Trail Talk: Hidden Falls Regional Park – South Legacy way to Hidden Falls Access Trail

Location: Hidden Falls Regional Park

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

Distance: 2.5-3 miles. I didn’t record on my Fitbit, but this is our best guess from the trail descriptions and online creeping for help. 

Time for us to Complete: 1.5 hours

Cost: $8 for parking. If you are going on the weekend or a holiday you must reserve your space online before you go. Thisis nice because you have a guaranteed spot when you get there. 

Parking: Single Parking lot. 

Directions: There is only one entrance so just follow the signs. It’s located at 7587 Mears Place, Auburn, CA and located between the communities of Auburn and Lincoln. 

Preparation:

 Sunscreen
 Water – There is no water fill-up in the park, you must bring in water you wish to consume. 

Heat Index:  This Park is located near Sacramento Valley . We were lucky enough to be in the area in January so it was sixty degrees and overcast. However, in the summer this area will get 90+. 

The Journey

To get to hidden falls you will connect the South Legacy Waytrail to the Hidden Falls Trail. The South Legacy Way trail is classified as easy. You’ll take this until you cross a bridge and then take the first left. Here the Hidden Falls Trail starts, and this portion is classified as moderate. Both paths seemed to have the same amount of elevation gain/decline, the only big difference we noticed is that the “easy” classified trails were wide with gravel and the “moderate” classified trails were narrow with dirt. This is a very design your own path trail system, as there are several other trials you can start or take and still end up at the destination of the waterfalls. I got to take my mom with me on this hike and we had a blast. I wish we could have stayed and explored more but were in a time crunch to get back to town for fundraiser event for the PCT association! 

The Falls

I love waterfalls. If its water and it falls I am the happiest person in the world so any recollections here may be biased. The Hidden Falls trail follows along the river and eventually twists you back to an observation deck for the falls. They are beautiful. The falls are fed by the western Sierra Nevada range and when we went the river was flowing! It was a great spot to stop and enjoy. If you are more adventurous you can climb down to the river as well and there are places to swim when it gets warm.

The Baby Falls

If you can’t get enough of falling water climb up back to the trail and finish it out until it connects to the North Legacy Waytrail. From there cross the large bridge and you will see stairs to another observation deck that overlooks Canyon View falls. These ones are little compared to the main event at Hidden Falls but worth the extra trek as the view from the bridge is delightful. 

The Park

The park is great, well organized, and clean. They have portable bathrooms strategically located throughout the park which is always nice. They have a good variety of trails from easy to difficult and good varied lengths that you can combine for any size length you wish to achieve. Their site claims 30 miles of multiple use trails and they have great placards throughout the park providing informative information about the surrounding area. It also looks like this is also a great place for horse back riding and mountain biking as we saw several of both while we were out there and I heard a few mountain bikers raving about the trail quality One of my favorite parts is that they limit visitors to the park to only the number of vehicles that can fit into the parking lot, and those who purchase a parking lot space have that space reserved all day.  I can’t wait to go back.

 

Until next time, Happy Roaming!

Making Time for Life

It would be inaccurate for me to tell you that I didn’t have a mild, mental, time management related, meltdown as the New Year started. There are so many things I want to do! I want to begin pushing my career forward again, which means getting to work on time (I’m notorious about being late), staying late, going to more happy hours, pursuing mentor relationships, and basically that corporate hustle. I want to finally help my mom start our Etsy shop that we’ve taking about for almost two years. I want to achieve 365 outdoor miles. I want to run five 5k’s. I need to plan my wedding (April 2020 what’s up!) and continue to build and foster my relationship with my fiancé. Last, but not least I want to devote the proper time to this blog and my writing.  THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO!

So if you’re like me, and you have big aspirations and big dreams to balance your personal life needs with your corporate life needs, I’ve laid out my plan below for the year. Feel free to steal, execute, and critique.  I stole little bits of my plan from what’s worked before, from a book I’ve started reading about creating more time with the time you have, and life advice from those closest to me. I’m excited to see how it goes, and if anyone else has additional idea to try please leave it in the comments below!

STEP ONE:

 SEPARATE THE IMPORTANT FROM THE INSIGNIFICANT 

I put down on paper everything that is important to me. That’s everything from the big things (like I listed above), to the little one time things like doctors appointments and getting my vehicle registered in California. 

