Category Archives: 7 Hikes 7 Days

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The Date Shed ~ WANDER LIST

Moonlit desert nights are full of surprises. From the quiet calm to the wild side, they range. How far they range… well, that depends on you.

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These lights say desert party, you have arrived

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If you have to wait in line, this isn’t a bad spot to do it

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Once you see the neon sign, you can’t miss the Shed

Enter tonight’s scene, the Date Shed, one of the most unique venues around. A speakeasy of sorts, with a sweet history and a seemingly evergreen future.

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Fishbone, so good!

On this night the skaa band Fishbone filled the air with tunes, destined to make you forget the then and celebrate the now. The alternative funk rockers join an eclectic list of performers to pop up on this stage, to beckon revelers to the dance floor, to groove, to sway, to party desert-style with a simple head bob.

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This shot…Coachella crowd, Date Shed venue

Turn the tables back a ways and The Date Shed was a Date Shed, a storage space for dates harvested on property. That lasted 50 years. Spin into 2011 and the storage facility was transformed into its current form, a spot best described as 1970’s Sunset Strip meets Coachella Fest.

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Over the bar, the Coachella aftermath

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Hmmmmm what’s this strange pole?

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Sit and spin

In fact, the walls here are lined with photos from that world famous music festival. And why not, the nonchalant bar shares the same grounds as Coachella.

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Empire Polo Club grounds are so insanely beautiful

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Those lights again

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Palms Pretty in Pink and Purple

Tucked into a tiny corner at the Empire Polo Club, one might not even realize The Date Shed is here. Beneath the date palms, under a canopy of lights this little piece of history is packing the cozy house year-round and offering an historic time-warp of sorts.

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Sunset Wandering

And just like that, the desert nightfades to day, creating another chance to follow the sunset to where it all began. And again, that depends on you.

To learn more about the countless other amazing adventures in Greater Palm Springs click HERE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Hikes 7 Days~Day 7: Mission Creek Preserve, Desert Hot Springs

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Clementine Gourmet Marketplace & Cafe

I figured that for hike #7 (the final of our video series) we deserved a picnic! So I called my friends Jennifer and Christophe at Clementine Gourmet Marketplace and Cafe and asked them to surprise me with something delicious. Before heading out I stopped by their beautiful business and grabbed what may quite possibly be the most elegantly and thoughtfully  prepared picnic basket there ever was!

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Everything is SO cute inside Clementine and the food…DELICIOUS!

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Clementine owners, Jennifer and Christophe packing our picnic

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Cottonwood Tree in wetlands

Now to the hike. This 4,760 acre preserve owned by the Wildlands Conservancy, is located in the transition zone between the Sonoran and Mojave deserts.The flora and fauna represents both deserts. Here you will enjoy wetlands along with beautiful eroding painted hills, dry desert and a perennial stream.

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Cholla cactus

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Creosote seeds

Several animals roam these parts, deer, bear, bighorn sheep and mountain lions. In the spring, there is typically an explosion of wildflowers. It was a warm fall day when we set out…no water(which is really rare) and not many wildflowers this time of year. The creosote, which is one of my favorite desert plants, looked lush and was full of fluffy seed pods.

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It looks like fall in the picnic area near the stone cabin

There is a stone house at the end of the main trail with picnic tables inside. For those with a desire for more adventure, the main trail leads on to the Pacific Crest Trail.

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Anyone care to take a dip?

No, it’s not just a mirage, make sure to stop and check out the remains of an old pool and fireplace, still standing from when the preserve was an old dude ranch for celebrities looking to escape the limelight.

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Stone shade structures complete with picnic tables inside

Near the parking area there are more picnic opportunities in rustic stone shade structures. Now for the moment I’ve been waiting for…Thank you once again to the fine folks at Clementine for packing our delicious picnic! Let’s eat…

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Picnic time…finally!

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I’m more than ready to celebrate the final shoot of #7hikes7days!

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Cheers to a job well done man behind the camera!

Of note: 3.5 miles easy, time about 2 hours

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7 Hikes 7 Days~ Day 6: Lost Horse Mine, Joshua Tree National Park

There are so many breathtaking hikes to choose from inside Joshua Tree National Park. I selected Lost Horse Mine today because I liked the story behind it and also because I brought along a couple of dudes who I thought would think it was “boss!”

