Saturday, January 19, 2019

From Hiking Boots to Snowshoes (Vasquez Rocks and Sequoia National Park Roadtrip)

When our landlord told us that we had to pick a weekend to be out of our apartment due to termite fumigation, we weren't too mad about it.  It was a fine excuse to go on a weekend trip and get reimbursed for undue rent!  We decided to go to Sequoia National Park--not too far away, and the weather was perfect.  By perfect, we mean below freezing temperatures and a high chance of fresh snow.  

We also hit up the Vasquez Rocks, which is about 45 minutes away from our apartment off the 14 Freeway.  It's a pretty awesome cluster of rock formations jutting out from the earth just a little bit off the route from our apartment in Pasadena to Sequoia.  The first time we went to the Vasquez Rocks was actually sometime in 2015, because we were in the area to pick up a used snowboard that Wes was buying for me off Craig's List.  We didn't spend that much time there that time, as we were not even prepared to stumble upon this cool place.  We'd been talking about going back to explore.  This time, we planned to hike a few trails, check out the visitor's center, and learn more about the history behind this area.  But before we hit the road, we headed to Arcadia for our first order of business: dimsum at China Red (our new favorite spot!).  

It's crazy how vastly different the two places we visited were within the same 200-mile stretch, over the course of just three days.  I really appreciated the dynamic landscapes that we can so easily drive to in California and also the spontaneity with which we can pursue these adventures at this time in our lives.  Now, we just have to go and unpack all of our dishes and food that we had to bag for the fumigation... ugh.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

TMB Day 7: La Fouly to Champex

Day Seven
July 23, 2018

Starting point: La Fouly, Switzerland
Ending point: Champex, Switzerland
Distance: 9.9 miles
Height gain: 2192 feet
High point: Champex (4810 feet)
Lunch: Cafe du Chatelet, Issert
Accommodation: Hotel Mont Lac

The guidebook said that this stage was definitely the easiest day of the trek.  Even though there were still many miles to cover, we would not be going over any mountain passes or into any valleys. We were excited for an easy day, but by the middle of it I think that we were both really over how easy (and monotonous) it was. After an initial climb out of the Swiss Val Ferret, we walked along the mountain in the trees, gaining snatches of views of the river and the little Swiss houses to the right. We stopped into a random cave that was not mentioned in the guidebook with some Ukrainian trekkers, one of which really wanted to take a picture with us afterward.  After this little jolt of excitement, it was a mostly flat walk through three quiet Swiss hamlets until we came to a small refuge that was the only thing in operation at the end of Issert, the last of the three hamlets. A simple but hearty country lunch there gave us the energy to trudge up a steep ascent to Champex, a surprisingly idyllic lakeside resort town.  We had no idea how nice it was going to be, it felt a little bit indulgent for a trekking trip!  After ninja-ing the only market in town (like, making it in literally as they were closing), we soaked in those resort amenities and treated ourselves to a bomb lakeview dinner.