Backpacking the Rubicon Trail in Desolation Wilderness

Details: Rubicon – Desolation Wilderness, South Tahoe

Length: 20 miles

Trip Motto: “I do love a good lake swim!”

View on the way to our campsite

Long Labor Day Weekend Backpacking Itinerary:

This Labor Day weekend, we took an extra day and backpacked to Rubicon in Desolation Wilderness, South Tahoe. And it was delightful. I love September holidays in south lake Tahoe, because northern California often has an Indian summer, meaning long, balmy days bathed in golden light.

Now, we did not like our original destination at all. The area was very open, and there were people camped on all sides of us, so very little privacy. The water was murky and muddy, and we just were not feeling the vibe at all. We were pretty exhausted from hiking almost ten miles, and then a few more searching for another quieter campsite on the other side of the lake: spoiler alert, we didn’t like the other side any better! So, we set up our tent, went for a rather muddy swim, and made a plan for the next day.

Feels like we’re camping during the apocalypse

Now, this backpacking trip was a little strange because of the wildfires in Santa Cruz and Fremont. The air quality when we left Oakland was pretty normal. The air become more smoky as we reached Tahoe. The grey skies, eerie pale yellow glow and bright fushia sun over the mountains felt like something out of Mad Max: Fury Road.

Fuchsia sunrise

The next morning we woke early, and set out for another lake on the map, Fox Lake. On our way there we found the most beautiful, totally secluded alpine lake surrounded by granite and sweeping, epic views. We immediately went back, grabbed our backpacks, took down the tent and set off for our lake.

Ahhhh, insert angels singing

We had a wonderful weekend swimming at our secluded lake, sipping coffee and sampling PB Chocolate protein bars while taking in the sweeping views, lounging and enjoying the balmy weather and reading. It was soul restoring. Brad found a rope swing and had a great time with that, but I had visions of not letting go in time, or flopping into the water a weird way and tweaking something.

Couldn’t resist having our morning coffee here for those views

We had a bit of a weather change during our last day, the wind picking up like crazy during our hike back and we returned to the car and an almost empty trailhead. After we returned home, we found out that more wildfires had started and they were evacuating our area – Loon Lake and Rubicon Trailhead! We had an amazing trip and felt very safe, we even saw other hikers on their way up the mountain as we were leaving. It sounds like new fires and a change in the weather caused the evacuations, but it was still pretty alarming.

Just some lake lounging!
Found a spot we like!!! SECLUDED AF

We had a bit of a weather change during our last day, the wind picking up like crazy during our hike back and we returned to the car and an almost empty trailhead. After we returned home, we found out that more wildfires had started and they were evacuating our area – Loon Lake and Rubicon Trailhead! We had an amazing trip and felt very safe, we even saw other hikers on their way up the mountain as we were leaving. It sounds like new fires and a change in the weather caused the evacuations, but it was still pretty alarming.

Up next on the blog: An epic ten days road trip camping through Utah!

A Beautiful Beach Backpacking Trip in Point Reyes

Exactly one year ago last September, we went on a backpacking trip to Coast Camp in Point Reyes as part of our anniversary celebrations. We were hoping to go again this year, but the area is closed due to COVID-19 and fire damage (I know, dark days in California). In celebration of this beautiful hike, here are a few highlights:

Beach Backpacking - Point Reyes, CA

Exploring the beach in Point Reyes, CA
Catch & release of course!

Beach backpacking - Point Reyes, CA
Beautiful skies, beautiful beach

Exploring the beach - Point Reyes, CA

We had the beach pretty much to ourselves, and spent the day exploring the coast line,  enjoying the wildlife, picnicking and sipping champagne (yeah, the hike is so easy we carried in a bottle of bubbles and put it in our water pouch for easy sipping – #winningatadulting).

Beach - Point Reyes, CATidepool, Point Reyes, CA

We had breakfast the next morning on the beach and hung out with playful seals who popped up in front of us in the surf to say hello, flocks of pelicans, coyotes and a family of beach deer who came down to the sand to graze and play! I didn’t even know deer liked the beach!

Breakfast Time! Point Reyes, Coast Camp
Breakfast time! Hot coffee, blueberry muffins and that view!

Coyote! Coast Camp, Point Reyes, CA
Can you spot the coyote?

