Archive of ‘Explore’ category

Loop Hike, Death Valley National Park in Golden Canyon

I have been visiting Nevada for quite some time but never had I made the effort to make the trip to Death Valley National Park. First and foremost, Death Valley is known for being the hottest location within the United States year round. And Death Valley is the largest National Park in the US, coming in at 3.4 million acres.

IMG_6555

When doing some reattach for my visit, I decided I would do the loop hike located at the Golden Canyon entrance which takes you face up to the popular Zabriskie Point and out through Golden Gulch. Most people view Zabriskie from the other side from a well traveled ‘view point’ but the truth is, the Point is only less than 2 miles in on the trail. It is truly a sight to see. The colors around you along this hike are breath taking. It’s like you’re in an alternate universe.

IMG_6582

The trail is VERY well marked and you can do some alternate exploring down the several canyons along your way back to the Golden Canyon parking lot.

The hike is just under 6.5 miles and goes by quickly since there is so much to see. All different color rock formations and even some slot canyons towards the end.

Thanks to Modern Hiker for the detailed write up on this hike, which can be found HERE

My 52 Hike Challenge

Those who know me well or follow me through social media know that I am an avid outdoors woman. Whether the destination be close or far, the journey be long or short, I take adventure  wherever and whenever I can get it.

Towards the end of last year, a hashtag popped up throughout social media called #52hikechallenge. But this hashtag was far more than just uniting one another through a common interest or getting yourself found on instagram, this hashtag was about joining in and engaging in a movement, for yourself and with others both like and much unalike you.

The 52 Hike Challenge was started by a couple, Karla and Philip. Both who happen to live near me in Southern California. So, about midway through last year I jumped on board as an ambassador and curator promoting both my experience and their movement through instagram.

IMG_6274

I still remember my first day of social media takeover. I was so inspired, so elated and so proud to be a part of this movement that was changing people in both small and big ways. People have used the challenge to bring them peace and clarity while some use it to get fit and others have found at the end they have healed a hurt or overcome a hurdle in life.

Throughout my 52 Hikes I came to different points in my journey when I said, ‘OK, this is going to be my testimony’. But at different points, my testimony changed. I thought I would write about how the challenge saved my relationship with my fiance, or how I finally adjusted to California living, or how I became less of a control freak and more laid back in my everyday life… But when I was done with hike 52 at the Palos Verdes Bluffs, all I could think about was how I finally just did something for myself that didn’t rely upon anyone else’s schedule, allowance, blessing, approval or happiness. I am a self professed people pleaser. I love being there for others, love stepping in to help anyone whether it be my family, friends or work. And this was something all my own. And it was simple… and quite freeing.

image1

When I finished my challenge I felt incredibly accomplished. I felt like for the first time in my life I started using my time to do something that was just for me. It’s easy, especially as a woman to get caught in the people pleasing trap. I enjoy pleasing other people but it’s so important to also do the things that please yourself.

I must say that the biggest accomplishment comes after you finish. Since finishing my challenge I have done and decided to do so many things I would’ve said no to in the past.

This challenge CAN do so many things for you besides getting ‘fit’. It can heal you. It can empower you… It can make you push yourself and reach higher than you ever thought possible.

IMG_3774

Info On The 52 Hike Challenge

Snowshoeing Tumalo Mountain In Bend Oregon

We recently traveled to the beautiful, wonderful and snowy Bend Oregon over Christmas Vacation. Given that Oregon is my home state and I am an avid hiker, I had a short list of things I wanted to see and do while in town. Those of you who follow the news know that Oregon has gotten more than their fare share of snow which made some of these places on my ‘list’ impossible to do.

Luckily, I was able to snag a spot at the base of Tumalo Mountain which happens to be right across from the Mt Bachelor Ski Resort. I dropped off my crew in the morning and waited out a spot and went!

Now, I haven’t snowshoed in quite some time but truth be told, there’s nothing to it. You just strap on your boots and go. I opt to not hike with poles because that would mean two less hands to hold my drink and my camera.

The scenery all the way up is stunning, so there is never a dull moment. Those who decide to go up the mountain know to dress warm and prepare for some stifling wind in the last mile or so. Thankfully, this is a hot spot for cross country skiing as well, so the trail is extremely well groomed even after a fresh dump of snow.

The view from the top is absolutely stunning, especially on a bluebird day.

IMG_3712

Explore Dana Point Beaches

I’ve never been that interested in the beach but when you live so close, you come to force yourself to get out that way every once in a while. Every time I do, its worth every second and I continually ask myself… “why don’t I come here more often.”

My favorite beach is a small stretch of sand between two bluffs in Dana Point. It is actually two beaches, Salt Creek and Strands. These beaches are located directly below the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point, so rest assured this is prime beach real estate that stays unusually under trafficked when compared to other beaches like Laguna and San Clemente.

IMG_1605

IMG_1574

IMG_1603

Denim Top By Rails LA & Bikini By Mara Hoffman

Baja Blanket From Urban Outfitters

Hiking Los Pinos Peak, Orange County

I am an avid hiker and am always researching new places to venture out in Orange County. Most of the great hikes around here are throughout Los Angeles or San Diego County which force me to take an entire day off. I frequently visit the Cleveland National Forest around the Silverado and Trabuco areas so I ventured off my normal path and ended up in Lake Elsinore to hike Los Pinos Peak which is a 4,500 peak that overlooks nearly all three counties here in Southern California.

Getting to the official trailhead is a little tricky and I know that people get lost trying to find it. Luckily, Los Pinos is not heavily trafficked and you park where the pavement ends just before the left turn which leads you into Blue Jay Campground.

