Not long after Lara arrived from Germany, we asked her where she would like to go on vacation in the Fall. She quickly narrowed in on the Red Woods, much to our satisfaction. Sure, we were just there a few years ago, but that place is sacrosanct in our family. I knew our schedule would be tight, but I also wanted to take the kids to San Francisco.

The trip got off to a rocky start since Hannah and Maxwell couldn’t leave on Tuesday evening as planned due to school commitments. We pushed off on Wednesday at noon and we hit a massive delay outside of Grantsville as a result of a fatal car crash that closed the interstate down for 10+ hours. After waiting and trying to find a local workaround, we decided to head north to Tremonton and catch a back road from Idaho to Nevada. This jam set us back 6 hours forcing us to spend the night in Reno instead of pushing ahead to Trinidad. The next day was not much better. There were constant road closures between Redding and Eureaka that put us back another 3 hours. Despite this less than desirable launch, the rest of the trip made up for the hours sitting in the car.

Our first evening in Trinidad was spectacular. Our beach house was perched on a cliff over looking the ocean. We made the quick jaunt down the steep slope to explore the beach and wade in the water. The kids never get sick of the beach. It was incredible. The next morning I caught this picture of Norah and Truman sitting in the hot tub overlooking the Pacific. We had a lazy morning since we knew we had a pretty long hike ahead of us.

We chose to hike the famous James Irvine-to-Fern Canyon-to-Miner’s Ridge Trail. This trail is 13 miles of tree-hugging glory. It is truly the quintesence (to quote Walter Mitty) of hiking beauty. Fern Canyon was like no place in nature I’ve ever experienced, except maybe a similar canyon in New Zealand.



This was a break-through hike for Truman who did not ask to be carried on my shoulders once, despite 13 miles and ~1,500 feet of vertical climbing


Fern Canyon

After the hike, we took Lara out for her first Thai food experience. It was a great end to an amazing day! The next morning we departed early to make the 5 hour drive to SF. We drove through the redwoods and wine country. It was a very pleasant drive (in sharp contrast to our other experiences on the road).

Our first activity in SF was to explore The Golden Gate Bridge. We walked to the first pillar on the bridge and enjoyed the time looking out over the bay and city. Later, we walked around the wharf and Pier 39. The kids had a good time looking at all the boutiques and specialty shops.


Our last activity, before the 11 hour drive home, was Alcatraz. The boat ride was fun, but I think the highlight was listening to the audio narration about the prison.

Overall, we made great memories as a family, ate really good food, and explored amazing places!