Hike 34/52 Exploring along the river

Date: September 3rd
Difficulty: 2 out of 5
Weather: Cool, rainy
Distance: 2 miles

We spent our last day in Sequoia and Kings Canyon exploring along the river until it rained. When it rained too hard, we had to stop exploring otherwise it’d be too slippery to hike. I think it’d be impossible to climb back up!

Koda did a fantastic job crossing the river. You showed people you’re not just a pretty Pomeranian, you kind of a BAMF too.



Hike 33/52 – Hume Lake

Date: September 2nd
Difficulty: 1 out of 5
Weather: Hot
Distance: 3.3 mile loop

Hume Lake


Usually Teddy hates being in the water. Because it was so hot, they did not mind taking a dip.


Hike 32/52: Wandering Through a Forest of Giants


The Grant Grove is a popular spot in Sequoia/Kings Canyon because it has the General Grant Grove tree — one of the largest trees in world. Before going to Grant Grove, I thought the trees through our daily drive out of the camp site was huge. These trees in Grant Grove certainly dwarf them all! It was hard taking a photo without looking up, up, up!

Date: September 1st
Difficulty: 1 out of 5
Weather: Hot
Distance: 1 mile loop (with a little bit of wandering)

Sequoia Grant Tree

In the trail, one of the first things we saw was this tree tunnel. If you further venture off the trail teeny bit, you’ll find another less crowded tree tunnel where a little bit of climbing is required.


The second tree tunnel we found.


Inside of the second tree tunnel

And of course I am obsessed with the textures of the tree!

Sequoia Grant Tree

And the obligatory photo of me next to a Sequoia for size comparison. Note: This is not the Grant Tree. Just your average Sequoia.


Also note, not the largest tree in the park. The largest living tree in the park and in the world goes to General Sherman at 275 ft. Unfortunately, we did not go to that part of the park because it was crowded and we could not find any parking. Tip: Find a national park bus that can drop you off ther.e

Back from Sequoia/Life Audit

I’m back from Sequoia and Kings Canyon! Here are some photos taken from my smart phone. Stay tuned for photos from my Sony NEX camera!

How was it?

Comparing this trip to last year’s trip to Zion National Park — Zion was more glamping. Come on — we had wi-fi in our camping ground and 15 minutes away, we had Starbucks.

This year’s camping trip with friends was a title rougher. Most of our group had no cell phone signal — unless you had Verizon. Also it rained during half of our trip and parts of our tent inside got soaked. On the days when there was no rain, it was very hot and there were some forest fires so the air was smoky. Also our campground was a few miles away from the main road. The road to our campground was mostly dirt and it can get bumpy. Taking a forest road may not be good for those who get car sick easily.


Off the Forest Road. You get the trees up close, but sit tight for a bumpy ride.

Seasons of Friends

Every year, since 2015, we’ve organized camping trips exploring National Parks with friends. Come to think of it, it turns out we have special friends event throughout the year and it was not intentional.

  • Spring/Summer: Camping trip — our newest tradition.
  • Fall: Friendsgiving
  • Winter: Our oldest event, the Holiday dinner with a White Elephant gift exchange. This was established before I started college and met everyone — it was established in 2004, but I did not partake until 2006. For a lot of us, it’s the only friends event we attend for the year. It’s a wonderful way to catch up.

I think it’s pretty cool we continue these traditions no matter what stage in life we are. Throughout the years some of us went out-of-state for school or for work, brought boyfriends/girlfriends, got dumped, some of us got married, have kids. It’s interesting how time is fleeting and how far we’ve come.

Right: The meadow next to our campground. Left: Hume Lake

Counting my blessings thousands of times over

I am 30 years and 2 days old now. I would not celebrate my 30th birthday weekend any other way. For me, instead of spending money and energy on a fancy hotel party, I would like to use it to celebrate all month-long. This month of September I’ll be auditing my life, sharing things that bring me joy and meaning. Brace yourself folks.

I’ve been blessed with life for the past 30 years. Looking back with melancholy and a heavy heart, there have been some people who not have made it. People who I thought could have done great things in life, but were taken away so soon. We heard news of a high school classmate who passed away in July 2016. We all found out after the fact via social media one year later. I use to see this person around town often, we’d say “hello” and catch up. It was wonderful to have known him during my school years during a phase where fitting in mattered, but he made you embrace your inner-quirky — who makes you, you. His passing was like a light went out in this world…or another way to put it: the lives he’s touched, we’ll carry the torch.


Me with my husband and dogs exploring the river.

It was a wonderful long weekend spending it with the people I care about. Here’s to more of that!

