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!

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A Trip To Sequoia: Silver City Mountain Resort

As you all know, I’ve been talking about doing something each day to bring about some happiness. Well, this past weekend it was happiness overload because I took a trip to Sequoia National Park. I’ve probably said this before, but I am a huge outdoors/travel nut. I love it. If I’m indoors for too long I start to get restless and sad. But when I’m outdoors doing some traveling and experiencing new sights, I’m in heaven. Sequoia was one of the areas I wanted to visit in California so I’m glad I was able to finally scratch that off my bucket list. I took pictures, a ton of pictures, and I’m psyched to share them (so if you hate that kind of stuff, avoid my next few posts. But I hope you don’t!) So first, let me tell you about this absolutely adorable place we decided to stay at: Silver City Mountain Resort. Claiming to be the most remote area in the park (which I can believe), this is the kind of place where you hear absolute silence. (If hearing silence is a thing.) After living in a big city for so long, this was refreshing.

On Friday, J and I packed up the car and left work early to take the 4 hour long drive from LA to the Sierra Nevada. I was warned that the hour long road up the mountains and into Sequoia was twisty and dangerous and, yeah, they weren’t kidding around. Once I started the trek up the mountain (lucky for me it was my turn to drive when this came about) it was about 8:30 pm so not only were we driving this snaky road, with little between us and the straight drop off below, but we had to do it at night. It was pretty scary, yet thrilling because I’m the kind of odd one that thrives on those situations. I didn’t get to see much scenery because of our late arrival but I did get to have a nature nerd freak out when I saw cute little mice scampering a long the roads at night, and a tarantula creeping across. Once we arrived to Silver City, we were left keys and a map to our cabin because everyone had gone to bed and given up on us. You know LA people can’t ever be on time. (Damn you, traffic!!) We stayed in the Honeymoon cabin, despite the fact we’re not on a honeymoon, and it was an old little cabin with propane lamps you lit yourself. No electricity.

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Honeymoon Cabin

Private campfire for each cabin.

Private campfire for each cabin.

Cabin kitchen

Cabin kitchen

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Bedroom. (I was really praying those tarantulas didn’t pay my bed a visit.)

It was so old fashioned and bare, which I loved. When I say bare, that means it also didn’t include bathrooms. Those were just a short walk from the cabins and much to my delight, they were very lovely inside. I was honestly expecting some kind of outhouse. The store on site included a delicious restaurant and homemade pies they claimed were the best you ever had. And I had all of them.

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Restaurant/store and in the bottom picture I tried to capture the hail that came down late Saturday.

 

I wasn't kidding about eating all the pie.

I wasn’t kidding about eating all the pie.

This was quite the little haven and a camper’s paradise. Of course, I say camping even though this technically isn’t camping, but still. There was no bathroom or electricity in my cabin so I think I should get some credit for roughing it! Staying in these cabins reminded me of some of my childhood vacations we would take to the mountains and I was elated to relive this. Now once I sort through all my hiking pictures I can share with you some of the most beautiful areas of land I’ve ever seen.

Project Happiness

As I’ve said before (or you may have picked up on in some of my posts) I suffer from depression and like many others know, it can really take a toll on your life. I’m always looking for new ways to get around it, and recently I’ve been focusing on doing something everyday to help take hold of some happiness. Or at least find a way to bring a spark of happiness to every day. And when I say this, I don’t mean I find time to lie on the couch with a huge bowl of ice cream (although ice cream does tend to make me happy), but I mean doing something, even if it’s very small, that will just make me feel all around better about myself and life in general. Whether you suffer from depression or not, trying to squeeze in that moment can benefit us all. We all lead hectic lives that can weigh us down, and if you’re anything like me, you may tend to find your days going by where you’re focused more on other people and making sure they’re happy. Which is great, don’t get me wrong, but it sure leaves your poor neglected self alone out in the cold. And we certainly don’t need that! There’s a lot of sadness in the world as it is.

I enjoy running, but the weather has been so boiling hot lately (we’re looking at highs of 105 next week!!) that I’ve been forced to workout indoors. Last night the weather had cooled down slightly, so I decided to take advantage of that and grab a moment to myself for a quick run around the neighborhood. After adding some new songs on my iPod (who doesn’t get amped up by new music?) I was out the door to enjoy the fresh air.

So even something as simple as stopping to check out the books at a neighbor’s mini library:

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Just the way they decorated this box makes me happy. Notice the owl on top.

Or taking time to stop by the park right before sundown:

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Even just taking the time to do something cost free and good for yourself can make a huge difference. If we all took the time at some point in our day to do something for ourselves that will make us happy, then what an improvement to our health, mind, and attitude it would make.

And who wouldn’t be thrilled to be greeted by this eagerly awaiting face when you get back?:

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(Unless, like 80% of the rest of the population, you’re terrified of rats then being greeted by one probably won’t help bring a ray of sunshine to your day.)

If there’s something special you do during the day for yourself to bring in that spirit of happiness, I would love for you to share it with me!

Winter’s a good time to stay in and cuddle, but put me in summer and I’ll be a…happy snowman!

Yeahh Frozen. 

It’s been a sweltering week here in Los Angeles. I have to pack extra water just to walk around this asphalt desert. Simmering heat in the 90s can only mean one thing- summer is approaching quickly. I’m a winter and fall kind of person, but after spending many months in the “cold,” I relish the first days of summer because of one thing that my inner mermaid relishes in- those trips to the crashing ocean. 

ImageSo, thank you, rich people of Newport Beach for letting my poor little Studio City self (hey, at least we can claim George Clooney as a resident! Just a resident, though, as he’s been claimed elsewhere. Dangit!) come splash through the freezing Pacific waters on your fine beach. I’m officially ready for summer. Just for a few weeks though. Then I’d like to have the cool weather back. 

 

May the 4th be with you! 

 

A picnic in Echo Park – formerly the lake of the dead

It was close to 90 degrees here in LA today. I’m a winter kind of person, but with the sun out shining brightly, and me being in such an incredibly good mood, I decided it was best to get out in the fresh air before I holed myself up working on my novel like I usually do on Sunday. The beach was my first thought, Disney Land my second, but when I realized how hungry I was, I came across this option…a picnic in the lovely Echo Park.

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This beautiful little spot in hipster town is surrounded by people reading, running, and taking to the water in paddle boats. According to my boyfriend, a former Silver Lake resident (another So Cal hipster city) who turns up his nose at the mention of Echo Park, this place (before it became cleaned up and beautiful) used to be the dumping ground for bodies. Lovely. Back in the 90’s they apparently cleaned out the lake and found 10 or so corpses underneath. So we got to sit back and enjoy the fresh air and our delicious lunch as we gazed out across this former lake of death. 

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Just check out the size of that strawberry! (I get excited over food.)

Like a typical white girl, I had to go to Trader Joe’s and stock up on some goods for the outing. And me being the sushi fiend that I am, chose that as the main course. Annoying, right? Yep, I get that all the time. The white bird you see sneaking a long up there was our main attraction. This guy was as stealthy as they come. He was in total creep mode as he crouched down as low as he could and carefully took each step until he swiped whatever it was he was after for his meal. I want to say he’s an egret, but I’ve never been good when it comes to bird names. 

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To end the day, this smiley face appeared up in the sky. There was also some kind of message attached underneath, but I couldn’t make sense of it. I’m sure the recipient understood. Maybe. (And no, it was not another apology from Shia Labeouf – at least I don’t think so.)

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.