This labor day seemed particularly long. Saturday feels like forever ago. We started out with hike in the San Gabriel valley. Since it was so hot, we chose a trail that we knew was shady, but it ended up being quite a bit warmer and more strenuous than we intended. It was still really nice to get outdoors though.
We celebrated my mother’s birthday with some friends. Isabelle made a lovely cake, and when it was remarked that she was becoming a regular Martha Stewart she replied: “Who’s that?” I still don’t feel remotely old but it is slightly strange to see kids I used to babysit grow into adults. Time is curious.
I made some baked spinach artichoke dip for the occasion. I tried something different from the last spinach artichoke dip but I think I like the original recipe better. I’m still tinkering.
I tried this new vegan ice cream that my mom picked up. It was quite good, but more than that, the cold brewed coffee was serious stuff. I probably wouldn’t be writing this post right now if it weren’t for that ice cream.
We played games including a short but lively game of baseball, where one of the dogs would steal the ball if you hit it too far. Does this make it sound like I played? I did not. Though I did enjoy playing a game of Minotaur. I’m more of a board game kind of girl.
- Meeme and Mochi turned 5! Those little rascals. I love those cats so much it’s ridiculous.
- We saw Blue Jasmine which I really loved. I’m usually not particularly fond of films about ultra rich people, but Cate Blanchett is truly fantastic. I really thought that everyone was great actually. Even though it’s a tale of distress, it’s still fun to watch. I like many Woody Allen films, but I am not an uber fan as I find many people are. Yet, I think that the “Allenness” of this film makes it work. It was entertaining and surprising. Shawn pointed out it’s has some similarities to A Woman Under the Influence, one of my favorite films.
- I guess this weekend means that the end of summer is nigh, but it’s been terribly hot. I can’t wait for the cool fall air to make an appearance.
Did you do anything fun or relaxing this weekend?
There was one other unexpected special thing that happened in the sequoias. There was a nature presentation at our campground on carnivorous birds. When I first saw it listed on a flyer, I wanted to go, expecting to see some photos of birds and just learn at little. I was so surprised when we arrived to find a presentation with real live birds: a red tailed hawk, a great horned owl and a prairie falcon.
Each bird was presented with such caring by Diane. I was in awe of not only the beauty of these creatures, but also how she cared for them; delicately straightening ruffled feathers and cooing to them when they were nervous.
I feel very fortunate to have been able to see these birds up close, though I wish there was a way they could have not been hurt in the first place. It was amazing to hear about what amazing hunters these birds are, in particular the owl. Though I’ve known since childhood they’re carnivorous, I usually just think about owls docilely perched in a tree. Of course, they kill all manner of creatures, crushing them with tank like force. It’s a big reminder that not all cute animals are so cute and cuddly.
Now let’s be honest, one of the most fun things about camping is camp food. Shawn did a lot of preparation for our trip and even found us vintage Girl Scout and Boy Scout utensil kits. He also got us some LunchSkins for sandwiches on our first day. Another little treat was getting a camp stove toaster. We cooked all out meals on this little table that Shawn made. The legs are detachable, so it can pack flat.
Random fun thing from this trip: we took part in a travel study. A park volunteer handed over a few gps units which we toted around with us and returned when we left the park. Not sure what they’ll be used for, but I thought it was fun nonetheless.
We made lots of s’mores. It’s always a struggle to find vegan graham crackers but Shawn came up with a superior solution: SPECULOOS COOKIES. Paired with dark chocolate and dandies vegan marshmallows I can easily say they were the most enjoyable s’mores I’ve had to date.
I have wanted to go camping in the sequoias for years and this weekend Shawn and I finally made the trek up north. To say it is a magical place is an understatement. It is sincerely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Being in the presence of massive trees that have been living for centuries had a great effect on me, especially seeing the destruction humans have caused. I’m thankful that at least the trees within the national park are protected and that conservation efforts continue.
Beyond that, it was really nice to get out into nature and camp for the weekend. Sometimes it’s a great relief to be totally self sufficient and without cell phone service. I loved being surrounded by little creatures and birds all weekend. I even spotted a flying squirrel in a tree above our campsite one night. We cooked some delicious camp meals, did some hiking and really just enjoyed ourselves. I honestly can’t wait to go back. It really solidified for me how important it is to be able spend more time in nature; it makes me feel like a more complete human being.
I’ll have some more to share later in the week, but for now, check out one of the largest trees on the planet.
Here are a few more shots from out Salton Sea camping trip a few months ago (here is part one). Summer is sliding away and though the weather will surely stay warm into September, we’ve been spending as much time outdoors as possible, savoring these longer days. We’re planning another camping trip for the end of summer and I couldn’t be more excited.
Shawn and I have been hiking a lot more, trying to balance all our movie watching with some activity. So far it’s been really great. It’s nice to wake up my muscles which have been on an extended vacation it seems. It doesn’t feel like exercise though, since it’s fairly relaxing. Oddly enough, I find that I’ve been having much more vivid, and often scary, dreams since we started. Perhaps I’m just sleeping deeper?
Last night we saw a pack of coyotes on the trail. They were far away enough that it wasn’t frightening, but it’s nice to be reminded that there are still a few wild things in this city.