Eureka, California

A year and a half or so ago, I moved to Boise for graduate school and my best friend Julie moved to Eureka, California. A twelve hour drive apart was the closest we’d lived to each other since back in our high school days when we shared a yellow school bus route and biked to each other’s houses (in between homework, a plate full of extra curriculars, and mowing our parents’ extensive lawns).  This Thanksgiving Break I finally made the drive south to Julie’s and Meeko got to meet her puppy-cousin Remi.

Here are the pictures from our trip!

Redwoods Part 2

Saturday we woke up ready for our big hike across the width of the park.  With lunch packed and extra water, we drove to the welcome center to begin our 6 hour hike.

In the beginning, our energy was high. We chatted and came up with new hypothetical questions for each other, like what creatures we’d put in a saltwater fish tank if we didn’t have to take care of it. Interestingly, we both said octopus. After the first hour we got quieter, stopping every once and a while to listen to the forest. With our feet crunching the pine needle floor, it was tough to appreciate birds calling in the distance or wind sighing over the trees. But in those moments of stopping and listening, the forest seemed louder than ever.

I read on one of the park signs that John Steinbeck described the Redwoods as “a Cathedral of silence”. With no technical sounds like cars or phones (no service the entire trip for me) all of the natural sounds became amplified. While this wasn’t the first time I’d noticed this about a forest, standing in the Redwoods just felt grander.

After hiking to the coast and back, we were tired and ready to relax. Unfortunately this took longer than it should have as we drove farther South than we planned, and then had to drive even further South to the closest restaurant. It is crazy how spread out things are in the very North of California.

We spent the night at a motel, I won’t lie– it was nice to be in a real bed again! We were too far South to go hiking in more Redwood forests, so we switched up our Sunday plans and headed to the coast. Somewhere off the highway we found an awesome KOA beach campsite area that we were able to park at for free. Walking in the waves and sitting on a big rock just watching the sea was so calming. Even without having a typical 9-5 job, it is still challenging at times for me to be in the moment and enjoy things. Trips like this help remind me that sometimes it is good to take a break from everything and disappear from the cell phone service world!

A Weekend in Carmel, California.

We spent this weekend in a beach town called Carmel. The first beach is a state park, and the second beach is in the more upscale part of town. The second beach allowed off leash dogs, and Meeko quickly made lots of friends Friday afternoon.

More from the National Seashore

Yesterday I drove my sister to the airport to visit my Mom. I am staying at my sister’s place in Corpus Christi for a few more days. Snickers was very sad to see her real Mommy leave, but they got plenty of snuggling in while she was here!

So far we have been to the same part of the National Seashore beach twice. I thought this Tuesday morning would be a perfect time to take the dogs back for another adventure. When we arrived, the first thing I noticed were the waves. They were huge! A line of wooden posts blocking cars from driving down one side of the beach were mostly underwater, where as the last time we visited, they were all visible.

There were two cars parked far down the beach fishing, so we headed past the wooden poles to enjoy the beach all by ourselves. I’d noticed some large blue jellyfish looking creatures washed up all over the beach before. After some quick research I discovered they were technically not jellyfish, but Portuguese Man of War. Even days after washing up on shore and dying, they were still toxic and could produce a sting if touched. We had a close call with Meeko inspecting one that appeared to be alive due to the wind inflating it and making it move. Luckily she did not decide to eat the “cool looking squishy blue thing.” She did finally get to chase some seagulls though! I pointed out a huge V of pelicans in the air, but Meeko didn’t catch on.

We played on the beach for about an hour. A helicopter flew overhead which startled Meeko a bit. Also startling Meeko was this evening when I turned on the garbage disposal. I forgot she hadn’t heard one before! Her reaction was to wake up from a nap, run over to where I was standing in the kitchen and wait for a treat.

Right now I am trying to figure out my route for the rest of my trip, and when I should arrive in San Diego to drive up the coast of California. I’ve been on the road for so long, sometimes I forget that I’m actually moving to San Francisco!

Location: Corpus Christi, Texas (Turns out, this is Selena’s hometown!)

A Porpoise in Corpus

We arrive at my sister’s apartment late Tuesday night after an epic 10 hour drive of Subway, smoothies and roadside stops for the doggies.

My sister had several things planned for all of us to do while we were visiting. One of the things Corpus Christi is known for are it’s beaches, often as a Spring Break hotspot. Lucky for us, it’s June, and most people work during the day. One afternoon we packed up the car and headed for the beaches of Padres Island National Seashore. I was very curious to see how Ms. Meeko would do with the ocean.

Most Shelties do not have a natural love of swimming, and though I’d done my best to make Meeko comfortable with getting baths and having her feet wet back in Pittsburgh, she had not truly gone swimming in a large body of water. Entering the park, we turned down the first beach access road. There were sand dunes along the side of the road, and the wind was whipping up swirls of sand along the tops. Parking was directly on the beach, and on a Thursday afternoon there were only four other cars there.

As soon as I got out of the car, a bit of sand got past my sunglasses and went into my eye. Unfortunately I did not have any eye drops or (fresh)water to rinse it out. I tried not to scratch at it, determined to still have a good time. We headed out towards the waves and walked along the shore. My sister held Snickers leash while I got Meeko. Snickers was a little intimidated by the waves, though she wanted to go swim. I started gently leading Meeko towards the waves. At first she jumped back at the first wave spreading over the sand. Then I made her stop and wait for the wave to move across her feet. Her face seemed to say, “Oh! That wasn’t that bad!”

I waded into the ocean with Meeko still on her leash, getting her belly wet. She didn’t seem as scared, but I couldn’t tell if she was truly enjoying the water. After my sister and I walked far enough that there weren’t any other people around, we let the dogs off their leashes. Snickers took off sprinting with Meeko right behind her. They ran far down the beach chasing each other, but they both came back when I called them. Still playing, Snickers leaped into the waves and Meeko followed her! They snaked up and down the beach jumping through the water, getting their faces smacked by the huge waves. Meeko decided she liked hopping over the waves, and from a distance she looked like a little furry porpoise, arching out of the water and back into a wave.

Click here for a video of the doggies playing in the water!

I’m having a lot of fun in Corpus Christi, and will be staying here for a few more days before I start heading North. In other news, I got word from a short fiction contest that I entered about 6 months ago. I didn’t win, but they have chosen to publish me anyways! The magazine is called Paper Darts. More details soon!

Location: Corpus Christi, TX