June 29, 2010

Sequoia National Forest

Camping in Sequoia.. mine and DS's last ditch effort to "see California" before moving out of the state.  Happily, we did not do this one alone, but had the pleasure of being with our Battlestar viewing crew.  We stayed at the Quaking Aspens campground, whose amenities include pit toilets and a spicket.  And surprisingly, I did just fine.  Who knew?  We enjoyed a campfire each night complete with dinner, s'mores, and jiffy pop.  We slept in tents, in sleeping bags, and woke up around 7am without alarms.  We hiked and hiked and hiked until I had a blister on my heel the size of an embedded golf ball...  But truly, it was all worth it.

We hiked the 1/2 mile, paved loop of the Trail of the 100 Giants.  Ran up to the top of Dome Rock to have lunch.  Did the 4.6 mile there-and-back trail to the Needles Lookout tower (which nearly gave DS a heart attack, but he still says it was worth the view).  And finally did maybe 1/3-1/2 of the 8.6 mile Freeman Creek Trail.  This is where my feet decided they had had enough, and DS says "How are you?"  To which I replied, "Done."  And with that, we all decided to eat our lunch and then hike back out to go home.

The follow photos do not even begin to do this place justice.  Seriously.  You should definitely go if you ever get the chance.

If you see this message, you either need to go to the actual blog, or get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

June 20, 2010

DS's Parents Visit

DS's parents' road trip finally brought them to us.  It was a lovely couple of days, and we celebrated with good food and wine.  We introduced them to the joys of In-N-Out Burger, west coast seafood, our cold beaches, and the mountains.  Two of the places we went were lovely, so I took some photos.  The first set is from Cold Spring Tavern, which was a stagecoach stop in the mountains just above Santa Barbara.  Now it's a tavern and restaurant.  The second set is fro Rusack Winery, where his mom did not realize I was being facetious on the way in by saying "Man, this place is a dump" until we'd been there for a bit.  Which, if you knew her, would be hilarious.  That woman is sharp and funny to boot, but this place is obviously not a dump.  I'm not really a wine person though, so mostly I just enjoyed the scenery.

If you see this message, either visit the blog, or get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

June 13, 2010

Grand Canyon

DS's parents are RV'ing across the country, from their home in South Carolina, out to us in Santa Barbara, up to Yosemite, to Mt. Rushmore, down to visit family in St. Louis, and then back home.  All in all, a VERY long trip.  Since I'm 'retired' now, I decided to drive out to meet them at the Grand Canyon.  We stayed at the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park, and took their train from Williams, AZ up to the Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim.  We only had about three hours there, which turned out to be a bit too much as it was one of the few days it actually rains there.  I doubt their hoodie, sweater and poncho sales are ever higher...  Luckily, I had checked the weather before going and brought my own jacket.

Even without a ton of time to hike around, this was probably the most amazing thing I've ever seen.  There's just no way to describe how jaw dropping it is to walk up to the rim the first time and see the gaping hole.  I had no concept of its proportions, even after seeing it from the plane just weeks before.  It's up to 16 miles wide, 1 mile deep, and 277 miles long.  MILES!  It's just... indescribable.  I'm so glad his parents like me enough to have me stay with them all by myself :D

If you can see this, either view the actual blog, or get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

June 02, 2010


There is a momma raccoon that lives around our building.  I can hear her sometimes at night, but other than a flicker once while DS was grilling, I've never actually seen her.  Tonight I heard her, and managed to see her running along the fence that separates the little patios for the downstairs apartments.  She was out with one of her kids.  I grabbed the camera and went out to see if I could catch her from a distance, but was surprised to find them in the tree running up the front of the apartment.  I guess she thought if she came down and walked away some, she would get me away from her kid, which she left in the tree.  I kept my distance, got a couple of shots in, and vamoosed.  I certainly don't want to run her off, nor did I want to risk rabies.  Check out that stance man.  She's like, "I don't want to, but I will eat your face if I have to."