K and I took a glorious early summer trip to France: half in the Alps and half on the shores of the Mediterranean.
We hiked up snowy mountains, descended cliffs into turquoise waters, made unfamiliar dishes like poulet noir in unfamiliar convection ovens, and lived the high life watching the sun set over Marseille. We also shared a baguette and a pain au chocolat every day with our “expresso.” First things first.
Our trip took us to Paris, Chamonix, Nice, La Ciotat, and Marseille. We went with a budget, taking only a small backpack each and cooking most of our meals. I even got to refresh my manual driving skills! Hello, tiny alleys with many cars! My personal favorite? Les îles du Frioul, a short ferry from Marseille, with many beautiful inlets (calanques) for swimming in the teal limestone waters. Just beware the seagulls.
In January 2016, we moved K up the coast to start a brand new job in San Luis Obispo (SLO) and start living that SLO life :D Our first stop after the move? Montaña de Oro, of course!
As native East Coasters, it never fails to amaze us that Californians can walk a sunny beach on New Year’s Day and not be –that– cold.
“Sunny” is also up for interpretation! We soon learned that Montaña de Oro is often socked in by fog, and that clear sunsets are hard to come by! You can often see the fog spilling inland from the coast, filling the valleys with soft mistiness.
I was super impressed with K’s new digs. A tiny house on a beautiful ranch with a long dirt driveway. And horses next door!
This was one of the first hikes I did near my new home! An easy trail near Nipomo, CA (1.7 miles, out & back, flat).
Oso Flaco means Skinny Bear. An interesting history…
The name originates from a 1769 Gaspar de Portola expedition through the area. On the shores of what is now Oso Flaco lake, the men shot and killed a skinny bear for food. The next day, several men in the expedition died. It was fabled that the local Chumash had been in competition with the bear for food, and so fed it tainted food.
Unfortunately, Oso Flaco Lake is also super polluted. The fish have among the highest levels in the state of DDT, which makes sense as the surrounding area (Santa Maria, Nipomo) is a huge producer of agriculture.
The trail is part of the beautiful Oceano Dunes. it leads straight to a beautiful beach.
Catching up on adventures past, I lived in Santa Barbara for a year! aka SANTY B. As part of my joint degree program in geography, I spent a year studying and researching at UCSB. These are some shots from when I had just moved in and was starting to get my bearings.
Up in the foothills
Lake Los Carneros, great spot for watching birds
The best part about living in Santa Barbara was proximity to the ocean and mountains. I didn’t appreciate the tar at the beaches (very sticky – remove with oil!), but the sunsets and runs were breathtaking always.
Ellwood Beach, my personal favorite
I spent most of my weekends hiking while I was here, so there will be many mountains to come in the posts!