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Lost Horse Mine

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Here are the dudes, they are saying, “Are we there yet?”

My boys, 10 and 5, were pretty excited  about heading to this mysterious spot where old gold miners once prowled. Yet, they weren’t quite  AS excited when they realized there was a 4 mile walk involved.

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My boys checking out the old mining equiptment

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A piece of history, Lost Horse Mine

The trail actually retraces the original mining road to the old gold mine. The oral tradition is that in 1893 cowboy Johnny Lang discovered the mine when he went looking for his lost horse. He quickly filed the claim and began mining. Between 1894 and 1931 the mine produced 10,000 ounces of gold and 16,000 ounces of silver.

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Mine ruins

At the end of the trail there are several rewards, one, the well preserved remains of the huge 10 stamp mill that is Lost Horse Mine and the other, the  breathtaking view from 5,278 feet up.

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Capture the view, mysterious man behind the camera

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Beautiful vistas

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Joshua Tree and my Beau, look at the size difference!

On the trail you’ll see mostly Yucca Trees, Juniper and a few Joshua Trees. If you’re lucky you’ll spy several quail families foraging in the low lying scrub brush and finally (going against all I learned in Journalism school) I have saved the best for last…we spotted this  darling, curious coyote hanging on the side of the main road, hoping for a handout!

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Coyote cutie

Of note: 4 mile loop, moderate, time about 3-4 hours

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7 Hikes 7 Days~ Day 5: The Grottos, Mecca Hills

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The mysterious man in jeans behind the camera

This hike is full of surprises! The landscape is dry, desolate and otherworldly. In just a matter of minutes the climb rewards you with spectacular views of the Salton Sea and the Chocolate Mountains beyond.

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The decent is fast the landscape barren

You will continue along a barren mocha colored ridge line and every couple of steps, spot creamy white glistening chunks of quartz.

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Follow the arrows and metal posts through the wash

After traipsing across the bleak ridge trail, you will drop down into a wash and make your way across it before heading into a long winding canyon.

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When a mountain looks like a wave you know you’re on the San Andreas Fault

The cliffs are formed from mud and rocks and it’s easy to see how erosion has worked to create the cave system that you are heading towards.

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Gorgeous rainbow colored rocks from the hills ahead

Mineral deposits have worked their magic to create rainbow colored canyon walls. The shades of purple, pink, green, amber and rose are so vibrant it’s hard to believe they’re real.

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A lush palm oasis is the perfect spot for a rest and a snack

Make sure to take a breather in a picture perfect palm oasis along the way.

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We made it to the Grottos, now you go in first!

Mother nature shocks you around every bend, especially at the end of the long and winding canyon, where you will dead end into a cave system. Fire up the flashlights and step inside the small crevice in the canyon wall. Some of the openings inside require a belly shimmy.

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The second small opening, get on your belly and head inside

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Explore the winding cave system…oh is it AMAZING

Get a little dirty, it’s worth it. You can either scramble up rocks and out the other end of the cave or navigate back the way you came. This hike will truly make you feel like you have earned an adventurer badge.

7 miles ~ strenuous takes approx 6 hours

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7 Hikes 7 Days ~ Day 4: Carrizo Canyon, Palm Desert

Because of bighorn lambing (breeding) season, the Carrizo Canyon Ecological Reserve is only open 3 months out of the year (October, November, December) making it extra special.

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The trail starts in this lush wash

The trailhead is a 5 minute drive from the bustling El Paseo shopping district but you would never know it once you enter the pristine wilderness. The hike starts through a wide sandy wash filled with healthy Smoke Trees, creosote bush and Desert Willows.

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The mysterious gent behind the camera

 

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A verdin nest nestled in desert lavender

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The mouth of the canyon

Once you enter the mouth of the canyon, look up often, you have a really good chance of spotting a bighorn sheep, we did!  When my husband saw the ram, it already had its eye on us. He’s so regal looking isn’t he? I have to say, all my years of living in the Coachella Valley and hiking, I’ve only seen a bighorn in the wild a couple of times.

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Evidence that bighorn are near

Even if you don’t see a bighorn on this hike, you will see plenty of evidence that bighorn often roam the canyon floor!

