Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mt San Jacinto Peak

I submitted my first big mountain!!
10, 834 ft

I started at 8,850 maybe that doesn't count as a summit ... but it was still a good hike!
My last day with David we took the tram up San Jacinto and while at the tram station I bought myself a season pass. It is officially way too hot for hiking in the desert (at least for me) and the tram offers a serene escape to forests, fresh air and 75 degree weather. I used my season pass Tuesday to accomplish a hike I have been wanting to do all year - the climb from the tram to the peak!
The photo above was taken almost at the peak and looks down on what I have hiked. I started over on the left side where the tram breaches the mountain. I think it is the third little mound from left to right. I then hiked all the way across to the right side for a view called Wellman's Divide (shown below), which is about 3 miles. Can you see that little meadow in the middle? That is Round Valley - a stunning field 2 miles in with a campground adjacent to it.

 From Wellman's Divide I went through a rocky pass  and then over some long switchbacks to where the above photo was taken.

Wellman's Divide - View on the right side

Wellman's Divide - view on the left side - see the mountains turn to desert?
 Round trip this was an 11 mile trek, with a 2,000 foot gain in elevation. Took me a good six hours including all my stops to admire the views. Towards the peak I kept stopping more and more frequently because it was hard to breathe. I'm not sure I have hiked that high before! I also had a bad headache which I attributed to dehydration even though I had downed a couple of bottles of water. It wasn't until I reached the emergency shelter just below the peak and flipped through the logbook where someone else complained of their head hurting that I realized it could be the fact that I went from sea level to 11,000 feet in 3 hours!

This hike was amazing though and I highly recommend it to anyone in so cal. The scenery changed with every mile and it was strenuous, but not extreme. Regardless the hike itself being great, the views from the peak made it well worth it. One side descends to the desert and the other sides into California forests and wine country. This solo six hour journey was just what my soul needed after a 74 hour week at the front desk!

Looking down on desert.

Some friends joined me for desert views!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival

Had a little outing last weekend to Temecula, a wine town just over an hour and a half away. It was my first Sunday off in a LONG time and I had seen ads for this hot air balloon and wine festival. Sadly, I didn't actually get to see a hot air balloons. They lit them up and had the balloons "dance" to music Friday and Saturday night, but not Sunday. Sunday morning they flew them at 6 am, but I had worked until 11 pm the night prior and it was going to take a lot more than beautiful balloons to make me get up at 4 am. I did get to taste some lovely wine though and got to keep the wine glass in the photo above.

The festival had plenty of cool vendors including the one above who made wicked crafts out of wine barrels. While I was there I spoke to a Golds Gym Booth and entered a raffle and guess who won?! I got a free 2 week pass along with a free nutrition consultation and personal training session. I also bought this cork crown for my mom, they were so cute I had to text her a pic and she wants to recreate them:

For the first hour of the festival I was really wishing David was there. What could be more romantic than a Wine and Hot Air Balloon Festival right?

So I did what lots of lonely people do; I drank a big ol' glass of Champagne and then took it to another level by watching a motorcross show with a crowd of rednecks (see below). By the end of that glass I was feeling much more optimistic about life and spent another few hours enjoying the festival solo without a care in the world.

The festival had many more treasures than I expected. I got to see the budweiser clydesdales parade and go to an exotic animal festival!

This is a Kookaburra - totally the highlight of my day!
After the festival I went home and hung out at my neighbor/co-worker Shannon's house. Her family is so kind to me and always tells me to come over whenever I want for food, the pool or a family environment. Feels good to have a second home = )

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Life Updates

This past week has been intense! Let me update you on a few things in my life...

1) I bought a new car! I bought a used 2007 Subaru Forester from a dealership. This was after a month of sifting through ads on craigslist and visiting a few dealerships for test drives. I bought this car through an ad on craigslist that sent me to a Kia dealership.
As exciting as it is to be driving a newer and smoother car, I will miss my Jeep. It feels like what I imagine letting go of your first car feels like. My first car was such a P.O.S.  that I was happy to see it go. I couldn't even sell the damn thing because I knew how much it broke down (and no one could figure out why). I had to give it away to charity. The Jeep is different. The Jeep has carried me through unbelievable snow storms and barely ever slipped.

That car moved me across states and was there for me for the best years of my life. It has comforting heated leather seats for the winter and ice cold air conditioning for the summer. The only bad thing about this car is it has a V8 engine which guzzles a gallon of gasoline every 14 miles. Now that I am paying over $4 for gas, this is a bit of a dealbreaker. Goodbye Jeep, you will be missed!

Did I just write about cars? Sounded an awful lot like boyfriends!

Photos of the subaru will be coming in the next post!

