highlights from mendocino trip

mendocino

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I spent the past few days on a little getaway to Mendocino, a quaint coastal town in northern California. Allyn’s family was sweet enough to invite me along on their trip, and I loved getting to spend more time with them and get to know them better. They are a super fun bunch, and we accumulated many inside jokes over our four days together!

Allyn’s family rented a vacation house a few miles outside of town with a stunning view of the ocean. I also loved the beautiful tall trees and the vibrant wildflowers!

ocean view

tall trees wildflowers

We went for day hikes along the beach cliffs and through the Jughandle nature preserve. Sometimes the weather in Mendocino can get quite dreary and foggy, but we lucked out with clear sunny days — perfect to take in the gorgeous views. We even spotted some humpback whales in the ocean, and some sea lions sunning themselves on the rocks.

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mendocino coast

jughandle trail

There was no Internet access or cell phone service, and it was refreshing to get “off the grid” for a few days. Instead of watching TV or checking email, evenings were spent talking by the fireplace, roasting marshmallows for s’mores, playing board games and trying to complete an epically challenging puzzle called “The Sentinels”… which was finally finished just before we had to leave!

the sentinels

All in all, it was a wonderful trip and I am so grateful to Allyn and his family for including me! I’ll end this recap post with a message we found spelled out with sticks along the Jughead trail — a great reminder for us all: YOU ARE LOVED.

you are loved

Questions of the morning:

  • What was a memorable getaway trip you took?
  • Do you ever set aside time to go “off the grid” and put away your electronic devices?

 

mt. whitney wednesday: the big day begins!

Hi everyone! This post is part of my Mt. Whitney chronicles, which is comprised of journal entries from when I climbed Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States, ten years ago. If you missed any earlier posts in the series, they are all archived here.

mt whitney chronicles

Saturday, July 26, 3:52 a.m.

My alarm went off at 2:30 this morning. I don’t think I have ever woken up this early in my entire life, yet I was surprised to find I wasn’t really that tired. Nervous energy and adrenaline pumped through my veins as I pulled on my hiking boots and shouldered my backpack filled with enough water to get a camel across the Sahara.

I took one last look at the warm hotel room before closing the door behind me and following Mom down the darkened corridor. I wonder if I will return triumphant and proud, or despondent and defeated by the mountain? I tell myself it will be the former!

We met Stacey and some of the others in our climbing party at the hotel where they were staying. As we huddled in front of the cars in the parking lot, waiting while a few of them did a final check to make sure they hadn’t forgotten anything, I was reminded of a group of teenage girls preparing to go TP-ing on a slumber party night: nervous, excited, and taking a little breathless comfort in the thought that, whatever happens, we are all in this together.

We drove up to the Whitney Portal in a small caravan of cars. The road is uncomfortably narrow, so it is reassuring to have another car in front of you to follow. It is so pitch black outside once you leave the few lights of Lone Pine behind. Driving along and looking up at the mountain we are about to climb, with the twinkling stars the only light in the sky, and our feeble headlights only illuminating a small section of the ground ahead, I have never felt so small and yet so big, so alone and yet so connected, so wise and yet so utterly clueless, all at the same time.

We parked and headed up to the trailhead. Most of the stars are blocked out by the towering mountain and the surrounding trees, and it is so dark I literally cannot see my hand in front of my face. It is cold, too; biting cold, and I’m glad for my fleece gloves and warm wool beanie. Mom helps me put my headlamp on, which is basically a flashlight mounted to a headband. When she bought it a month ago at one of the hiking stores I thought it was one of the silliest, dorkiest things I had ever seen, but now I’m grateful for the steady beam of light it provides, revealing the trail ahead.

We start out, talking softly and stepping quickly, full of energy, excitement and nervousness. If I turn and look behind me, the steady line of my teammate hikers, each with a headlamp firmly positioned on her forehead, looks oddly like a group of miners. It makes me think of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs.

“Hi ho, hi ho! It’s off to the peak of Mount Whitney we go!” We slip through the silent night, a flurry of boots and beams of light. The woods behind us are quiet, and the mountain ahead is darker than the back side of the moon.

the whitney group

A group shot a couple hours into the hike, once the sun has risen.

year of kindness challenge: week 18

year of kindness button

Hi friends! Here’s to a new week! Hope your Monday is off to a fantastic start!

I had one of those restorative, rejuvenating weekends … slept well, made homemade enchiladas and my special California white chicken chili, 3-hour coffee date with my friend Erica, long visits with my Gramps, quality reading time, yoga, fro yo with Mom, some lovely walks, and a thought-provoking sermon at church where I was welcomed home with open arms. Life is good and I feel so grateful and blessed!

Last week’s kindness challenge was to pick up litter! I went on a walk at one of my favorite spots, the path in my neighborhood that winds along this beautiful barranca and lemon orchards.

barranca path

barranca path 2

I filled up this plastic grocery bag with trash!

trash bag

trash bag 2

On my walk I had another opportunity for kindness: one of the sprinklers on the path was broken and gushing up a ton of water, like a geyser. As soon as I got home, I called the city parks service and let them know, and they promised to get on it right away! Hopefully we saved some water from being wasted!

Here are a couple articles I came across this week about kind acts that warmed my heart:

The Week 18 Kindness Challenge, in honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, is to write a note to a mother of one of your friends who has had an influence in your life. Alternatively, you could write to another mother-figure in your life, such as an aunt or family friend. Thank them for all the joy and love they have brought into your life!

As always, blog about your experiences and include your links in the comments section below, or feel free to send me an email at dallaswoodburn <AT> gmail <DOT> com.

Have a wonderful week!
Dallas

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year of kindness archives:
– week 1 challenge: donate items to those in need
– week 2 challenge: leave quarters & note at laundry machine
– week 3 challenge: write & send a kind handwritten note
– week 4 challenge: give hot chocolate to someone outside in the cold
– week 5 challenge: do something kind for a neighbor
– week 6 challenge: deliver valentines to a nursing home
– week 7 challenge: donate to a food pantry
– week 8 challenge: donate toiletries to a shelter
– week 9 challenge: post a kind note in a public place
– week 10 challenge: do something kind for a child
– week 11 challenge: thank someone in a genuine & meaningful way
– week 12 challenge: deliver baked goods to a fire station
– week 13 challenge: give someone flowers
– week 14 challenge: donate books
– week 15 challenge: reach out and spend time with people
– week 16 challenge: smile at everyone you meet
week 17 challenge: pick up litter/trash