Supper Under the Stars

I realize that this is super pathetic, but I felt incredibly proud of myself on Friday because I ran more than one errand after work. I almost never have the patience or energy to go anywhere after being at work, but on Friday I even managed to force myself to go to the mall.

I returned some stuff that didn’t work out from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and braved the crowds in Sephora. I am trying to buy more natural products that aren’t tested on animals, so I needed to restock quite a few things (I also went to The Body Shop). I really wanted to find some lipstick I would actually wear, but I tried probably 20 different options and didn’t find anything that didn’t startle me when I looked in the mirror. Do you just have to to keep wearing lipstick to get used to your face with it? It just always seems so garish on my face.

On Saturday morning I went to Orange Theory and had a great workout. My knee didn’t hurt at all and I felt so much better after. I spent the next seven hours running more errands that I had been putting off for the past few weeks. I also squeezed in an acupuncture session and met Heather for sushi. It was a solidly productive day and I even managed to get a nap in when I got home.

On Sunday I did some meal prep for the week and finally made this chicken recipe. I used riced cauliflower and while it didn’t look as pretty as the pictures, it was tasty. I went up to the office for a few hours, then drove down to Sutter Creek to hang out with Lisa and her boyfriend, Rob. A couple of months ago we purchased tickets to Supper Under the Stars in Volcano Sunday night and I went down a few hours early so that we could enjoy some adult beverages beforehand. Rob was working on the yard when I arrived, so Lisa and I left him behind and went to a new tasting room in town. It’s hard to say if it was super fantastic or if chilled white wine always tastes amazing when it’s 100 degrees out, but I left with several bottles of it.

Lisa and I then moseyed over to Provisions for some snacks and a beer. I had not eaten lunch, so Lisa suggested that if I was hungry, then I should try their “really great almonds.” This is probably she’s such a teeny tiny person, but almonds is NOT A MEAL. So, I bought some cheeses and bread to enjoy with our drinks. Crazy woman. We then met up with Rob and he drove us to Volcano for the dinner. I didn’t drink anything more after we arrived since I was driving us back (and I had to get back to Sacramento), but they had a whole hour of beer and wine tasting before the dinner. Next time. We were seated around seven and it was a beautiful evening.

I didn’t get home until midnight, but we had a lot of fun so it was worth it. I miss seeing Lisa every day and I am cannot wait until she is back in our office. SOON.

South Yuba River Swimming

Yeah, it’s the first day of August! Only two more months of summer for me (and like four more for my Southern friends – prayers for you)! I was so tired of being hot last week that I decided I would do something this past weekend to cool off. I went to Orange Theory on Saturday morning, then drove north of Nevada City to the Hoyt Crossing Trailhead on the South Yuba River. I got there around 10 am and luckily managed to find parking. There’s a main swimming hole right under the bridge by the parking lot and it was uncrowded when I arrived. The water was so clear and beautiful that I couldn’t believe it.

I read online that this area gets really crowded, so I took the Hoyt Crossing Trail to try and find a spot farther up the river. There were several small trails off the main trail that went down to the river, but they were all really steep,so I decided to avoid them. The trail was about 100 yards above the river because climbing along boulders for a mile would be terribly inconvenient. 

I finally reached a beach area and decided to hang out there. It didn’t take me long to do the math that I was at a nude beach thanks to all of the naked elderly men strolling about. Such a treat. Eventually, a young couple showed up and the girl stripped down, but the guy refused. After they went back and forth for a bit he shouted, “I am from Iowa – we are not naked in public people!” Amen, dude. I think Texans are the same. I enjoyed my time at the nude beach in my swimsuit, UV sunshirt, and giant hat. The beach was pretty empty for the first hour I was there and it was lovely. I swam, ate a sandwich, and read my book in peace.

I can’t tell you how hard it was to get a picture that didn’t feature an old guy letting it all hang out.

After relaxing there for a few hours I decided it was time to head out before I got burned. The trail was a narrow sandy path with a lot of erosion on the side leading down to the river. I was just cruising along when I suddenly found myself sliding down the hill. My left foot had slipped off the trail which caused me to fall to my knee with my right leg. Then, my left foot just kept sliding and I completely went off the trail. Thankfully, a Norwegian couple was walking on the trail toward me when it happen and they helped me get back up (I’d probably still be laying there if they hadn’t helped). I don’t think I’ve ever experience a fall that happened so quickly. I normally have a sense that I am on my way to falling, but this time I was just on the ground without any notice.

Image result for falling gifI limped back to my car and spent about an hour rinsing my woods and picking sand out of my leg and foot. My knee is now swollen and I can’t bend it or straighten it completely, so I’m just dragging it around at a slight angle. At least the views as I headed back to the car were spectacular.