2) I had my first experience with workplace politics. I think any of my parents or David could vouch that it frazzled me all week long!! Thank goodness I played my cards right. That is all I will say in the blog, ask me about it on the phone if you want to know the details.

3) David is coming to visit me the 15th of May through the 30th! Yeah, it's complicated. I am very excited to see him and we are going to start our trip off next week with a stay in the San Diego Andaz!!  I'll be sure to keep you updated...

Image Detail

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Nothing unwinds you like childhood nostalgia and roller coasters!

I met up with my momma on my last weekend! She came to Anaheim for a business conference with her friend. Can you guess where we went for my 2 days off? California Adventures and the Happiest Place on Earth!

I took full advantage of her handicap to bypass lines. I also got to cut through other lines using a single rider pass - so perfect for me as half the time I was there alone. 

Queen of the jungle cruise

The weekend went largely as one would expect it to. The only out of the ordinary occurrence was being evacuated from Splash Mountain. After the big splash we got in a "log jam" according to the recording. An employee came out a few minutes later and pulled us out one by one. We then proceeded on foot along part of the ride, out a door into the employee area and back in through an exit. Kind of exciting! One person even got scolded for taking photos of the mechanics of the ride. Fortunately mom wasn't with me for this one! 

Between my single rider passes and handicap mom I went on all the rides I hoped to - many multiple times!

Monday, April 16, 2012

My new home

I thought I should share some pictures of my new home!!

In case you haven't heard, I'm living in a casita, which is a guest house. My entrance is a very cute and rather secluded gate with my own private walkway and garden. I love coming home to this every day, it's like entering my own secret garden. 

The inside is akin to a studio apartment with a connecting bedroom and private bathroom. Have you ever seen a bathroom so colorful? It is pretty awesome! My landlord likes to decorate!

My kitchen/living room is also nice and I brought my flatscreen down. I feel so independent now, I even watch the news in the morning. Makes me feel like mom!

I have photos of my bedroom as well, but they aren't uploading for some reason. I will add them in the next post, but this gives you an overall feel for my house. It is so nice to live in a place with character and charm. In Pullman, my houses were so cold - I felt like they sucked the life out of me. Everytime I was home alone for several hours I would feel depressed, which I attributed to being extroverted. Here, however, I love being home alone. I can't get enough of this place!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Failed at backpacking.

This is me last Tuesday morning about one mile into my hike. As much as I would love to brag about hiking all 20 miles I started just prior to mile 19 and went about 8 miles into the desert. I just love to lie on facebook.

This is my buddy Margot. Photo taken at the very beginning of our trip - miles before we realized the "adventure" we were really about to have.

We thought we were far more badass than this hike would prove us to be.
Example A: We didn't even make it to our destination of Quail Mountain - the tallest mountain in Joshua Tree National Park. We got tired. It was only about 70 degrees out, but bear in mind the sun is on you all day in the desert, you never hike through the shady pines of home.
Margot on a fallen Joshua Tree

Our journey started off in the flat desert, looking like the photo above for the first half of the hike. Eventually we came into a beautiful mountain valley where we stopped for a lunch break and chased after a legitimate mirage of water (to be fair it had rained in Palm Springs a few days ago). After lunch we didn't make it too far, we had been hiking about 4 hours and both of us were exhausted! We decided we wouldn't make it the rest of the way and started looking for a camp site.  Unfortunately the mountains were steep and about a mile later we still hadn't found a bare spot in a flat area and had to campe in a wash. This is something we had specifically been told not to do, due to the rare floods that occur, but we were so tired we risked it. This wash had two levels to it and we were on the upper level, also, it mostly rains in august , rarely in March.

This is our tent. It was cold as balls. We should have put on the rain cover to help retain heat, but we wanted to see the stars. Once we set this up, both of us passed out in the afternoon desert sun for a good hour. Once that sun dipped below our mountains, you could feel the temperature drop rapidly! I pulled out my propane to make dinner only to discover it didn't fit my stove. We carried out a stove and propane for no reason and I had to have an apple for dinner.

The rest of the night was spent awake and cold. I was in a regular womens sleeping bag made for camping in 25 degrees and considering how cold I was, I cannot imagine being poor Margot in a kids sleepin bag. This comfy looking sand felt like cement and we spent all night trying to fool our bodies into comfort so we could get much needed rest. By 3 AM we were so cold that we actually shared sleeping bags and had to cuddle for warmth - like in that Seth Green movie.

We probably should have put the rain cover on by this point, but we were too cold - oh and also we brought a mini, dying flashlight.

As soon as the sun came up the next morning, we ate my oatmeal soaked overnight in cold water (due to that stove issue) and curtailed it home! Our hike in took 4.5 miles, but on the way out we refused to break under 2 miles and we got out in a little over 3.5 hours.

The desert wasn't very pretty. It all looked the same. I miss my forests, campfires and sleeping pads.

