Hiking in Sequoia National Park

Now that I’ve sorted through my photos I want to share some of the beautiful sights I was able to see when I visited Sequoia National Park last week.

First of all, I was amazed and enthralled with some of the stunning landscapes I was able to see. I always want to go out of the country and travel and often times I forget how absolutely beautiful the United States is. Here are some of the landscapes I was able to hike and kept annoying others by constantly stopping to snap photographs:

photo (32)And another one. I think I could live in this little cabin and be completely happy.

photo (33)Heading down one of the trails that led to a bunch of old mines, I was delighted to discover these silent observers who clearly thought they were being stealthy. I still get excited over the sight of seeing deer in the wild.

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Cooling off on the Hockett Meadow Trail.

But probably my most exciting shot was of this guy right here:

photo (37)And last but not least, my trip wouldn’t be complete without a typical shot of me standing in a Sequoia tree showing how tiny I am.

photo (38)I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and your Monday back hasn’t been too painful!

An afternoon hike to an abandoned Nazi camp

So over the weekend I took a lovely hike into the Santa Monica mountains because I heard there was something quite odd hidden among them. At first, a little tricky to find, my boyfriend and I stumbled a long different trails not sure exactly where we were going. It was such a beautiful day. A bit cloudy, but cool and breezy that it felt so refreshing. I probably wouldn’t have minded wandering around those trails all afternoon. 

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As you can see in the bottom middle picture, we ran across a patch of the mountain that was recovering from one of those California fires. There’s something so eerie and interesting to me about black ashy trees against a gray sky. What I enjoyed most about being in the mountains was the pure silence. I’ve done plenty of hiking and outdoor trips in my life, but after living in Los Angeles for the past three years, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to not hear a single noise. There’s always the background ambiance of city life that I have now grown so accustomed to. To suddenly just stand still in the mountains and realize I couldn’t hear a thing was beautiful and surreal. 

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Jason found an old wooden stairwell that led down the side of the mountain. The sun was going to set soon and we wanted to reach our goal so we didn’t get a chance to explore that route. As we ventured on, we came across this broken down gate and decided this might lead to our destination. Sure enough, it did. As we made a few more turns deeper into the forest, we found an old abandoned Nazi camp. 

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Hiking to a Nazi camp over the weekend is a bit odd, I know. And what’s even more odd is the fact that this is Southern California, not Germany. If you’re interested in the history of why this camp is here, or if you live in the area and would like an interesting hike, check out this article. They explain it better than I would. I was a little sad to see the graffiti covering the building. I’m not opposed to graffiti, but sometimes it makes me a bit down when it’s covering something historical. Even something as, er,  evil as this. It is history. As you can see, the little hooligans were at it on top of the roof. To end this interesting day, we hit up nearby UCLA downtown area and had one of these yummy treats:Image

Strawberry cheesecake ice cream and M&M cookies. I know these cookie sandwiches have been around forever, but this was the first time I actually had one. I’m not a big sweet person. Sure, I like them, but there’s only so much I can have before sugar overload hits and as delicious as this was, I could barely handle it. Man, I could eat a whole cookie jar as a kid. What happened? 

Just getting outdoors and exploring gives me such a high. Sometimes I think I should just leave my daytime desk job and become a world traveler. Now if only I could find a career that fits that description. 

 

Journey to The Wisdom Tree

About two years ago, my boyfriend and I decided to take a hike to “The Wisdom Tree.” I don’t know if that’s what it’s actually called or if my French friend, who made the expedition before us, christened it with that name. If you happen to live in the LA valley area, you can see it in the Hollywood hills. It’s just kind of standing up there all alone. Poor guy. However he’s become pretty popular so he’s not that lonely anymore. In fact, the coolest thing about this guy is he comes with a treasure box of some sort and inside is an old notebook where everyone who visits this tree writes something. It was filled with poetry, happy entries, sad entries, declarations of love and drawings. Well, you’d think if I had the chance to spill my heart and soul out in a book after a Lord of the Rings like venture to the top, I would have written something beautiful. Something heartfelt.  Something freakin’ smart. I mean, this tree was called, “The Wisdom Tree.” But no, I chose to draw a picture of me with a sword and some dumb alter-ego type name. Syren. Or Syrin. Some little video game character name of mine spelled differently for different games. That was it. I mean, it wasn’t bad but come on. In my defense, I didn’t know about the book until I got there so I wasn’t prepared. That’s apparently what you get from me when I’m put on the spot. Well, I decided to make a trip again and redeem myself in front of “The Wisdom Tree.”

It was a beautiful day for it. While the rest of the country was freezing, (I think my hometown in Alabama got flurries!) California was its bright and sunny usual self. All decked out in my new Christmas gifted running gear, I was ready to hike…this…

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So it was dusty, dirty, and very steep. Like I said, I had done this before, but it was a different route. This one felt a little more of an incline. And let me also mention there were plenty of rocks that didn’t want to just lie still while you were doing your climbing. No, they liked to roll right out from under this falling prone hiker’s feet. But I grew up on this activity, so I stuck with it. I mean, I had to get to that book. And despite it being a hot day, the view was gorgeous. You could see the whole valley and the city in the distance.

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And finally, “The Wisdom Tree.”

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And wouldn’t you know it, the book wouldn’t be there anymore. Someone took it a long with my half-assed drawing forever preserved in “The Wisdom Tree” archives. I think there’s a lesson of some sort to be learned here, but oh well. (By the way, that’s not my boyfriend under the tree. Some guy named Spencer who was shouting his life story for the whole valley to hear. Hence, me knowing his first name. Don’t you just love being out in nature and then there’s that one guy with the megaphone voice? Thanks, Spencer.)

Overall though, it was a lovely day. Perhaps I’ll just have to bring my own notebook up there next time I make the trip.

photo (8)I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!