A visual recap of our annual Breakaway swimming hole trip through 21 photos (all which just happen to be vertical)! This year, Clay organized a day trip out to Iowa Hill in Colfax, CA per his coworker's recommendation. We spent the day hanging out at two different spots around the North Fork of the American River. The first spot included some small rapids that we took turns riding through on our floaties. This was our mini Raging Waters ride of the day. The second spot we found after lunch was on the way back to our cars along the river. It was an area closer to the Iowa Hill bridge, where the water was more calm, shallow, and perfect for floating around. I was able to snorkel around and find one fish. Overall, I would say that this swimming hole was very chill, mellow, and great for first-timers. Of course, it was also a very beautiful and scenic location by the river. Amazing job, Clay for bringing together 19 people for a fun day of swimming and splashing under the sun! My summer now feels complete.
Thanks to our Southwest Companion Pass, Clay and I managed to fly back to Seattle for a weekend in the middle of June to celebrate Jason's birthday! This year, Clay decided to gift Jason a set of fishing rods and take him on his first fishing trip to North Cascades National Park. The national park was so gorgeous during this time of the year with its snow-capped mountain ranges and turquoise-colored lakes formed by glacier melt. It offered such grand and majestic views of the North Cascades.
Our day trip started out with lunch at Hawks Nest Bar & Grill. We then checked out the Gorge Powerhouse, where we learned that North Cascades NP consisted of 3 lakes, 3 dams, and 3 powerhouses: Ross, Diablo, and Gorge. Together, these three powerhouses transform water pressure into electricity and are capable of producing about 40% of the total power supply generated by Seattle City Light, a public utility owned by the citizens of Seattle. So cool to learn that this national park generates so much electricity and power for the city of Seattle!
After stopping by a couple scenic views and overlooks, we spent the rest of the afternoon fishing at Diablo Lake, where we saw several campers and a fly fisherman. We stopped at a part of the lake with less people, which was really nice. I got a couple shots of Clay and Jason at our fishing spot (above). That afternoon, I got to learn from Clay how to cast a fishing line! Too bad I only reeled in a couple of sticks. Jason, however, was able to catch his first trout -- and we think he caught the same trout twice! Even though he was the only one that caught anything that day, it was truly an exciting moment for all three of us.
At the beginning of June, our dear friends from Seattle, Eric, Lovina, Billy, and Saili came to visit us! Our plan was to spend the weekend exploring California's wine country together. I had only been wine tasting in Napa once before with Clay's coworkers 5 years ago and neither of us had thought of going back. But after this weekend, I finally understood why Napa is such a popular attraction! I didn't know the area could be so fun before this trip took place.
Anyway, here is a recap of what happened. Billy booked the Sonoma Farmhouse for us to stay for two nights. The 6 of us had one video chat session to figure out how we wanted to spend our time. Everyone contributed an idea for an activity to do or a restaurant to book (good idea, Billy!). We arrived on a Friday night after picking up Eric & Lovina straight from SFO and basically had a day and a half to do everything before we had to leave on Sunday afternoon.
Saturday, we grabbed brunch at The Fremont Diner, where we enjoyed an American breakfast and their photo booth. Our first winery of the day was Domaine Carneros, which specialized in sparkling wine. Afterwards, we rushed over to Napa Valley Bike Tours, where we had reserved tandem bikes that would get us to our second winery, St. Supery, on St. Helena Highway in Rutherford. Off we went on our bikes in grueling 97 degree weather, hoping to make it to our next wine tasting on time! Little did we know that Eric & Lovina's tandem would soon suffer a broken bike chain that would call for a bike replacement halfway there. Luckily, we were able to wait in the shade and didn't have to wait too long. We were also very lucky that St. Supery was still willing to accommodate a bunch of late, sweaty, and out-of-breath bikers. Our tasting ended up being such a delightful experience that the Sus and the Yans decided to buy bottles to bring home, and Billy & Saili ended up becoming members! Last stop of the day was dinner at Ad Hoc, Thomas Keller's restaurant in Yountville. Our family-style dinner of American comfort food was very delicious and too satisfying. Clay had more than enough cheese to eat and Billy got so full from all the various carbs that he became the opposite of hangry. After dinner, we returned home to shower and nap so we could have energy for an evening of back-to-back games: A Fake Artist Goes to New York, Wizard, and In Kahoots. Always down to learn new games!
Sunday, we checked out of the farmhouse and spent the morning walking around Sonoma Plaza. Some of us grabbed coffee at Basque Boulangerie Cafe and some bought chocolates to bring home from Wine Country Chocolates. Everyone enjoyed sausage flights at Hare & Hatter Sausage Emporium (such a brilliant take on the charcuterie board). Of course, after all that, we still had room for our lunch at The Girl and the Fig. Even though my pancakes a la mode came out super late, I still enjoyed them very much (along with the milk & cookies that Eric & Lovina ordered to share). Last stop of the weekend was Gundlach Bundschu Winery, where Eric had booked a wine tasting & cave tour for us! Wow, we really did do a lot in a very short amount of time. All in all, it was a very memorable weekend with the best company. Looking forward to being reunited with everyone again soon.
An evening fishing excursion at Hamilton Branch, a creek that flows into the northeast corner of Lake Almanor:
01 - A view of Hamilton Branch Creek from the bridge
02 - Peering down at our fishing spot, where we had to make our way down the trail to
03 - My happy angler fishing during the last hour of daylight
04 - Calling it a day at 8:28pm
Just capturing as I go.