Looking outside on a gloomy Tahoe afternoon in April, all I can think about is the beautiful adventure we were lucky enough to go on this weekend. I didn’t know anything about where we were about to go. Only that my parents were there for the first time in September and fell in love with this quaint little area on the California coast. They loved it so much that they wanted to share it with us this weekend (thanks Mom and Dad!), so we packed our bags for a four hour road trip to Nick’s Cove, located in Tomales Bay, CA.

Normally leading up to a trip I am researching everything I can about it — checking Instagram hashtags, reading blogs, and looking at Yelp reviews. I decided to leave all my expectations at the door and didn’t do any of that this time around. Research or not, I am one hundred percent positive I would have been blown away no matter what. From our drive through the lush green country side (thanks to a particularly wet winter), to the smell of fresh eucalyptus, to the breathtaking backdrop of the cabins we stayed in, it could not have been anymore magical.

We arrived at Nick’s Cove at about 4:00 on Thursday afternoon. We had a bit of weather and traffic driving from Lake Tahoe to the coast, but it was nothing horrible. Upon arrival we checked into our ocean front cabin and got settled in before meeting up with my parents, brother, and his girlfriend. Brian and I stayed in a cabin called Big Rock, which is a two bedroom/two bathroom cabin right on the ocean with a beach to the left. It worked out great for us because we let two of the pups tag long on this trip. Nick’s Cove is very dog friendly and they even had freshly made treats in the room for us.


Big Rock Cottage, Nick’s Cove


View from Big Rock Cottage deck, Nick’s Cove

My parents stayed in a cabin called Ruthie’s, which is a one bedroom/one bathroom and also handicap accessible. My brother and his girlfriend stayed in Al’s, which was right next door to Ruthie’s and pretty similar. All of the cabins have little gardens in front, decks that sit right above the ocean, fireplaces, and mini fridges. You really can’t go wrong with any of the waterfront cottages.


The Boathouse at Nick’s Cove

Also at Nick’s Cove, there is a restaurant and dock with a boat house at the end. If you are staying here, you really don’t need to go anywhere else for dinner or drinks. The food was pretty good, although a little on the pricey side, but make sure that you make reservations, because it was very busy even for the “off season.” I’d also suggest that you try the BBQ oysters. I don’t eat oysters and neither does anyone else in our party, but they were a big hit for even the biggest oyster skeptic. Just check out the progression of Brian’s face. If that doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what does.


Oyster eater…and he liked it!


I was trying to take a picture of a sealion in the bay when these guys swooped in and photobombed my picture!


View from our deck at Big Rock across Tomales Bay to Hog Island on a misty morning

In total, we were there for three nights, which could never seem like long enough. While we were there we explored Point Reyes National Seashore one day and Bodega Head State Park the next.


View of Great Beach from Point Reyes Lighthouse

Point Reyes National Seashore is located about 30 minutes South of Nick’s Cove on Highway 1. I couldn’t believe how beautiful this sanctuary is. It is filled with green pastures, endless beaches, and lots of wildlife. While we were there, we took a short walk to the Point Reyes lighthouse, watched some baby gray whales, played on Great Beach, saw some river otters doing the naughty dance, and drove to the trailhead for McClures Beach, but turned around because I was getting over a cold and didn’t feel up to another hike. Actually, it was just my lungs that didn’t feel up for another hike. I could not stop coughing. Ugh. If anyone has a tried and true remedy for a bad cough, please share! There is so much to do here, you could spend days exploring this National Seashore.


The stairs leading down to Point Reyes Lighthouse


Gray whale spouts we spotted right off shore


Driving down to Great Beach (North Beach)


Happy puppies!

Bodega Head State Park is about 30 minutes North of Nick’s Cove on Highway 1 and another amazing spot worth exploring. We were so lucky to come the time of year that we did because the wildflowers are absolutely insane right now. There is no way that pictures could do them the slightest bit of justice. We walked a two mile trail along the headlands and it was so pretty. The landscape itself is beautiful, but then when you add in the variety of colors from the wildflowers, it is breathtaking.


View from Bodega Head Trail


View from Bodega Head Trail


Brian walking through the wildflowers


Wild irises everywhere!

