#6 Dipsea Trail via Pantoll Station

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I am on a 1 year challenge to take a hike every month and I am taking you with me via this blog about all the beautiful places that I am visiting and posting pictures on my Instagram site of the same name @projecttrailmix. I am so excited to share it with you!

This brings us to Hike #6. So this one had to be epic…and I have always had the Dipsea on my mind. There is so much talk about this trail and its race history, at least in this neck of the woods. There is a race titled The Dipsea Race, it is a 7.4 mile trail race that has been going on since 1905! It is one of the oldest trail races in the United States.

Amazing, right?!

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#4 Bluff Trail at Montana de Oro

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Earlier this month I took a family girl trip to Morro Bay, California. We all take a trip annually to celebrate my grandma’s birthday and this year she chose Morro Bay. The town does have some family significance. If you haven’t heard of this place before, Morro Bay is a small seaside town on the central coast of California. It’s close to San Luis Obispo and Cambria.

While I have many childhood memories of hanging out here, sightseeing and walking the beach, and who could miss the giant round rock that is the town icon, we never really spent more than a couple of days here. I never realized the parks and beaches around the area before. I guess its true the older you get the more you appreciate.

Morro Rock from Morro Strand Beach

A Few Hours to Spare

We had a few hours one day to go off on our own and my aunt, who seems like a local expert, two of my cousins and myself went off to explore. We drove south of Morro Rock and passed the Morro Bay State Park and through the town of Los Osos on our way to the Montana de Oro State Park.

As we drove up the hill looking for a place to pull over and take a quick hike I noticed how the terrain changed from marsh to forest to seaside cliffs. There is so much to do! You can camp, walk, bike, hike, surf, kayak, play at the beach, I even saw some sand dunes. If you’re a bird watcher this is one place to see all kinds of birds. The weather was amazing!

The Hike

We found a good place to park and got out to look around and hopefully find a trail. I got some cell service since we were towards the top of the mountain and out in the open on the coastline, so I looked up the park on my All Trails app. There was a trail close to us called Bluff Trail. It was listed as easy, and about 4 miles. Since we had a range of abilities and short time that seemed like a good choice.

First we crossed the street and saw a little garden featuring native plants. Then walked back across the street to the trail head. The trail was dirt and gravelly.

The views were really beautiful. The ocean was so clear and blue green. We saw a lot of people out walking around and some biking. I would be a little nervous to bring small kids here without them being in a backpack or holding them because of the sides of the cliff being accessible and its a very long way down. There were a lot of black lizards, they were scurrying all around under your feet. I almost fell because I tried not to step on one in my path. Sunscreen is a must and sunglasses too. It was only in the 70’s but the sun was hot and there was no shade.

We took lots of pictures and enjoyed the views. At the end of our loop we only did about 2.5 miles. I realized that there was a small loop and a big loop after going on the trail a ways but that was okay. Everyone wanted to head back down the hill to check out some other scenery.

I say: GO!

Altogether, this was an easy hike with beautiful ocean views and a cool beach vibe, like only the central coast has. I would recommend going later morning or afternoon so the fog has time to lift and you can see everything around you. Bring little kids only if you have them within reach of you. Bring water and a hat or sunglasses and sunscreen. It was amazing to me to be able to see all the way out to Morro Rock and see the coastline. I definitely recommend this quick jaunt if you’re in the area.

One of the Beaches

A few peanuts:

  • Montana de Oro means “Mountain of Gold” in Spanish. Named for the golden flowers all over the park in the Spring
  • The Park is over 8,000 acres
  • There is primitive camping in the park
  • There is a Visitors Center that was the Old Spooner Ranch House… looks like it hosts a couple of Peacocks
  • Park is open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm
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Peacock at the Visitor Center

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Map of the Park

Sunshine Blogger Award

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I am super excited to be nominated  for the Sunshine Blogger Award by my fellow blogger TwoTall4UFool! Thank you so much for the nomination! I love challenges.

First a quick back-story on the Sunshine Blogger Award. The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to to those who are creative, positive, and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community. Nominations support and connect fellow bloggers and help spread their message in a positive and creative way.  Like networking but more fun..

The 4 Rules:

  1. Thank the Blogger who nominated you and link your post back to their blog
  2. Answer the 11 Questions that they gave to you
  3. Nominate 11 other Bloggers for the award and give them 11 new questions to answer
  4. List the Rules and include the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post

The 11 Questions I was given to answer:

1: What is the most important thing you’ve learned since you’ve started blogging?

So far I think the most important thing I have learned is that you need to be consistent and present. This was something that we learned in Darren’s course and its true.

2: Anything you want to do with your blog that you haven’t done yet?

Yes, there is still a lot I  haven’t done with my blog. I would love to do an interview with an inspirational person in my niche. Also I would love to do a collab piece.

