Happiness Is…

Happiness is…

*Hiking in my FAV Bay Area locale – Marin Headlands/Mount Tam – with friends

*Anemones, anemones, and even MORE anemones lurking in the South Beach tide pools

*Purple and orange starfish hiding amongst the thousands upon thousands of crabs and millions upon million of mussels

*Puerto Rican dining at San Rafael’s finest, the VERY TASTY Sol Food

*Inspirational, educational and just downright HYSTERICAL conversations with friends

*Natural beauty… of which the Bay Area has more than its fair share

*Eleven and 1/4 miles of BEAUTIFUL Mount Tam trails – Coastal, Heather Cutoff, Owl, Redwood Creek,…

*South Beach and Slide Ranch – with its ECLECTIC assortment of animals including white Silkie chickens, Ancona ducks, bee hives, and lots of tide pools

*Spiritual retreat center – the PEACEFUL Zen Center Gardens – the perfect spot to catch hundreds of Monarch butterflies enjoying flower nectar while en route to Mexico
*Introducing older and newer FRIENDS from various facets of my life – and even meeting a few new faces

*Sunday afternoon and evening BLISS!

Why I LOVE the Bay Area…

Thanks Wayland, Kim, Emma, Andrei, Roxana, Hector, Carolina, Jesus, Jean, Yan, Vik, Manuel, Zach, Ann, Radu, Lara, Ron, Sajjad, and Catherine for helping make the day spectacular!! 😘

#iluv2xplore #BayArea #GoldenGateNationalRecreationArea #GGNRA #Mount Tam #MarinHeadlands #MuirBeach #MuirBeachOverlook #SlideRanch #SouthBeach #NCAL #California #dreamexplorediscover #hikingbackpacking #naturalbeauty #nature #whyILOVEtheBayArea

2015-Sept-27: One of many happy moments spending the day with friends wandering the countless Mount Tam trails

2015-Sept-27: One of many happy moments spending the day with friends wandering the countless Mount Tam trails

2015-Sept-27: One of many happy moments spending the day with friends wandering the countless Mount Tam trails

2015-Sept-27: One of many happy moments spending the day with friends wandering the countless Mount Tam trails

2015-Sept-27: One of many happy moments spending the day with friends wandering the countless Mount Tam trails

2015-Sept-27: One of many happy moments spending the day with friends wandering the countless Mount Tam trails

 

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Jesus Asked, Mother Nature Answered

Jesus (Nuñez) asked (cool weather, no sun), and Mother Nature answered… Our escape from the almost month long San Francisco heat wave to the Marin Headlands & Green Gulch Zen Center was filled with fog, cool weather, BEAUTIFUL coastal views, and hundreds upon hundreds of VIBRANT flowers. I couldn’t have asked for a better day… Or better peeps to spend it with 😋. Why I LOVE the Bay Area…

2015-Sep-12 Our escape to the SF coastline

2015-Sep-12 Our escape to the SF coastline

#whyiLOVEthebayarea #iluv2xplore #dreamexplorediscover #BayArea #GoldenGateNationalRecreationArea #GGNRA #MarinHeadlands

UNDENIABLE!

Exploring a few of my favorite trails with a few long-time friends and some newbies… En route to a few of my favorite Marin Headlands spots… Each visit is just as exhilarating as the 1st time and leaves me with a HUGE smile… UNDENIABLE BEAUTY!! Why I LOVE the Bay Area…

Ron, Desmond, Tina, Ann, & Jordan, thanks for contributing to such an INCREDIBLE day!! 

2015-Jun-21 Views of the San Francisco coastline, Point Bonita Lighthouse, and Golden Gate Bridge from Marin Headlands trails.

2015-Jun-21 Views of the San Francisco coastline, Point Bonita Lighthouse, and Golden Gate Bridge from Marin Headlands trails.

2015-Jun-21 Views of the San Francisco coastline, Point Bonita Lighthouse, and Golden Gate Bridge from Marin Headlands trails.

2015-Jun-21 Views of the San Francisco coastline, Point Bonita Lighthouse, and Golden Gate Bridge from Marin Headlands trails.