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Barrel and Cholla cacti line the ridge

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An oasis of one

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A siesta in the shade of a California fan palm

Cholla and Barrel cactus line canyon walls and peppered along the tops, some very large Ocotillos. A lone California fan palm is the perfect spot for a rest before moving on to explore the falls.

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Small waterfall and Ian-diana Jones WATCH OUT FOR THAT ROCK!

All the falls are mostly dry unless we’ve had a pretty good rain. You can scramble the side of the first falls and explore several  others complete with a small palm oasis and cottonwood trees.

Of note: 3 miles , moderate, takes approx 2 hours, no dogs

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7 Hikes 7 Days~ Day 3: Homestead ‘Cross’ Trail, Palm Desert

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The cross at the top of the trail

Has the illuminated cross atop the mountains in Palm Desert seemed a bit of a mystery to you? Truth be told, it was to me too until a few years ago. Living here in the Coachella Valley I had obviously seen it for years (I can see it from my backyard) but never took a moment to find out why it was there. I also, until a few years ago, didn’t know that there was a trail leading to the top.

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A short and steady climb to the top

If you too are unfamiliar with the Homestead ‘Cross’ Trail…finish reading this blog, of course, then stop everything and head up the side of the mountain to experience it for yourself.

A bit of history: a wooden cross  was first put at the peak in 1981 by a College of the Desert Student. It was replaced by the current 16x 30 foot illuminated version in 1996.  The cross is maintained by Saint Margaret’s Church at the base of the mountain.

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Desert sky at dawn

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The mysterious man behind the camera

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Hello sunrise!

For purposes of the 7hikes7days video series, we chose to do this hike at sunrise. The views this time of day are extra special, you can see every curve of the silhouetted mountains, gentle and sharp against a pink glowing sky. Below, swarms of lush palm trees look like blankets of varying  greens.

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Homestead Trail…I heart you

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Look for the large pile of heart shaped rocks along the way

This is a spiritual trek for a lot of people and a popular meditation spot as well. Along the way you’ll see a collection of heart shaped rocks, find your own and add it to the mountainside. Once you make it to the top, grab a seat on the generous sized rocks and contemplate the climb or life itself. Attached to the base of the cross is a box containing a notepad and pen, take time to share your thoughts and enjoy the wrap around vistas before heading back down the trail.

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Grab the notepad from the box on the cross and leave a message

This hike starts at the base of the Homme Adams Park which is an off leash dog park. Dogs are welcome on the trail too but must be leashed.

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Homme Adams Park, an off-leash area for dogs down below

Of note ~ 3 miles, moderate, elevation gain 700 ft, takes about 1 hour

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7 Hikes 7 Days~ Day 2: Ladder Canyon, Mecca Hills

If you have just one day of the year to take a hike, Ladder Canyon is an absolute MUST! It’s the perfect gem for an adventurer at heart, a trek certain to make your ticker race with anticipation, excitement and  good ol’ fashioned cardiovascular activity!

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Heading toward Ladder Canyon on Painted Canyon road

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Canyon mouth

The geologic formations of the Mecca Hills are some of the most unusual in the world. This thanks to the San Andreas Fault which runs right underneath Painted Canyon, which you will trek through during the loop. This landscape is truly other worldly. My boys say it looks like Tatioone (Star Wars) and we always talk about pod racing through the canyons. Star Wars aside, I can’t look up at the towering cliff-tops without expecting to see Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner whizz by.

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Towering canyon walls…did you see Wile E. Coyote?

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Walk this way!

 

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Heading up to the first ladder

The hike begins in a canyon similar to those seen in Utah with high plateaus that disappear into the blue skies. You will catch the trailhead between several huge boulders marked with a GIANT arrow and quickly find yourself at the base of the first ladder. There are 5 ladders which help hikers scale natural waterfalls. These are dry waterfalls. : )

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Slot canyon

You will explore huge winding slot canyons which only span an arms width, traverse towering sandstone cliffs until you finally find yourself on what feels like the top of the world. From above you see for miles in every direction. From the Salton Sea to Mount San Gorgonio, the vistas are jaw dropping.

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Small piece of the Salton Sea in the distance

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Painted Canyon mineral deposits

The last part of the hike takes you through a wash area called Painted Canyon. There you will see amazing mineral deposits which have turned the cliff sides rose, pink, red, purple and green. I’ve actually seen a couple cute, furry tarantulas on this hike before and always spy some ravens riding the thermals.