 PICK YOUR ORGANIZER
I picked up a big monthly & weekly planner that allows me to plan my day based on time, top 3 important items, and a to-do list. It even has a spot for what I’m looking forward to this evening and my gratitude for the day. I appreciate that It separates the “important items” from the “to do list” because it really allows you to feel accomplished if all you were able to do is 3 things. So what my todo list is a mile long, I accomplished the three most important things and that makes my brain happy. 
I include the most important work items in my planner but I also have a smaller to-do notebook on my desk to organize my ten hour work days. It makes me feel so much more accomplished when I get to mark things off as done and motivates me to work harder!
 CUT DOWN ON SCREEN TIME
I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to my phone but I also am not the best at putting it down. Thanks to some nifty new settings from Apple I’ve set myself up for success. First I scheduled “screen down time” from 9pm to 5am which means that only phone calls are allowed in that time and everything else is turned dark. I’ve also set myself an hour limit for all social media apps and once I hit that all of those applications also go dark no matter what time of the day it is. “Going dark” just means that the application icon dims and if you try to open it a message pops up stating that it is locked. You can easily choose to bypass it but it’s a nice simple reminder to my brain that I’ve reached my time limit for the day and to go do something more useful.
 FOSTER A SPACE FOR SUCCESS

When things are dirty or cluttered it’s like my whole brain freezes up. It puts me in a bad mood, I can’t focus, and things just don’t get done. So first off I took an entire weekend to deep clean my apartment. I didn’t only just take out the trash and vacuum but I went through every bin, box, closet, and shelf to toss anything I didn’t need or didn’t find useful. I then reorganized what I had left and finally even got some of my pictures up on the wall I’ve been putting off. Now that everything is clean I make sure to pickup every time I leave the room. I fold the blanket, put the glass in the sink, put the cat toys back where they belong. Every little thing adds up and walking into my apartment now is so relaxing. 

 GET UP EARLY 

This is probably the hardest part for me. But after my fiancé mentioned my ten thousand alarms disrupts his sleep in the morning (lucky duck gets to go to work later than me) I had two reasons to get up early! Now I try to get up on my first alarm, as hard as it is to drag my butt from the bed. My goal is to have time to drink a cup of coffee AT HOME, get ready (which is a snap now that everything is clean and organized) and sit down to read/journal/write a bit before heading off to work. I’m not noticing that my body misses that extra 20/30 minutes of sleep but my brain loves having time to really wake up before getting in the car for work. It tricks me into thinking I have more time, since I can do things for myself before and after my work day.

And that’s what I have so far. It’s still a work in progress, like almost everything in my life. However, it feels so much better than all the clutter I had in my head and my life beforehand. Never be fearful about changing up your routine and until next time, keep on Roaming!

Measuring Success:2018

It’s the end of the year. The time to reflect on everything I did in 2018 and everything it did for me. I had lofty goals: I wanted to complete my 365 mile hiking challenge through Hike Like a Woman, I wanted to read 50 books, I wanted to learn to scuba dive. Did I achieve moving my body 365 self propelled miles this year, no. Did I read all 50 books, no. Did I learn to scuba dive, absolutely not. However, if I measure myself by what I didn’t accomplish I miss out on all of the amazing things I conquered.

This year I participated in the 365 Mile Challenge. I recorded my miles all year; I never gave up or gave in. I ended up clocking a self respectable 320 miles. 320 miles I hiked, ran, walked, AND kayaked. 320 hard earned miles. So what I didn’t hit 365, I went on more hike this year than in my entire life combined. I sparked a new passion for not only hiking, but for the outdoors and am planning my first backpacking trip for the Spring of 2019. I also got to progress this passion with one of my oldest friends who unbeknownst to me had dusted off her hiking shoes two states away and started really pursuing outdoor activities as well. Leading us on some amazing hikes when she visited through my next door National Park, Pinnacles. So I didn’t get all 365 miles, I gained so much more than a mile can count.

I challenged myself to read/listen to 50 books. I ended up with 42. First off, that means I READ 42 books this year. If that’s not an accomplishment I don’t know what is. I learned to turn off the TV, put my phone down, and tune out the world for 30, 40, 60 minute at a time and pick up something worth putting into my mind. I discovered new love for authors I never got around to reading before, like Steinbeck. In my challenge I also included a subdivision to read 10 nonfiction books, something I rarely ever picked up before. I blew that number out of the water, more than doubling it in size. I have a stack of books a mile wide that I’m itching to pick up and read in 2019.

