Two weekends ago, my coworkers/friends and I went to Pinnacles National Park! A mere two hour drive away, it's the closest national park in the Bay Area, and one of the most recently inaugurated, redesignated from a National Monument to a National Park in 2013. Although small and not the most jaw-dropping place on earth, Pinnacles was the perfect weekend getaway, with a great campsite and numerous hiking trails!Read More
A couple weekends ago, I found my new favorite campsite! I hadn't driven down to Big Sur in awhile, so I obviously couldn't turn down an invitation from my friends for a quick weekend trip! Just one night camping might not seem worth it for a three and a half hour drive each way, but the drive itself is honestly a huge part of the experience. I've driven (and biked) along Highway 1 so many times, but it never gets old - I am always surprised at how awe-struck and grateful I am each time to live in such a beautiful part of the world!Read More
Third National Park of 2016 - check! (Although I was absent-minded and totally forgot to bring my annual National Park pass. Fail!) My best friend Yena had a dental research conference in LA, so I decided to fly down and meet her so we could go to Joshua Tree! And even better, my friend Emily and friend/colleague Chloe came along too.
Only a 1 hour flight and 3 hour drive away, it was a fairly easy long weekend getaway. Honestly, it was SO refreshing to completely unplug for a weekend -- with no service, we were forced to be present, without social media, work emails, and text messages to distract us from enjoying the moment. And with so much to do--hiking, climbing, and camping--it would have been a shame to be on our phones anyway!Read More
Ryan (Liza's friend from medical school) and his family were so welcoming and generous to us, who were complete strangers, from giving us beds and putting out snacks to playing private tour guide. We spent 4 days with local Oregonians - Ryan, Kyle, friends, and family - and I am sure our experience would not have been as rich, unique, and exciting if we hadn't been blessed with their enthusiasm to show us the best of Central Oregon.Read More
I'm just going to begin by saying LOL WINTER STORM JUNO, and by pointing out the stark contrast between California winters and East Coast winters. I just went camping in the middle of January (#typicalCAwinter), while my friends in NYC are getting cozy in their apartments and maybe mustering up enough courage to brave the cold for a brief snowball fight. I know some people really love their seasons, but boy, I'm shivering just thinking about the cold!Read More
Today was not only my last full day in El Chalten, but the last full day of my entire trip to Patagonia. Tomorrow, I begin the long travels back to the United States. I awoke early so that I could make the most of my day. I set off to wander the town and buy some snacks for my hike, and found a cute bakery and coffee shop. Most of the stores and restaurants hadn't opened yet, and similar to the 3rd day of my Torres del Paine trek, I relished the quiet and calm of the early morning. My hike today was titled Laguna de los Tres, and promised spectacular views of Mount Fitz Roy. I decided again to hike alone and soak up the last part of my solo adventure.Read More
Yesterday was my last day in El Calafate, which I was pretty happy about, since I felt like I had seen everything there was to see in the small town. I caught a 7:30 am bus from the terminal to El Chalten, known as the national capital of trekking. (I'm beginning to think that every town in Patagonia is known as "a paradise for hikers" of some sort.)
The bus ride was absolutely beautiful, and I kicked myself in the foot for not arriving earlier to the bus terminal to snag a better seat with a full window view. The road in front of us, winding straight into the mountains ahead, was a perfectly teasing preview of the scenery awaiting us in El Chalten..Read More
I barely slept last night. I think the anticipation of getting up for sunrise kept me up, and I last looked at my watch at 12:30 am, thinking "If I go to bed right at this second, I'll get 3 hours of sleep."
I woke up to my alarm at 3:20 am, crawled out of my bunk bed as quietly as possible, and quickly chugged the cold cup of coffee I had reserved from the day before. Already dressed in my clothes for the day, I grabbed my headlamp, jacket, small daypack with food and water, and trekking poles - ready and out the door within 5 minutes of waking.Read More