Monterey for MLK

For the long weekend (thank you MLK, you still continue to be the man), we went to Big Sur / Monterey for a nice getaway from the city.

We drove down to Big Sur first to do a couple of hikes. Fun Fact: Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park are not the same park. They’re actually 12 miles apart. Also, Pfeiffer Falls is not the same as McWay Falls.

Pfeiffer Falls is located in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

Pfeiffer Falls is located in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

We drove to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park since it was the first one we saw, and Pfeiffer Falls was one of the trails which I thought was the same thing as McWay Falls, cause I’ve been there before but didn’t remember the name but I did remember it going into the ocean. But then we started hiking away from the coast and into the mountains for this short easy-to-moderate, 60-minute hike to the falls, which didn’t really make sense to me, and it ended up to be Pfeiffer Falls.

Then Matt googled it and saw that McWay Falls was actually in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, which was 12 miles south. So we drove there and did an even shorter hike to the real McWay Falls.

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And it was beautiful.

We also went deep-sea fishing, which was a first for me. The boat left at 6am, and it was dark and cold, but then the sun came up.

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AND I actually baited the hook, and caught LOTS of fish, AND took the fish off the hooks all by myself. We got about 20 lbs of Mackerel and Sand Dabs between the two of us. There were these pelicans that would just sit on the water by our fishing lines, waiting for us to pull the fish up. Then they try to STEAL OUR FISH.

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The audacity.

Then the real fishermen who own the boats went crabbing for two hours, where they dropped these traps into the water and then pull them up a few minutes later.

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At the end of the 6-hour trip, we each took home 6 Dungeness crabs and all the fish we caught. The fishermen will clean all your fish for you for a small fee and tip, then we had a huge crab boil and fried fish feast when we got home.

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And it was delicious.

Throwback Hawaii: Maui

We went to Maui last October, so it was another Hawaiian island to check off the list for me. Since it was off-season, we got pretty cheap round-trip flights from Oakland, and an one-bedroom condo AirBnB for a pretty good rate in Maalaea Harbor for the first 3 nights, a cabin in the Haleakala National Park, and then a nice resort for our last night.

Unfortunately for us, a hurricane was forecasted for the weekend, which put quite a damper on most of our planned activities.

We arrived Thursday, picked up a convertible, and dropped our stuff off at the condo.

our view from the balcony

our view from the balcony

We spent most of the day driving around and laying out on the beaches and soaking up the sun.

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We took surfing lessons on Friday, and I was able to get up a few times. Surfing is so not hard when it’s 80 degrees out with 75-degrees calm, blue, clear waters. But out here in California 50-degree, murky, shark-infested waters, it’s a lot harder.

Saturday, the rain started, so we went to the aquarium and spent most of the time driving around the north side of the island. The entire northwest coastline is a one-lane, cliff-side road where you can’t go more than 30mph.  Halfway through it, we found this amazing house that was partially converted into the Kaukini Gallery with cute jewelry and Maui souvenirs.

We had booked a cabin on top of the Haleakala Crater for Sunday night. We wanted to do the hike up, stay the night, see the stars and the sunrise before hiking back down. Due to the hurricane though, our reservation got cancelled, and we ended up extending a night at the condo.

Sunday, the rain stopped but the water looked so muddy and just so.. sharky. I elected to stay in, but from our balcony, we could see locals out surfing the breaks out in front of our row of condos. A dad paddling out with his three kids convinced Matt to take his bodyboard out for a few laps. He didn’t last long out there though since the water was too choppy and rough.

See the surfers in the distance?

See the surfers in the distance?

An hour after he came back inside, we went downstairs and there was a sign in the lobby saying that there was a shark attack at the condo next door. The father of the three kids had gotten attacked by a shark! Here’s the news story on what happened.

On Monday, we did the Road to Hana. Buy one of those CDs that you see at the gas stations or tourist shops cause it’s totally worth it. All cars have CD players, and there’s a track for each mile marker, so you’ll know which one to play. It’s super informative, and it also recommends hikes/vistas/stops that you should most definitely visit or places you can miss if you don’t have time. Your phone definitely isn’t going to have service outside of civilization, so you’re not going to be able to Google Map anything. Most of the landmarks/hikes/trails aren’t visibly posted either, so you’re most likely to drive right past things without knowing they even existed behind all the trees.