The hike is easy peasy – a two mile flat stretch in and out. It is minimum input and maximum payoff considering the proximity to the beautiful beach and sweeping views. We stayed at Coast Camp, a five minute walk from the beach. We loved hearing the waves from our campsite, spotting deer and coyote, and watching the fog roll in during the evening.

Getting ready to hike! Point Reyes, CA
Check out my shirt – gift from Brad. Reads: Sloth Hiking Team – We’ll Get There When We Get There:D

Backpacking - Point Reyes, CA

Hiking trails, Point Reyes, CA
This is the route back. Can you see the coyote in the distance? This little guy trotted in front of us for a long while. They are so curious!

Fawn spotting - Coast Camp, Point Reyes CA
Hello, lovely!

It was a beautiful, relaxing, soul restoring trip. I always feel rejuvenated after a trip to the seaside – don’t you? We hope to return in the future, when the world has become less apoplectic. We love Point Reyes. September was a fantastic time to camp, because the weather was still lovely, but there were very few people. We went up on a Sunday and returned Monday. This can be done as a day trip as well.

Next up in hiking and camping – Rubicon, South Tahoe!

Backpacking to Ten Lakes in Yosemite

Details: Ten Lakes Via White Wolf, Yosemite

Trail Head At: Ten Lakes 

Length: 16 Miles 

Running Motto for the Trip: “I do love this granite” said by Brad, about a dozen times 😀

Note: This is a fairly high elevation, and we were dragging ass right from the beginning.

Ten Lakes via White Wolf Hike Itinerary:

We left work early on Friday to try and get a jump on the traffic up to Yosemite. It still took about four hours. I really think that hiking trails have been more crowded than usual due to Covid-19, because peeps are just desperate for some sort of fresh air and outdoor activity. One quick note, we spent the evening at White Wolf trailhead, and this place has the best restrooms we have come across. They were super clean, warm, and fully stocked with hand sanitizer. Well done rangers!

Grant Lake, Yosemite
Pristine Grant Lake

Golden meadow, White Wolf Yosemite
Golden meadow I’m coming for ya!

Wildflowers, White Wolf Yosemite

This was a beautiful hike. We particularly loved the sweeping views of the turquoise high sierra lakes, the wildlife, our campsite on a granite plateau overlooking the valley and the magical sunsets.

White Wolf, Yosemite! Brad and Brie
Second Yosemite Trip of the Year!

Ten Lakes Yosemite - Epic Views
Break time to take in the views of Ten Lakes!

Epic Views - White Wolf Yosemite

A Gorgeous Campsite and a  Magenta Sunset

We saw quite a few people at Ten Lakes, so we decided to branch off and find one of the smaller lakes in the hopes of finding a secluded campsite. On our way, we saw the cutest like marmoset sunning on a rock then playfully scrambing from rock to rock, following us along our hike. We also saw a stag amongst the pines, who wasn’t at all alarmed to see us, which I love. We originally set up our tent overlooking Grant Lake, but then found this beautiful plateau and had to set up camp here, knowing it would boast some unbelievable sunsets. Other bonuses of the plateau – very easy to set up your tent, and easy to walk on. Especially if you take off your shoes.

Campsite - Grant Lake Yosemite
Our beautiful campsite


We picked a prime spot on our rock outcropping, had our coffee and Kahluas ready, breathed in the steam and took in the sunset as the colors changed from peach to magenta, to scarlet.

Sunset - Grant Lake Yosemite
Can’t beat a mountain sunset

Sunset - Grant Lake YosemiteSunset - Grant Lake Yosemite

View from our Tent - White Wolf Yosemite
View from our tent ❤



During the hike back Brad spied this beautiful doe, nestled underneath a hedge. She wasn’t bothered by us all – just lifted her gorgeous head, stared at us with her golden orb eyes and continued lounging. Moments like this while hiking feel like such a fairy tale, they always make me feel like a Disney princess swanning about in the woods.

