Hello loves! It’s been a while since I’ve updated. Hard to find time to write or journal when all I want to do in my free time is either hike, swim, or read! Let’s see… we had a wonderful visit from Jessica and Dillon! Minus a little car problem at 3 in the morning their first night here ;) but hey, I know a visit to the hot spring was worth it! Before the car fiasco we had a nice dinner at the place Michael works, had a pitcher of the local beer and ended up getting 50% off! Of COURSE that was a highlight ;). Our Yosemite adventure was quite the trip! We started in the high country Saturday afternoon, despite having to get a ride back to town while my car was in the shop. We camped at Sunrise Lake and as we arrive we were greeted by beautiful evening fog over the lake. The next day was a long hike to the trailhead of Half Dome. Half Dome was probably one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done! Mostly because I’m terrified of heights, so it was a HUGE challenge for me! I thought I was going to puke several times because of it. When we got to the top though, it was a rush unlike any I’ve ever felt before! I can see why thrill-seekers live that kind of lifestyle. Rock climbers for example (and there are A LOT out here). I don’t think I’ll ever be a rock climber though ;). The hike from Half Dome down to the valley was so lovely! We ended up hiking right along side Vernal Falls and it was like a different world! The micro-climate of the area around waterfalls is pretty amazing, everything is so lush! Since we departed with our good friends, work and life has been awesome still - we’re really starting to feel at home here! We have some cool neighborhoods at our campsite now. They showed up a few days after my last post in this colorfully painted van! They are fire performers and lately have been performing at the restaurant Michael works. They are a very nice bohemian couple, and are going to Burning Man, so now I have people to caravan with! Today at work we were restoring motorcycle tracks in the forest, which consisted mostly of rolling huge rocks down this steep hill so they land in the “road”, thus preventing future motorcycles from coming through! Sometimes work is too much fun to actually call work ;). Also, my boss is an incredibly knowledgeable naturalist or something, because when he comes out with us he knows what EVERYTHING is! From all the insects to all the plants, he can even tell us what critter has been living in a certain hole in the ground! I would love to be that knowledgeable about any environment. Seems like he knows the geography very well too, because he can name just about every mountain peak as well! I find it very fascinating! Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th! I worked that day and we had a wonderful hike through this lush meadow with all kinds of colorful wildflowers. We found this HUGE puffball mushroom, which is edible so one of my co-workers said he was going to fry it up at his family’s 4th of July celebration. I’ll have pictures up on facebook soon :). That night Michael was working so I just hung out at the restaurant while they fed me beer and cheesecake! The wait staff there is really nice, we’ve been talking about hanging out soon (outside of the restaurant of course). The next weekend Michael and I had off together so we took a trip through Devil’s Postpile. It was amazing! We hiked for about 12 hours seeing the crazy rock formations, waterfalls, wildflowers, meadows, and hiked along the lovely San Joaquin river! The river actually starts in this area, in Ansel Adam wilderness and is the largest river in central California. It feeds a lot of agricultural lands in Cali that feed us every day! Anyway - that night after our long hike we soaked in the hot spring and watched the stars come out. It’s amazing how many you can see out here. It’s kind of impressive (although not wonderful) how much city lights drown out. I’m sure the elevation makes a big difference as well. After a couple of hours of star-gazing in the tub, we got to watch a magnificent moon rise! It was almost full at the time. We met a really interesting man named Raj, who teaches Yoga in L.A. and goes to India every winter to study Kundalini. We always meet such interesting people at the hot spring! Last night I helped out at the restaurant because it was extra busy sine they had a band playing. It was really fun, and the band was surprisingly really good! Not a lot of music comes through here but bluegrass, not that I mind bluegrass, but it was nice to have something different. I think they were called Warsaw, but I can’t seem to find them online. Anyway, they were awesome and I’ve never seen anyone jam out with a conch shell before! That’s all the excitement I can think of for now. My solar shower has been heating in the sun all day and I’m ready for a hot shower in the woods ;). Pretty soon I’ll be camping in the backcountry for work in the Glass Mountains and I’m pretty stoked! Sorry I haven’t been sending mail like I’ve been wanting. I will soon! Over the mountains and through the woods… love you! xoxo
