Look what cat dragged in...tah dah!!!
Geesh is been a LONG time since I last wrote something...and a LOT has happen since April. I had the opportunity to visit a few new places and went back to enjoy some of my favorite places too. Let's hope I can remember everything...there are of course some very memorable ones that I can't forget to mentioned like that I FINALLY got to see my first wild bear (Black bear) and I was able to see my favorite fish (Mola Mola) up close (not in the wild like I would have loved to but I'll take it!) and I was able to hike to a place I had been wanting to go to for the last 6 years (Devil's Postpile)...and lots more!
First and foremost all my traveling have been possible because I have the most amazing, supportive and caring boyfriend...one who embraces almost all of my stupid decisions and makes most of them come true. He is my partner in crime, my "ride or die" man and my UNO opponent (I still kick his a$$ at it a lot but he is making it harder as the years go by to beat). He makes a lot of the travel planning like if he was inside my head (kinda creepy that he knows me so well but amazing that is so easy flowing). Since I'm not working full time and he is sooooo amazing at planning we try to use credit card points and travel miles whenever possible to save in everything we can so know that there is always a way to get out to travel, you just have to learn how to play the game of big companies to make the most of your bucks...and let me tell you they will make it REALLY HARD for you to take advantage of your points and miles sometimes so you always have to plan with extra time and backup plans just in case.
Let's back track to the beginning of summer...We did a day trip to Avalon in Santa Catalina Island to get our ocean wildlife on, great day but it was horribly packed! the Descanso Resort has turned into a daytime Rave Club and there was so many people packed into the small sand shoreline you couldn't even walk around to get to the beach without stepping on other peoples stuff. So note to self, never again going there during summer time!
A few weeks after we went camping at one of my favorite beach campgrounds, Carpinteria State Beach Campground. We go camping a LOT and Carpinteria is always on the top three campground we like the most. This time we decided to rent a Tear Drop camper which I always wanted to try and let me tell you it was the cutest little thing and very comfortable...everyone around us had the super duper all sup-ed up RV's and we were in between them all with out tini tear drop but it was so cute people kept coming over to check it out and asking how big it was inside because it looked so small from the outside. The man we rented the Tear Drop from was at least 6'tall and I too was skeptical about it until I talked to him but said he got the trailer to take his grandson camping with him who was also 6' tall, so if they fit we could too no problem. While there boyfriend spend sometime paddle-boarding and spend my time geeking out on the shores looking for sea treasures. I found lot's of Top Wavy Turban Snails, some eggs clusters I have no idea who they belong to, some whelk snail eggs, a few dead Feather Sea Stars and I spend time paparazzing over the adorable Harbor Seals planking on the rocks.
Yosemite and Mammoth Lakes
About a month later we did Yosemite and Mammoth Lakes. We had plans to do a big hike to Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls and of course the night before we left I twisted my right ankle so bad I had tears coming down my face. But I wasn't going to let that prevent me from going so I wrapped that sucker up and nursed it good for the next two days before we went on our hike. We first went to Yosemite and only stayed there one night but we got to enjoy the park around as much as we could without hiking it. To kill sometime before we had to checked into our hotel for the night I had my boyfriend drive to find an old railroad turntable station I had accidental found the last time I was there. It is the Yosemite Valley Railroad exhibit/old turning station and now Chamber of Commerce/Post Office and parking lot of some sort...lol. It is a really cute place to go explore and take pictures, the trains are open so you can hop in to check them out and play adult Train Driver. We then went to back up to find our hotel, we stayed at the Wawona Hotel which was absolutely ADORABLE however the customer service was non-existent. From checking in which took a good 20 minutes standing in front of the Hotel Concierge before he acknowledge us and still did not said a simple "Hello" or "I'm sorry for taking so long" instead he just asked "What is the the last name on the reservation" to trying to order a drink from the OPEN restaurant that took an amazingly shocking 15 minutes and three different staff members to come say they had "locked up" their alcohol for the night but could sell me a beer...WTAF! So the alcohol had a care-few but the beer didn't...lmao. Anyways, would I recommend the Wawona Hotel...meh, only if you are planing to BYOB, no need to give them any extra profit for their awful lack of customer service. We did went to visit the The Ahwahnee hotel, did received great customer service and they made me a delicious Manhattan drink, Thank you very much! The following morning on our way out first thing in the morning it's when the best part of the visit happen, when I least expected a Black Bear was crossing the street (I could swear it had two cubs with it but it was so fast and I started to cry of joy I can't confirm the cubs). With shacking hands and teary eyes I was able to get a few pictures of the bear when we stopped and it came back out to the street to check us out (probably making sure the cubs were safe from us or something). After that the rest of the visit didn't make any difference if it was good or bad, at that moment everything became wonderful and the Wawona bad service was completely irrelevant to me thanks to the Black Bear...see how wonderful wildlife can make things all better! ;^)
After Yosemite, we drove across towards Mammoth Lakes. On our way we stopped at Bodie which I highly recommend everyone to go visit at least once. The town is like if it was frozen in time, everything still there as it was back when the last settler mans left the town. Then we drove to our hotel in Mammoth...no bears there..booooo! The next morning we headed up to do our hike to Devil's Postpile and Rainbow Falls...it was 37° when we got there to start our hike and withing a mile or so it went up to 60° and it just kept getting hotter and drier as we kept going. Altitude sickness has always been my nemesis so every ten steps I was dying but I damn it I wan't going to turned back. We had been planning to go there for years however weather had not worked on our favor and the road down was always closed the times we went to visit so I wasn't about to let the altitude stop me from finishing my hike...died or alive I was going to see it in person! Every hoff, puff, bitch and whine I did along the way was well worth the pain. We ended up going up the back way of Devil's postpile down to Rainbow Falls, circle to Reds Meadows then cut across an old trail back down to the front side of Devil's postpile avoiding the stampede of tourist until we got there, it was a good 6.5 -7 miles loops. My ankle did great and I survived...YAY ME!!! While we were able to avoid most of the multitude by going up the way we did and getting there early it was crazy the amount of people walking in as we were walking out...I mean tour size buses full of people every 40 minutes of so were been dropped off at the based entrance all heading in the same direction but luckily for us we had planned ahead and when they were going up we were going down and out of there with plenty of time to go relax at our hotel pool after...Touché!