Doe - White Wolf Yosemite
Can you spot the doe? This beauty was lounging underneath the hedge 😀

Double Lakes - White Wolf Yosemite

What I read: What kind of books do you take on vacation? While backpacking I tend to go for fantasies shock full of action or twisty-turny mysteries. This trip I read Red Sister and The Twisted Ones. This one is a bit of a slow burn. Red Sister is a fantasy about a secret sect of warrior nuns who run a school to educate young girls about the fine arts of assassination – you guys, I know, and a fierce little girl who finds herself the school’s most promising pupil. The Twisted Ones is a genre-bender – it’s a comedy/folk horror about a gal and her dog who must clear out their crotchety/hoarder grandmother’s home after she has passed away and find some very weird sh*t along the way.

Travel ensemble: I realized I have a go to ensemble when backpacking. The first day I usually wear a pair of black exercise pants, my bright pink “Team Sloth” t shirt – it’s a sloth hiking in the mountains that says “We’ll get there when we get there,” and a baseball cap. What do you like to wear when camping?

Next up on the blog – Backpacking Rubicon in South Tahoe for Labor Day.

Backpacking to Kennedy Meadows – Stanislaus National Forest

Details: Kennedy Meadows – Stanislaus National Forest

Trail Head At: Kennedy Meadow’s Trailhead Parking Lot

Length: 15.5

Elevation Gain: 1,991 Feet

Recommendation: Set up camp just before the lake, on the south side of the river. To avoid the foot traffic, we opted to find a campsite on a rushing river overlooking the gorgeous valley, before Kennedy Lake. If you want to hike to Kennedy Lake: stay left around the cabin on the high ground to avoid the bog. Stick to the upper trail ((listen to this sh*t guys!) We did this and we still hit the bog.

Emigrant Wilderness Sign

River and valley - Kennedy MeadowsRiver - Kennedy Meadows

This was a great hike. Idyllic AF, really. Kennedy Meadows opens up into a lush  sweeping valley, filled with crystal clear rivers. It felt like we were camping in a different state – like Colorado or Montana.

Just straight up flopped in the meadow as soon as we arrived

River - Kennedy Meadows Stanislaus

Kennedy Meadows - Sunset
I mean, how magical is this sunset?

This is a horse trail – meaning people can book horse tours and then camp, which has it’s pros and cons. Pros: watching the horses grazing in the valley, slowly swishing their bristly tails was the stuff of dreams. Cons: A ton of horse poop and flies and dust, plus more foot traffic then we like. 

Kennedy Meadows - Brad Trekking

Cabin - Kennedy Meadows
Mountain cabin of dreams


Brad - Kennedy Meadows
Brad just looking so cool and at ease everywhere we go

One less then bright spot: it rained, and we opted not to bring the f**king rain flap. BIG MISTAKE. So, we had to fashion our tent into a tarp and sit underneath it. Brad did a great job of MacGyvering it, (his outdoors skills are on point) but the  idea of sleeping huddled together under that tarp in the cold really bummed me out hard, guys. Luckily, luckily it stopped raining and we had blue skies for the rest of the evening. 

Kennedy Meadow - Brie Celebrating
Me, just watching the sky, celebrating when the clouds finally cleared

The morning was pretty frosty, so we read books, munched on dark PB protein bars, (the Nature Valley extra large ones are my new fav, because they are gluten free),and sipped our hot coffees. We packed up our tent and blasted through the hike. We took a break at this gorgeous spot for some raw nuts, dried cranberries and M&M trail mix and this view 😀

Break time view!

After a little over three hours, we arrived at the car. I somehow wrenched my knee going down the switchbacks and tore up my feet quite a bit so I was THRILLED to reach the car. 

We got home, ate Trader Joe’s pesto veggie pizza topped with extra kalamata olives, sipped chilled Vino Verde and watched White Gold on Netflix. This has rapidly become our go-to meal after hiking. If you haven’t watched White Gold, it’s about a cocky double glazing window salesmen in Essex in the 80s. Ed Westwick or Chuck Bass, from Gossip Girl fame is in the titular role. He was a complete rogue, charming as hell and great fun. Turns out, when he gets to do a role with his normal accent, he’s bloody brilliant!

bbc two dancing GIF by BBC
Opening scene. Wish I was this happy in the morning time! #lifegoals

What I read: I finished up Darkdawn, the third and final book in the Nevernight series, a rip roaring revenge fantasy, about an elite school of assassins in an alternative version of medieval Venice and a woman on an epic quest of vengeance. Fantastic finale to an explosive trilogy.