I love my job! Being outside in beautiful places, how could it get any better?! I’m also very happy with the people I work with. My boss has a big beard and a very jolly laugh, and says things like “rad”. One project we worked on recently was up this steep trail outside of Mammoth Lakes, where there was a horrid wind storm a few months ago. Apparently they had sustained winds of 190 mph!! There were fallen and broken tree EVERYWHERE! So we helped clean up the trail. It was such a beautiful place to work! Since then we’ve been restoring areas around Mono Lake in a sandy pine forest where one of the endangered species is dwarf lupine. I know there are others that I can’t think of at the moment, but if you look up lupine you’ll see how beautiful it is and that it’s worth saving ;) We’ve been camping just outside of Lee Vining, population 398 - but in the summertime, the town is busy - so many travelers, backpackers, and tourists from all over the world come around to see the sites! Our camp site is very cozy- right by a nice river, lots of pine trees and the sweet smell of sage is always in the air. Plus, it’s not too far of a drive for work! Michael got a job at this “historic inn”/ restaurant just outside of town. It’s an adorable place! Right over Mono Lake, and the owner is Ansel Adam’s son. The managers were having a bit of a freak out on his second day of work because they were expecting a ton of people and just lost a waitress. So Michael offered my services to them for one night and it was a fun time making an extra hundred bucks! A local band played that night and I ended up knowing the bassist from working with him last year. After closing time we all hung around and drank the locally brewed beer, getting to know the locals, it was a good time and I’m glad Michael is working for cool people. Last Thursday night a painted bus showed up at our campsite and now we have awesome neighbors! They are about our age and living in the area around for the summer. They are bohemian fire performers so it’s been fun hanging out with them at the campsite. They are going to Burning Man too, so now I won’t have to go by myself! Last Sunday we made the 5+ hour drive through Yosemite and lots of almond orchards to get to Berkeley for a long awaited performance by Mariee Sioux. She was absolutely enchanting, and I would do it all over again! My only complaint was that she didn’t play nearly long enough, but that’s okay, I was still very satisfied. Berkeley was a fun little place to walk around in. We got to feast at a nice vegan restaurant and there was a little art festival in the street while we were there! Also, we stopped at a herb/tea shop and picked up a few different tea blends at only $2/ounce! If you buy tea in bulk back home, you know how exciting and cheap this is!! I guess in a place like okc, selling tea in bulk is unique so they can charge you ridiculous prices. hmph. I suppose that’s all the excitement for now! I am at a cute little coffee shop in town right now, waiting for Michael to get off work. Oh I have to share this funny story that I heard at the coffee shop! A lot of Europeans travel through here, and one was telling the barista how surprised he was when he found out how much cheap, crappy coffee Americans consume. He said “If you’re so obsessed with coffee, I don’t understand why you don’t drink it properly” (or something like that) - he was obviously glad to see an actual coffee shop, as opposed to the folgers served at motels haha! I thought it was an interesting philosophy, as Americans are the same way with alcohol and tobacco! anywayyyyy I got my Yosemite pass over the weekend, which is extremely exciting since the park is practically our back yard! This weekend we get to show Jessica & Dillon around and we are very excited about that too! Sending love from the mountaintops xoxo
