Category Archives: Planning

More Colorado Fun

Wednesday we started off by doing a bunch of Japan planning with Joan.  I am looking forward to Japan with so much anticipation, but it’s going to be a lot of hard work.  So, we debated between hotels, vacation homes, and Ryokans.  We’re still not sure what we’re going to do.  But, one thing we are sure of is that it’s going to be expensive.  I’m looking forward to the food, surprise.

I felt like running around so I slapped on my work out gear and started experimenting.  I wanted to jump rope, but we didn’t have one, so I started with Joan’s hula hoop.  That wasn’t cutting it.  Even with the altitude, I wasn’t breaking a sweat.  I found an extension cord, wrapped it around my hands, and tried to jump rope.  I don’t know if it was the cord or the uneven dirt and grass, but jumping rope wasn’t happening.  I was getting frustrated, so I went into the house to mope.  Seth, jokingly, offered to hop on my back and get carried across the yard at a run.  I said yes.  Now, I didn’t get a picture, and I’m kinda disappointed by this, so I am going to paint a picture for you.  Picture my husband, hopping on my back in proper piggy-back form, me wrapping my arms around his extra long legs and trotting (as fast as I could) across the front yard.  But, that’s not the end of it.  Mochi is always excited for us to join her outside (in ‘her territory’), so when I began running she decided it was a game and began running with us.  But then, the puppies saw what was going on and I think they were kind of confused, that they weren’t completely sure what we were, or what we were doing.  Then they began to chase after us and bark like crazy.  This put Mochi into the defensive, trying to keep the puppies away.  So, there I was, toting Seth on my back, barreling across the yard, with three dogs barking like crazy while circling my feet.  Quite a scene.

Lucky for us, we were able to spend Joan’s birthday with her.  To celebrate we headed over to Glenwood Springs to have lunch at The Pullman.  It happens to be a really good restaurant with really good drinks.  I had the lamb meatballs with feta gnudi.  What the heck is gnudi?  Well, I’m told it’s kinda like gnocchi, but it’s more cheese than potato.  It was really delicious.  I tried a bite of everyone else’s dishes and they were very good as well.  We ran some errands then headed back to Meeker. 

This morning, we woke up and it was already hot.  So, we filled up the baby pool and attacked Mochi with the hose.  Don’t worry, she loves this.  She’s a bit apprehensive at first, so we soak her, then she wants to play.  She streaks after the stream of water and tries to eat it.  It’s awesome.

Wet Mochi

Mochi Water Attack

Then, Seth made a picnic lunch to bring up to the ranch.  We had lunch at the ranch with Steve, Joan and some friends then borrowed the 4-wheeler to go for a ride.  Seth, Joan, Mochi and me went for an adventure.  Steve mentioned that they had cleared the fence line, so we decided to check it out.  Adventure.  Bushes, bugs, and branches.  It was like a roller coaster.  But, at the top of one hill I turned to my right to see a herd of about 35 elk spotting us and running away.  Super cool.  And the property is absolutely beautiful.  Then, on our way back, as we passed a puddle, slowing to search for a bear track near it, we heard a splash as we continued on.  After a moment or two, I turned around to check on Mochi in the back like I was doing every so often.  And she was gone.  Seth stops and I frantically hop out.  And she’s right behind the 4-wheeler, but she’s covered in brown sludge.  Gross.  We can’t be sure, but our guess is that when we slowed to check the mud around the puddle for the bear track, Mochi saw the ‘water’ and hopped out for a swim. It was really hot and she’s a fluffy black doggie.  But, what she didn’t know about that puddle, or did but didn’t care, was that this particular puddle is where male elk pee and ‘squirt’ in during mating season.  Gross.  More than gross.  We were running out of gas so we headed back to the office and dunked Mochi in the river.  That wasn’t enough, so when we got back to the house we washed her in the baby pool.

Then we went through our packs.  So, it turns out that it’s going to cost like $600 to send a box of needed items to Africa.  Go figure.  So, we have to carry our sleeping bags and fleece the whole time.  So, we decided to go through our stuff and cut out as much as we could.  I took out a bunch of stuff from my bathroom kit, like 5 of the 7 chapsticks, night face lotion, and things like that.  It was tough, but I think it will be worth it.  I, also, took out one of my dresses.  I think that’s it.  I pick up my smaller sleeping bag from the REI in Denver on our way to the airport tomorrow.