Note: This hike was quite popular. I do think backpacking trails are more crowded this year, because peeps just don’t have many other options for activities and are desperate to get outside. We found a site we loved, and around twilight as we were stretched out lounging in the meadow reading books, I noticed some dude stomping around in the tall grass  who proceeded to set up a tent within sight of our campsite. Now there isn’t really much etiquette towards other backpackers when camping  to follow, but a pretty major one is to keep your distance!  If you put in 7 + miles of hard hiking to make it to the backcountry, you’ve earned some effing solitude. It was ridiculous. Alright – rant over.

cecily strong snl GIF

Kennedy Meadows - Sunset

Next up on the blog: Backpacking White Wolf, Yosemite!

Backpacking Desolation Wilderness – Middle Velma Lake

Perfect Camping Spot

Details: Middle Velma Lake – Desolation Wilderness

Trail Head At: Bayview Trailhead Campground, South Lake Tahoe

Length:  10 Miles

Elevation Gain: 2100 Feet


This was our first time backpacking Desolation Wilderness in South Tahoe and we absolutely loved it! We took a long weekend, hiked to Middle Velma Lake, and were blown away by the alpine lake dotted with fir tree covered islands, sparkling crystal clear waters, our own private swimming cove, and violet sunsets.


We made our first stop at the bright green Granite lake for some water and a little break. We drove up right after work, spent the evening sleeping in our car and woke up bright and early to hit the trail head, because we wanted to make sure and beat any possible crowds. Truthfully, we were pretty exhausted. We didn’t get to the campground until around 9:30pm (partly to blame was the half hour it took in the drive through at InNOut,) so we had enough time to change into our jams and then crashed out. Oddly, BayView Campground doesn’t have any potable water, so we had to fill at Granite Lake.


How are these magenta wild flowers? ❤

Purple Wildflowers at Middle Velma Lakes Trail
Are these mountain bluebells dotting the paths? Welp, that’s my guess!

Our Campsite and own Personal Swimming Cove

We found a gorgeous campsite right on the water’s edge, and had the most wonderful time swimming in the crisp take-your-breath-away refreshing waters, swimming to the little islands, lounging on our rock in the sunshine and reading. We even had a mama duck and her babies share the cove with us, paddling around and leaping out of the water in ridiculous little cute flop movements, propelling themselves out of the water.

Our swimming cove - Middle Velma Lake
Check out our perfect lounge spot!

I don’t know about you, but I have to ease myself into cold waters. For me, this means standing in the water to my waist for about twenty minutes just shaking my head before going in. This trip, we decided to go for a morning swim, and as Brad was bout to dive in I just went for it and jumped. I think the latter is a much better way to go about things. Gives your body less time to acknowledge the frigidity and just feels more adventurous!

Islands at Middle Velma Lake
I love a good lake swim!

Perfect Camping Spot
Perfect Camping Spot

Mosquitoes were a little intense at night, so we just avoided them entirely by getting into our tent for dinner around 7:30pm. We lounged in our tent reading, taking in the woodsy lake view, and munched on veggie korma with salty ramen, and later creamy hot chocolates with trail mix Cliff Bars (my new fav).

I knew the sunsets were going to be spectacular. South Tahoe boasts amazing sunsets and I was really looking forward to this one at our mountain campsite. We were fairly worried about mosquitoes, especially as the sun went down after our massacre at Young Lakes, Yosemite but this was just fine, particularly near the water’s edge where the breeze kept them at bay. We slapped on some Deet and found a perfect spot on a flat rock outcropping to settle. We sipped our steaming coffee and Kahluas, as the sun set deep purple over the undulating lake.



What I read: I read two great books this camping trip! The Guest List –  twisty turny mystery thriller in the vein of Agatha Christie, set during a glamourous wedding on a stormy island off the coast of Ireland. I also read Darkdawn, the third and final book in the Nevernight series, a rip roaring revenge fantasy, about an elite school of assassins and a woman on an epic quest of vengeance.

New purchase: We also absolutely loved our new sleeping pads, the NeoAir XTherm courtesy of my Aunt Bea, as an early anniversary gift. These pads are excellent – they kept us very warm (which, for me, is always a very pressing concern), they were comfy and well padded, and they weigh less then a pound! Great purchase.

Next up on the Hiking Blog – Kennedy Lake, Stanislaus National Forest!

