Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring break recap

Man, last time I blogged here was during finals week of winter quarter, which feels like about a million years ago now. Here are some updates!

First things first - finals went just fine, and on Saturday night I finally got to celebrate my birthday with a romantic dinner out with Scott. On Sunday, we left for our spring break camping trip!

Flynn and Kelly (above) very generously let Scott and I glom on to their trip, and they made excellent traveling companions! We had the most gourmet meals in the entire campground, and they were good at the alphabet game ("OK, let's do insects this time! Ant, butterfly, cockroach...")

Sunday was mostly a packing, traveling and setting-up-camp day. We arrived in Big Basin in the afternoon and parked our stuff at a campsite, but we still had time for a short hike through the redwoods before it got dark out. It felt so nice to be out in the woods.

Monday we went on a longer hike (12 miles?) and saw some really gorgeous waterfalls. Our guidebook said it's one of the nicest hikes in the Bay Area, and we were not disappointed. We were even inspired to do push-ups at Berry Falls.

Tuesday we got to go see the Ano Nuevo elephant seals in the morning. The breeding season is over, so the males were gone, but we did see some young pups ("weaners") learning to swim in a little tidal river, and we saw some adult females up on the beach molting.

We learned that elephant seals' closest relatives are grizzly bears.  Here are the two skulls (bear on the left, seal on the right... I think).

Ano Nuevo happens to straddle a fault line between two major plates (North American and Pacific).  Scott generously held the two plates together so that we could safely cross.

In the afternoon, we went to Castle Rock, a park very close to Big Basin, and did a little bit of bouldering.

Wednesday we went back to Castle Rock and set up top ropes for some longer climbs.  There's an observation deck conveniently located at the top of a waterfall, so the climber could just rapelle to the bottom and then climb up right next to the water.  Here's Flynn belaying Kelly:

We bouldered some more, found a sombrero and got a little bit lost.

Thursday was another beautiful long-ish hike. Flynn had to leave to go to a wedding, so she dropped us off at the beach on her way out and we hiked back to Big Basin HQ (where Kelly's car was parked). We saw tons of wildflowers and wildlife (salamanders, lizards, banana slugs, birds).

Good weather, good food, and I couldn't have asked for nicer traveling companions!

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