the campas

the campas

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mom's B-day Week in Huntington

A couple of weeks ago, mom drove down to SoCal for her birthday week.  She came to Pasadena from Vegas, and met up with Brian, Erika, and I for a little visit.  We ate at The Counter, a custom burger place here in Pasadena.  It was great!  Afterwards, she drove me down to HB for a little mother daughter time.  Here are some highlights of a fun week!

Visiting one of Brian's OC properties that was damaged during a leak cause we were close.  We are great Renken Co. Employees.

Trying on every golden flat shoe in Orange County.

Taking a walk downtown and looking at this gorgeousness:

Discovering a UKULELE CLUB for old people in Huntington and obsessing over it and deciding mom and dad are going to join in their golden years.

Finding out the new taco bell restaurant we wanted to try wasn't open and eating ice cream for dinner instead.

Getting my hurrr cut and feeling fresh on my walk home.  Can I move here? 

Going to dinner at Fashion Island Mall with mom and Brian (after he drove down from work friday) and find the PERFECT shoes for Jensen Wedding 2014! #IvanakaTrumpFTW

Having dad fly in and going to Long Beach for MOM'S BDAY! 

Watching Brian contemplate his final resting place.

Loving time with the parentals.

Ordering ice cream on the boardwalk!

Visiting Becky's old work place:

Singing "Happy Birthday" funeral drudge style with dad:

Watching mother open many beautiful gifts:

Eating a fancy seafood dinner at the Rusty Pelican in Newport Beach, then walking along the water.

Having mom and dad come back to Pasadena a few days later and spend the day with Brian and I.  We all went to the Dog Hause in Pasadena, then mom dad and I did a three mile walk around the Rose Bowl.

It was a wonderful week with my parents and Brian in Huntington!  I love them so much, and although this unemployment phase of life has had its challenges, I am thankful for the time it has given me to spend with family this summer.  ###

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Primitive Camping Trip- Channel Islands

So have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE living in Pasadena near my family?  It means I get to see them often and do epic/amazing/fun things with them...such as go on a primitive camping trip.  Yup, you heard right!  Last month Aunt Erika, Sarah, Mary Ruth, and I went on a 2 day primitive camping trip to the Channel Islands off the coast of Ventura.  No glamping for these Ngos/Cannons/Campas either!  It was 100% an outdoorsy adventure.  Let me start at the beginning.

When Erika invited me to go on this trip last month, I was super excited, especially when I found out everything we took on to Santa Cruz Island....which you can spot on this map, had to be carried in a BACKPACK!

This was my first "backpacking" experience, and I was stooooked!  I borrowed various camping items from other people who are more outdoor-sy than I, and I was ready to go on our first day, Friday, July 25th.

Don't I just look so prepared for anything?

Ze whole group:

We bid Tom and Brian farewell in case we never saw them again in this life, then drove to Ventura where we parked the car and boarded the boat that took us out to the island. 
(the struggles of getting a backpack on are real):

The boat ride was about an hour and very fun!  The boat went up and down so quickly this ride was not for the faint of heart/those prone to seasickness.

We saw some friends on the way out:

The best part was standing on the front of the boat looking out.  It was solo windy but so fun to feel the sea mist and get the best view!
This picture is funny to me for many reasons.  Most notably, my hair.

We approached the beautiful island and I couldn't believe how blue the water was!!

After getting oriented by the park rangers and getting our stuff off the boat, we started to walk over to the campsite.  We had heard about the mini foxes ONLY found on this island, and were anxious to see some.  We saw one almost immediately after setting foot on the island!  They are sooooo sososoo CUTE PEOPLE.  I want one for real.  They are so used to people they don't care if you get close to them.  The campsites have to use "fox boxes" aka secured boxes foxes can't get into to put food into.  The little guys will steal your food, or even enter your tent while you sleep.  Apparently they've discovered how to open a tent door using their noses!  What!

Aunt Erika did her homework and reserved the BEST campsite for us!  It was the most isolated and far away from others (and the smelly bathrooms), and opened up to this huge and beautiful valley.  Here's us standing on our campsite with the view we had.  Spectacular huh?