If you couldn’t figure it out, mine is the pile on the left, and Seth’s is the one on the right.

Revised Backpack

We’re off to Denver tomorrow! NYC here we come!

A Day of Preparation

Hello, all! Today was a day of preparation.  We spent the day at home organizing and ironing out details.  For example, suspending cell phone service, alerting credit cards that we’re leaving the country, and making sure we have a bunch of cool travel apps on my iPod.  But also, we packed our backpacks and made sure we had everything.  So, here it comes, a detailed list of everything in my backpack that will live with me for the next six months, or, at least until it’s done or broken. 

In my backpack:

Berkley's backpack

So this is what the innards of my backpack will look like at any given moment.  Obviously, some of it will be on my person.  Now, let’s break it down:

BP pack it cubes

These are pack it cubes by eagle creek.  They are made of a super light weight material and they are translucent, so you can kind of see what’s inside.  But, let me show you what’s inside:

BP clothes

These are all my clothes.

2 lightweight quick dry dresses (1 Patagonia, 1 random)

1 long underwear (Smartwool) shirt

2 pairs quick dry pants (1 North Face, 1 Exofficio)

1 short sleeved Patagonia merino wool shirt

1 long sleeved Patagonia merino wool shirt

1 convertible long/short sleeve Columbia shirt

1 Patagonia rain jacket (will also be used as windbreaker)

1 Exofficio undershirt

1 bikini

8 pair Patagonia quick dry underwear

2 bras (1 Patagonia, 1 Travelsmith)

1 sports bra (brand unknown)

8 pairs Smartwool quick dry socks

1 pair of Columbia shoes

1 pair of Teva sandals


That is all I’m bringing to wear.  Since i had such a hard time finding information about ladies’ undergarments for travel online, I’m going to show you just how seductive they can be:

BP Underwear

So, here it is.  I bought, wore, and returned so many bras and underwear to land with these.  The Patagonia underwear is amazing. You can do anything in it.  I’ve been using it at the gym and it stays put.  They, also, dry really fast so I could, potentially, wash them in a sink and wear then shortly thereafter.  Te he…  The bras were difficult.  I don’t think there are enough options out there for travel bras that are quick dry and functional.  But most of all, they need to be cuter.  They are not sexy at all.  Someone needs to get on top of that.  

BP DOP kit

Then, there’s my bathroom kit.  All of the stuff on the right easily fits into the beautiful Eddie Bauer bag on the left.  I’d give you a breakdown of what is in it, but I believe it is quite self explanatory.  If you have any questions, go ahead and ask.

Make up? A topic of contention with many of my lady friends.  This is all of my make up I will be bringing.


That is all.  It may be too much and some may be tossed/donated along the way.


This is my fun stuff bag.  It includes:

A journal (blue)

Deck of cards


iPod touch






Cocoon travel sheets


PacSafe purse/wallet with my important documents


We have prescriptions in a water tight bag, but I haven’t shown those.  If you would like to see our super cool medication organizer, for things like pills to combat malaria, Delhi belly, and altitude, see our earlier posts. 

And that is my backpack’s innards.  It really was a lot of work to come to these decisions.  If you have any questions at all, just throw them at me!

You guys are going where?

Let me take a moment to talk about our current schedule, which is quite flexible.  This Friday, June 29 we fly from Denver, Colorado to New York City.  We leave NYC in the evening on July 1.  From NYC we land in Verona, Italy the morning of July 2.  We spend the day in Verona, but that evening we fly to Madrid, Spain where we will stay with my amazing friend, Alberto.  We get to spend three whole days in Madrid before taking a train to Pamplona on Friday, July 6 in the morning, in order to catch the opening ceremonies of the Festival of San Fermin (also known as the running of the bulls).  We have a couple of days, probably just two, in Pamplona, before we head to Barcelona.  The plan is to spend the day of July 8 in Barcelona, and fly out from Barcelona on the morning of July 9 on our way to Venice, Italy.  That is when our schedule becomes less scheduled.  We have from July 9 through August 16 to make our way from Venice, through Croatia, then Greece, then Turkey.  The ‘plan’ is to spend about two to three weeks in each before catching a flight from Istanbul to Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) on August 16.  Our time in Tanzania lasts through September 1 and includes about a week of Safari and a week on the island of Zanzibar.  From Tanzania we fly to Delhi, India on September 2.  We make our way from Delhi to Varanasi, where we cross over to Kathmandu, Nepal to meet our guide on September 25 to begin our 12 day trek through the Himalayans.  We then fly from Kathmandu to Osaka on October 9.  We have until October 28 to visit Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe.  On October 29 we leave Japan for Bangkok, Thailand.  We have through November 20 to see as much of thailand as we can.  We head to Singapore on Nov 20.  Then we have until December 29 to explore Singapore, Bali, and anything and everything in between.  We make it back to Denver in the evening on December 29.  

