outdoors

Weekend in the North Bay - Pt. 1 Bolinas

I like doing wacky things sometimes, like driving up to the North Bay coast two days in a row, with two different sets of people. The drive is maybe 2.5 hours to Bolinas and 3.5 to Cazadero. Let's start with Bolinas.

Gospel Flat Farm - This is a family farm. We live here so please smile and say hello.

Gospel Flat Farm - This is a family farm. We live here so please smile and say hello.

We started by heading to Gospel Flat Farm, a family run farm in Bolinas. I had never stopped here before, usually because I beeline for the beach and on the way home, it looked closed. I learned they have a 24 hour farm stand that operates on the honor system. I love Bolinas even so much more now. 

Kaaaaale

Kaaaaale

Look at all that kale! Their farm was beautiful. So many good things growing here. 

Family laundry hanging on the line

Family laundry hanging on the line

Chris and Claudine

Chris and Claudine

The reason we came to visit the farm was because of an art show title Nature Babes. I knew of one of the artists from Instagram. Chris and Claudine came along with us and as you can see, they had a blast. We were lucky to spend their 5 year wedding anniversary with them. I enticed them with the following question: "Wanna go to an art show on a farm with wood-fired pizza and wine in a small beach town and have a killer dinner and pie at the Coast Cafe afterward?"

Who could say no?

Wood-fired pizza with toppings from the farm

Wood-fired pizza with toppings from the farm

Pretty huh? Work by  Maria Schoettler

Pretty huh? Work by Maria Schoettler

It was nice to meet Maria Schoettler in person. We follow each other on Instagram and I must say, these kinds of things make you love the internet. Her work is so lovely. The textures and colors are pure bliss.

Lindsay Stripling, part one of two of one artwork

Lindsay Stripling, part one of two of one artwork

Linday Stripling, part two of one artwork

Linday Stripling, part two of one artwork

Aren't these pieces gorgeous? Lindsay Stripling created this diptych of an invasion of a campsite. Looks like the wolves and turkeys took over everything. 

Work on paper by Emily Ritz

Work on paper by Emily Ritz

Emily Ritz created highly detailed watercolors with ink details. You can see the scale of this one by looking over at that window sill. The work is really insane closeup. So much detail!

Inside the gallery, work by Emily Ritz

Inside the gallery, work by Emily Ritz

You know I love a good A-Frame. Another one coming in Part 2 of this weekend:)

Pattern Inspiration in San Francisco

On Wednesday, I went to see a friend in San Francisco. We didn't have much of a plan, but we were thinking something like lunch and checking out the sunset at Land's End. My friend Gabby is a crazy-inspiring person. She has a lot going on in her life right now and actually kind of always does as a traveling, swimming (she just swam to Alacatraz!), pilot who is starting a company with her man. The day was like a breath of fresh air for the both of us. I won't write too much since the pictures speak for themselves. 

Mile Rock Beach, Land's End

Mile Rock Beach, Land's End

A-maze-ing rock pattern

A-maze-ing rock pattern

Gabby walking through the maze.

Gabby walking through the maze.

Mussels

Mussels

More mussels... and look at that hole pattern in the sand too.

More mussels... and look at that hole pattern in the sand too.

Sand lines with golden hour lighting.

Sand lines with golden hour lighting.

More sand lines. 

More sand lines. 

A tree-like pattern. 

A tree-like pattern. 

Fractals, dude. It always amazes me how this pattern exists so commonly in nature. Blood vessels, trees, lightning, snowflakes, this repeating pattern occurs everywhere. 

The view of the Golden Gate from Mile Rock Beach. You can see the mussels on the rocks here. 

The view of the Golden Gate from Mile Rock Beach. You can see the mussels on the rocks here. 

Never a bad sunset here. 

Never a bad sunset here. 

The sunset getting more ridiculous.

The sunset getting more ridiculous.

View of the moon from  Top of the Mark

View of the moon from Top of the Mark

We ended the night at Top of the Mark, the 19th story bar and lounge at the top of the Mark Hopkins Hotel. We wanted to sit with a view of the moon and at first we couldn't see it. After a few minutes, we saw it peek out from behind this building.  We drank martinis while a jazz pianist played. Of course, the picture doesn't quite do it justice.

Such a good day and night.

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! 

A Weekend in Tahoe National Forest

There's something about getting away from cell phone service, being under the tallest of tall trees and jumping into cold mountain waters that reinvigorates the soul like nothing else. This weekend, I went with some very good friends to camp in the Tahoe National Forest. 

Endless shades of green in  Tahoe National Forest . 

Endless shades of green in Tahoe National Forest

We basically talked about this trip loosely for a couple weeks, but we didn't even book a site until a week before. Our goal was to find some swimming holes and that's about it. We headed north on 5, then over to 80 east and finally up 49. The last time I had been camping in the area was when I backpacked to Island Lake near Grouse Ridge, which is a bit south of where we ended up. This time, we were camping between Downieville and Sierra City, two tiny towns in the mountains. If you ever head up this way, try to get all your supplies in advance. Both towns have stores, but I doubt they are open very late. 

Gurdy, being cool in the van.

Gurdy, being cool in the van.

Union Flat Campground, site 2

Union Flat Campground, site 2

Our campsite was rather cozy, but we didn't have any neighbors and basically had our own private bathrooms since there are only 11 sites at Union Flat Campground. We liked the green spiky plants growing around our site and could hear the river rushing by. There are a lot of campgrounds in the area, but we stayed here because it was reservable and we were arriving late.

North Yuba River

North Yuba River

This swimming hole was at the campsite. Bryan was brave enough to jump right into the river in the morning. The rest of us were leery of the gigantic trees shading the area, so we opted to swim later at a sunnier spot. 

Shannon and I watched.

Shannon and I watched.

We loaded up the van and headed up to find a spot closer to Sierra City that the ranger suggested for us. It was a bit of a downhill, but we scoped out a swimming hole that was just perfect.

Good times

Good times

As you can see above and below, it was the most perfect and beautiful spot. Not pictured is the waterfall to the left that you can only see when you are in the water. We all jumped off this spot and swam around for the day.

Pre-jump

Pre-jump

Log rides

Log rides

We had the place to ourselves for hours before a couple of nice families showed up. Then we headed back to make the best burgers ever with kale salad and sweet potatoes. Though we may have had some beer and wine this weekend, we kept the food tasty and healthy. If there's one thing I've learned camping this summer, it's to further simplify what you bring and what you cook. 

South Yuba River Bridge

South Yuba River Bridge

The last day, we head down to South Yuba River. Even at South Yuba River, a place fairly crowded with locals and visitors, you can find spots to yourself like we did here. Just head even a little further up or down river and you're good to go. It's super beautiful and there are natural slides into deep pools. You can see the trees aren't so tall and it's a bit more dry down here. It definitely makes for warmer waters to swim in, but of course, more people. 

South Yuba River

South Yuba River

South Yuba - check out that slide under the bridge!

South Yuba - check out that slide under the bridge!

The view from our tent. You can imagine all the stars we saw from here.

The view from our tent. You can imagine all the stars we saw from here.

Take me back already! Every time I head out to the woods, it makes me feel like I shouldn't leave. I get so much clarity. I even brought art supplies with me and didn't use any of them. Just spent time with good people and stared at nature. Ahhh...