Days 15-16 – Utah

After a long trip, we skipped the plans to hike Joshua Tree National Park, and instead drove through Las Vegas to Utah to stay with Sara and Kevin in Hurricane.


They saved us from a few more nights of camping, which wasn’t too appealing at the end of the trip. We spent our one full day at Sand Hollow State Park on our rented jet skis and kayaks, even tipping one over for so long that it wouldn’t start.  The 100 degrees wasn’t so hot in the shade and water. But later, four wheeling on the sand dunes, it was very hot.


On the lake

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Jumping into the lake (and watching)

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Over the sand dunes

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On Saturday, June 17, we hiked Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park on 9 hour drive home.

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Days 9-14 – San Diego

This was our best place to stay by far, an Airbnb in Pacific Beach. Great location withpb  lots to walk to, snacks waiting for us after our long drive, and plenty of space for the 5 of us. We were there June 10-15, and had a lot of down time walking around, seeing the ocean. Most days started with late morning trips for coffee and smoothies, without much scheduled for the week.

Highlights from our week in Pacific Beach:

Seeing Aunt Donna and Uncle Julio in Chula VistaIMG_0416 (1)

Meeting cousins Victor and Gail for dinner

Maile, Anni and I trying to surf at Toumaline Surfing Park. Would love to return and try this again!

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4 mile run along the water

Day 8 – Los Angeles

We had one night of camping reserved at Carpintiera State Beach, north of Los Angeles, and had the day to get there. But our planned drive down Pacific Coast Highway through Big Sur had to be changed due to the road closures from the landslides. It was the season of extreme weather in northern California this winter and spring.

Camping on the beach was incredible, arriving just in time for the sunset. It was Friday night close to the city though, which meant wall to wall tents. After one night of camping, we squeezed a lot into our one day in Los Angeles before heading south to San Diego:

  • Walking around in Hollywood
  • Griffith Observatory, with a failed attempt at hiking to the Hollywood sign (ran out of time!)
  • Maile spent the day at a friend she met online last year (never in person before), going to her house and school in Rancho Palos Verdes
  • Meeting Adam and Sandy for dinner


Days 4-7 – San Francisco

Our Airbnb apartment in The Castro was perfect (and affordable) for the 5 of us, with a 4th bed under the stairs. We woke up there on Monday, and stayed until Friday.

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It was a busy week!

Photos from Berkeley

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We didn’t make it to the Summer of Love exhibit in the museum, but watching it on PBS was good enough. On the way to Los Angeles, we toured Stanford and had lunch in Gilroy, home of the Gilroy Garlic Festival (that we must go to someday!).

Day 1-3 – Denver – Arches – Yosemite – San Francisco

We left on Friday, June 2, 2017. It was a 10 hour drive on our first day, including the mini-van rental pickup at Eagle County Airport. We stopped at Arches National Park and did the 3 miles hike to Delicate Arch.

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We camped near Great Basin National Park, just over the Utah border in Nevada.


The next morning, we did the Lehman Cave Tour and carried on through the sights of rural Nevada.

That night, we made it to our campsite outside Yosemite National Park, after stopping in Lake Tahoe for dinner. The much quicker driving route through Lee Vining over Tioga Pass was closed at this time. Typically, the snow gets plowed in June and might have opened in time for us, but this was a record season of snowfall in California, with major flooding and dam breaks. In planning, we had to look at the historical opening dates to make our best guess, but estimates were for July Later, we found the June 29 ended up being the opening date.


On Day 3, June 4, we were able to see and hike Yosemite National Park, which was incredible. I can see how its worth a week here, with so many trails and waterfalls, and we made the most of our one day. The falls were booming on the Mist Trail, so much that we were too wet and cold to make it to the top.

It was a scenic drive through northern California from Yosemite to our Airbnb in San Francisco. We arrived there on Monday, June 5. Little did we know, two days later, first free solo climb of El Capitan would happen there.

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