I hope that was at least a little easy to follow.  I wanted to give you guys a clearer picture, now that we have some definite plans.  Visitors? We’d love to see any friends along the way!  We’ll be with my sister in Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece, and Turkey, and then Seth’s parents will be joining us in Japan, but other than that you have our attention! 

In the next few days I will be posting the exact contents of our backpacks.  And, no, there will not be curling irons or eyelash curlers.  C’mon people, what’s with the curling?


I can only hope that the rest of our trip is as relaxing as our time in Colorado.  Well, I kinda take that back.  Because I was bitten so much yesterday, I woke up in the middle of the night with phantom bug attacks.  Between my itching, my allergies, and I guess altitude sickness, I couldn’t sleep.  So I sneakily got up and hung out in the other room where I couldn’t bother the rest of the sleeping house.  It was about 3am here so it was the perfect time to call my sister in Spain.  Sloane and I talked until the sunrise, when she had to leave to meet a friend for lunch.  We talked about everything and nothing.  But we were also productive.  We did a bunch of trip talk.  I’m so excited to see her!

Finally the rest of the house awakened.  Coffee was a must, so that happened.  We ran a few errands in Meeker before heading to Rifle to see the movie that I’ve been anticipating for the past six months, Brave!  We weren’t sure if we were going to get a chance to see it before we left, so I was stoked.  Really good movie, it was a great story and seemed quite original.  And the Pixar short beforehand was wonderful.  

We headed back to Meeker and made dinner.  Well, Seth made dinner and I helped a bit.  He made a bunch of delicious dishes for dinner, but the greatest part/idea was the watermelon gazpacho.  Perfect for the weather.  I can’t wait to have some of that for lunch! It’s always better the second (or third) time around.

So, we had a nice relaxing day, despite my restless night.  If I get enough sleep tonight I have the option to ride horses tomorrow morning.  

It bit me!

Holy guacamole!! Well, there was no guacamole involved, but it was like we were guacamole, and the bugs were college kids after a night of partying.  We were being eaten alive by bugs! Mostly mosquitoes and houseflies.  Nonetheless, we had a pretty great day 2 in Meeker, Colorado.

In the morning we went up to the ranch with the dogs for a walk by the river.  Boy, was it hot! I was impressed at how hot it was at only 9am.  We walked along the river as the dogs explored the trail and it’s surroundings.  We had to pause at one point because we heard a momma elk sneaking away with her calf.  Pretty cool.  The heat brought us to turn around a little sooner than I would have liked, but the pups were hot.  We tossed Mochi into the pond to cool her off.  



Seth made some delicious sandwiches for lunch, before we went back out to the ranch to shoot and fish.  We spent a bit of time trying to help the ‘problem in the pasture’ before setting up targets.  We shot a bunch with the 22 and the AR15, before the guns were too hot to hold.  It was 94 degrees up at the ranch, which Steve said must be a record.  Either way, Seth and I took off our shoes and hopped into the river to cool off and to try to get away from the mosquitoes.  The water was perfect.  Not as cold as it usually is, but it probably has to do with the low water levels and extreme heat.  Hopefully it rains soon in Colorado.  There are some out of control fires that need it!

Berkley shoots AR15

Berkley's AR view

Steve showed up just as we were drying off to go fishing.  So we loaded up the 4 wheeler and headed to a spot we were checking out earlier on our jaunt along the river.  Once again, we waded in the river, but this time we had rods for the fishies.  Seth caught a big ol rainbow trout pretty quickly.  Then Steve got a good sized fish as well.  Seth caught another one, but while he was trying to get the hook out of its mouth, I accidentally let the fish out of the net.  I was tangled in the fly line and was trying to get out! Oops, sorry Seth.  But, somehow in that madness, Seth managed to hook himself.  Steve showed me a nifty way to get hooks out of people by using the fly line itself.  Fun times.


