Was that a…

MOUNTAIN LION?

Sorry, no mountain lion photos. But, allow me to set the scene. It’s high summer in Arizona. Heading from the GC to Flagstaff after a hoooot morning and afternoon, you can suddenly feel the mugginess. The monsoon is rolling in!

It’s getting darker!

And greener!

Suddenly, a huge tan mass with a long thick tail pads across the road in front of us and drops down into the bushes.

Was it? It must have been!

Only mountain lion sighting thus far (phew) :D

 

 

Grand Canyon: The Way Up

Yes, T’was Hot.

We saw many people struggling back up.

Including us! Shade has a hot and rare commodity on the S. Kaibab Trail.

Way, way worth it.

Grand Canyon: The Way Down

This was my first visit to the Grand Canyon. What landscape! How sweepingly vast! Such definition! So much pixelated rock surface area visible at one time!

The parking lot was packed with U-Hauls, thousands of people making the epic American road trip, stopping at the grandest of sights. Many things melted and fused in our car, becoming sticky, tacky gums in the sweltering heat.

We took the South Kaibab Trail down (not all the way to the river) and were advised to bring salty foods in addition to our water supply. Did someone say chips??

The trail went downhill real fast, as we wondered, how will it be to crawl out of here?

Lush, Verdant, Arizona

Saguaros lining the road north towards Flagstaff

I expected heat during my first drive through Arizona. And lots of it, given that it was August. And mostly, I got it, though what a nice surprise to see beautiful pines of the Flagstaff area! Mountains, grasses, pines, sunflowers, such large expanses of open space.

These photos come from where we posted camp near Flagstaff to make a day trip to the Grand Canyon (up next!). We tried to go for a little hike, but then the thunder started rolling in! Summer storms!

Arizona National Scenic Trail

And Now, Some Classic San Diego

I am still almost 2 years behind in documenting my adventures. But, not for lack of adventure. San Diego is an incredible place, and I am so lucky to call it home. Here are some sunset shots taken at the San Diego Bay one warm July evening in 2015.

The Star of India, built 1863

From inside the Star of India

Sun fades into Point Loma

 

And the name of the mountain in the last post is…

MT ISLIP!!!

8,251′ San Gabriel Mountains

 

Name this Hike

This has been my laptop background for almost 2 years. And I cannot remember the name of the mountain it was taken on! Someone has been spoiled by hiking opportunities, sheeeeeeeesh.

The Facts of the Case:

-Los Angeles area

-celebrated this hike with the most exquisite bear mocha in existence (Cafe Maji, upstairs to a fitness gym in Artesia, CA):

-burned at some point-extremely beautiful

-shelter at the top with desert views

These are my confessions.

Just when I thought I said all that I can say…

Send me a message with your guess, and I’ll post results next time!

Lake Tahoe and the Desolation Wilderness

Just about two years ago (already?!), I bought my first car and promptly drove it up to Lake Tahoe for its first road trip. What a glorious start to summer adventures. Pictured above is Fannette Island, within Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe, the lake’s only island.

Hiking opportunities are plentiful around Tahoe, and the Desolation Wilderness to the lake’s southwest side does not disappoint. Incidentally, the PCT passes through here. We took a day hike on the Glen Alpine Trail to Lake Aloha (~10 miles RT), passing alpine lakes, waterfalls, and mighty bristlecone pines (some of the oldest trees ever).

Susie Lake, Desolation Wilderness

Heather Lake, Desolation Wilderness

Lake Aloha, our hiking destination

The water was so fresh and clear, incredible to think of these pristine waters in the United States. Let’s do what we can to keep these safe.

Not the Superbloom

There’s a lot of (well-deserved) hype about this year’s superbloom in Anza-Borrego Desert. The following are photos from a drought year (2015) bloom in Anza. Still pretty good, n’est-ce pas?

Sand Verbena

Desert Sunflowers

Verbena, Sunflowers, and Dune Evening Primrose (white)

Ain’t no bloom like a bloom!

Elephant Seals

Just off the Pacific Coast Highway, near San Simeon (about a 1 hour drive north of San Luis Obispo), you get to see some magnificent creatures.

They are the ELEPHANT SEALS.

And they have a distinctive call :)

Which can be quite loud.

Male elephant seals can grow to be 20 feet long and weigh up to 8,800 lbs.

They can hold their breath for up to 100 minutes.

And they sure look cute when flipping sand on themselves :)

Big Sur

It’s been about 2 years since this trip was taken up the stunning coast of Big Sur. This year, Big Sur was ravaged by the Soberanes fire, which was set off by a campfire and burned for 83 days.

Our trip was foggy, but warmer than you’d expect! The fog rolled in one evening, spilling into the valleys.

A truly magical scene, as a lone guitar player sang out above the clouds:

The warmth of the sun above this thick cloud layer gently woke the resting campers… for pancakes :)

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