I was also able to take time to go visit a dear friend and old neighbor of mine at her new lovely farmhouse and soon to be a Lavender Field Farm in Talent, OR. I spend some amazing time playing with the goats, chickens, dogs, cats and we even had a visit of some cute Bobcat Kittens that scared the crap out of everyone because the chickens and goats had been left out a few minutes before. You know if you have kittens around, mom is somewhere near too looking for something to feed them. While they were absolutely adorable the tension was real knowing they could get to one or more of the babies that had just been left out for the morning. Thankfully there were no casualties and everyone was accounted for. We also had another friend from here who had relocated to WA come down to meet us there, so it was a great reunion of girlfriends who enjoy wildlife and exploring. We took a few hours trip to visit Crater Lake while there and ooohlala! The weather was unbelievable, nice and warm, blue skies that looked like they had just being painted and perfect glassy lake reflecting the mountains all around. A few days after that they got hit with some crazy snow falls so we were right on time before it got crazy.
Catalina (Two Harbors)
Birthday weekend...woohooo!!! I have always wanted to go to Two Harbors for the Buccaneers Festival since it usually falls around my birthday so we finally did it...we camped out on the bluff about 1/2 mile up hill from the town. I've been there a few times before so I knew what to expect but it was still a rough hike back and forth to town every time specially in full pirate costume with a tight corset after a few yo-ho-ho's and a bottle of rum...Arrrrggg!!! The site view was gorgeous however the campground has taken for the worst since I last was there a few years ago. While it does have running water they only have porter potties which are not a big deal if they can maintain them. Specially during a fully booked weekend. The reservations to camp there have increased so much in the last few years but the maintenance of the campground has declined. We rented a "Convenient tent" so we didn't have to haul ours with us on the boat (they do drop-off /pick-up your gear at your site but they do charge you $5. per EACH gear bag/box/cooler). The convenient tents are like a teepee tent with 4 REI cots included. All tents on site had broken zippers, were dirty inside and had been left fully open so you could see animal paw prints on the cots and could smell they had been marking territory inside. Not something you want to deal with if you are paying close to $100 a night for a tent rental and per person fees!!! Had we known the poor quality of the tent we would had brought ours instead and saved the extra money from the rental. There was thrash everywhere, and I don't mean some new thrash that had just blew from another site, this was old half buried thrash, cigarette butts and a lot of plastic everywhere. Some of the wood stairs to go to the porter potties were missing steps with exposed rusted nails. So to go pee you had to be careful and be very selective as to which porter potty to use if you wanted to come back in one piece. And the campground was swarmed with Yellow Jackets, we couldn't even open a drink without getting surrounded by a swarm of them, cooking was a BITCH trying to deter them away and eating was even worse. We had to tag-team against them to get food cook and back into the tent to eat without letting them sneak into the tent with us. BTW, the tent had no windows and was about 80° outside which made it a sauna inside...yay free spa and dehydration treatment! The town too has changed a LOT since, it has grown a lot to become more of a resort style place with private cabanas and beach chairs for rent. I used to love going there because it was still very raw and pure little town but it is turning into another Descanso Resort kind of place except for that the amenities they are charging you for are dirty and broken. It made me sad to see it like it is now. Setting all that a side the festival was super fun and we did get to hike around toward the USC Marine Center and to the other side of the Isthmus to look for the Bald Eagles but we didn't see any. I think overall not including the Festival, the best part of camping was the birds serenading us every morning, the gorgeous view and the cute little Quails rushing through throughout the days and I can't forget the Mola Mola we spotted from the boat on the way into Two Harbors.