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Painted Canyon wash area

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Desert Willow

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Tree covered with desert mistletoe

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Vibrant Palo Verde branch

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Ocotillo

There are many desert plants  Smoke Trees, Palo Verde,  Desert Mistletoe, Desert Willow, small Beavertail Cactus and towering Ocotillo. All the flora look so lush in contrast to the neutral tone wash. I HEART this hike!

 

of note ~ 6 miles, moderate loop, 450 foot elevation gain, takes approx 4 hours

 

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7 Hikes 7 Days ~ Day 1: Araby Trail Palm Springs

The first hike of seven just had to be in my hometown, Palm Springs. I have blazed many trails in these mountains just minutes from my house. I grew up playing hide and go seek on the hillsides, shoving pieces of it in my pockets for a grand rock collection and picking handfuls of yellow, rain-scented creosote flowers to sit as centerpieces at our family table. I certainly feel most comfortable on these trails.

Wild Willow!

Wild Willow!

Today I wanted to tackle Araby Trail with my  wild at heart companion, Willow. My dear pup somehow gives me a better sense of adventure. With her at my side, it always feels like play time! Plus she’s the size of a (small) horse and can lend my legs some muscle, if they need it.

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Willow on the ridge

So there we went snaking up the San Jacinto mountains behind the exclusive Southridge neighborhood.  This hike provides  some of the best views of Bob Hope’s former home you will ever see. You will also see the John Lautner designed Elrod House which was featured as a swank bachelor pad in the 1971 James Bond movie Diamonds are Forever. Sean Connery famously took a dip in the pool there. Willow and I would have loved to join him for a quick cool-off!

Elrod House

Elrod House

Bob Hope's former home

Bob Hope’s former home

Oh the elevation gain…it’s fast and furious with heart-pounding switchbacks a plenty! Pant, pant, pant.  Catch your breath quickly because the views of the valley will take it away again. You can truly see from the windmills to the Indio Hills.  You can spy the hustle and bustle below but hear a pin drop in the mountains. Not much flora and fauna to speak of…some beautiful barrel cactus and creosote.

Creosote bush

Creosote bush

Beautiful view

Beautiful view

At the top, the trail connects to a few others, Berns, Garstin and Henderson and you can take any of those to drop down the backside of the hill, watch the valley disappear and see only endless rolling landscape.

Made it to the top!

Made it to the top!

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pant pant pant

Of note: This hike is about 6 miles and takes 4 hours-ish. Dogs (of course) and horses are welcome.

 

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My Assignment (do the legwork first then the legwork)

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A siesta in Carrizo Canyon

I have to begin by saying that my recent assignment from the Greater Palm Springs CVB, is one that I have embraced (bear hug style) with both arms and my soon to be sore legs. I’m wholeheartedly stoked and ready for an adventure (assignment)! After all, my busy (favorite part) (husband, 3 children) personal life, is not the most conducive to early mornings and late evenings on the trails.

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Something about rock stacks…so whimsical!

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The I made it to the top moment! Mecca Hills

The assignment of 7 hikes 7 days, came quickly, so much so that I had to scramble to figure out the basics (journalism aside) like what to wear!  A search at the bottom of my drawers for appropriate (cute) attire was 3/4s the battle. It meant a shopping assignment first…oh poor me, wink.  This job (all the parts of it) may sound like a lot of leg work, it is but it’s certainly a job that won’t feel like one!

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Here I am contemplating the climb

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About age 5 with my mom in the Indian Canyons

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About age 7 on a hike/picnic with my dad

I grew up hiking the mountains of the Coachella Valley. The mountains have helped shape my intellect, extreme appreciation of nature and yes, my wild imagination. Growing up here in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s there wasn’t too much going on. For me, the desert mountains had it going on.  My parents would pack a sack of citrus, pb&j and water, we would cross the washes and head up the slopes. My little legs ached, my young heart pounded and I was hooked. Some of my first and best memories were from the tops of the local mountains trying to spy my house and swimming pool down below.

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This guy…the mysterious genius behind the camera

I have always LOVED hiking so I truly couldn’t wait to head out the door, become reacquainted with my mountains and document my adventure for others to enjoy.

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Watching the sunrise on Homestead Trail

Happy Trails!