Viewing entries tagged
snow

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Go Outside: Spring Forward

Wow. Spring has ushered herself right in. While I'm still concerned about the lack of rain and snow we've had around here, I can't help but smile at all of the blossoming going on.

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I even got a nice little surprise after removing the cap of this jar the other day.

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I followed these directions for growing peach trees from seed a few months ago and was shocked to see it had actually worked. I don't have much of a green thumb (see also: killing ivy... by accident), so let's hope I can keep this little seedling alive.

While much of the country is still dealing with the winter chill, I'm officially giving in to the celebration of warmer weather, brighter evenings and fresh beginnings.

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Now where did I put those flip flops?

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Snowshoeing in Donner Memorial State Park

It's no secret that much of Northern California has been experiencing a long stretch of fairly dry weather. We could use a nice soaking (or three) in the Sacramento Valley and the snow pack in the Sierras is dwindling.That said, we still found a nice base of snow this weekend at Donner Memorial State Park for our first-ever snowshoeing adventure!

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We decided to check out Donner Memorial State Park because the flat terrain seemed good for beginners. You can download the winter trail map here, if you're interested. From the Sacramento Valley, the park is easy to find and the trip only takes about an hour and a half, depending on traffic.

The park was covered in a beautiful blanket of snow and the two-hour nature walk was exactly what we were looking for. At the start of the Lake Loop Trail, we stopped to take photos and were treated to a bald eagle spotting:

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Not a bad way to start the trek! The spring-like weather made for some slushy areas, but overall, the park was a perfect place to fall in love with a new hobby.

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As we walked along, we came across this big fella:

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No, my friends, this is not photoshopped. We found this double-headed tree just off the trail and could not stop staring!

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It was even more impressive up close. I've seen trees grow together before, but the symmetry of this guy was something else!

The trail is a nice, easy loop that takes you along a short section of the south shore of Donner Lake. It was a beautiful place to rest for a bit, but I couldn't help wishing for a little more snow!

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We ventured off the path several times to find some powder:

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We've definitely found a fun outdoor activity in snowshoeing. As beginners, we weren't quite sure how difficult it would be to get started. Did we need lessons? What should we wear?

As it turns out, snowshoeing is super easy. I turned to the internet and found this somewhat cheesy video for beginners and this informative video for clothing advice. I opted to go with waterproof everything, since I knew I'd be getting into the snow to take pictures.

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My husband, on the other hand, went with jeans, a few cotton layers and a waterproof coat because the weather was so mild. We were both happy campers, so I suppose the best advice is to bring lots of layers, know your body (do you run hot or cold?) and pay attention to weather conditions. Waterproof shoes (hiking boots or snow boots) seem to be the best investment since wet, cold feet can end an outdoor adventure pretty quickly.

We don't own snowshoe gear, so we borrowed what we could from a friend (thanks, Amy!) and rented the rest from our local REI store. After a little bit of research (read: we consulted the internet, friends and the nice folks at REI), we decided to go without snowshoe poles. The low snow pack and negligible elevation change on the trail meant we would be okay without them. Again, just take a look at the conditions and the terrain and decide what gear you need for your snowshoe adventures.

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Your turn: Have any of you snowshoed before? What did you think? Any great trails we should check out? If you have advice for newbies like us, feel free to share your knowledge in the comment section!

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A Very NorCal Holiday

I hope you all had (or are still having) a wonderful holiday season surrounded loved ones. This is such a festive time of year and I can't help but feel grateful and full of love. For the holiday, we visited family in Crescent City, had a chance to see some old friends, ate and drank waaaaay too much (p.s. I'm totally making this soup to bring on the veggies) and enjoyed our time on the road. We're feeling pretty fulfilled at the moment and we still have a few family gatherings to attend!Here's a little photo snippet from our trip:

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{If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen a few of these. In case you're wondering after reading this post, I've decided to keep using the app for two reasons: 1.) the founders appear to have listened to their users (at least for now) and 2.) Instagram really does have the most user-friendly platform and the best filters (at least for now). :) }

The past week has been filled with good times and the peace and quiet I had been looking for. I hope to take a few more days off from this blog and return to bring you fun, helpful and engaging content in 2013.

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Happy Friday, all!

Looking for recommendations for a trip to Northern California? There's an app for that! I've collected all of my favorite places to explore the great outdoors in Northern California into one app, which you can download from iTunes right here.

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