I also did so many more things I couldn’t have even imagined to put down on paper. I learned to love deeply. I started a home with my boyfriend, who then surprised me completely by asking me to be his wife. We then turned our family of two into a family of three adopting our first pet, our adorable black 3 legged kitten named Gypsy. Which means I’ve turned “planning for my future,” into “planning for our future,” and we’re excited to begin planning.

I also gave myself a motto for the year as well as my goals. 2018’s motto was ‘Don’t Stand Still,’ and I definitely didn’t. I made new friends. I went to concerts. I went on road trips. I experienced life and I never said no to an opportunity. I prefer to measure my year in quality, not quantity. The quality of 2018 was one of the best and I’m looking forward to what 2019 has to offer.

 

Happy New Years to you all!

Trail Talk: Pinnacles National Park – Bear Gulch Caves to the High Peaks

 

Location: Pinnacles National Park

Difficulty: Strenuous

Distance: 6.5 mile loop

Recorded (fitbit) distance: 8.84

Elevation: 1800 feet

Time for us to complete: 6.5 hours

Cost: 7 day pass for non-commercial vehicles: $25

Motorcycle: $20

Individual: $12

Annual pass: $50 (best deal if you live in the area and think you’ll be able to make it back 2+ times)

Parking: Bear Gulch Day Use Area

Directions: Enter the park on the East side. Once inside the park continue straight and follow signs for the Bear Gulch Day Use area. There are two parking areas. Either one is fine as the trail starts off of one and ends at the other.

Preparation:

  • Sunscreen
  • Flashlight (required in the caves)
  • Water: The website for the park recommends 1 liter of water per hour on the trail. I took with me 4 liters of water which ended up being perfect for me.

Heat index: HOT. This park is notorious for getting extremely warm. I would recommend only visiting in the early early hours or winter/early spring if you are susceptible to heat like I am.

The Journey

Here is where you will be introduced to my best friend, Blake. Luckily for us, she discovered this great loop connecting three trails that we were able to conquer on her recent visit. If you wish to recreate this journey you will connect the bear gulch caves to the reservoir to the rim trail to the high peaks trail. Leaving the high peaks trail at the top and circling back down to the parking lot. Full video available for viewing at the bottom.

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The Caves

Follow the signs for the Bear Gulch caves and head out. This first part is only about 0.7 miles. Not long into the hike you’ll see a stopping point that warns you to have a flashlight before continuing. While we were starting we saw about four deer (not including the ones we saw from the car driving in). The caves themselves are pretty amazing, there are a ton of stairs carved into the stone and when we went through we could see standing water on either side of the trail. The website warns that there is a possibility of getting wet when traveling through these depending on the weather before and when you go. We saw a few places where little waterfalls could come down from above but it was dry for us as we trekked through. At the top there are two directions to go; only one was open when we went and thankfully this was also the one we needed. The one that was closed was the “upper caves” and the one we took was the “Moses spring exit.” It is at this point that the cave gets the narrowest and both Blake and I had to crawl on our hands and knees for a small portion.

DISCLAIMER: This caves can also be closed at any time. Check their website to see if they are open. There is a way to continue this full length trail without the caves but it’s definitely more fun if they are open.

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The Tricky Part

So at this point, we got lost. There is a sign pointing to the reservoir and we continued that way. Then the trail split. We took the right fork but it appeared to dead end so we turned back around and dead ended at the left fork as well. We backtracked to the cave exit and reread our maps. Then we went back up and took the original right fork that had “dead ended” but in reality was actually leading us back into some more caves. We were thrown off because we didn’t realize there was a second set of caves to traverse through before hitting the reservoir. So for you reader, there are two sets of caves! Also the left fork goes only a few hundred feet and ends at what we believed to be Moses Spring but there was no water at this point in the season.

The Reservoir and Rim Trail

The view of the reservoir after you get up the last set of stairs out of the caves is PHENOMINAL. We stopped here for awhile and never wanted to leave. Finally though we dragged ourselves away and keep going. There’s an easy sign pointing to the rim trail. This trail is pretty level and starts to show you some of those spectacular views. It’s a little over 2 miles if you just did this loop up to here and then returned to the Bear Gulch Day use area.