Backpacking Paradise Lake in Tahoe National Forest

Spoiler Alert: I would not recommend taking this trip in early summer!

This weekend we really wanted to fit in a backpacking trip, get some fresh air, clear our minds and just enjoy the beauty of the back country. Many national forests will be opening up next weekend (YES Yosemite!), but most were still closed this weekend. Tahoe National Forest was open and had decent weather so we decided to try our luck. As you’ve probably picked up from some of these blog posts, I am an eternal optimist. Mostly things turn out well. This time, it bit me right in the ass.

Paradise Lakes Mountan Trail
How’s that view? Tahoe you show off 😀

Details: Paradise Lake, Tahoe National Forest

Trail Head At: Paradise Lake Trailhead, parking north side of I-80 at Exit 176

Length: 14.9 Miles

Elevation Gain: 2,582 feet

While the hike was beautiful and sunny, it was also almost completely covered in snow. I figured I’d give it the old college try, but after hiking about four miles and biting it pretty several times, I was done. About half way through the hike, I slipped, twisted my ankle and decided that’s it! I’m calling it! Brad was a total Champ and took some of the heaviest items out of my pack to carry so the return trek would be easier for me.

Paradise Lakes Trail - Covered in Snow

Paradise Lakes Snow Covered Meadow - June

We could have finished hiking to Paradise Lake. since we had a downloaded map we were still able to follow the trail through the snow, but trudging and slipping and falling then trying to recover with those heavy packs is fairly miserable. At least for this gal! Guess I’m just a fair weather camper. John Muir would probably have been quite disappointed in me. We headed home and drove directly to InNOut 😀

So my advice on hiking Paradise Lake: I think it depends on the season and amount of snow fall, but in general terms, for elevation over 7,000 feet in the future I will wait for at least mid summer. This hike was very beautiful though. I think it will have amazing sunsets and swimming in the lake will be super refreshing, so we hope to try this trip again in August!

Brad and Brie Paradise Lake

Next up on the hiking blog – Hetch Hetchy Yosemite!

Camping at California’s Beautiful Samuel P. Taylor

How to Spend a Great Weekend Camping at Samuel P Taylor in Marin

As mentioned in a previous post, Brad and I go camping about six times a year. We like to do a combination of car camping and back packing trips and we try to book places that are within a two hour drive. Samuel P Taylor is one of our go tos,  It’s about an hour drive from Oakland in Marin, which really can’t be beat.  We leave work at 3pm and by sunset we have our tent set up, fire going, and bubbles in hand to toast the upcoming weekend! Our favorite campsite has a creek running through it and is surrounded by towering redwoods. It’s close to gorgeous hiking in Point Reyes, and should you go for the 4th of July (which we often do) it’s close to the Marin County Fair which has fantastic fireworks.

Camping Samuel P Tayor

Best hike: Point Reyes Tule Elk Reserve

Hold the phone guys – there is a sprawling coastal hike that takes you past an elk reserve in Point Reyes. ELK! How did I not know about this before now?!? This 10 mile hike begins at Tomales Point, at the northern end of Point Reyes National Seashore and takes you past sweeping coastal views, blooming wildflowers, the aforementioned heard of elk if you’re lucky, and down to the ocean.

Tip: Bring water, as there are no potable sources of water in the area. Restrooms at the trail head.

Spectacular coastal views, Point Reyes, California
Spectacular coastal views!

Summer Hiking Point ReyesPoint Reyes Coastal Hike

Summer Hike Elk in Point Reyes
Elk sighting! Whooohooo

Hiking Point Reyes in Summer
I call this wildflower trail

Note: If you should experience a rainy day, and it’s quite likely as this is Marin, there is a very cute town about 10 minutes away with a great movie theater. We spent an afternoon watching Aladdin and completely loved it. I love camping, but who wants to sit in the dripping, gloomy rain?

Next up in my camping blog: A long weekend at Big Basin, Santa Cruz.

How To Spend a Perfect Weekend Camping in Henry Cowell

California’s Best Camping

I am a camping, wilderness loving, nature-is-my-heart-song, kind of gal. During the summer, Brad and I go on about six camping trips a year, lately a mixture of car camping and backpacking trips.  One of my all time favorite places to camp is Henry Cowell in the Santa Cruz mountains. We have our favorite, glorious, campsite, and our schedule down pat. We leave work around 3pm, and we have our tent set up, fire going and bubbles in hand (beer for Brad) to toast by sunset.  Summer camping in California is a thing of beauty ❤


Enjoy the jaw dropping, panoramic views.

