Monday, October 29, 2012

Salt Lake City

After spending ALL day in the car yesterday, we arrived to a campground just outside of Salt Lake City late late at night, tired and glad to have finally arrived. To our dismay the gates at the entrance of the island (we were actually camping on "Antelope Island") were closed for the night- something the lady we had spoken to on the phone earlier that day about our reservation had apparently forgotten to mention- leaving us sitting in our car with blank stares on our faces and no energy to come up with another plan! Taylor looked around the entrance but could not find any information or instruction for such a situation and just as he was getting back into the car, the Berglin side of me (any of you who know my mother will understand that one!) suggested trying to lift open the gate and see if we could squeeze in! Well, it worked! The gate lifted right up and our little car safely slipped underneath it! I share this with the hope that none of our readers are Park Rangers or National Park/Forest employees, but if there are any who ever come across this blog, I promise we are not terrible people and we went back to the entrance station first thing the next morning to pay for our stay! Pinky Swear!

The campsites on the island were a welcome sight when we pulled up and we quickly set up our tent and hopped in. Minutes after our heads hit our pillows we jumped at a thunderous sound beating past our tent walls!! People from the surrounding campsites were yelling to one another to look at what was going on! It turned out that there are quite a lot of Bison on this island, and this particular herd had decided that they needed a change of scenery! This sent them running, not walking, just feet next to our tent. They almost had some Motsenbocker Mush on their Bison toes!

Thankfully, we lived through the Bison stampede and went into Salt Lake City for some exploring today. It was a beautiful and warm day and we enjoyed walking around. We took a look at the Mormon Temple and though we could not go in, we enjoyed what there was to see from the outside. Then we popped our heads into the Tabernacle and were just in time to hear a woman practicing the organ. Lovely!



The prettiest mall ever! It was minutes after entering before I realized we were indoors!




The way out to our campsite





Bison seem to love making us wait for them as they shuffle across roads. Very annoying!


Lake Tahoe---Almost!

We sadly said goodbye to our friends for a second time on Thursday. Getting to spend a few days with Mike, Jessica and Jonathan was so much fun! It was great for me to get some quality "girl time" with Jessica, during which we tend to cover every topic we can think of and discuss every single emotion both of us have experienced the entire trip! And Taylor loved getting to climb and learn from the guys and talk about all things relating to rock climbing every minute of every day! Haha. Which is why you can understand that leaving them is a bit difficult :( But away we went, with plans to head to Lake Tahoe for the night.

We enjoyed our drive toward Tahoe but our anxieties quickly rose as soon as we were about an hour away from our destination and were surrounded by snow! Yes, we survived camping in the snow before, but that didn't mean that we wanted to do it again!! Taylor was on the phone with his cousin, Kyle, while we were making worried looks at one another and took the chance of asking him if he wouldn't mind putting us up for the night. Thankfully, Kyle is awesome and said YES with no hesitation, so we turned the car right around and drove 2 hours back toward Sacramento! It turned out the be a wonderful evening at Kyle's house with lots of catching up and getting to know one another (it was my first time meeting him). He even had a home cooked meal ready and waiting for us when we walked in-- Thank you Jesus!!!-- and had a guest bedroom for us to crash in! It was amazing! Sometimes the spontaneity that a road trip requires works out for the better!

With our camping plans at Lake Tahoe ruined by the snow, we were forced to quickly run through the town instead on our way to Salt Lake City; some speed-sight seeing if you will! It was absolutely beautiful and boy, is that lake clear!! I have always heard it is amazing how far down you can see through the clear water but it is pretty stunning to see with your own eyes! We had a little lunch at Taylor's Uncle Karl's restuarant, Rosie's Cafe, and got right back into the car to continue our l-o-n-g day of driving to Salt Lake City!








Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Cold Day for Climbing

After spending the entire day in the lodge yesterday due to the rain, we all woke up this morning determined to do something a little more active with our time! Though the day started off very cold and dreary again, the rain at least seemed to be holding off for a while which gave us some encouragement! We decided to hike around a bit and maybe see what we could see over at "El Cap". El Cap, or El Capitan, is a definite hot spot for climbers as well as sight seers in Yosemite. It is approximately 3,000ft tall and offers some of the most amazing and challenging climbing routes in the world!

Taylor, Mike and Jonathan enjoyed a few climbs on the nose of El Cap where Taylor enjoyed practicing placing protection into the cracks. He has so much enjoyed getting to spend time with these guys (and Jessica too, of course!) and has already learned a ton of valuable information and skill from them about climbing!

Also, I just have to throw this in there because I was SO excited and embarrassingly star-struck, but yesterday when we were in the lodge here at Curry Village, who walked right in but Alex Honnold himself!! Taylor was the one to notice him and all of the experienced and knowledgable rock climbers at my table seemed relatively unfazed, while me, the non-rockclimber, quietly freaked out with excitement at our celeb sighting!! We didn't get to talk to him or anything, but it was at least neat to see him! Now I guess I can add him to my list of celeb run-ins, right next to Richard Simmons!



Monday, October 22, 2012

Beautiful Yosemite

We arrived at Yosemite yesterday just in time to enjoy some sunshine and rock climbing with our friends Mike and Jessica and their buddy, Jonathan! It has been great to be reunited with them and is certainly great timing to have some extra friends to enjoy time with, as the rain has set in today and seems to be sticking with us for the next few days.