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The High Peaks

Here is where the elevation gain kicks in as well as the heat. We recommend you get started on this part as early as possible. We were trying to start early, but with the long pause at the reservoir and time lost getting turned around in the early stages, the sun was already high when we started this stage. This did not take away from the amazing atmosphere and views this trail provides. Take as many breaks as needed and find shade whenever possible to relax and catch your breath. I took about fifteen breaks on my way up and had only one minor meltdown, thankfully only caught partially on video. For some this is going to be easier than for others. I have a high aversion to heat so I struggled a lot, but I still made it and so can you!

Near the top there is a restroom (which is just a really nice port-a-potty, there is NO WATER up here) and a bench that shows you the most spectacular views. We paused for a length in the shade of the restroom’s building and then walked over to enjoy the view. We had the luck of seeing two California Condors soaring above us and it took our breath away. From here you continue up to the fun steps and narrow trail that probably enticed you to make this trek up to the peaks.

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The Fun Stuff

There are a few small staircases and then finally you hit the extra long one. Continue on to a ledge that is narrow and requires either some great balance or extreme trust in the railing. We were discussing how great it was to be coming from this direction because going down these stairways seemed scary and we were happy to be going up…..and then we discovered the staircase we had to go down. I was able to do it without too much trouble, but with my giant clown feet and nerves it took me a lot of time and a few deep breaths. While we are attempting this part of the trail WE WERE PASSED by a group of hikers who were all aged 70+. They put us to shame but just shows that depending on your ability level this hike is still really accessible t o anyone.

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Breaking Point and Heading Down

After the stairs we thought that we were done with the elevation gain. We were not. We kept going up and that broke our spirits a little bit. When we finally hit the split in the trail, that led us back to Bear Gulch, I was very close to having my second breakdown of the day. The sign is clear and says “Bear Gulch Area” and it’s only 1.7 more miles to the car from here, and to our relief all downhill. If you miss the split and keep going you head up the Bench trail which is two more miles and who knows after that, I didn’t care to find out. On the trail down there is a Condor Viewing area, but it paled in comparison to the views we already experienced up top and we were exhausted so we just kept going down. At the bottom it drops you right to the first parking lot and thankfully where we had our car parked.

Conclusion

I loved this hike. Yes, I know, it seemed like I really struggled with it, but that also is what made it so much more of an accomplishment for me. I love to push myself and see what I can really handle, it’s rewarding for me to make it to the bottom of something like this and realize that I did it. On top of that this hike had everything: Caves, the Reservoir, views, wildlife, and unique trail structures. If you are ever near Pinnacles or are coming to cross this park off your list of National Parks, this is definitely my recommended trail.

Until the next trail, happy roaming!

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For your further enjoyment, here is it all caught on camera (sorta):

 

Pick your adventure: Time Frame – One Day

Two of the most frequent things I hear from friends, family, and colleagues are “You’re always doing something!” and “I wish I could do that!” The awe I receive at doing something with my free Saturday or free Sunday always slightly astounds me. At the same time I also realize this is something I’ve cultivated over trial and error. Attempting too much or heading into something underprepared. Luckily for you over the past few years I’ve turned my adventure day into an easy can do process. Read on to see how you too can turn your Netflix Sunday into a day of unique fun!

We do not remember days, we remember moments.

1.Pick your interests.

For me I love to hike, I love art, and I love cozy towns/coffee shops.

2. Check for local events.

About once a week to a month I will scan our local community paper, facebook, or a quick google search to see what might be happening near me in the near future. I also am very close to a fairgrounds so I check what’s coming up in their season as well. Then I put it on my calendar. I might not go but it’s nice to know what is out there if I get the time off.

3. Make a list.

One of my favorite things in my apartment is these whiteboards I made from dollar store frames and craft paper. On each frame I have lists for things I want to do, one is dedicated to local places I want to visit, one to local places to eat I wish to try, one to hikes I wish to accomplish, among others (picture included!). img_2206-1Both of these are great to keep track of things I think I can accomplish in a day. Everyone’s list is going to be different. If you don’t like to travel out more than ½ an hour, then you’re going to have a lot more of in town events. If you are like me and can drive up to 2-3 hours out for a day, your list could include events from several towns over or even other states.