We drove home yesterday and were so sad to go back to the snow. Before we headed back though, we wanted to check out one last spot for our next adventure. We drove to Dillon Beach, which is located just North of Nick’s Cove at the mouth of Tomales Bay, and I am pretty sure we know where we are going on our next road trip. We can’t wait to get back and explore more. Has anyone else stayed here before?


Tired pups on the way home mean it was a good trip

Yesterday was our oldest fur baby’s 13th birthday. Yep. 13. I guess there is something about the fresh Lake Tahoe air and fetching tennis balls in the ice cold, crystal clear water. We would have loved to take the old dude for a dip in the Lake, but it was a pretty miserable day with rain and snow showers. Side bar, Mother Nature, did you get the message that it is supposed to be Spring??!?

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Paleo Shepherd’s Pie

I am so glad this week is finally over. I have been hanging on by a thread, just trying to make it to the weekend, without whatever crud I have in my head turning into a full blown cold. This weekend is going to consist of nothing but naps, movies, and some delicious shepherd’s pie. Oh, and snow. Did I forget to mention snow?

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Happy Valentine’s Day all you sweet people! Whether you are in a relationship, single, or undecided (???), this ooey gooey Hallmark holiday is great reminder that we need to spread love every. single. day. Walking around full of hate and victim thinking does nothing good for anyone. Nothing. Let today be a reminder that love heals all things, and it is absolutely free to give to someone else!

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Doggie Cupcakes!

It was our youngest fur baby’s birthday over the weekend. Well, we don’t really know when his official date of birth is since he was a rescue, but Friday was close enough and we made sure that we celebrated this big ball of love’s special day. I have never met a dog like Wez and he stole my heart from the day his dad introduced me to him. Well played, Brian, well played. Wez is some sort of Aussie Shepherd mix and a constant source of laughter. When he isn’t on squirrel guard, he is in your face or lap, trying to get as much attention and love that he can. He is the most loyal dog I have ever met and I am so happy that I get to share a part of my life with him.

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Feather Falls Hike

I love being surprised. Or maybe should I say, I love being pleasantly surprised because bad surprises are dumb. This weekend was definitely a pleasant surprise when I got to adventure in a new area that I really knew nothing about. I’ve lived 3 hours away from Feather Falls, CA almost my entire life, but I have never explored here. Maybe it is because it is off the beaten path, or maybe it is because I thought all of Central California was the same—nothing but rolling brown hills and lots of cows. I’m glad to squash this preconception. Feather Falls and the surrounding areas are full of lush green forests, crystal clear mountain streams, and some amazing trails.

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It finally happened. For the past two months, I have been dodging the crud like Superman dodges kryptonite. Then Saturday morning I woke up with that feeling. My throat was sore and I had a headache that could disable even the mightiest ninja. I was sick.

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The first week of 2017 is coming to a close and I still haven’t gotten used to writing 2017 on stuff. It is still 2016 in my proverbial book, or on my checks, or on my letters, or on everything else that I have to sign. I’m sure I’ll get with the program… just in time for 2018 to roll around.

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New Year’s Reso…What?

It’s that time of year. The time of year where everyone is talking about what grandiose resolutions they are going to make in the coming year. Personally, I have never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions. Maybe it is because they are often forgotten about by February, or maybe it is because if I break them, I feel like the whole year is shot. Case-in-point: I had a resolution to run five days a week, well, in the third week of January I didn’t, so I might as well blow that off for the rest of the entire year. FML.

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One day late last week, my man and I were sitting around drinking a beer or two after work and we decided that we needed to go camping. The next day. We started gathering our gear and making a shopping list, and the next afternoon, we were ready to leave after work. Thank you drunk-self for deciding on such an awesome and spontaneous adventure!

A few weeks prior we had done some off-roading in the Jeep and discovered the most beautiful lake, White Rock Lake. This lake is located in the Tahoe National Forest off of Highway 89. Disclaimer: this is not a destination that I would recommend for a regular passenger car. You will probably get stuck or high-centered and your weekend is surely to be ruined. You could probably get here in a Subaru Outback, but I am not going to endorse that. You’ll have to make that call yourself, but there is something that makes the adventure all the more fun when you add a little challenge to it. Right?

