Unleashing Females into the Wild

The month of October started off really testing myself on the mountains of the Lost Coast trail, and ended up watching my daughter really test herself on her longest hike to date (4.5 miles) on Angel Island and also climbing the large boulders of Yosemite’s Mirror Lake Trail. Of course I am a proud mama practically all the time, but something about her taking on these hikes makes me really glow.  There’s a lot that I’ve learned in my life through being out in nature, and I don’t think I understood it’s impact until later in life. My parents taught me a lot of self-sufficiency being out fishing or camping. I would come back from a a day spent catching on the river and wanting to immediately go out to the garden in the back to dig up some worms to bring back to the river the next weekend and […]

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Making Family Traditions at a Colorful and Dry Yosemite

Ever since living here in California, I had only visited Yosemite in the springtime.  There’s something so fresh and clean about springtime there, with the falls gushing with water, crisp cold air, and sometimes a bit of snow on the ground.  We usually book a yurt with Yosemite Lakes Campground, just outside the park, so we’ve been a little spoiled by heated structures to relax in white we are there.  Going in the off-season also offers us a pretty open park, away from crowds and traffic, where we can really feel like we’ve escaped. This year, the campground was pretty booked and had availability in October.  With all the other things we had planned this month, it was a little inconvenient, but we booked it anyway and had hoped we could make it work.  The group of friends we go with changes slightly most years, and this time was no […]

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5 of my Favorite Stops En Route to Yosemite

Last weekend, we were fortunate enough to get another yearly tradition squeezed into our busy month, a trip to Yosemite.  I know I’ve been spending so much time camping in October, but this trip was different.  After two weekends of backpacking, and as the park was going to have the first winter storm of the season, I was happy to glamp it up with a yurt.  Yurts are canvas structures; imagine a round cabin but instead of walls like we would normally see on cabins, its wrapped in canvas. Not only are we generally excited to spend a weekend in a yurt, but we are able to spend it at one of my favorite National Parks.  It still seems a little unreal that I am so close to it now, about 3-4 hours away.  A short drive from the hustle and bustle of the city is the amazing views and fresh air of […]

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Celebrating 5 Years of Camping on Angel Island

It was 5 years ago, when Evie was only 7 months old, that we took her on her first camping trip.  We went to an island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, called Angel Island.  Of course I was worried.  I didn’t know if she would cry all night or be fussy on hike to the campsite.  I called the State Park ranger on duty to confirm emergency procedures if something should end up happening while we were there.  I hadn’t even been to the island prior to the trip so I had no idea if they had boats docked overnight or even signal to reach anyone. She slept in the Bjorn carrier as we climbed Mount Livermore, the highest point on the island.  We apparently took the hardest trail to the campsite, with baby and backpacks of camping supplies, and my husband and I were exhausted by […]

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The Things I’ve Learned from Hiking the Lost Coast

Starting off my life from 35 has already been an adventure.  Breaking into 36 with a crazy hike to the Lost Coast in northern California, I can only hope that bigger and better adventures await.  As I start to make my new lists for myself in this next trip around the sun, I know there’s not much moving forward without looking back on the past.  That weekend hike with Jenny not only has taught me a lot about pushing myself in my outdoor adventuring life, but also in other aspects of my world. As far as hiking and camping, I am only inspired by this to take on more challenges like this.  There are a couple things I had learned, and for all those looking to try the Lost Coast for the first time, I thought I would share it. PACKING Here’s what I brought with me: 65L backpack Bear […]

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12 Points of Interest on the Lost Coast Trail, as Told By Us

First off, let me preface this with the part of the Lost Coast Trail that we did was a portion of the southern trail.  Most time when people talk about the Lost Coast, they are referring to the northern part, about 25 miles between Mattole and Black Sands Beach in Shelter Cove.  The southern trail is about 32 miles, from Shelter Cove to Usal Beach. I passed on the north part because I thought it would be harder to hike.   The trail has a lot of sand hiking, long stretches of rocks that roll underfoot, and tides you need to account for in your hike.  A lot of times, the tide comes in and leaves hikers stranded on parts of the trail, unable to move forward.  I wasn’t sure how my pace would look and don’t have too much experience with tide tables, so I preferred the southern part. The […]

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The Birthday Trip That Almost Didn’t Happen

In a previous post about backpacking in Point Reyes, I had mentioned that I had given myself this birthday goal to hike part of the Lost Coast Trail in northern California before the next birthday.  I had never gone on that long of a hike before and I don’t really do too much in the backcountry.  Maybe it was a way to just literally break free of all the things that weighed me down in my last birthday, and get back to a feeling of independence, self-reliance, and the general untethered-ness that one would like to feel again after having a child and family.  Of course I love my family and my life, but that birthday hit me like a ton of bricks, and I was faced with a lot of feelings about turning off my life’s auto-pilot.  That year was a turning point for me, and I’m happy to report a […]

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Backpack Camping in Point Reyes National Seashore

Last year I had told myself on my birthday that I was going to do the California “Lost Coast” Trail as a birthday challenge for myself.  My birthday was in October, and I am not that far from the next birthday now.  Life gets busy, I can start to loose a little focus,  and sometimes those goals get a little further during the course that time. The Lost Coast Trail is actually where the people in charge of building California’s famous Highway 1 actually decided not to build.  Where the Highway known for its beautiful cliffside and coastlines, decided… “meh… this area looks a little too rough for roads”.  Where you actually have to shuttle a couple hours, or have two cars so that you can get from the start and the end of the trail.  It’s a couple days long and can take you on some challenging terrain… and […]

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5 Reasons to Celebrate the National Park Centennial

Can you believe that the National Parks turned 100 this year?  How crazy amazing that we even have these places of such unspoiled America to enjoy?  So, I know what you are thinking… “oh boy, Jamie, another post about National Parks?”  My answer is YES!  Since it is officially National Parks Week in America, I need to share some major things about the parks that you may or may not know. Balancing at Yosemite National Park at 3 years old. Celebrate the National Park’s Birthday with FREE ENTRANCE! Evie’s hike to the waterfalls at Olympic National Park. August 25th-28th is actually FREE for anyone who wants to go.  There’s actually a couple of free days for the NPS throughout the year but this weekend is special for the 2016 Centennial.  The fee waiver includes entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession […]

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Hiking and Hot Springs in Olympic National Park

Now looking back to blog about it, it seems like we were out in Washington for waaaay longer than we actually were.  From family time at my cousin’s wedding to camping in the beautiful Mount Rainier National Park, maybe I was a little too much from the kids to do a couple more days with me in Olympic National Park. I mean, I really wanted to take advantage of being out there with so many beautiful parks, but I could already tell it was starting to wear on the kids.  (Which in turn, starts wearing down all the adults too, so I guess the joke is on me). From Mount Rainier, we packed back into the car and drove about 4 hours to another gorgeous park in Washington.  Olympic is actually pretty special when it comes to the National Parks as it has a very diverse ecology.  From coastline to […]

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