YOSEMITE, BIG SUR + OUTSIDE LANDS

 

When I originally bought my ticket to Outside Lands, I was completely prepared for the idea I’d be singing alone during the 12-hour drive to San Francisco and dancing with randos at the festival. But only an hour after I sent out a happy Snapchat about officially buying my ticket, Sydney surprised me by buying her own.

Because the festival was in San Francisco, we both knew we needed to take advantage of being in Northern California and decided to try and cross a few other things off of our bucket list.


Before heading to the city, we took a little pit stop to camp in Yosemite for a few days.

On our first day, we drove from LA to the park, and got there just in time to catch sunset at Tunnel View. We only slept a few hours before waking up to catch sunrise at Glacier Point. There’s something so special about the way that first light hits, watching the mountains change from heavily saturated baby blues to the softest, pale silvers. In those early morning hours, we also witnessed a family of deer playing together. We sat along the side of the mountain and could actually hear the waterfall that we spotted even from miles away, void of the hundreds of tourists who would probably drown out that noise later in the day.

After shuffling through all of the information packets we collected, we decided to take a hike to Upper Yosemite Falls. Unfortunately for us, we read the wrong column, and our moderate three-mile hike turned into a 7.5-mile *very strenuous* one. It lives up to the label. And while we were ill-equipped with food and water, we're still thankful for the guys who encouraged us at the halfway point to keep going and reach the top.

The top of the mountain was filled with a bunch of little water holes to swim in, and we were treated with plenty of pretty views along the way. We even found a (questionable) tiny stream of freshwater to fill our bottles with during our climb, so everything turned out fine.

On our last day, we ventured out to find - my favorite - the giant sequoias. After nearly an hour of confusing directions and wrong turns, we finally found the trail that led us onto a self-guided tour of the sequoias. There were tons of informational pedestals throughout our hike that taught us all about these pretty giants and all the different plants that kept them company in this little forest.  

These enormous trees are all about a hundred years old, and are seriously gigantic. Even with my widest lens, I wasn't able to fit an entire sequoia into a single picture.
It's okay, pictures don't do these forests justice anyway, you'll have to see them for yourself.
 

We spent our last night at Glacier Point, patiently watching as the stars took over the sun.
I couldn't help but feel like Ansel Adams in that moment, taking the same picture under so many different types of light. It really makes all the difference.

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The next day, we drove out to San Francisco and had a few hours to explore the city.

I took Syd to all of my favorite spots. We went to see the Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach, acted out the intro to Full House in front of the painted ladies, and stopped by one of my favorite restaurants, Tacolicious.

We spent the next few days after that dancing at Outside Lands.

We discovered a few of our new favorite artists here, including Whitney and Vulfpeck. Some of my other favorites were Declan Mckenna, Kamasi Washington, Chance the Rapper, Lord Huron, Zedd, and Lionel Richie. The Muppets also performed a set that we watched between sets, and surprisingly - it was amazing (??).

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On our way back down to LA, we took a pit stop at Big Sur (my first time!)

The aggressive winds stopped us from getting out of the car too much, but you don't have to be standing outside to really see how blue and beautiful this place is. We snapped a few photos, and spent our entire drive back cracking up at our own (terrible) puns about how suriously amazing this place was. We were delusional.

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PORTLAND

 

When people ask me about my hometown, I usually talk about someplace in Arizona. After a crazy childhood of having to move states every two or three years, it’s where I’ve stayed the longest, and the place I feel most at home. With all of the AZ-dedicated tattoos covering my arms and the aggressive pride I have for my alma mater, you would guess I’ve lived here my whole life. Most people would never guess I was born in Portland.

Since being born in this city, I’ve never had the opportunity to make my way back. It’s funny though, I’ve always seen myself living in Portland sometime in my future, even though I don’t remember anything about the place. It doesn’t take much to draw me in though - any place that’s known for their donuts is a place for me.

Being able to share my “first time back” experience with my parents was something so special. I loved getting to go down memory lane with them. We visited their first house, hiked down to their favorite waterfall, and even drove by the bar my dad and his friends were getting drunk at when my mom was being driven to the hospital getting ready to deliver me.

We spent a lot of our trip chasing waterfalls, wandering forests, and finding starfish on the beach. 
We also stayed in the cutest airBNB, where we were hosted by two of the sweetest little cats.

Since getting older, it’s become rare that we’ve been able to travel all together. How lucky we are to have parents to work so hard to give our little family such great adventures like these. Thanks mom and dad for everything you do. Love you guys.

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