We came into the area at a great time though; we are all staying at "Camp 4", which is known as the rock climbers camp ground and is almost always filled to the brim with climbers from all over the world. In order to get a site the normal habit is to sleep out in line all night in hopes of reserving a site as early as 5am, or whenever a Ranger decides to open up the booth. This is what Mike, Jessica, and Jonathan all had to do, and said that they were lucky to even get in! Which is why we were very lucky to arrive to a relatively cleared out camp as most people were leaving either because it was a Sunday or because of the impending rain. We got a site with no problem, and were even able to request one right next to our friends! Even though the place is much emptier than normal, it is still amazing to see--tents of every shape and size are sprinkled everywhere you look! It is like a camping shanty town of sorts! We keep joking that this must be the best way to do some tent shopping if anyone is in the market for a new tent. There are rock climbers from all over the world who stay here for weeks on end to enjoy the climbing season that Yosemite is so famous for. Mike and Jessica said that they even saw Alex Honald the other day (who, for those of us who aren't well educated in the rock climbing world, is a very famous Free Climber, which means who does enormous climbs with absolutely no gear or ropes or anything)!!

With the rain coming down harder and harder, rock climbing didn't look like it was possible for the day, so instead the five of us came to Curry Village (with what feels like everyone else from our campsite!) for the afternoon to enjoy some free wifi and hot coffee!

Come back sun!

Sequoia National Forest

Our first night back in our little tent home was in Sequoia National Forest. It was neat to see the beautiful huge trees of this park and compare them to the ones that we visited in the Redwood Forest; definitely different but powerful all the same. We walked to one of the largest trees in the area called the General Grant, snapped a quick picture, and headed over to Hume Lake Christian Camp, a wonderful place where Taylor spent a summer working and has remembered very fondly ever since! It was neat to see such an important place to him (a place that I have heard countless stories about over the years!!) and even cooler was our special find of a "chair" that he had made from a tree stump and a chain saw during his time on summer staff! He couldn't believe that it was still there (6 years later) and though it was broken he took much pride that it had made it through the years!

We ended up at a site called "Convict Trail" (yikes!) which was free and comfortable and, as we came to find late at night, filled with lots of animals! We still are not quite sure what it was that kept coming to visit our tent, but something was shuffling around and snapping branches all night long!! Taylor chose to believe that it was just a squirrel or something, but I am of the mindset that we had a bear on our hands! Either way, we survived the night and left in the morning for Yosemite to meet up with our travel buddies, Mike and Jessica!!

Guess we needed a little more than the 10sec timer on this one...
Broken but still there!

San Franciso!

We spent the day today enjoying some of the fun places that San Francisco has to offer with the Littles and Evan. Our day started with some breakfast at a trendy little place in Haight Ashbury, followed by some time in Fisherman's Warf. The guys found a neat antique arcade where they enjoyed all kinds of old fashioned games (that counted as Andrew's "pick"). Then we hit the Boudin Sourdough Bakery (Taylor's pick), where Taylor got his fix of some delicious sourdough bread (he ate almost an entire loaf on his own!) After that Evan got his pick by taking us to an area in Fisherman's Warf where all kinds of seafood stands are lined up with yummy take out options. Evan, Gwen and Andrew enjoyed some fresh seafood while Taylor considered buying even more sourdough! From there it was Gwen's turn, and she made the wise choice of picking the Ghirardelli Square; an enormous Ghirardelli with multiple shops and lots of samples :) Unfortunately we ended up with an odd amount of samples, which led us with no other option than to have Taylor and Andrew arm wrestle for it. Andrew won! Next was my turn, so I headed straight for the sea lions on Pier 39! For whatever reason, tons of seal lions hang out each year at this pier and are hilarious to watch as they bark and growl over their jam-packed sleeping spaces. Very cute!

After all of our walking around we were all ready for a little something to tide us over until dinner, so we headed to an interesting little spot that was half Indian restuarant and half Irish Pub. Hmmmm. It was cool in a really weird way, and we at least had fun in our confusion together.

Our last stop of the day was dinner at a Thai restuarant. YUM! The food was delicious and SO spicy, but a definite treat to end our awesome day with our best friends in San Fran! We will miss these guys as we continue on in our travels!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Napa Valley and Good Friends

Meeting up with Gwen, Andrew and Evan has been a breath of fresh air! Don't get me wrong, Taylor and I are loving our time together and have been having a blast, but spending some time with good friends has been wonderful! Our sides are sore from all of the laughing already, and our time with them has only just begun!

We started off our Napa time by visiting the Robert Mondavi Vineyard, where the guys went on a long tour and tasting and us girls hung out in part of the vineyard under the trees. It was a lovely afternoon with clear blue skies and temps in the 80s, so being outdoors was just what we needed! After that, we stopped at another winery called Rutherford Ranch where we did a little more tasting (even I, the wine hater, joined in!) and had a delicious picnic under an olive grove. A perfect time in the beautiful Napa Valley!

From there we headed toward Sun Francisco, where we get one more night with our buds and then it's back to the wilderness for us!