Carmel By The Sea

There are few more scenic regions of the United States than Northern California.  Meg and I spent 3 glorious days driving through and photographing the California Coastline, visiting Carmel and driving along Big Sur.  As a mother, life doesn’t get much sweeter. As an amateur photographer, even my limited skills are bound to capture some of the beauty of the area.

This photograph of the bluffs, the water and the sky , is my favorite photograph from the trip.

Carmel

Carmel

Evening in Carmel has its own beauty.  The softer colors of the sun and sky at dusk are worth experiencing.

Sunset in Carmel

The Green Lantern was a bed and breakfast located an easy walking distance from the ocean and the downtown restaurants. Definitely a great place for mother-daughter bonding.

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Cataract Falls

Meg at one of the lower waterfalls on the Cataract Fall Trail.

Meg at one of the lower waterfalls on the Cataract Falls Trail.

Life is busy. Crazy busy. Luckily, Jake and I love exploring, and we had the perfect day last week to go on a little adventure. For our anniversary, Jake took the day off and we went for a hike up around Mt. Tam. Finding the trailhead to Cataract Falls was no easy feat, but we managed to find it just off a hairpin turn in the road. With just enough space along the side to park the jeep, we headed off for the ~3 mile hike, which was nearly straight up the whole way out.

After passing a small lake, the trail comes to the bottom of the first of seven waterfalls. We hiked a little ways up, and then we just couldn’t help but to scale the moss-covered rocks along the sides of one of the falls. Though we quickly discovered our need for better hiking/climbing shoes, it was definitely an exciting adventure. We’ll be back soon, I’m sure!

HP: From Meg’s Point of View

With Mum visiting for a few days from Kansas City, I wanted to show her some of my favorite places to run and hike. Helen Putnam Regional Park is one of those places. On a beautiful Saturday morning, we parked the Jeep and headed out with our cameras.

Helen Putnam Regional Park

Looking through the trees at the trails beyond, Mum thought this trail looked like an old path for the wagons venturing into the west during the California Gold Rush.

Tree at Helen Putnam Regional Park

This was such a funky tree. Its branches dipped all the way down to the ground, and its knotty trunk had a whole family of geckos. Such an interesting site.

Trails at Helen Putnam Regional Park

This is a great shot of the trails at HP. I love running here, or walking with the kids, or just going up and taking in the views. It is such an amazing treasure here in Petaluma. One of the many reasons I love living in beautiful California.

Walking In Helen Putnam Park, Mom’s Camera

Family travel always involves exploring the environment around us. Northern California is a perfect destination for discovering new and wonderful places.  On a recent visit to see Meg, we put on our walking shoes and, with cameras in hand, hiked and drove through the wonderful countryside in Sonoma County.

Our first hike focused on Helen Putnam Park, located just west of Petaluma.  The park includes 216 acres of grasslands and forests.  In late April, the wildflowers were in bloom throughout the park.  The well-worn walking paths and old wagon roads could easily have been formed during the years of the California 1849 gold rush, when pioneers flocked into Petaluma from the Northeast.

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We watched this woman happily make her way over the hill and around the bend in the path.

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Home to geckos and birds, this gnarled old tree seemed timeless.

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This old barn can be seen from the entry way to Helen Putnam Park.

“But…everyone is going to think we live on a farm!”

Jake and I live on the east side of Petaluma. Typically, I think of the east side as being more “suburban” and boring. There’s not as much character, it’s mostly residential, and there really isn’t much for people to do over here besides go to the grocery store, the park, or go for a run along the outer running/walking path. However, one of my favorite things about being where we live is that we’re just a few minutes walk to the edge of town, which means open spaces and beautiful views.

For Valentine’s Day this year, I decided I wanted to be in charge of our plans. The result was a yummy picnic for two, set up on the hill about a 10-min. walk from our house. It was perfect. The weather was gorgeous, the sun shining, nearly 70 degrees, and we got to our spot in plenty of time to have our picnic and do some people-watching before sunset. Naturally, I took my camera along.

While these pictures are not as magnificent of my shots of the coastline, they give you a very good sense of why I love living close to the edge of this side of town. When I showed Jake the two pictures I was going to use for this post, his response was, “but…everyone is going to think we live on a farm!” Well, I assure you, we don’t live on a farm, but the cows are a nice touch!

We had our picnic here, looking west towards our neighborhood. If you look closely, you can see the houses back behind the tree. This is right at the edge of town.

We had our picnic here, looking west towards our neighborhood. If you look closely, you can see the houses back behind the tree. This is right at the edge of town.

This is right along the fence line at the east edge of town, about 30 feet from our picnic. My favorite running path goes right along the fence for about a half mile before meeting back with the walking path.

This is right along the fence line at the east edge of town, about 30 feet from our picnic. My favorite running path goes right along the fence for about a half mile before meeting back with the walking path.

Hope you all had a wonderful and happy Valentine’s Day!

California Coastline — Driving Hwy 1

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving getaway down to the beach near San Luis Obispo. On our way down, we decided to take Hwy 1, which is quite possibly the most beautiful drive on the planet. I had the chance to take in a lot of beautiful views and a good number of photos! You know me and my pictures of the ocean. Here are a few of my favorites. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Just south of Carmel, this was a lookout point that offered a framed view of the ocean.

And a few miles further, this was a beautiful view looking South.

More to come….it was a beautiful couple of days!

“Suits Us”–Bodega Bay

The casual life style and nonchalance of Bodega Bay is evidenced by this enchanting–if deteriorated–cottage near the coast in Northern California.  “Suits Us” suggests the relaxed lifestyle of the people who live there.  It is the goal of many who travel there. Who needs elegance when you are minutes from one the world’s beautiful beaches?

May the quality of our lives be determined by the beauty, joy and meaning we find around us rather than the number of dollars we have to spend.