California hiking

Purisima Creek Redwoods Hike

We knew it was going to rain on Sunday, but thought that would make for an extra magical hike. I had been wanting to do a trail at Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve for awhile now. I always pass it on my long solo drives up Skyline and have suspected there is a killer ocean view. It was super chilly and luckily I had a bag of clothes to donate in the trunk so I could add extra layers!

There's just something about moss. 

There's just something about moss. 

One of my favorite places to search for hikes is Bay Area Hiker. I went on the second hike in that link. I made the mistake of not reading where the trailhead was, instead just pulling off at the Purisima Creek parking lot. This meant that what I thought was a 7-mile hike was actually an almost 10-mile. It wasn't a big deal, we just had to be somewhere at 3pm and ended up being late. It all worked out though. All in all we did the loop of Harkins Ridge to Purisima Creek to the Craig Britton Trail. 

Return of the Jedi?

Return of the Jedi?

At first, the hike brought me right back to the Pacific Northwest. I lived there in junior high and have camped the overcast West Coast many times. Definitely planning a trip there in the fall. Also, every time I get in the redwoods, I think of Return of the Jedi. I probably watched it too much as a kid.

Foggy hillside

Foggy hillside

Layers of hills 

Layers of hills 

First glimpse of the sea

First glimpse of the sea

The trail was a bit of a roller coaster, going up and down to get to views of the ocean, fog settling in between the pines. The hike dips down to Purisima Creek, with lush ferns and banana slugs everywhere. 

Purisima Creek

Purisima Creek

I saw a salamander, tons of banana slugs and wildflowers including, poppies, wild irises, Indian paintbrush and baby blue eyes. 

Little salamander on its way

Little salamander on its way

Wild irises

Wild irises

Indian paintbrush

Indian paintbrush

Sea view

Sea view

Bryan and closed poppies. 

Bryan and closed poppies. 

This is one of the best hikes in the area. My legs are still super sore two days later. I didn't fully time it, but it took somewhere around 4 hours. It's totally worth it for the workout, views and variation. The last leg of the hike was on the Craig Britton Trail where a dedicated bench plaque reads, "They aren't making any more land, so preserve it while you can!"

True, true.

Labor Day Weekend

It felt like all I did was work this Labor Day weekend, but between a scenic hike and working on new art for a show, it didn't feel like work at all. 

The crescent moon over some gold fringe. 

The crescent moon over some gold fringe. 

First off, we celebrated a good friend's birthday. This was the only photo I got, but I thought that it fit the relaxing mood of the weekend. His girlfriend did such a lovely job decorating.

Berry Creek Falls trail

Berry Creek Falls trail

We hiked to Berry Creek Falls on Sunday to prepare for hiking Yosemite's Half Dome next weekend (still can't believe I will be doing this!!!). It was a 10.5 mile hike. I saw the warning sign that it would be strenuous, but it felt pretty easy for the first few miles. By the end, I felt a few blisters and my legs were shutting down. Maybe my tough workout the day before didn't help things or the fact that we finished the hike in 4 hours roundtrip, not the 6 posted. Still, I love the feeling of a grueling hike. 

Big Basin pines.

Big Basin pines.

I love the curve of the tree line above. It was an incredibly beautiful California day on Sunday. Perfectly blue, perfectly sunny.

Berry Creek Falls

Berry Creek Falls

At Berry Creek Falls, we saw butterflies fluttering around and of course a rainbow arced in front of it. We were expecting a unicorn next. 

Bryan tending to the map.

Bryan tending to the map.

We had lunch at this tiny waterfall. I lay back on the ground becoming one with nature or something like that. Of course when I sat up, my tangled hair was covered in twigs. Oops. 

A tiny Rachel amongst the green and blue.

A tiny Rachel amongst the green and blue.

I love taking pictures of peepholes in the canopy of trees. There is something about this color combo that reminds me of being a kid exploring the Santa Cruz Mountains. 

The colors of decaying leaves are something else. 

The colors of decaying leaves are something else. 

The Beach House, work in progress.

The Beach House, work in progress.

And a new painting for my show at Seeing Things Gallery that opens on Friday, September 5th. I spent a lot of time this weekend working on this one. Hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend! 

Portola Valley Hike

I'm getting ready to hike the Skyline-to-Sea trail in September. I've been hiking a lot lately midst my busy schedule, which is definitely satisfying the lack of camping I've done this year. This hike was from last week in Portola Valley. I wanted to get into the studio for part of the day so we decided not to venture as far as we usually do.

Imagine if this was your work desk view. Lucky rangers!

Imagine if this was your work desk view. Lucky rangers!

The ranger station was full of great information about the area. 

The ranger station was full of great information about the area. 

Ah, the prices of yesteryear... 

Ah, the prices of yesteryear... 

The  Coyote Ridge Trail , a fairly steep hike and a good workout.  

The Coyote Ridge Trail, a fairly steep hike and a good workout.  

The beautiful view along the ridge. These slightly overcast days are always welcome when hiking uphill. 

The beautiful view along the ridge. These slightly overcast days are always welcome when hiking uphill. 

I was overwhelmed by the yellow green of this drying fern against the layers of blue and green mountains.

I was overwhelmed by the yellow green of this drying fern against the layers of blue and green mountains.

Lightning took down some redwoods in this grove. I can't imagine watching this massive trunk fall.

Lightning took down some redwoods in this grove. I can't imagine watching this massive trunk fall.

You can't possibly come to this area without stopping at  Alice's Restaurant ! A classic biker and classic car meetup spot, Alice's has the best food. Do you like garlic fries? Buffalo burgers? Free range? Grass fed?  All the burgers are named after motorcycles and their dessert selection is something else. Oh yes, the staff? So friendly and fun. I've been coming here for years and it is consistently great.

You can't possibly come to this area without stopping at Alice's Restaurant! A classic biker and classic car meetup spot, Alice's has the best food. Do you like garlic fries? Buffalo burgers? Free range? Grass fed?  All the burgers are named after motorcycles and their dessert selection is something else. Oh yes, the staff? So friendly and fun. I've been coming here for years and it is consistently great.

Blackberry pie and black coffee.  Agent Dale Cooper  would be so proud.  Thank you  Alice's  for satisfying my appetite.

Blackberry pie and black coffee. Agent Dale Cooper would be so proud.  Thank you Alice's for satisfying my appetite.