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Hiking, backpacking, and camping throughout Southern California and beyond

My favorite photos of 2012

My favorite photos of 2012

Harbor-Seals-at-the-rookery-in-Carpinteria.jpg

Anyone who follows me on Flikr, instagram, or Twitter knows that I like to take pictures. There are a lot in these posts, too. I've decided to pour over my captures for the year and share the ones that I like the most for one reason or another. Many are from my phone using (overused) filters, others are from my Canon G11, and some are from my Rebel T3i. Soph's first time skiing at Mammoth Mountain

At the beginning of the year, we took a family trip to Mammoth. Sophia had some lessons, and by the end of the first day, she was skiing down by herself and having a great time. At the end of the trip, she was asking when we could go skiing again. As parents, we couldn't be prouder.

Harbor Seals at the rookery in Carpinteria

I heard some murmurs at work about heading out to the beach after work. Being knee-deep in work, I wasn't going to be bothered with it. I heard that there would be seals there and that sealed the deal. We walked out to the Carpinteria Bluffs, just as the sun was setting. Below us on the sand were many harbor seals and their pups, bathed in a golden glow. Everything felt just right.

Soph at the top of La Cumbre Peak

Sophia and I, whenever we get a chance, go out exploring. We were both pretty new to the area, so we decided to head up to La Cumbre Peak, so that we could have a picnic and Soph could bag a peak. Once again, my fashionable little girl proved that she has the ability to rough it a little bit by scrambling atop the summit block and finding a geocache. It was pretty cold, but her (faux, of course) fur coat kept her warm.

Sophia hiking down the trail on Santa Cruz Island

Sophia and I decided to go on another type of adventure. We wanted to take the boat out to the Channel Islands, go hiking, and hopefully see some marine life along the way. She insisted on carrying her own gear, which means water and toys. We hiked out to the more distant campground and had it all to ourselves. We picnicked, (nearly) napped, hiked, and had an overall great time. Once again, don't let the pink outerwear fool you, she is a strong outdoorswoman. And we did see foxes, whales, and dolphins.

First rose of the season

As the year progressed, I took a picture of the first rose that bloomed in my yard. Why this picture is included is that it reminds me of the house we were renting at the time. It was completely charming and the only reason we moved was because the owners were ready to sell it.

Gopher Snake at Parma Park

During one of my trail runs at Parma Park, I started to feel that the mornings were getting warmer, perhaps even warm enough for snakes. Sure enough, as I was starting a downhill section, I almost stepped on this guy. He was a pretty good size and my first reptile sighting of my adventures in Santa Barbara, outside of the zoo.

My Keens at the Carpinteria State Beach

As summer warmed up, we started to spend time in Carpinteria, mostly for the food and the beach. Almost any weekend would find us having lunch and enjoying the mellow sand and water. It also has free parking, which is amazing to me. This shot reminds me of a day where I hiked on top of the Santa Ynez Mountain, buffeted by high winds and pelted with falling icicles, and later lounged on the warm sand on the same day. Welcome to Southern California. Only I've lived here my whole life.

Buckeye Butterfly at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

One day, we visited the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. We entered the butterfly enclosure and were amazed at the beauty of the butterflies there. Sophia could name them all. This little guy landed near us and I took a quick picture. It rested just for a few seconds and took flight again. His color was great and it captured our fun day.

Soph on Swiftcurrent Lake with Iceberg Notch in the background

Soph, victorious

Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park

At the edge of Lake McDonald

Going to the Sun Mountain from the Hidden Lake Trail

Hidden Lake in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is incredible. Fabulous vistas are present at every turn. If you get a chance, spend some time there. We took a family trip to Glacier National Park and hiked nearly every day. The pictures speak for themselves, but this is our third annual National Park trip and it sealed the outdoors into the fabric of our family experience. We will return, but we have many other places to go.

My father on a horse at Convict Lake

Convict Lake

Another outdoor trip this year was when my father and I went to Convict Lake in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. We were treated to a comfortable cabin, exquisite dining, and views that took our breath away. Truly a memorable experience and a great way to bond with my father.

The Starry Night Sky from My Tent

I went backpacking in the Mount Pinos area with some first-timers and had a great time. McD and I played our version of Rummy in our tent until pretty late. When we finally called it a night, I placed my G11 on the ground just outside my tent and took the above picture of the night sky. I am sure I could do better with a tripod and my T3i, but I thought the picture was pretty cool at capturing my view.

Wheeler Peak Trail

The PD and I went on our annual backpacking trip. They are usually pretty exciting and this one was no different. This time, we flew to New Mexico and summited Wheeler Peak, the highest peak in the state. We took it easy here and there, but ultimately got to the top on a beautiful day. The picture shows the trail as it leads down to the bowl, where our tent was adjacent to Williams Lake. I remember the moment I snapped the picture. I thought, "I did it. I made it to the top. And this is beautiful. A moment I'd like to remember."

Soph and a new pelican friend

One day, we decided to head to Stearns Wharf for ice cream or taffy, or to just hang out and enjoy the sun. A pelican was hanging around the fishermen, hoping for a handout or just resting for awhile. Sophie decided to inch out towards it, to share the view. If she could have put her arm around it, she would have.

Why I start hiking in the dark, on the way to Montecito Peak

One fine October morning, I woke up before dawn and decided I wanted to get to the top of Montecito Peak before work. I had to use an iPhone app to light the trail for awhile, but once the sun came up, I was awe-struck with the beauty of the morning. I stopped in my tracks and stared, as I started the morning in darkness and then fog. Sure, it's tough to get up early, but this sunrise was worth it. The picture doesn't truly capture the experience.

Craig, doing The Crane on top of Chief Peak

One fine November morning, Craig Carey and I decided to head out to Nordhoff Ridge. I was excited to share some outdoors time with him, because, in my brief encounter during a book signing (he wrote Hiking and Backpacking Santa Barbara & Ventura), I felt a kindred spirit. He was a little under the weather, but I just wanted to be outside and position myself like a sponge to his faucet of knowledge. We both are energized and moved by the outdoors and I felt this picture really captured his playful personality. Sure we didn't hike that much that day, but I walked away with a ton of knowledge and a new friend.

Heading out and looking back to basin #4

Based on knowledge from Craig above, I visited Dry Lakes Ridge and found a truly special part of Los Padres National Forest. I had the whole ridge to myself and, while it started out in the 30's, I felt like it was the perfect weather for a hike and a place I'd like to return to camp. I can't quite put it into words, but I felt at peace as I followed the ridge line to the largest basin seen above. I spent some time sitting on a log and just breathing the place in. One of my favorite outdoor moments of the year.

Soph, facing adventure

One rainy day, Soph and I decided we didn't want to be kept inside. Throughout this day, we took a drive to Gaviota, went to REI, to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, ate lunch in the Cafe there, went to The Reef at UCSB, where they have a touch tank and then walked down to the beach near the UCSB Lagoon. As I sat on that narrow strip of sand and watched my daughter fearlessly walk towards the waves under a threatening sky, I realized that she has experienced a lot in a short amount of time. She's open to new adventures and I am really proud of her. I feel that no matter what will come at her, she will be capable of handling it with style.

I'd say it's been a pretty good year.

Valencia Peak - Peak #15 - Camping at Montaña De Oro State Park with an Old Friend

Valencia Peak - Peak #15 - Camping at Montaña De Oro State Park with an Old Friend

Geocaching - Organized Littering?

Geocaching - Organized Littering?