It’s no secret: if you want to see a showcase of the most beautiful terrain that our country has to offer, you can’t do much better than pointing yourself toward a National Park. Often overlooked for the more well known Yosemite National Park, Seqouia and Kings Canyon National Park is the other reserve set up to showcase the beautiful Sierra Nevadas of California. You enter the park north of Bakersfield, as you drive through the town of Three Rivers which is strung along the North Fork of the Kaweah river.
Do you believe in ghosts? Can’t say I do, but I can tell you that a ghost tour is an awesome way to learn about history. When you go on a ghost tour, you aren’t presented with dry facts that you could stare at on Wikipedia. You get tales full of colorful details, presented with theatrics and a certain ambiance that a typical history tour, book or website just can’t deliver . There’s nothing like a chilling story to help your eyes peal back the onion of modern development and imagine the history that 150 year old buildings have seen.
Southern California isn’t a place you’d associate with skiing, especially this winter. The dry and warm winter we’ve been experiencing leaves hitting the slopes far from the mind – so most people are surprised when I tell them that Kendall and I have been taking several day trips to ski just two hours drive from San Diego. Southern California isn’t typically known for much else than beaches, so few know that SoCal actually plays host to serious mountains.
This year, Joe and I headed back from my home in Flagstaff, Arizona to attend his company’s holiday party. It was held in the ritzy Grand Hyatt right in the Gaslamp section of downtown San Diego. A few years ago, Joe and I had a habit of grabbing dessert at nearby Extraordinary Desserts and walking to the Hyatt to see the view from the top of the tower. It is truly spectacular; forty-one floors up you can view the San Diego bay and Coronado bridge from one side while looking into the Padres stadium from the other. Suffice it to say, a better location could not have been chosen for this holiday party.
This year, we found ourselves in Santa Fe, NM for Christmas, along with my family and relatives. While there were many typical Christmas highlights (learning the card-slapping game of Squeek, working on skiing with Kendall, etc.), a particularly exciting thing about Christmas in Santa Fe is the city’s tradition with Farolitos (known elsewhere as Luminarias). All over the city, but especially in the downtown and Canyon Road area, sidewalks and buildings are lined with the softly glowing brown bags on Christmas Eve. After nightfall, a huge chunk of the city gathers to walk the streets of downtown and Canyon Road to enjoy the lights together amongst friends and family, warm drinks, and many bonfires arranged down the streets. Even with the snow-less buildings and trees and temperatures in the teens, this years walk was a great one as always.
When you think of Christmas, you probably picture snow-covered pine trees, a crackling fire, and brisk winter air. Fun Christmas activities might include ice skating, sledding, skiing and/or snowboarding, and perhaps even a sleigh ride. As I grew up in a small ski town, this is certainly what I picture when I think of Christmas. Needless to say, most of these activities are unavailable in actual San Diego city limits – although we might consider the 60-degree nights “brisk winter air.” Fortunately, San Diego offers a wide array of Christmas activities to put you in the Christmas spirit; some of which are unique to San Diego! Read on to know what the “must-do’s” in San Diego for Christmas are.
Early fall brings a few things to San Diego. One of these is usually a heat wave. You’d think early October in San Diego would be a time for cooling temperatures after the beach crowds have left, but that never seems to be the case. I’ve moved into new dorms/rooms/condos in San Diego around this time of year 4 times since I’ve been here. All but one of these were accessed by stairs, so suffice to say I’ve grown to despise this early fall heat wave. Despite the blistering temperatures, myself and what seems like 3/4ths of San Diego brave the temperatures to stand on the blistering tarmac at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and catch their yearly October air show – the largest military air show in the U.S. After a hiatus due to the government shutdown last year, we ventured back to the air show with Kendall’s family last month.
One of my favorite weekend activities, when I am in town, is going to oceanfront yoga at the end of Law Street in Pacific Beach. I can walk there in ten minutes, but I used to drive to the class before I lived in Pacific Beach – so don’t let living elsewhere be your excuse.
Here are ten reasons to go to Oceanfront yoga:
I am pretty old-fashioned when it comes to my sports. I spent many of my weekends in middle and high school walking through the woods and burning logs at night, which humans have done for millennia but has only recently become known as the sport of “backpacking”. Skiing is old too – we’ve only been recently using it in a way that involves blasting carved turns down a groomed slope at sixty miles an hour and resting in cozy lodges between runs, but people have strapped long sticks to their feet to navigate snow since the dawn of time. I do have one sport which definitely bucks this trend.
By now, you’re all aware of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that’s been all over your social media accounts, television screens, etc. for the last week or two. The other day, I received a challenge from my cousin Cameron. I knew I had to accept, but I wasn’t up for the typical challenge. This being Optimizing Adventure, I decided to answer the following questions:
- How can I make the Ice Bucket Challenge more Adventerous?
- Where would I most like to get a bucket of ice dumped on my head?
Click through to see the answers and my Ice Bucket Challenge video! If you like it, consider making a donation if you haven’t already.