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A little over a year ago I saw an amazing picture on Instagram-a pristine Alpine lake scattered with little granite islands that had pine trees adorned on top of each. The backdrop was a towering granite mountain and beautiful blue sky that Sierra Nevada is known so well for. One of the tags under the picture was #desolationwilderness, but I wanted to know where. I had to go here. After asking the photographer, he simply replied back with, “I’ll give you a hint. It is a Scooby Doo character.” I did my diligent Google research and put two and two together. It was one of the Velma Lakes.

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I’m back! Like literally, back. Well okay, I have been for about two months now, but there has been so much going on, I have been neglecting this little blog of mine. That is going to end right here, right now. I miss documenting all of my adventures on the trails and in the kitchen, and plan on doing more of that now that things have settled down.

This entire year has been a little bit of a whirlwind for me. First of all, I wrapped up my MBA and can officially put initials after my name. Woohoo! Secondly, I bought a house! Like a real adult! It has been a dream of mine as a child to own a tiny chunk of land in Lake Tahoe and I did that a couple of months ago, with a cute house on it to boot! Lastly, I explored Switzerland for three weeks in June as part of my last MBA class. What an awesome experience and a great way to end my MBA. I promise it wasn’t all hiking and yodeling in the Alps. We really did do some school work learning about leadership in different cultures while we were there, buuuuuut, we also did do some awesome backpacking in the Alps for a week, which is what this post is all about.

The Trans Swiss Trail consists of 488 kilometers (or 303 miles) and 32 stages, spanning the entire length of Switzerland. How cool is that? You can literally hike across Switzerland in 32 days. We didn’t do the entire trail (obviously), but we did stages 21 to 27, with a slight detour, for a total of roughly 79 miles and countless elevation gains and losses. Did you know the Alps are NOT flat? Anywhere. Up and down and up and up and up and up. The area we were in is Andermatt and the trail travels over the Gotthard Pass.

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The past few weeks have been some of the busiest of my entire life. Between work and getting ready to graduate with my Master’s degree in May, I was starting to feel pretty burned out. When this past weekend came around and it was time for a road trip with my favorite person, it could not have been at a more perfect time. And what better way to rejuvenate the soul than with sand, sun, and the sea??

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The last time I was in Fort Bragg was when I was a little girl. It is an easy 5 ½ hour drive from Lake Tahoe and now I am wondering why I haven’t explored there more. We got out of town around 8:30 and the wildflowers and green hillsides of California made for a beautiful drive the entire way. As we started to get closer to the coast and entered the Jackson State Forest, the landscape turned to second growth redwoods that are absolutely breathtaking.

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I hope you have been having an awesome winter! In Tahoe, the winter started out great, with December and January dumping some amazing powder all over our mountains. I love it when the same trails you hike in the summer turn into a frosty winter playground. I have definitely been taking advantage of it and trying to get in my riding time as much as I can.

When it comes to riding, you might say that I am more old school. This is my 20th season riding (where did the time go?) and growing up, I have NEVER worn a helmet on the slopes. It just wasn’t something that we did as kids and when helmets started to grow in popularity over the past few years, I never adopted the new thinking that one might actually just save your life. In fact, I have been pretty anti-helmet whenever someone suggests that I wear one.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, there wasn’t any snow and me and the guy decided to go play a round of golf in the valley. Being that we are a wee bit on the competitive side, we decided we needed a bet. If I won, he had to shave his baby (aka his one-year-old beard). If he won, I had to buy a brain bucket and wear it every time I ride. For some reason, he doesn’t like the idea of having to teach me the alphabet all over again.

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Do you notice anything different? No. That’s okay. I’ll tell you anyways… new year, new blog name!

When I first started this little blog over a year ago, I had two main purposes: complete a project for my MBA class and share my passion for running and, well, eating. That’s when the site runningprimal.com was born. It was a combination of running stories and adventures in the kitchen cooking healthy, paleo recipes to keep me going.

Over the course of the following year, this little way to share some of my passions turned into so much more. I spent the summer backpacking and hiking to the tallest peaks in the area, and continued to blog about it along the way (even in the absence of a professor assigning me blog posts for homework). This silly blog became an outlet to reflect on the adventures I’ve had, share them with family and friends, and hopefully inspire some others along the way.

