Good Reads: Adventure Slide Shows


For your weekend viewing pleasure, here are three adventure slide shows definitely worth clicking through!

Hot Tub, Ice Machine – Ice Climbing in Ouray Ice Park (New York Times)

Competitive Yoga – Scenes from the New York Regional and National Yoga Asana Championship (NYT)

The Nutropolitan Museum of Art – Peanut butter inspires art (Peanut Butter & Co.)

Enjoy the weekend!


Sisters Make the Best Adventure Partners, and other lessons from J Tree

I was on top rope, so if I had let go of the rock, I would not have dropped an inch.

But as I held onto a slim crack in the rock with one hand, and used my other hand to frantically search among the gear hanging from my harness for the right piece of protection, I began to freak out.

“I don’t think I’m meant to do this,” I called out to Sonya, who was belaying me.

At that moment, the seriousness of what I was doing weighed down on me. It was my first (mock) trad lead, and I finally grasped the importance of placing the most bomber piece of protection in the crack in the rock: If I didn’t place a piece of gear correctly (and if I weren’t on top rope) I could crash down onto the rocks below me.

I gasped for breath. Eventually, I regained my breath and confidence, and finished the climb.

All of that may have taken just a few minutes, but it is one of the most memorable moments of our Epic Sister Adventure in Joshua Tree National Park. That moment stands out to me so strongly, I think, because it took me far beyond my comfort zone.

“Life begins when you step outside your comfort zone,” Sonya said that afternoon.

That could be the best lesson I learned during our week in Joshua Tree. Below are some other lessons I learned during our trip.

Beware the cholla! It will get you!

Natural Sisters Cafe makes the best granola bars. Ever.

Julie looks cute in photos when she climbs things. 

Vests and cacti are having a moment.

Desert weirdness is alive.

Nacho is too big to be a crag dog.

Sisters make the best adventure partners.

Next year in El Portero Chico! 


Life in full bloom

This weekend, I had planned to blog about our Epic Sister Adventure in Joshua Tree National Park.

But then spring came early in the San Joaquín Valley. The temperatures reached the 70s, just as the beautiful pink blossoms were appearing on the region’s fruit and nut trees.

So instead of investing time in this blog, we hit the Fresno County Blossom Trail.

We drove toward Sanger on Highway 180 East, which is lined with patches of brilliant yellow daisies and orange poppies. The pink blossoms on the trees and the grapevines contrasted magnificently with the snow-capped Sierras, which we could actually see.

We had lunch at the new School House Restaurant & Tavern, which features pretty good food and great ambience. Then we continued just a minute down the road to Cedar View Winery, where we picked up our next shipment of wine.

And sipped Zinfandel, while taking in the beauty of the day, the landscape, love, and life.


Good Reads: Or, one awesome yoga vid

This past week – between driving to Sacramento, Delano and Santa Cruz for work – I had no time to read. (The closest I came to reading was buying books at Bookshop Santa Cruz, pictured above, to take with me on the Epic Sister Adventure to Joshua Tree.)

So instead of offering you some Good Reads this weekend, I offer you one, awesome Yoga by Equinox video, featuring Briohny Smyth.

Hope you’re having a great weekend! My next post should be from Joshua Tree.

The Adventure Princess Sisters take on Joshua Tree National Park

In October, I read a ‘New Yorker’ profile about Jill Abramson, executive editor of the New York Times. It was a great article – but you know what part stuck in my mind?

This one line: Jill and her sister, Jane O’Connor… “have the same cackle of a laugh, and every year they go off alone on adventure trips – to China, Morocco, Budapest.”

“If the executive editor of the New York Times can take annual adventure trips with her sister, than so can I,” I thought to myself.

Fast forward four months, and my sister and I are preparing to set off on our adventure. On Sunday, we’re leaving for an epic, eight-day hiking and rock climbing trip in Joshua Tree!

Here are the details:

  • For the first three nights, we will be staying at places we reserved through AirBnB.

On the first night, we have reserved a “lovable, semi-rustic” home, where yoga and energy healing sessions are offered. On the second and third nights, we will be staying in a “magical homesteader cabin,” which was featured in this New York Times article.

For the rest of the week, we will be staying in friends’ guesthouse, and learning the technical aspects of rock climbing!

  • As for gear, we will be bringing the basics: hiking boots, climbing shoes, harness… Plus the Petzl helmet and Prana corduroy pants I bought today at REI’s awesome winter clearance sale.

So adventuresome friends… what else must we know about Joshua Tree? What must we not forget? I’m so excited!

Pictured: Past sister adventures to Kings Canyon National Park, Laos, and Big Sur

My desert date with dates

And sometimes, I’m paid to go on adventures.

This past week, I reported from the Eastern Coachella Valley. On my way out to the community of Mecca, I stopped at Shields Date Garden in Indio.

I mean, wouldn’t you stop, if you saw a sign like this along the highway?

Yea, so I didn’t see that video.

But I DID slurp up a date crystal milkshake for lunch. (Recipe here.) It was essentially ice cream, with bites of date mixed in. And it was the best lunch imaginable for a journalistic adventure in the desert.

The shake wasn’t just a desert indulgence, though. For a date-obsessed gal like myself, it was also a way to recognize one of the Coachella Valley’s important crops.

According to Wikipedia, the Coachella Valley produces about 95 percent of the country’s date crop. Indio is host to the National Date Festival each year. A street in Mecca is named after the delicious fruit.

Next time I buy a box of delicious date rolls at Whole Foods, to take on an outdoors adventure, I’ll be reminded of my desert date with dates.

Do what you love, every single day

A Monday morning reminder to do what you love and love what you do – every single day.

Even if it means doing yoga with a rockstar yoga teacher on Superbowl Sunday, and chanting OM instead of cheering on a football team.

Or eating the most special ice cream (pictured: formerly, Ancho Chocolate and Miso Pear ice cream from Humphry Slocomb) on a regular Sunday night.

Happy Monday!