3: What are some of your favorite blogs to read?

Well pretty much everyone I have nominated are blogs I enjoy reading. GTheKetoUnicorn, Plant Powered Anna, and Trail and Kale, Bula Blog, and Challenge Sophie and Mountain Chicks are a few.

4: Have you done a guest post for any blogs out there?

No, but I sure would love to. Here is my open invitation, fellow bloggers!

5: If you weren’t blogging as your full time job or hobby what would you be doing?

I just started blogging not too long ago, and it is not my full time job, but I wish it was. If I wasn’t blogging I imagine that I would just be doing my day to day and hiking in my available time. I started my blog as a challenge to  myself to do a hike every month for a year, but then I thought, what if I went deeper and could share some really useful tips and help motivate people to get off the couch. That would be the best thing ever!

6: If the two of us were to play a video game together what would it be?

I am a big fan of Super Mario Bros. Super Mario Bros. the original and Super Mario Bros. 3 are my favorite.

7: Besides blogging and your niche what are your hobbies or interests?

I am a big SF Giants fan and I love to read. Spend time with family and sightseeing is a hobby I have. My husband always makes fun of me and calls me a tourist because as many times as we’ve been over it something like the Golden Gate Bridge never gets old for me.

8: What do you like about my blog?

I like how passionate you are about all of your posts. I love the community you are building. I think its awesome!

9: If we were to go to a concert together who would we see perform?

I would either pick Radiohead or Vance Joy.

10: What is your favorite thing to watch on TV?

I don’t watch a lot of TV but I like re-runs of The Office (my favorite show) and I like different documentaries. I’m kinda a 🤓

11: What do you enjoy most when it comes to blogging?

I enjoy putting the package together. The story, then the pictures and the hope that it gets to be used to motivate someone to get outdoors and enjoy it. Of course it gives me a great excuse to go hiking 😉

And the nominees are…

Gianna @Gtheketounicorn

Kat @Trail Kat

Lizzie@ Lizzie Outside

Dani @Mountain Chicks

Stefan @Stefan Travels

Nikole @thetravelpalate.com

Shannon Lee Barry @A Happy Girls Guide to Crohn’s

Aaeidi @Much Love Juice

Kristin @Fresh Grace

Anna @Plant Powered Anna

Sophie @Challenge Sophie

I have chosen the bloggers above because I find them so inspirational. Its the way that they live their lives and share them with the world. The light and positivity is so awesome! Even for those who haven’t blogged in a while, the content is there. I am sure you have helped many. I hope that a few of you can take some time to respond to the Sunshine Award nomination and post your own nominations. Lets keep the fun going!

This leads to the 11 questions I ask of them:

  1.  How long have you been blogging?
  2. What would you say has been your biggest challenge in blogging?
  3. What one piece of advice would you give a new blogger?
  4. What was your inspiration to start blogging in the first place and has that evolved into something else now?
  5. Is there anything you want to do with your blog that you haven’t done yet?
  6. Do you have any pets?
  7. What is your favorite vacation you have taken?
  8. What is your favorite food?
  9. What is the one thing you have to do every day or it doesn’t feel complete?
  10. Do you have a favorite quote?
  11. What is your favorite book or movie?

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed learning a little about me. You should visit all of the blogs mentioned here and bookmark them. I hope all of you have a fantastic day!

Cheers!!

#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 😂.

Don’t miss the next adventure, be sure to subscribe on the menu bar. You will get notified via email the next time I post a hike. Thanks for reading!

Trail Shoe Review: ASICS Alpine XT

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Im so excited to share with you my review of my newest purchase, the ASICS Alpine XT trail running shoe.

I went on a trail run today and I have to say I am in love with these shoes. When I was done I felt faster and way more in control of my footing especially on the downhills. The trail was a little on the muddy side and I felt very sure in my steps.

I have always been a fan of a more “natural ride” type shoe. I dont have a very high arch and I hate tight fitting, heavy shoes. I always have worn Nike Flyknit Free Run shoes because of the flexibility and lightness. But there is no grip and certainly not a lot if cushion for long distance. When Im running on pavement a long distance I already have a pair of ASICS Gel Kayano 22 that I bought a year ago they are good but I was specifically looking for a trail running shoe.

So after talking to the store rep I decided on the Alpine XT for the light weight and cushioned heel. The upper is slightly stretchy material which means if my feet swell it won’t be unbearably uncomfortable. Although this also means they are not meant for running through water. The sole has grip and was designed to channel water in the case of a puddle or a small amount of running water on the trail. Another plus, I bought they are affordable at the $100.00 price. I purchased these at the ASICS outlet for $60.00. I am extremely happy with the price.

If you’re looking for a trail running shoe, be sure to check out the ASICS Alpine XT online at Amazon. I definitely recommend this lightweight trail running shoe. Ready for the trail...

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.