Jesse here – As you can tell from Chrysa’s post below, we hit the ground running as soon as we arrived in Huntington Beach. After the splendor and majesty of Park City it didn’t take Chrysa long to hear the call of the mountains. I just want to take a min to talk about our first few days in Huntington. As everyone knows we have developed a pattern to establish ourselves in a new area. We move into our new place, we explore the immediate area, Chrysa adjusts her sleep schedule, and I look for a job. We have stuck to the pattern and the transition has been flawless. I have included pics into this post that show some of our early experiences. The solo beach pics of me are my version of job hunting. Don’t judge the system. You would job hunt at the beach if you could too. It worked by the way! I’m currently pulling in the big bucks working at Panera Bread. On to the post.
I have been craving some mountain time since we live closer to the beach and I can only see the mountains in the distance. Trail running is my new love and California really cemented that feeling of love because the trail running here is awesome. Jesse and I had a day off together so we decided to take a trip to Crystal Cove State Park. We found it without much trouble, paid our parking fee and picked a trail. We agreed on Moro Ridge to Moro Canyon which had some great views and it wasn’t super long being that it has been a while since we have seen anything resembling elevation. Iowa, Florida and Illinois are pretty flat and I was so excited to finally get my hill legs back. This is a really large park right along the Pacific Coast Highway with several different places to run, hike or just sit in the sand and watch the waves.
We slathered on some sunscreen and headed up, and up and up. We were rewarded with beautiful views of the ocean and canyon. It was a great way to explore surrounding areas because we had to drive down the PCH through Newport Beach and Corona del Mar, both looked like fun areas to add to our list of places to check out. After a few miles we headed down to the tunnel that takes you under the PCH so you can get to the beach safely (although I think it fills with seawater at high tide). Jesse was in his glory; he loves the beach and as I have mentioned before I hate sand. We walked down the beach and took some pictures. It was a pretty steep uphill that we had to climb in order to get back to the car. It was such a wonderful day out and I loved that park. There are many more trails we have to explore.
Another day we took a trip to the Top of the World in Laguna Beach. It is 1036 feet above sea level and has great views and a bunch of trails to explore. We decided on the Car Wreck trail because I was deeply intrigued by the thought of a car being at the bottom of this canyon. I was hoping to make this trek a run considering I have a trail half marathon coming up but it ended up being way more technical than I thought. Lots of rocks and small boulders to climb down and it was a pretty steep decline. We eventually made it to what looked like the skeleton of a Volkswagon Beetle. After snapping a few pictures we started to head back up; it was not as steep as the down but it was still a pretty good workout. Because we were not ready to stop yet we headed down another trail for a bit then turned back to the car. It ended up being close to six miles and it was fairly intense.
I have lost a lot of stamina for trails and whatever little hill strength I had is no longer. Thankfully there are plenty of trails within a half hour drive that gives me my mountains and Jesse his beach. This place really is the best of both worlds for us!
One other recent amazing adventure we went on was a trip to Big Bear Lake Village. I have been wanting to go there for a while since I see it on the news and the temperature there is always 20 degrees cooler. After some research I found out it is pretty high elevation (6,752 feet above sea level) and there are two ski resorts there. It is just an adorable little mountain resort town. Jesse and I got a bit later start than we wanted but we took the dog to daycare and headed off for the two and a half hour drive to Big Bear. I was so excited that I offered to drive and I am so glad I did. I have not had that much fun driving in a very long time. Poor Jesse was just along for the ride and I kept asking if he was OK because I thought my driving might be making him car sick. The turns were pretty sharp and had a switchback feel to them. I was having a blast! There were various pull offs since it is mostly a one lane in each direction road. But the views were so stunning you just had to stop and take it all in. We finally made it to the village and headed to Big Bear Lake Brewing Company; it was after lunchtime and we were pretty hungry. The food and beer were awesome! With full bellies we headed out to explore the town; there are lots of shops to get souvenirs and just about everything has a bear theme to it. There is a very touristy feel to the town but I loved it anyway. So much of it made you think of a log cabin in the mountains and I did not want to leave! I even checked out some of the properties posted at the real estate office, they were all a bit too expensive. After buying a few stickers, a magnet and a postcard for my mom we walked down to the lake to check that out. As much as I wanted to go into every shop we had to get back to Huntington. I loved that road but I did not want to drive it in the dark! The sun was just starting to set and the marine layer was coming into the lower elevations. The pictures just do not do it justice. It was like being in a the middle of a postcard or a Bob Ross painting. The colors of the sky and the mountains poking out of the mist were just breathtaking. One of my favorite things about California is the marine layer; it floats in around sunset and hangs out until sunrise. Sometimes it is really thick and other times you can barely sense it.
Of course we hit some epic California traffic on the way home, but that is what you get for driving on a major highway on Monday at 5pm. We made it to the kennel just in time to pick the dog up from daycare and headed home for a quiet dinner.
It was such a great day. I love exploring new places, especially one that was so much fun to get to and had a great homey feel. I hope we get there again, maybe I will see some snow. This perpetual summer we have been living in is getting a bit much for me. I miss wearing a winter hat and sweater. And as you know if we do go there, you will be able to read all about it on our blog! Thank you for reading about our adventures!