Off topic:

Advisory: Camping may cause you to do one or some of the following as soon as you get home:

  1. Consider a diet of green smoothies 2 out 3 meals.
  2. Consider a vegan diet 
  3. Make stove top roasted marshmallows for s’mores
  4. To immediately go shower and scrub all the dirt off
  5. Plan your next trip
  6. Clearer thinking
  7. Consider buying more plants for your place
  8. Pursue new challenges

Week 11: Packing for my trip

Week 11: What’s in my backpack?

My trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon is happening in a couple of weeks. This post could not happen in a more timely manner because I need to get organized and start packing!

The last time I went to Sequoia was back in 2012 with a few friends. We backpacked 4 miles up a mountain and made camp by this lake. It was beautiful to have this crystal clear lake as our front yard for a few days.

What am I packing in my backpack?

packing list osprey

Backpack: Osprey from REI

packing list

There’s another backpack I’ll pack: this little daypack for our day trips from Outdoor Products. It’s been my standby for my 52 Hike Challenge since the beginning of the year. As you can see, Teddy is sniffing through my daypack because I have…

packing list

…loads and loads of snacks! These are not for you, Teddy — and for any dog!

I love RXBars! I always carry these on my hiking trips because they’re delicious. I can’t wait to share these with my friends!

Then there’s trail mix and dried fruits — more staple snacks for my hikes.

packing list

Teddy insists to be in the photoshoot. I mean comes he back again. This is good. Teddy clearly markets to me (and to the blog) that modeling is one of his skills.

Of course in my backpack, I pack dog treats during the hikes. It keeps them motivated

Notes to self: I need to buy another bag of dental chews. Not pictured is their dog food and Teddy’s camera bashful brother, Koda.

packing list

Beauty products — as you can see I use them. Starting with the Garden Godess Suncreen and clockwise:

packing list

More beauty products to pack:

packing list

For entertainment, I will pack the Exploding Kittens Card game. It’s been a hit in parties and it’s easy to pack.

I will also pack a bullet journal to record any inspiration and collect stickers and other memorabilla. I picked up this paperback book at a used bookstore a couple of days ago. I got this because I like Kashuo Ishiguro and it’s paperback so it’s easy to travel with.

This is clearly not everything for the camping trip. After reviewing the photos, I did not picture my lavender oil — which is effective in getting rid of bug bites, bug spray, sleeping bag, tent, and food.

Read more posts from the Travel Blogging Challenge:

Week 1: Your Favorite Travel Photo of You and Intro
Week 2: Little Known Travel Tips
Week 3: Funny Travel Story
Week 4: Travel Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual Travel Activities and Photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: 5 Favorite Blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting travel stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling

Who else is doing the challenge?

Interested in participating in the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge? Feel free to make your own today!

Week 10: Some of my many favorite adventures

Week 10: Best adventures while traveling

I am going to begin this post but going off-topic. My friend who I’ve known since my college years inquired about starting a blog. We met in LA and it’s funny how we kept in touch after all these years. I moved to San Diego, she moved to Monterey Bay. I moved back to LA, and she moved back to El Salvador. I think she should go for it :-).

It’s Travel Tuesday and I am halfway through the challenge. So far it’s been fun writing all about my adventures and an excuse to pull out some old photos. I am not sure how to organize this post, so why not just list down my many favorite adventures!

  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour – This was from my Costa Rica trip last year. I loved how everything was so green and the fauna was so diverse!
  • Ziplining – When you are in Costa Rica, you got to go zip-lining. It’s quite a unique 360 experience of the absorbing the rainforest around you.


  • Going on a boat –– really any activity on a boat is fun. Unless you get seasick.


Me on a boat from Amalfi to Capri

  • Taking public transit – I enjoy taking the train whether it’s Amtrak at home, the Trenitalia in Italy, or the subway in Paris.


  • Hiking the Amalfi Coast, National Parks, cities — hike anywhere really… Just go outside!


Mt. Tre Cali at Amalfi Coast


Yosemite, CA


Sequoia, Kings Canyon, CA

Me wandering around Florence, Italy

  • A lot of times, my adventures are local. I like going to quirky events like the Lego exhibit in Glendale, driving all the way down to San Pedro after work to see the large rubber duck, or taking the subway to downtown LA to see large inflatable bunnies.



Read more posts from the Travel Blogging Challenge:

Week 1: Your Favorite Travel Photo of You and Intro
Week 2: Little Known Travel Tips
Week 3: Funny Travel Story
Week 4: Travel Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual Travel Activities and Photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: 5 Favorite Blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting travel stories

Who else is doing the challenge?

Interested in participating in the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge? Feel free to make your own today!