Over the Fourth of July Weekend, my family rented a cabin up in Big Bear. A couple of my cousins had never been there before, so we explored the town, ate good food, swam in the lake, and watched the fireworks. After my semester abroad, I thought that I could travel full time and live a nomadic life. However, after weekends like this, I realize that I could never be away from my family and friends for extremely long periods of time.
Between the end of May and the middle of July, I tried to explore my own city as much as I could when I wasn’t working. When I am home, I am terrible about taking pictures, so this post hits a couple of the things I did this summer when I actually remembered to take photos.
Born and raised in LA, I had yet to go to the Hollywood Sign, so I enlisted my two best friends and my boyfriend to join me. We ended up getting extremely lost and hiked for almost ten miles roundtrip that day. This was our second attempt to hike to the Hollywood sign. The first time we attempted it, we also got lost and had to turn back because the sun was setting. However, we did happen to stumble across the famous Wisdom Tree. If you want to do this hike, the actual trail is called Cahuenga Peak Trail. It leads to the Wisdom Tree, and if you figure out the right path, it will also lead you to the Hollywood Sign. For our second attempt, we hiked from Griffith Park and eventually found the sign.
I go hiking every couple days in the summer but the pictures below are from the Mishe Mokwa Mokwa Trail in Malibu, Stunt Road in Calabasas, and Victory Trails in West Hills. As I write this, I realize that I get lost quite a bit. We also got lost on the Mishe Mokwa trail. We were planning to make it all the way to Sandstone Peak, but could not find the trail and decided to head back after we got really hungry. We originally planned to visit the Stunt Road trail because there is an abandoned radio tower that you can climb, but when we got there, it was gated off, and there were people patrolling the area. We decided to hike around the area instead.
My boyfriend is obsessed with animals, so naturally he took us to a farm sanctuary. We went to Farm Sanctuary’s Animal Acres, where we were able to pet huge pot-bellied pigs, cows, goats, chickens, and some other farm animals. We also learned about factory farming and animal cruelty. It was a fun day, and we learned a lot. I would recommend going if you are into animals.
Because I was working a lot over the summer, I wasn’t able to explore as much as I wanted to. My family and I were able to take one trip out to Big Bear for Fourth of July Weekend, but besides that, most of my explorations were around my neighborhood. However, at the end of July, my family, my boyfriend, and I headed off to the Philippines for a month.
I knew that post-study abroad blues were going to hit me hard, so I made sure to plan accordingly. I planned a camping trip a week after I arrived in LA to the beautiful forests of Big Sur in Northern California. I was happy to be home with my family, friends, and boyfriend, and this trip was a wonderful way to spend the next few days.
My friend and I drove up to Pfeiffer Big Sur Campground first, and we started to set up camp. I had borrowed a huge tent from my other friend, only to realize that she had not given me the poles for the tent. The drive was about five hours, and we were devastated. Fortunately, I had brought my backup tent, and my other friend was bringing a smaller one. All seven of us ended up fitting inside these two tents, but it was a tight fit.
We walked to McWay Falls, hiked the Ewoldsen Trail, cooked delicious campfire food, went to the beach, and bonded for the next few days. It was the first camping trip I had planned, and it went off without a hitch (until I got rear ended on the way back home). Big Sur was beautiful, and I would say my favorite part of it was the drive back down to LA. It’s one of the most iconic drives in the world for a reason.