The Road to Hana took all day. We left around 7am and got to the resort around 7pm. The road is a two-lane (but really barely big enough to only fit one car), mountain-side road, with a lot of one-lane bridges so you gotta go slow. The drive alone is about 5 hours down, including stops to eat and take pictures. It ends in a small sleepy town of Hana, but it also continues on to an entrance into the Haleakala National Park. Here, we saw the Pools of Ohe’o and did the 1.8 mile Pipiwai Trail which ends at the 400-feet high Waimoku Falls.

Pools of Ohe'o

Pools of Ohe’o

Bamboo Forest along the hike

Bamboo Forest along the hike

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Waimoku Falls

 

 

#2015

I failed.

I barely posted anything in 2014. But it was a great year.

2014 was a refreshing fresh start for me.

Hiked Muir Woods. Saw Amos Lee in concert. Snow Weekend in Tahoe. Rooftop dinners. Watched the Giants go to the World Series and then win it all. Represented Chun Li and Ryu well. Went wine tasting in Napa/Sonoma a few times. Learned how to paddleboard in Sausalito. Vandy girls reunion in Boston. Went white-water rafting and Six Flags for the 4th of July. Completed my first (and most likely last) Tough Mudder in Tahoe. Hiked in Yosemite. Got a new job at a tech startup. Bought my first DSLR camera. Discovered Maui. Surfed and sunned and went on the Road to Hana. Attended a childhood friends beautiful wedding in Sonoma. Spent Halloween on a boat party. Played paintball for the first time. Ran a Thanksgiving 5K. Spent Thanksgiving with a house full of friends and food. Attended my first real company holiday parties. Nashville for the holidays. Started and ended the year with a wonderful guy.

As with moving to any new city, I’ve finally realized how great my life is in San Francisco, and I am especially grateful for all the people who make it so.

I’m excited for 2015.

And of course, my New Year’s Resolutions:

  • I’m going to blog more. At least once every one to two weeks, which means a minimum of 26 posts.
  • I’m going to take more pictures with my DSLR. At least once a week and post them.
  • I’m going to save up and maybe go on an international trip. Taipei for NYE 2016??
  • I’m going to cook more and eat out less = 1 to 2 meals a week out.
  • I’m going to exercise more = toned with more definition and better cardio.
  • I’m going to do well at my new job and focus on my goals for my career.
  • I’m going to learn to be more patient, a better and more effective communicator, as well as be more productive with my time.

6.0 Earthquake

It always starts out the same.

From a deep sleep, I’m swimming up to wakefulness, then snapped into fighting mode, Who’s shaking the bed?!

Oh.

Earthquake!!

It’s kind of a helpless feeling, knowing that there’s nothing to do except to lay there and wait it out, listening to the screens rattle.

After moving back from Taiwan, I would wake up in the middle of the night, thinking my bed was shaking, knowing full well that Nashville ain’t got no earthquakes. It took about a year for those nightmares to stop.

Then I moved to San Francisco.

The epicenter was near Napa last night, and the town is pretty damaged. 6.0 earthquakes don’t play around. I think we mostly only felt the rocking in the city, but everyone’s ok.

Tough Mudder 2014

My body feels like it got hit by a cement truck. Twice. The truck backed up and made sure that it got the other side too.

I did a Tough Mudder in Tahoe this past weekend. 10+ miles, 20+ obstacles, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears whining (only after Mile 9, ok maybe mile 7). It was definitely one of the most mentally and physically challenging things I’ve ever done.

Here’s an idea of some of the obstacles and the amount of mud I’ll find myself washing out of my nose, ears, clothes, and shoes for the next couple of days.