Our 11th day since we left OKC and we’re just showering for the 2nd time. This RV park offers $2.50 tokens for showers, each token lasting 5 minutes of hot water. So we both bought 2 tokens. I start work tomorrow and I know I’ll get plenty dirty, but just thought I should start off fresh. The road trip to the Eastern Sierra was very eventful - we stopped at an REI in Albuquerque and felt like kids at a toy store. The next day we stopped in Flagstaff for dinner and a stroll through downtown. It’s a very cute little town! Surrounded by National Forest, I could see myself living there. We camped just outside of town on Forest Service land, which is usually free. The drive through the desert was beautiful, and our next campsite was in Joshua Tree Nat’l Park. After spending so much time in the desert, we decided to head to the coast hoping to get a spot by the beach. Turns out it was a cloudy day anyway, and all the beach sites were full. So we stopped at the Channel Islands visitor center and got some info on making a reservation to go camp and hike on the islands! That’s one of our many weekend plans for this summer for sure. On our way back east we ended up driving through a lot of huge farms, which doesn’t sound much different from the midwest, except that this is where all of our produce is grown! So different from seeing fields of wheat, corn, or cows. Vast fields of lettuce, cabbage, strawberries, avocados, lemons, and many other colorful fields of food. Such a beautiful climate and landscape just off the coast around Ventura. So that night we ended up camping pretty much at the top of Mt. Pinos, in a nice pine forest. It was a beautiful view, being up there with the clouds. We were by ourselves too, which added to the peacefulness. We woke up to make breakfast and decided it was way too windy up there to cook, so we drove down the mountain to look for a picnic spot. I love California, you don’t have to drive too far to get to public land to picnic, hike, or camp for free. That day we finally made it to the Eastern Sierra! Our first stop was to have lunch at this cafe in Lone Pine, then we explored the Alabama Hills. Such an incredible place - it seems like you’re on another planet! Even though Lone Pine is such a tiny town, you could never get bored because of the vast natural landscapes that surround it. We decided it would be nice to chill and take a shower so we got a motel room in Bishop (I know, I felt like we were cheating or something! ha). The next morning I dropped off some extra bulk food we had at the office of my employer in Bishop, because I knew we were headed for bear country that day. We explored a little bit of Mammoth (another cute town I could definitely see myself living in), and set up camp for a few days outside of town. This town is also surrounded by forest - the Inyo National Forest, which is the forest I am working in all summer, but closer to Lee Vining (where we are now, the town just outside of Yosemite). We stayed at that campsite for a few days and explored the area, mostly hiking through the pines and aspens, checking out the gorgeous blue-green lakes and incredible vistas, and soaked in the natural hot springs around sunset, then to watch the stars appear. I wonder if OKC just has that much light pollution or if it’s because we’re so much higher in elevation that we can see so many more stars, and make out the milky way so clearly! I know all the towns in this area have light pollution laws, which I think is awesome. Now we have another campsite just outside of Lee Vining, since I will meet my crew in town at the coffee shop (practically the only place to get wifi, or contact the outside world at all because I don’t get phone service around here). It’s a beautiful area, being in the Mono basin and at “the gateway to Yosemite”! Today we will probably go on a short hike and chill out since I have to start work early in the morn. Next weekend we are driving to Berkley because Mariee Sioux is playing a free show!! Super excited. Then SOON we get to backpack through Yosemite with Jessica & Dillon… excited for them to come out!! Love you all. Message me your mailing address so I can send you goodies! :)
Thinking back on this time last year - if it wasn’t for Michael coming along with me this time, these last few days would feel a lot different.. much more bittersweet. We’re still nervous about leaving our kitty cats but we have a good friend looking after them. Our gear and stuff is all over the house right now. We bought all of our bulk food yesterday. Lots of almonds, cashews, walnuts, macadamias, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, oats, barley flakes, rice, pasta, quinoa, cous cous, bulgur, lentils, garbanzos, peanut butter, almond butter, and sunflower seed butter. I think that will last us for a good while, at least for our base foods. We’ll still be buying produce of course. I’m pretty pumped about our spice/tea box I composed for our camp kitchen. It smells so good! Now I am mostly concerned about bears. I spotted a $300 bear-safe cooler yesterday so I’m seriously considering that. It would just be so much weight lifted off my back just knowing I have a good amount of storage for food stuff. I don’t want to live out of a small bear can all summer.
I guess that’s all for now.. we’ll see how often I get around to updating ;)