4. Check the weather.

Thankfully I live somewhere where I have pretty great weather year round but if you are somewhere where your weather is more temperamental then definitely keep it in mind. If a clear Saturday is unusual than make sure you are tackling your outside adventures on that day versus your indoor adventures. Don’t be afraid to change your course at the last minute because the weather changes.

5. Get up early.

The hardest part for me is getting out of bed. I always bribe myself with hitting a local coffee shop or bakery on my way to where I’m going. It’s just another incentive to get out of bed. Then I have all day to go do adventure and if I finish early I can NAP! But if it takes all day I’m always grateful I got up when I did.

6. Remember it.

If you take pictures, take pictures. If you check in on Facebook, check in. If you journal, journal. I used to be self-conscious about posting things that I was doing because I felt I was trying to draw attention to “how awesome I’m being,” but I really just use it to keep track for myself. It’s nice to have all of adventures highlighted in one place to reminisce when I need some future inspiration to get out of bed. So whatever works best for you to have something to remember it by: DO IT!

7. Plan the next one. Research research research.

This step can really be at the beginning or the end. But what is your plan for the next adventure. I don’t always have a ton of time in the middle of my week to figure it out. So as soon as I get home or while I’m driving home I’ll start thinking about what I want to do next week. If I know I want to go to the pumpkin patch with the largest corn maze in driving distance, I’m researching it Monday-Friday so that on Sunday when we wake up we already know how long the drive might be, if we need money for tolls, and what else is in the area to explore after. If I want to go on an epic hike I’ve researched the trail, how long it will take, and what the water supply is like. That way I can clean out our hydration packs, buy more water, and plan our equipment in the middle of the week before we wake up Sunday. Saves more time day of so we can get out on the trail early!

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The most important thing to remember is that plans change. No matter how much you prepare things will go “wrong.” You might start thinking you’re going to one brewery only to find they closed for the day due to a family emergency. Don’t let it get you down. Hit up the local coffee shop and map out either another brewery or ask the barista where’s someplace to visit nearby. The point of this day is to explore, find something new, and get out and about!

Learning to Roam

Hi my name is Hannah Brotherton and this is my story; My past, present, future, and dreams. To see how far I’ve come and how I’m going to get where I’m going, it’s best to start at the beginning. Enjoy!

To Roam: To go from place to place without purpose or direction. To travel purposefully unhindered through a wide area.

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For the better part of ten years I pushed myself relentlessly on the corporate path. The correct path. Working hard through high school, through college, and landing my first career. Then I pushed myself in my career, climbing the ladder swiftly to become one of the youngest managers in my area. Then…I got stuck. Things weren’t going my way at work, I wasn’t feeling motivated, I was constantly depressed and nothing seemed to being moving forward. What was the point? I could see the levels I could advance to if I pushed myself harder, but I wasn’t happy, and dreaming about those next stages in my career wasn’t making me happier.

Finally as I neared the end of a particularly bad work week I got this unimaginable urge to take off. To where? I had no idea. I didn’t have a lot of money left in my account but I had a full tank of gas and two days off, I would figure it out. I threw an overnight bag in my car, turned off my phone, put a new CD on the radio (yes I’m still old school, I love a good CD) and just started driving north. The rest of that story is a great topic for another time but the point is that drive cleared my head. All 19 hours of it. It was my first REAL solo adventure. It was the first time I went somewhere with a direction but not necessarily a plan, and I felt free. When I returned from that trip I was happy and I was refreshed, and I was desperate to figure out a way to hang on to that feeling.

As I started dreaming of an adventure life I realized another seriously important fact about myself. I still loved the corporate life as well. I love managing my office, I love working with accounts, and I loved mentoring my employees. I also couldn’t see myself ever giving up the other perks: the steady paycheck, the GREAT healthcare, and my 401k. I’m still not ready to toss those aside just to go racing off on an adventure. I know a lot of people do drop everything for an adventure and are able to find happiness in just that, and maybe one day I will to. Until then, this blog is about how I balance both. How I organize my free time, plan my adventures, and prioritize everything that is important to me. How I fulfill my needs to be in a corporate environment and explore. How I ROAM.2EF0D5A8-D19E-4A83-8562-F6B827C199F3