liked how mellow this weather was and how much better my joints felt in a slightly drier climate. I texted Nate mid trip and said I wasn’t coming home & that we were moving to San Diego. He wasn’t amused;)

6. Four days of uninterrupted time with my sister.

With regards to that last one. It’s hard living a state away from family. I was estranged from my family for years (still am from my mom) and now that we are sort of over the hump of bad feelings toward each other and like each other again it’s hard not to be around them all the time. My sister is one of my favorite people to hang out with. My favorite shopping buddy. I never feel like I get enough time with her. This trip, with 4 uninterrupted days together, was something I needed. When we visit Arizona there are just so many people to see, that I lose lots of time with her.


Photo story: We decided to walk to the North Park area from where we were staying because it was just over 1.5 miles to the restaurant. That was the longest, hardest 1.5 miles I’ve ever walked. It took us so long and we were already tired. It felt more like 11 miles than just over 1 mile. My beer & burger never tasted so good. Even Jax looked worn out and tired. Suffice to say…we took a taxi home:)

IMG_9440IMG_9479IMG_9464IMG_9460IMG_2722The look on Jax’s face here says it all about the trip. Great trip. Can’t wait for our next sister adventure!

List 44: Go whale watching (#36)

IMG_2225I’ve lived in California for almost 21 years. I know, I know…I’ve lived in California, on the coast, for HOW long and I’ve never been whale watching. Yep. That would be accurate. For the first few years as a California resident I was a single mom and I can tell you,  if I had $100 extra dollars, it wasn’t going to be spent on whale watching. It just wasn’t something that was feasible at that time since things like food and shelter seemed more important. I don’t really have an excuse for the other 15+ years though other than it just never happened. Nate and I have talked about going for years and then never followed through. This has been on my list for the past couple years and still, I hadn’t made it happen. I think my fear of seasickness might have influenced this decision. I couldn’t be sure that I wouldn’t get seasick and there is nothing I like less than throwing up. It’s just the worst. And after a rough time on a friend’s sailboat in February I really was worried about heading out for hours on a boat.

IMG_2270Then for my birthday this year a friend of mine, Courtney, surprised me with the gift of a whale watching trip. While I was excited that this was finally going to happen I was still thinking “oh crap. I’m going out on a boat…”

IMG_2295It was an amazing experience though. This is not to say that I wasn’t nauseous during the 4 hour trip out into the bay… I was nauseous for days after the trip, but I didn’t get sick which is all that mattered to me. Seeing whales like this, out in the ocean, is really an amazing experience. We saw about a dozen different humpback whales and hundreds of Risso’s dolphins and at the end of the trip we saw a gigantic sun fish (which was one of my favorite part of the whole trip!) The guide told us they had seen numerous pods of Orchas the day before so it was a bit disappointing not to have seen any on this trip. Unfortunately, on whale watching trips,  you are at the mercy of the whales and whether they decide to show up that day. Orcas just weren’t feeling it this day. Maybe they will be out there on my next whale watching adventure:)

IMG_2198 I am so thankful that Courtney gave me the push to finally do this!

Courtney and I used to be roommates back in the old days. When both our daughters were sweet & little (Alex was 5 and her daughter was 2 & now they are both just moody, cranky teenagers.) We recently re-connected through Facebook and it’s been awesome hanging out with her again. We both went through some really rough years and I really appreciate having a friend who knew me back in those days. I was kind of a mess back then and Courtney had her own issues and we’ve come so far from those days that it feels right hanging out now. We both probably could have been a big help to each other all those years ago but being the self centered younger women that we were we had to help ourselves before we could help others. It’s feels amazing to be in a completely different place now and to be spending time with her.

We finished the day off with lunch at The Whole Enchilada which, despite my nausea and rubbery sea legs, was the perfect ending to this adventure.

Felt good to check another thing off my list:)




List 44: See the Golden Gate Bridge from Battery Spencer (#33)

IMG_8581The first time I saw this bridge I was smitten. That was 18 years ago at least. And all these years later she still takes my breath away every time  I catch site of her. I’ve seen her from every possible side now. From Baker beach, from Land’s End, from Chrissy Field and from the visitor center. This was the first time seeing her from this angle and I think this may be my favorite. A few years ago I actually walked across her during an impromptu trip to the city (another one of those “life list” items completed) and despite my absolute fear of heights I made it all the way across. And back again.

