A month ago when I was going through a sort of a slump (feeling bogged down by all of my summer classes and the drudgery of life in general :P), Clay goes into our study room, closes the door, and makes a couple of phone calls. He sticks out his head to ask me if I am free Sunday July 23. (I was!) Then he sends me a Google Calendar event titled "Secret adventure for kim and clay" to save the date.
A little over a week before the event, Clay comes home from work, goes back into our study room, and closes the door again. I hear loud thumping noises coming from our study. After a while, he comes out and hands me a card, an invitation to "Kim and Clay's Super Fun Day." It was a schedule of the day with only the times showing. The locations were hidden behind these perforated strips that he had designed for me to peel (the noises from the study were from poking all the tiny holes).
Yesterday, I finally got to tear off each strip as our day unfolded. We started off the day in SF, where we shared morning donuts at Bob's Donuts, a lunch in the Mission at Media Noche (I've been wanting to go since it opened), and Boba Guys (my favorite place to get boba!). By the afternoon we were in Point Reyes (another one of my favorites!), where we saw an abandoned shipwreck, walked through a cypress tree tunnel, and hiked along the foggy coast to a light house. After stopping by Inverness Park Market for some sandwiches for dinner, we ended the day at Tomales Bay for the main event: a night time kayaking excursion to see bioluminescent colonies of glowing dinoflagellates!
As I think back to being out on the water last night after sundown, which was truly a magical and unforgettable experience itself...I can't help but feel completely overwhelmed by feelings of gratitude and awe. I'm thankful to God for giving me a life with so many privileges that I often feel and know are so undeserved. One of the greatest of these privileges will always be my marriage relationship with my husband, Clay, who never ceases to stun me with his thoughtfulness and creativity. Though married life is not always so happy go lucky (on a seemingly perfect day such as yesterday, we still managed to get into a ridiculous and awful fight that for a moment completely crushed clay and broke me down into tears), I'm thankful for the opportunity we always have to choose to reconcile and make repairs. To choose love and forgiveness as God commanded us to. To choose to trust and to have hope in our marriage in the context of this temporary & fleeting life that we have together, because we know that God has given us the best reason to do so through the hope that we forever have in His Son.
Just wanted to share some photos from this past weekend's swimming hole trip to Edwards Crossing in Nevada City! Can't believe that our last swimming hole trip was two whole summers ago. Unfortunately, last summer we weren't able to make a trip happen due to all the wedding planning craziness. So it was super great to be able to get back out there again with some of our friends from church this year. As usual, the weather was perfect - over 100 degrees F (makes you want to just jump right in)! The water was clear, cool, and refreshing. And everyone stayed safe with the exception of a few minor injuries (Grace, you are a trooper!!). Overall, a memorable day spent in the great outdoors surrounded by beautiful scenery!
Back in April, Clay and I managed to book the last campsite available at Mendocino Grove, a campground offering a modern camping experience. I had been wanting to plan a trip to the Mendocino and Fort Bragg area for a while now, so I was really excited that we could try out glamping for the first time while we were at it!
When we arrived Saturday afternoon, the self check-in was very straight forward. It was basically just a bulletin board with general campground information (e.g., wifi usage, breakfast hours) and a map with our name on it indicating where our designated parking spot and campsite was. Our safari tent (Navarro 2) was in its own little corner a fair distance away from the other two neighboring tents. Right outside our tent, we had our own picnic table, a set of chairs on the deck, and a fire pit. (Firewood was available self-serve at the campground for about $10 or so.) Inside the tent, there was a comfortable bed, a couple of dressers that served as night stands, a large lantern, a couple of extra blankets, and an awesome s'mores kit! We enjoyed the s'mores kit very much on our last night :)
Even though we still prefer camping and pitching up our own tents, we had a really nice experience during our stay at the Mendocino Grove...and we would happily do it again! Packing was SUPER easy and convenient. Next time, I'd probably bring more layers, a warmer jacket, a beanie, and my own water bladder. The campground was very thoughtful and actually had a couple wooden crates of water bladders for campers to use, but unfortunately it wasn't enough for everyone...so we didn't get to use one. There were also no outlets inside the safari tents, so I'd suggest bringing a portable charger. Though I believe the campground also has chargers available for checkout.
Overall, everything about the campground was pretty wonderful! The bathrooms were very new, clean, and well-maintained. There were outlets in there, so I was thankfully, able to use my hair dryer (didn't want to risk catching a cold!). They provided plenty of organic bath products and fresh towels for showering and for face-washing. The shower experience was for sure the best that I've had at a campground. In addition, just around the bathhouse, there was an area where they served drinks (coffee, hot water, & tea), as well as breakfast (fresh fruits, yogurt, & bars). Another amenity that Clay and I enjoyed were their giant hammocks spread out in the middle of the grove and campground. Now, just a couple more notes: 1) I would personally recommend booking for the summertime for warmer, more camping-friendly weather, especially since the campground is located near the coast. 2) Mendocino Grove is very family and dog-friendly; they have different safari tents that accommodate both groups! They also have Airstream options available for rent.
Finally, one of the best parts of our glamping experience was having the small coastal town of Mendocino be just a 5-minute drive away. Fort Bragg, a larger city along the coast, is also not too far away - just a quick and scenic 20-minute drive up north. If you're wondering what other activities there are to do or places to go eat, feel free to ask me. I have a whole list that I compiled!
Just capturing as I go.