I recently embarked on a little solo road trip to meet up with some friends in the Mt. Shasta area. The weekend was a reunion with two of my dearest girl friends from California, and this was the first time the three of us had been together in years. It was so nourishing and grounding to spend time with these powerful, intelligent, beautiful women, and to be in a different climate for a moment. There was much laughter, good food, wine, and endless conversation.
I know you all must just be dying to know where we went on my big birthday surprise adventure, so I figured it was about time to share some photos and stories with you!
Last week we packed up and headed East to the mountains, pines and rivers inland. All the maples were in full color and the drive was absolutely stunning. We spent a night camped on a back road and headed out in the morning to the Mckenzie River. The Mckenzie and the surrounding area is unbelievably beautiful and we spent the afternoon outside, hiking through glowing-green moss-dripping old growth forest, picking white chanterelles and fishing for beautiful leopard spotted cutthroat trout.
That evening we headed on to Breitenbush Hot Springs, one of my absolute favorite places in the world (check out this post for more about Breitenbush). We spent two days there, soaking in the hot springs, reading endlessly, napping, and generally taking it really easy. It felt great to just allow ourselves to do nothing and be a little indulgent. Over all it was a perfect birthday adventure and one I will remember for years to come. Here are a few more photos from the trip ~ Enjoy!
There is something immensely liberating about packing the basics into your car (or in this case a super sweet, tricked out van) and heading out on the road. No planned destination, nowhere to be, music drifting out the open windows and the world whizzing by. Road trips, they’re where it’s at.
This particular adventure was hatched for the purpose of attending a dear friends wedding in Northern CA (more on that later), and we figured why not make it an excuse for some coastal wandering. The wedding weekend was spent with friends and family, cooking and eating copious amounts of amazing food (can you say salmon burgers with homemade aioli, cherry tomatoes and avocado? Yum!), and generally reveling in each others company.
After the festivities were over, The Photographer and I headed up the coast seeking new sights, waves, and photos. I’ve driven this section of coast many times, but rarely have I given myself the luxury of being able to stop frequently and take detours, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
We spent a night camped amidst towering redwoods, followed by a first-thing-in-the-morning dive into a radiantly clear creek. We surfed, including a perfect near-dark evening session, the water so glassy it appeared oily and pink as the sun sank into the ocean. We spent a golden late afternoon scampering around on the tidal beds of an exquisite sandstone bay, snapping photos and taking in the sunshine. We stopped to visit family, took photos, ate more amazing food, stopped to take more photos, enjoyed a few hikes, and generally had a ball. Overall it was a rejuvenating, inspiring trip, and a perfect way to kick off my self-employed lifestyle.
Enjoy the photos!
As you may have guessed, we’ve returned from our California adventure and are enjoying settling back into work and play in our cozy little home. As always I’ve been a bit busy and haven’t been able to get to editing and processing the 1,000 plus photos I took. Still, I figured the least I could do was let you know I was alive and share a little sneak peek of everything we did, saw, and ate. It was a wonderful and rejuvenating trip, full of friends, family, good food, surfing, and beautiful places. I hope you’re having a wonderful fall so far. Enjoy the images!
We decided early on that we wanted to allot a few days to spend driving the notoriously narrow and winding roads of Highway One between Fort Bragg and San Francisco. I’m so glad we did because this ended up being one of my favorite parts of the trip.
Part of what makes this section of coastline so magical is that it isn’t easy to get to. The road is almost comically curvy and narrow at times and the only way to get there is to hope you don’t get carsick and take it slow. Because of this there is hardly anyone there. I, being a small town girl, loved this!
We drove through many tiny, slightly run down towns that looked like they hadn’t changed much in the last fifty years. Crumbling old buildings weathered by salt air and time. Rolling green hills, eucalyptus, climbing nasturtiums, falling-down split cedar fences, wildflowers and cliffs.
One of my favorite things about this section of the trip was the local architecture. I wanted to buy, or just knock on the door and ask to move into, almost every other house we passed. I have been building a “dream house” in my mind for a few years now and it was like the people of Northern California had somehow seen my blueprint and then improved upon it. There were so many dreamy houses built of weathered split cedar shakes with whimsical details, domes, spires, stained glass and curved roofs. And to top it all off many of them had big vegetable gardens, old barns, acres of land and separate little outbuildings (one of my all time favorite things!).
We spent the better part of a morning exploring a really lovely secret beach that I had been to years before. You have to know that it’s there to find it, leave the road at an old Inn, hike through a meadow of wildflowers and climb down a cliff. Many years ago a building (the story I heard was some kind of factory) crumbled into the sea, and as a result the beach is full of many colored chunks of sea glass, shards of pottery, and rusted, twisted pieces of metal that have fused into the rocks. The tide pools, aquamarine water and wildflowers weren’t too bad as well.
The town of Mendocino was one of my other favorite stops. We spent a morning writing in a sweet coffee shop and an afternoon riding our bikes around the neighborhoods in a heavy mist ogling dreamy houses and gardens. We had drinks at the divey local bar where the regulars dogs sprawled on the beer-stained floor and begged for a head scratch from the patrons, then devoured delicious seafood for dinner. The next day was bluebird sunny and we parted ways for a few hours and wandered around, cameras in hand, each in a bit of a sun-struck happy daze. Bright colors, ocean, sunshine, camera in hand-what more do you need?! I was in heaven.
Next up, big city adventures in San Francisco.