We had lunch (Erika did a fabulous job bringing easy meals we could carry and didn't have to cook), then set out for the hike to Smuggler's Cove.  It was about 9 miles with some glorious views of the ocean.  We hardly saw anyone else on the hike, and weren't even exactly sure we were going the right way.  Thank goodness we were, although the island is small enough I'm sure it's hard to get too lost.

There were some pretty serious inclines and declines along the way!  

Our final destination, Smuggler's Cove, was beautiful!  It's an isolated beach with tide pools you can look at.

We definitely took a nap on the picnic tables after looking at the tide pools.  Keeping it classy. 

We had a lovely walk back.  When we came back to the main beach, we noticed the last boat had left for the day, taking with it the tourists who were only there for the day.  Remaining: tough people like us (lol) who would spend the night!

We set up our beautiful campsite.  Here's what it looked like:

We had the most delicious dinner of bagels, tuna, and cheese.  We couldn't figure out if it was good because we were starving or because it really was just the best packaged tune in existence.  We'll never really know.

We were all so tired we had to keep ourselves awake long enough to see the stars before bed.  Aunt Erika read us a funny story about camping in the olden days, and we played Phase 10.  It was a beautiful night and so nice to see all the stars.

We all slept well, surprisingly, despite it being really hot!  We all thought it would be freezing, so we bundled up and got into our sleeping bags.  That was definitely not the case!

In the morning we had a yummy breakfast then packed up and walked over to the beach and passed a couple of cute friends along the way:

So Friday's activity was the kayaking excursion.  There are really no words to describe how beautiful or fun this was.  If you live in California and visit the Channel Island, do the kayaking trip!  Ours was two hours and tons of fun.

Here we are all suited up:

Side note, one of the other kayakers in our group was a former classmate's of Sarah's...from HARVARD!  What!?  Small world alert!!!

Once we were all geared up and ready, our guide (who was very experienced and good) took us out on the water.  I have kayaked dozens of times in harbors in Newport and Huntington Beach, but never out in the open water!  It was a little harder and more intimidating...and for that reason Aunt Erika and I decided to double up and share a kayak.  Our more experienced and adventurous relations, Sarah and MR had their own kayaks.  I was happy to have a partner even though we kept embarrassing ourselves by running into other people, ancient sea cave walls, and and other objects.  :)

SO the saddest part of our excursion was the fact we couldn't bring a camera out with I googled pictures of our same trip, and have posted random people.  So just pretend this is Erika and I triumphantly raising our oars into the air:

We got to go in so many caves and it was BEAUTIFUL!  We each took turns paddling through some kind of close channels to see the beautiful cliffs and caves.  I was nervous a few times, because when the tide came up and a wave took the kayak up, we would get so close to the rocky ceiling we'd have to lean back in our boat!  We felt pretty legit.

We saw numerous seals and birds on the trip.  We also learned how to eat seaweed (which doesn't taste too bad if you eat the right part).  It was a wonderful experience!

We were exhausted when it ended and had to force ourselves to keep paddling in.  I would recommend this kayaking trip to anyone.  I loved it!

Part of our excursion included access to snorkeling materials, so Sarah, Erika, and I suited up and jumped in...only to find out the water was like negative a million degrees and we almost died.  So we swam around long enough to see a really awesome looking eel, some fish, and and tons of kelp.

We assigned Mary Ruth to take some photos of us, and she took her calling seriously.  She captured the hilarity of us trying to get up to shore with our flippers on for a picture.

Here we come:

Trying to stand up:

Relying on one another:

Not quite up:


Aaaaand we are falling again:

As you can see, the photos were a struggle, but a hilarious one.  We were all tired after our nautical adventures, so we changed and boarded the boat home at 5pm.

We were so excited because we saw tons of dolphins on the way home!  They were swimming right next to the boat and I was worried we were running them over!  Then Sarah reminded me they purposely swim next to the boat.  Phew.  I love dolphins!

We got back to Pasadena and had a great sushi dinner at the Ngos while telling Tom and Brian about our trip.  It was a great experience!  We were all dirty and tired when it was done, but I'm so glad we camped and had the chance to do some fun activities.  Thanks to our master planner Erika for doing all the hard work to make this an amazing trip!! ###