The boyfriend was doing it with a team of co-workers and significant others were invited as well, so there were 15 of us. Everything they say about camaraderie and teamwork is true. It was a great bonding experience over the weekend with the team. Even on the course, total strangers will help you over obstacles and lend a hand to help you scale walls. The whole thing took about 6 hours from start to finish, as it was mostly walking and then some waiting to get through the obstacles, but the day was long from parking to shuttles to base, bag drops, check-in, and finally to the starting line.

I did things I didn’t realize that my body was capable of doing. It was downhill from the start, which everyone was enjoying, and then that took a quick turn (U-turn, in fact) and went straight up the side of the mountain face. Climbing up NorthStar Tahoe black-diamond ski trails are no joke. After mile 2, I honestly was ready to call it a day. I had to stop a few times to slow my heart-rate down on that first hill due to the elevation, heat, and altitude. The first few obstacles and the next few miles were doable. By mile 7, I couldn’t feel my legs anymore. I skipped the Berlin Walls at mile 8 because I was physically and mentally done for and needed the rest of my juice to even make it across the finish line. (For the record, it was the only obstacle I skipped.) At mile 9, most of the obstacles came into view, and at this point, I mentally rallied and just mechanically climbed ropes and ladders and scaled walls and dunked myself into ice-cold mud tubs without stopping to think. It was a mental game at that point, and I knew if I could just get my head over these things, then my body had to follow, even though I really couldn’t feel my limbs.

The electroshock therapy – live electric dangling wires over a mud pit – at the end, right before the finish line, is supposed to serve as the final mental barrier. After everything, the last thing you want is to get electrocuted and then hit the mud for the last time like a sack of flour. They do give you the option to bypass it or just do it. But I did it. I got zapped, but managed to stay on my feet (with the help of a curse word or two), and ran through the rest of it to be crowned by a Tough Mudder headband at the finish line.

I also like to highlight that if you don’t fight as a couple during something like this, especially when you’re both hungry, physically exhausted, and mentally strained, you’ll definitely come out stronger. With him being only positive, supportive, and encouraging at mile 7, 8, 9, 10 and he’s just as exhausted as you are, (even though you may hate him for putting you on that mountain, covered in 7 layers of mud and dirt with tired feet and an empty stomach) you realize that he’s going to be there for everything else. There’s a sense of euphoria knowing that if you can get through this, then you’re going to be able to get through anything else together as a team.

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Tips for future Mudders:

  1. Wear fingerless gloves. They make you more fearless. Better grip for climbing too.
  2. Eat more in the AM. I was starving by mile 8, and they only had bananas and a couple of electrolyte gummies (but they were the best gummies I have EVER had – I may have been super dehydrated and starving though – but seriously, THE BEST) for the whole route.
  3. Wear lots of sunscreen. I have the funkiest tan lines right now. And my shoulders are so burned.
  4. Wear and bring chapstick. My lips were neglected, and I totally regret it.
  5. Bring body lotion for after you cold-water blast off the dirt and mud at the end. After the 16 layers of mud dry on your skin, it’s very unforgiving.
  6. Drink LOTS OF WATER before, after, and during. You may have to pee a lot but there are restrooms every 2 miles, and if you’re a dude, then the trees are your friends. I feel like I can never be fully hydrated again.
  7. I wore my Vibrams, and they were great for the mud and climbing, and even up and down the mountain sides. However, there were a lot of rocks on the trails, and those were painful. But I don’t know if I could wear socks through the mud pits. And there were a lot of sad-looking abandoned pairs of muddy shoes at the end of the day.

 

Now, the million-dollar question: Would I do it again?

At this point, while it still hurts to just brush my teeth and I’m still discovering new bruises every day, I’m leaning towards a no. But ask me again in a month or so, and maybe I’ll say yes with all my new muscles.

Mt. Livermore

On Sunday, we took a ferry to Angel Island to hike Mt. Livermore. It cost $17 round trip on the ferry, which includes admission to the state park on Angel Island.

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It was a 5.9 mile hike around the island, including a short detour to the 788-foot summit of Mt. Livermore. It was an absolutely beautiful, clear, and sunny day, so the view from the top was amazing.

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It was nice to get out of the city and enjoy the nature, although my allergies hit me full force, and I sneezed for about 4 out of the 6 miles.

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