Cadaqués, EspañaRead More
Cadaqués, EspañaRead More
Kathmandu, NepalRead More
Our first impromptu camping trip as LA residents and recent dog owners, was to nearby Angles National Forest. It being January, many campsites that didn’t require Adventure Passes were closed for the season. So after some research, I settled on the highest and prettiest camp site I could find - Chilao Campground. I can not recommend this enough as a local weekend getaway during off season where you have plenty of campsite options on the first come first serve system.After picking the perfect sunset spot, we set up camp, got organized, and took off on what I thought was going to be a 7 mile hike but turned into 10. Partly because it took us a bit to find the trailhead and partly because we scampered around some awesome boulders.
Back at camp the temperatures dropped quickly to below freezing. Kuma, who was afraid of the fire, dug herself a little hole and sat in it to stay warm. I felt like a horrible dog mom. We made a fire, watched the sunset, cooked up some burgers, and were in our tent getting warm probably before 8:30pm. Which meant plenty of rest and naturally waking up for sunrise. In the morning, we made another fire, Sam cooked a bomb breakfast, and we packed up and were back home in LA by 11am! Perfect weekend outing.
Our Hike - Chilao to Mt. Hillyer via Horseflats
Look for the Silver Moccasin Trailhead. Follow that to the Horse Flats Campground where you will see a trailhead for Mt. Hillyer. We took this trail all the way to the top and then continued to follow it in a loop back down to Horseflats campground (which was closed for the season). Important to download maps and clear routs for this as part of the trail was hard to find in advance (we eventually hit a fire road that took us back down to Horseflats), but I made sure that our GPS did not go off the route I initially outlined.
"Tidefalls" or waterfalls that flow directly into the ocean, are super rare. There are a few scattered around the world but only 2 in the entire United States. Put that waterfall in Bolinas, CA, add a 4.2 mile hike along a stunning coastal trail to get there, and you have yourself a recipe for a unique and beautiful way to spend a day.
I first came across Alamere Falls around 7 years ago when I was looking for a rad surprise hike to take Sam on on his birthday. Because Sam was born and raised in the bay, growing up spoiled by beautiful nature, I wanted to find something I was fairly sure he had never done. Thanks to the many websites dedicated to trails and exploration, I was happy to come across this hike. And even happier to see his face in awe when we reached our destination. Since that proud moment, this has quickly become one of my favorite day hikes and one I try to take whenever we are visiting the bay.
On this particular day, my friends joined us on a belated birthday (this time mine!), last hike of the year, outing. It was the perfect way to wrap out the year.
There are many directions on the site, but here are mine for sake of ease. Always go prepared, with a map and clear directions:
Start at the Palomarin Trailhead which connects to the Coast Trail.
You'll be on this trail for nearly the rest of the time, about 3.5 miles. You'll dip away from the coast, into a wooded area, pass Bass Lake on your left, and eventually begin leaving the trees behind towards the end.
There are a couple ways to get to the beach, and we take the shortcut way via Alamere Falls Trail.
This trail is VERY easy to miss. The last time we were there, someone had graciously made an arrow out of stones pointing to the overgrown trail, but do not depend on that being there! Follow the overgrown trail roughly half a mile until the growth opens up and you reach the top of the lookout point - about 40 feet above the cliffs.
This is a perfectly good place to stop and have lunch if you are afraid of heights or climbing.
If not, follow the trail snaking through the cliffside and scramble down to the beach!
Always make sure to keep an eye on the tide. Enjoy!
This weekend was what I dreamed my life would be like when we moved to California. Filled with spontaneous outdoor adventures and lots of climbing.
After a very late night arrival, We awoke not long after sunrise, made some hot cups of coffee and wandered around the valley in awe. The sun hadn’t yet burned away the mist and fog, so our surroundings were filled with drama, sun beams, and fog. With the sounds of early morning forest stirrings.
After a hearty breakfast we packed our bags for what ended up being a 10 mile hike. As we drove higher, we quickly saw that the rain that pounded on our tents all night in the valley had left a beautiful layer of snow in the higher altitudes (and to think, back home in LA we were missing a 100 degree weekend!)
Our hike took us from the Sentinel Dome Parking, west towards Taft Point, northeast towards Glacier Point, and finally, the summit of Sentinel Dome, before making our way back down to our car. I love summits, no matter how big or small, and Sentinel Dome was no exception. Regardless of how many hours a month I put in running and trekking, walking uphill for hours always becomes super mental for me. At some point towards the end, I’m usually suffering and wondering why I do this for fun. But then I reach the top, am blasted with emotion over the views and scale, and remember that the reward is everything.
The next day, our climbing sensai, Solon, picked a route on 5 Open Books, a 5.8 (thank god we started easy). Not only was this my first time climbing in Yosemite, and only second time climbing outside in my life, it was more importantly my first multi pitch climb! 5 pitches, 500 feet or so, and a whole day on the wall! DREAMS!
We caterpillarded our way up, and though slower than going in pairs, I appreciated the odd number for the belay ledge company. There were a couple scary moves (crossing over a massively huge vertical crack in the wall that went 20 feet deep.) and one scary fall. But we all topped out around 3pm and had a celebratory lunch before packing up and heading back down to earth on a “climbing path” - a glorified hiking trail, with a lot of sliding down rocks on our butts.
After spending an entire day on the wall with only 2 people, getting back down to civilization felt surreal. Passing by park guests with binoculars looking at the climbers, I realized how freaking special it was to be able to climb. It’s physically exhausting, and mentally terrifying, but the hard work is worth having unique vantage points that the majority of the park guests don’t have access to.
We grubbed extra hard at camp and passed out early. And that concluded my favorite weekend in Yosemite.
About an hour from Oaxaca de Juárez, is the tiny village of San Marcos Tlapazola. In a courtyard, shared by eight members of the Mateo family, ceramic pieces are made from start to finish. The Zapotec artisans are all women, and their practice has been passed down within the family for thousands of years.
As a potter myself, watching this ancient process was both humbling and awe inspiring. While the process spans over a week, we were lucky enough to watch every step. The low fire red clay is foraged during walks outside their village and mixed with water and sand. After a week of drying in the sun, it is ready to be molded.
Each vessel is made on a wheel, but not on an electric wheel. A large rock elevates the piece, and a thin piece of material separates the rock from the foot of the vessel. The women spin the lump of clay by hand, forming the vessels into perfect shapes with equal thickness throughout. Little to no trimming is needed.
The pieces are then arranged in the sun to bone dry, and pre-heat, until they are ready to be fired. Firing doesn’t happen in a kiln, rather in the open air, in the center of their courtyard. Broken pots surround metal mattress springs that lay on top of dried corn husks, sticks, twigs, and brush. The vessels are placed in the center in a tight bundle, and then covered with sheet metal, old broken pots, and tree branches. A fire is lit, and as it builds, the women continue to pile more and more branches until a blazing fire roars in the center of the courtyard. It is long, hard work, and done in the scorching afternoon sun. While the pieces are low fired, at 1050 degrees, the unglazed pieces are lead-free and food and cooking safe.
After a long day in the sun, while most would retreat to the shade, the women got to work in preparing a simple, yet delicious lunch feast for everyone. Generous hospitality that is part of every day life here.
Living in NYC for 11 years, while exciting, leaves me feeling a bit uninspired in my day to day. That's why getting out of the city is such a breath of fresh air. I hadn't been to LA since my stint living on the West Coast, and I couldn't help but feel excited about the light, lines, palm trees, the beach, the food, and general CA things.