Big Sur and Monterey Bay
So to wrap the summer trips we took one last trip up to Big Sur and Monterey Bay thanks to Jimmy Buffett playing at the Santa Barbara Bowl. My boyfriend is a big time Jimmy Buffett fan so when we found out that he was throwing a concert in one of the prettiest venues and formally college town of my boyfriend he was all over it like me on a pint of homemade cookies. So we took advantage of the trip to go even further up to Big Sur and Monterey. We rented a Roof Top pop up tent for this trip and I have to say it was the best (except for when I had to come down to pee at 6am without contact on...lol). After the concert we headed up making a few stops along the way, first Solvang...how freaking cute is that place! I've never been before and will definitely go back, it took me on a Netherlands flashback while I was there and the food...yuummy!!! Then we stopped to see the Elephant Seals and friendly squirrels before making our way up to Big Sur. As soon as we made to the Whale Watchers Cafe we stopped to get some supplies while I looked for whales of course...and yes, I spotted a Gray Whale already migrating south. Then as soon as we got to our campground for the night which so happens to be my favorite of all I spotted two humpbacks having a good ole time in front from the cliff which I was able to share them with some other out of state campers who ever biking Big Sur south. So about my favorite campground...Kirk Creek. This place is magical, it doesn't have running water or electricity and the restrooms are vault restroom but the place is the best. Is not only well taken care of and cleaned (even the restrooms!) but comes with the most amazing view of the Pacific, the nights are peaceful even thought you are right next to the road and is the perfect place to go stargazing. I have never seeing the Milky Way so clear like we did there last weekend!
After enjoying this view for a good morning we drove further up to our next destination Pfeiffer Big Sur State Campground but before getting there we stopped at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State park to hike closer to McWay Falls for some pretty pictures however I was immediately distracted by the condor I spotted perched on a tree on top of the mountain. Unfortunately the best picture I was able to get was by putting my phone through the binocular lens and it is still hard to see (dead tree, second to last branch from the bottom up on the left side).
I do not know who this condor was but I do wish very much that is my beloved Fuego #470 however it is impossible to know without being able to see the tag. I spend the rest of the trip looking up to the sky for more condors but instead being fooled by the healthy and very much annoying population of Vultures that continued to raised my hopes high of a possible condor sighting every time they appeared to only break my heart at the sight of their under-wings every time...pff those Vultures! As soon as we got to our second and remaining home for the time there we settled for the night so we could rest for the next day adventure to Monterey Bay to go visit my favorite fish...yay! Monterey Bay is beautiful and there is much to see there specially around the Cannery area. I however had a mission in mind and nothing was to stand in my way this time. The mission was to see a Mola Mola up close which was my mission the last time I had visited but unluckily my timing was off and they had already released the Mola Mola that was in display back into the ocean then. But this time I did my homework and made sure they had one...and I got to see it!!!! I can neither confirm not denied that I may or may have not pushed a few people to get closed to the glass to see it...don't judge me! (ignore the huge bags under my eyes)
after that we had the second best clam chowder and headed back to try to make it to Point Lobos before closing time while at the same time touring the 17 mile roads. which was stunning but very crowed with tour buses and horrible drivers not following safety driving regulations around the turns...blah! We did made it to Point Lobos right before closing time but did not make it on time to tour their whaling museum...boooo! I did got to see this cute guy really closed looking for delicious crunchy seafood. The American Oystercatcher is one of my favorite shore birds to see but I have only seeing one once before from far away in Puerto Rico and it wouldn't cooperate with me to let me take a good picture of it. Check out the chunky feet and amazing eyes!!!
Our last night camping was a bit over smoked by all the camp fires specially ours. But we did had a great time playing UNO...well I did at least, however the sour looser who would accept defeat who kept trying to challenge me may say otherwise...lol
On our way home I continued to look for any possible sightings of wildlife specially whales and condors. We saw the Ventana Wildlife Tour bus in front doing a Condor tour so I made my boyfriend stop so I could eavesdrop on their tour guide using the radar to find the condors. They had received a weak nearby signal from the tag on Amigo #204 which I was very excited because that is foster daddy and threesome partner of my beloved Fuego and their new lady. We looked for a while even after the tour left with no luck. Even thought I didn't get to see any close like the last time I still love knowing they're there and learning their drama love stories. It's like a Condors manors show...ohhh they should do that. I would totally binge watch that!!!
Well while we did a lot more that I did not highlight here I do hope this gives you all a good idea of my last few trips and maybe inspire you to get out to look for your own wildlife sighting and fun memories.
Now that we don't have any more trips planned I'll be working hard on new designs before the end of the year so I don't have to go find me one of those pesky J. O. B. we all don't really like and cramp my traveling time.
Thanks for sticking around this far down reading my rants, stories and updates...I hope you enjoyed them and will see you all soon! ;^)
Got get your wild on!!!