Exploring Highway 1

When my brother, Dave, was here, we spent an afternoon driving up the iconic Highway 1 along the California coast. We started from Big Basin, headed to the coast, and drove north, stopping along the way to experience the windy beaches, explore rocky cliffs, and admire the views.

We stopped at Año Nuevo, a state park where you can see herds of elephant seals. Unfortunately, their walking tours were full that day, so we’ve made a mental note to go back next winter when the seals come ashore.

Ryder would like you to look to the left, where you will see the Pacific Ocean.

A cool wind-blown tree on the bluffs.

See more photos here (some are mine, some are Dave’s).

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Yes, it’s true, we went to Hawaii! We spent a week on Kauai, in a cute island cottage with palm trees outside and chickens roaming the property (turns out that’s an accurate description of any place on the island, including the beach).

Some highlights included hiking to Hanakapiai Falls, snorkeling in super-clear water and seeing giant sea turtles, and long walks on the beach.

You can see a lot more photos here.

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Happy Birthday(s)!

Since Ryder and I have birthdays four days apart, we get to string our celebrations out for the whole span. How better to celebrate than with two cakes…

IMG_3835 (chocolate cake with speculoos cookie butter frosting)

IMG_3837 (surprise cake from work)

some new (real) cacti to go with my crochet cacti collection


… strawberry-banana daiquiris…

IMG_3852 IMG_3865

… and cookie stuffed cookies for Ryder’s labmates to enjoy.


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Exploring Big Basin Redwoods State Park

While my brother was in town, we took a day trip to Big Basin Redwoods State Park. It’s about an hour from our house, the last half on winding roads up into the Santa Cruz mountains. Big Basin has some of the largest old-growth redwood trees in this part of California, which was our primary motivation for choosing this park.

Two of the largest trees, the “mother of the forest” and the “father of the forest” are 15 feet in diameter and almost 300 feet tall!

Besides those two huge redwoods, there were many, many more huge redwoods. After a while, these trees started to look normal!

The hike itself was also really nice – the park is very wooded so we were in the shade most of the day, and had a nice 3 mile loop to hike. There are a lot more trails through the park, including a longer hike out to Berry Creek Falls that Ryder and I are eyeing for a time when we’re feeling adventerous.

More pictures here.

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Exploring our neck of the woods: Byxbee Park

My brother Dave came for a visit recently and we took the opportunity to do some more exploring. First up was a visit to the Palo Alto Baylands Park and the adjoining Byxbee Park. The Baylands park itself wasn’t much more than a Duck Pond and some trails among the marshes, but Byxbee Park was a bit more interesting.

Pole Field is an art installation featuring poles.

Byxbee park

This park is on top of an old city dump, and it’s an odd mish-mash of clearly man-made landforms, public art installations like this one, and marshy fields.

Byxbee park, overlooking the bay

The park edges the Bay, and we had a nice view across it, as well as of a bunch of shorebirds, and a few windsurfers. You can see some more pictures of our visit here.

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