Set up your camping chairs for maximum visuals, my favorite are the deluxe chairs from Home Depot. I gave these to Brad as a Valentine’s gift, and we have had these babies for about 8 years now. Grab your chilled drink of choice, snacks ( I like to make a deli platter, with cheese, chips and fruit), grab your favorite book and settle down for some intense lounging and soaking in the views.



Hike the Redwood Loop and to The Observation Deck

100% this is the Godswood


Let the campfire mesmerize you


Hike to the Garden of Eden for a swim

This idyllic hike takes you through the towering redwoods, along a train track, (if you’re lucky you will hear the old steam town train through the trees), to a beautiful swimming spot with ice cold, crystal clear water. The hike lasts about half an hour, to the San Lorenzo river and back. Located off Route 9 in the Henry Cowell Redwoods. For an even more secluded spot, continue down the river



Head to the boardwalk!

At least once a season, we head to the Santa Cruz boardwalk for some sand, swimming, and rides. They also have really fun free nigh time concerts on Fridays and Saturdays. The drive is about 20 minutes from the campsite.

Plan your return trip! 😀

More Camping Photos:

Note: I won’t be posting for the next two weeks, because I will be in Costa Rica, (insert haaaapy dance) but expect an epic post about volcanoes and thermal baths in La Fortuna, and wildife galore in the tropical jungle paradise of the Osa Peninsula!

How to Spend a Wonderful Winter Weekend in Lake Tahoe

Oh, how I love Lake Tahoe! Brad and I usually visit a few times a year – once in the summer, once in the winter and if we’re lucky, once in the fall, but I dream about it year round. About a three and a half  hour drive from Oakland, Tahoe is a gorgeous destination for a long weekend. Our favorite place to stay is South Lake Tahoe, at the Lakeshore Lodge and Spa. We love the deck, fireplace, hot tub, pool, and perfect lakefront views. This trip we stayed at The Hard Rock Hotel as a free holiday through the Kars 4 Kids program, so we mainly stayed around Heavenly Village.

Here are some of our favorite things to do for a fabulous winter holiday:

Go for a hike and breathe in the breathtaking views:

Lake Tahoe Hike
Beautiful views, beautiful Tahoe

Hikes are gorgeous and plentiful in Lake Tahoe! We drove straight to Heavenly and chose a trail at Van Sickle National Park. We used the All Trails app.

Hiking Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Hike

Have some lunch at Heavenly Village: we like California Burger Company. Grab a place by the outdoor fire pits, order a happy hour boozy slushie (I highly recommend the Cherry Limeade),  a gourmet burger with onion rings, and if you’re lucky soak up the sun! Enjoy the live music and views of the surrounding snow topped mountains. The bustling, joyous atmosphere can’t be beat.

Outdoor Fire Pits Heavenly Village
Enjoying the sunshine and vibes at the outdoor fire pits at Heavenly

Go snowshoeing! Rent your gear from Rip N Willies, Choose one of the many gorgeous trails, marvel at the sprawling cabins along the road on the drive up, and enjoy sweeping views with almost no people! Hiking through the glittering snow, the scent of pine in the air, fresh stag prints in the snow, and the panoramic views was incredibly peaceful. We had glorious weather – sunny and about 50 degrees in January. Aside: snowshoeing really takes it out of you. Brad swears our trip was only 3 miles, but it felt like at least 6! Tip: The earlier, the better for a hike.

Gorgeous hiking views south Tahoe
Breaktime! Taking in the gorgeous views, while dreaming about breakfast at the Driftwood Cafe!

Brie Tahoe Snowshoeing

We've got this! Snowshoeing with Brad
We’re going on an adventure!

Stag prints in snow south Tahoe
Fresh stag prints ❤

Sweeping views south Tahoe Winter

Grab  a fantastic breakfast at The Driftwood Cafe. Homey, cozy cafe with super friendly staff at Heavenly Village. Serves brekkie until 3pm. We woke up early, went snowshoeing and then for pancakes. It was a perfect day!