Seth hooks a rainbow


Seth gets Hooked

It was a wonderful Colorado day!


It Has Begun!!

Alright my friends, our trip around the world has finally begun!  But first, I am going to catch you up a bit.  This past month has been a bit hectic.  One of the first questions people ask when I tell them I’m going to leave the country for six months to travel the world is, “What are you going to do with your apartment?”  To me, this seems like a silly question, but it must be valid, due to the surprising amount of people who voiced this concern.  Here’s what happened for us.  Luckily, our lease ended on May 22 (happy birthday Sloane!), but there was no way we were paying the month to month rate.  It just about raised the price a third of what we were already paying.  We thought of finding an extended stay hotel, or subletting a place for the month we would need, but we found a more economical solution, which also allowed for some quality family time.  Both of my parents live in Los Angeles, so we house hopped between my Dad’s and Mom’s places for the month.  This way, they both got some quality Seth and Berkley time (and Mochi too) before we left.  For those of you who have never moved back in with your parents, it’s never easy, but it worked out well in the end.

Then there’s the questions about jobs and the like.  One of the delightful coincidences of the world (concerning our adventure) occurred in timing.  Seth’s job offers sabbatical after working there for an allotted amount of time.  His sabbatical just so happened to coincide with my graduation from grad school, and  an appropriate time to terminate with my clients.  So, Seth finished up as much of his projects at work as he could, and I worked my butt off to finish my masters in a timely two years.  I put in a request for a leave of absence from my work, and was granted, thank goodness.  Tying up those loose ends this past month has been so difficult.  There were so many ‘endings’ in order to begin our adventure.  BUT we’ll be back peoples! Don’t you worry! Well, maybe worry a little bit.  We may really enjoy some island along the way where we could sell pouka shells on the beach and give intuition readings.

And then the day finally came!!  We left Los Angeles, California at about 3pm on Thursday, June 21, 2012.  We decided to leave Thursday afternoon to beat the pm traffic as well as the all day Friday gridlock of Los Angeles.  It worked! We barely hit any traffic.  We made it to Flagstaff, Arizona pretty late, and passed out pretty quickly.  But that didn’t last long.  The bed was pretty bouncy, so just breathing made the other jiggle.

We woke up to a beautiful Arizona morning.  Dry, sunny, clear and warm.  Upon recommendation from our friend Roland who used to live in Flagstaff, we went to Brandy’s Restaurant.  One glance at the menu and we knew we were out of LA.  When you can get a full breakfast for well under $10, you are not in LA (unless you’re at a drive through).

Aside from the fact that the day was special because we were on our first full day of our adventure, it also happened to be Seth’s 31st birthday! YAY!! Luckily, we had an adventurous day ahead of us.  Our first stop was the Grand Canyon.  I was super excited.  I’d never been to the Grand Canyon before.  It was absolutely spectacular.  It really was, well, grand! (sorry, had to do it.) We took some pictures precariously close to the edge, drank water straight from a spring, and did our fair share of people watching.  Let’s just say that it’s always interesting, and telling, watching the people at a major tourist destination.

Berkley at the Grand Canyon

We ended up having a long day of desert.  We drove through some very small towns and were looking forward to some mom n pop restaurants to feed us on our way, but it turned out that the franchises have taken over.  Pretty sad that the only choices in most towns were Mc Donalds, Wendy’s, and other kaka food like that.  I wonder why America has such a problem with obesity and diabetes? (rhetorical btw)  We ended up opting for Subway on two occasions, almost three.

We were making good time, so we decided to book it all the way to Meeker, Colorado.  But, not without stopping into Cabela’s in Grand Junction, Colorado.  I’d never been, and Seth wanted to pick up some supplies for our time in Meeker.