On Top of Marin

The day started on a high… with a steep, 1600+ foot ascent above the fog to the East Peak of Mount Tamalpais (aka Mount Tam), the highest point in Marin (at ~2,570 feet) with a few of my FAV nature loving, hiking peeps 😘.

sights... NATURAL Beauty… 13.5 mile hike to the East Peak of Mount Tamalpais. The day started on a high and ended on a high - with lots of LOVELY things in between… I couldn’t ask for a better day! Good trails… Good views… Good friends… Good fun… Why I LOVE the Bay Area…

sights… NATURAL Beauty… 13.5 mile hike to the East Peak of Mount Tamalpais. The day started on a high and ended on a high – with lots of LOVELY things in between… I couldn’t ask for a better day! Good trails… Good views… Good friends… Good fun… Why I LOVE the Bay Area…

The day ended on a high… with a steep, 600+ foot ascent back to our starting point through groves of redwood and oak trees with a few of my FAV nature loving, hiking peeps 😘.  (And those that know me, know there are two things I try my best to avoid: (1) out and back hikes, and (2) ending with a climb – especially after a VERY long day of hiking 😬).

sights... NATURAL Beauty… 13.5 mile hike to the East Peak of Mount Tamalpais. The day started on a high and ended on a high - with lots of LOVELY things in between… I couldn’t ask for a better day! Good trails… Good views… Good friends… Good fun… Why I LOVE the Bay Area…

sights… NATURAL Beauty… 13.5 mile hike to the East Peak of Mount Tamalpais. The day started on a high and ended on a high – with lots of LOVELY things in between… I couldn’t ask for a better day! Good trails… Good views… Good friends… Good fun… Why I LOVE the Bay Area…

There were lots of LOVELY things in between… the PHENOMENAL 360° views of the entire Bay Area from the peak… the BEAUTIFUL trails that I had never explored (especially Troop 80, Sierra, and Lost)… the PEACEFUL rippling of the rushing Fern Creek and Redwood Creek waters… the UNEXPECTED sighting of several hummingbirds as they zipped between the trees…

And the icing on the cake… replenishment at my FAV SF sushi joint with a few of my FAV nature loving, hiking peeps 😘.

I couldn’t ask for a better day! Good trails… Good views… Good friends (the nature loving, hiking kind)… Good sushi… Good  saké… Good fun… Why I LOVE the Bay Area…

#whyiLOVEthebayarea #iluv2xplore #dreamexplorediscover #naturalbeauty  #mounttam #mounttamalpais #marin #eastpeakview

The BEST Sunset… EVER

My first visit to Sequoia National Park and I had such high hopes to explore the groves of sequoias, and of course to see General Sherman, the largest tree in the world. These hopes were quickly squashed when I became chilled to the bone not even 1 hour into our hike and wanted to be finished…

Maybe it had something to do with my complete mental and physical exhaustion???  I had been working CRAZY hours for almost 8 weeks, and was riding on a high because my team and I had FINALLY resolved a huge issue the Friday before Christmas. On this same day, my high sunk to an all-time low when I realized that someone’s ego unnecessarily got the best of them, and was going to have significant negative impacts on me. (All I can say is I am a firm believer in KARMA… 😇) Plus, I had spent the previous week traveling to Atlanta for the holidays to visit my family – the Dude (aka dad), my older sister, bro-in-law, and their two young children. I ADORE my 6 year old niece and 4 year old nephew – except in the wee morning hours… The morning after my arrival, at 6 AM EST (3AM PST), I hear my 6 year old niece chastising my 4 year old nephew right outside my bedroom door, screaming at the top of her lungs “Be quiet, Julian, Auntie is sleeping!!!!” The next morning, Christmas, I had a certain young lady plop right on my bed at 4AM EST asking if it was time to open gifts… Needless to say, on top of being a bit jet-lagged, I was also a bit sleep deprived in Atlanta.