Adventure Time

My parents were in town over the past week and we had a fantastic time hanging out with them. We spent most of the week just hanging out and watching TV since Sari and I had to work (I took a few half days) and it was really relaxing. On Thursday afternoon I took my parents to the California State Railroad Museum. I had no idea what to expect, but it was huge and extremely interesting (which was impressive since I generally don’t give a damn about trains). There were a lot of actual locomotives and train cars in the building which I didn’t expect at all (I know I went to a train museum and didn’t expect big trains), so that was a surprise.

My favorite part was walking through the historic train cars and viewing all of the different china used on different trains. It was all so swanky and I never could have afforded fancy train travel if I had lived during the prime of rail travel.

On Saturday, we went to see Dunkirk and it was incredible. It was great to see such a spectacularly made World War II film that didn’t involve the United States. I frequently find that people don’t realize that the war was raging for years before we got involved, so I think these stories of the outstanding courage of other countries is all the more important for that reason. Anyway, Dunkirk follows Operation Dynamo and the desperate 1940 evacuation of 400,000 Allied troops who were pinned by the German army on the beaches of Dunkirk, France. For a variety of reasons (as detailed in the movie) many of large naval ships were not able to get the men back to England, so enter the little ships! I started sobbing every time they showed people on their teeny tiny little boats bravely sailing across the channel to bring their soldiers home. It was incredibly stressful to watch, but so beautifully made. Go see it!

Also, TOM HARDY. And even though you hardly see his face – he still gives a great performance (and the final shot of him is GORGEOUS).

On Sunday, we drove a few hours toward Santa Cruz to go ziplining at Mount Hermon Adventures. The ziplines were in a canyon filled with Redwoods and they were absolutely beautiful. We love ziplining and it was a great way to celebrate my mom’s birthday (last week) and Father’s Day (a bit belatedly). We had awesome guides and had a wonderful time.

Well, my mom had a somewhat nervous time.

My parents started their long drive back to Texas yesterday morning, but we had a great time during their visit. It always feels too short, but thankfully I will see them again in just a few weeks!

Loch Leven Lakes

For a few weeks I have wanted to hike the Loch Leven Lakes trail, but every time I psyched myself out with some stupid anxiety nonsense (parking! bears! crowds! lack of ability! too hard! too hot! snow on the trail! murderers!). I finally managed to force myself into the car on Tuesday morning (we had off for the Fourth of July) and I drove the hour and a half up to the trailhead. I was worried it would be crowded, but when I arrived at eight there were still plenty of spots available, so that was a huge relief. In my research of the trail, I saw that it was listed as “hard” on AllTrails website, so I wanted to get started for the uphill climb early in the morning before it was too hot. It was gorgeous outside and everything was so green.

 I was frolicking along loving nature until I met this: 

So much of the trail was scaling huge granite slabs. I am not equipped for that! I rolled down partway on two of them because I lost my balance. I did not sign up for mountaineering!

There were flowers though, so that was lovely.

And waterfalls! 

From there, the trail got much steeper and more difficult. A lot of it was either walking up a stream of snow melt, climbing over granite boulders, or long periods of walking on rocks. As it turns out, walking on rocks really makes me mad. There were also a lot of dogs on this trail and I no would recommend that. The majority of it is over rough granite and I saw several people treating their dog’s paws because they were bleeding.

I also got lost a lot. I was already worried about that happening since several people had reported having trouble following the trail on AllTrails and I remembered a hiker getting lost for a few days last summer. There were several times that I thought I was on the trail and it would just end at a cliff or in really thick bushes. I walked over a mile extra due to being off track. Several times I saw people off in weird areas (or they saw me) and we helped each other get back on the path. Part of the problem is that a lot of the trail is in a stream, so it’s not really obvious when the trail diverges from that. For instance, below I walking up a stream and I was supposed to take a right to climb up this.

There was nothing there to indicate that I need to turn (no cairns!) and the path I was on looked more like a trail than that did. I walked about an extra half mile before I ran into some other people who had also missed the turn. Thankfully, I paid for the AllTrails pro app and was able to download the maps to use offline. They showed my location accurately (Google Maps thought I was about 20 miles away) and it was easy to navigate back to the main trail. I am so glad I did that because there was zero service and we had no idea where we had missed a turn (we still didn’t believe we needed to climb up that even when the map clearly showed that was where we needed to turn).

Despite getting off track, the trail was beautiful.

There are three bodies of water in the Leven Lakes and I wished more than anything I would have packed a swimsuit. It took me about two and a half hours to reach the smallest of the three and there was a not a soul there.

On my way back there were a few people swimming and jumping off the rocks, so I need to do that next time.

The second lake was the largest of the three and had a ton of great places for camping. I would love to do an overnight trip here. I think it would have been much more enjoyable if the hike in was followed by an afternoon of leisure and swimming.

I made it to the final lake after five miles of hiking (the entire round trip was supposed to be 7.3 miles) and I was wiped out. I took a 30 minute break and laid on a rock eating tail mix and enjoying the silence.