We made it to Meeker at around 9pm last night.  The first thing we did was introduce the pups.  For those of you who don’t know, Seth’s parents, Joan and Steve, live in Meeker, Colorado and they will be Mochi sitting while we are away.  Many might think this is sad at first, and we will be sad, but Mochi will be so happy.  Colorado is doggie heaven.  Birds, bugs, and open space are just some of the perks of Colorado for dogs.  Anyhow, we had to introduce her to Nellie and Cricket, Joan and Steve’s 9 month old puppies.  It was a success! I think Mochi was just happy to be back in Colorado, and didn’t care who was in ‘her’ house.  They’ve been getting along just fine since.

Last night we passed out in the cool basement bedroom, only to be awakened by all three dogs barking up a storm some time in the wee hours of the morning.  Not sure what they saw, but there have been bears on the property lately, so that’s a possibility.  Today we went shooting! So much fun to shoot outdoors.  Way more peaceful than a range.  Steve already knows what a good shot Seth is, but it was nice to show him that I’m not that bad myself.  I actually did really well today, despite my exhaustion.

Lunch! We visited one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, and it happens to be right here in Meeker.  It’s called Los Koras and they have really good tacos and ceviche.  I’m sure there are other good food items on the menu, but I can’t seem to stray from their tacos mayor and shrimp ceviche.

After Lunch we were pretty tired, so we sat on the porch and watched the dogs run around.  It was really hot, about 91 degrees Farenheit, so we pulled out the baby pool and filled it for the pups.  Mochi was the only brave one to get in.  Then we started spraying water at her and she’d chase it.  It was awesome.

The next few days are probably going to be similar, relaxing, shooting, playing with Mochi… A few days of rest before jumping time zones for real! We’re pretty excited.  Stay in touch everyone!

Where’d that charger go?

So, part of our trip prep is to move out of our apartment.  Luckily we don’t have to break our lease to leave, but it just so happens that our lease expires exactly one month from the day we plan to leave LA.  So, what to do? Fortunately, my parents are locals and both have spare bedrooms.  As of right now the plan is to spend about 2 weeks at my dad’s place, followed by 2 weeks at my mom’s.  I’m not sure how you guys feel about the issue, but for us, moving sucks!  The process of boxing things up and living in my very own box city is not exactly appealing.  For example, I am sitting on my couch (which is for sale BTW) and I can’t see the front door, or the kitchen, due to the enormous pile of boxes.  So, we are going to be moving boxes for the next few weekends.

Then there’s the fact that we have to be completely sure when we pack something that we are not going to need it on the trip.  This has led to a few re-opening of boxes to retrieve accidentally packed items. So, last night we packed everything into our packs to be sure we still had everything and to keep all our gear contained.  We’re golden.  It’s getting so close, it’s so exciting!

I’m Torn!

Ok guys, I need your help.  My predicament is whether or not to bring a pair of jeans on this trip.  Initial response is, “no, jeans are heavy and don’t dry quickly, which can quickly lead to a musty smell throughout your bag.”  Also, you might add, “Berkley, you’re going to be traveling through a lot of hot, hot climates and jeans won’t be comfortable, especially when it’s humid.”  But, here’s my thing… I live in jeans.  I love a dress, but there will be places (with malaria carrying mosquitoes and the like) where I can not wear a dress.  And if I’m thinking about how I look, at all, I like how I look wearing jeans more than when I’m wearing pants of a different material.  GAH! I’m so torn!  I need social input! Please tell me your thoughts!

We bought our tickets

No turning back now, we purchased our around the world airline tickets. We used the Star Alliance airline network so the dates are very flexible. But here is the general outline.

Denver to Frankfurt – June 28th

Istanbul to Dar Es Salam – August 16th

Dar Es Salam to Delhi – September 1st

Kathmandu to Osaka – October 9th

Osaka to Bangkok – October 29th

Bangkok to Singapore – November 29th

Singapore to Denver – December 29th


Denver to New York City – TBD

New York City to Madrid  – TBD

Madrid to Istanbul – TBD

After weeks and weeks of research I ended up discovering a little loophole when purchasing the tickets. If you don’t want to read the specifics of how we saved around four thousand dollars and ended up with a freebie trip to New York and Madrid read no further.

