April 29, 2012

California Dreamin'

Spring is a skier's time to do whatever they please, but on a budget of course as skiing certainly doesn't pull in the big bucks. So since exotic beach destinations beach were a little out of the budget, Patrick and I drove west to meet up with a bunch of fellow Dartmouth friends in California. It turned into a perfect vacation; it was loads of fun and simply not long enough.

First stop: Truckee

We are lucky enough to have an incredible network through Dartmouth and were able to affordably rent a cabin on the top of Donner Summit with all our friends for the weekend. A big storm rolled through the day before we arrived so despite the "miserable" winter all the locals were complaining about, there was still a lot of snow and plenty of skiing to be had. Patrick and I skied Royal Gorge, which has seen better days, but still has some incredible terrain and spectacular views.
A great Western bluebird day!

Enjoying sunshine and lots of skiing!
After an exhausting weekend of too much sun, we headed further west to San Francisco.
Patrick still hasn't learned how incredible the Western sun is...
One of my classmates is going to UCSF for med school so Pat and I camped on his deck for the rest of the week. We only got consumed by the fog once! This was my first time to the Bay Area so we had lots to check out.

We were close to Golden Gate Park so we spent an afternoon on bikes checking out every corner of the park. There is a lot more in there then you could ever imagine from the outside.
Beautiful Gardens

That is actually a buffalo, no joke.

Casting ponds for those die hard fishermen

Model boats and marina
There were also horses, a polo field, lawn bowling, baseball diamond, soccer, dutch windmill, a couple museums, a giant cross, and probably some more things I can't remember.

We went on a great mountain bike ride at Camp Tamarancho, north of San Francisco. It was a great loop was featured everything, meadows, desert rocky sections, forested sections, and jungly sections.

Pat cruising through the big trees

Enjoying the shade

Waiting for Ben to fix his chain. 
 After riding, we drove this crazy, road full of sharp turns over to the coast to try out some surfing.

We went on a couple more bike rides and tried surfing a 2nd time. The boys started getting the hang of it, I only got a fat bloody lip. 
Checking out the Wharf and yes that is blue sky in the city!

 I also got the chance to catch up with the high schools friends who now live in the city as well!

Our last day, we ran to the top of Mt. Tam (didn't bring the camera) and then fought the incredible weekends crowds to get to Muir Woods and see some Redwoods. There were so many people in the area, it was actually impossible to get to the beach so despite suffering some heat exhaustion on our run, we were denied a dip in the Pacific. 
However, we greatly enjoyed the cool temps in the forest!
On our drive home, we took the "scenic" route on the loneliest highway in America, highway 50. There is not much out there...We camped outside of Ely, Nevada and checked out some mountain bike trails there in the morning. Not knowing the best trails, we ended up riding up something that was clearly meant as a hiking trailing, not biking trail. It was so steep, I simply could not make it up. After reaching the top, we managed to find the good bike trails and had a good ride before heading home.

I have finally made my way back to AK where I will be spending most of the summer. We start training for next year tomorrow with a week long camp. There is still some snow up here so we will be doing lots of it on snow! Check back for an update on camp.