I headed up to the viewpoint by myself while Nate parked the car. I wanted the extra time this would afford me to just stand and take in the view without worrying about Nate or if he was having a good time. After 13 years we travel well together, he the driver and me the navigator + planner, but there are always going to be letdowns and stress involved with traveling and this was one of those days. Initially I’d planned for us to bike the Marin Headlands area and take in the views but upon reading through stories and reviews of the ride the night before, I came to the conclusion that there was no way my foot or I was going to be able to handle the hills. So heading into the day we were both already disappointed. I consider myself a pretty healthy person but this injury has sidelined me quite a bit this year. It’s healing but I’m still only about 35-40% better and the wrong move could take it back to zero again. So I appreciated this few minutes to myself to allow some quiet reflection on the day and how it was not going according to my plan. And for a few minutes I did forget my disappointment with the day. I stopped worrying about Nate and the 2+ hour car drive home and my stupid foot injury and I just took in the view. You could see everything. The city, The Cliff House over in Lands End Park, Alcatraz, Sausalito waterfront. The bay had cleared up from earlier and you could now see a 180 degree view of all of San Francisco and the bay. And it was breathtaking. And no matter what Nate was feeling, I was suddenly okay with how the day had unfolded because this is what I came for. This had been my only real goal of the day and I was there. It’s good I had this extra time because Nate arrived, took a photo with his phone and then said “you ready to go”.  Shaking my head at him I said “sure” and onward we went.

2 down, 42 more to go:)

List 44: Visit Point Reyes Lighthouse (#22)


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.




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.” –

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)


1 down, 43 to go.




List 44

Dahlia from List 43Every year leading up to my birthday I make a list,  like a small bucket list, of things I want to accomplish that year. It usually includes personal goals, travel, places to eat and the such. The  list is made from items on my big life list and then other small goals from other lists I’ve made.  I like lists and I like having goals, this is how I operate best. Truthfully though I never even get half of the list done. For example, for List 43 I did 9.5 of my goals. 9.5!! And this was one of my better years. I have a couple of years where I didn’t do anything on the list. Often the goals were too big. Often times I would forget about the list until I only had 2 months to get everything done. I tend to put lots of travel goals on the list but for a couple of years we struggled financially and so they just weren’t possible. Two of the items on list 43 were goals I’ve included on every  list since List 38. I did them this year though and they were probably the most satisfying for the simple reason that I FINALLY did them!


I tried to be smarter about this year’s list. I started making the list in January so that I could give my goals a little more thought. ( Trying to plan 7 trips in a 12 month period when you only have 3 weeks vacation a year is one way of not getting anything on a list done). The one I’m about to post is actually the 5 or 6th version. Also, I was suppose to post this on my birthday as the first post on my new blog.  Only 10 days late!

P.S. I have also already done 2 of the goals on my list and it’s only 11 days in…woohoo…go me!

1. Treat myself to an afternoon at a spa
2. Do a beer tour Fort Bragg to Petaluma (the idea came from this article in Sunset magazine)
3. host an Ugly Sweater Xmas party
4. attend the 2015  Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco
5. have a big 10 year anniversary party
6. go to a roller derby game
7. do a #100 mile challenge (100 miles walked in 6 months)
8. go to the Moss Landing Antique Fair in July
9. take a weekend trip to San Diego
10. bike the boardwalk in San Diego
11. throw an 80’s themed party
12. plan a bonfire on Carmel Beach
13. do my first 5K
14. participate in a Color Run
15. Visit Buellton
16. make a piece of art for our house
17. do the movie/dinner night that Montrio’s and the Osio holds each Tuesday
18. officially change name
19. visit the San Francisco MOMA ( I chose this right as they were closing for renovations but I still have a year so we’ll see if it gets done in time)
20. get to my goal weight
21. Hike Mount Sutro in SF (specifically the south ridge trail & historic trail)
22. Visit Point Reyes Lighthouse
23. Hike in Montana de Oro State Park in SLO
24. Breakfast at Deetjen’s
25. spend a weekend in Los Angeles (3 day)
26. see a drive-in movie at Sunset Drive-In (SLO)
27. read 50 books
28. have a breakfast pizza at the Big Sur Bakery in Big Sur
29. eat at The Hart and the Hunter in LA
30. do 12 things (1 each month) off my Pinterest account (recipe, art project, decorating idea, etc.)
31. Camp at Pinnacles National Park
32. go kayaking with Nate again
33. see Golden Gate Bridge at the Battery Spencer View in Marin Headlands
34. bike ride along the American River Parkway in Sacramento
35. have a drink on the Delta King in Sacramento
36. go whale watching
37. camp at Big Basin in Santa Cruz
38. learn to weave (wall weavings)
39. visit the rooftop bar at the new ACE hotel in LA
40. eat at Dona Thomas for brunch in Oakland
41. get a new dining room sideboard
42. do wine tour of Santa Cruz Mountains
43. make cinnamon rolls from scratch
44. make buffalo wings (a friend of mine’s recipe in particular)

Looking forward to tackling the list this year. Some of them are already in the works to happen so I have high hopes for this year:)

What are some of your goals for the next year?