Breakfast time Driftwood Cafe

Nightlife: Lounge by the fire pits, enjoy some live music at Basecamp Pizza and check out one of the bustling eateries at Heavenly Village. We like Azul for the vibrant scene and shrimp fajita bowls. We also really like McDuff’s – a rustic scottish pub in South Lake serving comfort pub food with a chill vibe.

Wine by the fire Tahoe
Flickering flames, bubbles and perfect winter vibes. How’s that for a wine pour?!

Alpine Union – Bar outside of Hard Rock cafe with patio and expansive fire pits. We swear we saw Fitz & The Tantrums performing here one year, before they were famous!

Fire Pits at Alpine Union Lake Tahoe
Alpine Union’s expansive fire pits ❤

Check out the listings for cabins for sale and drive around dreaming about living in Tahoe year round!

Final notes: Winter trips to Tahoe are a completely different experience to summer. Summer holidays all about enjoying the glittering, cerulean lake, swimming in the refreshingly frigid, take your breath away water, hiking one of the many glorious trails, picnics, and lounging on a deck sipping your drink of choice while the sun sets magenta and fire orange over the mountains. I plan to write about a summer Tahoe getaway in an upcoming post.

More Tahoe Pics:


Hiking Yosemite in Autumn – Best Time to Visit

Sentinel Dome, Roosevelt Point and Bears!

Hiking Yosemite in late Autumn means golden woods, fiery fall foliage, clear blue skies with crisp temps and for us bear sightings!


This weekend we went on a quick, whirlwind hiking trip. Here are some highlights….

Golden twilight in Yosemite Valley



The Hiking Route

Trail Head At: Sentinel Dome and Taft Point

Length: 6 miles

We began at the Sentinel Dome and Taft Point trail head. We did a counter clockwise loop hiking to Sentinel Dome to breathe in the glorious views of Yosemite Valley, El Capitan and Half Dome. We stopped here for for a quick bite of lunch as well.


We continued along the trail, and just before Roosevelt Point we saw THE BEARS! I was strolling along the path when I saw movement through the firs coming down the mountain. And then I a saw a huge fluffy butt rumbling down the mountain and my mind jolted awake. I said to Brad – that is a damn bear! And then a few moments later I saw that she was followed by her baby! Insert moment of terror followed by a joyful and frantic, albeit silent happy dance. We have been dying to spot a bear in the wild.

We stood stock still, allowing the bears to continue their path down the mountain. They walked across a granite plateau, looped around us and stopped in a meadow right in front of us to graze on berries. The mother bear acknowledged us, and continued. We were in bliss.






Happy dance because we saw BEARS!!!!

We continued on to Roosevelt Point  to check out the spectacular panoramic vistas. We marveled at the sheer cliff faces, towering firs and winding rivers bathed in golden sunlight.



We continued on to Taft Point, which had slack liners and a big swing set up. Jesus. That is not something I ever want to do. One of the slack liners was seated on the line thousands of feet over Yosemite Valley, just chilling. For any fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology, I whispered to Brad, that woman is Inej.


After the Hike: The Dawn Wall and Curry Village Pizza

After the hike, we drove through the glorious valley and hiked about a mile to the Dawn Wall, which is a section of El Capitan, because THAT DOCUMENTARY YOU GUYS. If you have not seen it – check it out now. It’s about a superhuman of a man who scales impossible routes up the sheer rock face of El Capitan and it is extraordinary. For dinner, we stopped at Curry Village for pizza and beer (bubbles for me, obvi) and lounged near the fireplace.  


The Dawn Wall – we had to go touch it and imagine the sheer terror of summiting it and sleeping on a portaledge

The Dawn Wall :)
Happy Brad, because I walked with him to the Dawn Wall, even though I REALLY just wanted some pizza and a warm fire place

The Next Day: Hiking Hetch Hetchy

The next morning we drove to Hetch Hetchy for an easy hike with gorgeous views. We took the Wapama Falls route which during the summer season takes you past three gushing waterfalls. There was no water this time of year, so we picked a spot on a plateau for sweeping views and relaxed in the warmth watching the sunlight glint of the water. We plan to return mid July 2020 for a backpacking trip to see all the waterfalls.



More Yosemite Hiking Photos


Next up in our hiking adventures – Point Reyes beach backpacking and hiking Eagle Creek in Lake Tahoe.