When purchasing the around the world ticket , starting in Denver the ticket costs 13,000 dollars for the two of us. If you move the starting location to Istanbul keeping all stops the same the ticket drops to 9,000 for the both of us. But we still need to get to Istanbul to start the trip off. Thats where a specific credit card comes into play. After searching high and low to find the perfect credit card to use over seas I decided the CHASE Sapphire Preferred Visa was the best one. No annual fee, no overseas surcharges, and 50,000 bonus points when you spend 3 thousand in the first three months. We got two of these cards, one in my name and one in my wife’s name. We used one card to purchase the tickets and the other to purchase a bunch of new gear for the trip. With our bonus points in play we used those to get tickets from Denver to Frankfurt, from there we will make our way to Istanbul and start the around the world ticket getting off the plane in Denver. BUT one requirement for the ticket is that you must start and end in the same country. So we have tickets that go from Denver to Madrid then Madrid to Istanbul that we can use within a calendar year of the first flight out of istanbul. So if you were able to follow all that what it means is that we saved four thousand dollars and got free one way tickets to Spain with a bit of research and careful planning.

I’m wearin Flippy Floppies…

So, as it turned out, these were our savior after some intense hiking.  This weekend Seth and I decided to put our newly acquired gear to the test and go backpacking.  For those of you who know our camping/vacation record, we always end up having an adventure.  Be it a monsoon with hurricane grade wind in Monterrey that shuts down the town, dust storms in the Mojave desert, or deathly heat outside of Phoenix, Arizona in the Tonto National Forest, we always end up with a story to tell.

This time the story takes place in the Sespe Wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest.  The plan was to make it to Willet Hot Springs, and possibly make our way all the way up to Sespe Hot Springs.  We set off with our back packs filled with only what we needed. This wasn’t going to be one of our gourmet camping trips with grill pans and beer, we brought boil in bag freeze dried food. Not even tents, we brought our bivy sacks.  Anyhoo, we set off on Friday morning into the wilderness in our newly worn in boots, minimalist backpacks, and Mochi.  We had a few river crossings where we had to hop across rocks and some where we needed to wade across.   Mochi was pretty good at river rock hopping, but wasn’t too keen on wading. Seth ended up carrying her, as she paddled in mid air. Pretty funny.  We were over half way to the hot springs when Seth’s feet started hurting.  He was already dealing with a blister when we began so we patched him up with some moleskin and we kept going.  Then my feet began to hurt.  Like I mentioned to every soul who fit me for boots, I need a big toe box because my feet swell when I do physical activity.  My toes were being squished together.

Even so, we were having a good time.  The weather was nice and warm with a cool breeze here and there.  And Mochi was having a blast.  She did not have to look far to find a butterfly or lizard to chase.  Eventually I spot something I thought was a bearded dragon.  Seth, being the quick and coordinated one, was able to catch it for a closer look.  The little critter didn’t seem to be bothered and it turned out to be a horny toad. He was super calm and posed nicely for pictures. Pretty cool. We ended up finding a few others along our trip, but this one was the coolest because he was the first.

Speaking of critters, he wasn’t the only little guy we ran into.  We came across frogs, bats, a California kingsnake, a garter snake, and skinks.  Mochi found the skinks.  There was a hollowed out log where we ended up camping that was apparently filled with skinks.  Mochi nabbed a few of their tails and the wriggling sent her wild!

Back to the adventure.  The last 4 miles of the hike to the hot springs was a lot of up and down terrain.  By that point our feet were in pretty bad shape.  Not a difficult hike, but our feet were causing much difficulty.  For Seth, the pain was lessened when we were going downhill, because the pressure was off his heels.  For me, the uphill climbs provided a touch of relief because it eased the pressure in my toes.  So it was a lose lose situation.  We made it to the Willet Campground with a few hours of sunlight left to spare.  When we asked some skinny dippers where the hot springs were, she pointed the way, but mentioned that her and her 12 buddies were staying at the sight by the spring.  We were in pretty bad shape but we decided to keep going in search of a campsite away from all the people.  We made it about a mile or two more over the next ridge and just as I was about to collapse from pain Seth found an awesome campsite.  There were makeshift benches of logs on piles of rocks and a fire pit and on top of that it was right by the river.  Plus, we were past the hot springs so no one was heading our way.

The first thing I did was take off my boots.  That was a surprise.  I had blisters on almost all of my toes, with monsters on my pinky toes.  To add insult to injury, it looked as though I might lose my left pinky toenail.  Gees.  I hobbled over to the river to soak my feet while Seth took pictures before we lost all sunlight.  The river felt so good.

