The Great Outdoors


We picked up sandwiches from the Continental Deli and headed for the beach last Friday. We made it just in time for sunset. We got the fire going, ate and had one of the best bonfires ever. It was a super clear night with no wind. We burned two boxes of wood and then headed home. 


Yosemite Weekend

The majority of our weekend in Yosemite was devoted to celebrating Janae and Iain. There was the wedding and reception and then a evening gathering at the Red Wood Cabins. Every single Stark/Smith/Framsted/Kalfayan family member was present. So much fun!

We also had time for some exploring, hiking and just hanging out. Chris and I got in a short sunset hike Friday night. The light in the valley, along the river, was perfect.

We stayed at the Yosemite Lodge. On Saturday, after breakfast in our room we got in a pre-wedding walk around the valley. The early morning sun gave us beautiful views.

After the wedding and reception, before driving out to the Redwood Cabins, we joined up with the Kalfayans and took a short walk to the Lower Yosemite Falls. All of us, except Chris, changed into hiking outfits. Chris hiked around in his wedding garb, but with hiking boots.

We slept in Sunday morning a bit and then hopped on the Yosemite Valley Shuttle to Happy Isles where we headed up the Mist Trail. We only made it as far as Vernal Falls (it’s a tough one). On our way down we encountered Janae and Iain. They were on their way up and they made it to the Nevada Falls!

The rest of our day was spent eating pizza in Half Dome Village (delicious) and covering the Valley, by foot and shuttle. We were back to the lodge by 5ish where we completely collapsed.

We had a quick drive home Monday. Our only stop was at Bravo Farms. We got coffee and bought some cheese. We were home early afternoon. Yosemite in the fall. Nothing better.


California Road Trip – Jenner

This was a good car day! We continued driving north on Highway One. The day included dramatic coastlines, massive redwoods, charming coastal towns and the Golden Gate Bridge. At spots the road is narrow, twisting and cliff-hugging. We took it slow and stopped often. 

We considered staying the night in Bodega Bay, but after two attempts at hotels that had no vacancies we headed a bit further north and ended up in the very small town of Jenner. We booked a room at The Jenner Inn and were happy with our choice. 

We spent the remainder of the day exploring the area, first with a hike inland to heavily wooded area and then with a long roam on the coast. We took a dirt road and came to a “water crossing” (actually a large, but of an unknown depth, puddle) and decided to park the car and walk. This felt, and actually was, very remote. There were electrical wires back into a camp, but not much else. We reached a trail which lead us into a thickly forested area. Beautiful!

We got back and found the car as we left it. Looking back we were so lucky the car problem (dead battery) we had the following day did not occur here. We drove back to the coast and walked a coastal bluff trail. The best part of this hike was coming upon a few patches of Amaryllis belladonna, out in the middle of nowhere. I love these flowers. Also unexpected, and very cool, were the long boardwalk paths running through the bluffs. 

We ended the day with an in-hotel room dinner consisting of ramen, cheese and crackers and chocolate. We usually do this at least once on all trips either, as was in this case, because there are no good dinner options, or because we are burned out with eating out. We called it an early night and woke the next morning to thunder, lightening and rain.


Santa Cruz – The State Parks

We left Cambria fairly early on day 2 of our California road trip with plans to drive to Santa Cruz and spend the night there. It was a short drive and by mid morning we were in town at the visitor’s center making a plan for the day. First up was a short drive out of town to Henry Cowell Redwood’s State Park. The ancient giant redwoods are amazing. We spent about an hour hiking and photo taking.

Next we drove to a second state park, Wilder Ranch. First we walked out to the coast. Traveling in September, mid-week, means very few or no people. At this park we saw one other couple. That is it. Nice!

We walked back inland and discovered the Wilder Ranch. This was an amazing find. The Wilder family operated a dairy farm here until the land was acquired by the State of California in the early 1970s. The extremely picturesque buildings remain and are mostly in good condition.


Our Last Day in Canada

We spent the majority of our last day in Canada hiking in a provincial park called Fish Creek Park. Provincial parks are equivalent to our state parks. This park was much too large to see it all. We choose to hike in the more forested, hilly area. We were on a combination of paved and dirt trails and encountered many bicyclists. 

After returning from our hike we dropped the car back at our apartment and walked back to Stephen Avenue. We had a very late lunch at the Irish Pub we ate at our first night. Below are the appetizers we ordered. We followed these with fish and chips.

The one remaining thing we hadn’t done was the Crescent Heights Stairs. Actually I had no big desire to climb these, especially immediately after the above, but Chris was into it. In addition to providing a workout these stairs provide one of the best views of the city. I waited at the bottom. He loved it.

As we approached our apartment on the way back I shot a few pics. This place worked out great for us. It was roomy with a well equipped kitchen and we loved the daily light housekeeping services. Our apartment is the top left unit.

The views included the skyline and colorful picnic tables.

We packed up and turned in early. Our 6:30am flight home required a 3:30 wake up alarm. We are slowly working our way across Canada from west to east. Up next, maybe Toronto??