Since it took me almost four hours to get to the end of the trail, I started to worry about how long it would take me to hike out, so I got didn’t hang out for long. Hiking back was a lot harder than going in because I just have a hard time going downhill in general (hamstring issues and general lack of balance). And going down a steep trail while climbing over large downed trees and boulders was a bit terrifying. I basically just slid/tumbled down this. WHY.

I made it back to the car around three and I was hot, angry, dirty, and hungry. I was thankful I wasn’t hiking with a romantic partner because that’s how people get murdered. I didn’t want to speak to anyone the entire rest of the evening. Walking over the rocks was really hard on my feet and they still hurt. I hiked over 1600 feet in elevation and my body was feeling it yesterday. Although I ended the trail with hate in my heart, I hope to go back and camp so that I can actually enjoy those gorgeous lakes (with a bag of sandwiches AND s’mores supplies). Now that I’m typing from the safety of an air-conditioned room, I’ve gained some perspective and now feel that it was a completely worthwhile endeavor.

Alamere Falls

I went to Orange Theory after work on Friday and it was ANOTHER damn tornado class. The focus was on lower body, and it was a killer. Our trainer also tricked us at the end when we thought we were stretching because he kept sneaking in ab work.

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I woke up at six on Saturday morning and was so sore I could barely walk. I almost flaked on my plans to go to Alamere Falls at Point Reyes National Seashore, but forced myself to deal with it. I read online that the parking lot fills up very early, so I wanted to get there first thing in the morning. I made it by 8:30 and easily found parking at the Palomarin Trailhead which was a relief. I also read that it was a 13-mile round-trip hike to actually get to the base of the falls, so I loaded up my backpack with snacks and water and hit the Coast Trail. It was gorgeous.

It wasn’t a hard trail, but I was huffing and puffing. My butt was super sore from all of the squats on Friday night and I was struggling a bit. In my pre-hike research I also read that the trail to the falls was tiny and hard to find, so I needed to keep an eye out for an arrow made of rocks. Because I was busy planning my next vacation in my head while also trying to make a conservative financial plan (why don’t those two things go together more seamlessly?), I totally missed the arrow. I am so terrible at paying attention, or as California people say, “being present.” Thankfully, I only walked about an extra quarter mile before a couple who had previously passed me came around a corner and told me that we had all missed the turn to the falls. We finally found the entrance and I don’t think that I ever would have noticed the rock arrow.

There was a tiny tunnel through the bushes that you walked into. It took the couple walking into the bushes for me to even realize that there was a path through there. If it had not been for them, then I probably would still be walking. Thankfully, it was only about a half mile more and I was at the top of the falls.

It was gorgeous of course. The map I had printed off showed that I had to walk to Wildcat Campground which was several miles farther down the trail in order to get down to the beach. There was a group of students from Stanford who were standing close to me, and they looked pretty sporty, so I asked them if they knew how to get down to the beach. They told me that there was a place a place in the cliff were you could “sort of climb and slide” your way down. They were headed that way, so I followed them. I freak myself out about falling a lot (because I fall a lot), so the steepness of the descent coupled with all of the loose shale you had crawl over made me extremely nervous.

I made it down in one piece, but I was braced for the end the entire time.

Image result for jesus take the wheel gifOnce I double checked that I wasn’t a ghost hovering over my dead body, I proceeded over to the falls. It was really pretty! The pictures don’t really do it any justice because the sun was at a bad angle for photos, but you can trust me that it was spectacular.

I spent about an hour walking around on the beach and snacking in the shade. I was really hot from my walk (even though it was only 68 degrees), so the cool breeze at the beach was quite welcome. After relaxing on the beach, I started my hike back to the parking lot. I spent a lot of time telling people where the turn was for the falls was because I didn’t want people to make my same mistake. When I initially popped out of the bushes onto the main trail there was a family approaching. I started to tell them that this was the turn to the falls, but quickly realized they didn’t speak English. I showed them pictures of the falls on my phone and pointed down the trail. The younger people started walking toward the entrance in the bushes when a petite older man poked his head out from the back of the group and said “no.”

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I showed him the picture of the waterfall and pointed again, and he said “no” again and pointed down the main trail. During this disagreement some more people came out of the trail and I pointed at the trail again. I had the people come over and verify that the pictures of the waterfall were down that trail. His family finally convinced him to go down the path, but not before he shot me about ten looks of suspicion.

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There was a steady stream of people on the trail as I hiked out, so I am really glad I went early. There were also some really pretty lakes that people were swimming in. At Bass Lake there were people playing on a rope swing, so I have to figure out how to get there sometime.

It was such a pretty trail and I’m glad I went. At the end I had hiked about 8.5 miles and I was exhausted. I’m so glad I didn’t have to do the full 13. The hike didn’t feel that difficult, but I was sore when I woke up on Sunday morning that I could barely walk. Between the trail and that OTF class, I was done and spent the day watching the new season of Orange Is the New Black while writing performance evaluations. I am so happy that there is so much Taystee this season.

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