All was good and well until my return flight was delayed 8+ hours, putting me into the Bay Area around 9 PM. Upon arrival, I found out that there were issues with the baggage carousels and that there was only 1 servicing the entire terminal. Yep, Murphy’s Law in effect AGAIN! By the time I got home, I had a little less than 7 hours to unpack, do some laundry, take care of a few work emails, and repack. My thought was that I would power through the night and catch a nap in the car en route to Death Valley (the first stop of our National Park holiday journey). Unfortunately, my two gal pals had the same idea 😥. They had also pulled an all-nighter getting ready for our adventure. So, my sleep deprivation continued…

OR, maybe the fact that the trails were VERY icy, and I did not have proper footwear??? It WAS wintertime… I don’t know what I was thinking 😋… I guess living in an area with year-round mild weather and having just spent the previous few days in Death Valley made me forget that I would probably encounter snow and ice. I had already slipped a few times, and the last thing I needed was to re-injure my back after finally surpassing MANY years of being in chronic pain. Note to self, the soles on my Salomon shoes become like skates when they encounter winter elements 😁. Next time, I will definitely make sure I bring crampons.

OR MAYBE it was simply because I realized that I think am kind of over tall trees! No offense, Sequoias, I AM impressed by you! You are the largest trees in the world. BUT… too much of a good thing… I see you (or your cousins) almost every weekend when hiking in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, one of my favorite weekend haunts, houses Muir Woods, the Marin Headlands, and Phelger Estate, which all contain groves of redwoods. I thought I would be more excited to see General Sherman up close…

Whatever the reason, this was possibly the 2nd time in my life I was more than ready to quit shortly after starting something. My gal pals and I did manage to walk a few short miles in the Giant Forest, on the Big Trees Trail, and to visit the General Sherman Tree… and I did snap a picture or two 😁.

After having a relaxing lunch at the Wuksachi Lodge, we decided to go on a car ride to see what we had missed the evening before as we entered Sequoia National Park long after dark. The road back to the Ash Entrance of the park is only ~25 miles but took more than an hour primarily due to the sharp hairpin turns but also to a few drivers who were busier enjoying the views than driving 😁. It seems as though these peeps failed to notice the NUMEROUS turnouts along Highway 198. In any event, our timing was just about perfect… We arrived at the Eleven Ranges Viewpoint in the late afternoon – just in time to snap some photos of the late afternoon sun.

The prequel to the most AMAZING sunset…

Eleven Ranges Viewpoint, Sequoia National Park, CA. Late afternoon sun. The prequel to the most AMAZING sunset...

Eleven Ranges Viewpoint, Sequoia National Park, CA. Late afternoon sun. The prequel to the most AMAZING sunset…

And for the first time in weeks, I was able to return to the present moment…  To stop the millions of thoughts and images dashing through my brain… To focus on the INCREDIBLE beauty before my eyes… And most importantly, to feel a TREMENDOUS sense of peace.

John Muir said it best, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

And the best was yet to come…

Eleven Ranges Viewpoint, Sequoia National Park, CA. "In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks." - John Muir. The best sunset I have seen in ages...

Eleven Ranges Viewpoint, Sequoia National Park, CA. “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir. The best sunset I have seen in ages…

I can honestly say, THIS IS the best sunset I have seen in ages…

 

#iluv2xplore #dreamexplorediscover #naturalbeauty #nature #SequoiaNationalPark #sunset #ElevenRanges #Highway198 #JohnMuir #Big TreesTrail #GeneralSherman #GiantForest #WukasachiLodge #GGNRA #GoldenGateNationalRecreationArea #MuirWoods #MarinHeadlands

Multitasking at its Best!

Taking in a few of my FAVORITE Marin County hot spots… Stinson Beach, Rocky Point Beach, Muir Woods… While doing some of my FAVORITE activities… Catching up w/ friends, playing w/ my camera, enjoying the BEAUTIFUL scenery, ascending/descending Mount Tam… Along 16.5 miles of a few of my FAVORITE trails… Steep Ravine, Dipsea, Main, Ocean View… With some of my Bay Area peeps… Followed by refueling with gluttonous amounts of my FAVORITE Burmese cuisine from Mandalay… Mango Salad, Tea Leaf Salad, Basil Spicy Eggplant, Mango Chicken, etc. I couldn’t ask for a better send off!!

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