I can’t believe I’m saying this, but for the briefest moment ever, my wanderlust is satisfied. I’m usually obsessively checking Southwest’s sales, getaways on The Clymb, Groupon, and LivingSocial, and just generally scheming about the next place I’m going to go. But after the past six weeks I have to admit it feels awfully nice to just be at Basecamp (aka, home). But don’t fear – the wanderlust is already starting to creep back in.
So wondering where I’ve been?
First off, I’ve spent an unusual amount of time in California. I flew into San Diego at the beginning of May to make the drive to Yuma, Arizona to visit my husband who was on business travel. If you’ve never done a drive in the Southwest portion of the United States, I highly recommend you do one. It’s absolutely astonishing how fast the terrain changes from beautiful blue oceans and leafy trees, to soaring ridges and wind farms, to sand dunes straight out of Star Wars (no, really – they filmed there), and then to soaring saguaros.
Once in Yuma we got a chance to check out the local landscape and even make the hot and long drive to Joshua Tree National Park in Twentynine Palms, California. Despite it being 106F, we loved the park and definitely want to visit again during the winter. On the way back to San Diego to catch my flight, I decided to stop at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps National Oceanographic Institute. So. Many. Seahorses!
A mere week later, I was on a plane again headed to San Francisco, California for a work thing. I have to admit my first experience with San Francisco years ago was anything but pleasant, but I’ve totally come to appreciate this quirky city with time. This time I made a point of walking to Pier 39 to see if there were any sea lions… and there was! This has been a lifelong bucket list of mine so there wasn’t a second of disappointment. I also got a chance to meet Rascal and his human. Together, they make dog leashes out of old donated climbing ropes from local climbers and climbing gyms. A portion of the leashes get donated to animal shelters, so I was more than happy to buy two for my furballs.
Now here’s where the trip gets interesting. After spending 15 hours traveling to San Francisco, I spent 9 hours on quite possibly the most scenic Amtrak route ever to get to Santa Barbara, California. I’m sure the trip really was 9 hours (if not more), but it went by in the blink of an eye since I spent a huge portion of it with my face up against the window taking in the views. Once again, California didn’t disappointment. We went from urban, to mountain, eucalyptus forests, and ocean cliffs.
Once in Santa Barbara, I was greeted my awesome in-laws and set out seeing the area. The next day, my father-in-law treated myself and two of my sister-in-laws to a trip to Channel Islands National Park off the coast of Ventura, California. The only two ways to get to this park is by boat or small plane, and we logically opted for a ferry ride. This ferry ride was anything but normal though. Within half an hour of leaving the shore, our captain let us know there were some dolphins ahead. Soon after there were thousands. I have never seen anything like it. They were playing in our wake, jumping alongside the boat, and just generally having fun. Amazing. Channel Islands National Park itself was absolutely stunning, and we only saw 1 of the 5 islands that make up the park. Regardless, it was a visit I can’t wait to repeat. There were cliffs, sea caves, tiny foxes, lizards, crazy plants, and so much more. I’ve already decided that my next visit will involve snorkeling and kayaking. Oh, and the boat ride back involved whales!
Most recently, Rob and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. True to our usual selves, we opted for the outdoorsy getaway and spent 6 days on the coast of Maine. First we hit Kittery, Kennebunkport, and Freeport – but got poured on for most of it. *sigh* Fortunately the rest of the weekend and the bulk of our trip was in Bar Harbor, Maine while we visited Acadia National Park.
Despite being a lifelong New Englander, I had somehow never been to Acadia National Park and I’m glad I was able to change that now. As I learnt recently, one of the criteria for a National Park is that it must contain features that are unique to the park itself – and they must be in danger. It was easy to see at Acadia that the towering rocky mountains and sharp sea cliffs were the defining feature. Rob and I spent days hiking, biking, and exploring – and we still haven’t seen a 1/10th of this park. There is so much to do. We can’t wait to go back in the fall!
So what’s up next? I’m sure to have some work travel to Kansas City, Missouri soon and we are already planning a trip to Chincoteage Island, Virginia and Assateague National Seashore in August. Other than that, we have lots of mountain biking, kayaking, and hiking to do. There’s definitely going to be some SUP lessons, Saco trips, and more. My wanderlust will be mostly in check. 😉