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La Brea Tar Pits: Page Museum

Over the holidays, we made the trek down to Los Angeles to visit family.  As soon as my son heard we were going to LA, he screamed excitedly, “can we go to the La Brea Tar Pits??”  I thought for sure, his first interest would be Legoland, but, luckily for us, he didn’t bring it…

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Yosemite National Park: Government Shutdown

We’re fortunate.  We visit Yosemite National Park four or so times every year.  This past weekend, we went to the park to celebrate our ten-year wedding anniversary.  We stayed at a family cabin in Yosemite West, which is in the park, but technically outside the park.  We were allowed to go to the cabin, but…

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Hike: Mono Pass, Yosemite

This is another hike within Yosemite National Park that we enjoy.  Due to the distance (7.5 miles out-and-back), this is the first time we’ve tried it with our son.  We were afraid it might be a bit long for him, but, since the elevation gain on this hike is relatively mild, we decided to give…

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Organic Strawberry U-Pick: Swanton Berry Farm, Davenport

Gotta love freshly picked organic strawberries!!  And it’s all the more fun when we pick the berries ourselves.  Strawberry picking at Swanton Berry Farm has become a beloved June tradition for us. Interested in going?  The actual picking season (and location) varies slightly each year, so check the Swanton Berry Farm website for current details……

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Hike: Lower Cathedral Lake, Yosemite

It’s official… my son has truly become a hiker!  While in Yosemite over the weekend, we decided to let our kindergartener choose which alpine lake we’d hike to… one that would require a three mile, a five-mile, or a seven-mile round-trip hike.  He excitedly exclaimed, “The seven mile one!”  We gave him a few chances…

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Trail Run: Mirror Lake, Yosemite Valley

After spending the last two months recovering from a calf injury, I jumped back into trail running Saturday with an awesome trail run in Yosemite Valley. It was the perfect run to get me back on the trail, and it felt amazing. I was afraid to try anything too hilly, so I chose the section…

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Explore the Tide Pools, Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz

When the tide is low, head out to the rocky, north end of Natural Bridges State Beach to explore the tide pools.  Look for sea stars, hermit crabs, sea anemones, sea urchins, and more.  So fun! For more information about Natural Bridges State Beach, visit the California State Parks website… http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=541 If you’re here between…

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Monarch Butterfly Nature Preserve, Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz

Within Natural Bridges State Beach, in Santa Cruz, you’ll find the Monarch Butterfly Nature Preserve, a grove of eucalyptus trees where thousands of Monarch Butterflies spend the winter each year.  The butterflies may be viewed by taking a short 0.75 mile Monarch Trail loop through the Preserve, or by simply taking the short, wheel-chair accessible…

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Devils Postpile National Monument

If you’re ever in the Eastern Sierras near Mammoth Lakes, you’ve gotta check out Devils Postpile.  This place is incredible, and unlike anywhere else I’ve visited in California.  The only other place I can personally compare it to is the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland.  Both places have these fascinating basalt hexagonal columns.  You have…

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South Tufa Trail, Mono Lake

On Friday, during our trip to the Eastern Sierras, we enjoyed a hike on the South Tufa Trail at Mono Lake, California.  This is a short, flat 1-2 mile trail, perfect for kids, with a lot to see…. fun limestone rock formations, a salt-water lake, views of the Sierra Nevada mountains to the west, ancient…

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Butterfly, The Fen, Yosemite Valley

Quite a few of these beautiful butterflies were fluttering around “The Fen” in Yosemite Valley on Saturday morning. Haven’t heard of “The Fen”?  It’s one of my favorite little spots in Yosemite Valley.  It’s a short boardwalk trail through a marsh.  If you follow the trail from the Happy Isles shuttle stop to the Nature…

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Fall Foliage, Rock Creek, California

Each year, for our anniversary, my husband and I celebrate with a little trip to Yosemite and/or the Eastern Sierras.  One of the things we hope to see each year is the fall foliage.  Sometimes we’re lucky, sometimes we’re not.  This year, the display was stunning!  Late last week, the colors were amazing up and…