Fossil Creek, AZ

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On the tail end of a recent trip out to Flagstaff, Kendall’s sister invited us along to the new hot spot near Flagstaff for getting out of the summer heat. While it is a long and rough dirt road in, you are rewarded with a surprisingly large amount of water and beautiful hiking and rock formations as you walk along the creek. The centerpiece of the trip is the waterfall and swimming hole, which is slightly over a miles’ hike from the closest parking lot (there are several, so keep driving until the road ends if you’re heading to the falls). Of course, we took the GoPro out to film the action – click through to see some highlights from the trip.

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Cedar Creek Falls – Hike or Death March?

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A few years ago, Joe and I spent our first weekend away together in Julian, CA. He planned the entire trip and made it a surprise, even though my curious mind begged him for details. His gave me one hint: apple. I would easily be able to guess the destination given that hint now, but at the time I had not been in San Diego long and had yet to hear of Julian. I was therefore surprised and didn’t know what to expect from the weekend once we arrived. Unwisely, the first thing Joe had on the agenda was the Cedar Creek Falls hike. The temperature was approaching one hundred when we descended into the canyon toward the waterfall. I was impressed by the mountains around us as we walked, and was not expecting a waterfall even though Joe had told me to wear my swimsuit. The water was extremely cold, but it felt great after the hot three miles down. I thought this weekend is going to be awesome. Then we had to go back up.

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Weekend Trip to Julian

Yup, summer weekend trip season is still in full swing around here at Optimizing Adventure. After a relaxing and luxurious (for us) trip to Palm Springs, we were ready to rough it a little more and be active – more of our usual style. Our destination: Julian, the small mountain town a little over an hour’s drive from San Diego. Originally a mining town, Julian is now a fairly sleepy local’s getaway (you’ll run into mostly fellow San Diegans) famous for its Apple Pie. It should be at the top of anyone’s list looking for a SoCal weekend getaway, as there’s something for everyone: foodies, art-lovers, outdoors lovers, etc. will all be happy here. We partook in a wide range of the activities that are available in the area, so read on to find out more.

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Weekend Trip to Palm Springs

San Jacinto Scenery

We’re in the thick of travel season. With its long days, warm temperatures, and endless recreational opportunities, we all know summer as the time to get away – so that’s exactly what Kendall and I did this past weekend. The only question was where to escape to. There’s a myriad of SoCal coastal destinations within weekend trip range, but in early summer (and graduation weekend at UC campuses across the state) those options were going to be too crowded and costly. So we dug a little deeper to find a destination.

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San Diego in a Day – Seasoned Edition

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Recently, my dad and brother came through San Diego for a whirlwind trip. They were heading up to the Bay Area in a hurry for Kevin to start his internship, so we attempted to make the most of the one day we had to get out and enjoy San Diego on a typical beautiful May weekend. As they’ve visited me quite a few times since I’ve been living in San Diego, we have to try a bit harder these days to show them new things in San Diego; we couldn’t pull your average Balboa/SeaWorld/La Jolla whirlwind tour. As such, the following would be a good one day itinerary to take your out-of-town guests on that are a little more experienced with San Diego.

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Sounds of Nature?

The Dale Ball Trails in Santa Fe, NM

The Dale Ball Trails in Santa Fe, NM

Dear readers: I’m here today to discuss with you an alarming phenomenon I’ve noticed that is sweeping over trails, open space, and natural areas near all of us. I’m talking, of course, about the plethora of tunes you WILL be inundated to if you choose to go on a popular hiking trail at a remotely close to peak time. While the outdoors used to be a place to keep our personal volumes reasonable so that others could enjoy the absence of the noises of everyday life, it has suddenly (within the last few years) become common practice to blast tunes from smartphone speakers while trecking up the local trail. This is a very disturbing trend, so let’s analyze it in detail.

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Elfin Forest Hike in North County, San Diego

Olivenhain Reservoir as viewed from the Elfin Forest Preserve Lookout

Olivenhain Reservoir as viewed from the Elfin Forest Preserve Lookout

Think of being outdoors in San Diego. You’re thinking of the beach, aren’t you? It is true, San Diego will never escape it’s pop culture image of miles of sun-drenched coastline. This is a bit of a shame actually, because San Diego offers another geographical future unique among big cities – huge amounts of pristine, undeveloped open space. San Diego is comprised of bustling urban sprawl on mesa tops, with surprisingly undeveloped canyons cutting through it all. What this means is that San Diego is home to over 24,000 acres of protected open space in the city limits alone. The area is inundated with more places to hike than you could shake a stick at. Kendall and I have hiked many of these trails, and we decided to add the Way Up trail at Elfin Forest Preserve to the list last weekend. Continue reading