Happy 100th, National Parks!

100 years of the National Park Service! The Parks service has been around 100 years today, but the first National Park [Yellowstone] was actually established in 1871! So thankful that such beautiful places can be preserved & that we are able to visit them. I thought I'd share some photos from the nine national parks & monuments that I've been able to visit in the past year since getting my own annual National Parks pass! Hopefully one day I will be able to say that I've experienced all 59 of the National Parks :)








Mt Baldy Ski Lifts

Mount Baldy is one of my favorite spots near where we live, because it's a cute little mountain town and only a one hour drive away from Long Beach! Soo nice. We've been up a couple times for hiking, but had never taken the ski lifts to the top before. I bought a living social deal for the lifts + lunch at the lodge at the top, so one Saturday morning this past spring we decided to head up there and try it out! No dogs allowed on the lifts, so we had to leave Lily at home. We decided to do the San Antonio Falls hike before taking the lifts up, we wanted to do it before rather than after so it wouldn't be too crowded when we went. The trails fall is pretty short & not difficult, so the trail can get a little crowded. We got lucky and only ran into two other people on the trail and had the falls to ourself! It's so pretty up there in the springtime, definitely the best time to go.

Life above the clouds, not so bad.

The ride up to the lifts was great, the scenery was nice, it always feels so good to be up in the mountains. Just a heads up, depending on the time of year don't be fooled by the temperatures down in town, because it got cold and windy once we got closer to the top!! I was glad to have hoodie & leather jacket on. Also, be prepared for lodge food true to form from the Notch restaurant! We ordered the chili fries & pastrami sandwich, greasy goodness!!
As always thank you Mt Baldy for the good times away from the beach & city, can't get enough of those times. If you live in the area and haven't been up yet, I recommend giving it a visit!

Snow was scarce :(

10 Things.

Happy weekend! Summer is truly here in Southern California, with the temperatures getting up into the 90s finally. I have mixed feelings about it, and am already longing for winter again, especially after our recent trip to Alaska! (Where I took the photo above). But really, sometimes a nice swim in the ocean on a hot summer day is pretty great. Anyway. Here are 10 recent links I've loved:

The North Face Summer Solstice video. All of it.

Spend your money on experiences, not things, an article from Entrepreneur.

Festive Trail Mix from the ever resourceful Fresh Off the Grid blog.

75 Nice but Tiny things you can do to brighten someone’s day.

Huckberry has found the 17 Best Hot Springs in the US.

The Most Beautiful Building in Every State. My favorites were California, Connecticut and Maryland.

Photos of Fern Canyon from National Geographic. Really want to make it to this place someday.

Brass Plant Mobile DIY by Natalie Joy. I love these! And this pressed flower wall art DIY too, so many crafts.

How to travel with a group of friends. Because it can be a really good time if you do it right!

For the love of Yurts. What a cool guy!

The cutest ceramic mug from India. Ceramics are my jam.

Guide to the Grand Canyon. Too bad I just went, but saving these tips for my next trip sans dog!

TRAVEL: Colorado National Monument

My fourth time using my National Parks pass since buying an annual pass in November last year! Colorado National Monument, located in between Fruita and Grand Junction in Western Colorado. I had never even heard of this park until seeing another photographer post a photo from it, and was so excited to finally have a chance to go. The drive connects through to Grand Junction from Fruita if you're coming from Utah, which made for a nice little scenic detour. I got there a a couple hours before sunset on a cloudy day, the clouds made it even prettier (I'm a fan of cloudy days). We saw a herd of bighorn sheep, and a lot of beautiful rock formations. I didn't get to do any hikes since I had my dog with me, but the drive and all the scenic viewpoints are rewarding enough! If you're ever making the drive past Grand Junction, I definitely recommend taking Rim Rock Drive through the park!

The park and campground within are open year-round, the road can get icy in the winter though!
Rim Rock Drive is 23 miles long, allow for at least one hour to complete the drive.
The visitors center at the top of the park is open 9am-5pm.
Entry is $10 or free with your annual parks pass.
Dogs are allowed, but not on the trails.
19 viewpoints and 14 hiking trails.

Lily waiting for me to take photos.