#3: Hiking at Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve

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For this hike my hiking buddy, Maribel, and I headed north just for a change of pace and a lot less traffic. We left at 6:15 on Sunday morning, grabbed some coffee at our local Starbucks and hit the road at 6:30 a.m. It had been raining the night before and it was in the 30s. Pretty chilly in my book. I was hoping at least when the sun came out it would warm up!

On our way up the 101 freeway towards Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve in Ukiah, California we talked and lost track of when to turn on the GPS. Oops! So Maribel got the map going and it seemed like we were almost there. To get to the park it takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Before we knew it the map said we arrived but we were still on the freeway. That’s not right. We kept driving and then we started seeing snow on the mountain tops and then it was on the side of the road. So much for warmer weather!

We ended up in Willits and had to turn around, we went too far. Maribel had got the address from the All Trails app. ⚠️ Warning: don’t use that address. It’s pretty easy to get to if you just follow the directions straight from the website Montgomery Woods. Getting lost seems to be our new trick 😁.

There is a hot springs place a few miles before you reach the parking lot for the trail. So you can tell when you’re almost to the park by the smell of sulphur.

We found the parking lot and parked. It’s a very small dirt lot. It does have a bathroom and you can see the creek just in the front.

The trail was still wet and muddy. There was a cute bridge to cross to start the hike. There was a steep little hill and then it flattened out to a meadow landscape with Redwoods everywhere’s. It was amazing!! I felt like I was in a fairy land. I even felt like a fairy, the trees were sooo tall. The grove of Redwood trees has this creek running through it with moss and ferns growing all around. All the colors were so beautiful and bright from the rain water.

The trail was not marked very well so it was really hard to gauge where we were once we got into the forest. It was so quiet, all you could hear was the sounds of the water in the creek and dripping off the trees, once in a while birds chirping. This was such a peaceful relaxing walk in the woods. It was needed after a hectic week. We took lots of pictures and explored. On the way back we stopped to enjoy a snack on a fallen tree. It was so awesome!

The trail is easy and I think it’s perfect for families and anyone who wants to just relax and enjoy nature. The water all around in pools and running in the creek is so clear and beautiful. It definitely needs to be respected and taken care of.

I hope to go back and explore more in this hobbit village 😂.

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Disneyland in a Day

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Hiking is my favorite thing to do, but I am a human who also loves Disneyland. I have gone many times since I was a kid. I lived in Southern California till I was 6 years old and still visited my grandma every summer till she moved up to Nor Cal. Ideally, to get everything in you should plan a trip to Disneyland for 2 days. For this trip I only have a budget for 1 day but we are going to make the best of it!

First is the tickets. I have a family of 5. Three children, 18, 16, and 14 and then myself and my husband. We bought everyone Park Hopper tickets. The trick here is not to go on the weekend. The weekend is at the peak or regular price. The season is important. Just check the Disneyland website. Choose a value priced day. You can use the link to go directly to the pages.

For Crowd Predictions:

Is it Packed?

For Ticket Information:

Disneyland Website

Second is a Hotel. I have stayed at the Grand Californian Hotel before and it is beautiful! Don’t get me wrong it is super convenient to be able to go back and forth directly from your hotel to the park but the price is just not budget friendly. We stay at a “good neighbor” hotel within a 10 minute walk to Disneyland. A good tip is go to any Disneyland parking garage or lot and there are trams about every 10 minutes that pick you up and drop you off at the entrance. There are a few different ways to get into Disneyland and over to the main gate. Make sure you pick a hotel with a free breakfast! Free parking too if possible.

Next is The Plan. Download the Disneyland App. Since we only have one day and 5 people with different favorite rides it gets interesting. We had a family meeting went through the list of rides from the Disneyland app and we all picked 2 rides each. Then we looked at which rides had FASTPASS, which ones consistently had long lines, or were average. I looked at the app for this on a few different days to get an average just in my head. After we have our rides picked we make a list breaking it down by Park, like whether the ride is in California Adventure or Disneyland itself; then by section or town inside the park. We are just getting the FastPass and not paying the extra $10 per ticket for the new MaxPass.

Red stars: Favorite Ride

S, M, L: is small- medium- large Line Length

FP!: is FastPass

For example because the Guardians of the Galaxy is a Long Line and we really want to go on that we are getting our FastPass there first. But since you can’t get another FastPass till we ride that ride while we are waiting we are going to ride a couple of other rides with shorter lines. Just using the app to find the shortest line in the land we need to be in at the time our FastPass comes up, if possible, or close to it. So you’re not running all around in circles. Also another good tip to maximize time would be if you don’t really like the big parades or shows, like us, we wait till that time and while a lot of the other park people line up and wait for the big parade we will go on rides that normally have a longer wait time.

What about food? My husband and I take a backpack each. One for snacks and water and the other for sweaters, sanitizer, and any other necessities. Snacks and water are really good to take in. I know others who take in pre-made sandwiches. I just cut up some fresh fruits and veggies and crackers and granola bars. We eat at our hotel a really hearty free breakfast and then we are good till lunchtime. We do buy lunch at the park. A really good place to go is Rancho Del Zocalo Restaurante. You get a lot for the money, for Disneyland that is. Also the Bengal Barbecue is healthy food at a good price. But nothing else. The park closes at 8 pm in the off season, so we usually go get a bite afterwards at a more reasonably priced place.

In conclusion: We ended up with a group of 7 and we upgraded all our tickets with MaxPass. Because we got there a little on the late side and there was a huge crowd of people there it was a mad dash to get our first FastPass for the Radiator Springs, or Cars ride, and I thought there is no way I am going to get on all of our favorites today wasting a lot of time in lines. So we decided that we would spend the extra money and upgraded our tickets with the MaxPass. Honestly, the MaxPass made our day! If our trip was more than one day I would not pay the extra money. We brought in snacks and water in our backpack. And even though we got inside the park at 9 a.m. we still rode a total of 14 rides! All of the favorite rides were ridden with a sprinkle of Little Mermaid and Winnie the Pooh and a few others. We spent time with family and had a blast!

I hope these tips will help you in the case that you’re planning a trip to Disneyland in the near future.

Start Small

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We all make resolutions at the beginning of a New Year, which is awesome! I always feel so excited to have new goals!

But by February I start feeling like I’m losing traction. I wanted to share some ideas that help me and may help you not to hit a dead end.

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#2: Owl Trail to Muir Beach Overlook

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Maybe you know this already from my other posts but the reason I started my blog, Project Trailmix, was to inspire people. We all struggle with a variety of things in life; stress, depression, anxiety, confidence in ourselves, there are too many things to list.  But I know, and you know, that if we don’t push ourselves in a positive direction we will eventually sink into an unhappy place. That is not good!

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