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A couple of weeks ago I had to travel to beautiful (ahem) Las Vegas for a big work conference. While the work part of the trip was well, work, we managed to have some fun, too. When we got there on Friday night, a group of my coworkers and I went and saw the Cirque du Soleil show, LOVE. If you like the Beatles, or even if you don’t, I would highly suggest this show. The performers are all amazing and the experience is one you won’t forget. We sat in the front row and had some of the performers in our faces. Literally. While I liked being that close, I think I would opt to sit in a section back further if I were to see it again. That would allow you to take in the whole experience without having to constantly look up and strain your little neck.

The other highlight of the trip was the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon. When we knew that we would be traveling to Vegas for work several months ago, a coworker and I saw that there was also this race taking place at the same time. There was no way that we couldn’t make this one-of-a-kind race happen. The race was on Sunday night (that is right, at night) and they close down the ENTIRE strip for the race. Along the race course are bands, DJs, and spectators the entire way. Not to mention, it was just so f’ing cool to run on the closed-down strip at night!

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Sierra Buttes Hike

I did it!!! I bagged my 15th peak in 2015 a few weekends ago… and to make it even more special, it was on my bday! Happy birthday to me! When I set a goal earlier this year to summit 15 peaks in 2015, I wasn’t really sure if it would happen. In fact, there were times when I thought it would be downright impossible, but one by one, I started to check them off. When I climbed to the top of the Sierra Buttes on Halloween, I checked the final one off of my list for the year. I got it just in time, too, because the past few weeks in Tahoe have been pretty snowy and it would have been a challenge to try and get any more in.

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When I set a goal earlier this summer to summit 15 peaks in 2015, I wasn’t really sure if it would happen. Then one after another, I started checking them off. With each peak came an increased motivation to get the next and the next. Since I started on May 31st, I have managed to check 14 peaks off of my list. Each one is a different experience and none have ever disappointed.

Yesterday, I grabbed peaks 13 and 14 with a solo adventure that was interesting and exhilarating, to say the least. I summited South Camp Peak and Genoa Peak, which are both accessible from the Tahoe Rim Trail. One day I would love to do the entire Rim Trail, but until then, I will settle for some awesome out-and-back day hikes on this well maintained and beautiful trail.

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Rose Knob Hike

I haven’t posted anything in a couple of weeks, and man, those weeks have been jam-packed with adventure. To start, the weekend before last I took a road trip with one of my besties, Jenn. First, we went to San Bernardino for an amazing music festival. All of the bands that I grew up listening to were playing and we had so much fun. After that, we had another two days to do whatever we wanted. We tried to get into the Half Dome lottery, but were unsuccessful. So, instead, we decided to take a road trip up the California coast to Big Sur. We did some camping there last year and had a great time, so we went back. It did not disappoint. If you have never been to Big Sur, you should definitely put it on your list. The coastline is so dramatic and gorgeous. Pictures don’t do it justice, but below are a few (P.S. Have I told you how much I love the camera on my new iPhone 6s!?! Well, now you know.)

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Maggie’s Peak Hike

Another fun weekend has come to a close and another peak is in the bag, Maggie’s South Peak. I was hoping to get two peaks this past week, but weather and school had different plans for me. This still brings me to 11 peaks out of my goal for 15 this year. Only four more to go and I really hope that I can squeeze them in before the mountains are covered with snow. The weather is starting to turn in Lake Tahoe and it feels like we skipped completely over Fall. On my runs last week, the aspens went from a little color to all of the leaves being knocked off in a matter of days. What is up with that? I am sure it had something to do with all the rain we got this last week, but come on Mother Nature. Can’t we enjoy Fall for just a little bit?

Speaking of interesting weather, yesterday was no different. Jenn and I made a pact earlier in the week that we would get a peak yesterday, rain or shine. Well, it was a little bit of both, but still an awesome adventure. We got a little bit of a late start (I guess that’s what happens with late nights, oops), and left the North Shore for Emerald Bay at around 1:30. The trailhead is located at the far end of the Bayview Campground near Emerald Bay, across from Inspiration Point. If you have never been to Inspiration Point, I highly encourage you to stop and check it out. Get inspired!

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