Start As You Mean To Go On

As I mentioned before, I had been in California for almost two months. I spent time with family for my cousin's wedding in San Francisco, and then out east of Sacramento doing some work with friends. My dear friend Rebecca, her lil pup Scuba and I got to explore all the way from Sacramento, to Mammoth, to Placerville, and down to Santa cruz. We got up to Truckee and even hit Reno for an evening before I came back down to the Bay Area.

This first set of photos is from my cousin's wedding day. It was a perfect fall day and everyone was full of smiles. It is always so heartwarming to experience these family gatherings. The Tarnas clan runs strong, even though we are spread all over this big bad beautiful world. I didn't take as many photos as I would have liked, but the tradeoff was worthless. I got to spend more time with my family than I have in a long time.

After the wedding I headed out east of Sacramento. I was working on a farm of the medicinal herbal variety. I cannot explain to you how special this experience was for me this year. This is not the first time I've done this work, but it is the first time I truly connected with the people I was working with. I created these amazing bonds in such a short period of time with people I would have probably never met otherwise. I am so excited for our friendships and look forward to future adventures. 

We giggled a lot. We cried a lot. We drank a lot. We feasted. We saw some really cool shit. I finally figured out I have nothing figured out and that is totally cool, man.

For anyone who follows me on Instagram or Snapchat, it is clear I have a huge crush on little Scuba. I mean.. Look at him posing with that Patagonia bag! He is SO CUTE.

The following photos are of our weekend trip to Mammoth, a hike up Parker Lake, and a day hike through a gulch my oldest brother and I went on while in Placerville.

Our friend Jessi took us on an impromptu trip to Santa Cruz to find some surf. We adventured around the city while she was catching some gnargnar. While we were there we got to see our friend emcee a rad film fest and got to watch some incredibly inspiring films.

We went on up to Truckee and then Reno. We saw Turkuaz jam out at a casino and I learned how to use a slot machine. It was chilly but we managed to find some sun and soak it in for a couple hours. I went bowling for the first time in ages. WE HAD SO MUCH FUN.

I spent my last week on the mainland in San Francisco. I got to check out SF MoMA, spent my birthday walking around the Mission, and met up with Becca and her family before they headed out for the holiday.

Right now I am sitting at my aunt and uncle's house in Waimea, back on Big Island for the first time in six months. I was really nervous to come back here, afraid of how it would feel.. like home still? or maybe not so familiar? I built it up in my head so much I had become really anxious about the whole thing. 

The morning after I landed (Thanksgiving day) I headed straight for Beach 69s with my friend Molly. We hung out in our usual spot, I soaked in the salty waters of the momma Pacific. I felt right at home.

The Golden State

Here are just a few photos of our travels so far. Peter and I left camping in Big Sur, and traveled up to the Bay Area, where my brother and sister-in-law live. We got to stay with them while we figured out our road trip routes.

After a few days of prepping and resting, we hit the road to Tahoe and Yosemite Valley. We decided to drive all the way around Lake Tahoe, stopping off at several vista points and state parks. It had snowed the night before we arrived and everything was covered in a beautiful dusting of bright white snow. The vivid blue skies, bright evergreens, and crystal blue waters of Lake Tahoe were a perfect contrast for the white snow covered boulders and ground.

Next, we headed south to Yosemite Valley. On our way, we passed amazing mountain roads, reservoirs and lakes, snow covered valleys, and sun beaten deserts. As we drove into Yosemite Valley, we were greeted first with a prescribed fire on the northern end of the National Forest. Then we were covered in a canopy of towering sequoias. As we drove deeper into the valley, the sides shot upwards into huge, sheer cliffs, and we were totally consumed by the monolithic formations.

We spent a day hiking toward Upper Yosemite Falls, and then to Vernal Falls. It was over 10 miles of hiking in one day, but we wanted to get as much in as we could in our 48 hour stay. The day we left we hiked up to Mirror Lake, and then on our way out of the valley, we hiked up to Bridal Veil Falls. Next time we plan to spend more than a couple days there, hopefully exploring into the wilderness. 

Once we got back to the Bay Area, we took advantage of the opportunity to visit with my family (uncle, aunt, cousins, grand cousins, second cousins, brother, and sister-in-law). Then we packed our things, picked up Pete's little brother, and headed to Monterey. We got to spend a couple hours at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which was so magical, and then found a motel for the night and did some research for camping spots along the PCH toward San Clemente.

We camped one night in a little valley, where the cool air met the ocean air. It was quiet, with only four or five other campsites taken. The next day we drove down the coastline and enjoyed stopping at little hidden galleries and cafes. We stopped at Pfieffer State Park, did a short hike up into the old redwood groves and an even shorter hike to see a seaside waterfall. We camped one more night along that stretch of coast. 

We arrived in LA on the eve of my birthday. I got to visit my good friend Sarah, and got treated to an amazing dinner out on the town.

I am extremely grateful for the friends I have all over the world, who drop everything when I text them 'I'M HERE' without much notice. I always feel warm and fuzzy inside when I think about all the love available to me.

The next day, we headed further south, to Seal Beach, to Peter's uncle's house. We spent the night and explored the next day. I got to see a long-time friend, Darrin, who was passing through the area on his way up to LA.

Now Peter, his brother and I are camped out at his aunt's house in San Clemente, getting festive for Thanksgiving and being thankful for the opportunity to see so many friends and family on this adventure. Pete's mom came in yesterday, and his cousins are filtering in as the holiday festivities near. It is exciting to be part of another person's family celebration. Although this is when I get the most homesick, I am thankful to have such a supportive, hilarious group of people to be surrogate family to me.

After the holiday, Peter and I will be heading down the coast to San Diego, go into Mexico, and then east, toward the Grand Canyon and eventually Texas and beyond.