To get to the peak, you hike up a wide fire road which leads you to a three way junction with blue pipe barriers. I chose to go straight up to the peak but if elevation gain is not your thing, continue to the right which also takes you to the summit but is less steep and a bit longer of a hike.

Once you’re at the summit, there is geological markers and a wood peak marker just off to the left of the trail. There is also a geocaching style box with notebooks to record your summit.

IMG_1091

 

Explore: Yosemite Valley

When planning my holiday vacations this year I decided I wanted to go to Yosemite for my Birthday. Upon this decision, one major obstacle became debatable, being which, my birthday falls at the end of December. So, my partner and I decided we would make good on this trip Halloween weekend with the assumption that attendance would be down. You must know, when going to Yosemite in the fall that you are somewhat forced to keep your exploring in the Valley, which means no Tualome Meadows, which was fine with me since I am an avid hiker and prefer to be in high elevations.

Our trip was four days and four nights which consisted of one night of camping in Lower Pines, two nights of backpacking in Little Yosemite which is accessible through the Mist Trail and John Muir Wilderness Trail. From Little Yosemite, you can access Clouds Rest and Half Dome, but when we were there the cables were down so Half Dome was not an option.

Backpacking Yosemite

If you have the gear, I highly suggest leaving the immediate Valley and camping high up above. This is the true Yosemite experience. There are bear vaults at the campground and you access the campground by getting a Wilderness Permit and entering the Happy Trails trailhead.

Camping Little Yosemite

The last night we stayed at the Awahnee which is by far the nicest accommodations in Yosemite and having spent three days in a tent, we felt was much deserved and appreciated.

Awahnee Yosemite

Before we leaving we climbed up the the top of Sentinal Dome which has the very best view of El Capitan and Half Dome.

sentinel dome

half dome yosemite

Info On Yosemite Valley

Hiking Abalone Cove, Rancho Palos Verdes

Recently I lucked out and had to be in this gorgeous and off the beaten path beach community in Los Angeles county. Rancho Palos Verdes or just ‘Palos Verdes’ boasts some amazing beach ocean view properties along the bluffs as well as several different spectacular hikes.IMG_0822After much consideration I zeroed in on Abalone Cove for a late afternoon hike. Upon arriving, I had some trouble because the parking lot closes at 4PM. So what would’ve been a two hour hike got shortened due to my trying to find legal parking near the entry. So, keep this in mind when visiting.

I’ve done many beach and bluff hikes and this ranks up there with them all, and might top just about anything I have done in Southern California.

IMG_0846

Once I reached the beachfront, I couldn’t help but stay later than I should’ve. The combination of the waves crashing at your feet, sun going down and feeling a long, long ways from that LA traffic that awaited me was a welcome solace and wonderment. I will definitely be back… perhaps with a picnic and bottle of wine.IMG_0803

Info On Abalone Cove

Horsethief Trail, Trabuco Canyon California

What a day. Living in Orange County can be a little tough when seeking out places to hike. Most people frequent trails in Los Angeles and San Diego County, so the spots in Orange County aren’t as frequented and less researched making going a reluctance. However, we in Orange County share a huge area of the Cleveland National Forest. Over the last few years, Holy Jim Falls has been much frequented. I have hiked Holy Jim over a half a dozen times in the last year. The drive back here requires either a high profile vehicle. Luckily, my vehicle can handle the rocky dirt road and it’s a blast just driving to the trailhead.

IMG_9694

Holy Jim shares the same trailhead as a few other hikes that can be made in the Trabuco Canyon and Cleveland National Forest. So, I decided to venture up and try Horsethief Trail and some of the Trabuco loop which will take you to Holy Jim and back to the parking lot.

IMG_9693

 

IMG_9695

Most of the trail is shaded and after just 2 short miles you will come up on pines and lush greenery. Given that I am a frequent hiker, I cannot believe I have not been up here before. The wilderness features sure make you feel like you’re a long ways from suburbia which make me feel thankful to live in Orange County amongst many hidden gems.

IMG_9648

Info On Horsethief & Trabuco Trails

Valley Of Fire In Las Vegas, Nevada

I am currently writing this post 24 hours since my second visit to Valley Of Fire, near Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s near the end of July so if you’re wondering how hot is was, it was damn hot… like, quite literally I felt like I was on fire in the Valley. Pun intended. There are a few things I had wish I had known before visiting this park for the first time. I tend to do these hikes on my own the first time out and had visited back in May on a Friday morning before it saw the usual weekend tourists.

IMG_0006

You will be surprised to know that Valley Of Fire is merely a scenic byway with a few short trails just off the main road. If you are feeling adventurous though, you can spend the day hiking for miles throughout the land and even set up camp in designated campground throughout the park.

IMG_8616

Lately, the most popular landmark at Valley Of Fire is the Wave Trail. If you’re going to do anything first, complete this to avoid burning up later on in the day. It’s the longest hike of the most trekked landmarks around the area. The Wave Trail is a also newly minted trail that opened up earlier this spring. Its a beginners trail, but be warned that in warm temperatures it is a struggle, especially on the way back. Bring water. Lots of it. There is one shady spot near the beginning of the trail that many people stop and seek solace at, which we did going in and coming out yesterday.IMG_8617After completing the Wave Trail, visit Mouse’s Tank, Domes and Elephant Rock. There is also some arches located near the entrance of the park, but I have never been. The rangers at the entrance are super helpful as well as the workers in the Visitors Center.

More Info on Valley Of Fire Here

1 2