Don't go hiking in Joshua Tree.

The end.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Setting a leprechaun trap! Would settle for sexy irishman...


I love celebrating any holiday I can! Especially when it means I get to bake.

Oh shoot - I completely forgot about pie day - would have used that excuse to make a lemon cream pie with the lemons in my yard....

Anyway, for St Pattys day I am not drinking. I did have a greenish club soda with lime, but no booze, which suits me just fine. I would prefer to consume my calories....

 Do you like my "leprechaun trap"?

I plan to lure him in with gold, after which he will fall into a bear pit of sorts constructed with pretzels. Muahahaha!!

The best part...

I got the recipe from someone who made it look a LOT prettier, but that's okay - mine would have looked better if I had piping bags, more cake better and frosting tools. Maybe next year.

My Source:

I had this recipe saved on one of my  pinterest boards. Do you have a pinterest?? It is pretty amazing. 

Enjoy the Holiday - even if it is a small one!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Palm Springs Tram

The Palm Springs tram is the largest in the world and goes up over 8500 ft in ten minutes. I wanted to take it in the winter and the summer as there is snow in the winter! This tram is very famous and is probably the number one activity to do in Palm Springs. It is a must and was definitely worth the $24 ticket up.

This tram is located on the opposite end of Palm Springs, so driving there took almost an hour. The last bit of it is a four mile drive from the visitors center to the base of Mt. San Jacinto.
It is amazing how flat the Coachella Valley is isn't it?

Base of the Tram

It was hard to get photos on the way up, because it was crowded and everyone has to stand by the window the entire time!

At the top of the tram there is a restaurant and bar, run by ARAMARK (who I worked for last summer)! $24 for the ticket was enough money out of my pocket so I didn't get anything, but went out back and walked along the nature trails. You can't go far without a backcountry permit, but I lounged around and enjoyed the fresh air and snowy meadows.

I plan on going back in two weeks to do an overnight trip up part of the Pacific Crest Trail - should be amazing! What is also nice about the trails up here is that snakes and bears very rarely come up this high. Every once in a while they do, but you aren't even required to hike with a bear can - makes me feel safe!

What a difference huh?!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Journey Down

Today marks exactly one month since I started my career. In celebration, thought I should share some of my photos and experiences from my road trip down here.  


I was at my mom's casa the last night in WA and that was the second day of the Seattle snow storm. It had snowed all day and I had cleaned off the car a couple hours before going to bed and once again right before bed at 10 PM. Nevertheless, mother nature continued to battle against me and I awoke to this:

Mom and I barely made it down the pass before it closed and it took a solid three hours battling snow traffic to just reach Olympia. This was our longest day of driving and we battled snow most of the way, stopping for the night in Southern Oregon. Our town of rest was Ashland - where they have a huge Shakespeare festival every summer!

The town is rather touristy, but in a fitting way (like Leavenworth). Very quaint and full of Shakespearean and Elizabethan art and culture. We stayed at the Historic Ashland Hotel as shown below. We got the room for a steal and the hotel was beautiful. Pictured below is the lobby and part of our hotel room. The hotel was full of pictures of birds and dead leaves. That doesn't sound attractive...but trust me it worked.... 

Day Two
We weren't out of the snow yet and barely made it through another mountain pass before they closed it.

By the time we reached the town of Weed, the snow was finally clear

After another long day of driving we arrived in Napa and stayed in my favorite Hyatt so far, the Avia! This hotel was so welcoming. I truly loved this hotel and would highly recommend it. 
Mom and I arrived in the afternoon and were able to squeeze in three quick tastings before the wineries closed down. We went to Mum's, Silver Oak and Black Stallion! Black Stallion was okay, Silver Oak was absolutely amazing, but Mum's was my favorite because I love champagne.

Day Three

This was the day with the shortest drive. Napa to Monterey! The hotel in Monterey was not impressive though and I was actually really disappointed. The aquarium was awesome though and mom and I met up with distant relatives for dinner!

Day Four

On the out of Monterey I took Sarah, Trafton and my relative's recommendation to check out 17 mile drive through the Pebble Beach resorts and country clubs! The drive was long, but stunning. Well worth it. 

 This night we stopped in Santa Barbara - which I seem to be lacking photos of. I'm also missing pictures of the elephant seals we saw on the way down. They were hilarious! A beach had thousands of them - they were barking a lot and just looking nasty. Elephant seals are awesome. 

Anyway we stayed this night in gorgeous Santa Barbara. Loved it. 

Day Five
Home Sweet Home. Arrived to the Palm Springs area and my resort.  My HR manager welcomed me with a lovely amenity in my room!

The trip down was awesome. I'm so glad my mom came with me and we saw so many beautiful sites! Missing the north already.