After a good soak we started a fire and cooked up some delicious Santa Fe Chicken and Peppered Steak and rice in a bag.  The Santa Fe Chicken by Backpackers Pantry was pretty good.  Then we boiled up some water to drink and basically hit the sack!

The next morning, after very little sleep, we were ready to hike the day away.  Mochi was a little worn out.  Not only did she over exert herself the day before, but she was up all night keeping watch, barking or growling at anything that moved.  After some coffee we taped up my toes and Seth’s heels, then headed up to the hot springs.  The hot spring was lukewarm at best, and to be completely honest, it was kind of gross looking.  Murky like.  It wasn’t worth us getting all wet to be in tepid water in the heat of the day.  So we decided to do some hiking back towards the car and find a cool campsite along the way to spend the night.

We began to hike in a bit of pain, but our spirits were high.  Though in a bit of pain, we were still having fun.  A little before hitting the halfway point Seth noticed rain clouds heading towards us.  So much for our forecast of 0% rain.  Thank you to the California weathermen. We decided that staying the night would not be in our cards.  At a bit of a hobbler’s pace we made it to the first big river crossing and had to/got to take off our boots.  The relief was amazing, but what we found was unnerving.  We were in pretty bad shape.  The cool water of the river felt good on our feet.  But, there was no way we were putting those boots back on.  We slapped on our flip flops and trudged along.

Flip flops are difficult to walk in when they are wet.  They get slippery and this is a precarious situation while carrying packs up and down rocky terrain. But, we were managing.  Then, about 4.2 miles  to go (we checked) Mochi decided she was done walking.  “You go on! Just leave me here!” her eyes told us.  Gah! Rather than leave our dog in the wilderness, we arranged the Crazy Creek on the back of Seth’s pack so that she was carryable and she started nodding off to the rhythmic beat of Seth’s pace.  

This was not going to work.  20 extra pounds dangling off the back of Seth’s pack was not a good situation.  So, what do mothers do with their children? They swaddle them to their chests.  This is kinda similar, right?

Then, as if hiking up and down rocky terrain, through rivers, in flip flops, carrying 35+ pounds, and trading off the doggie hammock wasn’t enough, the wind began to pick up and the heavens decided to open.  With our forecast of 0% chance of rain we hadn’t packed rain gear. Now, our feet were in pain from being blistered, and our body was beginning to ache from the situation (i.e. hiking in slippery flip flops with lots of weight).  A few more river crossings later, and we finally made it to the car.  Luckily we brought extra shirts.

We blasted the heat and headed home.  After stopping at Mulberry Street Pizza in Sherman Oaks to say hello to my dad (and grub on some well deserved lasagna pizza) we were in our humble abode.  We washed Mochi, then ourselves, tended to our wounds, and hopped into bed.  Sleep hurt, and waking up hurt too. We’re both pretty stiff and I’m gonna lose one, if not two, of my pinky toe nails.

The moral of this story is, forget the boots. Flip flops will do.  Needless to say, we’re both returning our boots once we can walk without waddling.

As for the rest of our gear, everything was pretty stellar.  Our pants (Seth=Rock Guide from Patagonia, Berkley=Horizon Tempest by North Face) were awesome,drying quickly and super comfortable.  Our backpacks (Seth=Baltoro by Gregory, Berkley=ACT Lite SL by Deuter) were comfortable and held all our stuff.  Both packs have lots of handy loops to hook things to the outside if needed (like unworn boots and dogs with low morale).  The travel towels by McNett were  super absorbent once the rain began.  Seth’s Capilene shirt by Patagonia was light and breathable and dries extremely fast.  My Merino Silkweight by Patagonia was a favorite of mine too. I didn’t feel it on me, wet or dry.  I’ve decided on two bras (so far). For this trip I used my coolmax travel bra by Travelsmith and it was perfect. I didn’t feel it on me and it wicked really well.  My underwear by Patagonia were awesome, as usual, and Seth is still liking his Champion skivvies.  As you can see, our cameras are rocking the house.  The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 takes great photos and Seth has been doing a lot of experimenting with exposure time and HDRI, and it’s turning out great.  And, our Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 is perfect and portable and the GPS feature is awesome.  Though we found some pitfalls, it’s better to do the testing out here when we have a comfy bed and all the amenities to recuperate.  This is why you don’t buy new gear for a big trip!